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Subject: Image Moderation encourages Bad Behavior rss

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Dave J McWeasely
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Something is rotten in the state of Image Moderation. The image moderation system does not account for human nature (read: greedy for geek gold), and thus keeps content off the site. This is a bug, or maybe a design issue, I personally guess it should go in the Bug Tracking System.

Perfectly good images are being rejected as a knee-jerk reaction by irresponsible image moderators who can't even be troubled to fill out reasonable reasons for rejection.

I've asked around, and a birdy told me that there were geekgold rewards for rejecting images.

Based on this, a good strategy for maximizing geekgold is to reject the same image a few times, then finally accept it, or allow another moderator to accept it. It's a scam, and it's a major disincentive to post images on this site. I don't feel like putting up with it.

Here's an example (original submission was actually this 1600x1200 version)

According to my image moderator, this image is too blurry.
According to my image moderator, this image is over or under exposed.
According to my image moderator, there is already a similar photo in the database - this is not true, I'm uploading this image specifically to plug the hole in the series of images submitted a year ago by another user.
According to my image moderator, there is "too much glare". I admit there is some glare in the regions that would otherwise be totally black and visually uninteresting, but "too much glare" to warrant image approval? Lets get real.

This image moderator is not being serious. This is not the only time this has happened to me, and many of my friends in meatspace and cyberspace complain of the same issue.

The image moderation system provides perverse incentives to image moderators, who are willfully keeping quality content off of this site. This is a bug in the rewards system for image moderation.

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Dave J McWeasely
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Update: sho' nuff, though image 421471 was rejected for the FOUR reasons above, image 421478 (an identical copy) was approved. This process plays out all the time.




 
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Well, it's not too bad a picture, but it isn't great. It would be a "borderline" picture for me, if I happened to stumble across it while geek-modding. I don't ever reject anything based on the expectation of getting some GG for it, rather I like to see nice clean pictures here on BGG. So... it really wouldn't have taken all that long to re-snap the picture once you'd gotten some feedback: that's the beauty of digital photography -- it costs nothing but a little time (probably less time than it took you to write up your rant! LOL)

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Herb Petro
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I did not moderate that image, but I would have rejected it too.

I have more GG than I know what to do with. I moderate, as do many, many others, to help keep the image quality high.

On the good side, the image is NOT blurry (high resolution images that are blurry drive me crazy -- most images that are submitted should be downsized prior to submission).

If the image fills a gap in a series, then you should explain that with a caption. You did not mention if you had a caption. If I am on the fence about an image, then I will reject it if there is no caption.

The image does have glare. I can see how someone else may choose to classify it as over/underexposed (you might have been able to compensate somewhat for the lighting and clean up the image with a decent image editor). Images are much better with indirect lighting or a diffuser.

Other than the blurry comment, the remainder of the feedback was correct IMO. Some folks' good content are other folks' meh.
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Evan Stegman
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The only way you could know if people declined it because they are greedy for GG is if you are a mind reader.

It is blurry.
It is underexposed.
There is glare.

How much is 'too much' is completely subjective.

As the picture taker, of course you are going to be very forgiving of its flaws but I see no evidence that people declined it just to get GG rather than it was over their 'too much' threshold for those things so unless you are a mind reader, I don't know how you could be so sure that is the case.
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Dave J McWeasely
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I spent 30 minutes setting up the lighting and getting the shot which communicates the shape and size of the science vessel, and the text of the cards it is associated with, so I am very interested that it is not meeting your all's standards.

Can someone explain to me what "blurry" means, because when I view this image at 1600x1200 resolution I can see contours on the Science Vessel that are about 0.1 millimeter in size, and I can read a 5 point font clearly. I can see scratches and wear on the cards that are not visible to the naked eye. What do you all mean when you say "the image is blurry"?

Similarly, can someone tell me what "underexposed" means? A large fraction of the content of this image is black, and its pixel values are around 12% saturated in the image - pretty bright for BLACK! The background dark wood has red at ~73%, green at ~30%, and blue at 1% - for an average luminence of 39%. The plastic ship has blue on the body, black shadows, and white specular highlights. I suppose I could lighten it to sky blue, but that wouldn't accurately depict the fact that it comes from the factory as a deep blue ship.

