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19 responses

  1. elinesca
    August 9, 2009

    Hi Thomas!
    Great post – makes me nervous though!! :(

    Why are they showing you a different “staff” page than the rest of us..? Do you have to be logged in to see the staff page?

  2. Thomas Hawk
    August 9, 2009

    Why are they showing you a different “staff” page than the rest of us..? Do you have to be logged in to see the staff page?

    Hey Elinesca. I’m not sure why they are showing a different staff page to me than the rest of the flickrverse. It’s something that they have in fact coded though. I’ve asked them multiple times about this but they won’t address it. It’s likely just more of a little “fuck you” from them to me personally that they get a laugh out of.

    My point is though that if they have time to be coding these little personal projects into Flickr, then they certainly ought to have time to code a reasonable, responsible and sane approach to account deletion.

  3. Omsel
    August 9, 2009

    Now i am curious if Zoomrrr has an account restore capability…..

  4. Alan Morris
    August 9, 2009

    Is it time to look for alternative sites to share photos? It is crazy to truat Flickr with all your photos if there is no security that they are safe from deletion.

  5. Celine
    August 10, 2009

    @Omsel: I don’t know if Zooomr has an account restore capability, but they are far less apt to censor anyone, so it’s much less likely to be needed.

    As for Flickr, I rely on them to host my photoblog photos, and it scares me that they could so easily wipe out my account — something I pay for — without any warning. If Zooomr would get stable enough, I’d happily use it for hosting (again) and forget Flickr.

  6. Mike
    August 10, 2009

    This is one of the reasons that I won’t entrust my photos to Flickr, and will probably let my pro account status lapse. I had considered using Flickr to host my photos, and just re-display them on my own photo site. The risk of losing access to them was too high, and I now host all my photos myself, occasionally copying some to my Flickr account.

    I figure that if I mess up and delete my photo site, at least I can restore. Who knows where everything on my Flickr account may go.

    P.S. As an ex-software engineer, coding a deleted flag into accounts and photos would be trivial. It would then be easy to undelete accounts/photos.

  7. Omsel
    August 10, 2009

    Can you imagine a server failing on Flickr and losing a zillion pics?…it would be a death blow to Flickr…of course they are backed up and can be restored. Now any logic would determine their incapability is nothing more than a political crock of shit.

    Yes i would expect Zoom to be more liberal as people who live in glass houses… … yet Flick is gigantic in comparrison and must please Mr & Ms Peabody so they can’t afford that they are lessthan perfect and made such a blunder.

    Nothing is perfect, yet back on subject, why should these people endure such an insulting tirate from a famous bad photog on a site they truely love and work for? If i ran Flick i would be on the next flight to Van and kick his butt for real,real good…..

  8. Thomas Hawk
    August 10, 2009

    Omsel. I believe that Zooomr does have the ability to restore deleted accounts. Then again Zooomr doesn’t have a Censorship Division that is in the business of deleting user accounts willy nilly, so as Celine mentioned, I’m not really sure at least that part is an issue. I’m personally not aware of a single person who has ever had their account terminated by Zooomr staff.

    This isn’t really about Zooomr though, it’s about Flickr.

  9. Omsel
    August 10, 2009

    Thomas i was just checking of course and your site is more counter culture so we can’t expect the same issues. Flickr was also very liberal in its begginings and remains so within limits today. Having been in and out since its start i really have never seen someone deleted unfairly. Many claim this is so but case in hand….if i spewed insults at you via mail on Zoom, can you honestly say you wouldn’t nail that delete button?

  10. Thomas Hawk
    August 10, 2009

    .if i spewed insults at you via mail on Zoom, can you honestly say you wouldn’t nail that delete button?

    Yes, Omsel, I can say that if you spewed insults at me via mail on Zooomr that I honestly would not delete your account. But again, this conversation really isn’t about Zooomr, it’s about Flickr.

    Personally I’m a big proponent of freedom of speech.

  11. Jason
    August 10, 2009

    I have a hard time believing that the reasons why Flickr will not offer this sort of safety net have anything to do with engineering resources.

    I don’t think the problem is engineering resources, but storage resources to keep account backups. A couple months ago when Flickr started doing real-time stats for pro users, they had to delete everyone’s all-time referral information from the servers. They admitted that they just didn’t have the processing and storage capacity for both features — and in fact it was a bit of a debacle because they didn’t realize that they were so limited on storage until they turned on the real-time code. I think that Yahoo has drastically limited the machine resources available to Flickr.

  12. Thomas Hawk
    August 10, 2009

    Jason, they don’t need to back up everyone’s accounts. They just need to back up the accounts of those whose their Censorship Division decides to delete. It would be very simple for them to simply change the account to private, inform the user of the pending deletion, and in a week actually delete the account.

    This would give them an opportunity to allow the user to object or appeal the deletion as well as reverse any “mistakes” on their part. it would also give a user and opportunity to retrieve any unbacked up photos that might exist in their stream prior to Flickr permanently and irrevocably erasing it when they nuke it.

    Doing this would involve no additional storage and no additional engineering resources. It’s not that Flickr cannot do this. It is that they will not do this.

  13. Adam Harrison
    August 10, 2009

    They don’t even need to back-up deleted accounts.

    In there database, then need to set an “invisible” variable. Then when the server comes across their pictures, posts, and comments, they will not be shown if the invisible variable is set.

    If they delete by mistake, they can unset the variable and everything is back to normal.

    If something is set to invisible for a month or so, THEN delete it.

    I can’t imagine this would be that hard to code.

    Oh wait, Yahoo/Flickr laid off their coders on April and hired more censors. Oops.

  14. elinesca
    August 11, 2009

    Have you posted a screenshot of what you see in your stream? I just don’t get this – what do you see when you log out? The staff page is publicly available, so they’ve achieved nothing at all by this. Maybe it’s a cashed version you’re seeing?

  15. elinesca
    August 11, 2009

    By the way, Flickr DOES need to back up every account. We’re paying for a service that need to be restored should something happen.

    In any case, Zooomr acts the opposite – they don’t have the functionality to allow you to delete your account. Almost like living forever…. :) Maybe that’s why Zoomr staff can’t delete accounts…

    (not getting political, just couldn’t resist…:)

  16. vicky
    February 2, 2011

    This is my main concern about Flickr, losing an account through a mistake or from something that could be addressed.
    I really hope that it’s a concern that they start addressing soon because for many of us it’s our personal photo album as well as a social network.

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