Moderator's image winning a place (2-10) in his own contest.

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I am confused. I did not think a moderator could win an award in his own contest. I did not think they could even enter their own contest. Did I misunderstand the role of the moderator?
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Debbie Salvesen

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Posted 5 years ago

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Debbie Salvesen

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I just reviewed who submitted the photos that placed and TWO of the 5 that won were submitted by the moderator! The contest I entered 4 of my Disney images to (1/5) of the 21 total entries, two of the moderator's won!!! I want my points back! I want him prevented from being a moderator. He is moderating more contests I have entered. Now I am questioning the integrity of those contests! One of them is for image disqualified by a Pixoto challenge where you could earn money. He should not be able to have his photos in that contest or any other one he runs. He certainly should NOT be able to win any awards!!!
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Debbie Salvesen

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The moderator is Gary Wahle. I have posted a similar complaint to him directly under the contest comments section TWICE in the last 30 minutes and BOTH posts have been deleted from the comments section!
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Shooting America

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Here are things to consider:

1. Moderators can enter their own contests.
2. Moderators can win in their own challenges as long as the Judges' Awards are voted upon by the members. In the past, moderators can actually award themselves, the judges awards. (I'm not sure with this one. Check with Jasenka.)
3.Pixoto doesn't interfere with any Modertor's misbehavior.
4.If you didn't like how the Moderator handled the contest, you can give him a low rating and review.

It would contribute to the fun if you post a link to the contest. ;-)
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Debbie Salvesen

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It is not right that Pixoto does not oversee the contests, especially if there is moderator misconduct. The moderator in this case has a N/A rating so I don't think my report would affect his rating. It is just not the right thing to do, especially if Pixoto wants people to keep entering contests because that is a potential revenue source for them. It is morally and ethically wrong for a moderator to enter and win in his own contest even if Pixoto doesn't have the balls to put a stop to this misconduct. No one has any integrity any more.
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Gary Wahle

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Hi Debbie, All I did was set up the challenge. I did not judge it. The challenges decided the winners in the contest. I would understand your issue if I as the judge. There were no DQs in the contest so it was not like I rigged anything. There were only 21 entries to begin with so that make odds better but I didn't decide that. Please show me where in the rules it says a person can not enter their on contest. As I said I was not the Judge nor did I Dq entries. Have a nice day. I'm sorry this has mad you so upset. I don't get paid or have any benefit from this contest, I'm only on here to have fun, not rig contest. You asked for clarification and I stated all your pictures were great. Also all the entries I made were in the contest right from the beginning. So I don't really understand the issue. I'm sorry your pictures didn't place but I didn't have anything to do with that. Please try to have a nice day, this is not worth getting so worked up.
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Anoop Namboothiri

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Having moderated about 10 contests, I agree with Gary Wahle..

If you have moderated, you know that its impossible to influence the result in any way if Pixoto voters are choosing the Judge's Award. Only thing you can do is to dq an image who would deny your images some positions like Renos had to face. But such instances are not very frequent and it is easily traceable. (Not that tracing would do some good...) At least we would be able to assess the ethical standards of such moderators and can avoid his contests in the future..

So Debbie, I strongly feel that Gary is totally innocent in this case though you had a bad experience...
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Renos Hadjikyriacou

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The rules allow that Moderators enter images in their own contests @Debbie!
I personaly never entered and will never enter in my own Challenges because of the bad "aftertaste" !! :-)
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Lenore

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with a moderator entering their own contest. They have no advantage -- they have to spend the same amount of credits to enter their photos as everyone else. They don't decide the winner -- the Pixoto voters do.

We used to have a situation here at Pixoto where a moderator could pick their own photo as the winner. When someone started abusing this constantly, a great fuss was made and this policy was changed. So, if a moderator wants to pick the winner, then they cannot enter their own contest. But if the voters pick the winner, then they can enter their own contest and I cannot think of any reason why this is unfair or somehow an example of "misconduct".
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Michael Moore

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I agree Lenore.
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Renos Hadjikyriacou

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@Lenore: " I cannot think of any reason why this is unfair"

Lenore, i can only tell you what happened to me. The Moderator just disqualified my Image although it matched the rules so that his gets an Award. I asked him several times why and never got an answer. :-(
Most of the Awards that "Moderator" has, are from his own challenges!

