The Culling of the Flickrsphere or How SmugMug Changed a MOCer’s Refuge.

It must be a full moon because the Manifesto has new content from an old friend of the blog.  You may remember Werewolff Studios from his frequent offerings in the comment section here, or his memorable Blog or Die! essay from 2017.  Our fanged Australian correspondent has some thoughts on recent developments in our shared hobby, so without further ado, take it away Mr. Wolff!

Greetings all! Resident lycanthrope here, and I hope you’re all doing well. I won’t waste much time here, because I want to get into the meat of this post and I’ve spent too long procrastinating as per usual.

Procrastination-300x232So, for those living under a rather large pile of rocks, you’ve probably all heard of the recent shake-up over on Flickr, namely the culling of the one free terabyte of space originally offered to all free users. Following on from this, they proceeded to limit available photos on free accounts to 1000, which seems an awful lot larger than it actually is.

I’ve been wanting to write something about this for awhile, but held off for a number of reasons. One was too see how the community at large would respond, another was to wait until I could collect my thoughts fully.

Mostly though, I reckon I was waiting for someone much betterer at article writing than me to smash out a response. Ah well. I guess you’re stuck with my crock of half-baked nonsense.

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Now, first things first, I completely get the business side of this move. Storing the countless millions of photos that fill the Flickr-sphere can’t be cheap, and a push for pro accounts seems like a relatively logical step. Plus, it’s not like everyone’s being left out to dry. Pro accounts were 30% off during the month after the announcement and the actual removal of user’s data will only start to take effect on February 5 next year.

Wait…removal?

hang-on-a-sec

Yep, now we come to the main part of this whole mess. Starting in February, free user’s with over a 1000 photos will have all their images deleted, from oldest to newest, until the number reaches 1000. Post any more, and away goes another photo, never to return.

Understandably, this has left quite a few users upset (including several here, I’m sure). I too have been left feeling rather dejected (despite my current photo level sitting at 108), and what’s left me feeling flatter than roadkill is the realisation that the safe haven for the Lego community that Flickr has become has started to crumble.

For me, it started with MOCpages, and through that website I began to find my little place in the online community. I met people, made friends and had discussions with others whose interests aligned with my own. For a pretty introverted kid, it was brilliant.

But over time, I began to notice the ‘Pages decline. Though I’d always said I’d stick with it until the end, I began to realise that more and more people were leaving the site. They were fleeing the sinking ship and hopping on board the HMS Flickrtastic. Eventually I bit the bullet and made a Flickr account, intent to have it as a back-up.

Then came Decisive Action 3, and everything changed.

Flag Montage

All of a sudden, the dying website of MOCpages had it’s life support kicked into gear. The activity bar started to crackle back to life, and every attack window brought a wealth of discussion and conversation that could go on for ages. And then there were the private groups, both on and off of the Pages, racking up the ideas and plans for global domination.

Heck, the private group for the Host of Immeasurable Destruction, Dooming Enemies Nationally (*wink wink*) racked up over 3547 comments, with over 29 conversation threads by the end, and it wasn’t even the main group! And it all happened over four months.

The proof was in the numbers. Builders were coming back, and there was fresh blood at every turn. MOCer’s who’d only heard of MOCpages in passing suddenly had accounts and were posting regularly. The main page actually had rotating posts, to the point where you had to plan exactly when was the optimal time to upload, to ensure that your nation got the most MILPO possible. It was intense and it was brilliant.

Note that word ‘was’.

8agO(1)

Yes, dear readers. I’m sure those that were playing, or even those spectating , remember those days of pure frustration. Despite giving the absolute best possible staging ground, the old site refused to meet the demands it’s occupants put forth. For some unexplained reason, the servers decided to change. Then the classic ‘Bonk Smash Thud’ message became as common as missed attack windows.

Carefully laid tactics and time-based attacks were abruptly ruined by downtimes, builds disappeared off the homepage after being there for mere minutes, trolls dragging them down into the abyss. Were we hacked? I’m pretty sure we were hacked at some point.

And then, near the end, our valiant Overlord Goldman contacted Mr. Sean Kenny directly, using the website that Sean was the most active on; Twitter. After receiving nothing back, our Overlord tried again, a little more forcefully, trying to get something, anything, out of the captain of the leaky site.

Welp, he certainly got something.

