voting for bad images

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i think folks are voting for lesser quality images to improve their odds of winning....since we can see those we duel against its kinda obvious, is my work perfect NO, but no way a blurry poorly composed shot should beat a good composition that is sharp and appealing.....i don't understand...is there a way for admin to see this too? seems a bit unfair to me....
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denise johnson

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Posted 8 years ago

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Tigi Borg

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Another example how people DO NOT VIEW THE IMAGES, while voting.

http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

This is Photoshop (art or no art, irrelevant). In a real shooting against the sun(set), any bird or object would be back lit,and not front lit, like this FAKE BIRD in the poorly set up scene! Such lightning of the object, here the bird, is practically impossible if you don't have a set of reflectors by, in which case you can forget any bird flying so close to you and camera! :(

I reported the image as PHOTOSHOP, and not LANDSCAPE & NATURE > WATERSCAPES.

Dear Players, please do at least some minimal effort to analyze the images in duel and find and do not award such cheap tricks that "CATCH THE EYE", just to "get by and get very quickly into "orbit" (660 plus points)!!!!

By letting so blatantly photoshoped images into contest, by awarding them vith our votes, we don't do anything good to photography, to the community!!

Please, Stop Being Blind and start voting with some responsibility!!
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Terry Gower

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i agree with this shot and others are obviously photoshopped but not entered i that catergory
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Mark Miller

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I think this is absolutely still a problem. My best guess is that there several causes:

1) A number of people are running voting scripts/macros and that reduces the success of an image to a coin flip.

2) Deliberate vote worse voting.

The argument that Pixoto can detect it somehow because it appears as an anomaly isn't accurate. The problem there is, when it becomes the majority of voting it doesn't appear as an anomaly anymore - it looks normal.

The site is getting worse it seems like sometimes, not better I'm afraid.
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Jason Kiefer, Official Rep

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I'll have to disagree with the technical elements of this Mark.

1) some people do vote that way - it's easy to find because they don't vote like the vast majority of our users. Their votes are discounted but still show up in history so it can be deceiving. We are going to remove the bad votes from history (i.e. if they don't count we won't show them) early next month with the launch of Version 1.

2) While it is true that if you had a incredibly large group of users voting always for the worst images they would become the new norm - that clearly hasn't happened. I just spent a half an hour going through the top photos from this week on the site and while I could quibble with many of the placements it is incredibly clear that the cream is rising - some of the photos simply take my breath away. With thousands of unique voters daily on the site it just wouldn't be possible to get a large enough voting block to change the norm. So long as a new norm isn't established then we will always be able to tell who is voting against the good images.

I don't want to sound dismissive. I take voting irregularities and quality very seriously. I only take issue with the points you made above because I don't think the system actually works that way.

I do want to look into any way we can improve the system and am curious why you think the site is getting worse. Do you have some examples from your experience we could take a look at? Do you feel this way based on your experiences with your own photos or with the quality of the images that are on the top of the leaderboard? Any feedback helps. Thanks!
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Mark Miller

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I appreciate your response and insight Jason. I base my opinions only on observation but there are numerous examples on the Leaderboard every day. I have, on some days, voted in as many as 300+ image duels. I very closely follow not just my own submissions but several of the top categories as well. I repeatedly see inferior images winning duels over clearly superior images. It's not even a subjective quality in some of the photos but a clear technical superiority as well.

I agree that there are some tremendous images on Pixoto but there are some horrendous images as well. It should not come as a surprise when a good image wins over a poor one. When it routinely and repeatedly happens it's not a coincidence when the opposite is true as well. I can't validate my opinions with any real data but user perception is an important variable to consider and the sentiment isn't isolated from what I see here on the community boards.

The changes you mentioned here and elsewhere for Version 1 may address some of the issues. I'm not sure how to feel about discounted votes. What if my vote is discounted and I just don't know it? Removing the display of the discounted votes, to me says it's enough of problem that it's being factored into the scoring and there is an attempt to counter the effect, meaning that there is an effect.

