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Nikki McDonald
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2006
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Judging parameters for numbers of finalists


Can anyone tell me what basis is used to determine the number of finalists each month? Do the judges narrow the choices in a category to a certain percentage of the number of entries for that month or is the number arbitrary?
For December, for example, here are the "statistics": 687 total finalists; of those, a Grand Prize Winner, a 1st place in each category, and 10 2nd places in each category. The number of finalists by category ranged from 31 in Travel and Place to 100 in Animals. I did not note either the total number of entries or the number per category for December and I do not know how to find this information if it is still available on the site. I'm thinking that there are nearly 18-20,000 entries per month, of which about 3-5% are finalists (3-5% of each category as well as 3-5% of the total?). It looks to me as if it is statistically a lot easier to get a winner (but not a finalist) in the less popular categories?
Thank you for any insights you may have on this question.


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2/22/2007 2:43:34 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I don't think the number of finalists is arbitrary, but I don't think they go by an exact percentage either. I do think it's easier to get a finalist or win in a category with fewer entries. Maybe not a lot but some easier. You still have quite a few entries in the least entered category to compete against. The whole contest and judging process is a complete mystery to me and I have spent more than a few hours studying it ;)! I would love to be a fly on the wall of BP!


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2/22/2007 3:23:13 PM

 
Steve M. Harrington
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/28/2005
  Nikki, like you I was puzzled by the December results. For the first time I happened to record the total number of entries in each category as of 6pm. Dec. 31. (I'm not even sure why I did that. Time on my hands, I guess.} Anyway, the results are striking. Here are a few examples, listed in this order: category, total entries, number of finalists, and percentage of finalists:
Travel&Place 1,819/31 = 1.7%
Animals 2,968/101 = 3.4%
Digital Darkroom 1,607/96 = 6%
All others fell wihin the above extremes and there seemed to be no attempt at achieving a percentage of finalists in the categories.

I find the two extemes pretty hard to understand. And even more perplexing to me is some of the images that were finalists. In particular, I would judge that roughly one third of the finalists in Travel&Place did not fit in that category. I have read the definition of the category and a statement from Jim that the judges eliminate photos that do not fit within a category. Yet, in my opinion, that condition was ignored in December.

I want to be clear that I am not in any way questioning the quality of the finalists. There were some fine images acknowledged. I would, however, like to have a clearer understanding of how the contest works.


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2/22/2007 5:49:50 PM

 
Nikki McDonald
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2006
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  Thanks for these statistics, Steve. This is not at all what I expected :) I am also wondering if there are any guidelines for how many finalists and winners one BP member can have. I know that one person can have multiple finalists in a month. Can he also have several winners? More than one winner in a given category?


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2/23/2007 2:27:48 PM

 
John Caruso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2005
  All very interesting questions. I've often wondered about the statistics as well, but I've either been too lazy or too overwhelmed to do the fine work you did, Steve. I've resigned myself to just accepting that the process is done by magical gnomes, and that our world of big, hulking people is not fit to understand their mystical inner workings. LOL

I'll definitely keep an eye on this thread, as many of your questions, Nikki, mirror mine.


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2/23/2007 2:50:07 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  My guess, Nikki, would be..yes, a person could have a winner in several different categories. And, no to the last question, since there can be only one winner per category.
Unless, (bring up the lights, sound the trumpets, bang the gong), you consider us all winners cuz we're here at BP!!
Sorry, too much of the other stuff and not enough chocolate... :-)
Bob


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2/23/2007 7:22:46 PM

 
Nikki McDonald
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2006
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  By winner, I was including 2nd place picks. I wondered whether one person could get more than one 2nd place or both a 1st and a 2nd place in the same category. (Personally, I would consider getting a finalist as "winning" :) )


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2/23/2007 7:38:49 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I've gotten a 1st and a 2nd in the same month. I've seen members get up to 3 (I think) 2nd place wins in one month.


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2/23/2007 7:40:14 PM

 
Nikki McDonald
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/6/2006
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  Thanks, Sharon--and congratulations. That must be a real thrill. Did you have more than one 1st and/or 2nd place win in any single category or only one "win" in any given category?


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2/23/2007 7:47:13 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Thank you, Nikki! I get a thrill out of any win or POTD and I count finalists as wins too, but that month was definitely fun. I had the 1st place win in Special Effects and the 2nd place win was in Details & Macro. I don't think anyone can have more than one win in any given category.


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2/23/2007 7:55:44 PM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
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  I dunno... we'd have to go back and look say, at L. Saliba's, or S. Pindyath's wins---I recall months where they each had what seemed like MANY wins... but it could be cloudy memory (or, the memory of them making many Finalists that month, but perhaps fewer actual golds...?)


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2/24/2007 5:20:09 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Chris, there's been several that have had more than 2 wins, but I really don't think anyone can have more than one win in a particular category. If anyone finds one let me know. I don't mind being wrong ;)!


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2/24/2007 6:35:19 AM

 
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