Old 08-02-2010, 05:35 AM   #1
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An ongoing discussion on the forums has been the screening and the decisions of the screeners about what is and is not accepted on the site.

So why is this acceptable?

Image © John Wiesmann
PhotoID: 333357
Photograph © John Wiesmann


The photographer is not in question, the the reasoning behind WHY this photo was accepted is.

Flame on if you like, but I believe this is a valid question.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:36 AM   #2
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And then this.... (LOL!)

Originally rejected for:
- Bad Cropping: Most often this means that the composition of the photo is poor as it relates the cropping of the image.
- Underexposed

Would the screener who screened this image please chime in here?

How would you crop it? As for the exposure, maybe its time to calibrate a monitor? I just did...

*****Update:

After an appeal simply asking how the shot should be cropped, the image is accepted:

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Doesn't having acceptable images get rejected and then appealed create more work for the screening team? Wouldn't it lighten the work load of the screeners if it was screened correctly the first time?

As a current business major, one thing that I have been taught is that for a business which provides a service (such as RP.net) to be successful, there has to be some sort of quality control. Given the current state of the screening on RP, I would hope that the site administration really looks into something like this. It would make the site less work in the long run and the overall experience for the people submitting their work much more enjoyable.

I, like many others that I have spoken to, contribute to RP because it is enjoyable, but lately most of the joy has been removed due to the inconsistency of the screening team. Maybe I'm alone in feeling this way, but a quick look through this forum will show that others are having the same concerns.

Mr. Kilroy and Mr. Stanres, I know it is a full time job running this site for both of you. I also commend you for providing us with RP as a way to share our photos, but I do hope that you acknowledge the inconsistency in the current process and at least consider the idea of having some sort of calibrated screening test for the individuals who screen on your site.

At one point I was going to ask what the requirements would be for someone to become part of the screening team, but until some sort of quality control measure is in place, I'm afraid that more screeners would just result in more inconsistency.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:49 AM   #3
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I've been told I sound too negative on the forums, when in reality you just have to know my personality.

But anyways, I agree a trillion percent with you, Ryan.

I think it's time that the screeners get their monitors calibrated. I know of a about half a dozen contributors that have been having issues with rejections regarding exposure, mostly all underexposed. If the exposure went up on the shots, the sky would turn from a nice blue to a blinding blue/white!

Just my two cents, hopefully I didn't come off as too negative though...
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:55 AM   #4
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Forgive me if the following has been mentioned elsewhere in the forum recently as I don't visit here frequently.

I'm just curious the process that our photos are screened. For examples how many screeners are they and how many of them screen a particular photo? How is the appeal process and if the appeal processed by the same person who screened the photo or another one? How detailed when they screen a photo e.g. do the screeners open the original version and examine pixels by pixels (e.g. to find dirt spot) or check horizontal leveling? Or just judge by viewing the thumbnails?

From what we can see on the face of the system, it appears that the uploads queued and are processed quite near to once an hour. When the queue starts to be shortened which means a new screening "batch" is started, it finishes in a very short period of time. Sometimes when I finished my upload but wanted to go back immediately to modify the descriptions for example, it can't be done as the upload has already processed (either accepted or rejected). It appears that it only spends less than one second to screen a photo.

I also think the appeal mechanism has some room to improve. It is not rare that a photo is rejected for wrong reason(s) and if an appeal is filed, the administrator should be given an option to state the correct rejection reason(s). Alternatively, they should make use of the comment field to state in a bit more details. Only one to few words will help a lot for the photographers to make possible corrections. It will actually help saving time of the screeners and administrators too.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:47 AM   #5
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That first one is pretty atrocious...
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gakei View Post
I'm just curious the process that our photos are screened. For examples how many screeners are they and how many of them screen a particular photo?



Quote:
How is the appeal process and if the appeal processed by the same person who screened the photo or another one? How detailed when they screen a photo e.g. do the screeners open the original version and examine pixels by pixels (e.g. to find dirt spot) or check horizontal leveling? Or just judge by viewing the thumbnails?
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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I say go to the Info page find out who they are and then look at there photos. You will get a feeling for what they like. I some time's think they judge a photo by what they like and not that a shot is good.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:56 PM   #8
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You guys need to realize that art is very subjective so it will be impossible to have 100% standardized screening. Why is that so hard for so many to grasp? This is art. Do you like the Mona Lisa? Well, if you don't you should since it is widely accepted by the top artistic screeners of the world.
I'm not a fan though.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post

You guys need to realize that art is very subjective so it will be impossible to have 100% standardized screening. Why is that so hard for so many to grasp? This is art. Do you like the Mona Lisa? Well, if you don't you should since it is widely accepted by the top artistic screeners of the world.
I'm not a fan though.
Travis,

While I will agree with you that photography as an art can be subjective, it seems to me that RP.net has set standards for themselves as a website. The problem here is not the subjectivity of people's work. It is the simple fact that good work, is often rejected for reasons that don't make sense and work that is not so great gets in. When I say good work and not so good work I am referring specifically to the basics. Good composition (sticking to the rule of thirds - a standard that many of us follow), the exposure being correct, the coloring being correct, the lighting being correct, etc.