I wish the changes or improvements would come sooner than later.
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BF Clark

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I have intentionally stayed away from the site hoping that the voting issues would be fixed. I submitted 4 images a bit ago and watched them lose to images that were out of focus, poorly lit with terrible composition. It is obvious that the issues are not fixed. Pixoto responses keep saying they are catching those intentionally voting for bad images but they are not. It's pretty clear they aren't. How sad that something meant to be fun has turned into what it has. It has clearly made me lose heart in this site and I am seriously thinking about deleting my account.
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Jason Kiefer, Official Rep

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I'm sorry to hear that Bobbie. If you want to send examples I'll look into they specifics and see if we can figure out what is going on.

I noticed that you said that the images were technically inferior to yours. Mostly I think voters on Pixoto don't judge so much on the technical aspects of the image but on the how much the subject engages them and the story it tells (the average person takes only 3 seconds to decide which is better). Can you comment on how the subjects of the images compared?

I'm deeply devoted to making Pixoto the best it can be and so any and all feedback is valuable.

Thanks
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BF Clark

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Jason last I checked you could only pull up four comparison images. It is difficult to give you data when the data is no longer there. Knowing that there are so many complaints should be evidence that there is indeed a problem.
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Janette Fraser

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Although I earlier doubted that there was a problem with nationalist or cultural voting then I doubt no longer. The ties between Indonesia, the Philippines and countries in that region are very strong and I believe that even if they are not deliberately voting for images that are to do with their own countries then I now believe that they vote for images that they feel more comfortable with, and that meet the expectations of their cultural stereotypes of beauty, masculinity, femininity, and general memes, tropes, norms and values that matter to them.

Culturally, the internet is not yet the great uniter across all cultural divides and this is expressed in the voting... even when they aren't just downright voting for their own region (which does happen sometimes).
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Jason Kiefer, Official Rep

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Jannette - I thought this might be the case myself. We see a lot of Indonesian images all over the leaderboard. However the fact is the Indonesians, on average, vote the same way as Americans and Brits (Canadian's seem to have a bias against themselves for some reason).

That said - the bigger reason why you see so many images towards the top of the leaderboard is not bias but quantity. We are INCREDIBLY popular in Indonesia with nearly 1/5 of our members residing there and 1/5 of the images received being from the region. Indonesians not any more likely to win an award than a photographer from any other region.

I hope this helps.
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Nathan Cool

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I agree with Jason, in that it's not likely rigged or intentional but cultural taste. It's a shame though, since it's difficult to score in some categories like portrait with American photos, since that category is so dominated by Indonesians, and that our images are not likely as pleasing to them. And wow...20% of Pixoto members are from Indonesia...certainly explains a lot.
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Janette Fraser

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[Addendum]

I also wish to note that I'm a strong advocate and activist when it comes to direct democracy in politics and have written papers on the subject, so this has been a very interesting learning experience for me - to see it put into practise within precise limits of photo competition.

In diverse cultural semi-direct democracies that have peoples from several cultural backgrounds there is a levelling of the way via opposing initiatives where things get ironed out before anything goes to referendum. We have no such procedures here and we're seeing the dominance of one cultural group and their norms, memes and values over another group.

The intention of Pixoto is good but people are complex beings when it comes to favourites and cultural preferences. I think some checks and balances need to be put in place before we start voting so that we have a more level playing field. We also need to talk to the photographers from other cultures more so that we and them understand and can relate to each other more without dismissing any element of the human experience in our photographs simply because it is beyond our experience *specifically* if not *generally* - as human beings of all cultures share the same needs and requirements of food, shelter, acceptance of their voices, inclusion, education, to have a mate, to love, and to follow ones Will...

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
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Making Memories Photography

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I put a pic that is just as good and many like it are up to over 700 in score, but mine did not make it to that score, why? it is because of the flawed voting, with so many voting against you, especially americans to give their friends the advantage, the voting does not work fairly at all. You see the same people at the top all the time, year after year, month after month. I stopped uploading for awhile, went on a trip, to take some pics came back and decided to test the voting. It is disappointing. Redbubble.com is a better sight for competitions and for selling ones works. You can not solicit for votes, here they solicit for votes all the time.
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Shane Peterson

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If you guys want to see a REAL photo website, check out 1x.com ... now that is a place for artwork. That site is not diluted with worthless crap snapshots like this one.
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Michelle Meenawong

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I'm very disappointed as well. I loved the old pixoto but now the fun is gone
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Tigi Borg

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After last two months of "cruising" with different thematic images through various (sub)categories, I found a very interesting point, which is described also in some other topics, but I think that main focus belongs here.

