Weekly Pick Heresy

Just a thought. As a cooperative and non-competitive site, do we really need Weekly Picks?

I debated this myself, and came to the conclusion that the picks were more for recognition rather than competition since there are no prizes, etc. I’m still not a big fan of it, but I know a lot of people really enjoy it. I would be very interested to hear everyone’s thoughts.

Personally the weekly picks do not mean much to me. Being new to the site they are not something I have spent much time considering. I have appreciated many of the other features of the site including the thoughtful critiques, articles and shared photos without the negatives that come with other social media sites. If I had to vote, my vote would be no, but if others enjoy them I am fine with that.

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I agree with Dennis. I think that a cooperative and non-competitive site should not have any recognition either - the difference with competition is not all that clear. But then, I hate all kinds of competition among individuals, teams, countries, etc. (“sports” above all) and only value competition against one self. This may not be a general way of seeing things. As Alan, I believe that the MANY great things about NPN far outweigh small issues like this one, so although I would like to see it go, I am also perfectly OK if it stays.

I think the recognition for outstanding photography is fine, as long as the EP’s do not degenerate into an overt competition.

If some are posting just to garner a EP, that is competition, and to my mind that is not what NPN is, or should ever be, about.

Assuming the annual Editor’s Pick Awards continue, the weekly picks will be the pool from which the annual awards are chosen.

If the weekly EP’s go away, then the annual awards should go away, as well. The gallery moderators would be hard put to try to do the annual EP’s without the weekly picks pool.

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When I first started in 2006, the WPs were a means for me to chart my progress and the progress of others. I was pleasantly surprised when I got an EP 6 years ago. At the time I became a moderator, my attitude quickly changed. No more WPs or EPs. I was effectively charting someone else’s progress. I felt more and more involved in a teaching and sharing path, as well as a personal growth path.

Despite all that, what Bill Fach termed “the tyranny of high expectations” affects different people in different ways. Some of those ways are healthy; others are not.

My personal feeling is that the WPs should go on. There is some satisfaction for me as a moderator in rewarding excellence. I do think this should be carefully balanced with honest, thoughtful and kind critiques, which themselves ought to be a measure of excellence.

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I believe as a group, photographers are not really objective about their own work. We (yes we, me included) tend to have a blind eye to how our work is viewed by others. ALL photography judging and critiques are subjective, but all critiques and views are worth considering. If you as the photographer view images that are selected as the weekly Editors Picks over a long period of time, I believe you’ll see that those images are indeed better (again subjective, but still better) for a reason. They have those qualities that we are all searching for and trying to produce when we go out to make images.

I’m not worried about any individual who is posting just to garner an Editors Pick, because frankly it’s pretty easy to spot those images and the consistent body of work to create a weekly pick is just not there.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing what is considered to be the best image of the week in each of the categories. The only damage that can be done is to those that are solely motivated by it.
I’ve been a member of our local Camera Club for 20+ years. Our camera club has been around since the late 1950’s and is now about 300 members strong. We hold a monthly exhibition where images are recognized for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and honorable mention. Early in my tenure I was really pushing for those awards. Can’t explain exactly why, but I guess as a human that pat on the back was gratifying. Over the years I ended up with a lot of ribbons. I won the end of year competitions a couple of times as well. Sure, nice to get the recognition, but what I learned was to admire the images that were selected each month and year to learn from them. The club has struggled over the years as no matter what you do, someone is upset about the judging and selections. I’ve now been a judge for the club for the past 10+ years. Some like the way I critique images, others don’t. I firmly believe that no matter who is judging and selecting the winners, you can learn from their input. Feedback is a gift and that includes the selection of the top images.

NPN should keep the Weekly Editor’s picks and the annual selections which are derived from those weekly picks. If the picks don’t motivate you, that’s just fine. You should still take the time to look at the selected images, review the feedback and absorb it. You may not agree with the comments or the selections, but that doesn’t define learning. Without the picks, there’s no concept provided (other than your own opinion - see my opening statement) to see what other’s believe are the best for the week.

Did anyone review the selections from the Natures Best Windland Smith Rice Competition that were released in the last couple of days? Yep, I entered 25 images. None of them were selected for anything. I reviewed every winning image and every highly honored image in every category and sat in awe at some of the work and sat in amazement at how some were selected, but I did learn from spending the time to review them . I’m really happy they have the contest and select what are deemed to be the best of the bunch for each category.


Here’s a curmudgeonly response written mostly tongue in cheek. If we can’t recognize excellence (no matter how the judging is viewed), then let’s give everyone a trophy for participation ala kids sports or take the alternative approach and give none. Bear in mind that there is always subjectivity in any judging.

Just to give some (non-photographic) context to why I dislike competition, awards, recognitions, etc., let me give you some examples that I feel quite strongly about.
Jorge Luis Borges, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century (it is not just me saying this, by the way) did not win the Nobel Prize for literature. An absolute nobody like Bob Dylan did.
Neither Georges Lemaître, Ralph Alpher nor Robert Herman, the three pioneers in the scientific understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe and three truly bright physicists, win the Nobel Prize for Physics. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, two average physicists who stumbled upon the microwave background radiation by accident and did not understand what they had found until somebody else (Robert Dicke) explained it to them, won the Nobel Prize instead.
Otto Hahn was a very competent chemist who came up with some results that he could not understand. His colleague Lise Meitner, a brilliant physicist, explained the results to him and in the process constructed a masterful and correct interpretation of Hahn’s results as the first experimental proof of nuclear fission. Hahn won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of nuclear fission. Meitner was ignored.
There are many things that these three examples have in common, not least the fact that what was recognized in all cases was not intellectual contribution but rather some sort of “wow” factor: the tinkerer as opposed to the scientist, the accidental popular idol as opposed to the true innovator in language and literary style.
I see this everyday in my faculty job: many students are recognized and awarded for reasons that have nothing to do with their intellectual abilities and everything to do with fashionable buzz words, who “sponsors” them, or how well they mastered the ability to take tests without really understanding what they are talking about (the latter tend to drop my classes). My arguments with colleagues (both at my university and in national panels) about graduate fellowships are really becoming old, so I am looking forward to retiring soon.
There are many many more examples - at least as many as there are awards - but of course we are not talking Nobel prizes here. It is really a non-issue - I think that NPN is great with or without the “picks”. I just figured that I would explain why somebody can feel so strongly about the value of awards and recognition.