He got blocked.

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No response, no acknowledgement, no answers; just blocked. That was it. Keith and the DAS decided to end DA3 shortly after. It just wasn’t sustainable and nobody was enjoying the experience to the level that they should’ve been. Was it disappointing? Of course it was. I personally had a whole plan laid out to backstab my team, than backstab the backstabbers. I had builds in the pipeline, ready to go for the sudden MILPO boost I needed.

However, the real question was this; was it justified? Yes, it was. For me, this was the last straw. The Pages were crumbling too fast. The story-telling group I was a part of had dropped in it’s activity as well, and there just wasn’t any real reason to stay. I had to try going somewhere else, refocus my time on a website that mattered. So, with that I packed my bags and leapt onto the still floating life raft that Flickr had extended.

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Flickr was my refuge. Though I was (and still am) admittedly more involved with the art community there, I had friends to talk with again. I had activity, I had more followers, I had room to grow. That shift in thinking really helped me at the time, despite only being a few months ago.

And then SmugMug came along and decided to switch everything up.

That room to grow was suddenly stifled. I had had plans to migrate my 43 episodes strong Insurgency story over to Flickr, but now I couldn’t. Doing so would bump me up over the 1000 photo limit, and any future episodes would demolish past ones. If I truly wanted to migrate everything over, the Pro account was the only option. It was a strongarm grip to pay up or stay quiet.

True, it wasn’t as bad as the MP crash. I still had people to talk to, and there was, and is, little wrong with Flickr’s software when compared to the Pages. But still, I could feel the first gentle rocks against the ship, not dissimilar to those I’d felt before.

How long will SmugMug be satisfied with this push for Pro Users? Will they decide in a few months to drop the photo limit to 800, or 500, or 50? Will they ban photo-posting from free accounts? Will they stay quiet as the community cries out for changes? I’m not sure, and that’s a scary thing.

I think, in the end, it seems like an uncertain time for those in this Online Lego Community. There doesn’t seem to be an entirely reliable place to turn to, a website that meets the needs of this little internet niche. Instagram is an option, but for a more story-focused builder like myself, it’s not ideal. Our good friend LukeClarenceVan had started building a website that shows an awful lot of promise (seriously, go check out the MOCshare discussion page here), but he’s understandably busy, and it’ll be awhile before it’s fully up and running.

The MP refuge is starting to shift, the Flickrsphere is adapting. The future of this community sits on somewhat loose ground, without a space to set its foundation. Who rightly knows how it’ll all turn out?

Thanks for reading all.

Wolff.

39 thoughts on “The Culling of the Flickrsphere or How SmugMug Changed a MOCer’s Refuge.

  1. Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome, but I don’t really see anything wrong with the change as it stands. Whether SmugMug will keep asking for more and more remains to be seen. The majority of people won’t be immediately effected by the limit anyway, and those who are probably have a billion convention photos or 10 shots of the same MOC. I’ve brought it up many times elsewhere, but even at full price the new pro accounts only come out to around $4/month. And the cost for a year is less than I’d spend on a single video game.

    The other thing is that there is no alternative. Instagram is unsuitable for polishing your craft and is mainly a social whoring/like machine. Ipernity and Brickly came and went. Luke’s project seems promising, but to be honest I’m not really in favor of a Lego-specific site since I like to follow artists from other mediums and see other works from builders like Shannon, Erik, and Pierre.

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    1. I couldn’t agree with you more concerning the cost of a pro account. People shell out money for video games and Lego sets for that matter. I completely forgot about Brickly….all that noise and no action…it seems like it was designed to generate buzz and get sold for a profit and not much more.

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    2. I agree with Cristopher here. Everything can’t be free forever. Sometimes you have to decide what a service is worth you.

      I don’t buy video games any more and I don’t use Netflix or Xbox Live or whatever. $4 per month is not much. It’s about the price of one beer (in Sweden anyway). I will gladly pay for what Flickr gives me.

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    3. Fair point indeed mate. I know it may come across as though I’m whinging about paying such a small amount, but I do completely understand why the folks over at Flickr made that decision. What concerns me the most is the fact that they kind of did it with no real warning, and the 1000 photo limit may only last until SmugMug decides to lower it. That’s what worries me.