The "Glare" or "Specular Highlights" or "graphical effects that give 2d images the depth information the human eye interprets as 3d data" is at worst 45% luminence off the card, and doesn't interfere with the fundamental mission of the image to convey the information on the cards. Furthermore, without it you would not be able to tell that the cards have a linen finish. So please explain why you would let this affect your moderation in the slightest.

> The only way you could know if people declined it because they are greedy for GG is if you are a mind reader.

Okay, please you try to explain their motivations for putting false reasoning behind the image rejection.

> Other than the blurry comment, the remainder of the feedback was correct IMO.

What about the "redundant image" comment that was just false?

> Some folks' good content are other folks' meh.

Do you actually play StarCraft: the Board Game? Do you know how essential it is to have these cards memorized? This photo represents the only straightforward representation of that information on BoardGameGeek. I think most normal human beings would intuitively grasp that the purpose of this photograph is not art via composition, rather it is communication.
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Matthew Kloth
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I accept just about everything, but I don't mod all that much.

It might not be greed. A lot of times people who sit and judge something for a long time become very picky.
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Dave J McWeasely
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Is photo moderation one big queue for all games, or do photo moderators subscribe to certain games they are familiar with?

It seems to me that with forum moderation, the moderators subscribe to the games they like, which at least means they understand what is going on.
 
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Not to be rude, but I think that this is just another case of someone being very prideful in their work, and then being disappointed when they're told it's not as good as they thought it was. I personally would have been pretty on the fence about this image (very yellow lighting along with content that exists in other images), and probably would have declined it unless there was some kind of caption explaining why I should approve it.

I realize it can be frustrating when people choose the wrong reason for declining, but some of the feedback you got was true, and you could have taken a better picture rather than ramming the same image through the system multiple times until there were some slack people modding.
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MrWeasely wrote:
Is photo moderation one big queue for all games, or do photo moderators subscribe to certain games they are familiar with?

It seems to me that with forum moderation, the moderators subscribe to the games they like, which at least means they understand what is going on.


It's one big queue. For the most part, anyone can look at an image for any game and see whether the picture is any good and whether there is already a similar picture in the database. If it's something that really needs explanation, the photo submitter should include a caption with explanation. So many pictures come through, we really can't be incredibly picky about which user is modding what.

Same with the forum adminning. Whichever one of us sees a problem typically addresses it unless we know absolutely nothing about the situation, in which case we notify another admin to deal with it.
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Dave J McWeasely
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
Not to be rude, but I think that this is just another case of someone being very prideful in their work, and then being disappointed when they're told it's not as good as they thought it was.

No offense taken, but keep in mind I'm not complaining for fun. I'm trying to move forward and make something useful, within a reasonable quality. And it's annoying the vague complaints that actually don't have anything to them. (one of your complaints I find to be true, see below)

Blurry? See my request for more info above.

Overexposed? The average pixel value is #935928. No big swaths of #FFFFFF or #000000. I asked for clarification on this point, what do people mean? Still waiting to hear.

Redundant? Show me another photo or post that explains what a Science Vessel actually is. You won't find it on this website!

Quote:
I personally would have been pretty on the fence about this image (very yellow lighting

Thank you for actually putting forward something I can understand. I will endeavor to have a larger ambient blue component in my future images. The moderator didn't complain about this, though, (s)he just checked a bunch of bogus checkboxes.

Quote:
along with content that exists in other images)

Okay, now I am starting to take offense. I say again: this content does not exist in any other image at boardgamegeek. Please stop repeating this claim that has been refuted. I've been up and down the image list for StarCraft five times today. For the last year I've had the five other images in this series bookmarked (1 2 3 4 5 fyi). Not having the Science Vessel has been annoying all that time. So please, either post a counterexample or stop parroting this line. This is the first image of this subject accepted into the db.

Quote:
If it's something that really needs explanation, the photo submitter should include a caption with explanation.

I'm getting confused too. Are the captions a private message to the moderator, or for public consumption? If they're a private message, why do they show up publicly? And is there a way to edit them once the image has been approved?

The moderators have a text way to communicate with the submitter (though they never use it), but the submitter doesn't have a good text way to communicate with the moderator. Maybe that needs a'fixin'.

