ARS BETA: A refreshing way to get honest feedback

ARS BETA, or “Art Revolution Society”, is a new platform initiative led by Eric Kim that basically introduces a new way to give and receive feedback (and apparently the first of its kind). The basic idea is similar to clinical trial gold standard guidelines: random double blind treatment.

The website interface is simple and effective as the basic platform concept. A photographer uploads a picture and can receive “Keep” or “Ditch” with the option for text feedback. Every member is presented with a randomly selected image from the available pool without knowledge of its Keep/Ditch rate nor the identity of the photographer. Thus, the identity of the photographer and the feedback giver remain anonymous throughout so one’s can’t be biased by a name or a collection of previous work. As Eric indicates, it enables photographer to present bold and maybe novel approaches to their photography style and explore how the “crowd” receives it without “risking” their reputation.

After around 2 weeks with the platform, I can say I am enjoying and “keeping” it as a mean to explore my different images, most of them yet to uploaded to my “official” galleries which are Instagram, my website and this blog. It is also great to see some great and less great images, and give textual feedback. Which brings me to my few comments:

  1. Textual comments are lacking. Out of 128 feedback clicks (Keep or Ditch) I received 10 textual feedback, which is less than 8%. There maybe many reasons why people don’t give details as to why a photo is a keeper or not, however descriptive feedback is the best way in which a photographer can improve and hone his/her style and photographic skill (one of the main reasons this site came to be in the first place). This is seen also in many other social media, including and especially in Instagram.
  2. The concept of giving a coin for every feedback is a nice idea, I would extend this to 2-3 coins for textual feedback.
  3. When a textual feedback, it can be nice to get a an email notification (though you can’t respond to the commenter beyond a “like” or love button).
  4. Lack of ability to comment back and discuss the work with the few commenters feels like a miss. For example I got the following comments on one of my images, demonstrating that positive or negative comments without a brief explanation is not helping improving. Also, you can’t really get discuss the feedback (maybe possible via commission critique, depending how low the negative feedback is). Good thing that there are few that do give a comment that can help see how the audience can see your image.

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Have you tried this platform? how do you experience it?


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