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03/14/2007 06:45:09 AM · #1
I am relatively "new" as an active member here (just a couple of months of active participation in challenges). Even so, as the "RED II" challenge ended, I noticed something I thought was strange. The top entry received 224 votes. Look at that number again: 224 votes for the top entry (no one received more votes than this in this challenge). There were 429 submissions in this challenge. That means that nearly half of the people who entered either did not vote, or that more voted but did not come close to a "complete vote" in this challenge.

As an example (and no offense intended to these people, they are chosen simply because of their proximity to the challenge that finally pushed me to run the numbers): of the top three finishers this challenge, they have cast far fewer votes than they have received from others. The total votes received by the three of them together is 6,985. The total votes cast by them together is 2,868. Yes, I know, one of these is a fairly new member (but has not voted at all), and another has a better ratio than the other two (though still less than 1.0).

I'm curious of thoughts about this, and the implications for large challenges, but please keep my observations in context; this post is not asserting generalizations concerning the voting patterns of ribbon winners (we cannot generalize that all top vote getters give fewer votes than they receive, and I am not making that claim here). It is not about top finishers in general; if you look at those who placed 4-6 in this challenge, things are much better (but due in part to one person who has cast three times as many votes as she has received -- casting more than 30,000 in the year that she has been here). Let me emphasize: this is not a generalization as to all "winners" or even top finishers, and it is not specifically aimed at the top three in this challenge.

My observation is more basic: a significant number of people in large challenges enter images and get the "benefit" of voting on this site without contributing votes themselves. One example is the average of 201 votes per entry with 429 entries on this challenge (less than half: 86,581 votes/429 images=201); this is a ratio of .47. The 2007-02 Free Study showed an even worse ratio:

Submissions: 617
Votes: 106,605
Votes per image submitted (votes/submission=): 173
Ratio: .28 (votes equal to 28% of the number of people who submitted entries voting the full challenge)

Small challenges do better: both "furniture" and " alternative medicine" had an average number of votes above submissions (they had submissions of 168 and 123 respectively). In a cursory review of the last ten challenges or so, this trend holds (higher number challenges have a ratio of votes to submissions below 1.0, lower challenges have a ratio above 1.0).

What this says to me is that a lot of people participating on the site are "free riding" on the efforts of others; submitting shots to large challenges and not taking the time to vote in those same challenges. Shouldn't each person's ratio of votes to submissions be at least 1.0 (indicating that they have voted at least once for each vote they've received, or, put another way, voted in each challenge they've entered)? This makes me less likely to enter challenges that I can identify ahead of time as likely to have large numbers of submissions (as the other participants in large challenges are not committed to full participation), and also less likely to vote in them even if I do enter (if they won't vote, neither will I, so there!).

I think that's kind of sad. It's not that I think my score would have been better if more people voted (it is just as likely that these people would rate my shot lower); it is about contributing when you are receiving and participating in something like DPC.

Finally, please remember: this is not specifically aimed at the "Red II" challenge or the people who submitted and voted (or did not) in it; it is a much more general observation, showing at least a recent trend, with this specific challenge as an example.

Geez this is a long post!

Rob
03/14/2007 06:47:14 AM · #2
You make some good points, but remember that some people will not vote in challenges that they enter as they may see it a conflict of interest.
03/14/2007 07:05:52 AM · #3
The 20%-minimum may be a problem here. I am not very keen on voting in these huge challenges, as I can not be sure that I will reach 20%. If I don't, my votes don't count, and my effort is lost. Instead, I rather vote AND comment on smaller challenges. In general, I hardly ever vote beyond 20% except for challenges below 100 submissions.

If more people are like me, smaller challenges are likely to recieve more votes
03/14/2007 07:16:32 AM · #4
The red challenge had a lot of entries to it. I set out on a mission to try and comment on all the photos in that challenge, never even got close. Mainly due to a painfully slow internet connection at home.

I usually try to vote on all the images in the challenges that I am in, but sometimes, time just does not allow.
03/14/2007 07:30:06 AM · #5
I don't agree with not voting on challenges you entered, but am happy to see some new names up there in ribbon territory.

Congrats guys!
03/14/2007 07:38:06 AM · #6
Originally posted by rheverly:

I am relatively "new" as an active member here (just a couple of months of active participation in challenges). Even so, as ...

Rob


I am in full agreement with Robert , personally if i enter a challenge i consider it my responsibility to vote on all the images in the challenge for the simple reason that if i dont vote then i have no right to expect others to vote on my entry.
03/14/2007 07:38:31 AM · #7
Originally posted by tooohip:

I don't agree with not voting on challenges you entered, but am happy to see some new names up there in ribbon territory.

