RailPictures.Net Forums

RailPictures.Net Forums (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/index.php)
-   Railroad Photography Forum (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=9)
-   -   Expanding our Community (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=17329)

Chase55671 12-22-2014 12:18 AM

Expanding our Community
 
Hi Contributors & Members,

On the behalf of our entire team, I would like to reach out and thank our contributors and members for another year of excellent photo submissions by our loyal community of railroad photographers. Your continued support of Railpictures.Net has helped us expand our quality controlled photo database, while allowing us to further network with one another, and continue growing as the BEST railroad photography database on the 'net. Thank you for making 2014 a special year for all of us.

As we look ahead to 2015, I want to reach out to our members for commentary on what ideas you would like to introduce to the table for improving your investment at Railpictures.Net in the New Year. In recent conversation with editorial, I would like to seek input on what you would like to see implemented or added in the New Year. This isn't related exclusively to the screening process or database entries, but more geared toward out-of-the-box and innovative ideas that can enhance the existing content of the website, while enticing new talent to join our community.

I have discussed one possible idea with editorial that has now advanced to the stage of public opinion and feedback. Railpictures has always featured a blog or a column-like segment of the website that allows contributors to submit short stories to editorial for posting. This content, especially in recent years has not been routinely updated because of lack of sufficient interest and contributions.

One thing I would like to potentially see added to the website is a blog/column that highlights a selected photographer each month. Our editorial team would select the "Photographer of the Month" in which his/her portfolio would be linked to a short manuscript that serves as a biography to he/she. I think this would allow us to profile some of our exceptional talent, while also helping expose his/her photography through our followers and social media presence. This standalone blog would also allow us to push and expose unique developments within the site, such as additions/revisions to the screening process and any other important announcements regarding the site and its screening process.

I would like to hear feedback on the proposition, as well as any innovative ideas you all think can potentially improve Railpictures.Net and our community. We are always looking for ways to improve the website.

Best,
Chase Gunnoe
Railpictures.Net Staff

JimThias 12-22-2014 01:15 AM

I like trains.

miningcamper1 12-22-2014 01:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182791)
...would like to seek input on what you would like to see implemented or added in the New Year.

Best,
Chase Gunnoe
Railpictures.Net Staff

Didn't we do that fairly recently? :confused::confused::confused:

Be that as it may, one or two "Free Passes" per year or per X number of accepted images might reduce frustration with the site dramatically. I don't think anyone would waste such limited opportunities on junk images.

StL-rail 12-22-2014 02:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miningcamper1 (Post 182794)
Didn't we do that fairly recently? :confused::confused::confused:

Be that as it may, one or two "Free Passes" per year or per X number of accepted images might reduce frustration with the site dramatically. I don't think anyone would waste such limited opportunities on junk images.

I like this idea as well.

I'd also like to add, I think we should encourage screeners to make comments on rejections. You know, those photos that are almost there, but need a few small tweaks. Suggestions from the screeners on how to fix it would make it easier for us to see exactly what they are looking at.

Also, those photos that have not a snowball's chance in hell of being excepted, a short explanation for those photos of why that is, might help reduce frustration.

Just an idea.....

Mberry 12-22-2014 02:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182791)
Hi Contributors & Members,

On the behalf of our entire team, I would like to reach out and thank our contributors and members for another year of excellent photo submissions by our loyal community of railroad photographers. Your continued support of Railpictures.Net has helped us expand our quality controlled photo database, while allowing us to further network with one another, and continue growing as the BEST railroad photography database on the 'net. Thank you for making 2014 a special year for all of us.

As we look ahead to 2015, I want to reach out to our members for commentary on what ideas you would like to introduce to the table for improving your investment at Railpictures.Net in the New Year. In recent conversation with editorial, I would like to seek input on what you would like to see implemented or added in the New Year. This isn't related exclusively to the screening process or database entries, but more geared toward out-of-the-box and innovative ideas that can enhance the existing content of the website, while enticing new talent to join our community.

I have discussed one possible idea with editorial that has now advanced to the stage of public opinion and feedback. Railpictures has always featured a blog or a column-like segment of the website that allows contributors to submit short stories to editorial for posting. This content, especially in recent years has not been routinely updated because of lack of sufficient interest and contributions.

One thing I would like to potentially see added to the website is a blog/column that highlights a selected photographer each month. Our editorial team would select the "Photographer of the Month" in which his/her portfolio would be linked to a short manuscript that serves as a biography to he/she. I think this would allow us to profile some of our exceptional talent, while also helping expose his/her photography through our followers and social media presence. This standalone blog would also allow us to push and expose unique developments within the site, such as additions/revisions to the screening process and any other important announcements regarding the site and its screening process.

I would like to hear feedback on the proposition, as well as any innovative ideas you all think can potentially improve Railpictures.Net and our community. We are always looking for ways to improve the website.

Best,
Chase Gunnoe
Railpictures.Net Staff

Broken record time, but as I have said many times the screening process as it is now is very frustrating to contributors, and I know many once prolific contributors who have given up in frustration. Specifically fixable rejection, followed by fixable rejection followed by a killer rejection or some similar progression. It's happened to me probably hundreds of times and it's unbelievably frustrating, a waste of everyone's time and a big turn off to a lot of potential contributors. In my opinion, further screenings after the first rejection should only be to determine whether the previous rejection reason was addressed or not (within reason).