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I have used the Editor’s Picks as a benchmark for setting the bar on what I need to achieve for reaching a set goal. The number of positive critiques is correlated with Editor’s Picks especially in landscape and bird photography. Less so in Man and Fauna and other categories. I believe that the Editor’s Picks have been done fairly and critiques have been helpful. The new web site is good, but NPN is now almost exclusively geared toward landscape photography with bird photography running a close second. I am less inclined to post new images in macro or flora because they are not getting the exposure that they were generating at the old NPN website. …Jim

Truth? I don’t pay any attention to them, whether my own posts or others. They just don’t mean anything to me.

But should you drop them because I’m blind to them?

Nah. They mean something to others, and it’s important that NPN meet broad tastes and needs.

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I don’t really see the need for the weekly pick. I feel it brings an element of competitiveness to the site. Nothing wrong with competition in the proper environment, but I don’t feel this is that type of place. I don’t feel strongly either way, but I would be fine with it if the weekly pick was eliminated.

I was often aghast at the weekly picks made by moderators at the old NPN. I believe that you can often tell what a moderator will pick by the type of image he makes. As anyone can see from viewing landscape images each moderator has their own style and that affects their judgment.

Having said that I would never recommend that the weekly pick be terminated. NPN 2.0 is continually being watered down and it would be a shame to lose this as well.

The reasons provided by members in support of weekly picks are all excellent. Critiques provide feedback on images in the critique gallery but often don’t tell us how good the images is overall. With the non critique gallery there is no feedback. Weekly picks are another level of feedback. and that’s valuable.

Like many old photographers I, too, belonged to camera clubs where images were selected within the club and between clubs. Some decided to chose to ‘tune out’ and that’s fine but many chose to participate. The ones who didn’t participate usually were less serious about photography in general and might or might not show up to monthly meetings. So yes, I think Weekly Picks, would help attendance at NPN rather than discourage it. In many ways NPN 1.0 was constructed like an online camera club (in my case the Palo Alto Camera Club) and I liked it that way.

As I wrote in my last comment on NPN 1.0, they did so many things right. I believe that’s why it lasted so long. It was so good that virtually anything you take away is a degradation. In fact, Weekly Picks should not be eliminated, but the opposite. It should be improved (with it’s own gallery).

I have been on NPN since the very beginning, and I don’t look at the weekly picks; never have.
I will probably never get one, either, as I am on here on such an on-and-off basis so I don’t have that many images on here (life happens!). Also, I don’t post my best images on NPN. I see NP as a learning site, so while I may post an image that I consider “good”, I am always either looking for critiques on content or technique, or else I am simply posting something of interest.
But, that said, I don’t mind if they stay, because they probably are helpful for some folks, and if it something that helps maintain people’s interest in photography, that’s a good thing!

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Just curious, Genny, but…why not?

You can post a lower res image if you are afraid of someone swiping it, and you can post in the appropriate ‘sharing’ gallery if you do not want critiques.

Preston: Well, several reasons. As you noted, someone taking images is a real concern, and apparently people out there don’t care if it’s low resolution.
Also as I said, I really view NPN as my place to learn. I don’t have a nice big local camera club where I can bounce things off of the other members. The NPN site IS my camera club. I come here to get help and critiques, and I’m surprised you would think I don’t want critiques. I have always been a bit uneasy with posting my best images just to get accolades.
I am not saying that I purposefully post my poorer images here. I post images that I think are good, but I wouldn’t say it’s my best. (Maybe I just have fewer “best” images that other people.) Or maybe I REALLY like the image, but I am still unsure about is and wonder if I am simply too emotionally attached to it to be objective. I also post images where I am trying something different and need help evaluating it. By the time I get to what I consider to be my best, I’ve worked on it so much, and possibly posted a previous version on here, that I am all done with it. I guess what I am saying is that I come here for the critiques!
That is why on this new NPN site, I will probably stay in the Critique forums, and I probably will post very few images in the new “Gallery” forums. If you aren’t open to critiques, what do you want? I can understand photographers wanting a very real evaluation of their images if they are putting those images out for sale, but since I do all my own printing, and have a pretty limited audience to sell to, I have to try to take the input I get here on NPN and apply it to my prints. I have learned there is a difference between what the photographers here on NPN think is good, and what sells locally.

For me you’ve nicely encapsulated the distinction between the critique posts and gallery posts, Genny.

Not to say that you and I are the only rural folks on here, but I’m betting we’re the only rural Alaskans at the moment! :smiley: Perhaps that’s the link, but much of what you say reflects my own presence and activity here on NPN.

@GennyK Thanks for your reply. All that you say makes sense.

Thank you for this response, Genny. While I do have access to a camera club, the number of bird photographers involved is rather low and until recently there hasn’t been a lot of critique. This fall, we’ve started a monthly “Member Sharing” session with critiques, but it hasn’t fit my schedule yet.

I use NPN as my primary interface with my fellow photographers and have learned a lot more here than from a local camera club.

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Thanks, Hank. When Preston asked that question, it kind of set me back. It took me a little while to figure out the answer, and then try to put it in words. I’m still not sure I got it all written there… :thinking: