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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Scoring Question: How do you vote?
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10/26/2009 04:00:53 PM · #1
I realize this has been discussed previously many times, but I am still intrigued (after 3 years on the site) by how the voting distribution works out and how people select the scores they give. I have thought of a few scenarios but I have always wondered how people score images.

I guess what makes me wonder is when I see a comment on a photo like "Fantastic image, great all around, 7". It just makes me wonder how they arrived at 7. It is fine that each person votes the way they do, I am just wondering about the how and the why....how did you get to the number?

Here are a couple of possible grading systems I could come up with, but I am sure there are others (feel free to add them)

A. Do you vote based on how they anticipate the final score will be? For example, if you think the image will score a 6, do you give it a 6?

B. Do you vote based on the 'best in challenge' and use the scale to separate the entries? There would be multiple options here, but one would be to use more or less a bell curve.

C. Do you vote based on a grading system? This could be A to F or any other type approach you choose.

D. Do you vote a combination of these? or do you have another approach?

Just curious.

Message edited by author 2009-10-26 16:02:30.
10/26/2009 04:07:40 PM · #2
I always score the same.

Breathtaking or wonderful moment shots high
Average stuff gets 4-6
Craps gets a crap score

Normally it would be 80% in the 4-6 region, 5% 1-3, 13% 7-8 and only one or two 9s and 10s.

It is all about emotion, light, and wow. Not about technique or the stockfactor.
10/26/2009 04:09:54 PM · #3
When a challenge is up for voting I go through the pictures and "divide them up" rarely do I go below a 4 (as I hate to receive them) most of my votes are 6,7 & 8's. The 6's are for those that got a decent shot but it isn't a wow shot. The 7 & 8's are the really good ones and my 9 & 10's are for the wow pictures. I try to vote how I would have others vote for me with a little kindness(doesn't always work...just like in life...hmmm)and all along I am comparing it to what you call "a bell curve".

When I first got on this site I was voting much lower, but I have adjusted my habits. Have you ever thought that maybe some of the people think the 1 is the best and 10 the worst...(I know the thingie says bad or good) but as we all know not everyone "reads" that....
10/26/2009 04:15:41 PM · #4
im still new at this, and i am changing the method all the time, so i am possibly not the best guide to this...

but, personally, i have a little bit of a b/c system going on. i havent voted on too many challenges, but i havent found one yet that i havent felt comfortable giving a 9 or 10 to one or two entries. then they all sort of get scaled down from there. anything i feel clearly meets the challenge will very rarely get below a 5. the ones i give those too are generally ones i consider to have very poor quality or composition. i dont remember ever giving out anything lower than a 3. i probably average quite high on the scores i give out.

im also trying very hard to comment on everything i vote on these days, although i always try to find at least one nice thing to say about a picture, so i am not too sure how constructive i am being!
10/26/2009 04:17:09 PM · #5
1-totally sucks, blurry grainy, unidentifiable. I usually only give a 1 for something that is clearly an effort to get the brown.

2- brown ribbon for sure. Grainy, blurry, lots of artifacts, shadows and blown highlights. lousy snapshot

3- The average snapshot someone takes if they don't know anything about photography.

4- basic exposure and composition is good and shows effort and some knowledge. A decent effort, but lacking somehow compared to other DPC stuff.

5- A good shot, but nothing that stands out over the rest. No shame in getting a 5. Something that averages in the high 5's will probably get wowed over elsewhere.

6- Like it, though it's not wowing me.

7- Really good stuff.

8- Getting into "WOW" territory. 50% chance I will fave this.

9- How to you do it? Do you have a life outside photography?

10- I am in awe.

Other factors:
-If I feel the entry does not meet the challenge topic (a.k.a. a "shoehorn" entry) I will rate it on the quality of the shot, but then deduct some points depending on how far off base I think it is. If I am the only one that feels that way, then my slightly lower vote won't hurt it much.

-Sometimes an extra point or two for an outstandingly creative idea, but an average shot.

-I often give a lower vote for visible compression artifacts that could have been easily avoided. If there are visible artifacts and a small file size, I will ding you. I have often low voted high scoring images for this when everyone else wows over it. If I ding you on this, I will leave a comment about it, so that you know why it got that low vote from me.

-Although personal taste is part of the process, I try to rate on the quality of the photo. If I don't personally care for it, but still think it is good work, I won't low vote it.
10/26/2009 04:18:56 PM · #6
I usually make two passes through the photos.