Many of our Indonesian fellow photographers, as well many other too, seem to be scattering the one and the same type of image to various categories, aiming to win and re-win, as many times they can! One example is the series of photos of children playing in or jumping in the water (river?). Instead of submitting ALL of these images to People / Children, the same type of image, or the same series of images, appear in so many different categories, making it pointless to count.

There are many more motives being spread through numerous variation over almost each and every (sub)category.

I have the moral dilemma. Some of these images are good, indeed, at least from technical side. Being obviously deliberately submitted to wrong categories, these images start to annoy me to a point of considering them: BAD IMAGES. Not because their authors origin from any particular part of the world, but because it is obvious that these authors try to outsmart all of us with their "clever tactics".

So, my moral dilemma is: how to vote in such case.

a) to award the image that is correctly categorized, even if it is not exactly on the same technical level as other that's intentionally wrongly categorized?

b) to award the wrongly categorized image with my vote and help it win the prize, even knowing that it will hurt people that play by the rules?

c) to skip and don't let either image collect my voice? In that case, I don't reward neither the technically better, nor the properly categorized image.

Since the reporting of so many wrongly categorized images don't seem to be helping, I am really confused about what is right and what i wrong.

In traditional photo contests, it is normal to dismiss any images that do not respond to the rules. And it happens before actual judging starts. Here, we have to deal with the ever larger problem in a fraction of time.

I'd like to hear your opinion on this, as well as Jason's. It will be important to have a recommendation or share our thoughts on this subject, because, a wrongly categorized image, and specially when it is clear to be so deliberately done, consists to me - a BAD IMAGE.

But, I myself, may be wrong and therefore biased.

Sunny greetings to All of you fellow Togs! :)
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Janette Fraser

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Anything in a wrong category then I don't vote for (I vote for the one in the right category) - unless I've voted faster than noticing it's wrongly categorised, which happened once or twice. I'll usually report wrongly categorised images in my category when I see them.
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Janette Fraser

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Check out this decision:

http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

won against this (mine):

http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

I've re-submitted this picture several times but each round I lose once or twice to something that's poorly lit, out of focus, over-saturated, badly composed... and I'm just tired of it. I can't be bothered playing any more because I don't have fun here now - I just get mad at the idiots. There's too many voting trolls here... so I'm off. Bye Pixoto! Please delete my account, and stuff your awards!
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Janette Fraser

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You know why I use Pixoto? Not to win awards... I liked the feedback. Note the past tense here? I liked it that I could put an image up and get a pretty good impression as to how good it actually was instead of relying on my own subjective preferences. That's why I was here... but now I can't trust pixoto to give me that feedback any more.

Yes - perhaps the top images are the cream and that's still rising but I didn't come here to win an award. I just wanted accurate feedback on my pictures from the tog community.
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Making Memories Photography

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They just don't comment enough, no one helps you improve. This is why I prefer RedBubble.com. I deleted my pixoto account. Something is just not right and it is not fun.
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Janette Fraser

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Making Memories Photography

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The one photo is so very bad, lots of noise in the shot, and it is also very blurry it is really horrible. To me you have the proof about the voting not working. Same people win etc. Something is not right about this sight, and I have seen stollen works on this sight. I am also concerned about works being stollen from this sight.
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Janette Fraser

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Yes, I'm going to stop listing examples now. I think there's enough evidence here, and I'm sure that everyone will have had enough similar experiences to mine that they'll tell pixoto this isn't an isolated incident.

I'll pop back in a couple of months to see if anything's changed, but for now - chow, bye, and buena suerte - Pixoto.
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Janette Fraser

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Janette Fraser

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And this... http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...
(I lost to a leaf..? *sigh*)

http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...
(flat - no sunlight and messy)

http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...
(do I really need to explain..?)
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Janette Fraser

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I lost to these too -

(twice in a row to the battered purple Jakata meanie!)
http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...
(I'm not sure exactly what fate this poor flower suffered (is that disco glitter and glue?) but I feel terribly sorry for it...)

