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I agree

What are your thoughts on enforcing equipment and acquisition details on images?

27 Aug, 2018 07:09
I also do not think that enforcing people to enter their acquisition details is helpful. Personally i ever enter the details, because it might help people as it helps me, when others entered their details. Maybe two points could help to encourage people to enter their details:
- Improve the search function to enable people to sort out images without acquisition details.
- Give every image a badge that has acquisition details. People love badges ;-)
27 Aug, 2018 08:19
Interesting to read back through this thread. And a little amazing to me how passionate the opinions are (on both sides, to be fair). Such rancour that such an action would even be contemplated, impinging on personal choice … and yet quite happy to throw around labels like "communist", "fascist" and "elitist" (which, aside from being used completely out of context, could be highly offensive to someof this international community). Or the apparent contradiction of being offended that people be labelled as "lazy" and yet be quite happy to label others as "sinister" … what a world!

At the end of the day, as others have pointed out, Salvatore is trying to earn a living from the fantastic product he has created. tphelan88 made a great point: on the "about" page of the web site, the value of adding the acquisition data is clearly stated. At risk of putting words into Salvatore's mouth: why do you think that mission statement is there? I suspect the reason is that Salvatore is trying to differentiate his site from other available options … people won't pay for a product if it adds no value over other (free) options.

Personally, I wouldn't be wiling to pay for membership here without this feature (and the vast majority of contributors providing those details). It adds great value.

That all being said, I personally wouldn't advise making it compulsory to add a minimum level of detail - no reason for Salvatore to risk any income.

Incentives do work better in the modern web environment; my suggestion is to simply inform the judges that they should not nominate any images for Top Pick (and therefore IOTD) unless certain details are provided. A quick note could be added under the "submit" but letting the contributor know certain details are required for IOTD consideration would help, and take very little time for Salvatore to implement.

I consider this a practical solution … without those details, how can you effectively judge an image anyway? (Heavy personal bias behind this opinion: I never "like" an image unless the acquisition details are provided, as I feel I can't assess the quality of the image without it.)

Some way to filter out images that lack acquisition details would be nice (would make my browsing more efficient) but perhaps not the highest priority for Salvatore's time. Agree that improving the search function would add more value.

Oh, and since it seems to be a source of concern for some, maybe add a note next to the "location" field making it clear it's *not* compulsary to add your exact address lol.

In any case, though, let's all relax a little and continue enjoying Salvatore's creation.  smile
27 Aug, 2018 09:58
Go for it…I would love to see it.
Edited 27 Aug, 2018 21:23
27 Aug, 2018 21:23
IOTD - you can only win once a month, 30 different users per month, a start. Limit wins per year?
Minimum info - Telescope and camera. Much of the rest can be inferred from quality. It would be nice to show a bare minimum of info.
27 Aug, 2018 23:38
I say the only thing that should be enforced  Is an image should have a minimal amount of technical data before it could be considered an  image of  day candidate.  So it would really be up to those on the board not to choose an image thats  Delinquent of information.
28 Aug, 2018 00:09
The people who post on forums tend to be those who are the most serious. However, in general, serious people are a minority. To be successful, the site needs to be friendly to the majority of people who enjoy looking at pretty pictures, but do little work themselves. This site is free for those who post only 10 or fewer photos. This is a hobby. We are amateurs. There is almost no science being done here. We should also consider that people approach a hobby from many different directions. Lots of people don't do a lot of record keeping in the beginning. There is no doubt that lots of prolific people who don't do a lot of record keeping when they get good. It's those in the middle that are most fanatic, zealous, extreme and dogmatic. No matter what category you are in today, a few years or decades, from now your approach to all of this will be different. Putting up a lot of rules for your current convenience may not be to your advantage in the future. I think we all should try to be more tolerant and forgiving with others because in the future we may need others to be tolerant and forgiving toward ourselves.
30 Aug, 2018 11:36
I'd like to see bortel sky scale be mandatory. I capture from a heavily lighted polluted red zone at 6.33 and often want to compare integration time, which is heavily impacted by the LP.  smile
30 Aug, 2018 17:01
I am fairly new here and as such am trying to learn from all the images. I have a DSLR, and have seen very few images with technical details added in. I would have found this very very helpful. So, as some have noted I think SOME level of technical data need to be included. Scope, camera, Filters, acquisition time. Going into the dirty details of the processing wouldn't be a thing to be required, I think. (And I like the idea of the bortel scale being included)

