Old 07-20-2018, 07:21 PM   #1
J-M Frybourg
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Default USA versus Rest of the World

Railpictures is an American web site, granted. But the international audience and the proportion of non US-Canada picture has grown significantly since the early years of RP.

Recently, I suggested in vain to flag a "HOT PHOTO ALERT" on the front page on the occasion of the first picture of a new European dual mode locomotive: http://www.railpictures.net/photo/664195/

I knew that the Alert would most probably not happen. But I gave it a try. And today, I see the hot photo alert on the RailPictures front page for a modernized version of an already well known engine. Only visible difference is the red color on the front part of the engine. Still, it deserves a hot photo alert, something any non US engine will probably never get, whatever the degree of innovation.

At times of arrogant Trump attitude, I was just wondering what consideration this site gives to their international customers and audience...
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:00 PM   #2
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Lot of ways to look at this and I can see both sides. More news alerts could be good as long as it is not overdone. That dual mode is a news item, but as far as alerting people to be on the lookout? Maybe a nod to the NS as a corporation and the interest they have provided to railfans, not to mention increased views. Thanks for a new thread, might get a little interest going for the forum.

Bob

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Old 07-20-2018, 08:51 PM   #3
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I think it is more R-P's special relationship they have with the official photographer of the NS than anything else. I wouldn't read anything more into it than that.
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:34 PM   #4
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I think it is more R-P's special relationship they have with the official photographer of the NS than anything else. I wouldn't read anything more into it than that.
OK, thanks for the heads up.
Still the imbalance between how US pictures and non-US are treated can be felt in many ways. Which is not aligned on the universal nature of the claim and mission "The BEST railroad photos on the net".
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:02 PM   #5
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I would ask this-- for a first photo, this locomotive is filthy, and to me appears it has been in service for several months. I admire your work and the places you have been, but to be patently honest, this photo comes across as just another roster shot of any locomotive, be it U.S. or foreign. It wouldn't be worthy of a hot photo alert regardless of where it was taken, IMO.

To put it in perspective, I have photographed nearly 300 shortline railroads in the USA. I can (and have) put up the first photos of some of those lines on this site. None received a hot photo alert, nor would I expect them to. The alert seems to be reserved for very newsworthy locomotives that will draw the attention of younger U.S. fans who will aggressively pursue them trackside, and used pretty rarely. In fact, I can't really recall the alert being used since Norfolk Southern was releasing the heritage units and the company photographer used this site to debut the photos.
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:30 PM   #6
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So if I understand well, this confirms my assumption that the hot alert is indeed a US-only alert, and perhaps (even worse), an advertising for Norfolk Southern.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:43 PM   #7
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So if I understand well, this confirms my assumption that the hot alert is indeed a US-only alert, and perhaps (even worse), an advertising for Norfolk Southern.
The alert banner and links was likely an idea by admin to attract more views (aka; page views). That being said - those alerts would have to be of interest to a majority of viewers.

It was... is a good feature, though can anyone recall the last time it was instituted? I do not recall the Amtrak nor SEPTA ACS-64 Cities Sprinters being highlighted, nor even the first run of UP #844 - so it's hit and miss - like many things about this site these days - seemingly, autopilot with sporadic visits by admin.

However - I am rather surprised your request was not accepted. As a well patronized long term member - it would've been an appropriate courtesy in my opinion.

/Mitch
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:00 PM   #8
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It was... is a good feature, though can anyone recall the last time it was instituted? I do not recall the Amtrak nor SEPTA ACS-64 Cities Sprinters being highlighted, nor even the first run of UP #844 - so it's hit and miss - like many things about this site these days - seemingly, autopilot with sporadic visits by admin.

/Mitch
I seem to recall seeing it used when the first image of UP #1943 was uploaded.
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:24 PM   #9
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As a well patronized long term member - it would've been an appropriate courtesy in my opinion.

