Rewarding risk-taking using score distributions

  • Idea
  • Updated 4 years ago
I find it interesting when a photo receives scores all over the scale....lots of 1's and lots of 10's on the same photo indicate vastly different evaluations, all emphatically expressed. What causes this reaction? Maybe a controversial subject, perhaps an esoteric meaning, maybe extreme stylings that are either loved or hated....for whatever reason, some people loved it, some people hated it.

I think that this varied reaction should be rewarded, because it is this type of varied reaction that stimulates discussion and so enhances our experience of art.

How do we calculate this? Standard deviation -- a number that indicates how spread out the distribution of scores is. The higher the number, the broader the distribution. For example, if all votes are 9, the standard deviation is 0. If half the votes are 1's and the rest 10's, standard deviation is higher than zero.

Standard deviation can be calculated using our current voting system...I'll say it again: no change to the voting system.

Conventionally, standard deviation is represented by the Greek letter Sigma. So, we can call it the Sigma Prize.

I think this is a winning idea. I hope you can see value in it because I think it's kind of exciting

Please read this thread for some reactions to the idea:

Photo of scottdeeby


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Posted 4 years ago

  • 9
Photo of Bear_Music


  • 21 Posts
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It's a fine idea that can be implemented with no systemic changes. I'm all for it.
Photo of raymond.ethier


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The only thing this would prove is that we do not see things the same way. I have never favoured bell curves of any kind, even when in university since I view this simply as rounding out the corners.

I would bet good money that a good portion of the people in favour of this proposal are the very same people who will try to produce images that they believe will warrant a Posthumous ribbon.

The field is already cluttered with all kinds of ribbons for a variety of specialty achievements... do we really need another that would be proffered based on the mere fact that the images represent the extremes of a category.

Just another man's view.

Photo of scottdeeby


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Bell curves are a natural phenomenon....I'm not sure what you mean by favouring them (what distribution do you favour?), or what you mean by rounding out the corners.

What is wrong with people shooting for a Posthumous?

We have several ribbons that are proffered based on the mere fact that the majority favour the image. Why not one proffered for merely being contentious?

Difference of opinions are interesting. The conversation gets boring if all we do is agree with each other.....
Photo of Michael DeMatteo

Michael DeMatteo

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I'd like to see this happen. What can it hurt? My votes usually look like a seismograph on the San Andreas Fault anyway...
Photo of psrichards


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the lesser-known version
Photo of Annie Ffannie

Annie Ffannie

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It's an interesting idea & worth a try. I think if you used the words Sigma Prize in your title, then people could find it with a search, which would help. I have nothing to gain, any way you score this competition I will still end up in the bottom half.
Photo of Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

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I like it will encourage people to take chances, instead of making a safe image that might be popular. This rewards taking that chance of having everyone hate In the end, we all benefit IMO by seeing a wider variety of concepts in the images.