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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 04 Sep 2012 (Tuesday) 17:31
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The lack of critiques in the critique section

 
onona
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Sep 04, 2012 17:31 |  #1

This is probably a sensitive subject to bring up and my intention really isn't to ruffle any feathers or come off as snobby, but honestly - the critique forum here is really disappointing. There's just hardly any actual critique, and even worse than that, I am seeing so many threads with photos getting one line fanboy responses like "great set!" when the photos are, well, not great. Yeah yeah, I know there's an element of subjectivity in judging any kind of creative output, but there are also many principles which do make for good photography, and when they're ignored, the results are more likely to be mediocre to poor. Let's not pretend that every photo is a masterpiece - we all started off somewhere and for the majority of us, our initial steps into this medium yielded pretty poor results, which is why we look for feedback to improve.

What I find frustrating is that these one line fluffy posts really do more harm than good, because they distort peoples' perceptions of their own skills, and that's detrimental to their development in their craft. Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? In order to overcome that problem, development of a realistic sense of self-awareness with regards to your abilities is absolutely essential for the sake of learning, because we have to have a realistic gauge of our abilities if we're to remain open to how much we need to learn.

I realise that not everyone aspires to be a masterful photographer, but it's particularly irksome when people post batches of photos specifically asking for honest feedback because they want to learn, and instead of people actually posting proper insight, they're responding with these useless one liners. Are people afraid to be honest? Or do people not really know how to critique? Or, perhaps, are people wary of posting critique because they don't want to be seen as the nasty ogre amongst all the puffy back-patting posts?

This forum has a "Critique corner" as well as a larger "Photo sharing" section. I can understand fanboy fluff in the sharing section, and I had previously assumed the critique section was there for more serious feedback, but to my disappointment it isn't - I keep opening threads, seeing problematic photos, and then scrolling down the page hoping to see some interesting feedback, but it really seems that 95% of the responses are these pointless one liners. I'm not suggesting that every thread poster should be greeted with a soul-crushing rant about how crap their work is, but honestly it's disheartening to someone like myself who wants to learn to keep encountering a total lack of insight in the overwhelming majority of threads.

I see this as a part of the increasing social trend of celebrating mediocrity, and it's something I'm finding really frustrating to keep encountering. How is anyone to rise up and really shine if they're encouraged to settle for their mediocre work by all this back-patting and ego-boosting? You simply can't build a constructive culture of learning in the middle of a culture of back-patters.

I think it's also important to note that it's not just critique that's missing, but also positive insight - explaining why you like an image is also very constructive for those reading the thread; understanding why people respond positively to images helps other members to better grasp why certain things work.

Am I expecting too much from the critique forum?


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John37
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Sep 04, 2012 17:42 |  #2

I agree with this for the most part. Some times I'll see 100 views and maybe 2 responses. Much of the time critisizm isn't constructive, it's insulting. Personally, I don't care if my images are called "poor", "great" or even "crappy"! So long as you state your reason for saying so. That way I can take from it what is needed to improve and move forward.
I think it's just the nature of large forums.


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onona
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Sep 04, 2012 17:48 |  #3

You raise a good point - the short negative ones which don't explain anything. Just posting "this photo sucks" doesn't help anyone. Shortly after signing up here, I saw a thread with some admittedly quite badly done HDR images, but some of the responses were downright rude, and in no way even remotely helpful.

Critique should be constructive at all times.


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watt100
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Sep 04, 2012 18:44 |  #4

onona wrote in post #14947947 (external link)
This is probably a sensitive subject to bring up and my intention really isn't to ruffle any feathers or come off as snobby, but honestly - the critique forum here is really disappointing. There's just hardly any actual critique, and even worse than that, I am seeing so many threads with photos getting one line fanboy responses like "great set!" when the photos are, well, not great. Yeah yeah, I know there's an element of subjectivity in judging any kind of creative output, but there are also many principles which do make for good photography, and when they're ignored, the results are more likely to be mediocre to poor. Let's not pretend that every photo is a masterpiece - we all started off somewhere and for the majority of us, our initial steps into this medium yielded pretty poor results, which is why we look for feedback to improve.

What I find frustrating is that these one line fluffy posts really do more harm than good, because they distort peoples' perceptions of their own skills, and that's detrimental to their development in their craft. Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? In order to overcome that problem, development of a realistic sense of self-awareness with regards to your abilities is absolutely essential for the sake of learning, because we have to have a realistic gauge of our abilities if we're to remain open to how much we need to learn.

I realise that not everyone aspires to be a masterful photographer, but it's particularly irksome when people post batches of photos specifically asking for honest feedback because they want to learn, and instead of people actually posting proper insight, they're responding with these useless one liners. Are people afraid to be honest? Or do people not really know how to critique? Or, perhaps, are people wary of posting critique because they don't want to be seen as the nasty ogre amongst all the puffy back-patting posts?

This forum has a "Critique corner" as well as a larger "Photo sharing" section. I can understand fanboy fluff in the sharing section, and I had previously assumed the critique section was there for more serious feedback, but to my disappointment it isn't - I keep opening threads, seeing problematic photos, and then scrolling down the page hoping to see some interesting feedback, but it really seems that 95% of the responses are these pointless one liners. I'm not suggesting that every thread poster should be greeted with a soul-crushing rant about how crap their work is, but honestly it's disheartening to someone like myself who wants to learn to keep encountering a total lack of insight in the overwhelming majority of threads.
I see this as a part of the increasing social trend of celebrating mediocrity, and it's something I'm finding really frustrating to keep encountering. How is anyone to rise up and really shine if they're encouraged to settle for their mediocre work by all this back-patting and ego-boosting? You simply can't build a constructive culture of learning in the middle of a culture of back-patters.