/Mitch
Well... you don't know what courtesy I have got over the past years here. The well patronized long term member (and also paying customer) has been banned for an incredible of years from appealing against a rejection. These days, I am banned from front page (TO24, etc.). I have also incredible difficulties getting old pictures of historic value accepted, pictures that were taken in the 70's or 80's, with the non digital quality of the time, and sometimes cloudy shots. And again, in contrast, pictures of poor quality (that I would never dare to submit), but of historical value representing US trains easily make it to the RailPictures database. Some examples:
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/650398/
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/654826/
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/654947/
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/660183/
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/662209/
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/662272/
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/662290/
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/662401/

There are other aspects confirming the pro-US bias despite the ever growing international audience. Think about proportion of non-US pictures that got a SC? Just compare the proportion of Screener's Choice awards going to non US pictures with the proportion of (unbiased) People's Choice Awards (selection by any visitor) that fairly go to any picture, whatever showing a US or a non-US train.

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Old 07-22-2018, 02:41 AM   #10
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I wonder what the statistics for the site look like with respect to the geographic regions where the hits are coming from? I also wonder if the target audiences for the advertisers that support the site might be germaine to this discussion. We have to keep in mind that RP is a business and we are suppliers, not customers. If we put our business hats on, which comes first?

PS - Don't anybody ever go thinking that most Americans think (or act) like the guy with the blonde hair. I'm sure we've all met someone that you just can't take anywhere. He's that sort of guy.
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Old 07-22-2018, 02:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by J-M Frybourg View Post
These days, I am banned from front page (TO24, etc.).

C'mon now. Wanna tell everyone why you're taking a little vacation from the front page?
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:13 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by J-M Frybourg View Post
There are other aspects confirming the pro-US bias despite the ever growing international audience. Think about proportion of non-US pictures that got a SC? Just compare the proportion of Screener's Choice awards going to non US pictures with the proportion of (unbiased) People's Choice Awards (selection by any visitor) that fairly go to any picture, whatever showing a US or a non-US train.
Think of it more as a US site that has seen a substantial growth in foreign patrons. It's not "pro-US", it's just perhaps slow to recognize a rapidly growing foreign base. I would agree, a foreign screener might be a good idea - heck, any new blood with enthusiasm for the site would be beneficial. That being said, that doesn't much help unless all "foreign" pics are screened by a foreigner from a country often foreign to photos from foreigners. Maybe RP needs a foreigner for the appeals? Better yet - my suggestion to admin is seemingly simple - with all due respect - lighten up and be more flexible to well known and received contributors. The loss of several and the perceived atmosphere here deprives the site of its potential. As a fan of the site, I'll add, it's much more fun to post among the best of the best than that best of what's left.

I think most of us can agree - JM is an extremely talented photographer and certainly an asset to the site, its viewers and the hobby in general in regards to the material submitted. I am glad you continue to post here, JM - as I am sure other are.

As for foreign images - I certainly appreciate the opportunity to be exposed to new equipment, incredible scenery and the history that comes along with it. It's not appealing to all, but then again - neither are all the endless roster shots of black, blue, yellow and orange diesels. Or, worse - lol - SEPTA commuter trains! But there's an historical aspect to the database as well.

Incidentally - some of us are here equally for the photographers in addition to the photography. I've always welcomed the idea of RP being known also as a place with the BEST photographers on the Net, as well.

In short - if you have a gripe on the Forums - write it down, be constructive. If you have nothing constructive to say, but feel inclined to say something anyway (lol - we all do at times) , perhaps don't post until you have had a chance to re-read it 24 hours later. And most importantly - admin, perhaps a modicum (more) tolerance and flexibility especially for well established patrons and well received newcomers. I say this without a dog in race - well, one dog, but no personal gripes other than the fact I'd like to see more participation (once again) and enthusiasm from RP staff. Start here in the Forums, but make your way to the admin suggestions and TODO threads, lol.

/Mitch
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:54 PM   #13
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I think the word "clickbait" sums it up nicely. This started as a USA/Canada only site, and a (large?) percentage of fans here were probably fine with that.

