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  #1  
Old 02-02-2007, 03:18 AM
nmess nmess is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
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Default Ned Rants

In a couple of months, I will reach my fourth anniversary as a member of Trekearth. I still remember how amazed I was as I viewed truly wonderful pictures from around the world. I immediately signed up and started posting some of the work I had shot with film, printed and then scanned. I was almost instantly welcomed and began to receive critiques from the members. To say the least, I was thrilled. In those days there were three distinct rating levels, and at the time they were all freely used. The critiques were honest, and sometimes cut to the bone, but that was ok, and more often than not, complete, accurate and fair.

At that time, TE was a much smaller place, so nobody had an excessive number of critiques, and those that did have many were mostly serious works of art, deserving every bit of praise they received. Even a lot of very bad photos received a number of critiques, but they were often heavy on Yellow Frowny Face ratings, and that was ok too in my book. But soon, people began to feel that they were somehow hurtful and needed to be eliminated, and were eventually done away with.

Then, direct and honest, cut to the bone critiques were deemed to be not good, discouraging or otherwise unwelcome, to the point that a couple of the highest rated and best critique writers resigned and left the site. I for one was sorry to see them go as I appreciated the direct, detailed and enlightening critiques. But culture is what it is, and that is the way it goes as time marches forward.

So you’re probably thinking, “Where is Ned going with this.” I’m not concerned about how many critiques I receive or don’t receive, because as I see it you get what you put into it, and my ledger is pretty well balanced I think. I’m not even concerned about the points that I get or don’t get, because it’s not about the points for me either; it’s about learning to be better and about sharing.

Like many others, as I browse through postings, I see some shots that are absolutely astounding and inspire me to do better, to try new methods and seek out new places. But as I’ve seen in many threads, I also see what I have to call over rated snapshots. In some cases I am stunned to see them so highly rated, so I look closer tying to find redeeming quality, to read critiques to find out what other people see in the picture that I must be missing. What I sometimes find is disheartening to me. I see way too many “nice shot” critiques, which has always been a problem, but oh well. I also see some raving praise, which seems to be totally undeserved, which leaves me scratching my head. I’m talking about photos where the image quality is so bad that you can’t make out details, colors off so badly I can’t help but wonder how it happened and in some cases, a total lack of artistic merit. But the thing I guess amazes me most, is that at times I do see quite accurate critiques, that describe the faults and shortcomings, without any praise, yet they still pass out big ol’ smile faces. Conversely, as has been discussed here many times, I see beautiful shots, posted by people who seem to make an effort to exchange honest, straight forward critiques, yet they barely even get critiqued.

So why am I writing this? I guess I just need to get it off my chest. It seems to me, that TE has become a place where back slapping has become king. Where critiques must not in anyway degrade an image, and even if they do, it seems people are afraid to withhold reward of big smiley faces. I have to say that all of this has diminished the value of this place for anyone who is seeking honest and frank critiques.

I apologize if someone finds this harsh, unflattering or too honest. But that is how I am seeing it more and more, and felt that I needed to voice it. It doesn't mean that I'm going to resign, or that I will critique less, but I do have to be honest and say, some of things that attracted me to the site seem to be gone, diminshing the value to us all.
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2007, 04:24 AM
jinju jinju is offline
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Default Re: Ned Rants

interesting..Ive never read this before.
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2007, 04:26 AM
Coyote Coyote is offline
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Default Re: Ned Rants

Ned,
Got your armor on?
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2007, 08:05 AM
SamB SamB is offline
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Default Re: Ned Rants

i motion that we allow the man to get this off his chest... and then comment no more on this thread.

Starting 57 anger filled rants below this post.
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2007, 10:40 AM
xvs1100 xvs1100 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Default Re: Ned Rants

I agree and I agree and I agree. I have not been a member for long. I hoped that a high standard of critique, and I hoped it to be harsh, would better my technique and eye.

I am an amateur photographer and do not have the time to spend long hours looking through hundreds of pictures or spending time on a critique, so I was rather selfishly hoping that guys with more time and experience would help me up my standard and hone my skills.

For the guys who did write harsh critiques, thank you. And for the rest, I'm glad you enjoyed my work.