      There’s also the fact that a lot of younger users use the sight, some of them unable to pay for the Pro account due to their age. Yes, many of these would be below the 1000 photo limit, but I personally know others who had to bulk delete photo’s because they couldn’t afford/ weren’t granted permission to get a Pro Account.

      And yes, you’re completely right regarding the ‘no alternative’ to Flickr, especially for the Lego Community. I apologise if it sounded like I want everyone to jump ship or anything; I’m not. The main point I wanted to raise is to consider the potential ramifications of decisions SmugMug has made, and honestly to hear what others thought of the change.
      Also, I have had a look at Imgur and Brickshelf. They don’t really work for how I post my stories’ currently, but they might if I adapt my style slightly. I’ll have to experiment a little there 😊

      Thanks for your thoughts mate! I really do appreciate them.

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  2. Also, regarding your particular issue with reposting your stories, I know a lot of people post one main photo and then link to a separate gallery on Brickshelf or Imgur. Dunno if that would work for you.

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  3. Thanks for turning on the sputtering neon sign and inviting the usual suspects to belly up to the bar. Every time I consider shuttering the blog for good, somebody turns up with a post to stave off what is perhaps inevitable.

    As for the SmugMug takeover, I’m not thrilled about the changes myself but I always thought it was inevitable, the site never felt like a permanent fix to me after LUGnet and MOCPages. Frankly I’m surprised it remained the hub of the hobby for as long as it did. It still doesn’t feel as catastrophic as some of my peers seem to suggest. I’ve had a pro account for years and never felt like I was being strong-armed or that it was even cost prohibitive and a thousand photos for free seems…fair? Maybe giving people a limit might actually push them to be more selective with what they post, and not just throw up every blurry half-assed photo just because they can. I realize that having to pay for something that was previously free is less than optimal, but if you really value the service and the site is important to the hobby as a collective then is it a huge deal to pay a little bit for it?

    What concerns me more than anything is the growing number of people who seem to be excited to swear allegiance to the next shiny thing, which in this case seems to be Discord. I’ve tried it, and I hate it, and if that’s where the community is going then for the first time in a couple of decades I won’t be part of the scene going forward. I logged in a couple of times and mostly it seemed like people talking about video games and food/beverage more than anything else…which is fine…those are both interesting topics but it’s not for me. It seems impermanent and lacking in substance (it doesn’t even host images), although I am prepared to admit that my response to the site/app might be more a function of my age (get of my damn lawn!). That’s not the core of it though, I’m not averse to change if it seems like change for the better, but this seems like change to the flavor of the moment and the same goes for Instagram or god forbid Facebook. I’ll be very interested to see what LVC comes up with, but after LUGnet and MOCpages I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to adopt the single landlord model either, it can go south pretty easily, even with the best of intentions. At the end of the day, I guess I”m waiting for the hysteria to subside and see what happens with Flickr, hopeful that enough of our tribe is willing to maintain at least an embassy there.

    Remember when Flickr took away notes and everyone was going to leave for Ipernity? I do…so I’m trying to ride this one out and hope that people come to their senses. If not, the hobby will just continue to fracture as people descend further into tribal behavior and we all lose something in the process.

    As for DA3, I appreciate you bringing it up and going into a little bit of the madness. I have a draft of an essay that I can’t seem to force myself to finish. I still get a bad taste in my mouth ever time I think about how that went down.

    Thanks again Wolff, I hope you see some action in the comments and I hope to see another article from you soon. I’m thinking about running the writing contest again after the first of the year.

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    1. Thanks very much Keith, and of course I had to get the regulars back! Can’t have one of the best LEGO blogs falling into obscurity, can we?

      As for your point about paying for the service, again, I do get why it’s being done, and you are quite right in saying that a limit could quell the number of underwhelming photos in the pool. Still though, I feel that the whole thing has overall been handled a bit roughly, and whether or not that limit is going to remain the same remains to be seen. The biggest flaw for me is the fact that they’ve resorted to deleting images, even on accounts that act as archives or on accounts owned by younger users unable or unwilling to pay for a Pro Account.

      I guess I always compared Flickr and its Pro features to other content platforms, such as Youtube and Youtube Premium (seriously, why did they even change that? Youtube Red sounded so much better). Those with free accounts aren’t limited by how many videos they can post, but those willing (and able) to pay for the Premium account receive benefits for their trouble.

