Old 06-04-2020, 12:03 AM   #101
J-M Frybourg
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Some additional interesting statistics for the debate, showing the difference between screener decisions (SC+POTW) and the site audience (People's choice).

The people are a bit more balanced: knowing that the database contains 80.4% of North-American pictures the people give "only" 84% of their prizes to North American pictures, when screeners give them 89% of their SC and POTW.
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Old 06-04-2020, 12:18 AM   #102
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Just doing a quick look it appears around 75 percent of the site traffic is from the US.

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Old 06-04-2020, 12:46 AM   #103
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Doug, basically, what you say is: this site is America - "majority" -, let’s keep it American, the rest is negligible (i.e. minority) and does not matter so much to the majority.

The problem is, the non-US audience, contributors, and number of pictures has grown in proportion, and the declared ambition “best on the net” is international.
I have calculated some other statistics in the past, that showed that the proportion of non-US pictures was steadily and significantly growing over the years.

So, there are 2 paths forward from here: either keep it American, or truly grow internationally. The America-only (or “America first”) version can’t satisfy non-US stakeholders in the long term (contributors, audience). And it will probably be without me.

The success of global aviation pictures web sites shows that the international route is a truly successful one.
Jean-Marc, I hope that you don't think that I am some sort of nationalist promoting an America-first agenda. I have never been against an international presence on RP, but I am merely stating an objective view of why the non-US photos don't do well here.

Your comparison between aircraft and railroad photography is not completely valid. Before the pandemic, my job had me flying into Chicago's O'Hare airport two to three times a month for well over two years. Most times, I would see quite a few aircraft owned by and painted for non-US airlines. Foreign aircraft were, and will again be, a daily presence in the US and familiar to US photographers.

On the other hand, other than a few unsuccessful attempts to break into the US locomotive market by Krauss-Maffei and Faur, and the North American tour of the Flying Scotsman in the 1960's, I can't think of any off-continent trains that have run on interchange railroads in the US since daguerreotypes were the standard of photography.

Human nature is to be comfortable with the familiar, and my point was that the majority of RP viewers, which number many more than the the photographers, will be attracted to familiar trains. Photo clicks drive generate more ad revenue, and like it or not, the majority of viewers are still from the US.

I do not know the business model for RP, but clearly a lot of income comes from advertising. I know that a lot of the ads are targeted, as a Google search one day brings many related ads on RP the next day. It would be interesting to know if target ads abroad come from local firms or from US ones, and whether RP gets revenue from foreign advertisers.

While you have an idea of how RP should function, the bottom line is that it's a business, and your wishes may not fit its business plan.
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Old 06-04-2020, 02:32 AM   #104
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Well yeah because we have Burkholder.. duh

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That made me laugh out loud. 😄
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:11 AM   #105
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Jean-Marc - lots of impressive statistics proving what seems to be an undisputed point. There IS a bias here, no doubt. It's an "American" site flooded with American pictures viewed by a mostly American audience.

As stated by others, people tend to like what they are familiar with. This is why "TRAINS" is big in the US, but perhaps not so much in Europe, while European periodicals are big in Europe, but hard to find here in North America.

Despite this - Europeans that might not otherwise have had an audience in North America do, and most (some more than others)) are eternally grateful! Your pics are among the best on the site, as are Georg Trub's, Brian Stephenson's, Ilya Semenoff's, Phil Cotterill's and a handful of others - not to mention past patrons like Alan Crotty, Michael Rhoades, and Bob Avery.

Patrons foreign to America on RP are as impressive to me as American's appearing in foreign magazines - and vice-versa. I've seen your pics in TRAINS - impressive. I've had pics in a few foreign magazines. I don't have an issue with those periodicals being biased with European pics, lol. I find it all the more impressive when foreigners make the occasional hop. Hopefully, you have not yet tired of seeing Kevin Madore's pics in Europe, lol.

I DO agree, RP should find a way to encourage more European patrons (and stop the sad migration of those who have left). A foreign screener sounds like and excellent idea - you should add it to my "Admin Suggestions" list in the RP Site Related Forum. Removing the linked views from total views or limiting "Top of the Last 24 Hours" to an hour would no doubt increase exposure for many, including foreign submissions.