PS: If you like i can send you the comments link!
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Lenore

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Renos, that is terrible and sounds like someone is trying to get around the rules. I think Pixoto should investigate that. But I don't think it's reason enough to suggest a ban on having moderators enter their own contests. Heck, if that happened, the moderator you mention would likely set up a dummy account to run the contests and then do the same thing. People who are cheaters will always find a way to cheat :-)

One thing that would prevent what happened to you from happening again would be for Pixoto to remove the ability to disqualify images once a contest starts voting. Once the duels have started, it should all be up to the voters. I would support that change to the rules :-)
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Janet Rose

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Thats really terrible
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Renos Hadjikyriacou

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I think removing the ability to disqualify Images after a challenge started voting will bring more Problems. When you have over 1000 entries ist not always easy to check all Images if they match with the rules, sometimes it can happen that the moderator overlooks an Image. What if that overlooked Image that does not fit the rules is about to make an Award?? No way for the moderator to disqualify it and thats not fair at all to the others that fit the rules.
Maybe Moderators should be able to tick or mark a box on the challenge that says-shows if he is entering or not entering in his own challenge. Then everyone can decide if they like to submit Images in that challenge!!!
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Lenore

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Renos, having a box, as you suggest, where the moderator can indicate if they've entered the contest is a great idea. Or, even, the software Pixoto uses should be able to detect that and it should automatically be indicated.

I would have no objections whatsoever if Pixoto implemented that. In the interest of keeping everything transparent and open, your idea is perfect.

With regards to disqualifying after voting has started, I have had to do that myself, but what I would suggest is, if voting has started and an image needs to be disqualified, that the moderator should be able to ask Pixoto to do it (the disqualification) AND provide a reasonable and valid reason. I think the honest and legitimate moderators would be able to provide reasonable grounds and the dishonest moderators would not want to call attention to themselves with an unreasonable request.

Of course, I could be wearing rose-coloured glasses :-), but I think most moderators are honest. It's the bad apples, like the one you're having problems with, that can ruin things for everyone.
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Anoop Namboothiri

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You have a valid point Lenore.. But there are some practical difficulty for the togs like us.. Here the closing of a Pixoto day is around 5am.. So even if you are awake till 12 midnight, you're gonna miss a good last 5 hrs of the deadline. When you look in the morning, the contest would be already under voting..

May be we can say a moderator can dq only till 24 hrs after the voting has begun or something similar. But more rules mean more complication.. And as you said, dishonest ones would always find ways around every precaution we take...

May we can warn the members like Renos suggested so that they can decide whether to go for it or not..
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Kevin Lucas

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I agree with Renos and Lenore here. I think the system indicating if a moderator is entered into the contest is a great move in the right direction. It offers a genuine transparency that I think fosters good nature. I do also see Anoops point about time zone issues. Not sure how to approach that. Lenores suggestion that dqs be handled through a Pixoto rep seems fair but I have to wonder if they have those kinds of resources to manage the added process.

I wonder if there could be a way that other site members would do that piece. Maybe some kind of holding area for dq s made free voting started where that members could thumbs up or thumbs down the moderators devotion to dq it?
(Edited)
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Jasenka, Official Rep

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Hello Debbie, as all have already explained, if moderator selected that Judge's award will be selected by users voting (so moderator will not select Judge's award), moderator can enter contest it has created. When moderator chooses he will select Judge's award, it is impossible for moderator to enter his own images.

I hope this helps.
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Debbie Salvesen

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It should be clearly stated in the description of the contest whether or not the moderator is choosing the Judge's Award. Just because your company, Pixoto, has made it possible for moderators to win in their own contests does not make it right. One of the images that won an award is the image on the contest page itself! Now, if Pixoto doesn't allow identifying marks, then surely having the image glaring at the voters each time the contest page or even Pixoto's general list of available contests page are viewed, unfairly increases the chances of this image being voted for more often. Just because someone can do something doesn't mean they should from an ethical standpoint.
I am an amateur photographer, so when I found this site, I was elated because I thought it was a good way to see how my images fared against other ones. I take it very seriously when I enter your company's contests. I have spent MANY hours voting just so I could earn enough credits to enter my images since finances are tight. To discover a moderator can win awards in a contest he is running just reeks of collusion and suspicion. I admit, I am still learning all of the rules of this site, but I never suspected this was even allowed so I would never have questioned or researched it in your rules.
It just is not ethically right for a contest moderator to be able to win awards in his own contest. Doesn't anyone else see how this is a red flag to amateur (even pro) photographers? I live in Chicago and this immediately reminded me of how elections were run, especially when the senior D administration was in power. This turn of events has really discouraged me from entering anymore of your contests. It is a shady, slippery slope that can easily be manipulated in favor of the moderator.
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Jasenka, Official Rep

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Hello Debbie, on contest page it clearly states who choses Judge's award.
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Anoop Namboothiri

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Hi Debbie, I too was baffled initially at the way some contests were moderated. There was a moderator who would always opt to choose the judge's awards. Eventually the winner would be from a group of 3 or 4 togs who incidentally were staying the same or the nearby state in US where the moderator stays. Could be real friends of his won fake accounts And the winning images were almost at the bottom of the voter's choice. Really frustrating..

