What kind of community contests should we not allow?

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We've received some feedback that certain types of community contests on Pixoto are "not fun" and don't add value. What types of contests do you think we shouldn't allow?
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Jason Kiefer, Official Rep

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Posted 4 years ago

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DVA

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The ones that have a word of "Anything" or "any". Examples being "anything B&W", "anything goes", "any photo", etc. Contest should have a very concrete topic.
The other non-specific contests that should not be allowed are "Your best photo", "all pictures for this week", "your 400/500/600 score photos", "your photo with no awards".
I am sure other people can think of other contests that should not be allowed.

I also think there should be a cap on how many entries are allowed per contest and per person, for example 1000/contest and 5/person. That way the number of total duels would never exceed a specific number and no one photographer can submit a lot of photos for a specific contest to increase their chances of winning.
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Jack Brian

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The contests should be specific:

Macro - objects or plants or insects, nature
Landscapes: sunsets/sunrises/water/refections/country/deserts/green/trees etc etc
people: at work/play/nude/men/women/sporting
buildings/old/modern/functional/derelict/lines/b&w etc etc

remove all the following:

under 500/in may/june/july, 500-600, your best, your worst, no awards, anything type contests, The letter A-Z, new flower uploads (what a waste of time), your favorites

Contests with less than 500 entries by the start of contest start date should be removed. This would also help in removing too specific contests such as....bad hair day/frangipani flowers/femail cardinal birds

A photographer cannot submit more than 2 submissions per contest.
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Lenore

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1) Community contests should have a specific and concrete theme. Anything general should NOT be allowed. No "your best image", "images submitted this week" "images with scores above 400", "images that make you feel good", etc. None of those. For example, Pixoto does not need an "images submitted during the week of...." contest -- we already have the Best of the Week for that.

2) Community contests should be limited to one at a time per moderator. If a contest is either in the submission stage or the voting stage, that moderator should not be able to create a new contest.

IF the general themes are disallowed AND the moderators are limited to one contest at a time, I don't think there is a need to cap the credits earned by moderating a contest. However, those credits should not be given to the moderator until sufficient feedback is received from the participants -- say, a week after the moderator-rating emails are sent out. If a moderator gets a low rating on a contest, I think they should not receive the credits.
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mlast11

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I like this suggestion mostly but I would go further. I think you need a cap on credits earned and there should be a limit to how many you can create for the year.
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Lenore

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I agree that there should be a limit for the year too, definitely, but I think that rather than cap the moderator credits to a set number, members should be limited as to how many entries they can have per challenge. The result of that would be less entries from many members (such as those who submit 30 or 40 or even 50 per challenge) resulting in a natural reduction of credits to the moderator.

This way, the moderator isn't "penalized" for creating a great challenge. If, for example, someone creates a really popular and terrific challenge and members can only enter five photos each and the challenge still gets several hundred entries, I think the moderator should have those credits (if he/she gets a good rating from the participants, that is). I would rather see members limited on the number of challenge entries :-)
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Ad Spruijt

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It's a combination of numbers & subjects.
- Limit number entries (per member) to a contest
- Limit number of contests (per member per year)
- Further limit credits that can be earned
- Not "any", "best of" kind of categories
Any contest should have expliciet subjects, guidelines etc.
(perhaps following a category+subcategory like elsewhere in Pixoto and allowing
only pictures from that specific category)
- Not more-or-less duplicate contests
(perhaps limit it to 1 per Pixoto category at the same time)
- No contests that similar to or overlap the goal of daily, weekly, monthly awards...
(so regular voting)
- first ensure a good number of votes to regular voting and contests initated by
Pixoto themselves, before starting voting for member contests (and really limit the
number of votes they receive)

Besides this:
- Similar like the option for mature content: make it an option for any member to
indicate whether he/she wants to be confronted with voting for member-contests
or not
- perhaps try to find a way for moderation of contests itself by Pixoto: go for quality instead of quantity...
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John Larson

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I think all of the above are excellent answers as what community contests should not be allowed.

As to what should be allowed, this would be my suggestion:

There are 22 categories in Photography, excluding uncategorized, which is just one big cluster f**k. I would like to see one challenge allowed per week in each category. Pixoto could make the choice as to what challenges will be used every week, and the thoughtful and different challenges can be stockpiled for use during the year. That means there will only be 22 challenges posted per week, which will significantly cut down on voting problems for categorized contests. Everyone has at least one particular category they favor and have a chance every week to participate in that challenge as well as any of the others. To me, this seems like a logical win-win. Pixoto will make sure there are not duplicate challenges posted in any category, which will keep the interest alive in challenges and help strengthen it's acceptance. The win-win comes when those who like community challenges can participate in their favorite category, as well as any others, while Pixoto will finally stop hearing about voting problems, since 22 challenges per week should not cut significantly into daily and weekly category contests for those who like to participate in the contest that was the original draw to this site.

