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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> I've been waiting all week to do this.
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08/22/2006 04:42:35 PM · #1
Originally posted by karmabreeze:


In the spirit of learning, for god's sake, critique. Justify your votes!


Hi, another one I didn't vote on since I knew it was yours, but here are my thoughts on your image.

I don't have time to read all the comments that other people wrote here figure it's better I take a look at it myself anyway. My guess for why it didn't do very well would be the background. Partially the de-saturation- that combined with the blur does strange things to the perspective of the shot for me- like the background looks like a mural on a flat wall behind the girl with the snowball. The selection is also a bit fuzzy. It's really tough to select something out of an image and keep it sharp- oi, I do this several times a year at work with stock images we use for large exhibit displays and it's painstaking work to get it right- I do it manually by creating and zooming way in and painting on a new alpha layer to create a selection, I've found that so far none of the selection tools in PS compare... though maybe someone here might have some better tips/tricks.

Another guess for the lower votes might be the whole "snap shot" thing. I know even you mentioned when I joined here that voters tend to like studio-type set up shots. hmmm... trying to think of anything else... maybe the crop? It's a little tight vertically and crouches in a little on the top of her head and on the hem of her shirt. And lastly, maybe they would have liked it better if it was a just a close up of a big 'ol flame, lol...

So, that's all I have. Hope it helps, if not, no worry. I'm still learning what works here and what doesn't:)
08/21/2006 07:59:22 PM · #2
Originally posted by deapee:

Weren't you just begging people to buy you a jar of peanut butter like 2 ir 3 months ago because you couldn't afford it, but 'all these people can afford nice cameras and vacations' -- but then didn't you *just* purchase that Nikon camera? I find it hard to believe that 3 months ago you were starving and in your livejournal you said that you weren't eating because you couldn't afford it, asking people to buy you peanut butter and saying how you're a starving artist and you *might* be forced to get a 'real job', but then you're out buying a new camera.


I asked a question, you unjustly attack my voting average, and now you're inferring that I'm an irresponsible liar? What does this have to do with anything?

Not that I owe my life story to people who accuse me of lying or irresponsibility or anything of that sort, but since I'm being painted as a total crazy today, I feel the need to defend myself at least this little bit against the slander.

I've had this camera for nearly three years, bought in massively better times. I don't think you can even buy it new anymore, but last I checked the going rate was around $200. The lenses are new, but I put them on a credit card and at $100 they collectively cost less than your average trip to the grocery store. And since those cards aren't paid off I'm still paying interest on them. Hum.

I have a "real job", standard 8-5, working at a bank, a career I've had for the last seven years. In fact, I start school tomorrow on a second bachelors' degree in Finance. Going back to school has actually improved my financial situation a little, since it allows me to defer my existing student loan payment and all the classes are being done on loans which I don't have to repay until I graduate - read: I don't have to worry about them any time in the immediate future. May, when the panicked post to which you refer was made, was and always is utterly crazy, and adjusting to a restricted income didn't help matters (since I was laid off from a night job in February and May was about the time that the reserves dried up) but now things have settled down, partly because it's not May anymore and partly because I've stepped down from panic mode. I was about an inch away from asking Mom and Dad for money for the first time in four years last week when my student loan check arrived just in the nick of time.

I am never anything but honest, and I wholly resent any implication to the contrary.

Thank you to everyone who (a) actually answered my question and (b) was willing to see my debate as good-natured, even in its frustration. I'm rather finished with this.

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 20:02:21.
08/21/2006 07:46:21 PM · #3
I'm going to firmly remind EVERYONE to keep posts civil and leave out the personal attacks. Don't call each other out, and refrain from name-calling. mmmkay? Good.
08/21/2006 01:46:22 PM · #4
Originally posted by karmabreeze:

Originally posted by deapee:

Originally posted by karmabreeze:

I would have voted it an 8 on my scale...


So you're saying, with your average vote cast of 5.2 that you really think that if you randomly came across that photo in a challenge, that you would have voted that nearly 3 entire steps up from average and only two steps away from an entirely perfect photo? I find it hard to believe.

You just need to step back because you asked for feedback, you got it, but you're still arguing how your shot deserves higher placement and belittling other people (like the third place winner) because their entries don't 'fit the challenge' in your mind.