CSX1702 12-22-2014 04:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimThias (Post 182792)
I like trains.

Freak. .....

RobJor 12-22-2014 05:05 AM

I am pretty new but I am adapting to the screening process. I can somewhat understand the factors involved. Improvements in that would probably come internally as you are probably aware of the issues.

However, I had also thought of the free pass, if I understand that to be once you get a certain number of accepted photos you get to submit something within reason that might not have been accepted. I have night photos usually in a town that do not seem to fit in. The are not daylight quality but yet not the headlight in the night type that could be accepted.
I am sure others might have other types of photos also. The reasoning behind this is once you set criterion, rules, inevitably certain creativity suffers and a certain sameness can set in.

It is like they talk about standardized tests. Students begin to study to pass the test. So we all pick photos that have A,B,C and D qualities because we learn right or wrong others will fail.

As far as the blog, I think now you are going back to the typical complaint with magazines only a little worse. Basically an editor now picks who to publish. I am not saying this is bad but opens another can of worms as only a few are chosen which gets away from what I thought is the basic concept is that everyone gets a chance. If anything, it could be that people at least get to submit a blog similar to a magazine article and the "best" are chosen rather than picking who can even try.

Bob Jordan

bigbassloyd 12-22-2014 05:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mberry (Post 182796)
Broken record time, but as I have said many times the screening process as it is now is very frustrating to contributors, and I know many once prolific contributors who have given up in frustration. Specifically fixable rejection, followed by fixable rejection followed by a killer rejection or some similar progression. It's happened to me probably hundreds of times and it's unbelievably frustrating, a waste of everyone's time and a big turn off to a lot of potential contributors.

So be a little more choosey, reduce the uploads, and lessen the frustration? :D

Quote:

In my opinion, further screenings after the first rejection should only be to determine whether the previous rejection reason was addressed or not (within reason).
I like this idea. That would force the hands of RP to empty the clip on the first go round, and allow a photographer to decide if it's worth it or not.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182791)
Chase says stuff about things and whatever here.

Themed photo contests! Allow one screened (loosely) entry per registered member, and have them up somewhere on here for voting. Maybe do one every couple weeks or something. Winner can get a RP t-shirt or a month of Elite Membership or something.

Loyd L.

lalam 12-22-2014 08:24 AM

Is there any possibility of RP , on behalf of photographers, getting involved in direct sell of prints?

bigbassloyd 12-22-2014 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalam (Post 182800)
Is there any possibility of RP , on behalf of photographers, getting involved in direct sell of prints?

You know what niche of the photo market sucks? Railfans that attempt to sell photos to other railfans.

I sell tons of railroad related prints, but not to other foamers.

Loyd L.

Mr. Pick 12-22-2014 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd (Post 182799)

Themed photo contests! Allow one screened (loosely) entry per registered member, and have them up somewhere on here for voting. Maybe do one every couple weeks or something. Winner can get a RP t-shirt or a month of Elite Membership or something.

Loyd L.

I like that idea. Then maybe you could put the winners of each individual weekly/monthly/whatever contest together and have a photo of the quarter, and/or year award, decided from previous winners.

BUFFIE 12-22-2014 04:24 PM

RP Improvements
 
"one or two "Free Passes" per year or per X number of accepted images"

+1

Good idea.

Mgoldman 12-22-2014 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182791)
...out-of-the-box and innovative ideas that can enhance the existing content of the website, while enticing new talent to join our community.
Chase Gunnoe
Railpictures.Net Staff

I think access to the forums - specifically, the "Site Related" section should be made available to admin instead of just the patrons. There's a wealth of information there on how to improve the appeal of the site and most of all - how to retain and "entice new talent" to the community.

As it stands , I am encouraging a potential new patron to RP whose images I can say, without a doubt would most definitely boost the excitement factor of this site (and viewership) along with a lending of additional credibility in enticing others to join in. Sadly, my advice was that gleaned from the experience of the best of the best of the current crop of RP patrons. Post, appeal, move on. Do not try to rationalize why a particular image did not meet the personal taste of one or two site administrators. It IS their site and that seems to be the most accurate characterization of the logic. It is a shame admin does not give more leeway to established photographers - either prior to joining or after years of membership in good standing. It is that logic and indifference that understandably tends to limit the appeal to others that would otherwise contribute (and continue to contribute). You may find yourself, at times, being treated as member #57578 instead of "G.H." on this site. You'll enjoy the benefits and comradery of the site so long as you are willing to accept a certain amount of occasional priggishness, inconsistency and intolerance.

Chase - there was a long discussion on this topic (more towards retention and encouraging future photographers to RP) within the threads which I can't seem to dig up. You agreed with me then that RP needs to run like a good business with a great customer service department to move forward. As it stands, RP runs like most state's Department of Motor Vehicles.

One of admin's better decisions was in getting you involved though your absence /involvement has been missed. Wishing you the best of luck here, in 2015. And be nice to "G.H." should he elect to opt in!

/Mitch

lefflerlad 12-22-2014 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by StL-rail (Post 182795)

I'd also like to add, I think we should encourage screeners to make comments on rejections. You know, those photos that are almost there, but need a few small tweaks. Suggestions from the screeners on how to fix it would make it easier for us to see exactly what they are looking at.


