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05/24/2004 09:43:11 AM · #1
I am probably not the right person to be writing this because my average vote cast is 6.4, but....

I have a lot of free time here at work and an intense desire to become a good photographer, so I spend a lot of time looking at pictures on this site. I love reading the comments and I really like to look at the portfolios/profiles of the people who leave comments. The first thing I look for is average vote cast. It amazes me how many voters have averages under 5. I know there are some really bad photos out here, but to have an average under 5 is pretty bad in my opinion. What is even more amazing to me is the people with lower averages usually fall into one of these categories:

1. They have never entered a challenge
2. They have no photos in their portfolio or just a few from challenges they have entered and done poorly in.
3. Judging by their picture, they are older (not intended to offend, just what I've noticed)
4. They have never done well in challenges.

There are exceptions, of course, but this is what I have found. I don't think it's quite fair to be so critical of other people's photos when your aren't brave enough to let others see your work. I know people have all the right in the world to vote how they want, but it still bothers me.

I have also found that a lot of the top rated photographers seem to rate other photos pretty high. Of the 15 top photographers on this site only 3 of them average under 5 and a few are above 6. I think this seems to show that people who really enjoy photography and really excel at it have more of an open mind as to what others are trying to express through their photos. Simply put, they have an open mind when viewing each individual picture.

I hope I didn't offend any of you low voters out there, but I just wanted to see what others thought. If you vote low, please tell me why... I am curious to know.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
05/24/2004 10:40:31 AM · #2
I vote low and often times think I am being too harsh in my judgements, however, I don't vote on a curve. I have an absolute standard against which I measure images. I rarely give a 10 which are flawless shots, but I also rarely (don't think ever...) give a 1 which are, in my opinion, hopelessly unredeemable. You would think then, that if I am voting 2-9 that over time, I should still reach a standard bell curve distribution centered around a 5, but I still come in under that. I chalk it up to there being more people looking to improve their skills (myself included) than those who are well accomplished and so that would skew things to the lower side of the scale.

Though I don't have a problem with your method of voting the same question could be asked of you - why do you think that your standard vote is signifcantly better than average?

Dave
05/24/2004 10:57:40 AM · #3
I've looked into this myself and come up with the following conclusion:

If mean guy is giving out 4's to average photos and nice guy is giving out 6's to average photos, then great photos get 8's from mean guy and 10's from nice guy. As long as both guys are being consistent in thier voting - the best submissions will win.

Since there's no way of judging consistency by looking a profile, I just hope for the best :) Generally speaking, I usually agree with the masses ... but there is always at least one shot which I think should have won and ended up in 16th place.

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05/24/2004 11:06:11 AM · #4
I vote my own set of fixed criteria, and I am averaging about a 4.63. I do tend to grade on a curve for a challenge, but I don't enforce a normal distribution. However, to me 4 is an "average" photo that meets the challenge. So by my own criteria, 5 is above average (though for the most part that doesn't appear to be reflected in the site statistics.)

It would be interesting to show a histogram of peoples cumulative scoring in their profile. I was surprised the other day to see a couple of people, with many votes in their profile, showing that they had averaged in the very low 3's in the scores they gave! I presume these are the people we see giving out many 1's and 2's, which is their right of course, but often I see these and they seem undeserved.
05/24/2004 11:14:44 AM · #5
toddhead--
I can't argue with your data but am not sure I agree with your conclusions. Wouldn't having an Avg Vote Cast over 6 be just as "bad", to use your word, as having one under 5?

An element in voting which, much as we would prefer, can't be totally eliminated, is the idea that you are scoring your own opponents; in your mind you are comparing the entries you are voting on to the score your entry is getting and you say, perhaps only semi-conscienously, "this isn't better than mine and I'm only getting 4.7 so this is a 4". Also, consider that this may apply less to the higher scoring photogs, who may already have ribboned, and don't feel the competitive pressure quite as much.

And of course there are some voters who intentionally vote others low to make themselves look better by comparison, can't be avoided.

There is a heavy "human nature" element in voting here. It would be a lot more objectionable if we were giving out more valuable prizes.

Also, some of the people who have been here for a while recognize that the tastes of the voters tend toward the "popular" as opposed to being strictly quality oriented. They haven chosen not to play to the masses, and thus they have a lower Avg Vote Received than they possibly could have. I didn't understand this type of thinking when I first got here but may be heading in that direction after about ten months of observing how things work around here. Often I feel that the ribbon wining photos just don't appeal to me even if done well.