In all honesty, I think you're being selfish and stuborn. Just learn from this and move on. But while you're in the process, really step back and ask yourself (and only answer to yourself) what you would give that photograph if you stumbled upon it randomly in a challenge.


Oh, I was just waiting for someone to throw that at me. Figures it would be the resident humorless hothead. Try reading the post directly above yours. Knowing your abrasive manner I'm sure you did not and will not, so here's a quote: "You've misinterpreted me. I would have voted it an 8 on my scale, but the score I figured it would wind up at was actually 5.8-6.0 and I was okay with that. My scale is mine and I don't expect anyone else to vote according to it. My prediction on what people would vote for Fire was clearly faulty, but I don't expect anyone to use my methods."

In any other challenge it would have been a 6, tops. But my scale is often very much affected by the creativity (or in this case, the lack thereof) of the field as a whole. Yes, you read that right, I judge a photo against its peers. Oh noes! *rolling eyes very very very dramatically*

Yes, I would have scored it an 8 if I had randomly stumbled across it in a challenge. I believe I said that earlier, but you didn't bother to read the thread. I'm actually quite good at predicting what my photos will score, and what I would score them more often than not is very close to where they wind up. That tells me my scale isn't so skewed as you would so conveniently argue.

By the way, congratulations on confusing "disagreement" and "difference of opinion" with "argument". Go head, pick another fight! Bring it on! C'mon! I'm ready! :P


uhm...you're name-calling and are obviously the one that's getting hot-headed here by coming right out and telling me you are ready to fight. I don't want to fight with you, but since you brought it up and started the personal attacks...

Weren't you just begging people to buy you a jar of peanut butter like 2 ir 3 months ago because you couldn't afford it, but 'all these people can afford nice cameras and vacations' -- but then didn't you *just* purchase that Nikon camera? I find it hard to believe that 3 months ago you were starving and in your livejournal you said that you weren't eating because you couldn't afford it, asking people to buy you peanut butter and saying how you're a starving artist and you *might* be forced to get a 'real job', but then you're out buying a new camera.

Like I probably said on page one, page two, and maybe page three...live with the score, learn from it, be open to feedback and you will go places...otherwise, you're just opening up a can of worms.

I've said it once and I'll say it again...the photo isn't interesting. It lacks composition, creativity, and it just looks cheap and not well thought out. good luck though.
08/21/2006 01:08:05 PM · #5
Originally posted by karmabreeze:



That's great and fine and it's your way. My interpretation of this site is that it's never just a technical challenge. A good photo can be perfectly boring. The technicals can be spot on but the vision can remain utterly uninspired. I take that into account, and the number of like shots in any challenge speaks to how innovative or visionary a concept may be. That is definitely part of any photo's individual merit. For my part, I take the most obvious concepts and refuse to shoot them. If it's the first thing that came to mind, it's also the first thing that came to mind for at least a dozen others.


There are lots of ways to look at what you just said. I see what you are saying....you try to be creative, find ways to shoot that appeal to you and may be out of what is common. That is a good idea! Over time this will allow you to develop your ideas...don't stop.

HOWEVER...I must disagree with a premise that seems to be alluded to here. That common shots are less than uncommon. I don't agree. Photography, at it's essence, is communication. If the "common" perspective of a given subject communicates clearly and strongly..then it may very well be the best. That is why you find common techniques...they are effective ways to communicate. Failure to communicate emotion and ideas is I think the biggest failure of a photograph.

Still...for new photographers, they must experiment and explore and sometimes that means more strikeouts than homeruns. But keep swinging and swinging hard is imperative.

Originally posted by karmabreeze:

For those who are hellbent on burning me at the stake for voting as I do, I commented on every single photo. I even posted my vote distribution in the scores thread - you're welcome to go find it. Hell, I'll quote a score on any photo you like. In most cases it won't be so far off from the final score that it should raise a single eyebrow.


I don't think anyone is trying to burn you. But..if we are being honest here..this site is more competition than anything else. Sure we all want feedback and stuff...but most people are looking for validation here in addition to feedback. People will look at your scores given and see that..on average..you are a tough voter. I am too....But then again..I am tough on myself and think I am probably overinflated in my scores. I usually vote about 40% of the photos here a 4...about 30% a 5..20% a 6 and the rest 7 and up...