I would also add that for each community challenge, submissions should be limited to a maximum of three per contest per person.
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Michael Moore

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The big issue here is the popularity (given the number of entries they receive) of contests and in particular the general/open type.

Pixoto is a business and as such has to balance the feedback (a form of market research) it receives against what it perceives the silent majority of members think.

It is commendable that Jason has responded to these issues but they are only raised by a few and the vast majority of members do not contribute to these threads and probably do not visit the community boards.

Pixoto will be aware from its data, the number of members leaving and joining and will be making judgement calls as to the reasons (including feedback on these threads).

Members can, if so inclined, monitor the number and rate of new image uploads and votes made but Pixoto will have these at their fingertips and will again be making judgement calls as to the reasons for fall off rates or increased rates.

So does Pixoto respond to the perceived few or the perceived many, given the popularity of contests. Bearing in mind that Pixoto is a business and they will know what generates income for them (we can only make intelligent guesses), it needs to accommodate those members that are generating its income stream.

I suppose I am making a case for keeping the general contests (even allowing for the thoughts expressed in community threads and a description made by Jason), which I admit I enter.

It seems obvious with Jason seeking views that some adjustment is required, incentives to moderators is needed as moderating can be time consuming, maybe a limit could be placed on credits received.

The big bug bear, however, seems to be the effect on duelling, why not increase the minimum duelling period from 5 days to 10 days. This should even out the number of duels required for contests

Finally, I do take exception to the comment ‘new flower uploads (what a waste of time)’ I put my hand up, I recently created it - such contests give images the opportunity of duelling against other images that they probably would not have done so in the daily category duels and as a result give a rough idea of how they rate compared to the daily result. Given the number of entries it received (including members who received photographer of the year awards) it can hardly be called ‘a waste of time’.
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John Phielix

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The problem with the majority of the running contests is the eagerness for a moderator to gain credits for the images entered. That's why we see all these "submit your all and everything competitions"

If you limit the number of credits a moderator can earn to, let's say, 300 credits, they'll probably stop creating these contests because it is of no use to them anymore.

Then limit the number of challenges one moderator can create to, for instance, one a week.

By implementing these two things only there is no need to set a limit on the type of contest.

Try that for a month or so and evaluate. See if things have improved.
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Terry Gower

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I agree with all that has been said, especially restricting the numbers of challenges from anyone person at any one time, and restricting the number of credits the moderator can receive. These have been suggested before
Lets have sensible challenges, not all the general things that are happening now, and perhaps not allowing all the challenges to start at the same time...nothing is more annoying than trying to vote and getting faced with challenge after challenge.
Community challenges was probably a good idea but sadly has been spoilt by the actions of a few.
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Jason Kiefer, Official Rep

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Thank you all.  After discussing this with my team, and based on your feedback, we have decided to now enforce new guidelines for community contests (effective in about a week).  The guidelines we have decided on are:

Contests:

  • Must have a concrete and specific theme

  • May not have a theme that mimics a Pixoto category or subcategory

  • May not have a theme related to ImageScore, Awards or any other Pixoto quality

  • Must have a title that reflects the theme

  • Must have a clear description that fully elaborates on the theme

Any contest that doesn't fit into these guidelines will be removed from the contest directory.  We will also be looking out for moderators that abuse the contest system and do not provide a good experience (as opposed to just relying on the moderator rating).  While this level of monitoring will be a costly endeavor we feel that based on the feedback we have received it is well worth while.  Our back of the envelope calculation is that this would disqualify about 50% of the contests currently running.  We will monitor the effect that this has on the quality of community contests and may go further if we feel it is required. 
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Lenore

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Bravo! Thank you for seeking out the feedback and giving it consideration in your plans. Very positive!
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Ad Spruijt

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Good job Jason to act on the members feedback. Thanks!
Sounds like a good step forward.
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mlast11

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Thank you for acting Jason. This will certainly help and I think its a major improvement for the site.
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Dipali

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Thanks for taking all the above steps.
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Charlie

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Sir Jason may i add 1 guideline, please. A moderator has at least 10,000 credits. the option is, they will buy credit or they will vote. And they must have at least 500 photos in there profile. The reason i add these because i checked some moderators they are not active in submitting photos in this site some or most of them have less than 500 photos.
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Michael Moore

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Despite my earlier comments, I wish the new changes and any subsequent alterations well.

