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Travel Forums System Talk Featured photos

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1. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

Just so I can keep on whining about the member-ranking system, there's something else that's not quite clear to me.

On the basis of what algorhitm are photos featured on the TP pages? I uploaded a few some time ago, but I never saw them pop up anywhere... other pics, like recently a fine shot of Mt Everest, stay featured on the homepage for several days, or reappear several times over a short time span.

Given that photos are so immensely important for one's ranking, I think that it would be fair to make explicit according to what 'rules' photos are featured.

Niels

2. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 10y

They are manually reviewed. Yes, ALL photos are looked at and I guarantee you that I have looked at every single one. And if I (or the other photo moderator Quan) think it is good enough we feature it. There are no hard and fast rules, but photos of rare locations of a high quality will almost certainly make it.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 10y

Quoting bentivogli

Given that photos are so immensely important for one's ranking, I think that it would be fair to make explicit according to what 'rules' photos are featured.

Although I understand where you're coming from, I think you're looking at this whole 'issue' from the wrong side. There's no "fair" or "unfair" here. One's "ranking" is not important, and is not something anyone is entitled to (in the past Peter's made rather large changes to the algorithm that shuffled all rankings about quite extensively, and I wouldn't be surprised for this to happen in the future again).

Yes, there's some related benefits (photo upload most notably; although I doubt there's many budding members who ever reach the limit nowadays), but mostly these member titles are there to help others get an idea of who's contributing helpfully to the site. But it's a loose guide only: a first indication, for people to trust or ignore as they see fit based on what they themselves observe. Obviously no mere algorithm, no matter how complex or well-thought out, can ever really hope to capture all the nuances of real people's actions. So there'll be cases where people don't get the "ranking" they "deserve" (which goes both ways). This isn't a big deal. The site doesn't become any less usable when one's "ranking" is off. More importantly: your advice doesn't become less helpful or worthwhile to the people you're helping.

And in the end, isn't knowing that we've helped someone have a better experience travelling all the reward anyone could ask for?

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 10y

Quoting Peter

They are manually reviewed. Yes, ALL photos are looked at and I guarantee you that I have looked at every single one. And if I (or the other photo moderator Quan) think it is good enough we feature it. There are no hard and fast rules, but photos of rare locations of a high quality will almost certainly make it.

What, in general, is good enough? Well, of course that's subjectively, but what I mean is:

Is for example the fact that there are no pictures at all of a country maybe a reason to feature a photo which is of less quality but still ok? I uploaded some pictures of Georgia (no photos at all) and the ones that I found good enough were not featured.
Or is a photo that is almost the same as another photo already featured, but also same quality, not a reason to feature it? In that case, it's a matter of uploading the picture first?

Thanks, Michael.

5. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 10y

Quoting Utrecht

Is for example the fact that there are no pictures at all of a country maybe a reason to feature a photo which is of less quality but still ok? I uploaded some pictures of Georgia (no photos at all) and the ones that I found good enough were not featured.

Actually, two of your photos of Georgia were featured. I did a round of featuring earlier today which is when they went up. Because this is a manual process, it can take a while to happen. Btw, I had no idea Georgia didn't have photos yet, so thanks for that ;) Generally, that is indeed an easy way to get in, though because most countries do have a photo gallery now, I don't really pay that much attention to it anymore. Let me know though if you have a half-reasonable photo of Pitcairn Islands for example :) Your photos of Georgia were featured purely because they are good photos of interesting subjects. And travel photography is all about interesting subject matters ;)

Or is a photo that is almost the same as another photo already featured, but also same quality, not a reason to feature it? In that case, it's a matter of uploading the picture first?

If a photo is of a known subject and almost identical to another one previously uploaded then yes, it is less likely to be featured. However, if it is of higher quality, I have been known to go back and unfeature older ones in favour of the newer one. In the end, the real goal for us is to ensure those featured galleries are a) diverse and b) of as high a quality as possible!

