FIP Web Sites Competition 2000

A Short Critique of the Critique

      Four months ago the Paintings and Arts Internet Site was awarded the 3-Stars FIP Award. One can say that the webmaster should be happy, and actually he was satisfied. But he wasn't satisfied, because from the very beginning FIP has promised to each participant a critique of her/his site, and this one not only came late, but has shown some problems related to the quality of jury's work .

     This critique was important to me, especially when coming from a FIP panel of judges. Yesterday (I underline it, after 4 months) I have received the critique I was looking forward, accompanied with excuses. Please take a look at the critique that I have got (in Navy) and at my comments and thoughts (in Blue).

    Critique: Good source for paintings on stamps information, and in four languages (more correctly the index and introductory pages are in four languages, all the other pages are in English, whatever language you choose).
     V.M. Thanks for the kind words (meaning the first 11 ones). What follows are already drawbacks, that belong to the next paragraph. Just to mention that it's not correct that only the index and the introductory pages are in 4 languages. Some others, like the New Issues or the PASIC Statutes are also in 4 languages. It wasn't possible for only one person to translate over 150 pages, which should be, hopefully, understandable.

    There are some drawbacks.
     V.M. I notice that the jury has already started with the drawbacks, quite quickly, after only 11 words for the general statement. 11 words is not very much, therefore no wonder that things that could be considered important have been overseen, like the Paintings and Arts on Stamps Internet Club, counting at that time about 200 members, or a Club Forum. Is this unimportant, considering that PASIC is one of the oldest philatelic clubs on the Internet? Or have the judges totally other criteria in judging a philatelic site, as compared with mines? And what about the extensive Art Gallery, presenting, among others, treasures from world's most renown museums, an important chapter that wasn't even mentioned?

    The viewer gets only the examples of paintings that the site owner decides he will show.   
     V.M. This is maybe the most "challenging" statement. Unfortunately the intentions of the honorable judges are not clear. Should the webmaster ask others what should he display on his home page? Or should he show stamps that he hasn't? Or, even better, should the examples of stamps be decided by the viewers? Actually, this last possibility is offered through the many choices from the menu. I wonder also which is the the difference in this respect between the philatelic stamp competitions and those of philatelic Web sites. Can a visitor of a philatelic exhibition decide what a given exhibitor will show? My experience as visitor tells me the contrary.

     We looked for the Hosukai and Hiroshige paintings on Japanese stamps, but instead got images of a few of their paintings on stamps of other countries. Same with some other artists.    
     V.M. Hokusai, of course (I wouldn't mention it, but a year ago another FIP jury wrote me in about 20 words, of a total of maybe 50 (!), about a misspelled name on my site: Boticelli, with one "t" instead of two). On my introductory page to the Countries paintings, I have written:  "The pages with the subject Countries show the  achievements in arts of masters of different countries and cultures, as reflected on the postal stamps of the respective territories and of other territorial units." Obviously this introductory page has been overseen. Or do the judges discriminate against certain philatelic issues, even if they are accepted by the UPU? BTW, the judges have obviously overseen other 3 pages, full of painting stamps issued only by the Japanese P.A.

    The scanned images are all quite good, and he does include selections from a wide variety of artists and countries.  The excel database should be useful to the paintings collector.
     V.M. Thanks! I see no drawbacks in the above statement. Therefore these apparent drawbacks are rather related to the structure of the whole document, possibly written very quickly. Judging after the reactions that I have had from the Web philatelic world (some of feedback being also presented on my site), "database should be useful" is, IMHO, not a very clear statement. Just to notice that the creation of this database took an enormous time (years of quite intense work of several participants).

    Under What's New, there was an empty page.  No reason as why or when it was last updated.  A few links to the ATA page and a few other sites.   
     V.M. Bizarre, I never publish empty pages. But if it's empty, then it's obviously empty, because if it contains "reasons" or other things, it isn't empty anymore. "A few links" means in this case about 60 links. I wonder what is expected? I hope that I have on my Resources page quite all links to the relevant pages on the Web, I mean to those related to my area of interest (Arts on Stamps).

   Summary and comments:

      Anyway, I would like to thanks the members of the FIP jury for the work that they did, and this in spite of my present critiques. I understand that this is a new field for any philatelic jury, and that the work to be done is quite different from that done for the established stamps competitions. That's why I propose much more concern and collaboration between the juries and the participants. The newly created Association of Philatelic Web Publishers (now Philatelic Webmasters Organization) has among its goals the improvement of the Web Philatelic sites competitions and a better collaboration between juries and competitors. That's why our Association (Organization) is open to a constructive collaboration with all organizations that are interested in the mentioned domain.

      The whole is published in the hope that the present "critique of the critique" will be useful to juries, and by its consequences especially to participants of any future Web sites competitions.

Victor Manta
Founder, Feb. 2001

Arts on Stamps

Published: 06/21/2001. Revised: 07/02/03 .
Copyright 2001 - 2002 by PWO and
by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.