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Do People Share Photos Pre-Challenge?

It was once considered "friend voting" if entrants showed their photos to other members pre-challenge. Most of us understood that if we knew that it was a friend's photo, we didn't score it lest there be biased voting going on. However, I've noticed that with teams, there does seem to be photo sharing...especially, on Flick'r. I'm wondering if people are heeding the idea that if you know it's a friend's photo and you're voting (particularly during team olympics or whatever they are termed now), are you abstaining from voting on a friend's/teammate's photo or is this now accepted practise?
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    As far as I know, everyone in the WPL (what the teams are called right now) has been abstaining from voting on teammates' images. It's certainly expected that they do so. When WPL was briefly DPL and under the DPC official umbrella, this was coded; you couldn't cast a vote on those teammate images. Now that it's unofficial again, this is on the honor system. But they DO have ways of checking up on us.

    Also there are groups of people who regularly hang out together and critique each others' entries pre-challenge; in those groups, it's a matter of personal integrity NOT to vote on these images you've seen evolve within those threads.

    It's like anything else; you pretty much have to trust people, in the end. I tend to trust people, it's easier.

    R.
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  • I'll regularly vote on images where I know the identity of the photographer - sometimes I've seen the image on another site, sometimes I recognise the subject and often I recognise the style.

    I'm untroubled by this - I pretty much know the identity of my students' work but it doesn't influence the grade I give.

    I score the photo - I don't feel that the identity of the photographer sways me at all.
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  • Sharing images with photogs you respect (for feedback) is one of the best things about DPC. I am regularly in communication with about 10 people who request feedback from me, and about the same number from whom I regularly request feedback. I tend not to vote on images I've said something about.
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    I'm beginning to feel like I am in the minority at DPC in that outside of team participation, with few exceptions, nobody sees my images before they face the wrath of the voters. Even when with a team, I mostly just ask them to tell me which image of several I have completed should I use for a challenge.

    I know there are large groups sharing their images for feedback in the spirit of learning, and I am sure they do learn that way. But couldn't they also learn just as much by offering their images for critique "after" the challenge so they won't have such a "leg up" over people who go it alone by choice or necessity because they lack the time for networking?

    I also wonder about what newcomers think when they have maybe been beat up by voters with their first couple of images and then they read in the forums all this chatter between people who are obviously pre-screening each others images. Do some of them quit in frustration because they feel they lack an insiders advantage? I know these groups welcome anyone to join them, but some people barely have time to shoot let alone get into all this social interaction. And we really need more of these newcomers to stick around if DPC is going to thrive...
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  • Brent, I hear you; my pre-entry sharing was mostly during the WPL. I find that more and more I choose images I like, and if I have doubts about it for some reason, will seek feedback. Yes, I remember when I first started at DPC, I felt like all this stuff was happening around me but that I was not a part of. That is part of being a newbie anywhere, until you start to learn the ropes. I don't know if this is part of reason for the attrition at DPC, I'm sure on some level it might be. But I think it has more to do with the influence of purely "feel-good" sites like FB and Flickr which don't critique as much as support photographers, and are not outright competitive.
    • Good point on the lack of "feel-good" environment and its potential effect on newbies Johanna. Can you imagine the poor people who come to DPC full of confidence after their friends and family tell them their images on Facebook are brilliant? :) Honestly I feel bad for them...
    • We've seen it hundreds of times - folks who enter challenges with snapshots and are outraged when the scores reflect it. I know that I make an effort to welcome newbies who post to the welcome thread, and encourage them to explore all the areas of DPC, if they don't feel their images are ready for the "big time". I think Ben mentioned something about site mentoring, and even started a thread. But it would be nice if more long-timers would take an interest in nurturing newbies. Even so, DPC will still only work for people who are open to the possibility that their images could improve, not for those who already believe their images are perfect.
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    Brent, I'm feeling the same as you about this issue. I'm not part of a team...not because I don't want to but, simply because I don't have the time to spare to put towards the effort needed to be part of a team. I'd be letting teammates down. I really haven't found a "group" that I fit into well either so, it's always been that I've gone it alone for the most part. I did have a couple of DPC friends who I shared photos with and they offered help and advice but, I felt as though I was draining them and their time because it was always me who needed the critique and help.