I agree that if this is feasible then it would be a great idea. The current rejections are an improvement from the past in terms of specificity, but I think specific screener comments would go a long way in easing frustration. An example would be, "Image rejected for loose composition" followed by "X item is throwing off the composition" or "We would like to see X located here in the frame."

Chase55671 12-23-2014 07:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miningcamper1 (Post 182794)
Didn't we do that fairly recently? :confused::confused::confused:

Be that as it may, one or two "Free Passes" per year or per X number of accepted images might reduce frustration with the site dramatically. I don't think anyone would waste such limited opportunities on junk images.

The concept of free passes opens up a wide range of potential drawbacks, including subjectivity, credibility, consistency, and simply, who deserves it and who doesn't. In discussion, it's a nice idea and concept, but when trying to execute it, we are opening ourselves up for more criticism and inconsistency than the existing screening procedures. If the "free pass" idea was implemented, it would leave the contributor with his/her own perception of what is worthy of the free pass and what isn't. The system would undoubtedly be used wrongfully at some point or another.

Quote:

Originally Posted by StL-rail (Post 182795)
I'd also like to add, I think we should encourage screeners to make comments on rejections. You know, those photos that are almost there, but need a few small tweaks. Suggestions from the screeners on how to fix it would make it easier for us to see exactly what they are looking at.

Also, those photos that have not a snowball's chance in hell of being excepted, a short explanation for those photos of why that is, might help reduce frustration.

Just an idea.....

Currently, I think there's more screener and photographer commentary than ever before. I think those requests have been heard and I believe the team as a whole is effectively moving forward in providing commentary to contributors through expanded rejection explanations. On average, I provide typed commentary on between 25% and 35% of images I screen daily.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd (Post 182799)
Themed photo contests! Allow one screened (loosely) entry per registered member, and have them up somewhere on here for voting. Maybe do one every couple weeks or something. Winner can get a RP t-shirt or a month of Elite Membership or something.

Loyd L.

Noted. Thank you, sir.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lalam (Post 182800)
Is there any possibility of RP , on behalf of photographers, getting involved in direct sell of prints?

Noted. Will look into this with admin and follow up with forum post.

Keep the ideas rolling... I'm on college break through the middle of January and hope to brainstorm with editorial over the holidays.

Thanks,
Chase

Mgoldman 12-23-2014 09:11 AM

OK Chase, let me rephrase that in the form of an idea...

1) Better friendlier customer service.

2) Less fickleness, additional tolerance and more respect /compassion.

3) Greater consistency - and appeals accepted on precedence.

4) "The Free Pass"
I'm not a fan of a free pass, though I do have a dog in this fight, lol.
Instead, why not set criteria upon which a patron earns greater leeway,
not with regards to technical issues, but instead, with composition and
subject. This would be for appeals only.

This can be number of years on RP, or any of the following - reaching a
set number of PC's, or reaching /maintaining a specific average views
per image statistic. And, BECAUSE it's "your site" and you can do what
you want, you can simply extend such an offer to established
photographers both new and current members. Simply make it a well
known that exceptions are in place for select members. This could be
done by using a different color font, a badge of some sort in the
photographer field or any method of your choice.

I'd LOVE to see the return of many of those who left and the great
photographers out there who hesitate to have their images nitpicked or
judged unacceptable.

So long as there is an established path for others to get the same
treatment.


/Mitch


PS - I sincerely think that many would find RP would be a much more enjoyable experience if some of the "todo" and "suggestions" were contemplated as noted in the "Site Related" Forum.

PSS - I like the idea of themed contests, too. Could be local - event pics with a prize (not necessarily monetary) such as a charter run, or new heritage unit /logo, or Circus Train, ect, and /or could be a theme... a challenging theme - "rain", or "blue", "fast", "backlit" ect. Judging would be tricky, however - 5 screeners or the audience at large? Each has it's own issues - specifically, those that campaign via links "vote for my shot", but you'll get those views, anyway. Personally, I'd let members only vote.

Mgoldman 12-23-2014 09:18 AM

Back to themes - there was a time on RP after any big steam event, or even local events like Circus Trains or OCS specials, that I would look forward to logging onto RP to see what I may have missed, or even how others captured an event in comparison to my own take on the event.

Now, I browse through FB or even FLICKR.

I think a on going contest... or running perk for posting images from these events would go far in getting back to that time where the best pics of an event could be found in bulk on RP.

The perk? Your choice - monitary, or not but something to entice patrons to post to RP first, or at least in addition to other sites.

/Mitch

miningcamper1 12-23-2014 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 182809)

Simply make it a well
known that exceptions are in place for select members.

"Select members"???
Sorry, Mitch. Some of us don't like the favoritism that already exists on the site (i.e. "High Value Contributors"). I never judge a photo by who took it.

Mgoldman 12-23-2014 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miningcamper1 (Post 182811)
"Select members"???
Sorry, Mitch. Some of us don't like the favoritism that already exists on the site (i.e. "High Value Contributors"). I never judge a photo by who took it.

This confuses me....

If there already is a perceived bias, wouldn't you rather have a bias given to Jim Wrinn, John Craft, Steve Crise, Alan Crotty or Steve Schmollinger?