As for SC's - well, an SC is simply a screener 'favorite". I've never been a fan of highlighting the work of one person based on the opinion of a single person. I've advocated replacing the SC with highlighting based in the skill /or luck of a fantastic image - whether the screener likes it or not. This is basically what the POTW is, but why limit such photos to once a week? Side note here - bet there were a lot more foreign SC's before the likes of those mentioned above fled.

As for the "fish in the barrel" in the West - the West does offer some spectacular views (as if the Appalachians don't, lol), but here in my neck of the woods - Philadelphia, there are people capturing phenomenal photographs. Shoot what you got, lol - there are more than mountains and rivers to capture one's attention. Ever see Dennis Livesey's stuff? Eric Williams? Mitch Go... err, I mean, Andrew Blaszczyk's stuff, Sam Phillip's stuff... Jean-Marc's stuff?!?! Doug, your stuff, as well as pics from Bob Kise, Nate and Tom Nelligan are also fantastic. Hey Mike, it goes without saying your pics are fantastic - stay west of the Mississippi, lol! Kidding, would love to see your interpretation of the Northeast - you are welcome back anytime!

/Mitch
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Old 06-05-2020, 02:52 AM   #106
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Well I argued for some variety in SC, didn't know I had this much pull. Still shooting fish in a barrel area, Chalk another one up for Lloyd. Wonder if the crew is waving back. Fire is ..

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Old 06-05-2020, 01:49 PM   #107
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Well I argued for some variety in SC, didn't know I had this much pull. Still shooting fish in a barrel area, Chalk another one up for Lloyd. Wonder if the crew is waving back. Fire is ..

Image © Mike Vandenberg
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Photograph © Mike Vandenberg


Bob
I really appreciated the creativity here. Solid work on the exposure balance and composition. It might not have gotten the SC had the person's hand been blurry, but that put it over the top IMO.
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Old 06-05-2020, 03:05 PM   #108
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I really appreciated the creativity here. Solid work on the exposure balance and composition. It might not have gotten the SC had the person's hand been blurry, but that put it over the top IMO.
Back in the day I think subjects had to hold their pose for a time. Just to be a ?????, obvious time exposure with train, and fire, not sure some arm and hand motion would be objectionable to me but then it could have crept further.

There is this show and group called Beecherfest, I can't help but thinking of waving with a bottle of local brew in his hand.

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Old 06-08-2020, 02:33 PM   #109
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Lets face it, RP prefers pretty over gritty. Mitch is right in that there is a lot of noteworthy photos taken east of the Mississippi, along with some older stuff that never gets its' due. I could hike in to take an obscure bridge shot on a Midwestern branch line that sees 1 train a week and still not stand a chance against a pretty mountain overview where I have to squint to see the train. I guess that's just the way it is.....
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Old 06-08-2020, 02:47 PM   #110
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I could hike in to take an obscure bridge shot on a Midwestern branch line that sees 1 train a week and still not stand a chance against a pretty mountain overview where I have to squint to see the train. I guess that's just the way it is.....
I definitely agree. There's tons of shots anywhere that require a lot of effort to get whether that be by hiking/4x4, lack of trains on a line, weather, etc. but I don't think that "effort spent" should be a determining factor in whether a shot is good or not, let the photo stand on it's own merit as a final product.

Not to say that a good story can't make a photo more interesting, but from a technical/photography perspective, I don't think it has a place in the criteria for judgement.
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Old 06-09-2020, 12:14 PM   #111
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I wish effort equaled more success. Maybe then all those hours I spent on a rock in the New River, or standing inches from death on a cliff, or hiking miles and miles uphill both ways would have made me rich by now.

I also wish that access here was more like Cajon Pass. Drive anywhere you want along the ROW and walk 20 feet to take a nice shot.

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Old 06-09-2020, 05:06 PM   #112
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I also wish that access here was more like Cajon Pass. Drive anywhere you want along the ROW and walk 20 feet to take a nice shot.

Loyd L.
I'm glad it's not. As you have said in the past, most foamers are lazy, and will only shoot the low-hanging fruit. If at was all that easy, our results would look like everyone else's.
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Old 06-09-2020, 05:28 PM   #113
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I'm glad it's not. As you have said in the past, most foamers are lazy, and will only shoot the low-hanging fruit. If at was all that easy, our results would look like everyone else's.
I'm lazier now though Doug.