    I find DPC a very lonely and sometimes, "cold" place to be IF you don't have friends in there. I find that the sharing of photos often *feels* as though someone without that advantage, will fall under foot of the others who do have that advantage.

    I have a bit of question as to whether people can truly be unbiased in their scoring when photo sharing goes on and people don't abstain from voting on "friend's/teammates'" photos. I know that I sometimes have a problem with my voting/scoring in some challenges where I'm feeling pounded on with my own score. In those challenges, I prefer not to vote but, to comment only so as not to allow my personal upset refelct in the score to others so, I comment only in those cases. This makes me wonder about how others can feel unbiased after photo sharing pre-challenge and more particularly, during team based challenges.

    The bottom line is that unless one is to get into a group/team or find friends and share their photos, it *seems* as though you're behind the 8 ball a bit more than those who do this sort of thing. It also makes it pretty bewildering.
    • Hi J-Me,

      Listen, I would not despair over not being able to take advantage of any social back channels to give yourself a competitive edge at DPC. I think there is no question you can be more successful by partaking in this, but you can still do okay without it and maybe your successes will be a little sweeter knowing you accomplished them all on your own.
      And I don't want people to think I live by some higher moral standard because I don't partake in these pre-screening threads, etc. (outside of a team effort). I live and work alone and have a small business that often has me working huge hours, so the "vacuum" I normally work under regarding my DPC efforts is one of necessity. I do struggle with the ethics of this interaction, but can't guarantee I wouldn't partake in it at least a little if I had the time for it.
      I have learned to make peace with the fact some people are able to partake in social advantages I simply can't/won't. I still get a little riled up when I see someone I know is benefitting a lot from social interaction blatantly boast about their accomplishments, whatever! :D I hope you can learn to make peace with it too and still find ways to enjoy yourself at DPC.

      As far as teams collaborating privately and then competing alongside people who aren't on teams goes, I do feel somewhat bad about this. But being on a team might not give you all the advantage you might think.
      I have only been on a couple of teams and the biggest advantage I realized from participation from both was getting to know some great people. Much of the chit chat in the team threads is personal in nature and not even about photography.
      I would say with the first team I was on I was disadvantaged as a competitor by the interaction because having worked alone for so long I just wasn't used to sharing ideas and it threw my normal thought process out of whack. I slowly learned to just go back to my normal way of working and just use the team to help me pick which image to use if I had more than one and for advise on titles.
      With this second team I just finished up with, again they mostly just helped me pick which image to use now and then and suggested a title once in a while. I also saved some time I had far too little of once in a while by having them tell me which image of a few I should bother to process all the way.
      There are disadvantages to being in a team situation sometimes too. The pressure of wanting to do well for your teammates can be stifling. Having to shoot up to three challenges a week might mean you can't devote proper time to any of them to do your best making them vulnerable in a gallery with images from people not on teams who might have been able to take all the time they wanted with their entry.
      You definitely can find yourself shooting for challenge topics that are far out of your experience or interest simply because your team needs you to. I found myself having to ask some woman I barely knew to let me photograph her baby this past season. I was way out of my element and the shots turned out mediocre at best. Thankfully I had other scores doing well enough that I did have to enter a baby picture, but if I had you could have been in that challenge and maybe kicked my butt? :)

      I'm not going to say being on a team does not give you some competitive edge, but again in my experience the big plus is in making new friends. DPC can as you suggest be a very "cold place" and being on a team can show you there really are a lot of warm friendly people participating.