      Though I don’t agree with a lot of the things Youtube’s done regarding content creators in the past, imagine how much backlash they’d get if they imposed a limit to every channel unless they paid for a Premium account, and said they would delete everyone’s older videos if they were over the limit.

      Now, it is a bit of an unfair comparison, but it sort of covey’s my overall feelings during this whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, Flickr’s still a great website and I don’t plan on leaving it; it’s just that it now has a touch of uncertainty in its future.

      In regards to Discord though, I’ve personally never seen it as a platform to relocate to. It’s a chatroom with a few nifty features which I personally enjoy, but I wouldn’t consider it the next platform to host my stories or builds on. And I barely use Facebook in my personal life, so…yeah. That ain’t a future either. I’m honestly excited to see LCV’s vision unfold, in whatever form it takes.

      And you are most welcome for the DA3 sections. You are the DAS did a brilliant job running the game as best you could, and it was a shame that the website couldn’t be relied on and kept letting use all down. I’d personally love to hear your thoughts on everything, but I also understand that she’d be a difficult beast to write. I’ll leave it in your capable hands.

      Thanks for you comment Keith, and if you do run the Blog or Die again, I’d eagerly be there to write again!

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  4. Compared to the sound of crickets over at Mocpages, the ‘exodus’ from Flickr seems pretty minor and there’s nowhere else to go that’s really any good for our purposes. Despite the fact that I barely use it, I’ve been ponying up for a pro account for years. It’s easily worth it and I’d have done the same for MP in it’s prime (not now though – it’d just be Sean lining his pockets).
    As Keith said, the 1000 limit for free seems pretty fair now but it’s likely that this is the thin end of a very long wedge. We’ll see.
    Generally, I just build, sometimes post and quit worrying about it.

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    1. RE: Discord

      I see it more as a bonus forum to make up for the lack of group activity on Flickr. Image hosting will always happen elsewhere. I mute the unrelated channels, but that doesn’t help much because a certain admin and contributor to this blog keeps going off the rails in inappropriate channels himself.

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    2. Yep, couldn’t agree more about the difference between the two. Again, I apologise if it came across as though I hated Flickr or recommended an exodus. It’s still a fantastic website (especially when compared with the crumbling ruin of the Pages), but you’re also not wrong with the long wedge comparison.

      That’s what concerns me the most about all of this, but yeah, worrying won’t do me any good 😊. I guess I’ll just have to see what happens.

      Cheers for your thoughts Nick; always great hearing from you mate!

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  5. It’s a whole dollar per week, big fuckin’ deal. Even the busiest of students can shell that out by reducing their beer consumption a single draught every month (except apparently in Sweden and BricksLA.) The picture quality alone is well worth it. Flickr isn’t conceptually ideal for the community and especially those that favor storytelling, but they have adapted rather well there. The notes issue was resolved which placed Flickr mountains above Mocpages as for fixing problems at a clear 100% better. In comparison to that vacuum, I cannot say that I have ever seen Flickr go down. Once every four months or so, I’ll get the “bad panda” message trying to load the page. But then I re-click on it and it’s up and running. No week long outages every month or so. The activity on Flickr, although seemingly waning a bit, likely due to Discord and just a general malaise of the hobby IMO, is nothing in comparison to the resounding silence that is Mocpages. There are only 56 new builds uploaded there this week, twenty of which are from a single LDD builder. That’s not sad, that’s officially dead.

    Smugmug, however, scares me. I have had to deal with them through the business I work at and have found that they nickel and dime its customers to death. Based on my experience, I see this as the beginning. The “thin end of a very long wedge” is a perfect description. But it is speculative, albeit not without fair reason. And we still get fantastic picture quality, reliability, and notes.

    What I disagree with most here, of course, is the deletion of any photos. The limit is perfectly acceptable; but, it should only be applied to new accounts. Old ones that were free should be grandfathered in TO THE POINT OF THE SWITCH. After that, any older account that wishes to post more than that should change to the Pro upgrade. That would allow accounts that exist and exceed the 1000 limit that are inactive like Palmer and Nnenn to remain a complete archive. And when and if Smugmug decides to lower the count further, then the grandfathering will archive in the same manner to the new limit. What the Lego community has there is miniscule in comparison to the other communities and I can only imagine the outcry volleyed towards Smugmug from there.