Also there were some specific challenges like " A horse standing on three legs looking eastward" (imaginary :-) ) kind of themes. The only eligible ones would be entered by the moderator, And his friends would enter some non sense entries that would be dq'd.. So the Pixoto voters would be forced to elect his own as the best!

But later I understood that such moderators are really a minority and what best they are getting is the ill fame and very few credit points. The Judge's Award won't provide you with a single coffee even! They chose to don the role of a sleazy personality for nothing in fact..

So I simply avoid their contests and go for the majority who are right minded and who would take pains to make sure that the contest is run ethically. Thats why I'm quite ok even if they dq some of my images as I know their intention is good..

So I would suggest to have fun here whenever possible and shun bad characters as we do always do in any public place. After all Pixoto too is a cross section of people with all characters..

Have a nice time and Happy Pixoting ..
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Debbie Salvesen

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jasenka: I have not been referring to the Judge's Award! I have been talking about all of the awards excluding the Judge's Award.
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Jasenka, Official Rep

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Debbie, moderator in either contests (one where he choses Judge's award, or one where voters chose Judge's award) can not select who will won places #2-#10 or percentage awards - votes chose that in all contests.

I hope this helps.
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Debbie Salvesen

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I have never said the moderator does. I just don't think it is ethical for a moderator to submit his own images into a contest that he moderates! It just doesn't sit right with me. Just because someone CAN do something doesn't mean they SHOULD do it! I like Renos decision NOT to enter his images in the contests he moderates because of the negative feeling. He has integrity at a much deeper level than someone who does something because he CAN. Renos acknowledges how submitting his images in his contests appear to the amateur photographer like myself, so he refrains from doing what he CAN because he knows he SHOULDN'T.
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Janet Rose

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Really Debbie I think we all got your views on this now so perhaps it's time to let it go.
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Kevin Lucas

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For what it's worth (seems germane to the thread) I created my first contest (Sun Through Leaves). I have DQ'd some very beautiful shots as I felt they didn't address the objective. When I created the contest I just ASSUMED it would be in bad taste to enter my own contest given that I was able to DQ images. I see now that it is possible to enter my own images but I still wouldn't feel right about that. That being said, the converse is also true.

If I was NOT able to DQ images, I would feel more comfortable entering into my own contest. In this scenario, however, it would be paramount to clearly define the rules at the start so images entered were pertinent. I can imagine that inappropriate images submitted to a contest would be a difficult thing to mitigate so perhaps the current procedure is suitable but maybe an added piece that if a moderator selects to have the ability to DQ an image, then he also is then not able to enter the contest. Just a thought. I'I'm still learning how the contests work so this may be un-workable.

I also wanted to mention that this site is about creative expression. It's not a site to learn how to fix your water heater. When you're dealing with someone's deeply personal expression, there is bound to be passion behind input on forums like this. I wonder if those of us who feel very strongly about things should look at our motivations and try to keep things in perspective. No sense in putting bad karma out there and ultimately, (and unfortunately) there will always be those who will fan the fire. Let's approach these issues with empathy and perspective. Be nice. This is fun!
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Lenore

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Kevin, a moderator HAS to be able to disqualify images in their contest. There are too many people on Pixoto who enter their photos into contests without bothering to read the rules (and to be fair, English is not the first language for a lot of Pixoto users so it may be that they don't understand the rules sometimes). Having no DQ's in a contest would just be giving all those folks a free pass.

I've moderated lots and lots of contests -- I've had colour photos in my black-and-white-only contests, people photos in my animals-only contests, black and white photos in my contests with a colour theme, etc etc. To allow those photos to stay in the contests would have been unfair to all the people who had entered photos that followed the contest's rules.
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Kevin Lucas

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Understood. Given that reality, I'm not sure I see a better way to handle this than is being done now with, possibly, the exception of not allowing moderators to enter items in their own contests. I don't know enough about this whole thing yet to say if I think that's right or not. As I understand the process presently, I just know I wouldn't feel right entering into my own but I know some feel differently and they may have a very good reason for it that I simply am not aware of. I also am not judging anyone who would enter into their own contest as it is a rule for everyone and not just some.

