Whoa! Slow down there big rig...

Disclaimer – mildly sappy post to follow…

Remember this post I did a few months back? Well, I still feel the same about the online community, however, I now have some very serious concerns on where this community is headed…yes, and it is all due to the recent changes to Flickr.

I felt that these concerns were serious enough that it justified a separate post, as opposed to me simply commenting on Andrew’s again.

Really this is a personal plea to all those that feel it necessary to leave Flickr. I know many are very upset about the new format, have issues with the new pricing structure, and take offence to how Yahoo handled the system rollout. But at the end of the day is it worth the fragmentation of our community? Personally I don’t think it is. Honestly, I am not entirely happy with the new system, but I also don’t hate it to the extent that I want to see the history of what we have on Flickr lost.

At the end of the day there are no perfect solutions. I don’t think we can expect Yahoo! to go back to the old system, but I don’t think it is realistic to expect/hope for every contributing member of the current community to seamlessly move to an alternate site. Therefore I think that the only ‘solution’ is to wait it out and see what happens over the coming weeks.

This is about more than just Flickr and it’s individual users, this is about a thriving community of friends spread across the globe with years of history. The site may look vastly different, but as of right now the people are exactly the same. So before anyone rage quits, may I ask that you first stop, take a deep breath and think about our wonderful COMMUNITAY!

Most sincerely,


Big group hug!

39 comments on “Whoa! Slow down there big rig...

  1. TaltosVT

    I felt the same way when LUGNET folded. Technically it’s still there, and people are still posting, but the community vanished. That was years ago, and I still feel like the community overall is fragmented and still trying to find each other. Eurobricks may be the closets thing that I’ve found to a one-stop community of builders from multiple themes.

  2. Doctor Mobius

    I agree that the community should be preserved. I think it would be best to first fill out Flickr’s feedback topic: http://www.flickr.com/help/forum/en-us/72157633547442506/

    Then, as a community we can wait to see what happens with Flickr, and if it continues to decline, we should move as a whole, to another photo sharing site, rather than everyone jumping ship in different directions.

  3. GabryS

    Oh, hell. It’s no that bad after all…
    I do seariously hate the new layout and visual changes – it rapes the eyes with uncontrolled spill of non-standarized photos (and I do think that it’s crappy, but I do appreciate 1TB and advanteges like cover photos and so.
    Also, that 1TB with my photos shrunk down to 800x600px(which is the size that still allowes you to see everything clearly) and of 200-400kB in weight means (if I did the maths correctly) 5000000 – 2500000 photos in photostream. Enormous number, if you ask me.
    Once again about the visual aspect of main page in new layout:
    You can easly get the old view in just a few clicks (not the constant change though). All you do is simply click “YOU” and than “RECENT ACTIVITY” for more ordered view of it and “CONTACTS” followed by “RECENT PHOTOS” for ordered view of photos from contacts.

  4. GabryS

    I also believe, that soon enough, hopefully, we will get the script that could restore the old layout.

  5. IronBricks

    Amen. This is precisely how I feel. Just because something annoying happens should not mean we all leave/ stop building/ migrate/ whatever. This community will fall apart if too many people leave. I only have 347 contacts on Flickr, and I’ve already seen 3 people migrate to ipernity.com, and I’m expecting more in the next couple days. It’s very disappointing.

  6. Ralph

    It’s interesting how almost none of the builders who stuff I’m interested in are active on Eurobricks and almost all are active on flickr. I get the impression Eurobricks is more aimed at people who collect and build sets than at people who build their own stuff. I was a member for several years, but always felt out of place.

    As I mentioned in reply to Andrew’s post, I’m not too happy with some of the changes on flickr. However, I’m not about to give up almost 10 million views, contacts I have built up over five years, and groups that I like and have contributed to, overnight, in order to start from scratch elsewhere. I’m also not convinced the alternatives are better. Let’s not be rash.

  7. Galaktek

    Totally agree! I haven’t seen anything in the redesign that would prevent the community from working. I don’t agree with every change, but I like some, and where flickr seems to be headed may actually make it easier to keep up with new builds.

  8. TooMuchCaffeine

    *whispers* I don’t mind the new Flickr look.

    I’m with Ralph – I’ve got a bunch of views, a bunch of contacts, and a bunch of friends on there.

    Whilst I might be a little miffed there are not more customisation options for your home page, it’s not so awful I’ll be leaving anytime soon.