    Flickr is a fantastic service that SHOULD warrant a price tag, and a dollar a week is an unmatched bargain for what ya get. LCV’s MOCshare is delightfully promising and I’ll be the first on board, mainly because at or before the end of the year I’ll be pulling the plug on my Mocpages account (I’m really quite sure that this needs no ‘splaining.) But this goes towards what Flickr lacks for me primarily: a place I care about. I cared about Mocpages and I got kicked in the nuts there for it. I cared about VLUG and I got beheaded for it. I have always kept Flickr at arms length and I find that Discord is simply a nightmare to keep up with. Instagram has zero appeal for me, although I will be joining under my gaming business; and Facebook is a menagerie of morons feeding on each other. I see people on there and find myself singing ,”Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies…” in my best Quint brogue. The best part about that is I’m not sure who are the sharks and who are the Hoopers. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the show; but there’s really no point to it. I’m looking for THAT point for the community at large. Discord ain’t it, that’s like trying to play a newer pinball machine; a whole lotta bells, whistles, lights, and aneurisms and in the end I missed the ball. Again, mildly entertaining, but ultimately there’s no “there” there.

    It’s not a matter of being stuck in “the old ways”, nor is it a means for being lazy or cheap, it’s more of a desire to have that sanctuary to branch out from rather than this nomadic hill climbing every few years. I think Flickr can work that way, but I’m hesitant knowing Smugmug. I think MOCshare will work that way, I’m confident in LCV’s vision and willing to take the risk. And if it’s a matter of a buck a week or whatever in the future, or what LCV needs to charge, I’m willing to pay for a place I want to care about.

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    1. Truly sir, you are the master of the long comment. Great to hear from you, and I honestly agree with a lot of your points. I think I should clarify that the actual price of the Pro Account isn’t the biggest issue for me regarding this whole thing. I’d be able to pay it no worries, but there’s a lot of people out there who can’t (especially younger users). Add to that my above Youtube and Youtube Premium comparison and you can kind of understand what I mean by the ‘strongarm’ comment I made, as well as it warranting a price tag.

      But you are absolutely right in saying that Flickr is a much tighter run ship than the Pages, and the activity is certainly much higher. Again, it’s not ideal for my purposes, but it’s also never gone done for me either. That’s why this change rubbed me the wrong way a tad. Nick’s comment is exactly what concerns me the most, that being the future of the whole thing is a little uncertain.

      However, what you’ve said about the deletion of photo’s is definitely my biggest issue throughout the whole thing. Again, I’ve had friends of mine (who weren’t allowed/able to get Pro Accounts due to their age) having to delete moulds of content to fall under the 1000 photo limit. Your solution was something I’d thought of as well, and honestly if Flickr / SmugMug had done something like that, I probably wouldn’t have written the article in the first place.

      I’m passionate about this community, and though Flickr does offer a ton, it’s future is starting to lean towards uncertainty. Again, in my reply to Keith, I’ve never thought of Discord as a replacement. It’s fantastic at what it does; being a chatroom. It’s mediocre at best for being a full on replacement for the Lego-sharing website formula. I’m honestly fully on board with what LCV has to bring and, because I also want his vision to succeed, I’d also be more than happy to support him financially. I couldn’t agree more with you closing sentiments mate.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion on everything man!

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      1. The photo deletion is certainly a punch to the daddy bags. However, I can’t help but think that it’s just the way of things nowadays. Thinking about the Flickr requirements of late, I really cannot justify any reason to retain the old pics. WE want them as an archive, but we all have to consider what is gained and what is lost. As a binary thought, we should be moving forward, not backwards. The past should drive us, and does by default, but it doesn’t exist as a comparator but rather a stepping stone. What reason is there to go back other than to prove that something has been done before? Big deal. I’ve come across techniques on my own that someone has also done so prior to me. It is no less legitimate and can never be considered so in a medium with a limited palette. I find myself siding more with Smugmug on this transition in spite of my experience with them and honestly find my adherence to the past irrelevant in any sort of capacity. I know it sounds harsh and brutal, but fuck it. Who cares? And more importantly, why? Let it fade away, it all deserves the honor to live in our memories as simply that: A memory. But it is what is next that is the only thing that should matter. What’s next? Flickr and MOCshare must be what is next for the community. Hoffman’s right in saying that Discord is a supplement; but, if what is next has everything, then it will be unnecessary. I think we all have seen what works and what doesn’t, and that makes us more critical of any change as experiential wisdom dictates. Running from Flickr is a silly notion and anyone doing so deserves our eye rolls; thinking that Discord, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook is the answer is preposterous and deserving of our laughter; anyone considering returning to Mocpages simply deserves a beat down; but Flickr works extremely well and MOCshare is a bright horizon. I think a call for patience in this matter is in order. I really doubt that the end is nigh, and I see the future even brighter than before.

