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I’m frustrated

Voting accuracy and time of day

I wonder if Pixoto takes into account that some people might just click through pics to get credits. Doing so would skew the image duel results.

Perhaps there is just chance involved, but I've noticed that depending on the time of day, my submitted photos get different results, which is why I raise this question. For example, last night I submitted a few new orchid shots, and they failed miserably, barely getting 100+ points before being paused. The same thing happened when I submitted them the night prior. But, early this morning I removed them and then resubmitted, and they are now doing well, over 500 points in some instances.

Thus, having exercised this re-submission of the exact same photos 3 times, and the third time working well, based (almost) solely on time of day, it would seem something is awry. Are nighttime voters just clicking through, or perhaps there is a different audience? The former is what concerns me, as there is little that can be done for the latter (unless Pixoto were to provide duels that engaged users from different countries and timezones).

Perhaps there could be a way to catch improper voting (those just clicking through to get credits), by sometimes putting in an obvious loser image that would have to fail (something so out of frame and focus). Or, perhaps you could have a feature to just resubmit images (which would of course cost points, but would make the process easier).

In the meantime, I think I'll be submitting my images during the AM (PST), and not at night. This seems to give me better results.

-Nathan
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  • I only joined yesterday, but made a post earlier today stating that something was very wrong with the voting system.

    I have several friends I've met through other contests that are also members here, so I asked them what they thought of Pixoto. None of them I've heard from seemed very impressed. In fact, my friend in London (I'm in the USA) said he feels that voters are just 'parking' on the right or left image and clicking away in order to get points. I'd have to agree that his assessment is a distinct possibility given the experiences I've already had in only one day of membership.

    I have several images that I've had to re-start so many times I've lost count. Eventually, they did end up in the 500-600+ range, but it was terribly annoying to have to un-pause them every few minutes in order to get there. Several of my images, which have won on reputable contest sites, are languishing in the lower numbers here. Some images that are winning against them are snapshots at best.

    I've participated in quite a few contest sites. This one needs a LOT of work. At least it's free, although I guess you get what you pay for. I certainly wouldn't pay actual money for this unfair/easily abused voting system....
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  • 1
    To Nathan: this is very interesting. I will try to do the same next week. But for the time I don't know as we are members of all around the world and the time zone is different.
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  • I’m sad
    1
    I agree. Not to brag but some shots have won against mine that I feel are just plain shapshots. Not that I'm better than others but I do like what I have put up and have to keep unpausing and they begin to get more points. Interesting comment about people just voting to get poings. Seems like that may be happening. Not really fair to those who work hard on their photos.
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  • Nathan - I've been thinking a lot about your comments above. Here are a few thoughts:

    There is definitely different groups of people who vote at different times of day. About 40% of our votes come from the US but those are primarily between the hours of 7am - 11pm PST. There are virtually none over night. So when the US isn't voting other places in the world (Europe and Asia are) and the preferences of these groups is somewhat different.

    It is also possible that some people are clicking just to get credits - we haven't seen much evidence of this in the past but are taking another look at the data to see if something has changed.

    What seems to be more common is that people will vote to try to bring down the highly ranked images. This however is pretty hard to do given the new duel pairing algorithms, and when people do try they are pretty easy to catch. When we catch them we remove the impact of their votes from the system (but continue to let them vote). So just because you see that an image lost to another - doesn't mean it's actually effecting ImageScore.

    The changes we have made over the past two weeks are very dramatic and we think make the system much better. We will continue to monitor and adjust in order to make sure that we are getting the best images to the top and that the voting is as fair and accurate as possible. This feedback helps!
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  • 4
    According to Jason Kiefer at Pixoto in 3 other posts I've found so far talking about this, Pixoto (supposedly) has a fairly fool-proof system that:

    1. Catches improper voting and...

    2. Cancels-out bad votes since there are more "good" voters than bad. This point bothers me the most, since Jason mentioned that 75% of votes are placed by Pixoto award winners, which means 25% of all votes could be bogus, and in the 75% who are award winners, some could be from ill-gotten voting.

    I'd really like to hear what someone at Pixoto can say about all of this, but I don't think their safeguards are working very well. IMHO, Pixoto is a very cool site, nothing is perfect, and I think they could do some improvements. Some ideas/suggestions that might help:

    A. During image duels, inject super bad pics every now and then (randomly, and on random sides). If a voter is caught placing improper votes, tell them and void the subsequent results associated with their recent votes (during their image-duel session).

    B. Ensure the image-duel images are presented for a couple of seconds minimum before voting is allowed to ensure they are being viewed and not just clicked through.