BTW, nice job. They doing any hiring there?
05/24/2004 11:19:52 AM · #6
A truly average vote cast would be 5.5; many folks subconsciously think of "average" as 5.0 though. Since we vote on an integer scale, this makes sense.
I find that my average is between the two, probably for this reason.
05/24/2004 11:24:59 AM · #7
Thanks for mentioning my photo ! :-)

Folks with high vote averages usually pick through the tumbnails and vote only good ones or 20 % and get 6 or more averages !
There is no way if you vote on 300 + photos in open challenge where 200 or more are just a training snapshots you will get above 5.0 !

No way !!!

Message edited by author 2004-05-24 11:28:17.
05/24/2004 12:08:59 PM · #8
Very interesting topic. I'm new here and have voted on three challenges so far. I think I voted a bit too high and am thinking of shifting the curve down a bit to give myself more leeway in singling out the very top shots. In future I plan to give very few 10 scores and less 9s and 8s and more 2s and 3s to allow for a wider range. The first few challenges I was learning. It was helpful to get a display of all of my votes together at the end of my voting. This helped me to better sort out my votes. I changed some of my votes when I saw the other images I'd given the same value. I'm sure I'll do more of this when I vote again on the unusual viewpoint challenge. It's all new to me but I'm having a good time. I'm so glad I found this site. Ann
05/24/2004 12:20:06 PM · #9
Originally posted by pitsaman:

Thanks for mentioning my photo ! :-)

Folks with high vote averages usually pick through the tumbnails and vote only good ones or 20 % and get 6 or more averages !
There is no way if you vote on 300 + photos in open challenge where 200 or more are just a training snapshots you will get above 5.0 !

No way !!!


Absolutely right! I always vote on ALL the photos and there is NO way that your average can be above 5. If I picked and chose to vote only on the pics I like my average would be 8.
05/24/2004 12:27:44 PM · #10
I don't pick out photos to vote on, and my average vote cast is 5.4. I completely agree that it is the not-so-good photographers on the whole who give out very low votes. Of course, this all works out in the end, but it is interesting to examine the mindset of these photographers. It is almost like a defensive mechanism, maybe they get so many negative comments which feel very harsh, so they become harsh back with other people's photos. It is interesting that many photographers who score low cannot take criticism, and will only see what is good about their photo, and what is bad about other people's.
05/24/2004 12:38:22 PM · #11
I once heard an actor explain why he liked playing bad guys. He asked the interviewer to scowl convincingly, then to look love struck just as well. He found it easier to look bad than good. So he prefered playing bad guys.
To take a perfect picture everything has to go right. To take a picture that would be worthy of a brown ribbon quite a few things have to go wrong, but not eveything is needed. Point is it is a lot easier to take a bad picture than it is to take a good one.
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I try to vote on every photo and comment on my favorites and my least favorites, balancing some praise and criticismI find there are more tens than ones, but alot more fours than sixes. For a while I worried that I looked mean for averaging so low and thought about only voting on the better shots to get my average up a bit, but desided that If I vote mean and comment nicely then it might balance out.
05/24/2004 01:11:05 PM · #12
I am one of the older newbies who vote under 5 average, and don't do all that well myself. However, I was very disturbed with myself when I actually started trying to UP the scores I was giving, even when I didn't fully believe in them, for this very reason. Some part of me didn't want people to see that my average score was lower than average and think I am just out to shoot people down who are better than me. The opposite is true: My shots are sometimes great to me in that they occasionally make me think I have a chance at being good someday, but objectively, I usually agree with my average score and can live with whatever "taste" accounts for also. I want me and all the rest of us to keep working towards those 6 - 10 scores, but many of us are here to learn, and we just aren't there yet. It is meaningless when everyone is judged above average -- then what's average? And I also score each and every entry to avoid just my top 20 or bottom 20. Just my two-cents-worth.
05/24/2004 01:16:22 PM · #13
My voting average is running a little under 5 and my scoring average is a bit over 5. As I am a registered user and not yet a member, I can't vote on member challenges. If I could, I have a feeling my average score would be higher. Perhaps some members don't often vote on the open challenges and that is why they have higher averages?

