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Screenshot Accounts 'Delisted' on Flickr 210

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the screenshots-more-real-than-photos-for-some dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Flickr and Second Life fans seem to have collided head-on over a little known policy on Flickr that 'delists' an account from public areas, including search, when more than half of your content is non-photographic in nature. Flickr stated that most people searching the site are looking for photographic content so the restriction is in place merely to keep the site focused on its original intent. From the article: 'As a result, many screenshots on Flickr are AWOL — at least as far as the general public is concerned. That's angering and confusing some of the people who carefully stage scenes in the popular virtual world and religiously post the results online.'"
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Screenshot Accounts 'Delisted' on Flickr

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  • Makes Sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@g ... m minus language> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:29AM (#15532482) Homepage Journal
    Flickr is all about photographs, so it makes sense that that's what they focus on. If you need a place to post SL screen shots, there's still deviantart, renderosity, and myspace. There are quite a few options other than just flickr.
    • ... and as a result, World of Warcraft screenshot addicts the world over mourn this day. Remember, World of Warcraft is a feeling. [purepwnage.com] (Grab episodes 6 and 7 if you haven't seen the full thing.)
       
    • Re:Makes Sense (Score:2, Informative)

      by tehwebguy (860335)
      i've never browsed rederosity, but myspace is not an option. 8 image uploads are allowed, and not as a gallery. they are greatly resized using horribly low quality jpeg compression.

      deviantart is one of the slowest sites i've ever used.

      flickr should definitely change their policy for things like this.
      • Re:Makes Sense (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mlk (18543)
        flickr should definitely change their policy for things like this.

        Why?

        It is not as if free blogs [livejournal.com]& image hosting [imageshack.us] are in short surply.
      • Re:Makes Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:48PM (#15533211)
        Why should flickr change their policy?

        Its creators wanted a site to share photographs. Why should they have to accomodate anyone who doesn't want to use the site as intended? There are countless other options for sharing images other than photographs.

        If I go into your house and start using your bedroom as a toilet should you be forced to accommodate me? Of course not. I'm in your house, I should abide by your rules. It's essentially the same situation here
      • You always have the option of going to rackforce and setting up a hosted server. I think the base configuration has 5G of space and unmetered bandwidth.

    • Heheh, when I finally get around to it, www.screenshots.ca [screenshots.ca] will provide user-contributed screenshot galleries (With tags). I guess I'd better get started on coding that :)
    • Flickr is all about photographs, so it makes sense that that's what they focus on.

      What if I'm taking a picture of my monitor with a camera?
      • What if I'm taking a picture of my monitor with a camera?

        Then its a photograph and you have succesfully loopholed the system;-) So what's the difference then between that and merely taking a "screenshot?" Well that's the rub, ain't it?

        I used to play with Scenery Animator all the time on my Amiga. Creating a random landscape and finding the perfect shot to place the virtual camera is very analogous to carting a SLR out into nature. They both take time and require more of an "eye" to be successful tha

    • Re:Makes Sense (Score:3, Interesting)

      There are quite a few options other than just flickr.

      The free WWW account provided by your own ISP (or others) for instance?

      Not very Web 2.0, but cheap as free and reliable.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:30AM (#15532490)
    This is easy enough to fix. You can take pictures of your computer monitor with a camera, then upload those. Or you can take your screenshot, print it out, scan it back in, then upload the scan. There's a bunch of ways around this. C'mon, use a little creativity, people!
    • Re:simple solutions (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Billosaur (927319) *

      It brings up a good point though, since cameras are moving away from film to memory cards and pixels: just what constitutes an image? If you go the route of thinking that it's something that has to be taken by a camera, that severely limits what we could call an image. If you believe an image is made up of a collection of pixels in some organized fashion, then the range of things we can call images is staggering (PDF files, fonts, screenshots, etc.).

      Flickr's probably just trying to keep from being overwhe

      • They're not debating what consitutes an image. It's what constitutes a photograph.

        If you take a photo of your monitor in place of taking a screenshot, then it's not the photograph people will be looking for, it's the image in the photograph.
      • Re:simple solutions (Score:3, Informative)

        by bob65 (590395)
        It brings up a good point though, since cameras are moving away from film to memory cards and pixels: just what constitutes an image?>

        Well in this case it's pretty clear-cut - it's whatever the flickr creators want to have on their website. I guess that could result in some "unfair" "censorship" but meh: their site, their rules.

    • I actually used to take screen shots that way, when I was documenting apps that ran on non-graphics terminals. But I suspect that this would not get past Flickr.
  • by brenddie (897982) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:31AM (#15532508)
    Is true that these digital representations are not real photography but how long until you cant diferentiate from a real scene and one generated on a virtual world.