I've always thought "More is better then less" for a database like RP. I'd rather scroll past stuff I do not like vs never having a chance to see the images I might like. That's the advantage of thumbs. Of the speed of RP vs FLICKR. Of the search functions.

And unlike Railfan & Railroad or Trains Magazine, "favored" photographers do not preclude folks like you and I getting a photo into the database.

Quite simply - who cares if there is favortism in getting images accepted so long as your images are not unfairly omitted from the database. Is your (our) goal sharing and the visibility through RP or stopping noted and revered photographers from uploading a few marginal shots?

In other words, favortism really has no effect on us unless those "crappy" shots beat our image to the front page. Like the magazines, there is only limited space available (4 slots on the top right of the front page). However, those images have either earned their spot on the highly visible front page or you are stuck with the issue not even addressed - a few odd SC choices, link campaigns and of course, the Darwin /pretty girl shots.

More is better so long as they are screened or at least from proven photographers. I can not image a photo from O Winston Link that I would
not be interested in seeing. Or even the likes of Dennis Livesey, Eric Williams or Travis.

/Mitch

miningcamper1 12-23-2014 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 182812)

If there already is a perceived bias, wouldn't you rather have a bias given to Jim Wrinn, John Craft, Steve Crise, Alan Crotty or Steve Schmollinger?

Hey, if their stuff is good, it shouldn't need favoritism to get on RP. :D
What ticked me off was two slide shooters (one of whom recently took his bat and ball and left in a huff) who regularly got away with baseball-grain, bad color, and even obvious dust spots.

Mgoldman 12-23-2014 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miningcamper1 (Post 182813)
Hey, if their stuff is good, it shouldn't need favoritism to get on RP. :D
What ticked me off was two slide shooters (one of whom recently took his bat and ball and left in a huff) who regularly got away with baseball-grain, bad color, and even obvious dust spots.

And now you see none of their shots...

I'll take the second option, where a few images with dust spots get in along with the rest of their incredible collection of hard to find images all on an easy to browse site like RP.

In a secondary note - if advice offered to admin was taken, it's quite possible that those issues could've been addressed in such a way as to not infuriate those posters to the point at which they felt compelled to leave.

/Mitch

miningcamper1 12-23-2014 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182807)
The system would undoubtedly be used wrongfully at some point or another.

Oh, come on, Chase. You know that you guys have ways to deal with frivolous uploads. Like back in April 2013, when the facebook crowd had that "Upload your worst photo to Railp___s" prank campaign.

I'm referring mainly to shots like the one over to the left ( 1003 views and 12 faves on flickr, but PAQ'd here ) where your taste differed from mine. I didn't suggest that the free pass shot would go unscreened- correctable defects would need to be fixed. What regular contributor would waste their 1 or 2 annual freebies on junk?

miningcamper1 12-23-2014 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 182814)
...a few images with dust spots get in...

Not fixing dust spots is pure slothfulness. Criminal slothfulness! :twisted:

J-M Frybourg 12-23-2014 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182791)

I would like to hear (...) any innovative ideas you all think can potentially improve Railpictures.Net and our community. We are always looking for ways to improve the website.

Best,
Chase Gunnoe
Railpictures.Net Staff

Dear all,

This is my first message in the RPN Forums.
Indeed, I had submitted a request to become a forum contributor on a couple occasions, but for some reasons they were not reviewed and got lost. My most recent attempt was in the summer of 2014, when I wished to make additional suggestions about the new rejection motives. My request to join the forum was only accepted about a month ago, on the occasion of ... RPN team banning me from appealing on rejections!!!

So this leads me to my first suggestions for improvement:

i) Review the forum membership request log once per month.

ii) Think about how RPN can give more room to innovation and creativity in train photography.

Indeed, I believe that quite some of my rejections - and my further appeals on them - was about borderline classic vs. innovative ways of portraying trains. So it is quite natural that what is borderline raises rejections, appeals, and more importantly a need to establish a dialogue about pushing the boundaries of the "acceptability criteria enveloppe".
As Robjor rightfully said: "once you set criterion, rules, inevitably certain creativity suffers and a certain sameness can set in".

iii) Be more customer-friendly.
This suggestion has already been made in this thread and I adhere to it.

As an example: it is weird that I be banned from submitting appeals to rejections when:
- The reason why I have made so many appeals is because I submit so many pictures, and more importantly I try to push the boundaries, some appeals were about innovation / discussing the rightfullness and universality of some criteria;
- I think I am quite a good customer an I don't know of many businesses that can survive without damage by treating their customers this way. By "good customer", I mean two things: 1) I contribute many pictures and without contributors RPN is noting 2) I pay the RPN Elite membership.
- I do not know when I will get out of jail. I have been sentenced without knowing the duration of my sentence.

But please, do not misunderstand me:
- I do like RPN, it is a fabulous site, and if it did not exist, one should invent it
- I thank the screeners: this is a difficult job and they get more criticism than rewarding thanks. So I would like to add my sincere gratitude here.

I have other suggestions, and will write them in another message

J-M Frybourg 12-23-2014 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182791)

I would like to seek input on what you would like to see implemented or added in the New Year. This isn't related exclusively to the screening process or database entries, but more geared toward out-of-the-box and innovative ideas that can enhance the existing content of the website, while enticing new talent to join our community.

International contributions

If I am right, RPN has now established itself as an international reference. It is probably the one and only worldwide web site for railroad photography.