Speaking of clickbait, in the larger internet universe I've been getting breaking news alerts no matter what site is on the screen. Thankfully the alerts are brief and unobtrusive so far!
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Old 07-22-2018, 07:28 AM   #14
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I miss the pictures of Robin Coombes here, and Blair Koostra, Alan Crotty, Ross Fotheringham, Richard Gennis, Maarten Van der Velden, Justin Tognetti, French photographers Remy Daugeron, Clement Ecoffey, Olivier Julian, Gregoire Brossard; and so many others that have left. I try to follow them elsewhere on several sites instead of one single "best" site.

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Old 07-22-2018, 07:32 PM   #15
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Lot discussion going on here looking at one topic:

SC - I think we had discussion about more mid-western and other ideas. probably ask 10 people and get 10 suggestions. I'd like to see some more variety of styles. The DQ photo for photo of the week is neat but going outside the box even more, I saw this one and thought if I ever wanted to take just one railfan photo this would be it. Maybe you had to be a kid in the 60's to know what it was like -

Image © Tom Nelligan
PhotoID: 665162
Photograph © Tom Nelligan


Bob Jordan

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Old 07-23-2018, 10:11 PM   #16
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I second Lloyd & Mikes comments and will add more to it. 1st - this site belongs to someone else and they have their own tastes so If they dont like a pic, thats their prerogative. All of us have gotten offended at someone point cuz one our own pics was not "good enough". I have gotten offended, so I put on my big boy pants and quickly I got over it and used the critiques to better my RR photography. 2nd -Like Mike said the chances of me getting overseas for anything would be once in a lifetime thing and more than likely will never happen. My biggest issue with the oversea's posters (and some of the posters from USA & CA) is when I see a pic that appeals to me and I click on it, there is no description!! What good is an interesting shot if there is nothing there to tell me about it and entice me to venture overseas to collect my own photo?? Everybody has their favorite RR whatever that appeals to themselves, give me more that just a pic to look at, give me a reason to like your stuff. I love anything about history and thats why I am on this site, to preserve history thru my lens and throw in any facts I can along the way. I'd love to come overseas and see and explore the things I have read about in the history books. Since I cant, bring it to me, with descriptions and when RP dont like it, just roll with it, cuz at the end of the day its still your pic and you liked it enough to try and share it with the rest of us.
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Old 07-24-2018, 01:33 AM   #17
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In regards to the hot photo alert, a lot of US stuff doesn't get it either- there wasn't anything for the first SEPTA ACS-64 or Amtrak Cascades SC-44. Other than UP 1943, I think all it has been used for is official NS stuff.

As for the whole US vs everyone else debate, I think most of the complaint is that North American stuff gets to break the rules more than stuff from elsewhere. I think this is a valid critique, but the reason why the other stuff is accepted is because it is considered historical/nostalgic by the American-based screening staff. Perhaps if there were a European screener or two things might be different, but the site is currently set up the way it is.

I like foreign things because they are different, and because I like to travel. I like to see different takes on train photography, and not all are accepted here. For these, I use my Flickr. I've found that many of the Japanese photogs like their trains right on the image edges, which I don't understand, but is interesting. I also put up my stuff there that RP doesn't like.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:06 AM   #18
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I respect the personal choice of people wanting to know and visit only their part of the world, and uninterested in what exists beyond their own borders. This cultural limitation exists in parts of the population in any country in the world.

But this is not the topic here. Perhaps the title of the thread was wrong. What this thread is about is that despite the site being gloabal in nature (international / universal) - or pretending to be - the reality is a de facto inequality of treatment between pictures depending on their country of origin.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:51 AM   #19
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I respect the personal choice of people wanting to know and visit only their part of the world, and uninterested in what exists beyond their own borders. This cultural limitation exists in parts of the population in any country in the world.

But this is not the topic here. Perhaps the title of the thread was wrong. What this thread is about is that despite the site being gloabal in nature (international / universal) - or pretending to be - the reality is a de facto inequality of treatment between pictures depending on their country of origin.
You are correct that there are xenophobes here in the USA. This is puzzling and/or amusing, considering that 100% of the "white people" here have foreign ancestors! Lecturing them or arguing with them is utterly pointless, like talking to a brick wall. Only time will change them, one way or another!

