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DPChallenge Forums >> Challenge Results >> Thoughts on lack of commenting, IMO
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02/07/2006 12:25:29 AM · #1
Just saw someone's post in another thread that said "Seems like no one wants to comment anymore." So I thought I may say something about the reasons for that - IMO!!!!

If you feel this belongs in rant, or it is TOO long, my regrets, I felt it fit better here, because we are talking about the amount of comments on challenges.

In my experiences here - though they have only been since last Aug but am closing in on 1000 comments - I have always (and hope always will) comment on ANY photo I give a 1 or 2, vast majority of time with a 3 vote I will comment, but admit I know I have missed some of those. This I feel I should do, and will continue to do so, though I have cut back on my commenting on others.

WHY? Let me try to explain. First off, I have ALWAYS tried to say what I see in the photo that I feel MAY be correctable. I always TRIED to say it in as nice a way as possible, though being human I may of been too terse sometimes, though I truly hope not. Now look at my comments made and those marked helpful. Fully 1/3 are NOT marked helpful, and that of course makes me think I am wasting about 1/3 of the time it takes to comment, and that is a LOT of time.

Secondly, I have received emails, private messages and replies here in the forums that, shall we say, are not nice. Some have attacked me personally - you need to see a doctor, you need glasses, couple of the milder ones - and there is NO reason for that, here or in any other venue. I have NEVER tried to hurt someone with what I comment on, NEVER attacked anyone personally and truly hope I never will. I admit MOST of those that said things like that have apologized, either in a forum or email, but there have been those that have never said they regretted attacking me personally and that of course leads me to not comment as much.

I also get those messages that say \"That was not xxxxx xxxx xxxxx, but was caused by YYYY YYYY YYYY!\" Well, that may be VERY true, but when I look at the picture, no matter what CAUSED the xxxxx xxxx xxxxx, that is what I saw. And if I saw it, am POSITIVE others did too, and that is PROBABLY why you are getting some lower votes. Point in case, I got a comment, \"Photo is xxxxx, sorry!\" That photo is NOT xxxxx, I guarantee that, but I now see where and why some voted it so low, because it can APPEAR that way to some. I marked the comment helpful, and it was, NOT because it was accurate to me, but it let me see THEIR point of view and let me try to understand it.

Lastly, I have also received \"retaliation\" comment, made after I had said someone\'s entry DNMC - which it did not, very obviously, and others made the same comment but after I had - and they posted a comment on one of my previous photos just to try to irritate me.

So, I guess I am saying I am cutting back because A) I do not need the sh.. from some, B) I am too thin skinned to be berated for what I honestly am doing to try to HELP, and C) I do not like to waste time commenting to those who obviously do not WANT my comments, and I have no way to know which one is which!

Also, in these forums I have seen many times quotes like \"I look at the commenters profile and if I think they are a great photographer I take what they say to heart, otherwise I ignore them\". Know that is probably not an exact quote, but close enough. If you read that, would that make you WANT to comment on any photo?? Do not think so. And - IMO, ONLY - it is a silly thing to say anyway. How many professional art critiques do you know of that are actually artists in their own right? Not many, I would wager. What someone sees in your photo is what they SEE, and if they are Ansel Adams reincarnated or myself, it should NOT matter which it is, we both would have seen whatever we commented on, and had taken the time and effort to try to convey to you (the photographer) what we saw!!

If any of you stop by my profile, please feel free to look at my comments and see if I am doing something to antagonize anyone, or upset them. If you see something, feel free to let me know either here or through emails - private messages, I promise I will do my best not to get upset. Also anyone want to give any critiques to ANY of my portfolio photos, PLEASE do, need all the help I can get. LOL Including an identification of that golden duck, as I cannot seem to pin that one down. Thanks in advance for any comments (LOL),

Jacque
02/07/2006 12:34:50 AM · #2
You comment from the heart. I comment from the heart. You do not hold back on what you feel. I don't either. Don't let small minded photographers bring you down.

I wish I had the energy to comment more than I have been lately. I used to be proud of the fact that I could maintain a 2 made for each 1 rec'd ratio. Lately that has slid. I even quit voting for a while. Not because of messages back from photogs but because of a lack of energy. I have another thread active now telling what I have done to change my lifestyle. In another couple of weeks I will be making a commitment to the DPC community to bring my ratio back to where I believe it should be. Photogs beware. I tell it like I see it. PM me if you don't like my comments. Tell me why I'm wrong! I enjoy that. Be small minded and rude in your PM's. Tell me I don't know anything about photography... But if I get one person saying 'you know what, I didn't see that till you pointed it out to me' for every 10 rude emails, it'll be worth it...