In the first pass, I give a score between 4 and 7. 4 for bad photos, 5 for photos are below average, 6 for good photos, and 7 for great photos. Then, I go through the 7s again, and bump to 8, 9, or 10 for the absolute best of the best.

For photos that I feel do not meet the challenge (I try to be very open minded about this), I take away 2 from whatever the score would have been had it been a free study. So, for bad photos that DNMC as well, I score it a 2, and for really good photos that DNMC, I score it a 5.
10/26/2009 04:21:25 PM · #7
Wondering if anyone has some insight into the people that revise their votes downward by 7 points or so. I cannot figure how someone changes their mind enough for an entry to go from "pretty darn good", to "crap".
10/26/2009 04:29:10 PM · #8
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Wondering if anyone has some insight into the people that revise their votes downward by 7 points or so. I cannot figure how someone changes their mind enough for an entry to go from "pretty darn good", to "crap".


It's the "Damn my photo is doing 4.3 again, I hate you all, this is my revenge" crowd.
10/26/2009 04:35:39 PM · #9
I had a couple of techniques that I have gotten away from.
1) I voted on how I thought the image compared to my image. If I was getting 5.2 and I thought mine was better then I voted a 4. If I thought it was better a 6. If it was lot better 7 8 9 or 10. Glad I only voted this way for 2 or 3 challenges because its terribly biased and not fair at all.
2) I voted on what I thought the final score would be. Though I found my votes were actually close to what the score ended up being I didn't like this because it didn't make use of the full scale (images I fav I usually give a 10 and I have never seen an image get anywhere close to 10 here) . Then again, I think the votes I gave were a lot more honest. Tough call...

Message edited by author 2009-10-26 16:35:49.
10/26/2009 04:39:33 PM · #10
Originally posted by Azrifel:

It's the "Damn my photo is doing 4.3 again, I hate you all, this is my revenge" crowd.


This is exactly why I don't trust myself to vote in challenges I'm entered in. I can't help but to be biased and think that if mine is only getting a 5.xxx, then yours will only get a 5.xxx from me.

I make an effort to vote the challenges I'm not entered into and generally my average vote is in the high 5's and several images get 6 and 7. My current vote average of 5.4 is due to my previously voting in challenges I was entered into.
10/26/2009 04:45:19 PM · #11
"Fantastic image, great all around, 7

I often wonder about comments like that too (in fact I got a very similar comment on my photo in voting today). That's not how I score, if I leave a comment saying it's fantastic and great all around it gets at least an 8. What I also find funny is a comment saying "best one in the challenge - 7". If I think it's the best in the challenge I will give it a 10 (sometimes a 9 if it's the best in the challenge but not quite perfect).

I guess I vote by method B. My bell curve might be a little lopsided as I don't give many 1's or 2's.
10/26/2009 04:58:51 PM · #12
I vote down images that I think were entered by people who left me comments that I don't like.

Kidding...of course!!!

My voting pattern is consistently inconsistent. It probably depends on my mood but even that changes with the wind...

I do tend to vote down cliches, I'll admit and sometimes I'll give a nice score to images that I assume are taking a pounding...just to spread a little love their way.

Message edited by author 2009-10-26 17:03:56.
10/26/2009 05:02:36 PM · #13
I always vote 1 if I want it to come first, 2 for second, 3 for third & so forth down to 10 for the real dogs.
10/26/2009 05:10:36 PM · #14
I vote entirely too high and must amend that. But mostly I'm a lot like Az or VitaminB - mostly in the 4-7 range to start, then I go back and relook the 6-7s and bump up. I will vote 8-9 on first pass if it really strikes me. I tend not to offer a lot of 10s. I also don't vote 1 or 2, and 3s are rare. I try not to penalize cliches and I do reward the fringier candidates. I mostly look and enjoy when I vote. It doesn't matter at all to me whether I am in the challenge or not. I think the only one I was in that I did NOT vote because of my own score was one I took a blue ribbon in - that one was just odd. I've happily voted everyone well above my own score, well, almost all the time! :-)
10/26/2009 05:31:44 PM · #15
I start with challenge criteria. If the photo does not meet the challenge IMO, I will not vote over a 5. The photo is on a much smaller scale of grading right off.

DMNC
1-2 poor shot, absolutely no attempt at anything that would resemble art
3 decent shot, closer to a snapshot but at least you entered?
4-5 good to great shot but...it's DNMC!!