There won't ever be a rule made that won't be abused and I think the goal should be to set things up as fairly as is practical. Given that moderators seem to have a kind of "quality points" assigned to them (which I don't completely understand yet), I think Pixoto is doing a reasonable job in eventually weeding out those that abuse the rule.

I'm curious if you could tell me, in general, how many (maybe by percentage) how many entries you typically end up DQ'ing from a contest.

Thank you so much for your experienced insight. Have a great day!
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Lenore

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Kevin, Janet makes some great points (her post is just below). Adding to what she says, I enter all my contests. I wouldn't bother creating a contest in a subject that doesn't interest me and in which I don't have photos that fit the theme. When the submissions deadline has been reached and the voting starts, all the images are on a level playing field and it is the voters who decide the winners. That gives me no advantage whatsoever.

As far as disqualifying images, the colour contests I ran last year are memorably the worst for me, with lots of photos either the wrong colour or black-and-white photos being entered. I won't do colour contests again. (In fact, I am not planning any contests in the near future. There are already too many and they clog up the duels, making it so the regular duels -- which are the most important -- happen with less frequency. Pixoto has placed restrictions on how many duels someone can run at one time but I believe the restrictions need to be much tighter.)
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Michael Moore

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I agree with Lenore. If you have a particular interest it is almost asking members to pit their images against yours, providing it is moderated correctly there should be no problems. Like Lenore the problems I have experience are on interpretation especially were colour is concerned. 'Loose' descriptions can also be a problem.
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Kevin Lucas

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You both make it much clearer. Thank you for explaining this to me.
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Janet Rose

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Kevin, when I first joined I was not understanding why Moderators were allowed to enter their own competitions but now that I have a greater understanding of the processes this is how I see it.
Contests keep the site interesting, moderators win a point for each entry.
Now if for some they don't like to enter their own contests then thats fine but I cannot see any reason why they should not. If you have a particular interest in a subject - we all have a few then why not set up a contest in that subject? Any member may enter as many times ( rules allowing) as they wish including the moderator.
The moderator DQs entries that are not eating the criteria, sadly there are one or two souls who cannot help being unfair and DQ a few that they should not, luckily the majority of the Moderators do a fine job. The contests are a bit of fun, keep the site interesting and keep people motivated.
Moderators are not working for Pixoto, they are photographers too and why should they not pit their work against others, there is no benefit to being a moderator as all votes cast are done so by the public on the voting system, except earning points for setting up which they would get anyway, there are no points to be won.
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Kevin Lucas

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I can see your point Janet. Thank you for your input. I probably still won't enter my own contests but at least now I understand I wouldn't be cast out from the village if I did :)

Thanks again.
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Anoop Namboothiri

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Thats the truth Janet..

Only in cases, where the moderator decides the Judge's Award, the should not enter, This is more out of ethics rather than legality.
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Lenore

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Agreed. It was a good move by Pixoto to disallow that last year. To have kept that in place would have been so wrong :-)
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Kevin Lucas

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Thank you for the input Anoop.
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Ada Irizarry-Montalvo

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I am still new at Pixoto. I wanted to comment on the moderators entering their own contests after one particular contest that just closed. The moderator won 21 awards, including 7 of the top 10 awards, (3) 10% awards, and (11) 20% awards. Her images are stunning, that's for sure, but it really seems that the reason for her moderating this (and any other contest she moderates) is to win awards, as to the number of images she enters. I did not count how many images she actually entered, but out of 158 images submitted, she won 13%. In my opinion, moderators' entries should be limited. I understand that Pixoto voters decide, so all images have the same chance. My point has to do with percentages. If a moderator enters 20% (or more) of her/his images in his/her contest, the chances for winning awards increases.

I don't know if my views on the subject make any sense, and perhaps I am being redundant, but I wanted to put this out there. My comments have NOTHING to do with whether I won an award or not. Even if I have won an award, I would still feel the same way.
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Debbie Salvesen

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I agree with you. If you read some of my other posts, you will see I have written similar comments, but to no avail. The Pilot staff may respond, but unfortunately nothing will change.

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