        Sorry for the optimism, it’ll pass.

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      2. I agree about the past part; I myself tend to delete older photos that are completely redundant – what the point of keeping all the garbage I’ve built over time there? Been there, done that, I or someone else did it better. And frankly, who the hell goes 10 flickr pages back to check it?

        I still have a few of the busts I’ve done on display, and guess what? Only one or two of them still looks like the same as the ones I’ve posted. It’s one of the beauty of working with lego, something most art mediums don’t have; the ease of altering/upgrading models.

        If I finally make an insta account, I definitely won’t do it to have the space to post all the crap I’ve done; I’ll only repost the ones that are worth a damn or mean something to me. The ones I want to keep to remember a certain technique (not sure about you guys, but I often forget my own techniques :)) ) or to upgrade in a million years can stay offline.

        BUT… yes, there’s a big but; the above only applies to the average daily build™.

        An archive is definitely something that should happen; not something to collect every crap ever build – something for those outstanding works of art that transcends the technique and color pallet novelties, that still stand above the million imitations and “upgrades”.

        To give the simplest example that ticks all the boxes, just look at Luke Watkins. Probably one of if not the most imitated builder in the hobby, his work still stands above everything done in the style and nobody managed to come close to his best work. And it’s probably going to stay that way for a long time. Just like in every other art medium, not everything can be upgraded with technique and technology.

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    1. Uninspired inspirational posters, my retinas thank you for the scrubbing they’ll now have to endure. Sad part is, other than his nearly 7000 similar pics, he likely gets paid for it. Hate Lego? Nope, just this planet.

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      1. But just look at that superb brickbuild background… ummm… wait…

        The issue here is the association with Lego, and building in particular; the guy’s a (toy) photographer and does a pretty damn neat job at that – his stuff is definitely not aimed at us. But I surely wouldn’t mind being able to shoot like that. 😀

        Don’t get me wrong, I have 0 interest in these as well, but as I said, I don’t really see them as being aimed at me.

        If you want to go with the truly horrible examples, there’s these:

        Battle Goddess
        Team GB Lego Minifigures
        and so on, and on, and on….

        No context. No shooting skills. No build. No posing. No noting.

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  6. The change is of no consequence for me either; it doesn’t affect me and the cost is fine if I ever choose to go for it. I’m just a stingy bastard that doesn’t want to throw another penny in an ad worshiping corporation’s pocket (on the other hand, I’d be more than willing to support something like Luke’s project, should it work out). And if it forces people to keep a clean portfolio w/o food pics and 1000 angles of a microscale, all the better.

    I just hope it doesn’t go the imageshack route and cancels embedding (this the right word? :)) ) for free accounts, that would seriously mess up sites and blogs. Even if Keith pays for the account, if users don’t, he won’t be able to share for example.

    What I find annoying is the people’s instant reaction to move to the next thing, without even waiting to see if the changes are truly a big deal. Especially when the next thing is a mobile-centric app inferior in every possible way. And it’s not just age here; I do shit on my PC, let me use the freaking app here. I take pictures with the camera and edit on pc, not the phone; why the hell would I want to move them on the phone to ul them there? It’s pure idiocy. I’m all in for moving to a BETTER place, but instagram or a chat app? Really? :))

    The only appeal I can see that draws people on instagram is the 10x more faves than you get compared to flickr. Hell yeah, I live for this shit!

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    1. I don’t think anyone is touting Discord as a replacement for anything. In fact, a lot of people on there still seem to favor Flickr over anything else. It’s simply a way to communicate more with people that you already know from Flickr. I see it as entirely supplemental, much like this blog.

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      1. I mentioned it because I pretty much always saw it pop up whenever a flickr replacement talk is going on; never checked it out myself. I suppose that way it works, especially for folks on insta where interaction seems to be even more limited than on flickr.