Congrats guys!


I agree with you on this one - I always try to vote in challenges I enter, but I have read that there are a good number of people who don't because of the confact of interest thing. I really try to be as objective as possible...EVEN when my score on the challenge is tanking!
03/14/2007 07:40:50 AM · #8
I always found that interesting. Given the number of people voting,
I don't think that votes really could be swayed due to bias. After votes hit about 100, the average pretty much reaches a steady state.

I definately vote in challenges I enter, but I certainly don't bias my results. I have seen similar photos to mine and thought, "wow, mine sucks compared to this" and I give it a high score. For photos of subject matter different than mine, there really isn't a comparison.

But, thats me, I'm a harsh critic of my photos and I don't care much about the votes I get, I look forward to the constructive comments.

Originally posted by pccjrose:

You make some good points, but remember that some people will not vote in challenges that they enter as they may see it a conflict of interest.
03/14/2007 07:43:17 AM · #9
Paul- Good points. I agree with you - a single vote here or there is not going to destroy the integrity of voting. I think those who enter a challenge are generally in the best position to vote as they have been thinking about the challenge and what it might mean in a photographic sense.

Originally posted by PGerst:

I always found that interesting. Given the number of people voting,
I don't think that votes really could be swayed due to bias. After votes hit about 100, the average pretty much reaches a steady state.

I definately vote in challenges I enter, but I certainly don't bias my results. I have seen similar photos to mine and thought, "wow, mine sucks compared to this" and I give it a high score. For photos of subject matter different than mine, there really isn't a comparison.

But, thats me, I'm a harsh critic of my photos and I don't care much about the votes I get, I look forward to the constructive comments.

Originally posted by pccjrose:

You make some good points, but remember that some people will not vote in challenges that they enter as they may see it a conflict of interest.
03/14/2007 07:44:48 AM · #10
You overlook a number of things - primarily in that your assessment of this is purely quantitative.

I have an image in the Image Grain challenge. I will not vote on all 400 entries. I might vote on only twenty of the images. But each time I vote I will spend at least 30 seconds looking at the image, and then probably five or ten minutes writing about it. By your assessment, that counts as no votes at all, as I won't have made the 20% mark. But without doubt I will say that my ten minutes of thoughts is more valuable to the site than anyone's quick rush through and instant assessment of the images.

e
03/14/2007 07:46:43 AM · #11
When I first started I felt the same way. I believed strongly in voting on all the images of any challenge I entered and couldn't understand anyone who didn't feel the same.

However, after awhile, you start seeing other peoples points of view and how they may differ from yours. I may not agree with some of them but everyone has a right to their views.

Additionally I was surprised by the amount of ppl who vote on a challenge and do not enter anything. It seemed strange to me but I accepted it and have learnt that this site is made up of a many varied bunch of folks, and most days I learn something from them whether they have voted or not...entered or not...commented or not.
03/14/2007 07:46:54 AM · #12
Originally posted by e301:

I will not vote on all 400 entries. I might vote on only twenty of the images. But each time I vote I will spend at least 30 seconds looking at the image, and then probably five or ten minutes writing about it.
e

Man - I sure hope I am one of your twenty!
03/14/2007 07:47:12 AM · #13
i've slowed down my voting
for the little spare time i have -i'd rather spend the time making pictures than voting

03/14/2007 07:54:29 AM · #14
Originally posted by rheverly:

My observation is more basic: a significant number of people in large challenges enter images and get the "benefit" of voting on this site without contributing votes themselves.


Yes, this is precisely why the site works. Most users on the site do not enter the challenges but just vote. Maybe one of the SCs might be able to present figures on this ratio.

I have in the past posted my concerns on the growing number of images per challenge and the trend that you get fewer comments and fewer votes on each image. For example the Free Study typically gets more than 600 submissions. On my last FS entry, I got 165 votes and 2 comments. Since it is a learning site, it is perhaps failing in its mandate. The number of challenges per week has been increased recently, but this has not really had much effect on the popular challenges' submission levels. When giving challenges such as "Cross Dressing", you should not be surprised that 85% of submitters choose the other option (Image Grain II).

I guess that having the 20% voting cutoff does ensure that you get a statistically fair result, but the danger is that fewer voters will be willing to give up so much time to vote on 120 images in the large challenges. It would be interesting to see what percentage of voters in the large challenges are in fact submitters in that challenge compared to smaller challenges. I would guess that a much larger % are submitters in the large challenges, which is why it is more difficult to do better.
03/14/2007 08:10:40 AM · #15
Some interesting responses here. My thoughts:

Originally posted by e301:

You overlook a number of things - primarily in that your assessment of this is purely quantitative.