All Others
1-2 once again, poor shot, absolutely no attempt at anything that would resemble art(is that a white box again Charlie??)
3-4 snapshot attempt at the challenge or quality shot that just barely meets the challenge criteria
5-6 most good attempts make it here, usually one or two elements of the photo are off
7-8 maybe one element of the photo is off slightly
9-10 absolutely stunning, everything about this photo is right on!
10/26/2009 05:37:24 PM · #16
I consider 5 to be the average snapshot that you've seen many times before. Something your Aunt Sadie could have taken. 6 is better than snapshot either in lighting or composition or any other part. 7 is where I start thinking "hey cool!". 9s & 10s are for the photos that take me by surprise and really wow me. 4s are for those photos worse than aunt Sadie's--bad composition, poor focus, etc. 3s are rarely given, but are for one's even worse than the 4s. I rarely ever give 1s and 2s. I figure if someone's going for the brown, that it's silly and I'm not going to play that game.

I don't vote down cliches just because they're cliches, but I'm getting tired of poorly done cliches. I've found myself judging the waterdrops against the best waterdrops, so more of them are falling short because I've seen so many of them and I know that they can be done better. So, usually 4-7 range with some 8s, 9s or 10s. Rarely a 3.

oh, edited to add, I usually drop just 1 or 2 for DNMC.

Message edited by author 2009-10-26 17:37:50.
10/26/2009 06:34:39 PM · #17
My voting is pretty simple. I vote a four on anything that is obviously technically inferior and compositionally impaired, with a subject that is uninspired. I rarely vote lower than four, because it has to be pretty bad to garner a 1 to 3 in my view, though they do come up.

A mediocre subject with fair technicals will get a five or six, depending mostly on composition, because such a photo will likely have poor to average technicals. A seven is a photo with average to above-average technicals, but with a subject I find personally inspiring. An eight is a photo I appreciate for subject and technicals. I enjoy well-composed photos, so that is very important when rating high. I'll give nine or ten if the subject really connects with me and the technicals are outstanding.
10/27/2009 09:11:27 AM · #18
Im pretty brutal when I vote.

1 - Does not meet challenge - could be a great shot, but if its a shoehorn with no connection at all, then a 1 it is.
2 - Meets the challenge but is an overall poor shot, blurry, snapshotty, etc.
3 - Pretty much the same as 2, but better.
4-7 - Average images in my opinion, some standouts on the higher end, some with the right idea, but poor execution on the lower end.
8-9 - Damn near flawless images and really captured the idea behing the challenge in a creative, yet stayed with the challenge topic.
10 - The images I feel will be in the top 3-5 of the challenge.
10/27/2009 09:49:22 AM · #19
Starting in 3-7 range, with 8s immediately for the best ones. Re-pass on the 6s and up to try to scale to 10, with very few 10s per round

3/4 wrong interpretation of theme, trite etc.
5 correct interpretation of theme, but boring and technically inferior
6 correct interpretation of theme, boring and technically OK
7 correct interpretation of theme, technically and artistically good, but lacks in some way
8 correct interpretation of theme, technically and artistically great, small flaw
9 correct interpretation of theme, technically and artistically fantastic, no flaws
10 correct interpretation of theme, technically and artistically stunning, WOW

I usually comment on the 6s en 7s

Message edited by author 2009-10-27 09:50:27.
10/27/2009 06:20:20 PM · #20
Here's how I vote:

No vote : An obvious DNMC
No vote : Highly offensive photograph/title and/or subject provoking extreme bias in me.

1 - Hideous. A complete waste of time. Didn't even try, or went for the brown on purpose.
2 - Still wasting your time, but at least you tried.
3 - A bad snapshot. No knowledge of exposure/composition basics. But there's hope.
4 - A good snapshot. Has read a photography blog and put some thought into it. Getting there.
5 - Congrats, you're an average photographer now and there's nothing wrong with that.
6 - Entering artistic territory through subject and/or techniques. Has moderate flaws.
7 - Subject and technique have a high artistic value. Some flaws. Moderate wow factor.
8 - Only minor flaws in subject/technique. Wow.
9 - Brilliant. A true piece of art. Wowsers!
10- Out of this world. The elite of photography.

Clarifications:

An obvious DNMC would be a macro of a coin in a landscape challenge. If there is the slightest doubt that the photographer might relate to the subject in ways I couldn't possibly understand, I'll give the entry the benefit of the doubt and assume it does meet the challenge.

