BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Audrea Telkamp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2004
 

Contest Judges


This idea may have been batted around before - but how about judging the monthly entries by popular vote of the members? (Each member could cast a "vote" for each of their favorites, number of votes for an image would decide winners, etc). This would lift the burden off of BP's small staff, maybe even boost membership revenues, and results would be available immediately. It would provide a great cross-section of opinions and it would tell us which of our images are marketable to a wide audience. Any thoughts?


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7/18/2004 2:01:37 PM

 
Amy N. Cappelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/25/2004
  i think that is a great idea, a fair balance. it has worked well for other sites. there are many images that I have seen great and diverse discussion on that merit at least finalist status. But they never make it there. you have a very valid point about marketablity of images and cross sections of opinion. I find it facinating what "wins" in the eyes of the small staff of BP. It is indeed a subjective task in the end.


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7/18/2004 3:11:54 PM

 
Steven Gunnerson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/4/2004
  Hi Audrea & Amy, I also agree and actually just posted a similiar comment on another topic. That isn't to say I am totally against how the judging is set up now, but I think your idea would be a nice improvement. Perhaps they could even combine the two systems.

After reviewing June's finalists (great photographs by-the-way) I wonder if the judging panel was even smaller this month then normal. A lot less finalists and certainly less variety.


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7/18/2004 5:31:51 PM

 
Michael Brown   Members voting is a big "no no!"

You will "always" have pre-planned groups (sometimes in large numbers) who will get together and do their "you vote for me and I vote for you" routine.
All of your great photography contests use a panel of judges only, and that is the way that it should be!

Going this route with members voting has ruined other sites and/or had members leaving in droves, and I am sure you will get those same results here at BP if you let members vote.

I think that the owners & judges at this site know exactly what works and what does not.
This site would not be as awesome as it is if they did not!

Just some thoughts gang!
Mike


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7/18/2004 6:59:28 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Hi Audrea. The idea isn't new, but I have a few little problems with it (other than the one Mike raises about friends voting for their friends).
I'm on BP a lot (at least an hour a day, sometimes more).
There is no way I could possibly see 14,000 photos! So let's say I was totally objective, but didn't get to see all the photos, how could that be fair?
And I'm no expert. Just because I like something doesn't mean it has what it takes to be considered "great". I like the idea of the judges being both photography teachers and experts. That way if one of my shots makes it - it really means something.
Also, the judging right now is anonymous (i.e. the judges don't see the photographer's name). Would all the names be removed so everyone could vote without prejudice? Then what would happen to the "friendly praise/feedback" part of BP? You couldn't check up on your friend's recent postings without being prejudiced in the voting...
I personally don't think it would work. Maybe if they need more judges they could ask some of the professionals to help out. Or maybe they could use some of them to judge certain categories of the contest (so they don't have to review 14,000) shots...
Just my 2 cents...


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7/18/2004 7:07:05 PM

 
Audrea Telkamp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2004
  Thanks for the input. I understand some of your objections. I still would like to get some more diverse feedback - maybe it could just be something in addition to the regular monthly contest (much like they now track which pictures you've commented on). I think it could at least be a fun sidelight to the contest. Aren't there enough BPers out there that one group ganging up on another really wouldn't amount to a problem? I understand your concern of not being able to review all 14,000 entries but everyone would have that same disadvantage.

Another question though - Diane, you mentioned the judges being photography teachers and experts - how do we know who the judges are and their credentials? I haven't seen a listing anywhere - maybe I missed it.


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7/18/2004 8:42:08 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Do you not know about uploading to the discussion section or you just don't want to use it?


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7/18/2004 8:54:15 PM

 
Audrea Telkamp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2004
  I'm sorry Gregory, I thought this was where you asked a question, looking for an answer. You need more than just a hug. I won't say what.


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7/18/2004 8:57:28 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Hence the reason I asked the question. You're not happy with having judges because you don't get results precisely on the 15th, due to a large number of entrants. Then you turn around a say you just want more feedback. So why not use the discussion section for that, instead of putting everything in the contest.
Plus, you want to know judges credentials, but say that having members as judges is a good idea. If just being a member is good enough, where all you need is an email address, then how are the judges credentials in question?


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7/18/2004 9:20:50 PM

 
Steven Gunnerson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/4/2004
  Opps, I posted the below in the wrong discussion. There is another similiar discussion going on in another thread.