Message edited by author 2006-02-07 00:36:09.
02/07/2006 12:42:44 AM · #3
Please go on commenting.
Those who dont like it, it's their problem, not yours nor mine :p
02/07/2006 12:45:09 AM · #4
I think people aren't commenting for the same reason they're not voting... the voting/commenting pool is like 1,500 images, and that's just overwhelming. I'm hoping the commenting (and voting) will pick up again once the current pool of images shrinks down to something manageable.
02/07/2006 12:46:57 AM · #5
It's the old learning catch-22. those that most need help are least receptive to it, and those that least need it are most receptive.

I too try to comment on all pictures that I vote three or below. To be fair there aren't many. I really stuggle to find the words with these shots as in many cases I don't get why there were entered. Nonetheless I labour over the shot and try to put a positive spin on how it can be improved. Sadly I have found that the photographers of these shots are least appreciative.

If you want to up your 'found helpful' count than write comments for the best shots (those that least need help) as these photographers care and are actively trying to improve. No matter how helpful the content of your comment it won't make a difference if the recipient isn't interested.
02/07/2006 12:47:11 AM · #6
Originally posted by TooCool:


I wish I had the energy to comment more than I have been lately. I used to be proud of the fact that I could maintain a 2 made for each 1 rec'd ratio.


Right now I'm giving out 5 comments for every 1 I receive. Really that's more due to the lack of comments I receive than anything else. I wouldn't mind you or olddj providing some comments to my work. I have a thick skin so feel free to fire away. :)
02/07/2006 12:57:15 AM · #7
Originally posted by yanko:

I wouldn't mind you or olddj providing some comments to my work. I have a thick skin so feel free to fire away. :)


That reminds me, I've been thinking about starting a thread called "Destroy this image" where the sole purpose is to give ripping critiques: dispense with all the pleasantries - none of that "nice shot" or "great colors" - just list absolutely all the stuff wrong with the picture that you can think of.

and it remains just a thought, as I'm not too sure how that would go over.
02/07/2006 01:00:46 AM · #8
Originally posted by mycelium:

Originally posted by yanko:

I wouldn't mind you or olddj providing some comments to my work. I have a thick skin so feel free to fire away. :)


That reminds me, I've been thinking about starting a thread called "Destroy this image" where the sole purpose is to give ripping critiques: dispense with all the pleasantries - none of that "nice shot" or "great colors" - just list absolutely all the stuff wrong with the picture that you can think of.

and it remains just a thought, as I'm not too sure how that would go over.


I think that would be great. It would solict better and more honest comments. So long as the person submitting the photo is aware of the theme there shouldn't be a problem, I don't think.
02/07/2006 01:03:40 AM · #9
Yanko, left you a couple comments, hope they help you.

mycelium, I agree at this moment the amount of images to vote on and comment on is overwhelming, but I was talking about the overall feelings about commenting, not just at this time. I am SURE it will pick back up a little, just not sure HOW much!

Jacque
02/07/2006 01:08:40 AM · #10
Originally posted by olddj:

Yanko, left you a couple comments, hope they help you.


Thanks!
02/07/2006 01:36:44 AM · #11
I managed to become a favourite photographer without showing any photo :-). Of course, I guess it came from the comments I gave and I thank m for (I hope) appreciating what I write.

I understand DPC to be a learning site, and my attitude is that by commenting I improve myself. If someone else wants to go along in improvement with me, then they're more than welcome. But, I also know that there are some people who never ever want to grow up.
Jacque, please keep on commenting, because I learn from that.

I have a suggestion for DPC site managers: how about adding a new feature to comments, something like "this comment was found helpful/not helpful by 123 DPC members"? This could go in parallel with the "photographer found comment helpful". Or, would that be too crazy?
02/07/2006 03:51:50 AM · #12
Much of what is said above is true, but stopping commenting, imho, is not the way to solve the problem.

I've only been participating in DPC since the end of Sept last year (am waiting for my membership to go through right now). I've entered 10 challenges to date and received - wait for it - just 53 comments total.

In response, my comments given total is 447 - a ratio of 8:1. But commenting isn't a tit for tat thing, or at least shouldn't be.

And, although I would wish for more, I understand why my comment total is low My entries sit bang in the middle of the pack - stuck in the 4.5 to 5.5 range along with usually a 100 or more others. I rarely comment on photos I vote in this range - I just don't have time to do them all justice, so hardly comment on any of them. I guess I'm suffering the same fate.

