7

The consensus of Contest refresh suggestion: let's take entries on the *main* site appears to be that taking the contest to the main site and attempting to expand on critique is something that we want to try. Given that, I propose this process for discussion:

Contest overview

To enter the contest, post to main site with a question using the tag . Critique is a fundamental part of growing as a photographer regardless of whether you are submitting work or sharing your expertise. Because of this, your photo submissions must be accompanied by a short paragraph describing your process, what you like about the work, and, ideally, an area you'd like responses to focus on. Responses are free to expand beyond this but should include feedback on the submission's focus area.

Photo submissions not containing this text may be closed as unclear.

How to submit

Create a post using the Ask a Question feature on the main site.

  • Use and any other relevant tags.
  • Start your post's title with "Weekly Contest: " and then provide a unique title for your entry.
  • Include information about your photograph:
    • A short description of how and why the picture was taken, and of your post-processing choices.
    • Key elements of the photograph that make it a winning photograph — along with any flaws or parts you would have liked to work better.
    • An an area you'd like feedback on. This could be lighting, composition, emotion, story, editing, or some other aspect of your work.

If you can't think of a particular area you'd like to focus on, concentrate your description on your view of your entry's strengths. Be aware that responses may disagree! While all feedback absolutely must follow Stack Exchange's be nice policy, part of the experience of critique is being open to hearing and learning from different opinions.

All submissions must be your own work. Note that your entry will be subject to the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license of this site. Please be aware of the full implications of that license. This sharing-focused license is important for the educational mission of this site and of the contest itself, but may not be what you want for your favorite work.

Technical

  • Image must be inlined and uploaded with Stack Exchange's image upload feature. (Use the image icon above the edit box when creating your question.)
  • Image width must be no less than 538 pixels and no more than 804 pixels. This is because winning images will be displayed in the sidebar of the front page.
  • Image height must be at least 180 pixels and not more than twice the image width.
  • Feel free to link to a larger version of the image off-site for additional context and feedback, but note that the contest itself will focus on the image as submitted.
  • Submissions must not have borders or frames
  • Submissions must not have watermarks or any overlaid text

Participation guidelines

  • You may enter one photo per week. This is on the honor system, but abuse will eventually earn a strong talking-to.
  • Don't re-enter the same photo. If you would like additional critique on your image, request it through chat or add a bounty.
  • You may edit your entry to fix problems or to add missing information, but don't switch the photo itself for a different one.

Rules for critique

  • Please read How do I give someone a critique of their photograph? for an understanding of what we mean by critique and some pointers for how to undertake this process in a helpful way.
  • Remember this site's expected behavior. "I don't like this" or "this is terrible" or similar (or worse) are not useful feedback. If that's your response to a particular entry, just decline to upvote and move on. Or, if you really want to say something, find a way to follow "This photograph doesn't work for me..." with why and what you think would help in the future.
  • While Stack Exchange generally discourages pleasantries (like greetings and thanks), it is entirely appropriate for responses to include complements if you really like a submission — but "I love this!" without further detail is not helpful either. Such responses may be downvoted or deleted.

If you disagree with a response

It's okay to point out disagreement in a comment, but don't engage in back-and-forth arguments in comments. You can take it to Photography Chat — or post your own contrary view as a separate answer.

If you are the submitter and don't find a response helpful, do remember that all of this is just random advice from strangers on the Internet. If someone says something negative about a photograph you love, don't let it ruin your day. (Perhaps this satirical blog post imaging Internet feedback on famously important photographs will help: Great Photographers on the Internet — and also Part II.)

Voting and winners

Downvoting on photo submissions is strongly discouraged. The winner will be selected based on number of upvotes, not total vote score.

Critiques will be posted as answers and voted on as normal. We expect good, insightful critiques to rise to the top. The contest entrant may select a response they find particularly helpful as the accepted answer, but this is not required.

Photos for a particular week can be submitted between Sunday to Saturday of that contest week. The winner will be chosen by highest vote the following Friday. This way, images submitted at the last minute still have a chance to get responses before the votes are counted.