How about this: What if members were allowed to rate each entry on a scale of 1 to 25. Let’s say this is active for 5-10 days. An average could then be assigned to each photograph. Then at the end of the month + 5-10 days the judges could select the photographs with the highest (say) 4,000 averages out of the some odd 14,000 entries. This would effectively weed out 10,000 entries that judges would even need to look at. Since only 500 - 1,000 are going to actually become finalists I think this would negate the “friends” factor and various other forms of cheating. As such, you also benefit from having your entries judged by professional photographers.

By judging this way, they could also have winners based solely on member votes. The photograph with the highest average could be considered ‘The Most Popular’ winner. They could also assign winners for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on… Additional (and perhaps a little better) assortment of prizes could also be obtained since the judges will have a whole lot more time on their hands :o).

This would also have the added bonus of the photographer seeing how much people liked their photograph… very useful information. Since we all have to log on this information can also be kept private.


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7/18/2004 10:03:42 PM

 
Audrea Telkamp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2004
  Thanks Steven, I like your ideas.

And Gregory (sigh!) I did not say I was unhappy with having a panel of judges because of slow turn-around time - I can fully understand why 14,000 entries would put you behind. I was simply trying to brainstorm a way to make the process better. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for the BP staff to face 14,000 entries to judge.

The feedback I am looking for does not pertain to a problem with the image (warrenting discussion) but simply its marketability to a wide audience. Since such an image is acceptable contest material, and we are on those web pages already, it seemed a good idea to have a check box there to vote on it.

Also, I think you discount the intelligence and abilities of the majority of BPers here. I am much more apt to value the opinions of others whose work and credentials I can see rather than an anonymous panel of judges. If I am going to the trouble of entering a contest, I want assurance that it is worth my time and effort - I don't think it is unreasonable to ask for the panel's credentials.


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7/18/2004 11:35:54 PM

 
Zachariah Schnepf
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/4/2004
  I'm sorry, but I don't think it's a good idea for the popular vote by members to choose the winners. There are plenty of other sites that do that. I would rather have a panel of qualified judges doing the choosing, even if I get passed over as a result. Just my $.02


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7/19/2004 12:32:35 AM

 
Sherrye Nozaki
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/26/2004
  Why not keep the judging the way it is now and just add a "People's Choice" or "Viewer's Choice" Award, which is voted on by Better Photo Members only or Better Photo Members and the anyone who visits the site?


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7/19/2004 12:45:51 AM

 
Tina  R. Hill
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/17/2004
  OR...... we could leave the site like it is and stop trying to give us more possible ways to win with our rejected photos. There are tons and tons of great photos that do not get selected each contest. This is not going to change. The main reason I like this contest is because it is a challenge! I don't want want it to be a contest that pats me on the back everytime I get trigger happy. I want to win just as bad as anyone else..but, only if it is truely deserved. The judges are HUMAN and with this comes options, likes and dislikes. Just because your photo wasn't picked doesn't make it bad... and you should never think that. It just simply might mean that it was just not what the judges were looking for in this months contest. We are all winners... but it wouldn't be much of a contest if we all won all the time.... so let's all cheer up and stop being sore losers.


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7/19/2004 4:01:09 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Tina H makes the point. Either some get selected, or everbody gets selected. If you select some, do you change and reshape your contest to constantly pacify those that didn't win? Then you have complaints of you don't have a standard to go by.
If having a popular vote to weed out a little over 2/3 of the total entries is a good idea, why did the limit of 10 per month, which was going to require each entrant to be self critical, AND would cut 2/3 out anyway, why did that cause such an uproar?
So they can make everybody a finalist, but is anybody going to complain that there needs to be winners picked?
Looking for feedback on marketbility requires more legwork than entering one contest. And the discussion section isn't limited to problem fixing. In fact I'd say it's main intent was for getting feedback.
And if having members vote is better because you're able to get assurance by seeing what kind of pictures the members take, do you then discount the votes of people who's pictures you feel aren't up to par? And if you do that, aren't you actually looking for only those that share a personal opinion, which seems to be that the assurance you're really looking for is an assurance of getting selected.


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7/19/2004 7:46:04 AM

 
Audrea Telkamp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2004
  Ouch Tina, but I guess suggesting anything at all post-contest puts you at risk of being called that. I still think it would be fun to have a popular vote. Obviously people are pretty hung up on the way the contest operates now, so maybe it's best as a sidelight.