    C. Raise a flag if someone is always clicking on the left or right.

    D. Since the site is free to use, require users to take a duel test before being able to vote or to submit photos. This is how some of the stock photo sites work, ensuring you are paying attention and know the rules before being allowed to submit photos. During this test, Pixoto could also show examples of bad and good photos, showing what to look for, i.e. focus, composition, chromatic aberration, over saturation, washed-out lighting from on-camera flash, red-eye, etc. This would not only help to abate bad voting, but would be beneficial to young shutterbugs as well.

    E. Place weight on votes by reputable voters: those with high rankings/scores, and who aren't caught placing bad votes.

    Once again, I'd like to mention that I totally dig Pixoto...I just want to see it get better and better (while being fairer and fairer).
    • Wow. Awesome suggestions. Some of these we do. Some we are going to do. Some we need to think about more (the test in particular).

      My point regarding the 75% of voters being award winning photographers was that they should know a good photo when they see one and that most of our votes aren't from random people who don't know anything about photography. That said the 75% vote very similarly to the 25% - so I think in general - people know a great image when they see one.

      I wouldn't say we're foolproof - but I think by-in-large things are really fair. That said we are constantly trying to figure out how to make it better.
    • I'd really like to see some additional functionality to this site to allow for peer reviews / critiques. While I want to see my pictures earning points galore, it's not points galore that inspires me to go out taking pictures.

      I have lots to learn, and I believe there are people here who can teach me, and in return I would love to pass that knowledge and experience down, being someone who only got into photography about a year ago.

      I agree with Nathan that this is a cool site, and having subscribed to a couple of others for comparison would suggest that this is definitely one of the better.

      (Whilst I'm not touting myself for one of the jobs you have advertised, I do run a team of web developers, so I know that given an infinite number of resource you can definitely achieve everything the customer expects :) )
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  • Gooood Jason.I know it must get more and more difficult to have an overview of all these problems. When I see the amount of players now (and it's growing every day) it's normal to have the serious ones and the others all in the same package. But it would be very nice to have Pixoto like we had it a few months ago. Keep walking said Johnny Walker (lol) and have a nice day.
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  • 2
    C. Raise a flag if someone is always clicking on the left or right.

    In the voting process I once voted 12 photos on the right (with paying very much attention on my voting and even counting the votes), how you can exclude a case like this which is just a matter of chance ?

    C. Raise a flag to warn the voter (while voting) that he/she is clicking on the same side (left or right).
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  • 2
    Any "system" that favors some users /here: vote(r)s/ against the other, is biased and therefore not accurate in it's roots.

    All members of Pixoto, all "players", be us / they "serious photographers" or just "passing through" should have the equal importance of their respective voting, unless they got caught in some serious fraud.

    With at least one honorable member of "Top 2011 photographers", who got very high rankings on Pixoto by organized team voting (at least 30 to 50 members of some other photo site), you cannot claim that "Awarded Photographers" vote more fairly.

    Let me contribute a couple of ideas:

    Step 0 - Pixoto's great mistake to correct: Make all you can to keep images in contest unidentifiable or unconnectable to known authors. While the authors can be seen in category or player's listings, any submitted image can be traced to author. And therefore, better known authors, or ones that emerge to Pixoto along with larger "support groups" get vast advantage.

    1. never let a player to vote in the category where he or she has active images (for that particular week or month);

    2. limit number of image entries to maximum 3 per category per week

    3. check and automatically discard all obviously overly processed images from other categories. Resubmit them by default to "Photoshop Art".
    Let us photographers to display and participate in contests within real categories and with images as close to original camera capture as possible.

    4. Most important: give each and every new submitted image fair chance to raise, by ensuring it at least 25 or 30 duels over it's first day on Pixoto.
    • I share totally your points Erik (I was preparing a note very similar to yours). I am also very concerned with what I had called "practically" identical photos (photos of the same subject taken under the same conditions just moments apart). If one is award caliber, then it is almost guaranteed that all of them are award bound, something clearly quite unfair.

      Thus, I was planning to suggest stricter rules, maximum 2 per category per week, and 10 overall per week, but I would be willing somehow relaxed number as long as the point is be made. This is a contest site after all, not a photo gallery.

      Also, I fully agree with a minimum of 25-30 duels over the first day before the photo gets freeze (at that time a player may decide whether it is worth adding more duel votes or boost the photo).