I rate most of my stuff a 5...............so you are not so tough afterall!

Originally posted by karmabreeze:

And I'm not trashing De Sousa's shot (I gave it an 8) but that shot came immediately to mind when someone up a bit suggested that the fire wasn't prominent enough or big enough or enough of a subject. In that case it's not my voting strategy that should be coming into question as it's wholly irrelevant, but that of a premise that appears to be inconsistently applied. I am not surprised by it, but can't resist pointing it out in the hopes that a stronger line of reasoning might emerge.


De Sousas fire photo is powerful one of the most powerful I have ever seen on this site. I commented as much. In my opinion one of the most powerful depicitions of fire in the challenge. The beauty of it is there is no flame..it is all implied by colors, props, etc. Genius!! Goes right back to what I said earlier. Photography is communication if nothing else. He who communicates best..wins.

Originally posted by karmabreeze:

Blah. This has become tedious.


Hardly! If people don't challenge each other here and quit being so politically correct all the time..how can people feel anything? I never understood how people could be in an artistic medium like photograpy and NOT expect emotional challenges from others..it's natural.

Keep up the thinking and speaking out! It helps everyone!

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 13:08:53.
08/21/2006 12:40:13 PM · #6
Originally posted by awpollard:

I do not look at each shot and think to myself this is more creative than the last shot, this is a better representation of.... I try to get into the photogs head and see what they are trying to tell me.


That's great and fine and it's your way. My interpretation of this site is that it's never just a technical challenge. A good photo can be perfectly boring. The technicals can be spot on but the vision can remain utterly uninspired. I take that into account, and the number of like shots in any challenge speaks to how innovative or visionary a concept may be. That is definitely part of any photo's individual merit. For my part, I take the most obvious concepts and refuse to shoot them. If it's the first thing that came to mind, it's also the first thing that came to mind for at least a dozen others.

For those who are hellbent on burning me at the stake for voting as I do, I commented on every single photo. I even posted my vote distribution in the scores thread - you're welcome to go find it. Hell, I'll quote a score on any photo you like. In most cases it won't be so far off from the final score that it should raise a single eyebrow.

And I'm not trashing De Sousa's shot (I gave it an 8) but that shot came immediately to mind when someone up a bit suggested that the fire wasn't prominent enough or big enough or enough of a subject. In that case it's not my voting strategy that should be coming into question as it's wholly irrelevant, but that of a premise that appears to be inconsistently applied. I am not surprised by it, but can't resist pointing it out in the hopes that a stronger line of reasoning might emerge.

Blah. This has become tedious.

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 12:41:06.
08/21/2006 11:56:23 AM · #7
Great post, Skip :-)

R.
08/21/2006 11:54:14 AM · #8
aw, this has just gone on long enough to suck me in.

becky, you don't understand your score? well, read this thread from one of the PJ shooters on this site...frustrated?

frankly, i don't care if anyone doesn't like their scores, especially if their score is lower than what they typically give.

as for your shot, yeah, it might look good in the girl scout newsletter, but even as a pj shot, it is still not much more than a snapshot. if you want to shoot pj, ya gotta get in there. you just can't stand back and not get in the way. the job of the pj is to get the shots, not to record snapshots. if i had been shooting that, i would have had my camera about 2 inches away from that flame, with the snowball dominating the image, and her face in the background. it still might not have scored well here, but, all the same, it would have been a much more dynamic shot, kinda like this low-scorer
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yeah, did i wish it had scored higher? sure. but did i whine, complain, moan about it...no. what's the point? it's a shot that i liked that didn't connect with the voters. so what. it just doesn't matter.

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 11:54:57.
08/21/2006 11:20:57 AM · #9
It almost appears that you believe that we voters, vote and place shots on how they did against each other in any given challenge. For me, I don't always have to have a best and worst in each challenge (the masses decide that).

I believe there are many like me that vote on the merit of the photo by itself.

For me comparisons are true only of the top (and bottom) spots once I have rated each shot on it's own merit against the challenge description.