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      2. Judging by the drop off in communication on Flickr, that supplement has become the main course. Granted, Flickr doesn’t cater towards chatting. It seems that the amount of builds over the past year have been declining as well. I can’t conclude with any certainty that it is a direct result, but having been on Discord I’ve found that the focus is really not Lego. Games, music, food and drink, and arbitrary chatting are the big topics, which isn’t a bad thing, but there’s no real community outside commonality. There are still WIP discussions, forums for critique to some end, and talk of Lego, but the general pulse beats towards a different goal. Perhaps it is a result of moderation allowing people like me to sideline threads and venture on tangents, but that isn’t a bad thing either and being exclusively Lego would tend to get boring pretty quick. I think in the end, for me, I’m just not interested in anything there especially when what does interest me is already on Flickr. The only difference is the chat speed, which requires you to be on all the time just to keep up. And that ends up being the worst part about Discord that I can see in that it doesn’t allow for discussions to form and coalesce. It’s just talking at that point. So, as a supplement, I think it should be; but in practicality, it ends up taking away more than adding and Lego then becomes tertiary at best and obligatory at worst. I also realize that I am an ornery old fart that seems set in his ways and that Discord for me is too much of a sugar rush that counters my bitterness and that I prefer to write novels to fully express an opinion much like this one, but I simply just can’t keep up and am wholly disinterested by the next shiny object.

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    2. Great stuff here mate. Honestly feel agree with you on the cost of things, as I’d also support Luke’s project rather than a company like SmugMug. I also apologise if it seemed like I was encouraging people to move on from Flickr. The main point I was trying to make there is that there really isn’t a true alternative to the sight, and now that sight has a touch of uncertainty in it’s future. Again, Nick’s “Long wedge” comment sums it up pretty well for me.

      And yeah, Insta and Discord have never seemed like true alternatives for me either. I feel that both are fine in their own right, just not for the Lego Community.
      But a Fave-bomb every now and again is always a nice thing to have 😀

      Thanks for your comment man!

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      1. I didn’t want to imply that you encouraged people to leave, I was commenting on the overall feeling I got from some of the folks I follow in the past few weeks. And the decrease in activity Matt mentioned.

        In fact I pretty much agree with your sentiment, the realization of the slow, yet unavoidable decline that’s happening. It will probably need 1-2 more changes that bother for that to happen though.

        There’s one reason I’m so against insta right now: if people get comfortable there and it starts working for them, they’ll have a hard time moving to a better option should it happen in the future – unless insta makes some changes to put them on the run, that is :)). Most will just use the new one as a secondary alternative.

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  7. I’ve made a new year’s resolution to try getting back into the hobby and reconnecting with all you nerds, so here’s my two cents on flickr/smuckr/smugr/whatever. I never liked it before, the format is just not amenable to the way I want to present my builds. That has not changed. What has, is now if I were to get back to regularly building again, I can’t just post one teaser pic there and link to the main attraction on MOCpages like I used to, thanks to Sean Kenney’s heel turn. If I adjust my style and flickr by default becomes the main attraction, that pushes me toward that 1000 pic limit a lot faster. And I refuse to pay one red cent to flickr or anyone else to put my builds online.

    You can say it’s not much, and it isn’t, relatively speaking. But I am a poor man in a rich man’s hobby and I have to draw the line somewhere. Lego is goddamn expensive on its own. Add in the cost of associated paraphernalia – storage units, shelving, maybe some minimal photography equipment to get halfway decent shots of my latest masterpiece… now I gotta pay to have someone else look at it? Fuck that, I’m a creative genius, you should be paying ME for the privilege of hosting my work on your shitty website!

    Many, maybe most, Americans are a short run of bad luck away from ruination, whether they want to face up to that uncomfortable truth or not. In the not too distant past, I was in a position where homelessness, while not quite staring me in the face, was realistically within view. Some sort of injury or illness, some bad car trouble, it wouldn’t have taken much. And while the roof over my head is relatively secure at this moment, being the utter failure at the game of life that I am, I can not be trusted not to put myself in that position again sometime in the future. I can’t be getting nickeled and dimed by some website when I might need those nickels and dimes to buy some cheap whiskey to distract myself from the fact I’m freezing and starving under an overpass somewhere. Especially a website I don’t even particularly like. It would be like buying clothes that don’t fit or food I won’t eat.