I'm submitting a bug report that the moderators are rejecting images and spamming with irrelevant complaint checkboxes. This is not an issue related to just me. For example, this poor modeler is forging his own minitures for War of the Ring using a mold he made himself. Despite the opinion of the image moderators, that's big news for War of the Ring's fans, since multiple casts of Gandalf the Grey/White and Strider/Aragorn is a missing component in the game. We were all very keen to see. He got his image rejected so many times, and basically gave up until we caught wind of it in the text forums. BGG moderators were being so obstinate about rejecting his image that we actually had to talk "posting strategy" through geekmail to get it up there.

I'm sure the image moderators were just thinking "this is not a great paint job", not "holy barbequed rats batman, this guy just made his own Gandalf sculpt". He eventually got it through, but his time had been deliberately wasted by image mods that didn't know what they were doing.

 
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In the old days this would have been an entirely acceptable photo. Now, however, the user pool has grown to include many expert photographers who have turned us all into photo snobs. So unless a picture tells a visual joke, has a pretty girl in it, or could be used as the cover shot for a magazine, its chances of passing muster are iffy. Kind of sad really.
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Werner Bär
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First, i didn't mod you image. I think i would have either skipped it (since i don't want to check the all the hundreds of exisiting images for the game), or voted to decline it if i did.

Second, you seem to think that an image is judged by a single moderator. It needs 10 votes to decline to reject an image (and these have to be in before there are enough votes to accept it). So it's not a single rejection, but kind of a majority vote, albeit of a small sample of users.

MrWeasely wrote:
Overexposed? The average pixel value is #935928. No big swaths of #FFFFFF or #000000. I asked for clarification on this point, what do people mean? Still waiting to hear.

English isn't my first language. But i thought overexposed is the correct word for that left third of the image where there's too much light on the card. That, or glare, or both.

MrWeasely wrote:
Redundant? Show me another photo or post that explains what a Science Vessel actually is. You won't find it on this website!

You image doesn't explain it too. Neither does your image caption. Maybe you intended to use the images seomwhere to explain it, but i can't read your mind. And for that reason, it would be sufficient to have that image in your personal gallery.

MrWeasely wrote:
I say again: this content does not exist in any other image at boardgamegeek.

Yes, this exact combination of cards doesn't show up in any image of boardgamegeek. But we already have lots of sample card images; many of them in far superior quality. As the upload page states, we don't need an image for each card. The reason to decline wasn't 'duplicate', it was 'similar'.

But i assume if the quality of your image had been on par with the similar ones, it would have been accepted in the first place.

MrWeasely wrote:
For example, this poor modeler is forging his own minitures for War of the Ring using a mold he made himself. Despite the opinion of the image moderators, that's big news for War of the Ring's fans, since multiple casts of Gandalf the Grey/White and Strider/Aragorn is a missing component in the game.

Yes, that paint job image is very blurry, and should have been rejected. So you're now blaming the moderators for letting other bad images through, while they rejected yours?
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Gialmere wrote:
In the old days this would have been an entirely acceptable photo. Now, however, the user pool has grown to include many expert photographers who have turned us all into photo snobs. So unless a picture tells a visual joke, has a pretty girl in it, or could be used as the cover shot for a magazine, its chances of passing muster are iffy.

I'm sure it would be accepted today if it was the first image for the game. Or the 10th or 20th. Or the first one which shows a sample of the cards. But when there are already several similar images with better quality in the galery - are you sure it would have been accepted back in the 'old days'? I don't think so.
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MrWeasely wrote:
I spent 30 minutes setting up the lighting ...
Some other people in the past have complained that the time spent justifies the acceptance. Pleasing to me is the absence of that in your statement so far. I say, good show that you worked on it but it still needed some adjustments for that left card.


MrWeasely wrote:
Okay, please you try to explain their motivations for putting false reasoning behind the image rejection.
Faced with a menu that fails to offer their exact feelings, they just pick one from the available list


MrWeasely wrote:
Do you actually play StarCraft: the Board Game? Do you know how essential it is to have these cards memorized?
No, I don't.
MrWeasely wrote:
I think most normal human beings would intuitively grasp that the purpose of this photograph is not art via composition, rather it is communication.
So quite honestly I only see a funky vase I can't identify, along with two cards that are properly illuminated and a third one that isn't. Sorry.

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John Hilla
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Geez-US, do we have to have this same conversation every 3 days?!? I did mod your image, and I did vote to accept it--but I was VERY on the fence about it ... It isn't a particularly good image. It has all of those bad qualities that others rejected it for. I was on the fence, so I voted to accept, but I can't believe you spent 30 minutes setting this shot up! It's mediocre at best. In that 30 minutes you allegedly spent, didn't it occur to you that shooting with a flash on a shiny wooden table might not be the best move?

