Well, I thought it might be useful to give you a bit of inside knowledge on how screening works [or at least on how it is supposed to work!
1) we log in to the screening page and we specify how many photos we want to screen in a batch - from 10-200.
2) We indicate also whether we want to screen the standard queue or the High quality queue.
3) For extracting hot items, we can restrict the returned pictures to a specific photographer, registration, airline or location. We use this when a guy sends a mail to email@example.com about a hot new item.
4) Once we submit the login page we get back a page of entries, each representing one shot, which looks like the following picture:
5) For each shot we check the photographer's name and email to see whether they're a photographer we have to treat in a special way - examples here are guys who are known for always uploading other people's work without permission or guys where Johan has requested, for whatever reason, that we pass their stuff straight to him.
6) Top Right shows the location of the shot and the date as entered in the upload screen. Again we check this to make sure it conforms to the standards. Example - if the plane is on final for LHR then 'Over London' is no good as a location, the correct location is London Heathrow(LHR/EGLL).
7) The middle block contains the airline and aircraft data. Again we're looking for no mistakes here - it's surprisingly common not to change the 'Other' field on the upload form and to get a strange hybrid airline name. If full info isn't specified here then I start to ask myself why it isn't specified and investigate further.
8) The comment, registration and category [in this case, it's 'OTHER'] fields are under here. We read the comment, which might help to explain why info is missing or the location is odd, and check that the registration looks sensible. No G series regos for Malev aircraft for example.
8.5) The size of the shot is also shown on the bottom left so we can decide whether the shot meets the minimum size criteria.
9) We open the large version of the picture by clicking the thumbnail. This produces a full size version of the large photo in a new window. This is where we assess the shot for conformance to standards.
10) Generally the Mk 1 eyeball is the best tool for the job and we just look to see whether it looks like an a.net picture. Remember that we already know when / where it was shot and have read any comments so we may be making allowances for the shot on this basis.
11) Back in the main form we click the reg number link and this does a database search on the registration so we can see how many shots are in the dB. This is where we start thinking about Common shots and raising the standards or lowering the standards for rare shots, especially new registrations or colourschemes.
12) If the shot is borderline then we might have a look at big versions of some of the shots already in the dB and see if the shot is an improvement or vice versa.
13) Having made a decision we come down to the check boxes.
14) Each check box represents one of the rejection reason paragraphs that you see in the e-mail. We can tick any number of these. Any tick in a red box rejects the shot with all the reasons selected on the form. If we want to include a personal message to the photographer then we check the 'Personal' checkbox and write a message in the 'Message' field. This is what you see as a personal message from the screener.
15) If the shot is borderline then we have the choice of two yellow check boxes - Leave for Johan, which leaves it for the boss to decide - photos with copyright issues or totally unique shots often fall into this category - or we can tick Second Opinion to effectively 'pass' on the shot and leave it for the other screeners. In both these cases, we can put a message in the message field which will be visible to Johan or the other screeners.
16) If the shot is good enough for inclusion then we check one of the green boxes - either High Quality which puts the shot in the HQ queue where it waits for two other screeners to mark it as HQ or we can use the Priority - Instant Add box to add it instantly to the database, bypassing the HQ queue. We only really use this for the hot new items I talked about earlier.
17) A message in the message field for a shot marked as HQ will be visible to the other screeners when they screen the HQ queue. Commonly we use this if we have reservations about a shot or we want to help the other screeners understand why we nominated it as HQ in the first place.
18) Finally we repeat this as many times as there are pictures in the batch and then submit the form. This processes the results and sends out the rejection / acceptance e-mails.
Obviously a lot of the shots are really easy to screen, the really HQ ones and the absolutely atrocious ones take very little time to screen. The borderline cases can, by the time we've opened the database search and looked at a few shots and had a think, take an inordinate length of time. A few minutes is not uncommon.
Anyway, I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into how the whole process works.