    Anyway, back when free flickr accounts were limited to I think 200 photos, you could just make a group and keep as many as you wanted in there. nnenn figured that out, or at least he was the first person I saw that used that trick, which I thought was brilliant enough to copy and make one for myself. I didn’t see anyone mention that, did you all forget, or has that loophole been closed?

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    1. Shannon lives!

      Making a group is genius. I don’t know if that has been targeted by Smugmug, haven’t heard anything about group overhauls.

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      1. Shit dude! That’s awesome, thanks for the link. We’ll have to wait to see if there’s any deletion. Simon just found out that a Pro upgrade can be gifted, so there’s that as well. Granted, that would be a yearly payment, but the possibility exists to buy some time anyways if it’s necessary for other extinct accounts.

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      2. I’m missing something here, I can only see 1 video in the group. Yet, going to map it shows 1,149 photos.

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    2. “Fuck that, I’m a creative genius, you should be paying ME for the privilege of hosting my work on your shitty website!”

      You know, that’s exactly how I feel about conventions. I’m expected to pay for travel, lodging, food and costs associated with a large-scale project, and to top it off…once I get there I’m supposed to provide you with customer service with the public and security to dissuade people from stealing…yet I still have to pay for registration? How about you keep your lame t-shirt and little bag of Brickarmz castoffs and comp my registration.

      I couldn’t agree more that it’s a rich man’s hobby, the product is ridiculously expensive but I also think Flickr has the right to charge for it’s service too. It’s not like people don’t have options, you can rotate out your photos or as you suggested, use a group (I really hope they don’t close that loophole). It sucks, I wish it was free or better yet that somebody would come up with a viable alternative, my larger point was that the hobby is already fragmented enough and Flickr (love or hate it) has provided us with stability since LUGnet and until something better comes along I still think it’s the best option. One of the problems I have with the limitation to the free accounts is that the number seems so arbitrary, would it really cost them that much more to give people 5000 free?

      In any case it was great to hear from you on the blog, and I hope you know the door is always open if you’d like to write a column on anything you want to.

      Cheers!

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      1. Absolutely flickr has a right to charge whatever they want. Whatever all that storage space costs, it ain’t free, and – I’ll give them this – I don’t see a bunch of ads when I go to their site. It’s not worth it to ME to give them any money, but I don’t begrudge them getting it from anyone else. I’m only there at all because, yeah, it’s been and mostly still is the place where anyone who matters can be found. Which is fine, but to think of it as my primary Lego home… that’s still a little depressing.

        A column on anything I want? I may make you regret that offer, good sir.

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      2. It is depressing, Flickr is a nice hotel, but it ain’t home.

        I look forward to and depend on regretting your first article, bring it on good sir, make me pay for my poor life-choices.

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  8. My belief is that 1000, while being a nice round number, was hardly arbitrarily chosen. Statistics are so readily available to the folks running Flickr that it shouldn’t be too hard for them to figure out what a typical user’s “point of pain” is in terms of cost and storage limitations.

    To answer your question “Would it have cost them that much more to give people 5000 free?” The answer is absolutely – not in terms of the cost to host those additional 4000 pictures, but in terms of the cost of the lost opportunity of collecting user fees for them.

    The fact of the matter is that for all but the most prolific lego builders, 1000 pictures should last for quite a while, probably more than a decade, unless, of course, you are one of those people who find it necessary to post a picture of your firetruck from every angle, taken at 10 degree increments. Unless you’re showcasing a large diorama, 3-4 high-resolution pictures should be enough for a typical build.

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    1. It’s good to hear from you Mark, If it’s okay I’ll be contacting you soon via Flickr to kick around some ideas about a possible DA4. Yeah, I never thought it was arbitrarily chosen I just wondered how much of a difference doubling or even tripling that number would make. I’m sure it’s all decided by accountants. I hadn’t considered the opportunity cost of the the decision but of course you’re quite correct.

      You’re also absolutely right that for the average builder it probably isn’t an issue, for every Karf Oohlu, there are a couple hundred builders who won’t ever touch that number. I think most people post non-lego stuff too though and that’s where the trouble and irritation comes in. I became a Pro user years ago because I wanted access to the stats, and I dump all my phone pictures there.

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