Tag Archives: blogging

Is Automattic Going To Save Tumblr’s Life?

Earlier this year, when it was announced that WordPress creator Automattic was to buy Tumblr, some optimism returned to the realm of creative blogging. Despite there being more free options for bloggers than ever before, most of them are woeful, and at the top of the tree, the spirit of blogging has been dying a painful death.

WordPress.com has shifted its commercial focus towards business websites, populating the platform with disengaged husks and decimating what was once a passionate writers’ community. Tumblr has suffered all kinds of problems in the hands of Verizon, and seen a catastrophic drop in usage as a result. Medium.com, proclaimed by some as the new king of serious blogging platforms, has been blighted with an elitist mentality, where a heavy curation bias sees ‘preferred authors’, with ‘preferred styles’, seizing the bulk of the visibility. And Blogger (.blogspot) has no real native community features at all. If you can code HTML and CSS, and you have a separate social media presence that can drive traffic, Blogger is unbeatable. But most people can’t, and don’t. Continue reading Is Automattic Going To Save Tumblr’s Life?

Is Flickr Guilty of ‘Freemium Extortion’?

Clock
The clock is ticking for non-subscribing users of Flickr…

If you hit the Flickr Help Forum, you’ll currently find a thread of well over 8,000 posts relating to what some are describing as a blackmail scheme. Many of the comments do defend Flickr, although the defensive comments mainly come from a handful of supporters who post intensively. Whether that passes as credible support is open to debate, but there’s no doubt that a drastic policy change, announced by Flickr at the beginning of last November, has upset a lot of people. Have we really witnessed an extortion plot?…

WHAT HAPPENED AT FLICKR?

In May 2013, the then Flickr owners Yahoo scrapped a 300MB per month image upload limit for users with free accounts, and set an astronomical new maximum upload capacity of 1TB. Users with free accounts were told, at this point, that the new storage capacity was free to the photographer, and funded by the advertiser. No buts, no untils; that’s what they were told.

In spring 2018, SmugMug bought Flickr, expressing an intention to continue running the platform without significant change.

In November 2018, SmugMug U-turned on their previous assertion, warning that from January 2019, free Flickr accounts would have their maximum capacity limited to 1,000 photos in total, and threatening to delete all excess images after 5th February 2019.

In summary, users with free Flickr accounts were encouraged to upload a vast quantity of images on the basis that they would not have to pay, and then, after many had made major commitments to Flickr, they were told their work would be deleted if they did not pay. There isn’t even a way to put a positive spin on it. Continue reading Is Flickr Guilty of ‘Freemium Extortion’?

Flagbot: The Censorship Protocol That Will Change YOUR Behaviour

Flagbots

Once upon a time, we all used to post on old-style, moderated forums. Forums were far from perfect, but one thing we could be sure of was that if we observed the forum rules, our accounts and profiles were safe. On most forums, moderators would even privately warn members if they were sailing close to a penalty of some kind. How different things are now that massive social media and publishing sites have become the hub of our online activity.

ENTER THE FLAGBOT…

Almost all large, user-generated content platforms now use ‘flagbots’ to moderate their sites. A flagbot is simply a piece of software designed to detect breaches of the Terms of Service, so a human moderator doesn’t have to do it. Great! It’s labour-saving, and that means the sites can spend their money on more important stuff, like… Well, spying on us and selling their findings to corporate thugs, obviously.

There are just one or two snags. The flagbots are engineered not only to detect ToS breaches, but also to actually take immediate, shoot-on-sight, punitive action. So if they get it wrong (and Snag 2 – flagbots have no sense, so they do get it wrong, a lot), masses of innocent users are punished for good behaviour. Continue reading Flagbot: The Censorship Protocol That Will Change YOUR Behaviour

What Oath Should Do With Tumblr After The Porn Ban

What Oath Should Do With Tumblr

Agghhh, Tumblr. A technically beautiful site which has influenced the biggest and best blogging platforms, and is still packed with little-known publishing tricks and delights. But management of the blue-walled behemoth has been so frustrating through the past five years. Tumblr has to make money, and it can, but if it is to survive, the proprietor must stop kicking its enticers in the teeth, and put them at the centre of the revenue-earning policy.

I’m going to explain how that could be done in this post, but first, let’s assess where things currently are… Continue reading What Oath Should Do With Tumblr After The Porn Ban