  9. Sid Sidious

    Well every new layout of any website ever has backlash. (Just wait forty minutes for facebook to change again and see what people say.) I think people will be used to it in a few weeks, and the community won’t be too damaged.

  10. dtowncracka

    It’s funny you wrote this Blog post, as that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. Not to come off sounding trite, but sometimes when life gives you a shit-sandwich, you gotta take another bite. Quite frankly, this one doesn’t taste that bad. Sure some operations require a few more taps or clicks, but I’m getting used to it. I’ve met too many cool, funny and like-minded people to leave now. I plan on waiting it out, and continuing my activity all the while hoping my good friends do the same! I’ll be shocked if all 1000-2000 of us find a new place to hang out.

  11. higdond

    while i am less than happy with the changes and their ramifications to everyone using the site, i was never considering leaving and hope many others don’t either. thank you, tromas for trying to build more community and for helping plug the leaks in what could all too easily be a sinking ship. i hope others are willing to put up with a little crap to keep the ship afloat – it’s a well built ship with many good mates on board. your effort in reminding people what the value of flickr is to the community is much appreciated.

  12. Nabii

    This ugly redesign is a shift in business strategy for Flickr– from a site paid for by the pro-users to a site that generates advertising revenue for Yahoo.

    But the reason people go to Flickr is the content we put on there. Now they want to sell advertising on MY pictures? And not pay me? Instead I can pay twice what I do now so I don’t see the adverts? This is terrible, and we shouldn’t put up with it.

    You-Tube pay between 1/3 cent to 1 cent per view to those who attract large numbers of visitors. Over the last 3 years I have racked up just under 750,000 views. So if I can get similar numbers over the next three years that would be around $2250.00 they should be cutting me in for.

    I feel that taking away stats as part of this ‘revamp’ is to undermine our knowledge of how much advertising revenue being generated from our work.

    I hated the fragmentation that ended LUGNET, I hated the collapse of the CSF Forum after it was hacked, and I hate it every time a forum drifts into irrelevance and slowly dies, but the LEGO community is about change and re-building – it is the core skill of our hobby after all – and whether we survive the storm on Flickr or have to start over at MOC-Pages, Eurobricks or even Ipernity the community will survive and thrive.

    I truly hope Flickr will get better and improve this new look, but between it’s monetizing of OUR images and the terrible redesign maybe we should act like the customers we are – demand the steak dinner we paid for (instead of the cheeseburger they have delivered) and if we don’t get it walk out of their restaurant and away from Flickr.

  13. carterbaldwin

    Part of my feeling is that, if we don’t leave flickr over this fiasco, what will we eventually leave them over?

    I agree that there’s no ideal new location, and I would absolutely hate to give up all the contacts I’ve made, photos I’ve faved and comments I’ve received over the last 7 years.

    The people I’ve become friends with are all still there, but the site I loved is gone. My two main issues are the layout of my photostream, and the butchering of the comment system. I can’t display my photos the way I want anymore; they’re all crammed next to each other like my Aunt’s vacation photo slideshow. I can’t read through comments easily anymore; I have to keep hitting a button in order to see the next twenty. They can load every photo I’ve ever faved onto the same page and make me scroll for half an hour to get to the bottom, but I can’t see all the comments on one of my photos without fighting flickr.

    I’m truly hoping that yahoo will backpedal on this absurd new design, or that a third party will come out with a plugin to at least fix the view in my browser. In the meantime, I’m exploring my option. There’s already a nascent exodus on ipernity.

    The real solution will be a dedicated image hosting site for AFOLs. Until then, we’ll inevitably have to leapfrog sites every few years.

  14. peterlmorris

    I’m with Mark. I don’t like the idea of being a product for somebody else.

    Granted, any site with ads is the same way, but at least I would feel like I’m getting my money’s worth, and not being annoyed with some of the worst web design ever.

    I’m still on Flickr for now, but if I do leave, I’ll be taking Starfighters and Vic Vipers with me. I can get all of Nate’s old stuff if I have to. That’s a helluva lot of work I’d rather not have to do, though.

  15. Keith Goldman

    Nice post Tromas, you big mush.

    Granted, many of the changes suck, but I’m far too lazy to move my bloated catalog of boilerplate to another corporate owned site subject to the same changes I left the last one for…all the while loosing comments and what ever sense of history was accumulated there in the last 7 years.