Observing progress will be interesting
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Ad Spruijt

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Hi Jason, I really like Charlie's suggestion above (A moderator has at least 10,000 credits. the option is, they will buy credit or they will vote.) wouldn't it be nice to combine that with the new guidelines?
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Dipali

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I agree with all the points mentioned above. In addition to that I would like to add that Pixoto should approve a Community contest before it goes live. That way all the Community Contests would be checked before going live.

Limit the number of Challenges per month and per person and limit the number of credits as already said above by other members.

Another suggestion is - let the moderator of the contest pay to put up a contest. eg. say 50 credits (or some number after calculating other things) In the end they will get credits.
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John Larson

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Well, I posted a shot at @ 1pm EDT and only an hour later it had over 50 duels and had already scored in the mid sixes. The fact that it got over 50 duels in that time period is way cool! Reminds me of the way things used to be on this site.

Thank you, Jason, for unlocking the door and letting the fun back in the building! :)
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Tim Hall

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I agree with limiting all the general "any and all" type challenge topics...The main reason I like to enter the challenges is the specific nature of some topics...

A while back I uploaded an old wooden building to Public and Historical, and it kept getting paired against the Taj Mahal where my old wooden building was completely out classed and lost most duals. So I moved my rustic building to Abandoned and Deteriorating, where it kept getting paired up with the likes of the Parthenon, needless to say what happened there

But...A challenge may arise for just old wooden structures that will be free of the wonder of the world buildings and my old wooden building will have a chance to shine!

Also I don't think the number of entries per member should be limited, that will only cause a drop in dual voting because folks won't need the credits from voting if they can only enter a few pics here or there in a challenge. I usually have to vote in five thousand to ten thousand duals a week,to support my "challenge habit" and that will drastically drop if I have no need to use the credits for entering challenges...

I will go along if Pixoto limits the entries in challenges but no one should complain when the duels slow to a crawl because the need for loads of challenge credits has been removed.
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John Phielix

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Thanks for listening to the problems and acting upon them. I must say, duels have speeded up tremendously today. Now it's fun again and hopefully with restrictions on community challenges in place, things will even improve more.
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SweetNana55

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Jason, I wish that an e-mail would have gone out to alert members to this discussion. Those responding here are a minute pool and may not represent the feelings of the majority of Pixoto users. A survey e-mailed to members would likely provide a truer picture of how most members feel about the contests. I am not opposed to reforms. I just want to point out that for many members, the contests provide opportunities to win awards that they are not getting in the daily contests. Many in the Pixoto community are developing photographers. Once you abandon the novice category, if you ever even used it, you are competing against the pros... I entered one image that reached 700 within my first months on Pixoto and rarely had any reach 600 for several months. I am having more success now, but it was the contests that kept me interested during those early months when I rarely won a daily award. Is there another way to increase interest and feelings of success? I do believe that awards for the sub-categories would do more to increase participation in the site than any other reforms. Why not have awards for Best Birds, Best Big Cats, Best insects and Spiders, etc.? They don't have to be cash awards. You can save those for the major categories, just the little recognition seal that an image excelled in its sub-category. Everyone likes getting those "You've won an Award e-mails". So offer more of them in the daily contests! Another thing that increases interest is feedback. I don't know if there is a way to promote more interaction. I can tell you that it takes a lot less time to earn credits through voting than it does through making meaningful comments, so most people focus on voting rather than commenting. I am encouraged when I receive thoughtful comments, but many of my images have few responses unless I win an award, then that image will at least get some congratulatory comments. I'd love to get more pointers from pros about what I'm doing right and how I could make my images even stronger.
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Terry Gower

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Just a little point, you are not necessarily contesting against Pro's, as in the meaning of professional. Pro as with regard to Pixoto just means that people are paying a subscription.
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John Phielix

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Thanks Terry. And Novice in Pixoto only means that the person hasn't submitted to any other category before and won awards there. Many good photographers have abused this situation before by only submitting to Novice and harvesting daily, weekly. monthly awards on end.
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SweetNana55

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No, I'm not saying that all people with Pro accounts are professionals, but there are some absolutely outstanding professional photographers here. I don't see that as a bad thing, either. I'm just saying that it takes amateurs and enthusiasts time and patience to develop the skills to compete with these wonderful photographers. Encouragement along the way, in the form of positive comments and any awards is a good thing.
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SweetNana55