If no submissions occur during a week (or if no entries in a given week have upvoted responses), moderators may pick an older entry at their discretion.

Themes

Themes help us stay inspired as photographers by challenging us to think differently. Future themes will be planned out in a themes meta question and listed for all to see. Moderators will periodically select a theme from the list and announce it at least a week in advance. (Generally, they will select the highest-voted theme that hasn't been used, but may decide to repeat or to use inspired new ideas.)


What am I missing?

  • Also, we should give some guidance on what an upvote should mean. (Should we upvote questions for good effort?) – mattdm Mar 22 at 15:11
  • Last version (Mar 25, 21:00 UTC) is OK with me. Do we really care about the PPI of the photos when our browsers will do one-for-one pixel mapping anyway? – xenoid Mar 25 at 20:54
  • @mattdm upvoted your thoughts below and agree on the edits so far. Thank you! – Hueco Mar 31 at 20:14
7

On image size: it looks like the layout has a fixed with of 268 pixels and a flexible height. I suggest that we make a minimum size of twice that, to future proof things and to make sure we're not just squinting at thumbnails. Perhaps:

  • Image width should be no less than 538 pixels and no more than 804 pixels. This is because winning images will be displayed in the sidebar of the front page.
  • Image height should be at least 180 pixels and not more than twice the image width.
  • Feel free to link to a larger version of the image off-site for additional context and feedback, but note that the contest itself will focus on the image as submitted.
  • 1
    I figured 2:1 makes for an easy rule. – mattdm Mar 27 at 16:16
5

Proposal for upvote text

As you browse entries in the tag , vote up those you find interesting. Feel free to vote for entries you find imperfect — not necessarily the most beautiful or technically superior, but photographs where you think the feedback will help other site visitors grow in their own photography. Of course, you can vote for photographs which just flat-out appeal to you, as well.

3

I don't think the author should restrict the focus of the critique. Very often the flaws are things the author overlooked...

I am all in favor of authors telling us:

  • How and why the picture was taken.
  • Why they think it's good enough for a contest (and what flaws they found even if minor). This can of course be challenged by the critique.
  • What kind of post-processing has been applied (and why). For that matter I'm not putting any limits on post-processing, overdone pictures just won't get my vote.

This can help targetting the critique.

  • Hueco maybe you could put your suggestion as an answer here and we can vote that or @xenoid's idea up and down? I agree that there should be some requirement for text, but I'm open to different ideas for what! – mattdm Mar 22 at 17:48
  • OK, so lets make the focus mandatory and my three points a recommendation... – xenoid Mar 22 at 18:08
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    I feel like using the jargon term "focus" here is a bit off-putting and possibly confusing. Can we just describe rather than using a special word we then have to define? – mattdm Mar 26 at 6:50
3

I think requiring a specific problem area will significantly limit entries. For one thing, it's hard to do. Often, if you knew what could be improved, you would have just done it. It's easier to describe what you think works, and perhaps be open to hearing things which are impeding the success in the eyes of the critic. Also, I'm afraid there will be an unwanted incentive for people to submit mostly entries that they are not happy with, rather than ones they are proud of. We want to be helping with our fellow photographer's best work, not just throw-aways.

So, I want to edit the rules to remove the wording around asking about a "specific element". That is, replace

Critique is a fundamental part of growing as a photographer regardless of whether you are submitting work or sharing your expertise. Because of this, your photo submissions must be accompanied by a short paragraph describing a specific element you're looking for feedback on. Responses are free to expand beyond this but must include feedback on the submission's focus area.

with

Critique is a fundamental part of growing as a photographer regardless of whether you are submitting work or sharing your expertise. Because of this, your photo submissions must be accompanied by a short paragraph describing your process, what you like about the work, and, ideally, an area you'd like responses to focus on. Responses are free to expand beyond this but should include feedback on the submission's focus area.

Vote this answer up if you agree and down if you really want the mandatory focus area.