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7/19/2004 7:46:38 AM

 
Tina  R. Hill
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/17/2004
  Audrea, Please don't take anything too personally... I read these discussions and by the time I have read all the comments along the way I get more and more frustrated. So please know that my response was not only aimed at you but pretty much all who what something to change on this site. I like this site. I actually have thought about how neat it would be if we as members could somehow "check" or keep track of different peoples photos that we particually are fond of so that we could follow their journey thoughout the contest... there are so many photos entered sometimes when I would like to show my husband a photo I have seen, I can't find it. I would like something like that but, not if it meant changing the contest. Just as a way for us to learn to see if our eyes are catching everything that the judges do. This could also be a way... as you would like to judge the entries from our level but only having the prize of the peoples votes. I don't think it is right for us to vote and then BP have to pay for a prize. Any should something like this come about then it should definately have a one vote limit per member so that someone can not go in repeatedly and vote for themselves.


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7/19/2004 9:08:39 AM

 
Steven Gunnerson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/4/2004
  I am really surprised at what some people are writing here. Both Audrea and Diana (in another topic) have concerns and valid points to make.

I am a graphic and website designer by trade. I have many clients who listen attentively when their website visitors have something to say, are concerned, or have suggestions. I am sure the BP owners want to know how members like their website and the competion. Saying “Great website BP” is the equivalent to the comment “Great photograph” we have all received from other members on our better entries. Nice, but lasy and not very helpful or even interesting if you’re trying to improve skills or determine just how great or not-so-great your photographs really are. They are making money off this website (I hope, and which is always a motivating factor) and it is growing and changing. Don’t you think that this would prompt them to want to know what their members (and customers) think?

I think this website and its competition are wonderful. I’ve been to many other websites like this one and none of them compare. That is why I’m willing to spend my time and energy submitting photos to the competition, commenting on other entries and yes, even offering suggestions (God forbid) to the website’s owners. I would think that they would say, ‘Hey, look. This guy came up with a suggestion on how we could reduce the number of photographs we have to evaluate by 10,000 and even provide our members with more useful information how their photograph is ranked by other members”. Maybe my idea is a little whaky but perhaps with other members suggestions and ideas of their own they create it into something that not only works now, but also in the future when they grow to 50,000 submissions a month.

For some reason, if you make a suggestion here you’re immediately labeled by some other members as person who is complainer or worse yet just trying to get undeserved praise. What’s that all about?


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7/19/2004 10:58:07 AM

 
Brinn MacDougall
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/2/2002
  I'm with Michael and Tina with this one..I hate voting on images, let the contest go on!


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7/19/2004 11:59:33 AM

 
Dr Silly
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/28/2004
  Fairly new here but I think the judges who run the site should vote. There are photos I think should have won but did not, I think we all have favorites photos and photographers that we would like to see win. Some times they win some times they not. There is always next month. I think a winner is someone who's photo makes someone stop to make a comment.
keep the fun in the site. I think comments pro and con are good. Just keep the fun in the site.
Thank you


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7/19/2004 12:19:02 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Hey Steven - well said. I think I've learned to send my questions directly to Jim or Heather, rather than in the open forum where everyone seems to twist what you are saying.


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7/19/2004 1:22:30 PM

 
Steven Gunnerson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/4/2004
  Unfortunatly, I most concur Diane. In the immortal words of U2 - "I Feel Numb" - Don't move, Don't talk out of time , Don't think, Don't worry, Everything's just fine, just fine... etc.


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7/19/2004 3:16:05 PM

 
Audrea Telkamp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2004
  Ditto for me Steven and Diane. Well said. I'm outta here!


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7/19/2004 8:26:54 PM

 
John Wright   Please... not another popularity contest! Visions of point mongers on most of the critique sites I've seen come to mind (as does the 2000 Florida vote). I respect what BetterPhoto is today and how it's operated (at least the contest).

I have the perception that in some respect, the popularity contest is already happening. It sometimes amazes me that some people (and their photos) get numerous accolades/comments on such mediocre work, while other photos get completely ignored. (Just my observation)

While I participate in this site (and contest), it's not the end game for me. My goal is to get better at photography and to sell my work - regardless of winning a contest or not. I also try to help others whenever I can (based on my experiences and accumulated knowledge at the time).

All that said - I think as fun as it might sound, a popular vote would simply inflate the ego of a few select (people/groups of people) and not something I'd particularly be interested in... JMHO...