      So keep your chin up and don't let the social stuff bug you so much :)
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  • It's really hard to not get caught up in the "fairness" of this or that anywhere you go, and DPC is no exception. One of the things we all keep forgetting (when we are overcome by this "unfairness" bug) is that DPC is primarily there for entertainment. For fun. Even when I was a newbie, knew no one, didn't even realize you could request feedback and help, I always tried to remember that this site is about friendly competition; no one is going to make money, the ribbons are virtual, and positively no one really cares where you end up in the challenge except people on the site. But if all you're going to enter is the main challenges, it is competitive. Period.

    After the first 18 or so months, I started feeling disenchanted with DPC and was wondering why bother. I didn't know anyone, I wasn't being PMd by anyone - I felt like the Little Match Girl, outside looking in. I took a short time off and started looking around at all the other links on the front page and discovered side challenges. Those not only helped me learn new things about photography, but I meet other DPCers, and begun relationships which have made my DPC experience a completely different one.

    DPC is not unlike ANY other sharing site of any sort - to get the most out of it, you need to make connections. I am part of about 3 ongoing threads, because these are not just fellow photogs, they are also now my friends. There are no rules about how often we post, request/offer feedback, nothing. Sometimes I'm more needy of advice than someone else. Sometimes I just read the thread without posting. It's not a pressure situation. I don't think any of us vote on each other's images if we've seen them prior to rollover.

    All this being said, we all run into ruts in any of our endeavors, just as the communities to which we belong experience fallow times.
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  • Before I moved, I regularly used to shoot with another member of DPC.

    It is difficult not to recognise his work when you are using the same location for your entry :)

    However it has not stopped me voting in challenges that I know he has entered. I don't let the identity of the photographer influence my vote. If anything I tend to be more critical of his work.
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  • I have a difficult time when people think that getting feedback on an image is an unfair advantage.

    This is something that is available to everyone on the site. All they have to do is ask.

    That's it -- just ask.

    I even started a help! feedback needed "club" where anyone who wanted to give feedback or receive feedback could sign up. So there's a list available of people who are willing to help.

    How is this an unfair advantage?

    We don't live in a vacuum. People are learning photography in multiple ways. Tutorials on the internet, books, mentors, feedback on DPC. If you're wanting to learn/grow/experience, isn't it kind of silly not to avail yourself of any or all learning opportunities?

    Is it perfectly legal to watch a tutorial on the net on how to do tilt shift fakes, but not fair to ask someone who knows what they're doing?

    Perhaps people really don't know what happens behind the scenes. In my own experiences, someone asks how to do something, someone else explains and gives the rudimentary steps. It's then up to the original person to go experiment: what settings work the best, what ones are not as useful, what happens when you change this? A year ago I didn't use vignettes. Bear_music said perhaps I'd want to try it. He told me the 3 step process involved. I could have googled it. I didn't.

    If I don't find answers within DPC, I look for answers outside of DPC. But I will look for answers.

    What I feel would be unfair is if they people giving feedback on an image then voted on that image. Even though I firmly believe that the people I work with can vote unbiasedly, we don't take chances. We don't vote on each other's images. We will comment, but we don't vote.

    Learn what you can, when you can. Take advantage of what's offered and enjoy. :)
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  • I often recognise a style and without a doubt there is one particular (recent) photographer that is very recognisable. This weeks "Magic and Mystery II" has at least 4 highly professional Photoshopped entries, any one of which could be his.

    http://www.dpchallenge.com/challenge_...

    Even if I am certain I know the tog, I vote. This is only fair to them. After all they could email all their friends the image and ask them to vote on it. At least in the forums C&C is transparent, friendships and teams are transparent.

    I absolutely vote on the image. I do not skip it, even if I suspect who the owner is. I may even comment that I know or suspect the photographer. I think some photographers appreciate this in the sense that they have arrived at a "style". There are a lot of togs on DPC who have this recognisable "style" in their work.

    I can't recall voting 10's across the board for identified work. In fact I tend to be more critical in my vote, and sometimes in my commentary: A bad highlight here a distracting element there, a dustbunny there...

    Like Robert says, the honour system should prevail and we have to shrug and trust.

    I concur with Johanna, it's just a virtual ribbon. For me the comments are and always have been far more the reward.
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