View Full Version : How to encourage critiques?
I'm interested in hearing members' thoughts on the deterrents to critiquing and how to overcome them and encourage more critiques on this site. I leave a lot of critiques on this site, and have benefitted from the critiques I have received here. Based on my own experience, critiquing is a great learning process that makes you look deeply at a photo and go beyond "good" or "bad" to see the underlying elements that make it that way. Perhaps those who leave very many or very few critiques could comment on what influences them. Is it the structure of the site's critique system? Is it shyness? Apathy? Do things like TrekEarth's "gold star" critiquer rating encourage you? What are your comments?
I think it's a good site. I like the idea of a travel photography forum, as that is what I specialize in. I think if you generate more traffic, you'll generate more interest. Keep it simple though. I find some of the photography forums to be too cluttered.
Right, I think if the active user-base increases, it will be more useful and interesting for everyone. I do plan on keeping this site simple and convenient to browse. If anyone has any suggestions on how to increase the number of thoughtful critiques, please let me know and I'll try to incorporate them into the site. Also, I'd be interested in any ideas on how to increase the user-base.
11-13-2002, 05:00 PM
I agree the critiques are useful for the reasons you state. Since I like receiving critiques, I give them as well. I try to concentrate on other critiquers and not spend my limited time critiquing people who don't bother to participate.
One way to encourage participation is, rather than allow 3 uploads a day, is to have people earn uploads by adding critiques. For example, you could allow 1 free upload per day, then one additional (up to some limit) for each critique the users adds that day.
There are 2 potential issues with tying uploads to critiques. One is that there are not enough uploads to begin with right now, so I wouldn't want to discourage them anymore. Secondly, I wouldn't want to encourage people to leave unuseful critiques. I can just imagine people adding a few 'nice shot' critiques just so they could add some more photos.
11-15-2002, 06:19 PM
This is sort of tangentially related to the topic here.. I'm a new member and just uploaded my first few pictures (from the Netherlands) and I encourage you all to critique them. :) Will upload more, from elsewhere, over the weekend.
Nice photos. I've left a couple of critiques for you. The best way to get critiques is to give critiques by the way.
11-15-2002, 09:13 PM
Point taken. I intend to start critiquing. My issue is, I feel like I don't really know enough to give useful critiques. Not on technical merits of a photo anyway. I think this might be one of the biggest issues in getting more critiques on the site.
Well, we're all here to learn, and writing critiques is part of the learning process as well. People don't have to necessarily agree with critiques they receive, but if a photo moves you in a certain way, or you like the composition or colors etc, then you know enough to give a critque.
After I read some of <a href="http://www.trekearth.com/critiques.php?filter=sam">Sam Willard's</a> amazing critiques I don't think I'm really qualified to write critiques, but I do so anyway because I think we all have something to add. And by writing critiques, I feel this will help me become a better photographer in the future.
11-19-2002, 08:56 AM
I posted a few (~6) critiques yesterday and today, none have appeared.
I assume that I wasn't that far off base....
I'm not sure why your critiques did not get updated. They need to be greater than 10 characters and you have to choose one of the 3 face icons before clicking the 'Update' button. There should be a warning message displayed if there is some kind of problem.
11-19-2002, 09:12 AM
OK, understand now. I didn't do the 'smiley face' thing...
I didn't see any warning sign - maybe just not observant? How about a 'finish/abort' trap to catch us non-compliers? I did write a bit about a few, not looking forward to redoing.
There will be a red message, 'No rating selected.' listed right below the 'Add Critique' section.
Sorry about that problem. After you write a critique it will be immediately viewable so you can check to see whether it's working ok.
11-19-2002, 08:39 PM
I'm new here and perhaps it's a little too early to be critical, or maybe the observations of a newcomer...
Anyway, I don't care for the 'rating' part of the forum. I'd rather not get into which is the 'best' picture based on points. I'd rather post my shots, look at other's pictures, and read criticisms of both. By criticisms I mean "how might this picture be improved?"
If you want to continue the ratings, that's certainly your decision. How about an indication of how many critiques each picture has received along with the 'points' and 'posted' data? Faced with many pictures and little time sometimes I'd like to spend a few minutes reading and learning.
I agree with you that the point system is somewhat arbitrary and not really important. The main reason I do this is to have some kind of automated mechanism for displaying higher rated photos on the front page etc. I personally don't really pay attention to which photo is highest rated.
I'm thinking about having a page to display 'Latest Critiques'. This would make it much easier to browse those photos with new critiques etc. What do people think about this? Worthwhile?
11-19-2002, 10:54 PM
OK, I can see why you would want some sort of a point system. What about a single click "This is a great photo!" button. Make it optional, not a requirement. Use it to choose great shots but don't display the score on the front page.
I'd rather have the number of critiques displayed so that I can go quickly to photos where I'm likely to learn something.
