How to improve the photo contest

Discussion in 'Photo Contest' started by Brad, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. Brad

    Brad Administrator
    Staff Member

    I would like to begin an open conversation on how best to improve the photo contest. We have had an ongoing monthly contest for over ten years and I definitely want to continue that tradition. However, in order to continue some changes are required to reduce the time needed to manage each contest. Also, I think we can probably make improvements to increase transparency and participation.

    Each photo contest has three main stages:
    1. Photo Submission
    2. Entry Reduction
    3. Member Voting

    The entry reduction stage requires the most time to manage and creates the most headaches. So what is the reduction stage and why do we need it? That's a great question, Brad. The entry reduction stage is where we reduce the original entry count down to a more manageable number. Ultimately, it provides two main services. First, it acts as a filter to increase the quality of each poll option and creates a mechanism to enforce themes when applicable. Second, and I believe a more important factor, it reduces the poll options to a more manageable number for voters. As the poll options increase in number, members are less inclined to invest the time needed to make a proper selection. A poll with 20 options will usually get fewer votes overall than a poll with 3 options. In the past we have received as many as 100 entries for a single contest. We also tend to get more comments from the community when the number of poll options is small. That being said, we want as many people as possible to be involved in the contests. Trying to find a balance between that and the need to reduce the number of poll options has been an ongoing struggle for years.

    I'm open to new ideas, comments and suggestions from the community. There is no rush; I expect this discussion could last for a couple months before any permanent changes are made. For anyone offering suggestions I want to thank you for your time and ask that you consider the goals listed below.

    Reduce time investment
    The contest currently takes a tremendous amount of time to try and fairly reduce the entry count to a more manageable level. I need to find a way to reduce that time investment.

    Maintain or Improve Integrity
    Any changes made to the contest should maintain or improve its integrity. By integrity I mean transparency and the perception of fairness.

    Maintain or Increase Participation
    I want to achieve the above goals while maintaining, or hopefully increasing, member participation.
  2. maybe we could have different themes like sports, nature and holidays

    we could also have different categories for species like a panther category, parson category and a jackson category
    Rogue, Brad and serenaj25 like this.
  3. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Different categories came to mind, but that might just complicate things. Was thinking it probably takes a long time sifting through the thousand veileds, hundred panthers, and then few others. maybe each month do a different species. Or each month do them all seperately and then compare the most voted for each species selected. That's more of just a change though and might actually make things take longer.
    Brad likes this.
  4. absolutbill

    absolutbill Chameleon Enthusiast

    I like the different species each month idea. I've always found this to be a popularity contest with the same owners winning time and again. Perhaps a month or two where only those who have never won could enter?
  5. Extensionofgreen

    Extensionofgreen Chameleon Enthusiast

    I'd prefer a theme or genus focused contest and perhaps reduce the submission deadline to the first week of the month or something similar. I think that looking up information on how photos are judged in horticultural shows and posting the metric, may help reduce inadequate submissions and help clarify your own criteria for thinning out the entries for the final poll. These score sheets typically address technical aspects of photography as well as the educational value/accurate or innovative portrayal of the subject.
    maryanne27, Angelwolf, Brad and 3 others like this.
  6. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    ^ Was just thinking this, when i entered my picture i did it thinking the coolest looking chameleon wins, so i just went through my favorite colorful pictures of my guy. Seeing the people that got in though, i realize it is more about photography skills. Not that the chameleons in it aren't all beautiful! but they play on the camera work and setting more so than the chameleon. Which makes a lot of sense now that i think about it, it's a skill. I'm not much of a photography person myself, but next time it'd be nice to give it a try for a better picture.
    AMdoubleER, Brad and Angelwolf like this.
  7. Blang

    Blang Established Member

    1 winner per year!
    jamest0o0 likes this.
  8. opheliaeatsbugs

    opheliaeatsbugs Avid Member

    For me (and I'm new), knowing that the winning pictures will be used to create a calendar, made me look at my photos differently. I asked myself, would I like to see this picture in a calendar - or would I buy a calendar if this photo was in it? I tried to submit something that was outdoors, used natural lighting and wasn't (too) blurry, etc. But there have been a few submissions in the last couple months that were very cute/different and, although they might not be considered calendar-worthy, I thought they were clever and creative. I agree with jamest0o0 that a good photographer has a better chance of taking a pic that is more visually appealing but how many of us fall into that category - usually I'm trying to capture something with my phone camera lol But now I understand why and what kind of pic has a better chance making it to the voting round. So with that said, if the expectations were clear(er) that might cut down on some of the submissions (although that seems like a crappy way to lower submissions). You might consider having a separate contest for the "fun and crazy" options, best captions, etc. (but that is increasing your work... boy, I'm not very good at helping). To increase commenting, you could do a caption contest... best caption of a given photo wins (there doesn't have to be a prize necessarily, just bragging rights)?