I think it's also important to note that it's not just critique that's missing, but also positive insight - explaining why you like an image is also very constructive for those reading the thread; understanding why people respond positively to images helps other members to better grasp why certain things work.

Am I expecting too much from the critique forum?

I don't venture in the "Critique Corner" much but I just checked it out and found quite a few serious responses in the threads, some with multiple pages averaging 5 - 15 replies. And from what saw (in the past 24 hours) very few, if any, of the responses said "great set.
So yes, it could be you !
Maybe we're all swimming in the "sea of mediocrity" and don't know it




  
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goldboughtrue
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Sep 04, 2012 18:53 |  #5
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I wholeheartedly agree with you. Whenever I comment on a picture in the photo sharing section I always try to say something specific that I liked rather than "#2 for me". I don't go in Critiques that often, but when I do, I make constructive comments because that's what the person wants in that section.


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onona
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Sep 04, 2012 19:00 |  #6

watt100 wrote in post #14948185 (external link)
I don't venture in the "Critique Corner" much but I just checked it out and found quite a few serious responses in the threads, some with multiple pages averaging 5 - 15 replies. And from what saw (in the past 24 hours) very few, if any, of the responses said "great set.
So yes, it could be you

With all due respect, I don't think you really took a good, long look at that forum. The majority of comments posted there over the last week or so are no longer than a short sentence.


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Laramie
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Sep 04, 2012 19:04 |  #7

onona wrote in post #14947996 (external link)
You raise a good point - the short negative ones which don't explain anything. Just posting "this photo sucks" doesn't help anyone. Shortly after signing up here, I saw a thread with some admittedly quite badly done HDR images, but some of the responses were downright rude, and in no way even remotely helpful.

Critique should be constructive at all times.

I feel the same way as John. The short negative critiques really aren't helpful. If I take the time to critique, I will at least type out a few sentences. I'm not going to pick apart the entire photo, but if something jumps out at me, I'll take some type to explain my response but always in a helpful and respectful way.


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watt100
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Sep 04, 2012 19:23 |  #8

onona wrote in post #14948253 (external link)
With all due respect, I don't think you really took a good, long look at that forum. The majority of comments posted there over the last week or so are no longer than a short sentence.

With all due respect, most responses seem to be on point, covering what the OP asked for about their photo. Sure, they may not be more than a sentence long but a detailed paragraph from each respondent .... are the pics that bad?!

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdis​play.php?f=12




  
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onona
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Sep 04, 2012 19:28 |  #9

I don't want to single out threads as examples, as that would be spiteful, but I'm not going to argue this with you, watt100. I've been reading through all the threads being posted there everyday for the last 1-2 weeks, and the majority of responses are not what I'd consider helpful, either with regards to providing insightful and helpful critique or elaborating on positive responses.


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onona
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Sep 04, 2012 19:35 |  #10

Something that is quite interesting though is that when a thread does get a few longer than usual replies, the rest of the posts in that thread often follow suit. In other words, threads either tend to have loads of short one line responses, or a couple of longer replies, with the former being more common than the latter. It's almost as if you need someone to get the ball rolling by posting a long reply, and the others post long replies to follow it.


Leigh
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watt100
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Sep 04, 2012 19:44 |  #11

onona wrote in post #14948346 (external link)
I've been reading through all the threads being posted there everyday for the last 1-2 weeks, and the majority of responses are not what I'd consider helpful, either with regards to providing insightful and helpful critique or elaborating on positive responses.

OK, fine
make it your mission to improve the quality of those critiques !
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdis​play.php?f=12




  
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Laramie
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Sep 04, 2012 19:47 |  #12

watt100 wrote in post #14948402 (external link)
OK, fine
make it your mission to improve the quality of those critiques !
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdis​play.php?f=12

Not trying to get between you and onona but I think we could all be improving the C&C.

If you see a bunch of fanboy fluff OR a bunch of short, overly critical comments, jump in and give the OP some helpful feedback. Don't let the trolls (positive or negative) take over, jump in and help. :)


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onona
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Sep 04, 2012 19:49 |  #13

But it shouldn't just be up to a few of us, watt100 - when people hit that post button, they should take the time to say something really thoughtful. There are certain people around (and you get these on every forum) who seem to visit solely to spam five word spam to as many threads as possible. Don't you think it'd be better to post a few long responses as opposed to loads of short ones? It just seems like a better way to spend time.

At the end of the day, this really boils down to my desire to learn more from this site, and I'm sure there are others who feel the same way. Sharing thoughts and ideas is a great way for all participants in a discussion to learn something new, and I just wish more people put in the time to do so.


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watt100
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Sep 04, 2012 19:51 |  #14

Laramie wrote in post #14948409 (external link)
Not trying to get between you and onona but I think we could all be improving the C&C.

If you see a bunch of fanboy fluff OR a bunch of short, overly critical comments, jump in and give the OP some helpful feedback. Don't let the trolls (positive or negative) take over, jump in and help. :)

I looking at it right now
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdis​play.php?f=12
and picking up some threads at random
I swear, I don't see "fanboy fluff" or trolls with overly positive or negative comments
I see spot on remarks, (and the occasional funny stuff !)




  
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kfreels
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Sep 04, 2012 19:52 |  #15

watt100 wrote in post #14948402 (external link)
OK, fine
make it your mission to improve the quality of those critiques !
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdis​play.php?f=12

Just what I was going to say. But hey, let's go one step further. Send me some links to your stuff and I'll post some solid C&C.


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