Another idea. 'Before' and 'After' versions of photos. For example, you spotted my sloppy crop on the napping man. I'd like to be able to take the criticism(s) made of my photos, work on them as much as possible, and post the changed version without wiping out the original post. Perhaps have other people work on the photo and post their version.
I've downloaded a few shots from other people and played with them in PSE. It would be fun to be able to stick up my version and see what the photographer has to say with my edit.
"What about a single click "This is a great photo!" button. Make it optional, not a requirement. Use it to choose great shots but don't display the score on the front page."
This is something I almost certainly will implement in the future. I am waiting for the right time to do this. (there are other issues I will be addressing at the same time, that is why I'm holding off a while.)
"Another idea. 'Before' and 'After' versions of photos."
This idea I really like a lot and have been pondering it in my head for a while now. People would view the final 'version' and there would be some kind of link on that page pointing to earlier versions where they can see the progression of changes made etc. I am going to try to implement this this week.
"I've downloaded a few shots from other people and played with them in PSE. It would be fun to be able to stick up my version and see what the photographer has to say with my edit."
For copyright reasons, it will only be possible to re-post your own photos for the time being. I may add to this functionality later on though.
11-19-2002, 11:05 PM
Sorry, don't think I adequately replied to your last paragraph.
I can see the usefulness of a page that lists photos/links by most recent critique. I'd like something like a color change for those photo names/links that have been updated since my last visit.
Worthwhile? This would greatly improve the site for me. I'm looking as this site as a place to learn. There are some very good shots here and some very good reviews. I like the idea of a community of travelers rather than 'shots of the Tyler family reunion', 'my daughter in her tutu'....
11-20-2002, 04:48 AM
"For copyright reasons, it will only be possible to re-post your own photos for the time being. I may add to this functionality later on though."
Seems like one could choose to let others play with their photos for purposes of this web site without giving up copyright. Just set a toggle "Playing OK/Not".
After I get done with this multi-version control (which is a GREAT idea), I will start adding in a page for 'New' stuff.
"I like the idea of a community of travelers rather than 'shots of the Tyler family reunion', 'my daughter in her tutu'...."
Yes, this is definitely my thinking as well. My other main idea for this site is the notion of travel or location-based photos. This is very important to me as I am always interested where exactly photos were taken etc.
I'd also like this to be useful for travelers who are about to go on a trip to a country or specific area in a country. They would be able to come here and browse photos from the exact area they will visit. Or they can browse these photos after they come back from their trip to compare and contrast their own photos.
Right, this makes sense to me. First I need to get the basics down and then I can work on this.
11-20-2002, 06:17 AM
There are a lot of things I like about this site.
I like the front page that presents me new stuff when I visit, I like the overall 'look' - pleases my eye, like the combination of photography/critiques/travel.
I do find it difficult to keep up with the exchanges in the discussion. Right now I have to open several to see if they're new or if I've read them.
I visit several sites (Dpreview, Luminous Landscape, Amateur Photography and some other photo sites for photography; Lonely Planet, Rough Guides for travel; and a couple of non-photo/travel sites.
Of all I like the organization of Dpreview the most. I can click and get a single page of all the forums and an indication as to whether any new posts have been made in that forum since I last visited.
I can click on a forum that interests me and be presented with the topics in order of most recent post, tell which posts I haven't read, etc.
Are you familiar with that layout? (BTW, run by another Englishman....)
"Are you familiar with that layout? (BTW, run by another Englishman....)"
I have been using DPReview since '99 (I still have my bookmark set to Askey.net!). It's definitely the best out there.
I will definitely rework the forums so the 'new' icons get displayed. I also want to get threads working so they get indented properly. Right now participation/viewership is quite low so this isn't a huge problem. I hope there will be a bigger user-base in the future which will make things more interesting for everyone.
For now I will be working on this multi-version posting feature which is a bit complicated.
11-21-2002, 06:16 PM
Adam, even though i don't know much about photography i have begun writing critiques since that seems to be the point of this site. The only suggestion i can make is that you may want to consider having an option for an anonymous critique for people who may be shy, and not want their name attached to their criticism/praise.
11-21-2002, 06:58 PM
i didnt notice that you already can post anonymously.
Right, it hasn't been used so far. If you try it out, please let me know if you find any problems. Thanks!
Although I would keep it as an option, I would discourage anonymous critiques. If someone has the ability to write the critique in the first place, they should be able to take credit for it.
Those who are shy should remember that this site is for helping people to improve as photographers. Giving critiques is part of becoming a better photographer too. Just as we don't expect every photo to be perfect, every critique need not be perfect either. The point is to contribute effort and work towards improvement. Writing a critique, however basic, and taking credit for it, is the first step. Your critiques will improve over time, just like your photography.
Easy answer - the recipient of the critique mustmark the critique as "Useful" before it counts toward upload credit.
Marking a critique useful is painless, it's just a single-click.
On a completely unrelated subject: I appreciate this site, that it's free, and doesn't seem to be full of annoying banners, floaters and popups.
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