    Call me a sheeple, but I’m not leaving until the vast majority has migrated elsewhere. As loathe as I am to use the term communitay…its still mostly at Flickr and that is still the primary lens through which I will look for social interaction with fellow LEGO nerds and bloggable models.

    I would consider Eurobricks, but #1 last I heard it’s not run by a European which bothers me on a philosophical level and #2, those screaming, often animated billboards at the bottom of everyone’s forum posts are brutal on the eyes.

    I just wish people would stop already with suggesting MOCpages….it isn’t going to happen, that place is on life-support as it is and the photo quality isn’t just bad, it is terrible.

    I’m not saying that Flickr doesn’t deserve the scorn and perhaps abandonment by the W.E.C., but as good Tromas suggests, “at the end of the day is it worth the fragmentation of our community?” I agree with him that the answer for me is no, not yet.

  16. JustOneMoreBrick

    We can only hope some sanity will prevail and we should give constructive feedback to Yahoo so they can look at future mods … Do a rant in another separate feedback!

    For me the new Flickr is o…k… Not great, but I have only just recently got my flickring organised and enjoying the community more.

    The most puzzling change for me has been the paid services … $50 for nothing, and then $500 ??? This will change soon I think…

  17. proudlove

    I do wish that MOCpages worked better. I’d emigrate from Flickr to there in an instant if it wasn’t so bloody slow. As it is, Flickr did away with the functionality I enjoyed there. To be fair, the AFOL community probably wasn’t ever using the site the way it was intended. I have a few non-AFOL photographer contacts on Flickr that love the changes. I’ll probably move on to Picasa or ipernity or something eventually.

  18. gambort

    ^^ The pricing is the photo-sharing website equivalent of a $30,000 handbag. After picking your jaw off the floor at their audacity, the $50 (twice the old price) seems much more reasonable. I don’t remember the technical name for it, but it’s a sales trick from way back :)

    More generally, I’ll certainly be staying at flickr, at least for now. I’ve already got used to most of the changes. If the community really does start to move I’ll keep an eye on things and decide in the future.

  19. Curtis

    I really don’t understand the rage with the redesign. I like the changes.

    I never had a pro account, so I never knew the added benefits of it, and therefore don’t feel like I’ve lost anything. In fact I’ve gained a lot with the new flickr. I can replace pictures (something only pro accounts could do), and I can go beyond the 200 photo limit, oh and that free terabyte isn’t anything to scoff at either;) I understand that the loss of stats and stuff like that is alarming to some, but if that’s your main reason for wanting to jump ship, I consider that quite vain.

    I get tired of old websites and look forward to redesigns. Flickr was ancient and overdue for a redesign. The site is all about photos, but for some reason it was littered with blank white space (not in a less is more kind of way either) and tiny thumbnails in the middle of all of that. We all use flickr as a social media tool, and now it’s better geared for that purpose.

    The ads are hardly intrusive. They fit neatly in with everything else. I hardly even notice them. flickr had ads before, so this isn’t anything new for me.

    I can still upload photos (bigger and better and more of them!), I can still share my creations with you all, you can still comment on my photos, and fav them, and make notes on them, and tag them. Nothing has changed! It’s still flickr.

    I’m not leaving flickr. If most everyone else decides to leave than I guess I’ll part ways with the community, because I’m not going to invest in another website. I’ll continue to build when I get the chance, and I’ll share them on flickr.

  20. Capt_Redstorm

    I too agree and I’m not leaving unless all my 600 contacts do. ipernity looks ok I guess, but I hate the name, sounds whiny, but that’s neither here nor there. A photosharing/community site specifically for us would be great, I’d totally be on board for that. However I’d still really just rather stick with Flickr. If I did leave, I feel at this point in my internet journeys, that I’d really rather just do my own site, instead of be under another corporation where the same kind of crap could happen again, like Keith said.

    As for the money generated off our photos, I’m not really sure I care to be honest. Unlikely I’ll ever make money on them, which I know that’s not really the complaint, but yeah.

  21. theBrickBlogger

    Yes, I think at this point patience is the answer. No need to jump ship, and the site is not so bad if you can just avoid the homepage. I would just wait a few weeks and see what happens. Hopefully my contacts and dear friends won’t jump ship early. I don’t want to loose them.

  22. kris kelvin

    “The real solution will be a dedicated image hosting site for AFOLs. Until then, we’ll inevitably have to leapfrog sites every few years.”
    Amen to that and to that what Nabii said.
    Today flickr, tomorrow ipernity.
    Something like “MOC Pages” with old Flickr layout and features only for Lego. Call it “AFOL`s Daily” or something and I`m gladly donate my money for develpoment and pay for subscription.

