Flickr, Respect Your Users
In what is looking to be a catastrophically malnutrition’d bachelor weekend, I’ll see if I can’t catch up on some of my blogging, and I thought I would start with this whole flickr ordeal.
First of all, let me just say: “Wow, that turned ugly pretty fast, didn’t it?!”
I hadn’t seen a whole lot of other feedback when I wrote my post on the subject, but during the day as I took breaks from level designing and checked up on my feeds, things slowly started to boil over. In general, I think it’s fair to say that people are pissed at flickr for pulling this stunt (Bruce Sterling?!).
And the outcome is the usual. Some people, like all those people who pledged to move from the US after the Bush administration came to power and started fucking up, are now promising to never again let Flickr have their money. Others are entirely dumbfounded at the whole ordeal, over-rationalizing the whole thing. And I think that somewhere in the middle is where the heart of the matter resides.
The degree of pissed’ness is quite frankly a bit overwhelming, and I’m not sure I entirely sympathize with a lot of the sentiments. But I do think, that flickr nonetheless does deserve a slap of the wrist for pulling a maneuver which was never popular with any of the people who let flickr become what it is today. In other words, flickr should have listened to their userbase and just ditched the whole idea.
The problem was never and still isn’t, in my eyes, that people now have to use a new login. Sure it’s a minor annoyance, and I don’t really like Yahoo. But that’s not the real problem here. The new limitations on contacts and tags are a true problem, but not the real reason for this uproar either.
Rather, it’s flickr’s blatant disregard for the wishes of its most loyal users. These are the people, of which I am one, who back in the day, showed the ultimate online measure of trust in flickr, by dropping a wad of cash on the counter and saying “I’ll take what you’re selling”.
Now I have absolutely no patience for the Microsoft way of letting backwards compatibility run the show. In K2 we often leave legacy concerns on the cutting room floor, determined to deliver the best product and not the most compatible one.
So I can certainly understand where flickr is coming from. Their end goal is noble. But is the cost of maintaining a separate login system really worth all this bad publicity? I sincerely doubt it.
I for one am staying, even though flickr lost its halo. And even though I think it’s a shitty way to treat your users, I do think the flickr staff deserves props for their patience in answering a whole lot of rude, stupid people in their official thread.
The issue however, remains.