However:

1) An overwhelming majority of pictures are American, probably followed by Canada, Australia and the UK, i.e. coming from the English-speaking community. ==> There is much room to increase the flow of contributors and contributions from non-US and non-English-speaking photographers

2) Competitors are growing in the form of Flickr, FB, etc. and photographers have other ways of sharing their pictures with the rest of the world on the Internet. ==> Any initiative to reinforce RPN as "the" reference site and most important RR photography repository will be beneficial for RPN and for the railroad photography as a whole.

So here are some suggestions:

iv) Introduce foreign languages in RPN.
I know of many good photographers that would contribute if they would feel confident enough with the English language.

This can be done in several ways:

- Like many international web sites do (e.g. big corporations), add small clickable flags (icons) on the home page, member page, "Add your photos" page and some other key pages to change from English to Spanish, German, French and/or selected other major languages.
I understand how burdensome it may be for RPN staff to achieve that. Obviously RPN needs help to do that. I do volunteer to prepare the French translations of the most important pages or texts (e.g. rejection motives). And RPN can probably find (reach out to?) Spanish speaking and German speaking contributors (Georg T. ?) to do the same.

- Allow for contributors to speak their native language in the remarks section under their pictures. After all, we have Internet translators available if needed.

- Extend / change the automated list of locomotives in the upload section (and parallel it in the database search criteria) so as to uniformize the non-US locomotive types and make the search criteria more efficient. Again, I volunteer to submit a standardized list of engines for France, Georg could do that for Switzerland, etc. As is the case now with the existing list, not all and every existing engine type should be represented given the "Other Locomotive (if not listed)" option.

v) Extend the screeners team: include one or several (?) reliable volunteer non-US screeners that would be allowed to screen only non-US (and Canada) pictures, and that would of course NOT screen for their own submitted pictures.

Ideally, RPN would end up with 1 screener for Asia-Pacific, 1 for Europe, 1 for Rest of the world, i.e. South America and Africa.

Of course, such new screeners should commit to follow RPN rules and participate in screeners’ team internal meetings / discussions, etc.

Perhaps if possible, the new screener would become active after a test period.

J-M Frybourg 12-23-2014 04:43 PM

I wish to re-visit the following suggestion:
Quote:

Originally Posted by J-M Frybourg (Post 182817)
ii) Think about how RPN can give more room to innovation and creativity in train photography.
Indeed, I believe that quite some of my rejections - and my further appeals on them - was about borderline classic vs. innovative ways of portraying trains. So it is quite natural that what is borderline raises rejections, appeals, and more importantly a need to establish a dialogue about pushing the boundaries of the "acceptability criteria enveloppe".
As Robjor rightfully said: "once you set criterion, rules, inevitably certain creativity suffers and a certain sameness can set in".

I also wish to comment on Mitch’ comment:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 182805)
Do not try to rationalize why a particular image did not meet the personal taste of one or two site administrators. It IS their site and that seems to be the most accurate characterization of the logic.

Is RPN really owned by the RPN founders and staff?
Today, RPN has become “the” reference web site for railroad photography. As a consequence, in some way, RPN has established itself as a major referee, judge and arbitrator of what is acceptable railroad photography vs. what is not.
Thus, indeed, it IS their site, but RPN has objectively earned kind of a responsibility.

Now, here is a teaching story about tradition vs. innovation in art:
Copied and pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

In the middle of the 19th century, as Emperor Napoleon III rebuilt Paris and waged war, the Académie des Beaux-Arts dominated French art. The Académie was the preserver of traditional French painting standards of content and style. Historical subjects, religious themes, and portraits were valued; landscape and still life were not. The Académie preferred carefully finished images that looked realistic when examined closely. Paintings in this style were made up of precise brush strokes carefully blended to hide the artist's hand in the work. Colour was restrained and often toned down further by the application of a golden varnish.

The Académie had an annual, juried art show, the Salon de Paris, and artists whose work was displayed in the show won prizes, garnered commissions, and enhanced their prestige. The standards of the juries represented the values of the Académie, represented by the works of such artists as Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel.

In the early 1860s, four young painters—Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille—met while studying under the academic artist Charles Gleyre. They discovered that they shared an interest in painting landscape and contemporary life rather than historical or mythological scenes. Following a practice that had become increasingly popular by mid-century, they often ventured into the countryside together to paint in the open air, but not for the purpose of making sketches to be developed into carefully finished works in the studio, as was the usual custom. By painting in sunlight directly from nature, and making bold use of the vivid synthetic pigments that had become available since the beginning of the century, they began to develop a lighter and brighter manner of painting that extended further the Realism of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school. (...)

During the 1860s, the Salon jury routinely rejected about half of the works submitted by Monet and his friends in favour of works by artists faithful to the approved style. In 1863, the Salon jury rejected Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) primarily because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. While the Salon jury routinely accepted nudes in historical and allegorical paintings, they condemned Manet for placing a realistic nude in a contemporary setting. The jury's severely worded rejection of Manet's painting appalled his admirers, and the unusually large number of rejected works that year perturbed many French artists.

After Emperor Napoleon III saw the rejected works of 1863, he decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Refused) was organized. While many viewers came only to laugh, the Salon des Refusés drew attention to the existence of a new tendency in art and attracted more visitors than the regular Salon.