Nonetheless I like to comment on images that appeal to me, to question when I'm not sure about a technique, and as with others, struggle to add constructive critiscism for those images I vote at the lower end of the scale. I will continue to do this in the future - and hope that my photography skills improve enough to put my entries into the 6 - 8 points range where others may feel more motivated to comment.

With regard to the 'was comment helpful' box - I only tick this where a commentator has specifically taken the time to add advice, not simply for those comments saying , 'nice photo', 'made me smile' etc.

Perhaps there needs to be an additional tick box...

'Thanks, I'm glad you liked my photo'.

02/07/2006 05:47:19 AM · #13
Originally posted by temba:

With regard to the 'was comment helpful' box - I only tick this where a commentator has specifically taken the time to add advice, not simply for those comments saying , 'nice photo', 'made me smile' etc.

Perhaps there needs to be an additional tick box...

'Thanks, I'm glad you liked my photo'.

This comment highlights an eternal DPC problem: the simple comment box is used for so many diverse functions, not all of which are agreed upon by the membership.

Personally, I always tick the 'helpful' box even when I absolutely hate the comment. This is my way of keeping up-to-date with which comments I've read or not. I don't like doing it, though, but at the moment, there's no other way.
02/07/2006 06:06:49 AM · #14
Though you will get very useful comments at times most will provide little help to become a better photographer.

If you want to get better seek a trusted and knowledgible mentor to learn from. Read about photographic techniques and conciously practice them in challeges. Look at the top finishers and ask yourself, "What makes them so good?" and try that out.

Comment observations:

1-First and foremost, every person that votes on your image is making the most important comment of all... they give it a score. That tells you far more about your image than the vast majority of word comments.

2-For the most part comments you DO get are of little or no actual value for improving your photography.

3-Most comments you get are made by people who know little more about photography than you.

4-You can and will get contradictory comments. The wise photographer must learn to separate the good from the bad.

Your score is your most important comment. It tells you that your image lacks widespread appeal with a general audience. That can be for an infinite variety of reasons, many of which may have little or nothing to do with photography.

There is plenty of talk about the need for more comments or that comments be required in such-and-such circumstances. Truth is all you would get are more low-value comments.

Message edited by author 2006-02-07 06:11:07.
02/07/2006 06:08:09 AM · #15
Jacque - keep commenting! I'm one of those "middle range" folks who never gets very many comments, so I LOVE it if someone actually takes the time to say "mediocre subject, average post processing, but if you had done THIS.." or something like that. I even like the "nice shot!" because hopefully it means someone saw what I did, even if the majority didn't.

Right now my ratio of comments given to comments received is about 10 to 1 or so. I try to provide something constructive where appropriate and so far haven't been "abused" as you have. And remember, the "delete" key is a wonderful tool.... just delete those rude PMs and move on to the next one. I've been known to thank commenters with PMs, but don't know how well that's received. I've also received a few thanks on the comments I've provided.

Besides, if you keep commenting, eventually you'll get to one of mine. :-)
02/07/2006 08:09:15 AM · #16
I disagree about the score being the most important comment. Scores can be high or low for many reasons and it only reflects the response of the group in that given challenge against other images in that given challenge. Take the image out of context (that particular challenge) and you might receive a completely different reaction to it. This is why comments are so valuable.

Lack of comments lets you know that the image was technically okay and met the challenge in the most basic way but didn't move people as much as other images in the challenge.

Lots of negative comments means it either did not meet challenge or had a glaring technical flaw or people did not like the subject matter. The comments will tell you which one.

Positive comments with a midrange score often tell you that an image has appeal for a smaller audience. It is not the typical image that does well at DPC but it in no way means your image sucks. Its probably not a WOW! image that is so popular here, but rather a more subtle, emotive piece or has editing outside the 'norm' or it is a subject with more directed appeal.

Lots of positive comments lets you know you have a general appeal image that is perceived as WOW! by many of the voters. You nailed the challenge topic, pulled it off technically, and are well received by the vast majority of the voters.

Score is relative to a given challenge and the images within the challenge. It is influenced by editing technique of the day, and by events both inside and outside DPC. Don't take it as the last word on the image itself but rather as a gauge of how well you pleased the group at large in a given topic on a given week. Everything could change tomorrow, which is what keeps us all coming back.

02/07/2006 08:18:14 AM · #17
You nailed it Courtenay. ;^)
02/07/2006 08:19:55 AM · #18
Hey Jacque, I agree 100% with your post.
I used to comment quite a bit, sometimes on all entries in a challenge. And it does **** me off when people don't seem to appreciate it.
But then, when I look back at my comments, most people do seem to be thankful and it does seem to be a narrowminded arrogant defensive minority who don't make it worthwhile.
If I comment on a lot of photos in a challenge again, I'll probably be a bag head.
02/07/2006 08:36:05 AM · #19
Originally posted by dahkota:

I disagree about the score being the most important comment.