    Maybe Flickr should start thinking about having 2 sections :
    Real photography
    Virtual photography

    • by iainl (136759) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:48AM (#15532658)
      They do. Then they delist the virtual one from the search engine, because their site isn't meant to be for looking at some stranger's screenshots.

      Also, this is not news; it was in the click-through agreement from way back, and people who actually draw their own pictures in photoshop or whatever have already hit the problem, had an argument with Flickr and lost once already.

      If nerd X isn't allowed to post homemade hentai, I see no reason why they would let nerd Y post a 3rd-rate imitation of same in Second Life.
    • by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:08PM (#15532851)
      While I appreciate that digital cameras have somewhat blurred the distinctions, I still feel that it's a hell of a stretch equating screenshots with photographs. Even a perfectly photo-realistic scene captured from a game wouldn't be a photograph to my mind; that would require pointing an actual, physical object at some other, actual physical objects and pressing a button (or even saying "take photograph!" for that matter). Maybe I'm just an old stick in the mud.

      I'm not arguing that purely digital representations aren't art, just that they're not photographs, in the same way that a painting or a sculpture isn't.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:31AM (#15532509) Homepage
    Instead of posting an electronic "screenshot," take an actual photograph of a computer screen... with some desk clutter like a soda can or a yellow Post-It note in the frame.

    Heck, you could probably take a single photo like that and use an image editor to paste the screenshot into the genuine screen image. If television ads can get away with "picture simulated," why not Flickr users?
  • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:31AM (#15532512)
    They are simply delisted. Nobody WANTS to search for your crappy 'I'm so awesome' screenshots. All of your stuff can still be accessed, just not by people who don't care.

    Big freaking deal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:33AM (#15532524)
    And what pray tell, do Flickrs policies and actions have any relevance to my rights online or any rights offline?!!!

    If you dont like Flickrs actions, dont use them anymore. This isnt a holy violation of your rights or anything else.
  • Stop whining (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:36AM (#15532558)
    If I really really want a steady crapflood of WoW Wedding shots, I'll tick the "bore me senseless" option. You can put what you like on Flickr, just don't assume anyone else gives a damn. Delisting is a good thing for people who want to use the site as it was intended.

    If you're really that obsessed with having people look at your uninteresting life, why not go and get one. Then take pictures of it. Sheesh.

  • It doesn't seem like it would be too terribly difficult to circumvent the block.

    However, Ito's images do show up in the Flickr group pools for his guild, We Know, and for World of Warcraft, because more than half of the images in his account are traditional photographs. In Ito's Flickr account, images he has taken of Helsinki, Finland, and Vancouver, British Columbia, show up beside an image of guild members setting out for a hike in World of Warcraft.

    Just upload a crap load of pictures, yours or ones you f
  • No big deal. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:41AM (#15532607) Homepage Journal
    I can totally see Flickr's side of the issue, it was never intended to be another deviantart/imageshack/whatever. Free image hosts are a dime a dozen these days. And if you do really want to stay on flickr, upload enough random real-life photos to satisfy the more-than-half requirement.
  • You know, it's not that hard or costly to setup your own domain and Coppermine (or whatever image package you like). Not to mention you don't have to put up with ads or whatever other nonsense those public sites make you deal with.
    • Plogger [plogger.org] is nice too.
    • That's what I do. I don't need a powerful server. How many peope really want to see my photos. Actually I keep track and it's a few hundred hits per day at peak times. Right now I use a Pentium powered tower but I plan to replace it with an older Apple G4 based Mac Mini to save power, space and noise. If every user hd his own web server none of the servers whould need to be very big, nor have fat pipes to the Internet. You don't even need to buy a domain or have a static IP address. Go to www.dyndns.
      • And if you don't want to manage your own server, you can buy hosting now with 500GB+ of transfer for $4-6/month. Considering how cheap hosting is nowadays, I'm so sick of people using the free file download services like Fileplanet that make you wait in line or download their own download manager...
  • If they are positioning themselves as some kind of photography site, then fair enough. But it seems Flickr's focus is on the sharing aspect rather than the photography aspect. I suspect that the original intention of this limitation was to stop people from turning Flickr into the average viral cartoon/funny photoshop picture dump, and that overzealous employees took it a bit too literally.

    After all, is there any significant difference between capturing a scene from the real world and capturing a scene

    • After all, is there any significant difference between capturing a scene from the real world and capturing a scene from a fictional world?

      Yes, yes there are significant differences. You see, most pictures taken of virtual worlds are boring, have little artistic merit, and are of no interest to anyone outside the immediate circle of the person taking them, whereas most real life pictures are... Oh, wait...

      No, no difference.
    • I expect the policy will be clarified to allow things like screenshots from virtual worlds, but disallow things like movie posters and screenshots from desktop applications.