Again, I totally agree that photography can be subjective, but revisiting the image I uploaded today, would you say that either of the rejections were actually warranted? If you look at the photo the train is in the rule of thirds, the ridgeline is in the rule of thirds, the river gives the image balance, and the exposure is (according to my recently calibrated monitor) correct. So, again, why the rejection?

RP, claims they have the "best photos on the net", I believe they do, and I believe that 99% of the images uploaded daily can be screened correctly according to a check list. I say this because most of the images on RP are NOT subjective. A standard 3/4 wedgie is not subjective, it follows standard rules of composition and photography. The subject matter of the photo could very well be subjective, but we aren't talking specifically about subject matter here. We are talking about the basic fundamentals of a good photo.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by california_railfan View Post
An ongoing discussion on the forums has been the screening and the decisions of the screeners about what is and is not accepted on the site.

So why is this acceptable?

Image © John Wiesmann
PhotoID: 333357
Photograph © John Wiesmann


The photographer is not in question, the the reasoning behind WHY this photo was accepted is.

Flame on if you like, but I believe this is a valid question.

Hi Ryan,

The image you cite appears to be a scan from a print or slide dating back to 1978. As has been discussed numerous times here on the forums, the RP Screening Team cuts "vintage" images a lot more slack than current, digital pictures. There are "vintage" images accepted all the time that would never meet the quality or cropping standards that are imposed on the digital stuff.

As for screening inconsistency, we've all seen it. My advice is to just accept it as a fact of life if you want to post on RP. Sure, it is frustrating to spend an evening working on a shot, only to have it kicked right at bed-time. We've all been there. But you and I don't own the site, so we don't get a vote. I see that you have your own site. Why not just direct all of your external links there? At least there, you get to control the content.

For the other folks who have not been following the forums, there are 5 Screeners, but the site owners have indicated that perhaps 80% of the shots get screened by just 2 people. They have an on-line screen that permits them to sequentially look at shots in the screening queue on whatever monitor they happen to be using. That screen allows them to accept or reject an image, as well as to attach rejection reasons (they have selection buttons). They can also award SCAs and comment, if they like. Because several hundred shots are submitted each day, the queues can get rather long. I'm not a Screener, but it has been my observation that each image gets perhaps 10-15 seconds of attention. How often shots are screened depends upon Screener availability. On weekdays, it seems like shots get screened fairly frequently. On the weekends, the queue could build up for 8 hrs or more. The Screeners take weekends too....

Appeals are read by one of the two site owners, and the person reading the appeal will not be the same person who originally rejected the shot.

The debate over screening consistency is probably as old as the site itself. We all get frustrated by it, but we're the ones who chose to take up a hobby in which quality is as subjective as hell. Given that, the only real answer for folks who can't deal with the frustration is the advice I gave to Ryan.....start your own site, so you can control your destiny.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by milwman View Post
I say go to the Info page find out who they are and then look at there photos. You will get a feeling for what they like. I some time's think they judge a photo by what they like and not that a shot is good.
In my opinion, screening based on what the screener likes is going to further increase the inconsistency on RP. It's not the screener's job to like or dislike the image, that's what SC's are for. The screener's job is to make sure the shot is RP "worthy". A screener needs to be able to review a photo in an objective way, so as not to influence their decisions based on their likes or dislikes, but on what images are the kind of images RP wants.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:18 PM   #12
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With the original vintage image being accepted, well I don't know how or why.

On your appealed image, I like it but I can see how a screener canned it for cropping. I think there is too much space on the bottom of the picture. I would have cropped up further myself to get a better balance.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Hi Ryan,

The image you cite appears to be a scan from a print or slide dating back to 1978. As has been discussed numerous times here on the forums, the RP Screening Team cuts "vintage" images a lot more slack than current, digital pictures. There are "vintage" images accepted all the time that would never meet the quality or cropping standards that are imposed on the digital stuff.
I can understand cutting slack for the older film. No qualms there, but if the image is scanned, it most likely can be reworked correctly. This particular image is not out of the ordinary, its a typical picture from the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
As for screening inconsistency, we've all seen it. My advice is to just accept it as a fact of life if you want to post on RP. Sure, it is frustrating to spend an evening working on a shot, only to have it kicked right at bed-time. We've all been there. But you and I don't own the site, so we don't get a vote. I see that you have your own site. Why not just direct all of your external links there? At least there, you get to control the content.
I really want to know why people are not willing to talk to the administration of the site in order to make changes, and why the administraion does not address the issue. It seems that many people here have your view points. You are right, we (the photo submitters) do not own the site, but we are the ones responsible for keeping the site inundated with new images that keep people returning to surf the pages of RP, are we not? So, if an issue comes up such as this, doesn't anyone on RP think that the administration should address the issue?