My philosophy for voting is that an average shot that meets the challenge will get a 5 from me. Photos lose points for not meeting the challenge, having technical faults (focus, exposure, etc.) or being generally dull and uninteresting. 1's are rare for me, but occasionally a photo will earn one. 2's and 3's are more common but I still don't give that many (they all get comments from me). On the flip side, I have never given a 9 or a 10 in any of my voting. The member challenges usually have a small number of photos that would get a 9 from me and every once in awhile, a 10 comes along. 7's and 8's are reserved for very good photos that have few or no technical faults, an interesting subject and a unique persepctive on the challenge topic.
05/24/2004 01:24:55 PM · #14
Originally posted by sailracer_98:


On the flip side, I have never given a 9 or a 10 in any of my voting.


really? ... have you ever seen a photo anywhere on the net deserving of a 10? I would like to see that photo (if there is one)
05/24/2004 01:35:53 PM · #15
Originally posted by nshapiro:

However, to me 4 is an "average" photo that meets the challenge. So by my own criteria, 5 is above average (though for the most part that doesn't appear to be reflected in the site statistics.)


how does this work? fuzzy on the math here...

(i think i tend to upgrade votes when i have the time to go through a challenge's entries more than once and with these huge challenges, i've had trouble doing this...frequently, after a challenge is done, i find there are one or two shots that i wish i looked at again and reconsidered.)
05/24/2004 01:42:42 PM · #16
I have a high average vote cast (above 6.0). That's because I tend to give "average" shots a 6, and work from there. Also, I don't have any fancy specific voting decrement process that I use to arrive at someone's vote - I just look at the picture as a whole, and decide if everything works together. Do I like it more than average? Then maybe 7 or 8. Do I hate it, or something? Maybe 3 or 4. Is it a super close-up macro of a bug? 10. Etc...
05/24/2004 01:46:19 PM · #17
Originally posted by StevePax:

Is it a super close-up macro of a bug? 10. Etc...


LOL!!!
05/24/2004 01:49:54 PM · #18
Puts me in mind of a scene from " This is Spinal Tap" where the dials on the amplifiers have been adjusted to go to 11 because " eleven is bigger than ten, you see?"

I though on amplifiers "ten" was supposed to be "loudest" and that in school "C" is supposed to be "Average", and here using the 1 to 10 scale "5" is supposed to be "Average". Of course at Stanford the average grade is an A minus, so there is no reason 7 or 4 shouldn't be an average score here.
05/24/2004 01:52:54 PM · #19
I'm fairly new here, and the first thing I noticed is the low voting numbers. Some of the challenge winners have average votes in the 7's or even 6's! I look at it like gymnastics: Everyone scores relatively low on the scale, and only mere decimals separate the field. So what I wonder is whether people look at their own average score for the current challenge, and vote for their peers accordingly. Remember, DPchallenge is, after all, a competition. For example, if my picture for Habits is averaging 6, then while I'm voting I might be scoring others a 5. I personally make an effort to NOT do this but the rationale has certainly crossed my mind as an explanation to the low voting scale. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just glad to be learning and snapping shots that I normally wouldn't take for these challanges :)
05/24/2004 01:53:09 PM · #20
I generally vote on 80 to 100% of the photos in a given challenge. There have been a few where I haven't reached my goal, but for the most part I get there. I have given out a few 1's and 2's, but the lowest I usually go is a 3. If the photo isn't that great, but I can tell someone actually put some effort into the photo then I normally give a 5. I think photographers have a great sense of pride in what they do and what they are trying to say in their pictures, so I don't feel it's right to give a low score just because I don't understand what they are trying to portray or what they thought was good about the photo. If a photo is bad because of technical reasons or I think they just rushed a shot to get it in the challenge I tend to rate lower than 5. I also rate lower if the photo obviuosly doesn't meet the challenge.

I should have phrased what I said earlier about having an average under 5 is "bad". It's not bad, it's just surprising to me. I didn't want to offend anyone with my post and it seems like I haven't, but I just want to clarify that I don't think it is necessarily bad to have a average under 5.

05/24/2004 02:00:51 PM · #21
Originally posted by coolhar:

toddhead--
Also, some of the people who have been here for a while recognize that the tastes of the voters tend toward the "popular" as opposed to being strictly quality oriented. They haven chosen not to play to the masses, and thus they have a lower Avg Vote Received than they possibly could have. I didn't understand this type of thinking when I first got here but may be heading in that direction after about ten months of observing how things work around here. Often I feel that the ribbon wining photos just don't appeal to me even if done well.