  • +1 Pretty much summarizes my own views... – xenoid Mar 31 at 19:12
3

Moderator feedback

To Do:

  1. If we're going to discontinue the photo contest, I think it wouldn't be fair to abruptly end it, so we ought to announce the closing of the contest and let it wind down a few weeks at least.

  2. Will need to coordinate getting the sidebar updated to point to this meta post instead of the weekly contest.

  3. Updating the sidebar with the weekly winner is very easy, we just have to paste in the image URL, title, and user profile URL. Takes 30 seconds. Updating the Hall of Fame takes a few minutes, but isn't a big deal

Concerns:

  1. Consensus for this seems to consist of about 4 people. Are we ok with that? I'm happy to experiment with this, would love to see critique, but there is talk of consensus and I just can't help but point out 3-4 upvotes on the two posts on meta. I can just see the flood of "primarily opinion based" flags from users not familiar with the contest.

  2. Available mods. There are periods when one or two mods don't visit for a week or more. I try to keep the "weekly" contest weekly, but often 10-14 days go by before I remember to do it. AJ and I can try to be more diligent about it, but that's my main concern, is the need to update stuff in a timely manner. The rolling nature of the existing contest makes it not super important that mods action things regularly. The new contest would require us to be on top of things a bit more. Shouldn't be a big problem however.

  3. How do we keep track of which week each photo's post belongs to? It would be easier to track if we had a Q for each weekly contest, with photos as answers, but then critique would have to be in comments. Maybe I'm missing something but if we have a bunch of posts I don't see it being easy to work out which ones are part of the current week's contest. Maybe just number the contests, and they have to title them "Weekly Contest #41..."

  4. While I agree this would liven up the main site, it seems that meta would be a better home for it.

  5. Would there be any value in trialling critique in this way without setting up a new contest, to see if there is in fact interest in critique, and seeing if the responses are valuable? Either on the main site or meta? I think it's likely to attract a lot of interest, but what if it doesn't?

  • 2
    1) There are about as many posts/month in the existing contest as users who have consented. I don't think any more than two weeks to close out the Meta Contest are necessary to migrate. 2&3) good to know! | 1) I asked this q on the 22nd and it was featured same day. I don't think we'll get any more consensus simply because the site's users involved with meta seems fairly small. 2) Is it not possible to automate this with some querying? 3) Is it possible to simply look at questions between two dates involving the tag - would this work? 4) disagree. Part of this is not just making the main site – Hueco Apr 1 at 19:08
  • 3
    more lively, but in attracting new users and making the site more about photography than computer vision in a structured way. 5) I think there'd be immense value in trials on the main site. We could honestly get that going asap. – Hueco Apr 1 at 19:09
  • 3
    On abruptly ending: I'm not concerned about this, because the top entries currently are all from 2014. Also, after the current top entry, the top entries all have less than 20 upvotes. When the contest launched, it was typical for a winner to get 30 or so. Additionally, there used to be far more entrants — like, one a day. That's clearly not happening anymore. The existing contest is already on life-support, in other words. – mattdm Apr 2 at 14:00
  • 2
    On consensus: I'm worried about that too, but, also... participation in Meta has been very low in the past year or so as well. Not sure what to do about that other than an activity like this designed to increase the site audience and involvement overall. – mattdm Apr 2 at 14:48
  • 3
    On doing this on meta: that would defeat the purpose. :( – mattdm Apr 2 at 14:49
  • 1
    And on selecting the winner: I expect a Data Explorer query to do the heavy lifting. See photo.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5899/1943 – mattdm Apr 2 at 15:00
  • I'm also very worried about the lack of consensus on this. Especially with moving it to the main site. If it was staying being run on meta I'd be less concerned, but the main site has a much bigger audience than is represented in the discussion so far and thrusting the contest in to the main site like this seems like it needs more consent. I'd feel much better if we initially rolled out more support for critique in general on the site outside the context of the contest and if the overall site community seems to support it, then moving the contest over might make more sense or gather support – AJ Henderson Apr 21 at 18:17
1

On themes....