I do not look at each shot and think to myself this is more creative than the last shot, this is a better representation of.... I try to get into the photogs head and see what they are trying to tell me.

When I vote, average shots end up in the middle of the pack, and at best get a quick glance as I do the final pass... It is my top picks and bottom picks that I want to make sure I get absolutely right.

It has been stated already journalism is a tough gig around here. I throw one out ever so often just because but I also understand that it will end up in the middle of the pack (4-5).

Personally I believe (hometown) Journalism is fun to shot and will only get one recognition in their local paper, but fluff could land that magazine ad/cover that will score the money.

I myself am torn between the Love or Money aspect of Photography... and the Money side keeps picking away at my pea brain saying You really need to go somewhere with this...

Just my thoughts

BTW: There are always lame shots (opinion) in every challenge but I found it is not my place to tear an entire challenge apart because my shot did not fair so well.


08/21/2006 10:26:53 AM · #10
Originally posted by karmabreeze:



I also really don't understand this prevailing mentality that just because something looks found rather than staged then it MUST be a shoehorn or is somehow devalued. I actually went up the mountain that morning knowing fire was going to be a part of the camp and looking forward to it as I knew I had a Fire challenge to shoot for - nothing unintentional there at all. But as others have said, DPC seems to devalue anything that wouldn't sell in stock, and as much as people seem to talk about photojournalism, very few seem to appeciate it very much.


NOW YOU ARE GETTING THE IDEA!!

Seriously, this is one of the main reasons I would like to see challenges more specific to certain photographic genre.

Photojournalistic style is entirely different from a lot of the prepared photos we see every challenge. Take a look at the big trouble that photogapher got into for photoshopping a bit of smoke in a photo from Lebanon.

But in photojournal style it places demands on you to get the shot or miss it....no 200 takes to reposition lighting, have the model tilt their head slightly, etc, etc.....

There are just not enough challenges here that are designed to encourage photojournalistic style photography OVER a set-up, which is too bad.
08/21/2006 09:59:03 AM · #11
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08/21/2006 09:50:03 AM · #12
Originally posted by deapee:

Originally posted by karmabreeze:

I would have voted it an 8 on my scale...


So you're saying, with your average vote cast of 5.2 that you really think that if you randomly came across that photo in a challenge, that you would have voted that nearly 3 entire steps up from average and only two steps away from an entirely perfect photo? I find it hard to believe.

You just need to step back because you asked for feedback, you got it, but you're still arguing how your shot deserves higher placement and belittling other people (like the third place winner) because their entries don't 'fit the challenge' in your mind.

In all honesty, I think you're being selfish and stuborn. Just learn from this and move on. But while you're in the process, really step back and ask yourself (and only answer to yourself) what you would give that photograph if you stumbled upon it randomly in a challenge.


Oh, I was just waiting for someone to throw that at me. Figures it would be the resident humorless hothead. Try reading the post directly above yours. Knowing your abrasive manner I'm sure you did not and will not, so here's a quote: "You've misinterpreted me. I would have voted it an 8 on my scale, but the score I figured it would wind up at was actually 5.8-6.0 and I was okay with that. My scale is mine and I don't expect anyone else to vote according to it. My prediction on what people would vote for Fire was clearly faulty, but I don't expect anyone to use my methods."

In any other challenge it would have been a 6, tops. But my scale is often very much affected by the creativity (or in this case, the lack thereof) of the field as a whole. Yes, you read that right, I judge a photo against its peers. Oh noes! *rolling eyes very very very dramatically*

Yes, I would have scored it an 8 if I had randomly stumbled across it in a challenge. I believe I said that earlier, but you didn't bother to read the thread. I'm actually quite good at predicting what my photos will score, and what I would score them more often than not is very close to where they wind up. That tells me my scale isn't so skewed as you would so conveniently argue.