Do you see the parallel with RPN, and the risks for RPN if a “web site of the RPN refused” would arise?

Some photographers, some very good photographers, have rejected or are rejecting RPN because they do not accept to be judged through the eyes of a tiny team of US individuals, whatever their qualities are. Blair Koostra (USA) RobinCoombes (UK), Gregoire Brossard (France) are just a few examples of what I consider good innovative photographers. They have stopped submitting, fed up to bounce against the walls of RPN classic photo admission criteria.

I often wonder whether some striking photos that I see praised elsewhere would make it to the RPN database. There is a diversity of judges, tastes, “admission criteria” out there in the world. I don’t like the idea of RPN establishing itself as the final judge of what is good taste and bad taste in RR photography.

The criteria for the Railroad Center for Photography and Art awards are certainly not the same as the RPN admission criteria.
Excellent and very creative Japanese railroad photography as seen in Japan Railfan Magazine and the likes, would not make it to the RPN database with the existing admission criteria.
Even Dick Steinheimer’ pictures: I think a share of them would be rejected (without prior knowing / viewing them and without knowing the name of the photographer).

ii /2) (re-visiting my above suggestion # ii )

In the interest of RPN, I suggest re-thinking creative photography and related RPN admission criteria to allow for less standard and classic images.
There has already been some limited progress in this direction. I encourage the RPN team to do more.

How to do that?
A good way to do that might be through creative photo meeting sessions (virtual meetings) with RPN staff, selected RPN contributors and some non RPN staff. In advance of the session, you / we would collect creative pictures obviously falling out of the current admission criteria, and then discuss why they are currently not acceptable, whether or not they should remain as such and why, and then conclude with improved admission / rejection rules.

coborn35 12-23-2014 05:59 PM

God Damnit I am glad you are here.

bigbassloyd 12-23-2014 07:09 PM

Maybe a separate website for sideways locomotives and out of focus switch levers? :D

Hey Sean Hoyden.. it's just a damn train photo son! :D

Loyd L.

NorthWest 12-23-2014 09:41 PM

I hope I can contribute something to this conversation, being a viewer rather than a contributor (mostly due to the cloudy/common power rejection and only 60 days of sun a year, though my photography is poor in general).

I agree with Jean-Marc regarding increasing international contributions. One of the things that is special about this website is that you can find pictures from all over the world. I have learned so much from viewing pictures outside of North America; things that I would likely have missed if I didn't view the site. However, there tends to be a lack of photographs from certain parts of the world, most likely due to the language barrier. I believe that there programs to translate things such as the captions; I do not know if they would work for RPN, but if they did, the site would be richer with photographs from areas such as China and Japan.

I've also played the game with fixable-fixable-fixable-killer rejections, and it is frustrating. I know how long it takes me to view the day's uploads, and it must take even longer for you screeners, who must look at the pictures that I skip, in addition to the rejections. Giving killer rejections first would help all of us.

Thank you very much for all of the effort that you put into this site, and for allowing me to comment on it.

Chase55671 12-23-2014 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mgoldman (Post 182809)
3) Greater consistency - and appeals accepted on precedence.

4) "The Free Pass"
I'm not a fan of a free pass, though I do have a dog in this fight, lol.
Instead, why not set criteria upon which a patron earns greater leeway,
not with regards to technical issues, but instead, with composition and
subject. This would be for appeals only.

This can be number of years on RP, or any of the following - reaching a
set number of PC's, or reaching /maintaining a specific average views
per image statistic. And, BECAUSE it's "your site" and you can do what
you want, you can simply extend such an offer to established
photographers both new and current members. Simply make it a well
known that exceptions are in place for select members. This could be
done by using a different color font, a badge of some sort in the
photographer field or any method of your choice.

I'd LOVE to see the return of many of those who left and the great
photographers out there who hesitate to have their images nitpicked or
judged unacceptable.

So long as there is an established path for others to get the same
treatment.


/Mitch

Hi Mitch,

Here's my opinion on two of your suggestions... You (along with many of our contributors) are constantly seeking for a more consistent screening process, better explained rejection reasons, and an improved appeal process. We receive these same types of requests across the spectrum on a very regular basis.

Introducing a "free pass" or "highly valued contributors" program would not be a step in the right direction on increasing consistency and enforcing fairness across the entire spectrum. It would discourage new talent and create a headache with existing contributors. How could we determine who was worthy of entry into the program and how do we juggle subjectivity with photographers and images? It's a thin line and very much a grey area. I think you can understand and relate to where I am coming form.

Fairness is always the right path and increasing consistency across the entire spectrum remains the goal. Your recommended program is favoritism in disguise and I don't think that's a step in the right direct with concerning customer service.

Chase

Mgoldman 12-23-2014 10:44 PM

Thanks for taking the time to respond, Chase.

My thoughts are as follows:

As for consistency, what I ask is simple:
If an image similar to a current shot that is rejected exists, the older validated shot should serve as precedent. There can be a time span set as well, say a year back or a few months, ect. This would apply to cloudy overcast shots of regular trains, a shot not following rule of thirds, a similar abstract type of shot, foreground obstructions like bridge girders (in some cases) or fences, and even same a previous images, ect. You say you want to avoid the perception of favoritism yet this is one of the major causes (even if not intentional) of that perceived bias.

