Pixoto, Competition, Numbers and Perception

 As you can see on the left, there's a lot of over-processed "portrait professional" styled images.

As you can see on the left, there's a lot of over-processed "portrait professional" styled images.

   Over the past two weeks or so, I've been trying out this service called Pixoto. Pixoto is usually described as a "hot or not" for the photography world. Now I've been seeing that it was supposedly a bit less shallow than "which is better, this or that?" yet I honestly can't see much redeeming value from this site other than an ego boost. The buy in basically leads you to pretty much paying for the top ranks. You can buy "pro" status and get 100 votes, (how many times your image is displayed in the competitive portion of the site) no matter how well you do or how good your photo actually is. Most of the images are overly processed, HDRed to death, a shot of a naked chick or water drops. There's no creativity and true photography gets lost in this vapid storm. The moment your image falls a bit in the rankings, (like something as simple as one loss for example) you have to pay "credits" to be able to continue any further. You are constantly forced to "unpause" or boost your images so that they get put back into voting, which means you either have to buy with actually money, more credits or mindlessly click through the same multitude of images that they show you in hot or not style voting system. Usually this leads to most amazing images losing out over snapshots due only to the unfortunately placing of being on either side of the clickfest.

 These two came up in the voting process...and they are by the same person...almost the exact some image...

These two came up in the voting process...and they are by the same person...almost the exact some image...

   On top of all that, the algorithm is baffling, I honestly thing it's just an arbitrary display and there's no actual math behind it. For example, the number one image for fine art portraits had a score of 683, which is very high, but her wins/loses were 48/41. That's such a minuscule difference between those numbers and yet, her score was that high. For reference the number two image in the same category had a score of 662 with 67 wins and 39 loses. Thats a win/loss ratio of 1.72 compared to the aforementioned number one slot which was a meager 1.17. My image that day in that category received a score of 544 with 38 wins and 27 loses which equates to a w/l ratio of 1.3. Confused yet? I generally scored in the lower to mid 500s, which put me within the top 10 usually within my category for the day. That may sound all well but, on the second day I was fourth place in a group of 12. Yes, 12. Not quite as respectable as originally thought I'm sure. Not only that, but second and third places were both from the same person of almost exactly the same image, which is of course, against the rules.

 Broken Algorithm. How exactly are these two similar in any way? 

Broken Algorithm. How exactly are these two similar in any way? 

   So, really what I'm saying here is with no real moderation, a pay to win scheme, broken algorithms, trivialized voting system and lack of diversity led me to essentially giving up on Pixoto. Granted, I had a feeling a system based on "hey, which of these two is cooler?" wouldn't be all that profound, it still bums me out that I couldn't even find one thing I liked about it. It's not even a good way to get the occasional critique. I know this review seems scathing...but that's because it is. I honestly don't have much at all to say about Pixoto in its current state. I would love to see a reinvention of how the system works, but I'm pretty sure that would never happen. Maybe one day we'll see someone that does it differently. In a good way.

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