      Chatschik
    • I love the point about only being able to vote for pictures that you do not currently have one in the same category. I had a similar thought this morning, so glad I'm not alone!
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  • Erik: I like your number three above. I agree. So many fixed images. I often will pick the beauty of a good capture over what looks like a totally redone one. Best to have categories for those and then force all those photos in those categories.
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  • I’m undecided
    I just joined a few days ago... and what is the difference between Novice category and not... Pro only means that you paid for the upgrade??? ... so does Novice simply mean you didnt.. or can you be a Novice and still have the pro upgrade... or what???? having a duh moment... If you are in Novice do you only compete against other Novice...?

    thanks.. I love the site but dont have it down completely yet....
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  • I’m always smiling
    1
    Hi JoAnn

    First of all, welcome to Pixoto :)

    The novice category was set up to give "novices" a ladder rung of sorts, you can enter images into the novice category as long as you havent won a top 5% or better award in any other category. No cash prizes are given in this category and no photoshop is allowed.

    heres a link to the announcement, with a bit more info

    http://blog.pixoto.com/2012/05/new-ca...

    I believe you can pay for the pro upgrade and still enter Novice category, yes
    It is also my understanding that images within a category only compete against other images within the same category (not sub category) so if you enter into the "novices > flowers and plants" you could duel against images in the category "novices > landscapes" and so on

    Hope this helps a little :)
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  • I think the point that award winners make up 75% of the voting is a worrying one. People who have won awards - particularly if they have won lots of awards - are surely the ones who gain (or have gained) more by influencing the voting system?

    I also agree with the original poster that time of day seems to have an effect. For example, anything I upload between 6-7am GMT - so as to give it a good day's run while I am at work - generally fail miserably, but when I get home around 5-6 and have the chance to devote some time to "getting more votes" or resubmitting a couple of times, they tend to do better.

    I'm not arrogant enough to think that my photos deserve to win plaudits across the board; I look at some photos that have beaten mine and think "WOW!", and look at others and simply stare in disbelief for a few moments...
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  • I am wondering what percentage of posters here are award winners. I only recently got back into photography and got myself a DSLR that I am still learning to use. I have been on this site for about 5 weeks and already have an award. I am guessing maybe there are about 75% of the posters have won awards and therefore make up the 75% of the voters. Maybe someone from Pixoto can clarify if that is the case.
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  • 2
    I am confused as some others on here. I am not saying my work is the best by any means, but I have a friend who I am in friendly competition with, and in "real life" contests where you must print your photo and put it in front of professional judges, I always beat him. His stuff is so over saturated that they usually print terribly. But on here his photos skyrocket to the top, while mine hover around 450. We even submitted a nearly identical photo around the same time, and not only did his skyrocket, but we never once met in a duel, nor did we duel any of the same images, which I think is a bit odd. The only difference is that he has been a member longer than me.
    Another thing I have realized that if I bump of the saturation/vibrance on anything I submit here, it will without a doubt do better every single time.
    When I go through the duels and vote, I take time to actually look at the photo, and all the factors including composition and so forth, where I think a majority of people click on the photo with the brightest colors.
    I'm not trying to take anything away from anyone, but I am also not basing how I feel about my work on the votes I do or do not get here. I realize that getting 700+ votes here does not mean it's a good photo, just as having 450 or less make it a bad photo. On my old account one of my pieces that won several awards at NYC galleries never got above a 300 here. So I just take it as "friendly" competition and a way to see what else is out there.
    I also realize that there are very few "fine art" categories here...I've only seen them in People and Abstract, so much of my work isn't submitted because there doesn't seem to be a place for it. I also believe that different countries have different opinions and likes as far as photography. I will go to bed at 11pm EST, and be winning by 5-10 votes, but overnight I seem to always lose my lead, and when I review my duel history, a very large percentage of the photos I lost to are from countries other than the USA. I just have to realize that a lot of people aren't voting on the actual quality, composition, lighting and so forth, but clicking on their personal tastes, based on the subject matter, or what is familiar to them, and that the voting process is set up for "snap" decisions, and not a thoughtful
    process.
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  • I’m frustrated
    I agree with everything you pointed out Kimberly. I just discovered and started submitting photos to Pixoto a few days ago. At first I found it fun and entertaining to see how my photos ranked in an "unbiased" competition. Unfortunately, I've found that it is not so unbiased afterall. I realize that I'm just an amateur, but it is still frustrating to see photos that I've put effort lose to blurry snapshots. Being from the US, I also found that my photos did terribly overnight. Initially I thought I would pay for the pro account, but I don't see that happening anymore.

    I wanted to point out one thing I've discovered that I think plays a part in "bad" votes. I usually view and vote using my desktop PC with a large monitor. The other evening I decided to do some voting on my Ipad. I recognized some photos that I had previously voted against (because they were obviously out of focus etc) using my PC, but on the small screen of the Ipad, they didn't look bad at all. So besides the intentionally biased bad voters, I suspect that many voters are using smartphones and tablets when they vote, and as I discovered, you just can't get an accurate idea of the quality of a photo using these devices. Sadly, as these devices get more and more popular and less people view photos on a larger screen, I suspect the voting is just going to continue to get worse.
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