This is a lot like politics, if no one has the courage to stand up and be heard, nothing is going to change and the same things are going to continue to happen over and over again. RP is a great site, and I'm tired of hearing about the same old screening issues (from various people) that, in all honesty, can be corrected with very little work.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
With the original vintage image being accepted, well I don't know how or why.

On your appealed image, I like it but I can see how a screener canned it for cropping. I think there is too much space on the bottom of the picture. I would have cropped up further myself to get a better balance.
Travis, thanks for the comments and corrective criticism. I think what I'm trying to get at here is, does the image work as is? If yes, then it should be accepted. If no, then it should be tweaked. I can see how you could want to crop more off the bottom, but this is the way I framed the image, it has not been cropped. The specifics of where we think it should be cropped are subjective, but whether or not the image is acceptance into the DB as is, is not.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:30 PM   #15
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I agree with Ryan just because I see a lot of inconsistency in the screening team too. I didn't understand how I could get his photo accepted, then have one later in the day with the sun lower rejected for high sun.
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=332292&nseq=7
That was taken at around 2pm. It was accepted but one taken after 6pm was rejected for high sun... that just doesn't make any sense.

I think it's very tough to be consistent in screening, just like it is for the home plate umpire calling balls and strikes. But come on, I can't deal with Joe West screening the photos (Joe West is the worst umpire in the major leagues).
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:37 PM   #16
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The entire thread seems to be a "Why did that shot get accepted but mine got rejected?" The kicker is that the initial rejected image actually got in on appeal. I don't really care for the cropping in that shot. It seems like the OP is trying to do too many things with the photo -- just the water, show the mountains, show the train... But that's just my take. The appeal process obviously worked for the OP. I'm sure if we took a survey of 20 of us and asked opinions on this shot, we'd get a wide variety ranging from "It's great!" to "I don't really like it that much." As it has been said many times, judging photography is by its very nature subjective. There's no way around that.

I find it kinda funny that so many words have been used in this thread when it all comes down to this: it's their site, a pretty popular one, and they run it as they see fit.

I have issues with some of the images I see. I don't like when people can't figure out easy reporting marks like CSXT and UP and just put the number in. If I were a screener, I'd kick out everyone of those images. I don't like multiple shots of the same scene with slightly different crops or different lens. But I'm neither screener nor admin. What I like or don't like isn't really that important in the grand scheme of things. Which leaves me a choise -- keep submitting or take my shots elsewhere.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amtrakdavis22 View Post
I think it's very tough to be consistent in screening, just like it is for the home plate umpire calling balls and strikes. But come on, I can't deal with Joe West screening the photos (Joe West is the worst umpire in the major leagues).
Actually, that would be Angel Hernandez. Just ask any Braves fan. (See. Even that is subjective.)
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:49 PM   #18
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This is a lot like politics, if no one has the courage to stand up and be heard, nothing is going to change and the same things are going to continue to happen over and over again. RP is a great site, and I'm tired of hearing about the same old screening issues (from various people) that, in all honesty, can be corrected with very little work.
Well, not exactly. When you speak of politics, you are probably referring to our democratic system of government at some level. In the case of RP, we're not dealing with a democracy. It's a private business. As long as they're not doing anything that's illegal, they can run it as they like. If they consider our suggestions too onerous, they don't have to listen. In fact, if someone complains too much, they can just ban them from the site and there's no recourse.

So like I said....their sandbox, their rules.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:03 PM   #19
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The entire thread seems to be a "Why did that shot get accepted but mine got rejected?" The kicker is that the initial rejected image actually got in on appeal. I don't really care for the cropping in that shot. It seems like the OP is trying to do too many things with the photo -- just the water, show the mountains, show the train... But that's just my take. The appeal process obviously worked for the OP. I'm sure if we took a survey of 20 of us and asked opinions on this shot, we'd get a wide variety ranging from "It's great!" to "I don't really like it that much." As it has been said many times, judging photography is by its very nature subjective. There's no way around that.

I find it kinda funny that so many words have been used in this thread when it all comes down to this: it's their site, a pretty popular one, and they run it as they see fit.