And it's worth saying that while the featured photos do have a positive effect on member rankings, it really isn't that substantial. You still would need to have a lot of featured photos to climb up the rankings!

6. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 10y

Quoting Peter

Quoting Utrecht

Is for example the fact that there are no pictures at all of a country maybe a reason to feature a photo which is of less quality but still ok? I uploaded some pictures of Georgia (no photos at all) and the ones that I found good enough were not featured.

Actually, two of your photos of Georgia were featured. I did a round of featuring earlier today which is when they went up. Because this is a manual process, it can take a while to happen. Btw, I had no idea Georgia didn't have photos yet, so thanks for that ;) Generally, that is indeed an easy way to get in, though because most countries do have a photo gallery now, I don't really pay that much attention to it anymore. Let me know though if you have a half-reasonable photo of Pitcairn Islands for example :) Your photos of Georgia were featured purely because they are good photos of interesting subjects. And travel photography is all about interesting subject matters ;)

Or is a photo that is almost the same as another photo already featured, but also same quality, not a reason to feature it? In that case, it's a matter of uploading the picture first?

If a photo is of a known subject and almost identical to another one previously uploaded then yes, it is less likely to be featured. However, if it is of higher quality, I have been known to go back and unfeature older ones in favour of the newer one. In the end, the real goal for us is to ensure those featured galleries are a) diverse and b) of as high a quality as possible!

And it's worth saying that while the featured photos do have a positive effect on member rankings, it really isn't that substantial. You still would need to have a lot of featured photos to climb up the rankings!

I think that's the good way to handle I agree. I saw that two of my pictures were featured yes, but I thought they were less quality. It's just fun to have your photos featured in general.

O, by the way, my cousin (who is now in Oman) has uploaded some pictures of Oman recently....and Oman hasn't got a gallery at all. Just to let you know. ;)

Curious about the travel photo competition by the way...at least I know I am not in the top12!

7. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

Quoting Sander

mostly these member titles are there to help others get an idea of who's contributing helpfully to the site.

My point exactly. I'm not sure if you would agree, but I feel that most of my contributions to the forum are a lot more helpful than those pictures. But maybe that's just my opinion :)

Niels

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 10y

I don't know... Photos are pretty much the only aspect of the site that're actually 'helpful' to me (although I do ask the odd question in the forums every so often). They make me add countries to my long list of places to make certain I'll still get to see. :)

Everyone has different criteria for what's helpful, and so the algorithm takes into account useful contributions to the entire site. (Maybe in the bit you quoted I should've said "usefully" rather than "helpfully".)

9. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

It's all not very important in the end, I'll give you that. But it's probably the politician in me wanting to address the fact that, whatever motivation is given for it, the current practice of assigning members' ranks on the basis of almost completely subjective criteria (i.e. the 'featurability' of one's photos) is neither fair nor transparent.

At the very least, I feel that TP should explicate in the clearest of terms both the goals of the ranking system, and the criteria that are applied. But, since members that upload a lot of good photos do not necessarily give better feedback in the forums as well (and would therefore deserve a 'higher' rank), it might be better to abandon the ranking altogether, and replace it by more neutral member statistics (number of pictures (featured), number of posts, average post rating, etc.).

[added]
O sweet, sweet irony... as I was typing this, my own ranking improved to respected member... yay! :)

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 12, 2006 5:08 AM by bentivogli ]

10. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 10y

Quoting bentivogli

it might be better to abandon the ranking altogether, and replace it by more neutral member statistics

Heh, but where's the fun in that?

And yeah, I posted another thread regarding the fact that there was in fact a bug in the page that calculates member ranks, hence the situation where you ended up never getting one. Solved now and I hope everyone feels a lot better for it :)

And on a side note, I see nothing wrong with subjective views defining member rank. In a lot of ways, they are more reliable than algorithms that pretend to be objective, but are easily fooled by spammers. But that may not need elaborating now that the bug is fixed and everything makes sense again ;)