I have an image in the Image Grain challenge. I will not vote on all 400 entries. I might vote on only twenty of the images. But each time I vote I will spend at least 30 seconds looking at the image, and then probably five or ten minutes writing about it. By your assessment, that counts as no votes at all, as I won't have made the 20% mark. But without doubt I will say that my ten minutes of thoughts is more valuable to the site than anyone's quick rush through and instant assessment of the images.


I never claimed it was anything other than quantitative, nor did I say efforts such as yours would not count. If everyone in a challenge did what you do, there would be many more comments than there are (and actually I think this would be better, but that's another issue). Instead, people who don't vote tend also not to comment (use the examples I used in my first post). In the long run, that's simply unsustainable as people like me get tired or worn out from voting when others don't think it's important enough to take the time to do themselves, and then there is no one left to vote.

Originally posted by ralph:

i've slowed down my voting
for the little spare time i have -i'd rather spend the time making pictures than voting


As would I; do we hire voters, or stop having challenges dependent on voting?

Originally posted by craigster:

Yes, this is precisely why the site works. Most users on the site do not enter the challenges but just vote. Maybe one of the SCs might be able to present figures on this ratio.


I would love to see where that idea comes from; it does not match my (admittedly limited) experience here.

Originally posted by MichaelC:

When I first started I felt the same way. I believed strongly in voting on all the images of any challenge I entered and couldn't understand anyone who didn't feel the same.


It is not about views or preferences in any real way; my post is a question about how a site like this will be sustainable in the long run if large numbers of its participants do not take part in the "work" that makes the site, well, work. If they do not want to vote in a challenge where they've submitted (not a good excuse as I see it, but okay, let's accept it for argument's sake), then vote in others.

I'm wondering how anyone can justify participating in the site while having a vote given to vote received ratio of less than one (let's say "significantly less than one").

And that last bit is my ultimate question.

Rob
03/14/2007 08:15:07 AM · #16
Actually, if everyone did what i do, there would be no final vote totals whatsoever.

And as to the long-term: in web terms, the five years it's been going is no flash in the pan. In the four years that I've been involved, there have been quite a lot of changes of feel as trends come and go. It will continue to surprise us, I'm sure.
03/14/2007 08:28:20 AM · #17
Originally posted by rheverly:

I'm wondering how anyone can justify participating in the site while having a vote given to vote received ratio of less than one (let's say "significantly less than one").


The site can and does work because even though many participants might have a ratio less than 1, most other users have a ratio more than 1. This analysis is easy to do if you have the site's data at your fingertips. Maybe someone can provide those figures (% of users whose ratio is less than 0.7 say). It would be very interesting.

Does it work on a personal level for the less than 1s? That is up to the individual... I can't condemn those people who provide excellent images for others to enjoy and vote on. Let them carry on as far as I'm concerned... It is their way of contributing and if you look at how few comments you get on a large challenge, it is not that they are contributing for selfish reasons.
03/14/2007 08:28:48 AM · #18
Since I came here in the fall of 2005 I have voted on every challenge I could (could not vote on member challenges until I became a member in Dec 2005). Without votes this site would not work so I consider it my duty (and it's a pleasure too) to vote on every photo. I realize not everyone can do this because of work/family/time/dial up, but those who have the capability really should vote on every photo.
03/14/2007 11:31:28 AM · #19
Originally posted by rheverly:



I think that's kind of sad. It's not that I think my score would have been better if more people voted (it is just as likely that these people would rate my shot lower); it is about contributing when you are receiving and participating in something like DPC.

Geez this is a long post!

Rob


Nice post. I think if your image looks good as a thumbnail, then carries through and is really a good image it will perform at the top of the heap. I believe most people don't vote on all images. I also think most don't bother looking at all the images full sized. My best scoring images pop nicely as thumbnails. Like you, I believe the effect is limited mostly to the free challenges with the huge number of entries. Most people have a life outside of photography and don't have time to vote on every single image.
03/14/2007 11:31:42 AM · #20
Haven't looked hard at these numbers before, but I am at a mere .43 votes given/received. However, my comments given/received are at 3.04. So while I am getting more votes than I am giving, I am giving more comments than I am getting. Personally, I think the comments are more important for learning purposes. I could vote more and faster without commenting so much, but I don't want to.
03/14/2007 11:54:43 AM · #21
Excellent post. I too wonder the impact of voters only meeting the minimum 20% mark and the inherent likelihood they are therefore voting by thumbnails, versus cycling through every image at full-size. Worse, I suppose, would be voting full-size in the order generated until simply hitting 20% then stopping.

