Utopia of Critique Forum

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by elsaspet, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    In Terri's post on another thread, she mentioned that we might come up with some ideas on how to make a Critique forum work around here. (And that they had been listening to ideas)
    So, I want to restate how I'd like to see one work. (And I hope others have ideas to ponder as well) Hopefully if we can come up with a workable consensus, we can have not only a Critique Section again, but a Critique section that is welcoming and workable.

    Keep in mind, this is in no way my brainchild. This is something I have seen on a few other forums, and it seems to work remarkably well. If it weren't bad manners, I put in a link to show just how well it works.

    The other Critique Forums I am referring to are set up like this:

    1. A person can only put up a photo for review once a day/or once a week. In a forum this size maybe even every two weeks. This way the poster takes great care in what he or she chooses to use that review on.

    2. The review is made by a panel of working professional photographers,( or sometimes retired) who know the limitations of any said job, or processes. The panels usually comprise of different kinds of professionals on the same panel: Commercial, Portrait, Landscape, Editors, Wedding, Pets, Lighting, etc. That way there is a well rounded review of each photo. There is usually an actual "judge" on the panel as well, who can score photos as they would be scored in contests for those who are interested.
    (And it's also very interesting how all these people normally agree on the aspects of photos given their wide range of personal experiences)

    3. The poster is normal not allowed to "make excuses" on the photo. The panel makes the review, and the poster can comment only to relay their thanks for the review, or to pose a specific question if they are unsure of something. (This also takes away from the fireworks that can urrupt. The poster goes in with full knowledge of the policy, and they agree to the terms or they do not.)

    If a posters wishes to give feedback, or would like a broader scope of critique, they simply post in the normal galleries, as critique is given there as well whether they like it or not.
    The actual critique forum then becomes a more elavated, more professional, and in my opinon a more helpful learning tool.

    I know the rest of you have ideas too, and I hope you share.
     
  2. jols

    jols TPF Noob!

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    i like this idea and i like the idea of just posting say one a week and post the best you possibly can and no excuses.

    also the panel give their feeback plus possible help and thats it THE END.

    the poster does not reply again .

    this keeps it short and simple and the panel can move on to the next pic,

    if the poster has any questions regarding the pic they can post the tech question elsewhere.

    this will free up the critique thread for just one post and one answer.

    does that make sense or not. lol
     
  3. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    It makes sense to me! :) *Although specific technical questions are normally allowed, as long as it doensn't contain excuses*
     
  4. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Perhaps the other forums you're on (PPA perhaps) have a lot more working professionals. A paneled critique is a great idea but there isn't the manpower here to staff if.
     
  5. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Hi Max,
    It's not the PPA, or any other org websites. It's just sites like TPF.

    I disagree about the lack of manpower, there are tons of people here who have the background, in every area that I've referred to.
    And I hope you don't think I'm referring to myself at all. In the wedding category itself, I can think of four highly qualified individuals. So it's actually not anything for me personally, but hopefully something wonderful for everyone.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My concern would also be the manpower, there might be some people available, but don't you need quite a lot of them to ensure constant critique?

    The problem is not everyone is available 7 days a week, or 12 months a year.
     
  7. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Not that I've seen.
    For instance, the Portrait guy/gal, or the lighting guy/gal doesn't necessarily weigh in on the HDR photos. But the Landscape guy/gal, Photoshop guy/gal, Editor guy/gal, HDR guy/gal do. As far as not everyone being available, that's the good part of the panel. There are many bodies available to step in.

    Another interesting note, is that the critiques don't come down immediately. The photo is studied for a while.
    And as I've pointed out, there are limitations to the amount of posts, so that the panel isn't bombarded.
    Lastly, these critiques are quite intensive on every level. I've noticed that fewer people actually post their own, as they learn so much by reading the critiques on others.
     
  8. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    I've had a chance to think about it more, and I think I have a few new ideas to add to the example of the other forums.

    I'd love to see the reviewed post go something like this:

    1. (what the photo's intention is) ie "Portrait"

    2. (what the title would be) ie "Sunshine over Lake Michigan"