      Then we get into the tricky situation of defining a "virtual world" vs. a "desktop application." Any MMOG client is an application, and a certain popular spreadsheet has a flight simulator easter egg.

      To take it to further levels of headache-induction, many mapped textures in 3D games and other CGI are based on a real photo of the textu

    • "But it seems Flickr's focus is on the sharing aspect rather than the photography aspect."

      I don't get that impression at all. I still quite clearly remember being told, upon signing up, that my photos would not show up on the home page until my account had been manually reviewed to confirm that I was uploading photos, and not screen shots or random art. That made it quite clear that flickr is about photos.

      "I expect the policy will be clarified to allow things like screenshots from virtual worlds, b

    • I took a quick look at their Terms of Use - I didn't see any "50% photos" rule.

      But they do say stuff like "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time".

      Anyhow, I would guess their business model was to be aquired by someone else.

      In this case it worked! Yahoo bought them, and users will be subject to the Yahoo TOS, which among other things includes the phrase "which may be updated by us from time to time without notice to you"...

      So, all-in-all, just another you get wha

  • Instead of using the Print Screen key, just point your trusty Digital Rebel at the screen and voila ... real photo.
    • Yeah, that was my first thought, too.

      Does this "ban" (or what ever you want to call it) cover "photos" of my computer with the thing I really want to show on the screen? After all, my computer is the most important object in my life, or so my wife goes on about ...

  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:46AM (#15532651)
    This could be a useful slashdot section, but we keep getting these stories that don't have anything to do with 'rights' at all, much less the reader's rights... Somtimes even the online part is a stretch.

    So, some website actually implemented their policy, and some self-important people with a misguided sense of propriety got pissed about it. News for Nerds? Absolutely! Your rights online? Not a chance.
  • Market Forces (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doomedsnowball (921841) <doomedsnowballs@yahoo.com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:48AM (#15532668)
    So why don't people use Photobucket [photobucket.com] or Snapfish [snapfish.com] or Snapzilla [sluniverse.com] or VillagePhotos [villagephotos.com] or Zoto [zoto.com] or TinyPic [tinypic.com] or SmugMug [smugmug.com] or Greatest Journal [greatestjournal.com] or...

    My personal favorite DeviantArt [deviantart.com]?

    There's not much of a story here except that if you commit to one hosting service, you run the risk of them being complete jerks with your content choice.
  • by gotem (678274) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:55AM (#15532743) Homepage Journal
    I at first read that as 'non-pornographic in nature'.
    I was about to add Flickr to my bookmarks
  • by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:56AM (#15532749)
    This has to be one of the most ridiculous misapplications of this topic that I've ever seen.

    1. You have no right, natural, God-given or otherwise, to have your content hosted on Flickr.

    2. The accounts have not been deleted, they have just been delisted. That means that they won't show up in a search.

    3. As I understand it, you can still provide people with direct links to the screenshots.

    Please, help me out here - in what way is this a YRO issue?
    • in what way is this a YRO issue?

      In their hollow little self centered American heads of course.
      People who want everything free, and don't take any responsiblity for their own actions instead blame others, society, genetics, anything but their own behaviour and choices.

      In their twisted little heads not letting them do whatever they want is wrong and a violation of their rights.
    • I think Scuttlemonkey is trolling.
  • Hmm, it looks like Flickr is between a rock and a hard place. I don't know exactly how they do it now, but I would guess they use automation to flag images that are not considered photographic. It's just too big a job to do this manually, even if you offshore the whole thing to a low wage country. So if they decide that due to demand, to allow "photos" of users' virtual lives in WoW, SL, FFXI, etc., then policing it is going to be a real challenge. There are ways to make it easier to automate this, but the
  • Flickr is a free site originally designed for photographers. Screenshots of Second Life or any other game are not photography. Seems pretty simple huh?

    Go find a different host if you can't accept Flickr's rules.
    • Flickr is hoping to use its 'online gallery of your pictures' to eventually leverage services like: "We'll send you real prints of your photos for real $". No one will ever use flickr's photo printing services to get real prints of screenshots.

      That said, it may be that the screenshot galleries are drawing a lot of views. If flickr can generate revenue from pure traffic then they may want to support public browsing of screenshot images, otherwise someone else (snapzilla?) will be able to fill that niche an
      • No one will ever use flickr's photo printing services to get real prints of screenshots.

        Maybe not today, but what about "tommorow"?

        In other words, it would be nice to be able to offer low-cost prints of "screenshots" of computer graphic artwork and such. Also, what happens when "virtual worlds" (like SL, WoW, and others) become so realistic (graphically) that a screenshot can't be distinguished from a "real life" photograph (outside of pictorial cues that could never occur in real life, perhaps)?