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Additionally, my "Top Tens" of the month contest is well-defined and has been very popular. It will no longer be allowed since it is only open to images that have won a top ten award for the day, week, or in a contest. I always provide each entrant with tailored feedback about their image. It takes me a lot of time, but I figure that images that earned a top ten award deserve that kind of attention. Anyway, I hate to see it end, because I know that many Pixoto members liked that contest. It was interesting to see how top ten award winners fared when competing with top images from other categories. Oh well, it looks like I will have more time to work on my own images. Still, I hate to see that one end.
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SweetNana55

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Here is another thought of how to manage community challenges. Charge 20 credits minimum per entry. However many votes were once given for 10 credits, now it costs 20 credits. That will require contestants to do more voting to earn credits, but won't add any more duels than before. The result will be fewer entries in the community challenges or more voting (probably both). Either way, you will get more voting going on for duels in the daily challenges.
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John Phielix

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I am going to repeat my suggestion to get an overall reduction in community challenges before everybody starts to focus on details.

John Phielix 2 days ago
The problem with the majority of the running contests is the eagerness for a moderator to gain credits for the images entered. That's why we see all these "submit your all and everything competitions"

If you limit the number of credits a moderator can earn to, let's say, 300 credits, they'll probably stop creating these contests because it is of no use to them anymore.

Then limit the number of challenges one moderator can create to, for instance, one a week.

By implementing these two things only there is no need to set a limit on the type of contest.

Try that for a month or so and evaluate. See if things have improved.
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SweetNana55

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Jason's changes will cut down on the community challenges dramatically. If my idea of increasing the cost of participation to a minimum of 20 credits (while using the voting formula that is now used for just 10 credits) were added, that would also cut down on the number of entries and increase the number of voters (since they will need more credits to participate in community challenges).

Care must be taken not to eradicate community challenges to the point that participants drop Pixoto. Those members who participate in those contests would not do so if they did not like them.
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BradleyR

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Won't narrowing down the contests to more specific criteria create the potential for MORE challenges by cutting down the massive number of credits achieved by "everything goes" challenges? Why don't you just take away the credits given to the moderator altogether? A contest is a contest. Why should someone setting up the contests get the same reward as the winner gets?
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SweetNana55

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A well designed contest requires a lot of time to moderate, Bradley. Each image must be examined to determine whether or not it meets all the requirements of the contest. I never just disqualify images. I always want the person, who took the time to enter and spent their credits, to know why I had to disqualify their image. I also try to provide encouragement. That takes time. Pixoto doesn't pay moderators, so credits are earned. Those "anything goes" contests require no time to moderate, because nothing gets disqualified, but take up massive times to collect votes and diminish the resources for dueling on new images. If the requirements for starting a challenge eliminate those types of contests, then it will be a very good thing for all.
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Mikki W

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Having just received the notification e-mail about the changes, I have to say I agree with the earlier comment - you should have surveyed the members rather than relied on the views of the small number who scan the forum.

While I welcome (mostly) the changes (there is a lot of boring repetition in contests), I wait to see how well they are implemented. For example, will challenges be vetted before they go live or will we be submitting photos only to have the contest invalidated afterwards?

My biggest disappointment is that, in conjunction with 'May not have a theme that mimics a Pixoto category or subcategory' you have not fixed the (well reported) glaring error that afflicts the Black & White category, namely that because ImageDuels are not confined to subcategories, 'Street & Candid' photos are often up against glamorous studio shots. By removing the ability to have a 'Black & White, Street & Candid' contest (which your new rules imply) you have made it impossible for those who practice this important branch of photography to engage in fair duels.
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Vibeke

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Looking forward to see how the new rules for community contests work out. A great start to improving the site.
Have to admit, I hadn't seen the preceding discussion, having got a little tired of the site. I hope this will revive my interest.
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Lenore

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I just checked my email and see the notification has been sent out. As Vibeke mentions, above, I too am looking forward to seeing how these new rules improve the contests page and the competitions we find there. It will be a relief to see the "anything goes" submissions fade away.
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SweetNana55

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Seriously, a topic as generic as "Vivid Colors/Any Object" is considered to be concrete and specific? Half the images on Pixoto would qualify for that theme... pretty much anything that isn't Black & White. How do you say that an image is not vivid? It has over 1,000 entries and won't close until July 30th. I thought the purpose of these reforms was to cut back on generic contests!

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