Now that I think of it, it may be very useful and popular if there were a specific area for technical demonstrations only. This might go into the details of how an image was acquired and/or processed. It could be a popular feature, and to encourage this, possibly uploads to this could be free.
30 Aug, 2018 23:07
Douglas J Struble
I'd like to see bortel sky scale be mandatory. I capture from a heavily lighted polluted red zone at 6.33 and often want to compare integration time, which is heavily impacted by the LP.  smile

A great tool to add might be a bortle lookup.  As long as the location is entered within a certain Lat/Long tolerance.
31 Aug, 2018 14:29
Although the acquisition stuff is a major plus, please please please don't enforce it. Sometimes, I just like to put up a picture to share and I don't have an extra 10-15min to add all the acquisition info.  I stopped posting to the astrophotography subreddit b/c they require so much for each picture. Most of my stuff I do add the info, but I really like the freedom to just throw a picture on here quickly.
Edited 31 Aug, 2018 14:30
31 Aug, 2018 14:37
Keep it the same.  Sometimes I see something cool, and snap a photo with my iphone, be it a solar 23* halo or an excited child looking through my telescope.  These things don't need acquisition details because that's cumbersome and not helpful to anyone reviewing the image.

That being said, I never vote for an image for IOTD unless some basic info is in there: telescope, camera, # of exposures/time on each filter.
31 Aug, 2018 14:59
I'd love to include Bortle scale information, but I would probably need some kind of tool to include it. From my location it's complicated; to the east and south, my sky is fairly dark, but north and west are much brighter due to light domes from nearby cities. That said, I'd also much rather have encouragement to do it than have it be forced. Carrots are much better than sticks.
31 Aug, 2018 16:42
I posted an image on reddit and image was removed with the following message from a mod

Thank you for posting to /r/astrophotography. Unfortunately your post has violated one of our subreddit rules and been removed.Your post was removed due to:Rule 5:All submitted images MUST include acquisition AND processing details as a top-level comment. Our community would like to know about the scope or lens, camera, and mount, as well as the technical details (exposure time, number of exposures, stacking info, etc) and some processing information (Software, steps, tools, etc) used to produce the image, without having to look away from the thread.
31 Aug, 2018 17:22
Please don't enforce anything. So far we have a database of images accompanied by some (or a complete set of) acquisition details which are probably correct thanks to the willingness of the imagers to share and help the community. By enforcing acquisition details or processing details (!!!) no one can guarantee that the users will start entering random data. This will render the entire AB database useless. And then… no need for Salvatore to fix the search function.
31 Aug, 2018 17:33
I posted an image on reddit and image was removed with the following message from a modThank you for posting to /r/astrophotography. Unfortunately your post has violated one of our subreddit rules and been removed.Your post was removed due to:Rule 5:All submitted images MUST include acquisition AND processing details as a top-level comment. Our community would like to know about the scope or lens, camera, and mount, as well as the technical details (exposure time, number of exposures, stacking info, etc) and some processing information (Software, steps, tools, etc) used to produce the image, without having to look away from the thread.

Just tried a Reddit post myself.  Here's what I got back from the Mods:

Could you please provide all image and equipment details as per rule 5. Only equipment listed here is the Planewave CDK14 and the camera. Knowing the mount will help tons. Only image details are - "took half of the Ha binned 2x2 with 30 minute subs rather than my usual 20 minute.". As for your processing, its all over the board and in two different locations. Could you attempt to clean it up? Thank you!

14 Sep, 2018 10:35
Not sure I follow… compared to the enormous amount of time it takes to take a quality astro photo, the 5mins to add even the most basic details about setup and acquisition is completely negligible and adds so much value to each image. I mean, unless you are some sort of super freak with 5 different setups, you can easily put in all your gear into your profile once (5mins tops, one time effort) and very easily add that to your images. This takes literally less than 10secs, how is that even a debate smile
Granted, if you also have to add all the various filters/exposure times, that can eat up a bit of time, depending on how complicated your series was put together… still.
Edited 14 Sep, 2018 10:39
14 Sep, 2018 15:23
Donnie B.
Sometimes, I just like to put up a picture to share and I don't have an extra 10-15min to add all the acquisition info.

I agree…rather than making it mandatory..make it simpler to add acquisition details..I add details, as I've learned a lot from others with details posted by seeing how they approached shots…but when entering multiple days of imaging with multiple filters it gets onerous…

also, given that many like me search through shots looking at details as I think about setting up shots, I  would love to see search expanded:
1. to have a simple way to search for NB vs LRGB vs OSC
2. to be able to sort by some ranking system

16 Sep, 2018 09:02
I have a dual rig, and I need to say what I took on what equipment, so I just find the subs detail easier to write in the description.

