I've now visited hundreds of photographies on ipernity and have yet to find a single instance of those dreadful awards that litter comment pages on flickr. It's common to see some (discrete) invitations to add photos to groups bu nothing like the ugliness I was used to find on the other site, to the point I had over 200 such images blocked with AdBlock.
And speaking of groups, on ipernity groups seem to be close to dead. Sure people still place images on groups but I guess the advanced comment functionality (eg. replies and comment tracking) and blogging make groups less useful for discussion. However, groups like Canon's and Nikon's should be very useful but have almost no members and even less discussion traffic.
One thing I neglected to mention on my comparison was the search function, which in ipernity is just broken and close to useless. For example, something basic as searching for a strig using quotes just doesn't work. I've reported this to technical support and was assured that boolean search was on it's way. Search is also missing basic functionality like searching documents in a date interval, sorting groups by number of users and so on. I'm eagerly waiting for the new search function.
Going back to the awards absence, it seems the ipernity community is not suffering from the global interestingness obsession there seems to be on the other site. I don't know if this is because theres really no equivalent to interestingness, as there is at least one group for photos appearing on the front page, but as all other groups this is very low traffic.