    By the way. I`m not leaving Flickr now, I just hate it :D

  23. dave_lartigue

    I do the daily Tumblr blog Lego Diem and Flickr is where I get the majority of the images I use. The ability to pull in an RSS feed of all the images tagged “lego” or put in the “Lego” pool is vital. Other MOC sites don’t have RSS feeds and I just don’t have the time to go and sift through them individually. (I’d love it if those places had RSS feeds, but what I’m finding out with the demise of Google Reader is that for some weird reason people feel RSS is outdated.)

  24. MatthewM

    I actually agree…we shouldn’t fragment the community over a few changes…its not worth abandoning something we all built up over a few changes that can be fixed.

    I get that many of us hate the home page on Flickr…I’m just not convinced personally to migrate either yet. I would like to wait and see what might happen before that.

  25. slipgrid

    Checkout reddit.com/r/lego for a small bit of community and post images to imgur.com.


  26. Deus

    Or we should all be everywhere and still rage at FlickR, because it is not wrong to rage at something with such a magnitude of stupidity.

  27. powerpig

    I am not thrilled with the changes, but I will not be leaving Flickr. I suppose I’m entrenched, having been there since 2007. It’s largely the reason I got back into Lego, and it’s also how I found the greater Lego community.

    My core problem with the redesign is that it discourages feedback by hiding the comments below the fold. Instead of clicking a photo and seeing it on black (with the comments hidden), I much prefer the old way of seeing it against white with the option to invoke the theatre/slideshow mode.

    I’ve seen other design changes invoked that weren’t popular, and Flickr responded by tweaking the design over time. I hope we see the same careful consideration of user feedback time around.

  28. Creative Anarchy

    I’m lukewarm on the changes, I’ve adapted to them better than some of the changes Google has randomly introduced but it’s not an improvement by any means, I can’t imagine who benefits from the new layout except that there seem to be less glitches loading images now. I understand the value of our centralized community, especially for sites that are coded for flicker streams, but at some point our tools have to be functional to be tools. If we are simply doing things the hard way just to facilitate the tools we have then we’re making our community more about sites like Flickr than about bricks. If there’s a site that works better for what we do, we need to use it.

  29. meiguizi

    I have kept the browser tab of the Lego group Flickr stream open, and toggle through a few dozen images between tasks at work, but since the comments are no so far out of site, I feel like a lot of the community experience will be watered down. I’ve found myself a lot less likely to scroll down and see what people are saying about other people’s work. And trying to follow my comment threads on the website feels a bit masochistic right now, between the three comments at a time nonsense and the jumbled home page. Luckily, I can still comment on contacts feeds on the mobile app without too much frustration, other then my fat thumbs. I’m still holding on and hoping they will tweak things some and instill the community aspects back into it.

  30. bruce n h

    Hey, here are a bunch of random, unconnected thoughts:

    As to community survival, back in the day, everyone posted their photos on Brickshelf, chatted on Lugnet, and attended BrickFest (not really, not even in the US, especially not in other places, but that was the conventional wisdom). Then, as other options appeared, people kept saying how much those options would destroy the community. But they didn’t. I was an early member, and later an admin, at Classic-Castle, one of the sites that was part of the migration away from Lugnet, and statistics showed that a few months later there were many more castle-related posts on Classic-Castle than there had been in a similar time period the year before on Lugnet.castle. While I’ve not done the research, I think it is obvious that the same sort of analysis could be done on convention attendance, or photos posted, or whatever. Is it fragmented? Yes, undoubtedly – if there are five major AFOL conventions, you are less likely to see all of the same people at a given venue than if there were only one or two major cons. But you’ll see other people. If I only have five friends, we can all meet in a booth at McDonalds. If I have a hundred friends, they will necessarily be ‘fragmented’, in that I’ll see them at different places, and this friend may not know that friend, but I’d say it’s ultimately healthier. As the AFOL community moves into different forums/photo sites/conventions, I suspect it will continue to thrive.

    That said, I do hope that people don’t quickly fly off to a myriad of sites. I’d hate to miss the cool MOCs. Also, Flickr has become a central site for many contests and other community activity. Some segments of the community are living largely on Flickr now. So a quick flight would hurt those things in the short run.