I'm not easily offended. An example of extreme offense would be a photograph of a double-amputee at a street parade where candy is thrown into the audience, titled "No arms, no candy." Yes, I did chuckle just now, but it's wrong, wrong, wrong, so don't do this, if you make me feel bad about myself for chuckling at a very inappropriate joke, I'll blame you ;)

Bias: I'm all for patriotism, so go ahead and shoot your flag, title it "Proud to be a (Your Nation Here)". Don't title it "The Greatest Nation in the World". I'm ok with "The Greatest Nation in the World FOR ME". Get the idea? ;) Don't impose your views, religious or other on me. If you do, I'll be biased and unable to vote your entry in a fair manner, therefore I choose not to vote in such cases.

"Artistic" can be modern art, abstract, documentary, commercial, you name it. While I may bump an out of the box entry an extra point, I'm using a very broad definition of what's art and what isn't.

"Wow" refers to technique, subject and emotional impact. While giant waterfalls are certainly more stunning to look at than a small fountain, great and crappy photographs can and have been taken of both.
10/27/2009 07:14:24 PM · #21
From previous threads:

This is how I try (very hard) to vote:

1 > a technically (focus, exposure, balance, effects, lighting, sharpening, saturation, colour, cast, evidence of artifacts etc.) incompetent photo without hope for any sensible interpretation or an entirely unintelligible one (sometimes due to image size), one 'offensive' to civilized nature or (even) a technically apt photo which 'clearly' demonstrates a 'failure of feeling'

2 > a technically lacking photo with little or no perceptible artistic (choice of subject, composition, perspective, manner, emotional energy and range, etc.) merit or interest, even when generously considered; a somewhat 'offensive' photo or a gross and inappropriate sentimentalization of feeling in the context of the challenge; the pursuit of cliché without room for even a latent interpretation (irony, allegory, metaphor etc.)

3 > a photo of mixed or questionable merit, both artistically and technically; a technically 'acceptable' one without marked artistic or journalistic interest; a sentimental or symptomatically 'commercialized' image designed to 'sell' a product or (worse! -of a person) of reasonable or considerable technical merit; a potentially 'interesting' or 'promising' photo (subject matter/perspective) with 'severe' technical flaws and/or without 'clear' intent or direction; a technically flawless image void of emotion and lacking sensory stimuli

4 > a 'pretty' photo reminiscent of many; an otherwise captivating image with one or more clearly distracting elements, either within the capture itself or via border and/or title; a technically accomplished photo relying predominantly on an idea, subject and/or title for impact; an artistically 'promising' capture with clearly noticeable technical defects, compositional issues or incongruous aesthetics; a technically 'stunning' capture otherwise lacking 'feeling' or aesthetic 'sense'

5 > a 'good' photo by most standards; one that communicates capably without necessarily teaching or exhilarating us; an artistically interesting photo pointing an unusual view, perspective or matter, even if it suffers from distinct technical 'flaws'; a technically 'stunning' capture with limited human or artistic 'range'

6 > a remarkable image, well executed by most standards while allowing for some technical shortcomings not easily prevented or corrected; an ordinary or simple shot, perfectly timed or 'found' that tells an old story in a new way; a very personal take, a 'fresh' controversy with commotive qualities, but aesthetically 'exciting'; an image imitative within a 'classic' fashion, but well executed (i.e. landscape/portrait etc.)

7 > an outstanding photograph fit for both study and pleasure, while allowing for minor technical shortcomings, an accomplished imitation of a mode of seeing or rendering drawn or alluding to another medium including enduring snapshots or candids of remarkable human interest

8 > same as 7, but one that stimulates awareness and taxes the senses, technically accomplished, with near-imperceptible flaws, if not entirely flawless; clearly 'innovative' photographs pointing a little known interest, direction or delight

9 > same as 8, technically without a fault, but a photo which stirs 'perceived' reality to the point of restlessness and action

10 > an enduring photo that challenges the order of gods and the world, one holding its own alongside any other.

On (Challenge) Topicality

Limiting potentially immeasurable choices to a defined subject or a chosen category of photography, really, should stimulate creativity, not hamper it. Topics, IMO, are or should be there for the benefit of the photographer, not for the untaxed glee of some voters swinging a bat.

I do not penalize entries for failing to meet the challenge. I may award a higher score to a unique interpretation or to a finesse I recognize, but I cannot, in good conscience, penalize something or someone for a fault that may lie within me and not with a picture.