    3. (what the experience level is) ie: beginner, ameture, advanced ameture, pro

    4. And then finally the photo.
     
  9. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    OK. As I have stated elsewhere, before you can structure a 'critique' forum you have to decide what you want it to do.
    From the use of such phrases as 'improve my photography' it would appear that a critique forum is seen by most as some kind of learning tool.
    This raises the question: what do people want to learn?
    Photography can be loosely divided into three broad areas*: technical, structural and intellectual.
    Technical is exposure, colour balance, depth of field, sharpness and such.
    Structural is composition, colour, tone, texture and such.
    Intellectual is 'what does it mean and why am I doing it?'.
    From this it can be seen that there are three separate areas where a person might wish to improve, and consequently three different types of crit.
    Add to this the different levels of ability and you very quickly find things getting complicated.
    If you then start having different disciplines - portrait, landscape, reportage, et al - well, figure it out for yourself.
    My advice is to therefore be specific about what advice is on offer and to whom. And to restrict it - at least initially.
    If you start off small and simple you can always expand it once you find a method that works.
    So, what I would suggest is to start with a 'beginner's crit' section and limit it to advice on basic technical improvement and composition.
    You are still going to get swamped with submissions so you have to limit it in some way. Restricting people to one submission a fortnight/week is good but if you have, say, three people doing the crit they have to discuss it and even doing just ten pictures a week will be a lot of work.
    So why not do this:
    If a member wants his pictures to have a crit there could be a 'please crit' flag like the OTE flag.
    A 'panel' of say three people do the crits. The panel members are voted for by all members and re-elections take place at regular intervals. Panel members can do no more than three sessions in a row before they must step down. A system like this stops any one member dominating the panel, unpopular or useless panel members won't outstay their welcome and the rank and file will see it as their panel.
    A workable number of images are selected by the panel each week and are given crits. In order to be considered for selection an image must be accompanied by a short explanation of what the person wants help with and why (sound familiar? But it worked!). Crits are two way things so if the originator is not prepared to do some work they shouldn't expect anyone else to put in work either. Images without a reasonable exposition will not be considered.
    The panel should try to select images that cover common problems. Say you have a dozen images for crit and they all have the same basic problem. Doing a crit on one will be relevant to all the others and will save a lot of repeat work. The crit section would also become a good learning resource where people can find answers to common problems. And it will also be a good example to others on how to do a crit.
    If it is organised properly it will largely run itself. And once you have it working a similar structure can be used for more advanced crits.
    General crits can still be done in the various galleries as they are now so there will be no loss of service at the expense of a new one.

    There are some rough edges there - not surprising as I was working it all out as I typed - but I think it could form the basis of a workable section.
    Now discuss, children. ;)


    *Although these areas pretty much depend on each other and can't really be separated in practice they can be discussed independently.
     
  10. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Let me make sure I understand you Hertz....

    Is the person putting their "please crit and why" flag on posts in the individual galleries, or in one concise area?

    If it's in one area, then I really like the idea. I also like the idea of the panel members being voted on, and the length of term clause.

    I also like the idea of targeting a select number of photos that will give the most amount of feedback.

    But as someone who is trying to improve as well, the beginner gallery wouldn't work well for me. But that's just me being selfish. :mrgreen: (Nevermind, I reread and it will be added later).

    Edited to add: When I refer to the panels I've seen, they don't get together to discuss it. They each make their own evaluation....much like.....erhum...."American Idol".
    *I feel truley silly for saying that*
     
  11. smcaskil

    smcaskil TPF Noob!

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    I am not sure if this forum software has the ability to do this but this might be a way to handle submissions.

    1. The poster submits his photo and explanation of what they specifically want critiqued in whatever format is setup. The post is put into a specific forum and held for moderation, meaning no one sees it initially.

    2. The members of the Critique Board have rights to approve posts in this one forum. They read the posts that are submitted and then work together to do the critiques, working in the order they were received or as they see fit. Once their critique is done, the post is approved and all users can then see the original post along with the replies from the Critique Board.

    This allows folks to send in their critiques and let the Board members work through them as they have time.

    They could also establish rules such as they won't critique two posts from one member in the course of a week or month, unless there are no other pending critiques. Things like that to ensure that everyone gets an equal shot at getting a quality critique, without having anyone overload the forum with a ton of requests.
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I think the flag would have to go in the avatar panel but it would be just a marker to let people know they are up for a crit.
    As for where they put the pictures...
    You could have a separate gallery but why bother? It would soon be abused, as always happens. Far simpler for people to post in any gallery.
    The fact that they would have to write a reason why they want a crit on each image, and the images being selected at random, should cut down on people swamping the system with frivolous posts.
    The panel would only need to talk to each other about the selecting of pictures. The crits themselves could be individual freestyle - but I would suggest that all three (?) panel members crit each one so no-one comes away thinking they got chosen by the 'crap' panel member. It's bound to happen. Each panel member should crit it 'blind' though - not seeing what the others wrote until it's posted.
    Which raises the possibility of a seperate Mod who actually organises it all and the panel members just make the selection and write the crits. Would get rid of the need to make the ever-changing panel all Mods.

    The idea of members submitting images to the panel is attractive but it would easily fall prey to abuse of various kinds. And you could get hundreds of submissions a week. It's always best to keep things simple and choose the way that generates the least amount of work.
     

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