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Old 06-10-2020, 04:57 AM   #114
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I wish effort equaled more success.
It does on RP! Just post any old shot and then link it to 50,000 Facebook pages - voila! Top of the last 24, Top of last week - maybe even a PC, but at the very least, 8,000 people will see your shot.

I long ago suggested RP consider highlighting "hard to capture" images regardless of whether they personally "like" them or not - aka: "Screener's Choice".


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I also wish that access here was more like Cajon Pass. Drive anywhere you want along the ROW and walk 20 feet to take a nice shot.

Loyd L.
I thought long ago, I was "done" photographing Amtrak on the NEC. A young and talented guy named Michael Pearson (via Facebook) proved me wrong. Granted, he sometimes delves into the psychodelic world if HDR meaning he can shoot on the dark side / wrong side and still get a nice bright "sunny" shot. Helps that he has a Nikon, too! But tone some of the HDR's down, and new worlds emerge. There are others - too bad they don't post there non-HDR stuff here. Now add the likes of George Hiotis, Eric Williams, and such. Then there's Matthew Malkiewicz - showed me a self published book featuring just one location in NYC shot in B&W of abandoned tracks over the span of one year. I told him I'd give him a hundred bucks for the book! Shame he didn't publish any (yet) to sell!

So - maybe you shouldn't be looking for low hanging fruit and instead, try to figure out how to shoot the leaves!

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Old 06-10-2020, 12:03 PM   #115
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So - maybe you shouldn't be looking for low hanging fruit and instead, try to figure out how to shoot the leaves!

/Mitch
I spent years shooting the roots but now the desire isn't what it used to be (locally at least). I will still bust my butt when I'm traveling to get more unique photography, but considering how motive power and line side scenery have changed, there isn't too many spots within 150 miles that I could go today and get a better result than I already have. So I'll grab that low fruit or simply hang out with friends and wave when a train goes by.

Now if you have some encouraging words that will motivate me to start editing more of my older stuff and update my website (or here), I'm all ears.

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Old 06-16-2020, 07:02 PM   #116
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Well, this is interesting.....

Image © Dave Schauer
PhotoID: 739425
Photograph © Dave Schauer


The latest submission from one of the more prolific linkers currently has like 7,000 views, and is at the top when you click the link for "Most Popular - Last 24 hrs", but it does not show on the home page. At the very least, it appears as if this photographer is no longer able to utilize the heavy linking campaign to force his photos to To24. Not sure if that's a blanket change for everybody, or if it is selective. I have noticed that there are several others who have typically done this sort of thing in the past who now appear to have a similar limitation. The views still pile up, but the photos don't make the home page. At the very least, it appears as if Admin is making the effort to address the habitual abuse situations.

Thank you, Admin!!
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:32 AM   #117
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Thank you, Admin!!
It's nice to have a level playing field. Thanks, Admin!
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:09 PM   #118
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I hope it's true. A big thanks is in order if so.

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Old 06-17-2020, 01:29 PM   #119
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It's nice to have a level playing field. Thanks, Admin!
Well now, I wouldn't say level... the tilt is not as drastic which is welcome.

Still like the idea of limiting images to 1 hour in the "Top of Last 24 Hours".

Everyone can link away - "earn" that hour by campaigning but free it up for those that can earn the spot on quality alone. Gets those Darwin's, derails and Larry's Salvage off the front page quicker, too. With no "penalties", but the 1 hour limit, I would love to see work from Georg Trub return to the front page - links or not, it's great photography that should be highlit. Also, I'd have to imagine it is rather discouraging to some patrons whose photography merits the visibility. No need to further discourage the best of the best from posting.

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Old 06-17-2020, 02:14 PM   #120
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Well now, I wouldn't say level... the tilt is not as drastic which is welcome.
Making everybody play by the same rules is a huge improvement, and level enough to get Jim Thias' approval.

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Still like the idea of limiting images to 1 hour in the "Top of Last 24 Hours".