Poor photographers should just expect to have a large proportion of the submissions rejected and should have the self-awareness to realize that there is a reason that this is happening. If you want to create quality images (or any form of art), you have to learn to learn from criticism and not just whine about receiving it.

I myself have had many images rejected, and you know what? They all pretty much deserved it. Just as yours did, despite my vote to accept.
A photographer who can't tell a blurry, glared image from a non-blurry, non-glared image is like a chef with no palate. Maybe you just shouldn't bother.

Or, at least, learn to be less haughtily sensitive before you go around ascribing impure motivations to the people who dare to critique your brilliant work!
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Lance Hobday
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This is a website about board games. Do we have to be professional photographers to have an image accepted when we are just trying to pass along some information about a game?
If the main purpose of this website was to critique photographs then I could see the need for such scutiny of the submitted images.
Let's not forget why we come to this site. We come to share information on board games. Part of sharing that information is submitting images that we've taken on our cheap digital camera's on our dining room table. We submit this image because we want to share part of our gaming experience with those who share a similar interest. As a member of this site, if someone posts an image I'm interested in, I don't care if it looks like it should be in Life magazine. I care if it contains an image related to a game I enjoy. And unless it is so bad I can't make out what it is, then I'm grateful to the person who posted it.
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Yadboh wrote:
This is a website about board games. Do we have to be professional photographers to have an image accepted when we are just trying to pass along some information about a game?


If you don't like how the modders act, try modding yourself. Any member of the 'geek can mod and it only takes a few minutes.

Mike Z

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Yadboh wrote:
This is a website about board games. Do we have to be professional photographers to have an image accepted when we are just trying to pass along some information about a game?


If this were a situation where there were infinite resources, an infinite amount of memory to store an infinite amount of image files, then I would agree with you whole-heartedly.

However, this is not. And thus, while I am (generally speaking) a fairly lenient geekmodder, there has to be some standards set.

I don't hold people up to "professional" standards, by any means, as my stats bear witness.

Quote:
Of the images you have moderated:
Your Matches for Approval: 1079 out of 1171 (92%)
Your Matches for Declined: 120 out of 353 (34%)
Overall Percentage: (79%)


So (presuming I've got the numbers figured correctly) I've voted to decline 212 times and to approve 1312, so a declination rate of 13.9%.

But I do hold them to some standards. Is there a glare which annoys me? Does the focus hurt my eyes? Is there already at least one image that looks almost exactly like the one being presented? Is it even in the right category or game? (Nothing annoys me more than people submitting customized stuff under "Game.") Did they cutoff part a significant part of the thing they're taking a picture of?

The "rules" for geekmodding are fairly clear:
Quote:
Please evaluate each picture and accept or reject it based on the criteria given. In particular, the following are not reasons for rejecting an otherwise good image:

* Image contains modified components.
* Image is only tangentially related to the game (an image of people playing the game, etc).
* The game already has enough images (unless this image submitted is very similar to one already in the gallery).

...

Use your own judgment; if a particularly good picture violates one of the guidelines, it is OK to approve it.


If the person who submitted the image followed the rules, then I'm going to approve. If it's a bad picture, I'm going to decline. And that's that.
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Dave J McWeasely
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I do appreciate some of the more thoughtful comments from those of the image moderators, particularly CK and GP. Thanks guys. Other comments are off the mark, but I think I'll reply to them by geekmail instead of here.

Meanwhile, Lance is on the right track. Notice how the very fact that image moderators are dogpiling onto this thread reveals something interesting.

We have "image moderators" and not "game content moderators". This is about getting useful content up on the site. The image moderators in a foreign game system are not, it would seem, competent to judge what makes a decent contribution to the game in question. I've followed StarCraft and War of the Ring for years, and I see a serious problem in the way image moderation is occurring.

We have two examples:

A guy casting his own miniatures for War of the Ring couldn't get his minis posted because the mods were too paint-job-quality-obsessed to understand his breakthrough in plastic.