    You know what? scratch all that ... I agree with this LOL
  9. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    I definitely agree with theme etc that @Extensionofgreen mentioned. Also do you have a staff of like 2 people mostly focused around this? I think have two or three people who are like moderators but whose main focus is to focus on the monthly picture sifting, and then they can do other things when available would make sense?
    Brad likes this.
  10. i think we should have like 5 people search the photos to make sure all the photos are in the rules
    Angelwolf and jamest0o0 like this.
  11. inkdguy35

    inkdguy35 Established Member

    possibly making it so, on a set date, no photos can be entered/submitted into the photo contest category. make the link not accessible or just some way to keep late entries from being posted.
  12. serenaj25

    serenaj25 Avid Member

    adding to what others have said... i would think that something like "species of the month" would be awesome since there are so many species or you can give color themes like blue theme for all of the nosy bes and blue bar panthers out there or eating shots contest or just anything to narrow down the submissions
  13. OldChamKeeper

    OldChamKeeper Chameleon Enthusiast

    This is a good foundation in my opinion.

    Like was mentioned earlier, after learning that these photos will be chosen for a calendar at the end of the year that really helped my mindset when it came to taking and submitting a photo. I think that needs to be emphasized more and maybe that will cut down on some of the photos that clearly won't be in a calendar. It might do away with the photos of a chameleon sitting on somebody's hand as an example. On the flip side, you have to get people to read that and we've all seen numerous people make an entry who didn't read the basic rules first. Some people won't read things.

    Another idea, once a person wins (1st place only) that person is done for the year.

    I definitely disagree with the idea of doing one species at a time. For example, apply some math to it. How many people are going to be competing on veiled month as compared to say Quadricornis month? It isn't going to work. If anything it will reduce participation and interest. For people who only own say a panther, they might not participate the rest of the year. No, the real issue is with the time it takes to reduce the large amount of entries down to a manageable and appealing selection for the forum users to peruse and choose. I know that when a member decides to upload five photos of their chameleon that Brad has to be blowing a vein on his forehead.

    So Brad, is there a way to set the website to only allow one entry per account per month for one example? My reasoning is if people won't even read your current rules then maybe there is an automated way to simply enforce it?
    Brad, Angelwolf and jamest0o0 like this.
  14. Angelwolf

    Angelwolf Chameleon Enthusiast

    What about letting us do the sifting for you! Tournament style, just like the video contest. Open the entries, separate them into brackets, and then let the voting begin. The winner from each bracket (Let's say there are 10 entries per bracket, and in any given month, you get 40 photos) then moves on to the next round of voting. Then, we all can vote and ultimately choose 1 of 4, maybe 5, photos. This will cut down your time involved, as well as allowing us to have more of a feeling of "involvement" in choosing the winner. Each member can vote once per bracket, and once in the final voting. That would increase the number of votes, while limiting the number of choices. And as far as the rules are concerned, we definitely need some sort of enforcement. Too many people enter MULTIPLE pictures of the same cham, and they are often not "calendar-worthy". I also agree that there needs to be more emphasis made on the calendar. I didn't know that either, until I saw the 2016 calendar come out with the pictures I remembered voting on. And more emphasis needs to be placed on photographic skill. Just because you are only shooting with a cell phone, doesn't mean you can't create a nice picture. It just takes a little more effort. This may help with eliminating the excess of "not-calendar-worthy" photos, each month.

    So. To sum it all up:
    Tournament style voting
    Rule enforcement
    Emphasis of the ultimate goal and end results.
  15. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    totally agree with above, the one problem with us voting is many of us (myself included before i knew better) might just vote on the coolest chameleon, rather than the most calendar-worthy picture. Definitely more emphasis on the calendar. i read the rules before posting my photo last month, but didn't realize it was for a calendar photo. Maybe before we post there should be a notification that mentions only 1 picture(or you get disqualified?), no cage screen(I'm guilty of this from last month), no hands or other objects that wouldn't make for a nice a photo. it is more of a photo contest than chameleon contest I have come to realize. These things need to be made apparent and it'd help a lot IMO. I think a lot of people come on here only to post pictures and try to to win without reading anything, so to get an automatic notification about these things before entering could help.
    AMdoubleER, Brad and Angelwolf like this.
  16. Angelwolf

    Angelwolf Chameleon Enthusiast

    Like maybe a pop-up screen, or something, when you click "Enter Contest" which contains the rules. I know there are some who still won't read it, but then it's the horse and water thing....
    AMdoubleER and jamest0o0 like this.
  17. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    yup exactly.

    I also don't know how many are repeat winners, but I see people mention that a lot. If that's the case I think it should definitely be limited to one person a year.
  18. Tattersb

    Tattersb Avid Member

    I completely agree with this. Looking through this month's submissions, if you omit all the photos that are not "calendar quality" (i.e. out of focus images, hands/screens in the image, etc.) that immediately reduces the number of entries. Also, all those qualifications are in the rules. Locking accounts after the first entry further reduces the workload of judging.

    I also agree with not limiting the monthly contest to a single species. If you have a panther or a veiled, you would still be competing against dozens of entries. I have a quad and a Jackson's, so there would be months I would have to sit out, and I truly look forward to submitting each month.
    AMdoubleER, Brad and Angelwolf like this.
  19. Angelwolf

    Angelwolf Chameleon Enthusiast

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