I have seen and continue to see perfectly good photographs here penalized for exceeding the appreciative capacity of voters to recognize an entry for the poignant topicality it may demonstrate. If I consider the photo remarkable (artistically very interesting), I may just decide to award the highest mark possible in the faint hope to compensate for a predictably overall devaluation.
10/27/2009 07:18:03 PM · #22
Originally posted by zeuszen:

From previous threads:

This is how I try (very hard) to vote:

1 > a technically (focus, exposure, balance, effects, lighting, sharpening, saturation, colour, cast, evidence of artifacts etc.) incompetent photo without hope for any sensible interpretation or an entirely unintelligible one (sometimes due to image size), one 'offensive' to civilized nature or (even) a technically apt photo which 'clearly' demonstrates a 'failure of feeling'

2 > a technically lacking photo with little or no perceptible artistic (choice of subject, composition, perspective, manner, emotional energy and range, etc.) merit or interest, even when generously considered; a somewhat 'offensive' photo or a gross and inappropriate sentimentalization of feeling in the context of the challenge; the pursuit of cliché without room for even a latent interpretation (irony, allegory, metaphor etc.)

3 > a photo of mixed or questionable merit, both artistically and technically; a technically 'acceptable' one without marked artistic or journalistic interest; a sentimental or symptomatically 'commercialized' image designed to 'sell' a product or (worse! -of a person) of reasonable or considerable technical merit; a potentially 'interesting' or 'promising' photo (subject matter/perspective) with 'severe' technical flaws and/or without 'clear' intent or direction; a technically flawless image void of emotion and lacking sensory stimuli

4 > a 'pretty' photo reminiscent of many; an otherwise captivating image with one or more clearly distracting elements, either within the capture itself or via border and/or title; a technically accomplished photo relying predominantly on an idea, subject and/or title for impact; an artistically 'promising' capture with clearly noticeable technical defects, compositional issues or incongruous aesthetics; a technically 'stunning' capture otherwise lacking 'feeling' or aesthetic 'sense'

5 > a 'good' photo by most standards; one that communicates capably without necessarily teaching or exhilarating us; an artistically interesting photo pointing an unusual view, perspective or matter, even if it suffers from distinct technical 'flaws'; a technically 'stunning' capture with limited human or artistic 'range'

6 > a remarkable image, well executed by most standards while allowing for some technical shortcomings not easily prevented or corrected; an ordinary or simple shot, perfectly timed or 'found' that tells an old story in a new way; a very personal take, a 'fresh' controversy with commotive qualities, but aesthetically 'exciting'; an image imitative within a 'classic' fashion, but well executed (i.e. landscape/portrait etc.)

7 > an outstanding photograph fit for both study and pleasure, while allowing for minor technical shortcomings, an accomplished imitation of a mode of seeing or rendering drawn or alluding to another medium including enduring snapshots or candids of remarkable human interest

8 > same as 7, but one that stimulates awareness and taxes the senses, technically accomplished, with near-imperceptible flaws, if not entirely flawless; clearly 'innovative' photographs pointing a little known interest, direction or delight

9 > same as 8, technically without a fault, but a photo which stirs 'perceived' reality to the point of restlessness and action

10 > an enduring photo that challenges the order of gods and the world, one holding its own alongside any other.

On (Challenge) Topicality

Limiting potentially immeasurable choices to a defined subject or a chosen category of photography, really, should stimulate creativity, not hamper it. Topics, IMO, are or should be there for the benefit of the photographer, not for the untaxed glee of some voters swinging a bat.

I do not penalize entries for failing to meet the challenge. I may award a higher score to a unique interpretation or to a finesse I recognize, but I cannot, in good conscience, penalize something or someone for a fault that may lie within me and not with a picture.

I have seen and continue to see perfectly good photographs here penalized for exceeding the appreciative capacity of voters to recognize an entry for the poignant topicality it may demonstrate. If I consider the photo remarkable (artistically very interesting), I may just decide to award the highest mark possible in the faint hope to compensate for a predictably overall devaluation.


Beautiful summary sir - I wish someday to display an image worthy of an 8 or higher on your scale.
10/27/2009 07:26:39 PM · #23
I'm a plain and simple Low Voter. Always have been, always will be.
10/27/2009 07:36:49 PM · #24
Originally posted by bassbone:

...I wish someday to display an image worthy of an 8 or higher on your scale.


If I remember right, one of your images came very close with a 7. ;-}
10/27/2009 08:26:20 PM · #25
I usually vote from 4-9

I'll give a 10 if the photo really appeals to me personally, even if its NOT the best in the challenge. The best images in a challenge usually get 8's or 9's

I'll vote a 1,2,3 if the photo is really unappropiate for the challenge, or if the photo is repulsive.

Message edited by author 2009-10-27 20:27:19.
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