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Old May 13th, 2006, 03:08 PM
Tim L. Walker's Avatar
Tim L. Walker Tim L. Walker is offline
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Community Discussion Regarding CCC#21 and Future Contest Corner Challenges

While the original voting thread for CCC#21 has been "edited" to remove the unnessisary comments, it is still something I would like to discuss in this thread.

Firstly, there were numerous accusations of cheating implied by a number of members during the voting period in the voting thread. Whether or not you feel cheating is going on, it is inappropriate to accuse someone of so in the open forum. If you feel something "underhanded" is going on, please feel free to bring it to the attention of any of the mods or myself and it will be investigated. Such accusations, regardless of if they turn out to be true or not, reflect poorly not only on the community as a whole, but also on myself, the advertisers and sponsors of the site (who make the site, the contests, and the prizes possible). I fully expect that this will not happen again. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to discuss them below.

Secondly, in this particular case, cheating was involved. While all the votes for the "initial winner" have been removed, after very basic investigating on my part, I found that the winner did indeed register at least 37 accounts over a period of 3 days, all of whom voted for the photograph in question. While this "cheating" is not specifically outlawed in the Rules & Regulations, cheating, on any level, will not be tolerated. While the individual will not be banned from the site, s/he will no longer be able to participate in any future contests. From this point forward, any cheating discovered will result in immediate banning from the site. The bottom line is: Do Not Cheat. Not only will you not get away with it in the end, but again, it reflects poorly on the community, myself, the advertisers and the sponsors. Again, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to discuss them below.

Thirdly, there were also numerous posts that accused a particular photograph (which ended up being the winner) of being excessively post-processed. Excessive post processing, unless specifically outlined in the contest thread, is not allowed. That being said, there is an obvious gray area. This brings into play a discussion about the Rules & Regulations that govern our current Contest Corner Challenges. You can read our current guidelines here. Please discuss below changes you think should be made to the Rules & Regulations, as well as the contest and voting processes we currently used.

While I will not necessarily implement all or any of the ideas discussed, I believe it is important that the community as a whole has some input as to the direction of this site.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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DDAY DDAY is offline
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Thanks for investigating this past contest Tim. I guess it comes as no surprise to me that cheating was going on. To me the real gray area is that of discussing photos during the contest. I think that open discussions during the voting could potentially influence some folks to vote one way or another. I think the contest may be better served if all discussion was left until afterwards where the participants and voters could openly discuss the photos and the techniques etc. that were used.

The second point is the whole issue of manipulation. There is no real way to police that issue IMO so people voting will just have to leave it to their best judgement and select their choices on what they feel are authentic.

Hope the move went well for you Tim. Nice to see you back among us
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Old May 13th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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VitaminB VitaminB is offline
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Regarding discussion of photos during the competition, I think you should only be allowed access to the discussion after you have posted a vote, ensuring that the discussion does not change your decision. Not sure if its possible though.

Regarding manipulation, is there some software, or some way of telling if the photo has been manipulated? In other boards and online contests, I have seen them be able to distinguish manipulated photos out of hundreds of selections. May be possible for the corner as well.

Either way, Im glad the right photo won in this case.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 04:51 PM
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GREAPER GREAPER is offline
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Great post Tim

I think that the general rules are fine as they are and have provided for fairness to prevail.

I also agree that discussion of the images should be prohibited until the voting is complete so that the opinions expressed by one member cannot influence the voting of others.

I dont think the rules need to prohibit voting more than once. I think that is OBVIOUS and fully support banning anyone that breaks it. I would even go so far as to say having more than one active account at a time without approval from the admins is grounds for banning as there is no honest reason for doing so.

As far as manipulation goes I think it is impossible to police and the rules are vague to begin with. I think the only way to handle it is to let Tim be the judge. If a mamber thinks it has been manipulated they can PM Tim about it. If Tim suspects that they may be right, he can discuss it with the owner of the image and make a ruling. Making accusations or even assumptions about the work of others is a dangerous thing to do.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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Actually, I'm a bit shocked that someone would cheat on something like this. Seems so bloody pointless! Oh well. I really commend you for investigating this and getting to the bottom of it, Tim. I'm a bit surprised the person wasn't banned, but that's the admin's decision.

For general voting, it seems to me that it should be anonymous. If a popular member is observed to be voting for a pic, either literally or implied by discussion, I think it could influence those less sure of their opinion. I agree that any discussion should only be available after a vote is cast.

I know we all work hard on our photography and take pride in our best work, but it ain't like there's money involved here. It's just a contest and it ain't gonna make or break a career! We don't even enter it. I think we should all be gratified just to be nominated out of all the great pics here each month.

Anyway that's my 2 pence worth.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 08:35 PM
thackraya thackraya is offline
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I'd like to add my tuppence worth on the subject of image manipulation.