As for the "leniency pass", you ask the question that I provided the answer to; "How would you determine who is worthy". It could be based on average views per image after "x" number of images, or a set number of PC's or simply a perk of membership after "X" number of years. Sure it's "favoritism" but the path would be available to all so in reality, it's not. And it's simply good business to keep your good customers or entice new customers (patrons) that otherwise might not join. Those photographers - even if brand new, say Jim Wrinn were to come along, or it was day one and one of the well known and revered Danneman brothers elected to come on board - your site, your rules, a policy could fast track such folks with a proven or published /noted success. Bring these people on board! Again, this would not a be a free pass nor would it mean any changes on the first screening, assuming the team at RP were to come up with kinder and more constructive rejections. These "HVP's" would be identified by way of a small badge or similar in the "photographer field". A hyper link could even be provided to the policy /method to become such a member.

The main point is finding a way to keep good photographers posting and entice the best of the best to come into the fold. Anything else should be secondary. This of course would be in addition to making RP admin much more friendly to it's patrons - friendly, constructive and compassionate. Sometimes, it's not simply "what's in it for RP". This should be taken into consideration. There should be some give and take, mutual backscratching, ect. Or, lol - forget the leniency clause and just loosen the reigns. I like the leniency clause, however. Proven photographers should be the ones with the freedom to push limits (they've demonstrated they've progressed past the basics and have an understanding of photography).

/Mitch


Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182827)
Hi Mitch,

Here's my opinion on two of your suggestions... You (along with many of our contributors) are constantly seeking for a more consistent screening process, better explained rejection reasons, and an improved appeal process. We receive these same types of requests across the spectrum on a very regular basis.

Introducing a "free pass" or "highly valued contributors" program would not be a step in the right direction on increasing consistency and enforcing fairness across the entire spectrum. It would discourage new talent and create a headache with existing contributors. How could we determine who was worthy of entry into the program and how do we juggle subjectivity with photographers and images? It's a thin line and very much a grey area. I think you can understand and relate to where I am coming form.

Fairness is always the right path and increasing consistency across the entire spectrum remains the goal. Your recommended program is favoritism in disguise and I don't think that's a step in the right direct with concerning customer service.

Chase


JRMDC 12-24-2014 02:11 AM

I'll throw a few thoughts out there...

I'll put them into two categories, somewhat related, communication and irritation. Well, I won't divide them up but to some extent each addresses one or the other or both. Also, admin is a black hole, has been for a while. Some of the suggestions deal with that.

- state of RP report - some periodic feedback, say quarterly, saying what RP is up to, what is coming down the pike, what does admin view as something they are or intend to work on. Doesn't have to be a "REPORT", just some feedback as to what is going on. With some frequency, say quarterly.

- occasional state of screening report - for example, it would be really nice to hear what is discussed at the group screener discussions that I vaguely understand are held. What changes in screening criteria are being implemented, what criteria are getting looser over time and what tighter. Announcements that "X" (say, half-shadows on V noses) are now acceptable. Statements of what is being done to improve on screener consistency.

- maybe an occasional "this is why shot X was accepted" statement, perhaps responding to one of the "WTF" threads here on the forums. Another form of greater insight into screening expectations

- set and public policies - anyone who loses upload rights will get them back in X months (and then do it) or anyone who loses upload rights can do Y to get them back - anyone who appeals X shots in a month will be blocked - anyone who uploads X number of "bad" rejections will be blocked - something to clarify expectations and consequences, and not have people in the dark especially about the latter

- what do you see as your mission, and what do you see as your ideal? For example, the current criteria accept shots in the pretty-scenic / basic wedgie well lit / wreck / newsie even if not great / somewhat artsy interesting light categories, and exclude those in the mostly artsy category. Is that what you want to be? Do you want to encourage more or fewer shots in any of those categories?

- what do you see as your mission II - do you consider yourself a repository or a database also (and if the latter, fix the "&" problem!!! :) ) - what implications does that have for what changes / features you are going to implement

- RP has lost quite a number of excellent photographers in recent years, who have chosen not to deal with RP anymore. Does that bother you - are you trying to have the "best" rail images or is that just a catchy slogan? If it does, have you reached out directly to those photographers and found out why they left? Are you ok with that?

miningcamper1 12-24-2014 03:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 182836)
I'll throw a few thoughts out there...



- set and public policies - anyone who loses upload rights will get them back in X months (and then do it) or anyone who loses upload rights can do Y to get them back - anyone who appeals X shots in a month will be blocked - anyone who uploads X number of "bad" rejections will be blocked - something to clarify expectations and consequences, and not have people in the dark especially about the latter

Banning members from uploading, or from appealing, or from the forum without warning does not engender warm feelings about the site!

BTW, I understand that HG would like to know when his "two week cooling-off period" is over.

J-M Frybourg 12-24-2014 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC (Post 182836)
I'll throw a few thoughts out there...

I'll put them into two categories, somewhat related, communication and irritation. Well, I won't divide them up but to some extent each addresses one or the other or both. Also, admin is a black hole, has been for a while. Some of the suggestions deal with that.

- state of RP report - some periodic feedback, say quarterly, saying what RP is up to, what is coming down the pike, what does admin view as something they are or intend to work on. Doesn't have to be a "REPORT", just some feedback as to what is going on. With some frequency, say quarterly.