I have issues with some of the images I see. I don't like when people can't figure out easy reporting marks like CSXT and UP and just put the number in. If I were a screener, I'd kick out everyone of those images. I don't like multiple shots of the same scene with slightly different crops or different lens. But I'm neither screener nor admin. What I like or don't like isn't really that important in the grand scheme of things. Which leaves me a choise -- keep submitting or take my shots elsewhere.
Joe,

Your comments are typical, and just what I have come to expect from you. I have not tried to make this about me. My arguement is that the screening process is inconsistent. My photos was just used as an example. You are great at always trying to make the issue a personal grievance, until it is your photo or your issue. The issue here is about the screening consistancy. Should we go back in the forums and find posts that you have started about screening or about why one of your photos was rejected when it "obviously" should not have been?

I honestly don't care if you like the image or not, for that matter I, usually skip your posts in the forums because you tend to manipulate people's posts to satisfy your own views. The topic of this thread is and should stay on the screening. there is no reason to make this about me, it is a continuation of an ongoing issue in the forums.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:10 PM   #20
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Cropping is a subjective rejection reason so either way the screening process will always be subjective and not standardized. Also, other good photos wouldn't make it in if it was 100% standardized. Some photos make it on with technical issues but have other very strong characteristics that get it accepted.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:14 PM   #21
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Well, not exactly. When you speak of politics, you are probably referring to our democratic system of government at some level. In the case of RP, we're not dealing with a democracy. It's private business. As long as they're not doing anything that's illegal, they can run it as they like. If they consider our suggestions too onerous, they don't have to listen. In fact, if someone complains too much, they can just ban them from the site and there's no recourse.

So like I said....their sandbox, their rules.
So there aren't any politics on RP?

Kevin, I sincerely respect your opinions, but the fact remains that this is a business and if people get discouraged due to inconsistency, it leads to a poor experience for others on the site that may be new and haven't followed RP for the numerous years that we all have.

Again, I think it is important that I make it clear that I do like RP. I do like sharing my images through RP. This is not about me. It is simply an atempt to bring this issue out in the open so that the admins will hopefully address it. Sure, the site admins can ban me if they choose to do so, but I don't think I have been out of line, or made any comments that warrant that. Also, I don't have a problem clicking on the appeal button, I have to do it on many shots I submit. The problem is that this makes more work for the screeners, especially when the image is not changed. For exapmle, in my last 5 or 6 appeals, the only comments I have sent along with an appeal are basically the questions why or how?
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:18 PM   #22
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Cropping is a subjective rejection reason so either way the screening process will always be subjective and not standardized. Also, other good photos wouldn't make it in if it was 100% standardized. Some photos make it on with technical issues but have other very strong characteristics that get it accepted.
Travis,

While cropping is subjective, the issue would still be, does the shot as is deserve a place in the DB? Not just my shot, any shot. If the cropping is way off I agree, but if it comes down to a matter of personal preference from the screener, then why reject the image? RP hosts the "best pictures on the net", not the screener's favorite pictures on the net.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:22 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Well, not exactly. When you speak of politics, you are probably referring to our democratic system of government at some level. In the case of RP, we're not dealing with a democracy. It's private business. As long as they're not doing anything that's illegal, they can run it as they like. If they consider our suggestions too onerous, they don't have to listen. In fact, if someone complains too much, they can just ban them from the site and there's no recourse.

So like I said....their sandbox, their rules.
Thanks first for the explanations above regarding screening process.

Returning to this discussion, I think a term which is popular in recent years in the business world may be adopted - "stakeholders". We do not own this site but I guess we as photographers who contribute the success of this site are well qualified as "stakeholders". The "business" of RP.Net is to attract more photographers contributing their good photos to attract more hits then to attract more advertising revenue. To improve the screening process that makes both us and to RP.Net happy is good to everyone. It is not a zero sum game.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:22 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california_railfan View Post
Travis,

While cropping is subjective, the issue would still be, does the shot as is deserve a place in the DB? Not just my shot, any shot. If the cropping is way off I agree, but if it comes down to a matter of personal preference from the screener, then why reject the image? RP hosts the "best pictures on the net", not the screener's favorite pictures on the net.

Tough call. I don't think there is a 100% answer to your question.

But, one big part of the draw of rp is being able to get a photo one in the first place. You start accepting everything that is just close to good enough and I bet the draw to the site falls off dramatically.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:22 PM   #25
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Ryan;

You made the issue about YOUR photograph. My point was that the screening process will always be subjective. Furthermore, these threads are kinda useless and pointless because of that. I don't know you; I have no issue with you and don't really car one way or the other about you. I was commenting on your photo which you yourself linked to because it was initially rejected.
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