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7/19/2004 9:32:12 PM

 
Jill A. Johnson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2004
  I agree John... I think already the vote of what your groups like and don't like are there by their commenting... and the real reason most of us enter the contest part is to see if a professional group of judges believes our work is reaching its height... judging is not a easy job and with as many photo's that grace this site I feel they do a very nice job... win or not there is always something to learn from it... I have sold many copies of prints that I enter here yet they are not choosen... well not that day by those judging but to me the become winners because many like them... I think BP is doing a wonderful job at trying to please its memebers... and I too feel the contest part should be left to the professional judges...
Jill :)


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7/20/2004 5:23:07 AM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
Contact Carolyn
Carolyn 's Gallery
PickYourShots.com
  You are right, Jill! Even when it hurts! That's just how it works. Ya can't win them all.


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7/30/2004 6:01:43 AM

 
Kevin Hedquist
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/14/2007
  I am new to this site, but I wanted to get involved right off. I like the fact that the voting is done by a panel of judges. There are sites that have members vote and there have been problems with the group voting ploy. The unbiased approach is the best in my opinion.

Cheers,

Kevin


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8/15/2007 12:25:58 PM

 
Donna La Mattino Pagakis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/12/2004
Contact Donna
Donna's Gallery
  I like the voting done by a panel of judges. But I was thinking it would be nice to add a 'People Choice Award' to the mix. After the winner's are chosen, we could choose our favorite.

This could be from the winning images and maybe from the finalist as well.

Just a thought,

Donna


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8/15/2007 1:01:28 PM

 
Glenn E. Urquhart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/3/2006
  Got to let the judges decide.
If you let the photographers vote, it will become who can write (and has the time) the most favorable reviews of other photographers. I recieve aprox. 30 comments in a 24 hour period on each photo I display. I do welcome the comments, but by no means should this be the criteria for the awards. I want candid, hardcore judgement on what the pros think is a good photo. It is very subjective but a good tool to improve one's work. Having the members select is POLITICS.... In the US, I am up to my eye balls with POLITICS!!!
Again, the Judges are Pros... They are unbiased and qualified to make the right choices!!!!! (most of the times... lol!!!)


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8/15/2007 1:45:01 PM

 
David A. Bliss   I stopped reading at Steven, so forgive me if I repeat anything.

Steven, people have just as much a right to voice the opposite opinion. Yes, you should be able to tell BP wait you would like to see different, but I have just as much right to disagree with you, which is also giving BP my opinion.

I have stuck with BP because it is NOT a popular vote contest. I don't even enter into the contests that often. This month I have entered probably triple the amount I have ever entered before, and it is only 7 total. There are many months I enter nothing at all.

I spent way too much time on another site that was a popularity contest, instead of a talent contest. Those that spent the most time in the forums, or the most time commenting on others work tended to be the ones who had the most popular work.

I would become a lot less interested in BP if it moved in that direction.

If we want to shave off contest entries, then we should limit the number of entries. I don't see why anyone would need to enter 30 pictures a month anyway. Of course, it doesn't really matter to me, I don't have a problem with waiting a few extra days or even weeks to see the winners posted.


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8/15/2007 2:01:55 PM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  I agree completely with Tina and others in that line of thought. BP already has a new feature for favorites. The judge pool comes from the instructors of the BP classes and not necessarily the same ones each month.


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8/15/2007 6:06:44 PM

 
Judyann Plante
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2005
  Personally, I would not participate in the contest if it were based on popularity. there have been many posts in the forum by members complaining about the positive comments made on photos they do not feel are up to par. Can you imagine if these were votes instead of just comments? One of the draws of the contest for me is the panel of judges. We may not always agree with their choices, but I believe it is a much better indicator of my improvement than a poularity contest would be.


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8/15/2007 6:33:40 PM

 
Revonda L. Gentry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/18/2005
  I like the way the contest is run. Like Judyann I would not participate either if it were based on popularity. I am on another site where pictures are won by popular vote and that is why I appreciate bp all the more!!


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8/15/2007 7:34:47 PM

 
Sherry K. Adkins
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/13/2006
Contact Sherry
Sherry's Gallery
sherry-adkins-photography.com
  This is an interesting thread, and while I appreciate that we can all voice our opinions,I want the judging to stay exactly like it is now. I agree with Judyann and was going to say the exact same thing, so I won't repeat her post. By having the judging done by the professionals and unbiased, we can rest assured that the images are not selected by popular vote, but by it's own merit. By striving to place in this contest, I have improved immensely, even having a Photo. degree. I have learned so much on this site and have enjoyed the interaction with everyone else. But if the voting went to members' votes instead of the professional judges, I would also leave this site. So while I applaud your bringing this up, Audrea, I respectfully disagree. If I have an image win, I want it to be because it caught the eye of a trained and experienced professional.