I am all for detail being added, but I don't think we can force people to do so.  I would just like to see a search facility where you can ask only to show images with detail added.

Edited 16 Sep, 2018 09:07
16 Sep, 2018 18:58
I've read most of these comments. My feeling is that some of the advanced imagers don't quite realize how helpful this information can be for people who have just started out and are still learning. I do think steps should be taken to encourage this, however, I don't know what steps those should be.

I do think the acquisition info input form could be simplified in two ways:
1. Generally, people only use one gain setting, one temperature setting and one or two duration settings when imaging. I find it cumbersome to have to input "gain 139" "-20 C" or "300 seconds" 15+ times if I've imaged over 15 nights (or several filters in one night over several nights). I think it'd be nice if these data could be autoprogated to each additional date after inputting it once. Even better: It'd be about 50 times easier if I could start with a filter (instead of a date), then input my gain, duration, temperature, etc. and then just give that filter a series of dates matched with their number of subs. If I could do it that way, it'd save me about 20 minutes per upload. An image can have an unlimited number of dates, but only a limited number of filters!
2. If I do two versions of an image - let's say an SHO and an HS-SO-O image, it'd be very nice if I could import the acquisition details from one image to another. So far, those 'second versions' are the only places I've left out my acquisition details. It's just too tedious to have to do it all over again.
Edited 16 Sep, 2018 19:01
16 Sep, 2018 21:51
It’s an interesting point, Chris.  But I do wonder if the ‘details’ are nearly as important as some folks think.   I mean we sort of know that you should try to get round stars and after that it becomes ‘the more data you can gather the better’.  But how one goes about getting that data will depend on a lot of situation-specific factors.  For example, whether you should shoot 300s or 600s BB subs will depend on: your equipment’s capabilities; your camera; your skies; etcetera.  I know that there are people who have processing skills that I don’t have that might be able to get a great Image out of (for example) 4 hours of Ha - I might need 8 or more hours of Ha to get a similar result.  At the same time, it might be realistic to aim for 8 hours each of SII, Ha, & OIII from my permanent set up in a dark sky site, whereas it could be impractical to set that ‘standard’ for my images taken elsewhere.

It might be doing people a great disservice to suggest to them that if only they follow the data collection that another, more expert imager did, then success will inevitably follow.

On some sites there are forums where Imaging tips and techniques are discussed.  I think people would get more from a discussion on a thread like that than they would from thinking to themselves, well Paddy got 18 x 600s red subs, so I will try to get 18 x 600s red subs.
17 Sep, 2018 01:31
I'm sure you're mostly right - heck, I shoot under Bortle 8 skies. Comparing subs with someone who uses a RASA under Bortle 2 skies vs. someone with an f/6 refractor under skies like mine is apples and oranges. But when I first started out, I would come home (yeah, back when I traveled) with 2 hours of subs and ask myself why my images didn't look anything like the amazing work I saw on here. Of course, the answer was a myriad of reasons, but seeing '12 hours of integration time' under an M81/M82 I saw on Astrobin was an eye-opener for me. It completely changed how I imaged. Back when I first started out, I had never even considered doing a single target over more than one night (I basically only talked about AP with other travelers back then, and that's what they were doing). On the other hand, there are users such as Łukasz Sujka and Exaxe who are making amazing images with 2 hours of 1-2 second subs or 8 hours of 500 ms subs, so some of the classic (CCD) rules of thumb are already being called into question for those who have CMOS cameras. (As a side-note, I've personally contacted both of them and asked how they were stacking, etc. - Very interesting info!) Their lucky imaging techniques also give those just starting out and who might not have the equipment to guide or the ability to image for hours overnight another feasible option instead of long-exposure AP. This is information that could be exceptionally helpful to beginners. At any rate, the info I saw on Astrobin regarding sub duration, overall integration time - not to mention equipment - was extremely helpful in gauging my own capabilities and whether or not I could/should go after a target. And I've also been really disappointed when I've seen an amazing image, wanted to know whether it was something I might be able to image and have no info to go on. These are things I gauge differently now - I'm familiar enough with my equipment, field of view, the capabilities of my cameras and mount as well as my stacking and processing abilities that I can usually figure this out in other ways. But as a beginner, the acquisition info on Astrobin was my bible. I hated it when there were key pages missing.