A guy posting the only known reference material for a game piece was rejected because there were already "similar" pictures in the database, revealing a startling ignorance about the mechanics of the game they're moderating. StarCraft is a game of units. There are 24 units, including 6 spellcaster units, the latter of which are mainly defined by the text on their cards. StarCraft is a game with about 300 cards. About 18 of them are very important spellcaster cards. These 3 are among those 18, and they're grouped with their subject, and there was no record of them on BoardGameGeek. Nobody who plays StarCraft gives a flying snorg whether an unimportant corner of the card has reflected light in it. They care about the text on the cards being readable, and what unit it pertains to.

Someone made a crack about how this content was inferior to the others in the series of spellcaster content. That person was doubtless judging this as a photo critic, not as a player of the game StarCraft. This image had vastly superior readability to the images it was completing.

Image moderators are good at moderating images, but that's not what's needed on Boardgame geek. We need content moderators. The current system, by image moderator's own admission, has bred a cadre of "image snobs", who are not good for gaming. We don't need or want that. We want "content snobs".

Image moderation has a bug. It encourages vapid, useless images that don't help with the games. If you're having this discussion every three days, then it's because there is a problem. If you don't see it, then that might be because you are the problem!!!
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Addressing the "getting rich by declining images" idea, we only get the GG if our votes match. That is, if I decline an image that everyone else accepts, I do not get the .1GG. I'd be better off clicking approve and getting .01GG, or submitting my own image for 1GG, equivalent to approving a hundred images.

I don't mod for the GG. As others have said, I mod to get good images on the site. I mod images so that people get a fast turnaround of their images, and to share in a tiny bit of what it takes to make BGG work.
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Mr. Weasely, a percentage of the energy you use to defend your stand and your photo would suffice for a better result when put into another shot. Just my - friendly - two cents.
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John Hilla
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MrWeasely wrote:
Image moderators are good at moderating images, but that's not what's needed on Boardgame geek. We need content moderators. The current system, by image moderator's own admission, has bred a cadre of "image snobs", who are not good for gaming. We don't need or want that. We want "content snobs".


What's the point in being a content snob if you can't see the brilliant, illuminating, helpful content through bad glare? A balance of both is required. One thing BGG absolutely does not need is more poor quality photography. Especially a game like StarCraft, which already has 12 pages of photos.

I doubt you'll find many here who will agree with you that any picture should be accepted, regardless of photographic quality.

As a comparison, you could write the most brilliant novel in the world, but no editor on earth would even give the first page a read if you submitted a messy, hand-scribbled manuscript. If your photo really has something useful to "say," you should work harder to present it in the best light possible. That's just common sense.

MrWeasely wrote:
If you're having this discussion every three days, then it's because there is a problem. If you don't see it, then that might be because you are the problem!!!


That's a funny accusation to make against someone--myself--who actually voted to accept your image. But, then, you seem to be driven toward blaming others for the faults of your own lack of photographic acumen.

This "conversation" occurs every 3 days because, unfortunately, you are not alone in your apparent propensity to rage all over the site when one of your precious photos is declined. If you're even a casual BGG user, you must know that someone posts a modding complaint exactly like yours at least on a weekly basis--and usually always with a mediocre-to-outright-terrible photo as a subject. Just as someone submitting a game review should ask themselves, "Am I contributing anything new to what's already out there?," I would suggest that you ask yourself whether posting this tirade of yours is really anything but self-serving.

Why not just accept the fact that the photo had some flaws and keep it to yourself? Take Gamephotos' helpful & constructive suggestions to heart and try to re-take the photo, doing a bit better job next time. If you took that route, rather than claiming that there must be a "bug" in the modding process because your photo was not accepted, I think you'd find that many more of your future photos would be quickly accepted.
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Does this have to be an either/or debate? Can't we have photos which are well-crafted AND content-driven? Both aspects aren't too much to ask. I don't think that other responses have denied the importance of content in photos, but have merely stated that technical aspects should be taken into consideration as well. You, however, seem to be making this a "my way or the highway" sort of argument.

MrWeasely wrote:
If you don't see it, then that might be because you are the problem!!!

Case in point.
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Evan Stegman
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MrWeasely wrote:
...

Can someone explain to me what "blurry" means, ...


Blurry means not sharp enough.

Here is your original pic on the left and after I ran it through an image editting software's sharpen filter on the right:



Now here is a comparison of the original and with both the sharpness and exposure adjusted:



I am not saying it should have been declined but it is easy to see why some people would would give the reasons they did for rejecting it and they certainly are not so objectively false that the only conclusion is people are lying about their reasons and are only declining it to earn GG.



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