        These are j

        • Ok, I'll admit that assertion was not provably correct.

          You make a good point that screenshots are moving toward photorealism. To extend the idle debate (doesn't that describe the vast majority of /. comment threads? ;-) the quality of prints from color/photo printers are fast becoming standard household items, so the market for selling real prints of our digital images will be a vanishing niche. I'm sure flickr has other ways to monetize their image storage system, I just don't know what they all are.
  • As long as I can still get to the OMG!!! PONEYS!!! [flickr.com] version of Slashdot, I'll be fine. At least I'll always be able to make my own sign [cmdrtaco.com].
  • Here we see the downside of Web 2.0. Apps available for the asking? Cool. The problem is that what happens to my data is completely up to the whim of the people running these sites. People are _shocked_ when something that they throw onto someone else's web site is moved around, or removed entirely. Wake up. The bargain you've made for all these freebies is loss of control.
  • ...to serve the needs of these folks. Anyone want to partner with me on a new screenshots only server site? ...the name screenjism.com immediately comes to mind mmhmm. gigigiddey
  • If you don't have a static IP, You go to say, hostmysite or dreamhost, get your own virtual server, and install Gallery2 then you can post anything from nudie pics to screenshots to landscapes, or even copyrighted videos and you won't get shut down. You might get an angry letter if you post copyrighted material you do not own then the courts might order you to shut down, but at least no one else will have any say in what you post.
  • Screenshots sites (Score:3, Informative)

    by jedigeek (102443) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:20PM (#15532953) Journal
    A friend of mine developed a site specifically for screenshots in virtual worlds:

    http://multitap.net/ [multitap.net]

    It's fairly popular, easy to use, has an API so you could hack it straight into WoW. Maybe some of you upset by flickr would like this?
  • Am I the only one who read "when more than half of your content is non-pornographic in nature"? That would make flickr interesting...
  • Search: [__________] ( ) Photographs (*) Games/Video Screenshots ( ) CG art

    Now, that wasn't too hard, was it?
  • This was really just a gag article posted by Slashdot editors to take the pulse of herd attitude regarding Flickr. Obviously, to judge by the number of indignant "Flickr has every right!" and "Down with screenshots!" posts, it's apparent that Flickr is still in the upper-right quadrant of Slashdot love.

    Well done. Carry on!
  • by crlove (857212)
    The only thing you can't do with screenshots is search for them on flickr's site.

    You can still link to them from other sites, use them in [img] tags on websites, etc.

    You just can't use flickr's search box to find them.

    So... what's the big deal? Does anyone really search flickr for screenshots?
  • That's how I read it... i was like WTF? Is this for real? Is that what people really use Flickr for?
  • This move could result in them loosing more than 3/4 of their user base whom happen to be "Second Life" users. I've heard from a lot users inside Second Life that they are moving to Snapzilla (http://www.sluniverse.com/pics/) and abandoning their old Flickr accounts. Some of these people make money at the events their screenshots promote, and this policy could impact their business which is a very bad things for Flickr.

    Flickr has to learn something about offering services on the web, the hard way. If you
    • Do you really.... seriously.... think that 3/4 of their user base are Second Life users? Or, reading the sentence the other way, do you really.... seriously.... think that the 3/4 of Second Life users that are part of Flickr's user base constitute a number that would really hurt them if they ran off to Snapzilla, wringing their hands all the way?

      Methinks that the number of Second Life users that run away will do anything but "burn the user base". And I really don't think that "they will die because of stu
  • Of course there's always Snapzilla [sluniverse.com], which was made for exactly this purpose.

    I have a paid-for flickr "Pro" account, I wonder if this affects them too? Doesn't really matter though, as I rarely use it anyway.
  • And here (not verbatim) was their response. "PhotoGRAPH = film, Image = digitally created without the use of a camera. You lose."

  • This is what Snapzilla [sluniverse.com] is for. Or an image gallery on http://pics.livejournal.com/shatterstripes/gallery /00006bp6 [livejournal.com]>Livejournal or Blogger or whatever you prefer, or on your own website. Fickr is for photographs, not general image hosting. Screenshots of a video game are not photos - if they were, we'd call them that.
  • Create a "Lives in Parents Basement" tag and make it mandatory on anything from WoW. Filter out that tag, problem solved...:-)
  • I ran into this policy early on in Flickr's career when I posted scans of a bunch of my cartoons. Flickr blank-screened them, arguing that they were a 'photo' site. I finally convinced them to turn my scans back on, but only after a dozen emails back and forth. I think the only reason they caved is because I was one of their very first paying customers when they went live.

    This is another case of a company not being responsive to its customers' needs. Sure, their original vision was the sharing of photos. Bu

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