And btw - I'm only pulling out the really glaring examples here.
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Michelle Meenawong

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I agree with Janette. Good that you spent time to look against which pics you lost, I even don't do this anymore because I cannot change anything. I'm on Pixoto almost one year but it changed too much. I've lost interest and don't upload any pictures any more until it changes.
To Making memories Photography: I also like RedBubble. Real comments and also a chance to sell your pics. By trhe way, I've found you on RedBubble (I'm a member as well, under mimeen)
And, Tigi I agree with you as well. I don't know how to play the duels when I see a picture hundreds of time or in a wrong category. I skip as well but it's not fair for the other one. It's a real dilemma but what can we do when the fun is gone?
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Natasha Shakhnes

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What really annoys me is not the fact of unfair voting, but the attempts to deny this problem.
I'll have a look at RedBubble.
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Mark Miller

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I still see the issue on a daily basis. It's very frustrating. I've looked at several other websites as well and am trying to transition more work there. You can find me on 500px, RedBubble and 1x.com also (I really like the Critique on 1x but it's brutal).

I'd love to see Pixoto refine and roll out their updates soon. The site is still the best conceptually, but the flaws are making it less and less fun. I pay less attention and spend less time here lately. That's something I'd be concerned with if I were the developers.
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Making Memories Photography

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Your right about 1X being very critical, but is is constructive, the comments of how I can do better has helped me improve technically. For instance, I have a outdoor wedding coming up, at of all hours it is for 2p.m. You know how hard the mid day shooting can be. I have purchased some reflectors, and I am doing a lot of practicing during that time of day. Will look you up on Redbubble and 1x.
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Mark Miller

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When are the changes going to be implement Jason? I don't think any of these issues are isolated incidents. I see the same problem every single day, across every category.

It's absolutely happening and to ignore the problem is thumbing your nose at the community feedback. I'm getting more and more discouraged by losing to substandard images. I've literally gone though 1000 points on resubmission (because you've suggested that instead of buying more votes) and I'm getting tired of wasting the effort.

Even using the Report This Image seems to do nothing anymore. I use it constantly on miscategorized photos, watermarked photos, and duplicate photos and they keep cropping up.

I'm already a paid member on 500px. Maybe it's time I abandon Pixoto and pony up a few more $$$ to be a paid member on 1x.com as well as an alternative. The lack of progress here is driving down my enthusiasm and I don't really need that. I'm disappointed because the site was wildly addicting.....until I spent more time here.
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Jason Kiefer, Official Rep

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Mark - I'm really sorry for your frustration, and for my late response (i've been away - keeping up and thinking about the issues but not able to respond). we're working on two major updates right now (that should be released this upcoming week) that should address some of your concerns:
1) We are going to pre-screen new voters and analyze their voting patterns before letting their votes count. This will allow us to block voters that are trying to game the system before they have an impact.
2) we are going to limit voters ability to vote on images of people they might know
3) We are going to hide votes that don't count which should improve perception
4) we are launching a pro plan which will allow any member to receive 100 votes for every image submitted (as well as to see full imageduel history)
5) we should have the category changes done in the next week as well

Another thing we are considering is allowing sign-up through Facebook or Twitter only. This would assure that people don't create dummy accounts to do their voting.

Hopefully all of these items will help - and believe me when I say that we will always be trying to improve the system. Your feedback - however harsh - is very valuable.
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Shirley Mangini

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This is great news Jason!!! I think the pro plan will have a large impact. It is one thing to sign on for free and mess with a site, another one completely to have to pay for it. Another site I am on did the reverse, they had only paid accounts after a 30 day trial. Installed a new version that allowed both paid and free and have gone straight downhill from there.

Not sure about the Facebook and Twitter sign-up, not everyone is into the social networking scene because of all the problems with privacy issues.

Can't wait for the new category changes :))))
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Mark Miller

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Jason, I appreciate your attention to the issue and you're response. You've several times address questions I have raised and I think it speaks well of your efforts.