- occasional state of screening report - for example, it would be really nice to hear what is discussed at the group screener discussions that I vaguely understand are held. What changes in screening criteria are being implemented, what criteria are getting looser over time and what tighter. Announcements that "X" (say, half-shadows on V noses) are now acceptable. Statements of what is being done to improve on screener consistency.

- maybe an occasional "this is why shot X was accepted" statement, perhaps responding to one of the "WTF" threads here on the forums. Another form of greater insight into screening expectations

- set and public policies - anyone who loses upload rights will get them back in X months (and then do it) or anyone who loses upload rights can do Y to get them back - anyone who appeals X shots in a month will be blocked - anyone who uploads X number of "bad" rejections will be blocked - something to clarify expectations and consequences, and not have people in the dark especially about the latter

- what do you see as your mission, and what do you see as your ideal? For example, the current criteria accept shots in the pretty-scenic / basic wedgie well lit / wreck / newsie even if not great / somewhat artsy interesting light categories, and exclude those in the mostly artsy category. Is that what you want to be? Do you want to encourage more or fewer shots in any of those categories?

- what do you see as your mission II - do you consider yourself a repository or a database also (and if the latter, fix the "&" problem!!! :) ) - what implications does that have for what changes / features you are going to implement

- RP has lost quite a number of excellent photographers in recent years, who have chosen not to deal with RP anymore. Does that bother you - are you trying to have the "best" rail images or is that just a catchy slogan? If it does, have you reached out directly to those photographers and found out why they left? Are you ok with that?

I agree with all of the above and I fully support these suggestions.

mark woody 12-25-2014 01:31 AM

I think J and JMF have it covered.

And to ALL a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Mark.

hoydie17 12-25-2014 03:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd (Post 182825)
Maybe a separate website for sideways locomotives and out of focus switch levers? :D

Hey Sean Hoyden.. it's just a damn train photo son! :D

Loyd L.

Don't use the Night Stalker's name in vain.... ;)

Bob Pickering 12-27-2014 01:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chase55671 (Post 182791)
Hi Contributors & Members,

On the behalf of our entire team, I would like to reach out and thank our contributors and members for another year of excellent photo submissions by our loyal community of railroad photographers. Your continued support of Railpictures.Net has helped us expand our quality controlled photo database, while allowing us to further network with one another, and continue growing as the BEST railroad photography database on the 'net. Thank you for making 2014 a special year for all of us.

As we look ahead to 2015, I want to reach out to our members for commentary on what ideas you would like to introduce to the table for improving your investment at Railpictures.Net in the New Year. In recent conversation with editorial, I would like to seek input on what you would like to see implemented or added in the New Year. This isn't related exclusively to the screening process or database entries, but more geared toward out-of-the-box and innovative ideas that can enhance the existing content of the website, while enticing new talent to join our community.

I have discussed one possible idea with editorial that has now advanced to the stage of public opinion and feedback. Railpictures has always featured a blog or a column-like segment of the website that allows contributors to submit short stories to editorial for posting. This content, especially in recent years has not been routinely updated because of lack of sufficient interest and contributions.

One thing I would like to potentially see added to the website is a blog/column that highlights a selected photographer each month. Our editorial team would select the "Photographer of the Month" in which his/her portfolio would be linked to a short manuscript that serves as a biography to he/she. I think this would allow us to profile some of our exceptional talent, while also helping expose his/her photography through our followers and social media presence. This standalone blog would also allow us to push and expose unique developments within the site, such as additions/revisions to the screening process and any other important announcements regarding the site and its screening process.

I would like to hear feedback on the proposition, as well as any innovative ideas you all think can potentially improve Railpictures.Net and our community. We are always looking for ways to improve the website.

Best,
Chase Gunnoe
Railpictures.Net Staff

Chase!

I do not post on here often but check from time to time. I discussed this idea with my wife and we both agree that this is a fantastic idea and maybe it will allow us to get to know some of the people who contribute here, whether it's a handful of pictures or someone who has been at it a while.

So we think it's a good idea...

BP

blair kooistra 12-27-2014 03:24 PM

Cheapskates.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lalam (Post 182800)
Is there any possibility of RP , on behalf of photographers, getting involved in direct sell of prints?

Railfans are among the cheapest people I know.

hoydie17 12-28-2014 02:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd (Post 182801)
You know what niche of the photo market sucks? Railfans that attempt to sell photos to other railfans.

I sell tons of railroad related prints, but not to other foamers.

Loyd L.

This.

Until I started marketing outside of the railfan world, I couldn't make any money selling my prints.

Once I started aiming towards the non-railfan market, people started bringing money. It's been a wonderful supplement to my regular income, so much that I finally registered Night Stalker Photo Works, LLC in Virginia this past Fall.

If someone want to make money off their work, don't go through a middle man.

wirailfan 01-06-2015 03:48 AM

I've been posting images on RP.Net since 2003 and I have no big complaints with the screening process. You either learn to adapt or you leave as many of my friends have done that have taken this too personal.

What I would like to see is a location for more creative photography that today does not meet the standards for the site. Why not add a link on the homepage to another database that allows for more creativity such as HDR photography, etc? Mainstream viewers that dislike non-standard images can enjoy the database as they do today, while others can choose to enjoy and learn from those photographers that push the limits.


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.