/Mitch
I don't like that idea at all. TO24 is a rolling window and should remain as is. Anyone's given hour in your scheme could come up at 3AM, making the recognition pointless.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:59 PM   #121
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Making everybody play by the same rules is a huge improvement, and level enough to get Jim Thias' approval.
Everyone is not playing by the same rules though - unless you believe, what, only 3 photographers were heavily linking images. There are dozens of others that link and campaign though reaching the "Top of the Last 24 Hours" for the less prolific often takes a good 10 hours or so, vs 3 or 4 hours for the banned abusers - one of which still has free reign but is limited to "only" one pic - not quite fair to the others which are banned from TofL24 altogether. And you still have the Darwins, derails, salvage operations.



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I don't like that idea at all. TO24 is a rolling window and should remain as is. Anyone's given hour in your scheme could come up at 3AM, making the recognition pointless.
Interesting observation - didn't think about that, but in all likely-hood, at least you'd come up at 3AM vs not coming up at all. If you don't "come up" until 3 am, its likely the person or persons that are preventing you from appearing would be the same ones preventing you from appearing at all in the first place. So instead of a shot appearing for 6 hours, it would appear for 1 hour before being replaced by another, and another and 3 others, an hour later at a time. So 5 other photographers get to hit the front page instead of the original poster for all 6. And you no longer run into the frustrating situation where you find your post accepted at the same time as someone who links, or posts Darwin's, derailments and salvage shots (or nostalgia ).

/Mitch

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Old 06-17-2020, 08:15 PM   #122
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Well, this is interesting.....


The latest submission from one of the more prolific linkers currently has like 7,000 views, and is at the top when you click the link for "Most Popular - Last 24 hrs", but it does not show on the home page. At the very least, it appears as if this photographer is no longer able to utilize the heavy linking campaign to force his photos to To24. Not sure if that's a blanket change for everybody, or if it is selective. I have noticed that there are several others who have typically done this sort of thing in the past who now appear to have a similar limitation. The views still pile up, but the photos don't make the home page. At the very least, it appears as if Admin is making the effort to address the habitual abuse situations.

Thank you, Admin!!
Hate to burst anyone's bubble, but I'm not sure this is the case. I looked as soon as I saw this forum post (sorry for the delay in this response) and it looked like you might have just caught it at the right time due to the different timings used by the homepage TO24 and the image list sorting by most viewed last 24. When I looked, the shot in question was not on the homepage nor showing as a shot posted in the last 24 hours in the list view, but did show as number 2 for past 48 hours both on the homepage and the list. Perhaps an admin will confirm a change, but my initial guess is you just caught it at the right time between refreshes.
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:59 PM   #123
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Hate to burst anyone's bubble, but I'm not sure this is the case. I looked as soon as I saw this forum post (sorry for the delay in this response) and it looked like you might have just caught it at the right time due to the different timings used by the homepage TO24 and the image list sorting by most viewed last 24. When I looked, the shot in question was not on the homepage nor showing as a shot posted in the last 24 hours in the list view, but did show as number 2 for past 48 hours both on the homepage and the list. Perhaps an admin will confirm a change, but my initial guess is you just caught it at the right time between refreshes.
I'm pretty sure of what I reported. When I looked, the Schauer photo had 7,000+ views and showed at the top of the stack (by a decent margin of views) when I clicked the link, but it was not on the home page, and never made the home page after I started looking at it. I had an image up there at the time, which was the reason I looked in the first place. When I saw the Schauer image, I didn't think mine had a chance, but I was pleasantly surprised. I know for fact that Admin has indeed limited some contributors. They said so publicly right here on the forums. Georg Trub had an image that was right up there in view-count in the same timeframe as the Schauer picture, but it also never appeared on the home page. As Mitch reports, I think that KB is now restricted to one image in To24, so he can't grab all 4 slots by posting and linking 4 images.