I'm looking forward to the updates you mentioned. The sooner the better in fact. The changes should help address the issue I hope without knowing more specifics of the plan. They do sound good in theory and I'm optimistic for their success.

I'll be anxiously waiting for the update. As frustrating as the site is for me now, I genuinely hope it will improve. I think it's a very unique site which has major potential. I hope to be more active again after the changes.

Thanks again Jason. Cheers.
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Michelle Meenawong

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I totally agree with Mark. Voting for bad images, awards missing, stolen pictures, duplicates etc. is now the daily problem.
Today, I looked at the first page: twice the same dog with very good ranking. What is the difference between these two pics? A little bit cropping? Very creative indeed. What a waste of time uploading different pictures. The trend is to take one picture and ... crop it, change the colors, put special effects on it, change it into black and white etc. etc. It seems to be the only way to get many awards.
I don't know 500px but 1x.com is very good. You can also try photo.net. If you're a paid member you even get a website for your portfolio.
I'm also very disappointed. Pixoto was addictive but now it's ... boring
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Mark Miller

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Thank you Michelle.....Here's today's example in about 2 minutes of submission.....

WINNING IMAGE - http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

WINNING IMAGE - http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

WINNING IMAGE - http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

LOSING IMAGE - http://www.pixoto.com/images-photogra...

I'm not going to individually critique each photo but there are flaws in each one that the losing image does not have. Feel free to disagree with me. Maybe you vote based on different criteria. To me a shows just an example of the ongoing problem - the better image doesn't necessarily win consistently....and losing to several of these images in a row has a tremendous impact on your final score and the number of times the images is voted on.
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Shirley Mangini

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Mark, in this case I think a lot of people might vote against your image because it appears to have fractilius on it. Even though the site states that composites belong in Photoshop Art, I think there are a lot of members who feel applying filters such as this belong in Photoshop Art. I am not stating my position, I am only trying to figure it out :(
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Mark Miller

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Hi Shirley, Thanks you for your feedback. I had to actually look up what Fractalius was to see what you meant if that tells you anything.

My photo, in this case, is a blend of 3 photos of different exposures (HDR). In post processing it has some sharpening from CS5 and some desaturation from NIK Color EFX.

The majority of images in the top of Architecture & Design are HDR composites. The degree to which they are processed is I guess where I draw the line whether to submit it as Photoshop Art or Fine Art etc. I don't personally think it's processed to the point that it looks like my quick Google search for Fractalius.

I tend to agree that there are purist that wouldn't vote from HDR images. Some people either love it or hate it. I don't think I'm seeing that as much as I'm seeing intentional poor voting or bot/script voting for points.
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Nathan Cool

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I'm starting to think the financial incentive at Pixoto is polluting judgement. If no cash prizes were involved, then I think judging would likely be based more on merit, not money. I think having no cash prizes it would help to stop those clicking through image duels mindlessly, since there would be no point to be on Pixoto except just to have your pictures judged by your peers. IMHO: Money...the root of all evil.
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Mark Miller

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I'm not sure how long it takes to actually receive money but I have 50some Awards that I've not seen a nickle from yet and I have gone through the submission or claim process. I wonder if it's just the idea of prize money at stake for some people because you sure don't get it quick. I agree with Nathan that money makes people do things just to win.

The draw for me has always been the volume of feedback you theoretically get in a very short amount of time and a measure of your photos against competition. I guess for me I just feel like the measuring part is not working right. I probably need to worry and visit less.

I do appreciate the discussion from everyone!
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Dave Boyd

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Hi Mark....I'm not sure if you're aware that only the first place shot in a category, not a subcategory for the week gets cash. Getting an award doesn't mean getting cash. It has to be a first place award in a category to get paid.
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Mark Miller

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I understand. I didn't mean it as I am waiting for 50 awards. I re-read my reply and it does sound that way. Too much multitasking.....I understand it must be Number 1 in the Weekly Competition. Number 1 in Daily does not get a cash prize. I'm really not interested in prize money.
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denise johnson

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a few folks say they get feedback and that is why they like pixoto....
where are they getting this feedback??? i dont have squat?