Nobody begs for constructive comments on their images that score high, only those that score lower than expected.

Doesn't that imply score is the most important comment? :) ;)
02/07/2006 09:37:14 AM · #20
Originally posted by stdavidson:

Originally posted by dahkota:

I disagree about the score being the most important comment.

Nobody begs for constructive comments on their images that score high, only those that score lower than expected.

Doesn't that imply score is the most important comment? :) ;)


No. When you enter a challenge, you don't know what your image is going to score. You only hope for the best. Also, look through any current challenge threads - scores all over the place but everyone asking for more comments. After the challenge is over high scores usually don't ask but they sometimes do.

Also, people in general here are number crazy. What was your score? How many votes? How many views? How many comments? It is assumed that more is better.

Score is a comment but, in my opinion, only one of however many you get. Its value is relative to the moment, to the challenge topic, and to the other images in the challenge. It does not necessarily have any relation to the photo itself outside of that context.

A photo of a dog may score lousy in a wildlife challenge and win a pet portrait challenge. The score of the image is relative to the challenge. To use a score as the absolute value of an image does disservice. However, the comments received sometimes let you know how the image impacted people. What they actually liked or didn't like which often has nothing to do with the challenge at hand. Much more valuable in my opinion.
02/07/2006 09:39:35 AM · #21
stdavidson - Absolutely NO!! If an image scores high, two things almost always are represented, one is the majority of people liked the image, that is by definition a given, otherwise it would not have scored high, and in itself is a comment, that I agree with. Also there will be lots of comments, at least almost all the time, on any high scoring image. Just go through and look at the ribbon winners and see the amount of comments on them!

Low scoring images - say under 5, not bad images for the most part, will rarely have very many comments and leave the photographer wondering "what is wrong with this photo?". Commenting on THEM is the only way - at least sometimes - for the photographer to see for themselves what others see, and did not like, about a photograph. Hence, the comments for the higher scores may not be anywhere near as important as the comments on the lower half of the photos. And of course, the lower half has less comments almost every time.

Wanted to clear one thing up, other than the "personification" challenge, I do NOT give out many ones or twos, my guess would be since that challenge, maybe a total of four ones or twos. Vast majority of my comments are aimed for the middle, though I freely admit I also comment on the high end photos because they say something to me.

Jacque
02/07/2006 09:46:52 AM · #22
olddj, I think that you're misreading stdavidson's comment.

He didn't say that scores were the only comment, only that they were the most important. I agree.

02/07/2006 09:55:28 AM · #23
I think Courtenay (dahkota) and Steve (stdavidson) make valid observations. I lean more toward the POV that Courtenay takes.

However, to make a fair assessment of where each person stands I think it is important to read the full post that Courtenay and Steve have made. Taking one line from a multi-paragraph statement can distort the original context.
02/07/2006 10:11:23 AM · #24
Koriyama - do not think I was misreading at all, was just trying to point out that comments made by people actually trying to help are much more important than any score they give, because the lower half of the challenge will ALWAYS want to know WHY they are in the lower half, the subject matter, a bad crop, bad focus, not sharp enough, etc etc etc - while the upper half usual KNOWS they do not have any MAJOR detractions that the photographer missed. To just vote a score takes little or no thought, to leave a comment that tries to help ALWAYS takes extra time and effort, therefor to my way of thinking HAS to be more important. Just my opinion, I know!! LOL

Jacque
02/07/2006 10:16:57 AM · #25
Originally posted by dahkota:

Originally posted by stdavidson:

Originally posted by dahkota:

I disagree about the score being the most important comment.

Nobody begs for constructive comments on their images that score high, only those that score lower than expected.

Doesn't that imply score is the most important comment? :) ;)


No. ...


Dakota, olddj...

OK, uncle... uncle... I give... please don't hit me again. :)

It is just an opinion. I, for one, am appreciative of all the very nice comments I've received on my photographs but it is rare that a comment results in changes and improvements. And it is not because I don't need it, I do.

I believe my experience is the norm. I believe comments are overvalued as a means for constructive improvements to your imagery. That is why I suggested alternative, more fruitful means toward that goal.

Addendum:
Review your own comments and ask yourself this, "How useful are my comments?" I found most of mine are not the helpful variety yet thought I was above average on the number and quality of constructive comments I leave.

Message edited by author 2006-02-07 10:43:03.
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