I don't believe that this needs to be a grey area at all.

In traditional photography certain forms of image mannipulation have always been present. This ranges from the choice of lens & filters to alter the focus, colour or contrast of the image to dodge & burn techniques, exposure masking etc in the darrkroom to alter the lighting and emphasis of the elemnts of the image.

These techniques are also all available in digital photography and exist for the same reasons - that the camera is an imperfect instrument for capturing the reality that the photographer sees in a scene.

Note that the photographer himself never sees reality. His brain acts as a very powerful filtering mechanism that abstracts from reality only those things the brain sees as important. What is significant is that the brain uses emotion to determine what is important and there is a feedback loop between the brain and the eyes so that what the photographer is feeling determines in part what he is seeing and what is seen reinforces the feelings.

When we manipulate an image what we are trying to do is alter the flat image captured by a camera so that the photograph enables another observer to see in the image what we saw in the image and fell the emotions that the image invoked. We do this by trying to do to the image what the brain is doing all the time to reality.

I believe that any form of image manipulation that enhances or alters the elements present in a photograph should be permissable. After all, if done excessively the image will appear unnatural to the observer anyway.

However I also believe that importing new elements into an image should not be permissable. IE using montage or painting techniques to blend two disparate images together by importing elemnts from one image into another. At this point the manipulation ceases to be an attempt to extract from a photograph its emotional and artisitic context and becomes an attept to fool the observer.

The basic rule for image manipulation should be that any pixels in an original photograph may be manupulated in any way but that no new pixes can be added to a photograph.

This limits the scope of the mnipulation to what exists in the photograph and it then comes down to the photographers skills with the camera, darkroom & digital darkroom to get the most out of the images his camera captures.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 08:58 PM
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JustJerk JustJerk is offline
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This was the first time in 21 challenges that there was a problem. Think everything is fine the way it is.
Good work Detective Tim - Hope all is well in your new home town.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 10:47 PM
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christinayoder christinayoder is offline
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while i would be okay with the contest staying the same i have seen some diffrent types of voting that i favor over this one. i particularly(sp?) like one that has you grade on a scale of one to ten and the person with the highest score so to speak wins. also in that contest you are required to vote on a predetermined nuber of images. so that everyone participates. and if you don't vote for the predetermined nuber you can't win. just thought i would through that out there. as for the disscusion i to belive that the thread should only be open to voting until the contest is over.
Anyways thats my 2 cents.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 12:40 AM
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Scott U. Scott U. is offline
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On the manipulation issue, that's a tough call. I, like alot of people on here, shoot exclusively in RAW. So technically, all of my photos are manipulated in some way. Thackraya made a good point, we all want to present a photo that looks as close to what we saw in our mind as we can. Like everything else, it comes down to honesty. We know when we have over manipulated a photo, and if we did, we know we shouldn't enter it in a contest (unless that's the reason for the contest). IMO, do what you feel is right and let Tim decide if it's over done.
As for the comments issue, I agree that any discussion should only be allowed after the voting is done. When someone voices their opinion, positive or negative, it can and probably does influence those that haven't voted yet.
It's a shame that things turned out the way they did, but on the bright side, it tabled some issues that were on everybody's mind. That's a good thing!

Welcome back Tim and thanks for listening.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 02:19 AM
thackraya thackraya is offline
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Like ScottU, I also shoot exclusively in RAW & therefore must manipulate my images to get any image at all. Futher to this, even in non raw digital cameras the camera does a considerable amount of image manipulation before it produces a JPEG or TIFF file. This manipulation consists of colour enhancemnet, contrast anhancement and sharpening. In most digital cameras the quality of the image is as much determined by the software in the camera as the quality of the lens.

I regard photography as a three step process. These are

1) Capture as much information about the scene being photographed as possible

2) Edit this data to bring out the image that the photogtrapher has seen in his mind's eye

3) Present the image in a medium that can best do the image justice.

These three steps have always been implicit in photography but it's only since the advent of the digital age that we see it as a process of data capture and manipulation.

To me there truly is no difference between using a traditional darkroom and specific emulsions, dodging & burning, masking, pushing and other darkroom techniques to modify the data held on a silver halide emulsion, and manupulating the image pixels in Photoshop to get the same result.

However to me there is a clear difference between manipulating the data that the camera has caught in an image and adding new data to the image.

If the data exists in the capture and the photographer uses image enahncement techniques to bring this out he is merely exaggerating something that does in fact exist in the original capture & therefore can legitimately be called part of the photograph.

If, however, data is imported from another source into the image then it cannot be said that this is part of the original photograph. It may be great art but it is not photography as I see it.

To me photography is an attempt to capture what I see and feel in a scene and pass that on to others. Hence it is as much a means of communication as it is an art form.
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