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8/15/2007 8:12:18 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery
  I was reading thru the thread..didn't realize it started in 2004. I think a People's Choice is really a popularity contest. Unless you have time to go thru the 25,00 images a month. Otherwise, you'll most likely be voting for a photo that's seen in your circle of friends. I like Tina's reply from 2004. Let's keep it the way it is!


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8/15/2007 8:55:56 PM

 
Sisterlisa B
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/21/2007
  I disagree with members voting. I used to participate on a site that did it that way and every time they had spammers skipping gorgeous photos just to vote for their 'friends' photo. Just not fair. I think it's much more honorable to receive a winner or finalist status from the Staff. Just seems more fair to me.


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8/16/2007 10:59:24 PM

 
Susan Fox
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/27/2006
  There already is a sort of members vote, It's called "BetterPhoto Member Favorite Photos". Check it out here:

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/favoritesAll.asp


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8/17/2007 6:39:42 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  "This idea may have been batted around before - but how about judging the monthly entries by popular vote of the members? (Each member could cast a "vote" for each of their favorites, number of votes for an image would decide winners, etc). This would lift the burden off of BP's small staff, maybe even boost membership revenues, and results would be available immediately. It would provide a great cross-section of opinions and it would tell us which of our images are marketable to a wide audience. Any thoughts?"

I would hate it. It would turn the contest into a popularity contest. I've been active in Yahoo groups where a member will say, "It's time to vote over at Shutterbugs, go vote for my pic" and give a link so everyone would go vote. How fair is that?


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8/17/2007 6:53:08 PM

 
Michael Skelton  . 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/16/2006
  Its nice to see that people have ideas that may make the site different and better. It what makes this site so great.

But as for members voting for the contest ,I just dont like it . First of all I think the judges do a wonderful job with the staff they have and should they need a larger staff for the contest I'm sure they would add people as needed.

Second looking at the awards handled out last month ,I dont see where anyone would have much arguement with who they were handed out too. The photos are beautiful and deserve their place. You can't judge any better then that.

Im sure some people may think some photos are better then others.As with the judges their opinions are also subjective. It just seems to me the contest is fairer with the outside concern judging then the members. It also would seem to have accomplished more winning that way.

I know I will be blasted for this idea , but why not just limit each catagory to 2 photos per person to cut back the load ,instead of 30-40 or more photos each month.


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8/18/2007 8:30:17 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Michael, at one time I would have blasted you for the nerve of suggesting limiting the entries but not anymore. Thirty or thirty-one is the limit but twenty a month would still be a good number.

BTW, I have my rotten tomato shield on :D.


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8/18/2007 7:56:59 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery
  I think the contest is the anchor, or drawing point, for many in BP (not all), especially new folks. If you limit to a couple of photos a month for the contest, I think interest will drop off considerably. Maybe 20's a good number. But, is 30 not working?


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8/18/2007 8:26:03 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  this thread is over 2 years old so I think they've been able to manage.


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8/18/2007 9:48:22 PM

 
KV Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2005
  Oh goodie, a popularity contest....


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8/19/2007 12:21:51 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I have to agree with Ken on the contest being the anchor and drawing point. Another site, which will remain nameless, that offers photography courses is dull as ditch water to anyone not interested in courses. This site does not even have basic photography information relevant to improving your technique unless the viewer is willing for pay $$ either monthly or for a course. Dull dull dull!

I can honestly say it does not matter to me how the contest is handled as far as the number of entries. I enter when I have time, comment when I have time and troll the Q&A when I have time. BP can probably manage the numerous entries better than I can at submitting every day.


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8/19/2007 1:01:59 PM

 
Audrea Telkamp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2004
  This is an idea that I threw out there 3 years ago. The thought of my idea turning BP into a popularity contest was enough to discourage most of those who responded - and that is ok. It was just an idea.

I don't believe the BP staff has ever complained about the number of entries, unless I have missed some announcement along the way. I only mentioned it as a side benefit of the idea - although I still can't imagine sorting through so many each month.

In the last 3 years I have learned to better utilize all that BP has to offer. We are able to build our respect for the judges and get feedback from them one-on-one through BP's online classes and by reading their countless publications. The instructors also have online galleries where we can study and learn from their images. As Sarah F. stated, there is the BP Member's Favorites Gallery, and as Gregory stated 3 years ago, there is still the discussion forum for feedback. There are also many other websites that allow members to vote for the contest picks if you are looking for that kind of feedback.

Many things have "bloomed" at BP in the last 3 years and things seem to be clipping along just fine.


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8/19/2007 6:42:45 PM

 
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