Ultimately, I agree with you that it shouldn't be obligatory. Still, I think it should be encouraged - and I think making it easier to fill out the acquisition details is probably the best way to go, hence my suggestions. I did find it interesting that you spent 3 paragraphs countering just two lines where I merely suggested that providing acquisition details should be 'encouraged' and didn't say anything about my suggestions about making it easier to provide this info. I mean, wouldn't you personally benefit from an easier way to fill out the form? I follow you and I always look at your data when viewing your uploads and you do always provide it - just not date by date as the form asks. And why not? I'm guessing because - just like me - you find that filling it out date by date is extremely tedious. For example, under your Cave Nebula, you only gave one date in the form, but you specified a date range in the description. I'm guessing you would have filled it out fully if there had just been an easier way to provide that info (because ultimately, you did provide it). So do you have any input about my suggestions?
Edited 17 Sep, 2018 04:04
17 Sep, 2018 03:15
I agree with Chris about the current form for subs collected in different nights.  At this moment, the form is quite unfriendly if an image was taken in many nights.  Some of my images were taken under more than 10 nights over multiple years.  I simply picked the last night, gave it all the exposures, and explain some more in the Description section.  I think an improved interface can definitely help here.  On the other hand, I wonder if others REALLY need to know the exact nights when an image was taken.  The filters, the numbers and lengths of the subs, the ISO, the gain, and the years, these are all useful information.  But dates?  I don't think so.  I don't think I am helping anyone if I list the exact 15 nights over 2014-2017 when I took the exposures for a certain image.

I also hate to see images without any data, unless the image is so amazing that how it was taken is no longer important but such images are rare. So I do hope we can come up with a way to encourage people to enter the data, and to make the interface easier to use. But I do not want this to be enforced.
17 Sep, 2018 09:48
Wei-Hao Wang
I wonder if others REALLY need to know the exact nights when an image was taken.
I agree (the only thing relevant to that would be if there was a Moon up).  Location is more important than date.

I think it would be so much easier if total subs and length for each filter could be entered regardless of date.  (If you do shorter subs for bright areas, this can be put in the description).  This would save having to put in multiple entries.

I must admit the complications of filling in that form does put me off somewhat and I tend to only input my kit etc but not length of subs and filters which I put in the description.

However what about if different scopes and cameras were used (as in my dial rig).  Perhaps you could add an additional page for that?

Edited 17 Sep, 2018 09:49
17 Sep, 2018 16:41
I just have to chime in at this point. While I don’t want to get into the debate of whether the imaging details should be required, I do feel that the poor date field is being marginalized.

I agree that new users probably benefit most from the data, and if one thinks back to when they were a newbie and unfamiliar with the sky, one of the first questions one asks is “What can I shoot tonight?” If it’s December and a particular target indicates it was shot in July, for a newbie, it’s probably not a good target! Clearly, the year or day aren’t as important, but the month certainly is! In fact, I feel it’s so important that I’m  disappointed that one can’t search for images bases on month taken. That would be a great feature to add.

Just my thoughts.

Edited 17 Sep, 2018 16:42
17 Sep, 2018 17:24
Just to clarify: I actually do think date info is important. My ideal form would look like this - we'll pipe it in with fake data just for clarity's sake:

1. Filter: OIII
Gain setting: 139 / Cooling: -20°C
Sub duration: 300 seconds
Dates and number of subs:
09/17/2018 - 20
09/16/2018 - 14
09/15/2018 - 12
09/14/2018 - 31

2. Filter: Ha
[as above]

The problem I have is that going by dates and having to fill out the same info (filter, sub duration, gain setting, temperature) over and over again is a total waste of time. For example, take my Eagle Nebula in SHO ( I imaged it over 16 nights and since I used at two sub durations in one night, I filled out that form a total of 17 times, inserting the same gain setting, the same sub duration and often the same filter over and over and over again. I didn't even bother with temperature. Since I only used four filters, that could have been cut to 5 entries (thanks to two sub durations for one filter). Amazingly, I had the patience to enter all 17 sets of data three times since I did a crop of the Pillars as a separate image as well as a separate version in HS-SO-O. I could have taken the easy way out and put it in the description for at least the latter two uploads, but I do recognize how important this data is, so I did end up inserting it at some point. It just drove me nuts…

It's probably easier for me to continue doing it this way than for Salvatore to reprogram the form, but one can hope.
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