I think this explains, at least for me, both why I have a voting average below 5 and why I don't do so well in these challenges. My view of aesthetics is simply different -- not better, not worse, than the view most commonly represented here. Usually the winning photos are very impressive, but I always ask myself -- if that person had a simple camera like mine (Cannon A60), would they have done as well? Is the way they see the world unique? Is their photography unique in some way for me? So no, you can't just generalize that those with low voting scores simply don't know anything about photography, just as you can't say that those with higher voting scores know more...it just means that their views are more in synch with the majority in this site. Not better, not worse. Just different.
05/24/2004 02:44:46 PM · #22
My average vote cast is 3.44.

Dsa157 and coolhar (below or above, depending on your list order) have already articulated my views on the matter very well. I do cast a fair number of 1s, 2s and 3s. Do I give any 7s, 8s and 10s? Yes, but considerably less. I rarely award 9s and 10s, because, to me, these are ranks reserved for outstanding photos, not just good or likable ones.

I am also quite certain that my voting differs distinctly from that of many, when I award 7s, 8s, 9s and even 10s to some images which received extremely mediocre marks from the crowd. My idea of a great photograph, apparently, is not the popular take. When I do come across photos which, to my senses, clearly show promise in a credibly artistic direction, are transporting or otherwise display an energy I can feel and recognize, you may find my voting more generous than anyone's.

When a photo (to me) stands out in this way, I may choose foster it, particularly against a predictable low popular score, and award it with the highest score.

When I have to compare a Stieglitz, a ManRay with, say, a Beguin, a grigirgirl and an overexposed out-of-focus image of a mass-produced gift shop item with a rainbow for a frame or a suggestive image of a semi-nude female lacking any expression, character or other human trace but her commercilized cliché of a form, when I have to choose critically from these, a scale of 1 - 100 would be more to my liking.

Message edited by author 2004-05-24 14:47:06.
05/24/2004 02:55:52 PM · #23
Originally posted by zeuszen:

My average vote cast is 3.44.

Dsa157 and coolhar (below or above, depending on your list order) have already articulated my views on the matter very well. I do cast a fair number of 1s, 2s and 3s. Do I give any 7s, 8s and 10s? Yes, but considerably less. I rarely award 9s and 10s, because, to me, these are ranks reserved for outstanding photos, not just good or likable ones.

I am also quite certain that my voting differs distinctly from that of many, when I award 7s, 8s, 9s and even 10s to some images which received extremely mediocre marks from the crowd. My idea of a great photograph, apparently, is not the popular take. When I do come across photos which, to my senses, clearly show promise in a credibly artistic direction, are transporting or otherwise display an energy I can feel and recognize, you may find my voting more generous than anyone's.

When a photo (to me) stands out in this way, I may choose foster it, particularly against a predictable low popular score, and award it with the highest score.

When I have to compare a Stieglitz, a ManRay with, say, a Beguin, a grigirgirl and an overexposed out-of-focus image of a mass-produced gift shop item with a rainbow for a frame or a suggestive image of a semi-nude female lacking any expression, character or other human trace but her commercilized cliché of a form, when I have to choose critically from these, a scale of 1 - 100 would be more to my liking.


The voting process for you must be about as much fun as cleaning the hair out of the shower drain :) Any challenge where the winning shots were only in the 6's by majority standards must have reduced you to tears.
05/24/2004 03:05:44 PM · #24
Originally posted by hopper:

Originally posted by sailracer_98:


On the flip side, I have never given a 9 or a 10 in any of my voting.


really? ... have you ever seen a photo anywhere on the net deserving of a 10? I would like to see that photo (if there is one)


I didn't say I had never seen a photo that didn't deserve a ten. In the challenges I have voted on I haven't seen any. There are some on this site that would probably have earned a 10 from me such as:
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or
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05/24/2004 03:11:43 PM · #25
fair enough ... i say vote anyway you wish, just do it consistently :)

Originally posted by sailracer_98:

Originally posted by hopper:

Originally posted by sailracer_98:


On the flip side, I have never given a 9 or a 10 in any of my voting.


really? ... have you ever seen a photo anywhere on the net deserving of a 10? I would like to see that photo (if there is one)


I didn't say I had never seen a photo that didn't deserve a ten. In the challenges I have voted on I haven't seen any. There are some on this site that would probably have earned a 10 from me such as:
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or
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