By the way, congratulations on confusing "disagreement" and "difference of opinion" with "argument". Go head, pick another fight! Bring it on! C'mon! I'm ready! :P

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 09:58:08.
08/21/2006 09:38:11 AM · #13
Not a member so I couldn't vote on this challenge, but I'd say your photo just does not have enough fire in it. The girl is clearly the subject in the photo, not the fire.
08/21/2006 09:36:50 AM · #14
I did give you a 7 but I'm a high scoreer by nature. I do believe I offered some criticism as well though. I really did not like the people in the background at all not only because they distracted me but also because the masking really showed up on them. you can see the difference between where it is and isnt neat imaged or guassian blurred between the arm of the girl in color and the jeans on the girl behind her.
08/21/2006 09:28:13 AM · #15
Originally posted by karmabreeze:

I would have voted it an 8 on my scale...


So you're saying, with your average vote cast of 5.2 that you really think that if you randomly came across that photo in a challenge, that you would have voted that nearly 3 entire steps up from average and only two steps away from an entirely perfect photo? I find it hard to believe.

You just need to step back because you asked for feedback, you got it, but you're still arguing how your shot deserves higher placement and belittling other people (like the third place winner) because their entries don't 'fit the challenge' in your mind.

In all honesty, I think you're being selfish and stuborn. Just learn from this and move on. But while you're in the process, really step back and ask yourself (and only answer to yourself) what you would give that photograph if you stumbled upon it randomly in a challenge.
08/21/2006 09:15:05 AM · #16
Originally posted by mk:

I think any type of post processing works when it's not noticed. (Or works better, at least.)


This is possibly the most valuable and to the point thing said in this thread. But what if it's not meant to be subtle? It seems to me one thing to say, "I can tell you you've post-processed this and that wasn't what you intended, and therefore it doesn't work" and "the pp couldn't be more obvious than if I were smacked in the face with a cast iron skillet, it was clearly an intended visual effect". But overall, this statement is probably the only thing that will stick with me after this thread has died.

Originally posted by L2:

First, the amount of fire that was in that shot doesn't even take up 10% of the frame. For me, it would have missed the challenge because I'd suspect the photo was taken for something else, and just shoe-horned in the challenge because "Oh, it has fire in it."


The third place image has the suggestion of fire but no fire at all. It isn't even the subject. And yet...

I also really don't understand this prevailing mentality that just because something looks found rather than staged then it MUST be a shoehorn or is somehow devalued. I actually went up the mountain that morning knowing fire was going to be a part of the camp and looking forward to it as I knew I had a Fire challenge to shoot for - nothing unintentional there at all. But as others have said, DPC seems to devalue anything that wouldn't sell in stock, and as much as people seem to talk about photojournalism, very few seem to appeciate it very much.

Originally posted by Artyste:

Of course, if all you wanted to hear is "Oh, we're sorry, you're right, it is indeed an 8, I must have been blind"..


You've misinterpreted me. I would have voted it an 8 on my scale, but the score I figured it would wind up at was actually 5.8-6.0 and I was okay with that. My scale is mine and I don't expect anyone else to vote according to it. My prediction on what people would vote for Fire was clearly faulty, but I don't expect anyone to use my methods.

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 09:18:13.
08/21/2006 08:15:00 AM · #17
I think we have all had shots that we thought should have been voted higher. If shooting stock has taught me anything, itís that we need to accept other people's criticism with thick skin. Karma, donít take it personally. Youíre results this week are not a criticism of your abilities as a photographer.
08/21/2006 07:05:14 AM · #18
Originally posted by faidoi:

Originally posted by mk:



My point was that selective desaturation is frequently used in situations where a shallow DOF would have been preferred but wasn't executed for whatever reason. For me, simply desaturating the background doesn't solve the problem of a distracting background. It's true that overall, I am not a fan of selective desaturation. There's nothing wrong with that, it's my personal opinion and I'm entitled to it. I see very few instances where it actually seems to work with the photo and isn't used as a gimmick or a crutch. This is one of the rare images where I felt it did work very well.


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Haha, cute tongue. In this posted image selective desaturation wasn't use to "declutter" the background; to the contrary, this image maintains its clutter (which seems considerably less than the background in the OP's image to start with) and selective desat was used to bring out a major element that runs through the whole image (greater than a small piece of the image that the firey snowball takes up in the OP's image).
08/21/2006 06:53:50 AM · #19
Originally posted by Artyste:

Originally posted by karmabreeze:



I like spectacular myself. And yet, I had to dig way down to 38th place before I found a single disembodied flame when ordered by my vote. All of my picks did something original and managed a good photo of it at the same time. And that was what made a spectacular photo in this challenge. In my opinion.