I want to change this:

Themes help us stay inspired as photographers by challenging us to think differently. Future themes will be planned out in a themes meta question and listed for all to see. However, a theme can be swapped out in advance of a week via an answer to the Meta Question list that garners at least 5 agreeing votes. This ensures that we have themes ready to go but that the community can still inject ideas into the list.

to something a little bit less prescriptive. Like:

Themes help us stay inspired as photographers by challenging us to think differently. Future themes will be planned out in a themes meta question and listed for all to see. Moderators will periodically select a theme from the list and announce it at least a week in advance. (Generally, they will select the highest-voted theme that hasn't been used, but may decide to repeat or to use inspired new ideas.)

I think it might also be good to have a consistent, predictable rule, like: every first week of the month will have a theme, or, every other week has a theme, or something else.

1

Moderators who will have to do the work of implementing this! Can you provide some feedback please? Does this seem workable? Are there any rules or procedures that we need to add?

I think that moderator involvement can be fairly minimal, other than finding the winner and updating the sidebar, but I am not sure of the details. I think the winner could be selected via a clever Data Explorer query, or it could just be done by hand.

Possibly someone else could be responsible for setting up the themes. Whoever is responsible for that could post and maintain a meta question giving upcoming themes.

What do mods need to do to start this new process?

  • And, since we're not seeing a lot of mod involvement in this thread at all... what about an election for a new mod specifically to handle the contest mechanics? That person could do other mod duties as needed as well and other mods could cover the contest when not available, but this would be their primary role... – mattdm Apr 1 at 18:14
0

Note that your entry will be subject to the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license of this site. Please be aware of the full implications of that license. This sharing-focused license is important for the educational mission of this site and of the contest itself, but may not be what you want for your favorite work.

It seems to me that there's a workaround: since the photo won't be shown at wider than 640 pixels, people could embed a 640px wide image and link out to a larger image. Then the larger image would not inherently be covered by CC-BY-SA.

-1

The more I've thought about this, the more I think I outright oppose the idea of doing this on the main site. The reason is that while it may be good for attention, it seems likely to create problems with reputation tainting. Currently the contest being on meta prevents it from having a reputation impact and I'm not sure about the larger impact of the contest posts on this.

  • Reputation tainting? – Hueco Apr 21 at 18:29
  • I guess if we required them to be wiki then it would address that concern as it would prevent reputation gains/losses, but it's another thing to police. – AJ Henderson Apr 21 at 18:36
  • 1
    Is there a difference toward someone building rep through solid critique vs solid answers in general? For submissions, I doubt we’d consistently get more than 10 votes on any per week. Even if site traffic were higher, it’s still take a very long time to build rep through submissions. – Hueco Apr 21 at 21:06
  • Possible solution: convert to wiki after the week is over? Or maybe backwards? Start as wiki and convert back after? I mean, a good submission with solid critique does warrant some reward. – Hueco Apr 21 at 21:07
  • 1
    Huecco I'm more worried about people posting photos simply to enter the contest and getting rep from the up votes on the photo rather than one with a particular type of feedback being looked for. Something that has a little more possibility of lasting value is preferable. – AJ Henderson Apr 21 at 21:08
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    I would prefer just always making them wiki or there will be objections to which are and which aren't, but it's still a much more maintenance intense task with out good tooling to help with it. – AJ Henderson Apr 21 at 21:10
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    I am diametrically opposed to this view. Let's YES PLEASE give people reputation for posting interesting photographic work we can build quality, educational critique around. – mattdm Apr 22 at 15:22
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    The goal of reputation is to reflect expertise both with the site and with the subject. Posting a good contest photo shows both. Compare highly upvoted questions like "What am I photographing INSIDE my camera?" or "Why are lenses always round?" or, heck, "What does an unprocessed RAW file look like?" I think we'd be far better off giving reputation to the creators of photographs participating in the contest. – mattdm Apr 22 at 15:26
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    Or to put it another way: do we build a more interesting, vibrant, and relevant community of practice here by valuing contest posts or by valuing battery posts? To me the answer is clear! – mattdm Apr 22 at 15:31

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