Initial Thoughts On Flickr’s Community Guidelines Changes Today
Flickr modified their community guidelines today. I detailed the changes in the post just previous to this. My initial thoughts:
1. Flickr’s traffic has been down year over year and they need to try and get more traffic to appease the Yahoo boss. Allowing commercial accounts should result in a traffic increase to flickr as these accounts are added.
It’s been stupid that they haven’t already allowed these. Facebook, Twitter, etc. all allow businesses, brands, etc. on their services. Many, many businesses are already on Flickr anyways. It’s a no brainer and should have been done years ago.
2. It’s disappointing that Flickr still refuses to address their practice of deleting accounts willy nilly and arbitrarily and have held on to the "that guy" clause. It’s disappointing that someone like Deepa can have her account deleted and have no recourse whatsover and not even be entitled to an explanation. This clause ensures that Flickr staff can essentially do whatever the hell they want as "that guy" is the ultimate subjective clause. It puts every single Flickr account at potential risk.
3. It’s telling that they took out the passage "in most circumstances we like to give second chances." This is a bad sign and means that they are already (and will likely in the future) continue their practice of deleting accounts without any warning or recourse. At least they paid lip service to trying to warn people before. This is a big screw you to the users.
It sucks that they link the discussion to the changes in a forum where they simply ban people who might object (like me). It’s easier for them to try to sell their guidelines to the community when they are able to silence people who might be critical. The best communities are run transparently. By banning people from the help forum discussion Flickr prohibits an open and honest conversation about their changes.
Flickr should incorporate into their community guidelines a system whereby potentially offending accounts are made completely private for one week prior to permanent deletion. If an account does not object, it then would automatically be deleted after one week. If a user does object, however, they could be given an opportunity to remove whatever content Flickr objects to in order to bring their account in line with Flickr’s objection. This would be a far more responsible, sane and user friendly way to deal with customers and their data. Paying customers especially should be given this opportunity.