Flickr Uproar

This morning, as I checked through my feeds, I noticed some Flickr news. In brief Flickr are doing two major things which have caused complete uproar within its community.

Firstly, they are creating two limits (to all accounts). The first limit - you can have a maximum of 3,000 contacts — doesn't really bother me, although I can see people's gripes with it (such as the private sharing of photos, although people have given solutions to this - add photos to a set and create a guest pass).

The other limit is allowing each photo on to have a maximum of 75 tags. One of the reasons stated in the 'Official contact and tag limit changes topic' is to stop 'spammy tags'. This may curb this activity, but it certainly doesn't stop it. Again, I think the limit is fairly high, and I've never come close to reaching it, but this is the problem with folksonomies. The whole idea of folksonomy tagging is the user creates them based on what they think is correct, and will be useful for them in the future, if this means adding a lot of tags, then that is the user's choice.

The main reason stated for both of these seemingly arbitrary limits is server performance. Although, I'm certainly no expert in creating scalable web-apps, I don't believe having a lot of contacts should affect the general use of the site - this is viewing the photos. Having hundreds of tags could impact performance, but I'm sure they've got the experience, money and resources to make this problem insignificant.

Although this news has stirred up a few people, the main outcry is the forcing of Flickr accounts (old-skool) to be merged with Yahoo! identities.

When Yahoo! acquired Flickr in 2005, there was concern about what would happen and how much weight Yahoo! would throw on to Flickr. After a while new accounts required a Yahoo! identity and you could merge your Flickr account with a Yahoo! identity, but it was purely optional. Now Yahoo! have given a cut-off date - 15th March 2007 — after which you must merge your account to use it.

Other people have voiced their distaste with this move. Thomas Hawk, the CEO of Zoomr has written on his blog stating that:

Flickr needs to reverse the asinine decisions made today to force people to merge their accounts with Yahoo and to place new limits on your contacts and tags.

Thomas Hawk, CEO of Zoomr

The BBC has even got a news story about the change — Flickr to require Yahoo usernames — also mentioning a backlash from the Flickr community.

Personally, I am apathetic to the changes. I'm never going to have that many contacts and probably won't ever use more than 75 tags a photo. However, hopefully the recently announced change for machine tags won't be included in the total tags. I already have a Yahoo! identity, but never use it. I didn't bother merging when it was first announced, but now I have no choice I've done it.