Photophlow Round Two, Who’s With Me?

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Last week’s photophlow experiment was fairly successful. We had a good group of people show up to view and talk about the images in our Flickr pool. The downside to the meeting was that it took almost 4 hours to get through 170 images. It was a touch too long, so I want to try this again and maybe refine our process. This one will be a little more structured, and hopefully it will be even more educational and entertaining for everybody involved.


Again, I’ll try to show up a little early (as long as Flickr doesn’t decide to turn the lights off for half a day again). I’ve switched the date and time to accommodate those who couldn’t make it last time, so we’ll probably see a different group hanging out with us. And to make things more productive, here are some ideas to keep us moving along through he photos.

    The photophlow team is working on a “slideshow” mode to basically force everybody into private mode (thus not displaying images to the group when they are clicked on by other members). It gets too crazy if everybody is clicking on their own stuff while we’re trying to go through the photos in the pool, so if you want to check something else out set yourself to private mode so you don’t disturb the group.
    If I see a dead silence for more than about 10 seconds, we’re moving on to the next image. If you want to discuss an image, get that first comment out there quickly. Photophlow is fast-paced, so don’t hold up the show.
    It’s easy to get caught up discussing a single photo for 5 or 10 minutes, but try to limit the discussion so the group can move forward. If you want to make comments on the Flickr photo, open it up in another window or tab and come back to it later.
    Use the whisper function if you want to have a side conversation with somebody else in the room. Too many conversations happening at the same time results in a lot of confusion, especially after you have about 15 people in the room.
    It’s fine to say that you don’t like a particular photo, but it doesn’t add much to the discussion. Offer up the things that you like about it, and discuss the elements that you think might improve the photo. This is where a lot of the learning takes place — when everybody offers their perspectives in a non-threatening manner. As a rule of thumb, just assume that the person who took the photo is in the room with you.
    I’d like to see if I can get you guys to do some of the work and actually pick out the photos for the PhotoDump by voting. Here’s what I propose: When I “/ponder”, you “/approve” if you want the photo to be included. DO NOT “/disapprove” if you don’t like it — that’ll just make the votes harder to count quickly. I’ll let the voting go for about 10 to 15 seconds, then we’re moving on to the next photo.
    Don’t forget to have fun. If you break “the rules” by accident, it’s not the end of the world. Just have fun and be courteous — everything will work out fine.

As the photophlow team continues to develop the application, this little meet-up should get easier. Not only are they working on the presentation mode, but they’re also talking about developing a voting system of sorts. The main idea right now is to get in there and help us figure out how to best utilize photophlow. If there’s enough interest in certain features, the guys behind the website are very receptive to input and feedback. You could actually help shape the outcome of photophlow.

So let’s give this thing another shot this weekend, and we’ll fine tune it from there. In the near future, we might need to split this up into two sessions due to the amount of photos submitted to the pool each week. Not only that, but a set schedule should result in more participants so people can plan ahead. So who’s showing up this Sunday?

19 thoughts on “Photophlow Round Two, Who’s With Me?

  1. javi yanes

    I hope so, last time i make a mistake with the GMT converse, it was 3 A.M here in spain, so this time will be 4 p.m so much better for me…i hope to be there on sunday…


  2. Brian Auer Post author

    Well, if we do two per week, we’ll do Wednesday night so the Aussie folk can make it. I think that works out to Thursday evening for you guys.

  3. the_wolf_brigade

    Ahh, I don’t mind getting up at 4am – no kids!

    Although late in the evening is a good time, but I’m useless at working times out. There aren’t too many Aussies though are there? I think I only know of about two or three others.

  4. Brian Auer Post author

    It shouldn’t be the middle of the night — most of Europe is around 8-10 hours ahead. Last time was very late for the Europeans — we started at 7PM here, which was very early morning out there.

  5. john

    Be nice? What if the photo sucks?

    This reeks of the mutual backpatting social mores that are so endemic on Flickr. If you don’t like something, say so, FFS! Sure, it’s nice to get comments saying how wonderful a photo is, or how pretty the clouds/bokeh/models/lines/foo are, but it doesn’t actually help anyone become a better photographer, IMHO. I’d rather have “this sucks because of XYZ” comments. They actually have some potential to help me improve my craft.

  6. Brian Auer Post author

    Gee, there’s nothing easier than offering negative criticism on a photo, is there? Besides, nobody said anything about mutual back-patting, I’m just asking that people have some self control and limit their rudeness. If you can’t figure out how to critique a photo without pissing people off and coming off as a total idiot, then you’d be in a better position to leave your mouth shut. Critique consists of two main items: things done well and areas for improvement. And the phrase “this sucks” usually isn’t necessary.

  7. the_wolf_brigade

    I’m with Brian here. It’s easy to say “this sucks” but that too does not help said person improve, even pared with a reason. Gentle persuasion is often a better method. eg. “Hey, while this works, why not try such and such?”

    For me there is nothing worse than hearing/reading a negative put down followed by critique. If it suxs, why offer reason for improvement? However, if the person critiquing my photo implies that I have potential, if only I had tried something different, I’m much more prepared to listen and take on board the advice.

    After all, a structured, honest, positive critique means much more to me in terms of improving my methods than a dis on my creative output ever will.

  8. libeco

    I just watched the the process of picking pictures in photophlow for a while. I must say the idea of the webite is good, but the was it’s worked out is just terrible (is it still in beta?). First of all the room never gets loaded in both Maxthon (IE7) and Opera. I don’t like it if a website forces me to use firefox. When the website is loaded the first thing I noticed are the sounds. I really don’t like sounds so I start looking for a button, which really took me a while to find.

    Next Firefox tells me there’s an enormous amount of CSS errors (over 100). I look around a little and suddenly notice that when I browse through pictures, the whole room sees it. And I think here is the biggest problem: there’s no clear intuitive way of knowing how everything works. I think the website would be much better of using some standards and not self invented things. For instance, that button to send a message, why design your own when it’s not clear what it does?

    Than my next problem occured, while clicking the view on flickr button suddenly in the newly opened tab I’m autoscrolled to the bottom, nothing helps, it keeps autoscrolling back down. Only after clicking in the textfield of the initial tab everything stopped autoscrolling.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard it is to create a design that works for the user, I learn about it at school and see how much things can go wrong. I hope I’m not offending somebody here, but that’s just the way I feel about photophlow right now. Perhaps next time I’ll try again and get more used to everything.

  9. Pingback: Schedule for Photophlow Gatherings

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