Re: New Rules for Critique

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by Tuna, Jun 23, 2005.

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  1. Tuna

    Tuna Supermodel

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    I originally responded to the thread for ccd333's latest image but have decided to start a new thread as to not hijack his.

    He was being harrased to play by the latest rules that require stating your intent when having taken a photo and posted it for critique. Also, equipment used, exposure info, etc. is also being requested. Apparently, those who are amiss are kicked out of Critique, as has happened to me.

    When photography is critiqued in any forum/media (other critique forums like this, Aperture, NY Times,...) is the photographer required to submit this information?

    I've been on this critique forum for years and have felt it to be a succesful one. To force photographers to slant critique by stating their intent seems a little skewed. I prefer to say nothing and let the image speak for itself. What caused this comfortable little place I used to visit to become so inhospitable and unfriendly?

    Anyways, I am forced to post in the General gallery where everyone seems to comment only on what they like and there is very little constructive criticism. On the other hand, I suppose you are glad to be rid of riff-raff like me.

    Tuna
     
  2. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    you have a good point. i think the reason that there is a new rule about posting your intent is that some have posted photos and shot down all critique by saying that the 'mistakes' in the photos were intentional, just to make them not feel as badly about their images (this might not be true, it's just what i thought of when they said that you are supposed to post your intent. i know i have been guilty of saying that i've done things on purpose so as to avoid certain criticism, although lately i'm trying to get as much in every critique as i can.) I think if an image is good enough, you should be able to see the intent the photographer had for the photo just by seeing the photo itself. Sometimes something might need an explanation, and if it does, then please explain your intentions. I'm not sure if it should be required though. Maybe we should have a debate about this, although i'm not sure which section it would go in, and it might turn bad, as many forum debates do. So it might not be such a great idea.
     
  3. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Tuna, I couldn't agree more! I was actually trying to decide what was the most appropriate forum to post a similar complaint. My idea of a critique is to merely post a pic and let the people decide - no words, no description, no settings, nothing. I can post my pictures along with my own critique of it and then get a couple of people say "yeah, I see what you mean", but what is the point in that? I know what I like and what I don't like before I post it.

    I am a fairly new member here but I check the site everyday. I have noticed that even if my pics don't illustrate it, I very definately think about the things that I have learned here before I hit the shutter, and I think that I have taken better pictures because of this forum (or maybe just become more selective and delete less :)).

    I really resent posting a pic, then telling what I like, dislike, and spitting out my own critique just to have someone parrot it back. I still state that this is only going to repress and deter others from posting things that others might enjoy. How many times have you (not you specifically Tuna) posted something that you thought was only average, and found that others really enjoyed it?

    I guess what I am asking is this... how many times have you gone into a museum and saw a work of art and then looked for the diseratation from the author/photographer/painter/artist to see what they thought when they made it in order to validate your own critique? I thought the point of an art was to put it out there and let others decide it's merit on its own rather than insert your own conjecture to color their opinion.

    just my .02
     
  4. Chase

    Chase I am now benign! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Alright, let me go ahead and jump in. Up until now, I was sort of waiting on the sidelines to get a feel for things, but it has reached the point where I want to get more directly involved and I believe I have a good grasp of both sides of the fence. That being, said, let's dive in.

    First of all, let me make sure the approach we've taken is understood. I believe most of you will agree that the critique forum was not being taken very seriously by the majority of members and we wanted to address that issue. There were far too many photos being posted where we believed the photographer was not all that interested in really being critiqued, so this was a problem the moderator team got together to discuss. We agreed that we needed to change the approach to promote more serious posts and more serious critique. The only way we believed this would happen is be setting forth rules/guidelines that narrowed the focus of the forum. I do believe that the quality of both photographs and critique has been much improved since this process was implemented. In general, do you all agree or disagree?

    Now, on to the issues. I understand your point of view regarding some of the guidelines - specifically, the requirement to post information along with your photo. We debated the guidelines quite a bit, but came to the conclusion that if a person wanted serious critique, it would not be asking too much to also require at least some information on the photo. Without some basic information, once again we are likely to see more simplistic comments such as: great shot, I don't like it, awesome, it sucks....etc. On the other hand, if the photographer says, "I liked the lighting, but I'm not sure about the shadows", I believe the responses are MUCH more likely to be constructive and informative.

    In general, I believe the forum has improved in many ways, and I believe many of you have noticed this change. I understand the frustration with the change, and I am open to more suggestions. The goal is to promote more serious interest in critique from the photographer and much more constructive criticism from the members. What would you do differently to be more "friendly" while helping to ensure we meet these standards?

    Thanks all! I'm happy we can have an open dialogue on this.
     
  5. Tuna

    Tuna Supermodel

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    Chase, I appreciate your response and willingness to have an open dialogue. I also admire your wanting to be more "friendly" while trying to set some standards that everyone (I assume you want everyones input...) can agree on.

    Meanwhile we've ejected the thread titled "Later Afternoon Light..." by elsapo where a critical discussion of the work posted had already started. What is the sense of that?

    I'm sorry to be blunt but that is not in any way "friendly". In fact, I believe it borders on intimidation and a complete unwillingness to accept the spirit of what this critique forum should be and has always been.

    I don't believe these Gestapo tactics are necessary. The only hard and fast rules you should be applying are possibly limiting the amount of posts per day and removing any off-topic or abusive posts. Every other guideline should be suggested - not forced down our throats.

    Tuna
     
  6. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Chase, I see your point, but as I said in my post, I think it is appropriate to merely post a picture and let the viewer go from there. I don't think these new guidelines are going to prevent either the viewer or the poster from putting up some sophomoric response. So what if I put up a crappy snapshot with all my settings and my intent... that is going to meet the guidelines, and still a poster may or may not meet the guidelines with their comments.

    I think the bottom line is that you can't force a poster to (a) post something that meets the guidelines nor (b) force a poster to post a critique that meets the guidelines. I'm not sure what the answer is here. I think the best critique you can give is to post a picture and let others post their gut reactions to it. As I said above, when you go to the museum, do you look for a notecard to see what the artist wanted you to think when you looked at the work, and if there was one, would that change your opinion? After you have received 6 or so posts, post your own reactions to it and what you thought when you took it. What were you happy or unhappy with in the exposure? Even though the internet is an anonymous medium, people still (for the most part) post things that go along with the majority and conform to others. I feel that if you require the original poster to (1) post their pic, (2) post their settings (3) their intent (4) what they are asking of you, the viewer/critiquer that would then sway the opinion. I'm sure that there are people who see an image and have an initial gut reaction to it, good or bad. However, after they have read 5 or 6 comments which may be contrary to their initial belief, tend to start seeing it in the eyes of the majority and therefore conform to the popular opinion. There are several posts that I thought were horrid or at best average, however, after reading the poster's initial comments, I thought "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

    I'm not speaking my mind very well tonight, but the bottom line is that I find this forum very helpful to force me take better pictures and put more thought behind it before I hit the shutter. You're never going to be able to enforce that in the forum, you're only going to build resentment which among other things results in people going elsewhere. Again, the other result is that others will simply not post at all, and in the end, isn't the point of this to see the best of what each poster has?
     
  7. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    I think that this area of the forum has made significant changes from what it used to be. It seems that the majority of the time there are better critiques and not as much wow's being posted here. I'm not sure if that is due to the fact that the "guidelines" have changed or not, but it seems that certain inviduals here have made that happen with their moderatorship.

    Maybe there could be a compromise here...for those that don't want to post their intent, or didn't really have one, just say it. Put "no intent" or "will post intent later" if you really feel that will detract the critique. But sometimes it helps to understand what the vision behind things are, and as for the technical data, I think it's a good thing to be posted. If you honestly want a critique and your shot is say overexposed, someone could use the data presented and tell you how to correct that. However without the data they may not know how to tell you the best way possible.

    I know that many posts have been moved, and it seems that typically a warning is given first, but it's a pain for one or two people to go through numerous posts and type "read the guidelines" in....so instead they are moved sometimes without others understanding. Not really sure how to solve this problem if the guidlines stay the same except for those of us that notice it to gently point it out so that the person knows next time.


    I would also like to say that Jon has done a wonderful job with improving this section of the forum. I've gotten much better critiques recently than I used to and I attibute part of that to him. He seems to have taken a lot of flack from going about his duties and I wanted to thank him for doing such a great job in the midst of confusion :)
     
  8. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys, for these comments. Believe me, there has been a lot of debate going on "behind the scenes" on how best to keep the forum - which has grown considerably in the year that Tuna first joined us - from becoming too unwieldly while we try to meet the various needs of all our members. :)

    I'll repeat something I've said earlier about the critique forum - which is, I think this forum is, overall, an extremely comfortable place to try to learn, as well as get helpful, meaningful critique.

    By setting these standards, all we're basically asking is that posters help us understand WHY they are seeking critique - be it for technical or aesthetic concerns about their image. That is the main gist of it. We are not trying to re-invent critique, or trying to be harsh when we move images, or invite slanted comments. For some posters, it may be a struggle to talk about their images, but for others - this is how they learn. :D
     
  9. tr0gd0o0r

    tr0gd0o0r TPF Noob!

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    I've read several posts so far mentioning photos and musuems and talking to the artist when looking at the photo. But on the other side of the coin, when was the last time you entered a museum and saw a solitary photograph with no context and no other work by the photog. Even if there is no verbal contexxt given, there tends to be a series or body of work or something that helps you interpret it. So I think a bit of background could be helpful. I.e. - this is part of a series about..... what do you think?

    On the other hand, I am also a big believer in letting a photograph speak for itself. And something Terri said in the post above me sounds like a great compromise. For the people who want to let their photograph speak for itself, there still should be some reason that you want input on the photograph. Otherwise it belongs in the gallery. Perhaps posters can suggest the type of critique they want from the forum. I.e. - I'm not too sure about the technicals of this one or how does this look to you guys.
     
  10. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

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    The whole purpose of this particular forum is to get advice and comments on your photograph. How well you met the intentions you had, how well you've done with what you've got. It all helps you to learn. The only way people can give proper useful feedback to you is if you give them something to work with. You can't throw up a photograph and ask people how good a job you've done if people don't know what the job was. That's the idea behind the guidelines. To give people as much information as you can so they know what they're talking about and can help you.

    If people post photographs and don't give any information they then leave the moderators one option and that is to move it to the forum whose purpose is to show off your photographs without getting critical feedback. They'll assume that you're happy with the photograph and don't want the feedback because you haven't given the users anything to work with.

    The comparison to a museum doesn't really hold up. Here you are conversing with the author and helping them. At a museum you are observing the work and deciding if you like it or not. So, the best forum for museum style feedback would be the forum where you post your photos for others to see, not the forum where you post to get critique.

    I'd also like to add that Chase is a strange one. He's probably the most open site owner I've seen and view this site as yours and not his (the nut job). So any feedback you give him will be read and stored in his brain. He won't ignore the suggestions and comments you give to him if you talk to him properly (like we're doing now). So... talk away.
     
  11. Rod-UK

    Rod-UK TPF Noob!

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    Having read the large number of views on this subject, all of which having a feel of rightness and validity, I thought to offer an alternative view, based on what I see as a commonsense view.

    My understanding is that CRITIQUE in the raison d'ĂȘtre that it is used on TPF falls into two main categories.

    (1) Aesthetic and (2) Technical

    Unless my understanding is too simplistic for some people, those who insist on multiple shades of grey, then perhaps a post can be submitted to the critique for comment on either its Aesthetic value, how artistic is the photo, are the colours balanced, is it pleasing to the eye, etc;

    or the Technical value, under or over exposed, has the DOF be used to good effect, use of the rule of thirds, etc.

    If technical, then information regarding the taking of the photo would be useful, and if aesthetic the technical information is probably unnecessary.




    ___________________________
     
  12. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    From my understanding, just posting a photo is probably asking a closed question: "You can't find anything wrong with this can you?" To which the answer will be yes, no or can't be bothered which I suppose is what prompted the mods to address the issue of not so good critiques.

    A simple direction of what kind of thing you were doing sets a context, a level and a starting point. Do you want to improve your composition, your message, your technical ability? All of the above? Nobody knows for sure from just a photo, and it's an unrealistic expectation to want people to second-guess what you're on about, why you want critique and then come up with something that you'll find palatable.

    Sometimes we miss when we take a picture - we knew what we meant, but nobody else does, so explaining your picture, your thoughts may be stating the obvious to you, but it may help other people correctly interpret your work. I think contextual critique (slanted?) is exactly what people want and that's why they need to describe what they were doing.

    Interesting thoughts from everyone.

    Rob
     
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