Some images here does inspire one to go out and do your level best and thank you for that too.

Thanks for the rant and if I had more time, I'd rant too and write long messages.

Have to getr back to work.

Dirk
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2007, 10:07 AM
jrj jrj is offline
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Default Re: Ned Rants

Nice dream of 2003 Ned.. wish I could share it with you, but then I entered TE as late as 6 months later than you and already at that time it had all changed - what a world..
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2007, 07:51 PM
ronners ronners is offline
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Posts: 350
Default Re: Ned Rants

Ned,

I've been here a few months longer than you ;) I mostly agree with what you write, but it isn't really a TrekEarth problem per se. It's human nature to want to be 'loved' (if that's not too strong a term) so in any large group of individuals it's probably more likely that you will find people trying to enamor themselves to others. This, unfortunately, is where the whole original concept has begun to partially fall down. There is still value here, but these days its just harder to find.

Of course you could form your own group and only interact with those selected few, but wouldn't that then be somewhat hypocritical in itself?

The backslappers aren't 'bad' people, they just either don't yet have the experience or courage to give honest thoughtful critiques. We were all like this when we came here. It's all inevitable - the site becomes more popular, more inexperienced members join, they bring their friends, they repel bad criticism and welcome green smileys.

Aside from that, there are a few clever little people who like to troll the forums, but we shouldn't worry about them ;)

Cheers,

Ron.

PS Good luck with the Alaska trip. I'm doing the 'Great Circle' in the South West later this year, so hopefully we'll both get some good work.
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  #8  
Old 02-02-2007, 08:17 PM
Roly Roly is offline
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Default Re: Ned Rants

Very nicely said, Ron. Nice to listen to somebody who puts more thought than passion in the recurring "points" problem.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2007, 08:19 PM
Polonaise Polonaise is offline
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Default Re: Ned Rants

Dear Ned.
Greatly written article. No complains about the points, the un-justice on TE - just simple wondering about 'What's going on' ?.
Well…We all know the story…We've written the screenplay, we are the miserable actors playing our roles according to that screenplay.
What can I say…We love to be loved. We love to be loved more than we deserve to be loved (I am talking about our pictures here).
So, we go around and we commit idiocies…Small, not very harmful idiocies.
We give the points for stinkers…It happens !
We don't reward the points for good ones, because she/he didn't give the points to us - It happens!
We pretend that we didn't notice certain people…it happens!
We don't like certain people (usually, because they are better photographers than we are)…It happens.
We go and we give the points to the people we SHOULD give the points…it happens.
We go and we give the rewards, because there are already 150 points, so maybe the photo IS really good ((NOT !!! IT ISN'T !!!)) - it happens.
We go and we praise the photo because 'What the heck …Why not (???) - it happens.
We go and give (or not) the praise because we are naïve, inexperienced, silly, educated, simply stupid, smart alecks, lacking talent for anything (so, I'll buy a camera and I'll press that good looking button on it)….
How many people, how many reasons….? And only one of those reasons is the solid one…It can't be deny…
We love to be loved…
Oh, Almighty…How we love to be loved…
I LOVE TO BE LOVED !!!!
------------------------
That's it…
Now I go and I have another beer !
Oooops…Ehrrr…I mean…A glass of Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgueil…
Salut, my dear friends…
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2007, 01:39 AM
nmess nmess is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 421
Default Re: Ned Rants

Ron.. I agree that it's not a TE thing.. and I guess that is the bigger issue. But that's way bigger than anything we can really affect. But as big as TE has become, it's still within the realm of possibility that we as individuals can have an effect. As you well know, I'm not an regular participant in the forums, but I felt that I needed to stand up and voice my opin...

I agree about the groups. While the groups may work for some, I still prefer to be more open to the community at large and not confine my attention to a select few.

I am pretty excited about going back to Alaska. I'm hoping that with the additional experience I have and the better equipment I've since aquired, that I'll come back with more and better pics than the first time.

I didn't mean to sound like I was saying that backslappers are bad, after all we all tend to reciprocate to people who take time to critique our work. As I said (and mnay more before me)it's just too bad that people seem afraid to provide critism where it's due.

Good luck on your loop... maybe next time I get to Calif I'll look ya up.
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