FWIW, I make it a personal goal to vote 100% of a challenge and to vote every challenge I'm in, at least. I became a member in January (2007) and my stats as of the last update are:

Challenges Entered: 13
Votes Cast: 3,681
Votes Received: 2,678

I also make an effort to comment, with near 400 comments made to date over those 3,700 votes cast.
03/16/2007 11:16:37 AM · #22
Originally posted by Shaurya:


I am in full agreement with Robert , personally if i enter a challenge i consider it my responsibility to vote on all the images in the challenge for the simple reason that if i dont vote then i have no right to expect others to vote on my entry.


I do this now as well. I think the first one or two challenges I was in I may not have voted on all of them while I fumbled with the newness of it all, but now, any challenge that I enter I vote on ALL images.

An interesting counter to this thread is the "Crossdressing" challenge. There are only 71 submissions, but my photo has already received over 240 votes!
03/16/2007 12:22:18 PM · #23
Originally posted by rheverly:

I'm wondering how anyone can justify participating in the site while having a vote given to vote received ratio of less than one (let's say "significantly less than one").


I've got 58,393 votes given vs 61,023 votes received, which works out to roughly 96% ratio, which I suppose by your standards is "acceptable". I don't mean that in any snide way, BTW: I mean "acceptable" in the sense of functionally or "systemically" acceptable, not morally. But here's the interesting thing:

It used to be, when I first came on board, that my voting was literally 100%, as was my participation in entering challenges. I voted all the entries in every challenge (that was two a week, plus the occasional extra) and entered every challenge I was eligible for. I also had a heavily "plus" ratio of comments given vs comments received.

Then the number of entries started climbing like crazy, and it started taking longer and longer to vote the challenges each week. I still kept my voting (and my participation as a shooter) at 100% but the number of comments began to drop.

THEN we switched to "exclusive open challenges", which thankfully cut down the raw numbers in each open challenge (making it easier to vote 100% in either of the open challenges) but did nothing for the overall numbers of images awaiting voting. And THEN total number of entries in the separate open challenges began to climb as well, and it all just got overwhelming.

So I dropped the 100% voting goal I had set for myself and began to vote only on challenges that I had a real interest in. If I found a topic unappealing, I'd opt out of voting that challenge, figuring I wouldn't be giving the shooters a fair shake anyway. That's when my ratio began sliding a little, and I got under the 1:1 votes made/received ratio.

BUT there's another side to all this, when you talk about "justifying":

DPC isn't entirely challenges, of course; it's also the forums and the social/learning aspects of the site. I have made over 15,000 forum posts, and many of these have been highly informational; technique tips, image makeover help, learning threads, and the like. That all takes time too. And I only have so much time and energy available at any given time, some times more than at other times.

I assume many others are in the same position, needing to budget their DPC time in one way or another.

I have several times brought up semi-seriously the idea that we move over to "tiered voting". It would work something like this:

1. Challenges, as now, would be open for voting for 7 days.
2. The "first tier" of voting would last for 3 days. At the end of that time, the top 25% of images based on average vote received would move to the second tier of voting and the rest would b e removed from the voting page and lumped, as far as finishing positions go, in an "also-ran" category with the image score as calculated at that time.
3. The "second tier" of voting would last four days, and these images would naturally (I believe) receive closer scrutiny and more (and more careful) voting.

Those whose voting time is truly limited (for life reasons or connection reasons, for example) would be able to expend their energies on a pre-screened and much smaller group of images that voting community as a whole finds worthy of more serious consideration. I think the end result would be more votes (many more votes) given to this top 25% of entries in each challenge.

For whatever THAT is worth.

Besides, think of the fun at the 3-day "mini-rollover" where you wait with bated breath to see if you "made the cut". A whole new goal for DPCers, a whole new stat! "Cuts made" vs "cuts missed"! Scoring a ribbon is getting harder and harder, but making the cut is a viable goal for a LOT of people...

R.
03/16/2007 12:27:39 PM · #24
Originally posted by Angadeon:

An interesting counter to this thread is the "Crossdressing" challenge. There are only 71 submissions, but my photo has already received over 240 votes!


Not only are there only 71 entries, making this challenge a slam-dunk for heavy voting participation, but the challenge topic itself is one that encourages people to get involved in viewing/voting; it's not your everyday mundane challenge :-) You get a LOT of votes on "nude" challenges as well, I think. I really ought to check that...

Yup... Nude2 and Alternative medicine had comparable numbers of entries, but the blue in Nude had 477 votes, the blue in medicine had 270 votes...

Topic is important :-)

R.
03/16/2007 12:33:20 PM · #25
Votes Cast: 48,401
Votes Received: 38,147

10,000 to the good - I can take a holiday from voting ;-)
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