Again, I don't know if this imposed across the board. I suspect that it is only focused on people who have been abusing the linking campaigns.
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Old 06-18-2020, 01:06 AM   #124
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Everyone is not playing by the same rules though - unless you believe, what, only 3 photographers were heavily linking images. There are dozens of others that link and campaign though reaching the "Top of the Last 24 Hours" for the less prolific often takes a good 10 hours or so, vs 3 or 4 hours for the banned abusers - one of which still has free reign but is limited to "only" one pic - not quite fair to the others which are banned from TofL24 altogether. And you still have the Darwins, derails, salvage operations.
I disagree with your assessment of the current situation. It looks to me like the linked views have been divorced from the "organic" views for TO24 purposes for everyone. The free reign photographer's view counts are down from where they've been, and I suspect that admin also imposed the one submission/person in TO24 at any given time. As far as the derailments and such, if the organic viewers find an accepted shot compelling enough to click on it more than something that you or I like better, who are we to dispute it? You're trying to impose subjective views on what should be allowed, and that is not a level playing field.

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Interesting observation - didn't think about that, but in all likely-hood, at least you'd come up at 3AM vs not coming up at all. If you don't "come up" until 3 am, its likely the person or persons that are preventing you from appearing would be the same ones preventing you from appearing at all in the first place. So instead of a shot appearing for 6 hours, it would appear for 1 hour before being replaced by another, and another and 3 others, an hour later at a time. So 5 other photographers get to hit the front page instead of the original poster for all 6. And you no longer run into the frustrating situation where you find your post accepted at the same time as someone who links, or posts Darwin's, derailments and salvage shots (or nostalgia ).

/Mitch
So you want to give out participation awards? If a shot is compelling enough to organically go to the top in a few hours, for whatever reason, it deserves to be there for the rest of the 24 hour period.
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:14 AM   #125
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I disagree with your assessment of the current situation. It looks to me like the linked views have been divorced from the "organic" views for TO24 purposes for everyone. The free reign photographer's view counts are down from where they've been, and I suspect that admin also imposed the one submission/person in TO24 at any given time. As far as the derailments and such, if the organic viewers find an accepted shot compelling enough to click on it more than something that you or I like better, who are we to dispute it? You're trying to impose subjective views on what should be allowed, and that is not a level playing field.
I'm really surprised you take this view, Doug.

You suggest now that admin has removed Top of Last 24 privileges to four whole people, (though Kevin B can still get one in every time) and the problem's been solved, despite that others, though not as prolific, still do the same. It's a step in the right direction, but if you scroll the pics on any given day, you'll see an average - some lower, some higher, yet STILL those that are significantly higher in views DESPITE quality, or if quality, they still manage overtake other more appealing images - personal taste factors in, of course, but favorites and commenting often suggest more appealing images are being buried (aka, hidden /less viewed) under better campaigned images. I always (had) liked the fact that unlike the periodicals, on RP, it was not who you knew, or how hard you brown nosed and campaigned, but rather, the quality of your photo that got your images seen.

(Incidentally, I'd have no issue with Erik Lindgren occupying the Top of the Last 24 - 24/7 - I think images like his are fantastic. But when often generic shots overtake such shots considerably faster than pics the likes of his, it's frustrating not only to long time patrons, but new patrons still getting a feel for the site.)




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So you want to give out participation awards? If a shot is compelling enough to organically go to the top in a few hours, for whatever reason, it deserves to be there for the rest of the 24 hour period.
No - when /where did I even come close to suggesting a participation award? I am simply suggesting getting away from the train magazine practice where it's always a small circle of photographers that regularly get featured most prominently - regardless of the appeal of their photos. I like a little variety. I have no qualms sharing the front page with other great photographers that would otherwise be unseen at Top 5th pic of the Last 24. Last thing I'd like to see on RP are more photographers leaving or not joining because they can't break into the circle - at least, not without significant link whoring or prolific linking.

Incidentally - As much as I really enjoy your pics, I sense some possible bias in that you personally might lose some front page time which after hours on the front page, you might forfeit some time later at #1 to allow some other photographers a little spotlighting. I think many here get a little frustrated when they see their pic - perhaps one they really want seen, happens to post along with someone's derailment series. Or Darwins... Larry's Trucks, Ect.

/Mitch

And the alternate option to simply disconnect linked views still has many pluses. Last thing I want to do is make having my images seen a job. Leave the campaigning to the politicians. Their ideas often similarly unappealing rise to the top as well. F8 and campaign it, the new slogan for the modern photographer.

Last edited by Mgoldman; 06-18-2020 at 02:16 AM.
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