Personally, I take the drama here at RP much less seriously since my Flickr views caught and easily overtook the views I have here. There are things going on in the wider world that are far more worthy of sturm und drang than a niche hobby website.
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:53 PM   #20
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RP is not perfect but that is not just a function of RP itself but also its contributors. The problems with RP itself are often discussed, but I think the contributors could also be a bit more introspective. If they expect perfection they are likely to be disappointed, and how much of their response is just ego. I know, been there done that. I used to get really unhappy when one of my wonderful works of art was rejected. But over time I slowly learned to live with the fact the screeners are not only volunteers but human, and some times were not only just plain wrong, but inconsistent and arbitrary. And even occasionally correct. Can RP be made better, maybe, but I'm not holding my breath. When "art" is concerned there is probably no perfect system.

We do this for fun so if the angst outweighs the satisfaction, nothing wrong with going away. But i am particularly disappointed when folks who leave ask that their images be removed, that affects not only RP but those who enjoyed the pix.

The international cultural differences are interesting. I have had the pleasure of railfanning with a lot of folks from around the world, and there are differences. In some cases that causes conflict, but more often it is a mutual learning experience. My photography is better for spending time alongside some Brits, some Germans, and so on. And hopefully vice versa. This has become very much an international hobby.

By the way, the picture I use as an avatar here is a reject from many years ago.
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:48 AM   #21
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.....and how much of their response is just ego.
Nail hit squarely on head! There are a few egos in rail photography that should be sporting the Goodyear (TM) logo and flying over football games.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:24 AM   #22
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This morning, I got 2 emails, from 2 "foreign" contributors:

One was from Bernd Seiler, asking me what the process is to withdraw entirely from Railpictures: withdraw his account and withdraw all the pictures he has posted so far. Bernd has enough of this rejection business "This is a kindergarten, and they can play their own game. They do not deserve it." I am speechless and embarrassed because I opened Bernd' account on RailPictures. His pictures are so great that adding Bernd as contributor was going to be a great addition to the site. And now I feel ashamed that after 200+ great pictures he is asking me how to quit.
I am hesitating between trying to convince Bernd to stay on RPN, or acknowledging that he is right, I can’t but agree with him, I apologize for drawing him to this game, and I hope to see his pictures elsewhere, etc.

The other one from Vitaly Amtrakov, telling me that one of his pictures had made it to top of 24 hours, but is not showing up on the front page, and asking me why. I will post screen shots of this in the next message.

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Old 07-24-2018, 08:25 AM   #23
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Here is the situation for Vitaly's TO24 picture :
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	July 24 2018 morning top of last 24 hours.jpg
Views:	253
Size:	388.8 KB
ID:	9640   Click image for larger version

Name:	July 24 2018 morning RPN Front Page TO24.jpg
Views:	260
Size:	112.0 KB
ID:	9641  

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Old 07-24-2018, 11:31 AM   #24
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Here is the situation for Vitaly's TO24 picture :
Without digging into the details, most popular of a day does not equal TO-24.


Bob

added: TO-24 and most popular of the day are two different 24 hour periods.

That was a neat photo and I noticed and favored it when it showed up.

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Old 07-24-2018, 11:47 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Here is the situation for Vitaly's TO24 picture :
For whatever reason, the screenshot that you posted is not showing the situation that you described. Both the To24 and Home Pages are showing an image of a former CSX Diesel by James Gentry as the top shot. Perhaps the screenshot is updating continuously, instead of being frozen in time?

At any rate, is it possible that Vitaly was "juicing" his view-counts with links to other sites? A while back, Admin did indicate (here) that steps were being taken to prevent at least some individuals from artificially forcing run-of-the-mill photos to To24 positions with links. I applaud this action and would like to see it extended to every photographer here. I have always believed that To24 should reflect popularity among site viewers.....not the abilility of the photographer to campaign his/her work elsewhere.

BTW, I also applaud Vitaly's creativity with the screen name.
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