Your problem is that you wish the voters to conform to you, instead of you conforming to the voters. It's a common mistake. It's not going to happen. You will, eventually, decide to either:

A) Start submitting photographs that appeal to the masses in order to get the scores you crave

B) Decide that scores don't really matter and just submit what you like, get that small exposure for your work, and work on bettering yourself apart from DPC

or...

C) Eventually get so pissed off that nobody understands you and your work that you quit in a forum drama huff.. either to eventually come back a changed person (sometimes).. or never be heard from again.

It's your call, really, but the truth of the matter is.. Images here get scored where they generally deserve to get scored as pertains to DPC and the mob that are the voters. Every once in a while, threads get started to celebrate images that might have been overlooked, but it never changes anything.. and it never will.


what he said. (impressively stated)

It's a shot of a cool experience and I'm sure someone trying to promote these types of experiences would be interested (like the reference to a brochure for the Scouts) but to someone who wasn't at the event and doesn't expect to ever need to be at such an event it just isn't a compelling image. Remember, it doesn't matter to the voters what you had to go through to get the shot, it doesn't matter who you met at the event or where it was held or how much the event mattered to you. All that matters to the voters is did you capture a compelling, "spectacular" (thanks Bear) image that they connect with; not one that "they could connect with if only they . . . ." If the viewers on DPC don't feel sucked into the bright, shiny image it just isn't going to get a high score (and fall back on Artyste's comments here).
08/21/2006 04:50:31 AM · #20
Fine... I'll give you an incomplete. I'm tired also.
08/21/2006 04:47:33 AM · #21
Originally posted by yanko:

A shallow DOF is quite noticeable right? It works because it's noticeable, right? So to get a better understanding of where you are coming from an "effect" done in camera (like shallow DOF, bokeh, etc) can "work" when noticeable but an effect done in photoshop should always be unnoticeable? Is that basically where you are coming from?

ETA: Sorry about the hijacking of this thread but I blame mk for that. :P


I wouldn't say "always" in either case. There are no real absolutes in photography, I don't think. And I'm not sure I'd especially say that a shallow DOF is "quite noticeable." I think it's less noticeable than a painfully busy background. What I'm saying is that when I, personally (me, myself, I, not you or anyone else or another photographer or someone's mom) look at a photo, I prefer to be thinking about what the photo is about, not what the processing is. In Karmabreeze's entry, for example, since this is her thread, when I look at it, I'm thinking more about the selective desat than I am about the actual intended subject matter.

Is my quiz almost over? I'm getting sleepy.
08/21/2006 04:40:42 AM · #22
A shallow DOF is quite noticeable right? It works because it's noticeable, right? So to get a better understanding of where you are coming from an "effect" done in camera (like shallow DOF, bokeh, etc) can "work" when noticeable but an effect done in photoshop should always be unnoticeable? Is that basically where you are coming from?

ETA: Sorry about the hijacking of this thread but I blame mk for that. :P

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 04:42:42.
08/21/2006 04:37:48 AM · #23
I think any type of post processing works when it's not noticed. (Or works better, at least.) We shouldn't be looking at the photo and thinking about what was done in photoshop, we should be seeing the photo. I can't really comment on what the shot would look like with no desat because I don't know.
08/21/2006 04:33:19 AM · #24
Ok so selective desaturation works when it's not noticed? Would it be noticed if it was missing entirely in the photo? I guess what I'm getting at is the selective desaturation actually "working" in that photo or is it really just not getting in the way of it's greatness?

Message edited by author 2006-08-21 04:34:03.
08/21/2006 04:26:37 AM · #25
I'm not upset at all. I think you're either misunderstanding or purposely contorting what I'm saying is all. I'm not sure that I can put into words why I think Soni's picture works. Because when I look at it, I'm not thinking SELECTIVE DESATURATION SELECTIVE DESATURATION like I so frequently do with many of that type of shot. It's subtle. It works with the overall composition. It doesn't appear to be used to make up for lacking technicals. It emphasizes the subject and not the technique. Just my opinion (and given the score, that of a few others as well).
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