    On monetization, first, we probably should have seen this coming. I’m a non-pro user (i.e. a freeloader), and at Christmas they ‘gave’ me, and presumably all free users, a 3-month pro account. Then I got lots of messages on how I should subscribe as a pro to continue the benefits. To me this says they just weren’t getting enough subscribers, and were out to drum up more. So the days of Flickr continuing to exist based on a subscription model were probably numbered, regardless. If them moving to an ad model helps them survive, it doesn’t really bother me too much. If you’re going to leave Flickr because they are making money off of you, you’re also going to have to stop using Google or any other search engine, cancel your free e-mail account, stop watching TV or listening to the radio, etc. You should also stop reading the Brothers-Brick, which has an ad over there.

    On a LEGO-specific site, they do exist (Brickshelf, MOCpages, YouBrick, MOCshow, BrickBuildr, ReBrick). As of now these each have their limitations. Also, I always thought that one of the benefits of largely migrating away from Brickshelf and MOCpages (aside from the potential cancellation of the former and the slow server speed of the latter) was that it took us away from being a completely insular community – both to promote the LEGO hobby to others and to find those other lone wolf LEGO builders out there who weren’t tapped in to the AFOL community.

    On the change itself, I see three aspects of the ‘new Flickr’ – the impact on Pro users, the look of the home page, and look of the page when you view an individual photo. I can certainly understand why people might be irked if they paid for a Pro account, and if Flickr doesn’t offer some sort of prorated refund you should be mad. As a freeloader I can’t say what the impact is if they take away your stats and other tools. Heck, I run eight LEGO-themed blogs, and I’m sure I look at those stats at least once or twice a year. If they took away my stat tools I might even notice it. Okay, maybe I’m being overly sarcastic, but perhaps some Pro users might help educate the rest of us on the importance of the stats tools. On the look of the front page, I completely agree that it looks awful, though I’m not sure I’ll be jumping ship any time soon over this. They did pretty much the same thing to the Groups photo pages about six months ago, and I don’t remember hearing any complaints. On the look of the page when you view an individual photo, my biggest complaint is the black background. I hope they listen to all of the rants/feedback and at least they give us an option to choose a black or white background. Until then it will mean an extra click for me to get to ‘view all sizes’ to see photos they way I want to. I’m not sure what the shouting is about to ‘click to view 20 more comments’. I sit in front of a computer for much of the day, and I spend my day clicking. A few more isn’t really noticeable.

    So, in the end, I hope people don’t all run away, but on the other hand I’m not too worried for the community in the long run. I think some of the changes are nice (especially from the perspective of a freeloader rather than a Pro user), but whatever consultant told Flickr that the new layout looks better must be half blind (we need Mirsky to come out of retirement and slap them up side the head). I also think that everyone involved in Flickr’s PR department for this changeover needs to start looking for a new career. But we’ll live. Take a deep breath and … OHMYGOD! THEY MOVED THE TAGS TO A DIFFERENT PORTION OF THE PAGE! OFF WITH THEIR … um, sorry, move along, nothing to see here.

  31. Andrew

    @slipgrid: Reddit is hardly a universal community of AFOLs with the kind of functionality that either forum-based sites like CSF, FBTB, C-S, or EB have or that photo-hosting sites like Flickr has in its groups. And Imgur is one of the worst offenders in image theft these days, mostly populated by meme photos as opposed to photography. Hardly a replacement for a proper photo-hosting/sharing site. And didn’t you get the whole point of TR’s post? Moving to yet another site is exactly what he’s asking the community not to do (at least for the moment).

    (I’ll save my rant about the sort of people who seem to populate Reddit for another day…)

  32. xboxtravis7992

    Fragmentation is not always bad. I entered the FOL community first through BZ-Power (out of all sites), and then ended up on Brickshelf. A few years later I found MOCpages, then Brickset, then FBTB, and then Cuusoo. Brickset lead me to Eurobricks, which lead me to Flickr, which lead me to TBB, and then my local LUG’s webpage. I still keep up with the news on most of those sites, and what I see is one community spread out over various places on the internet.

    However, I will state I would not want to follow the FOL community into seedier websites like Reddit. I would rather deal with Flickr’s ugly design or MOCpages slow speed any day than deal with the immature and amoral stench of the dark corners of the internet.

  33. Tayasuune

    I’m neutral to the changes. Besides, as Keith so aptly pointed out, Why move to another site, when it’ll inevitably follow Flickr down the same corporate path?

  34. Exxos

    Hmmm… Well, let me first say that I left flickr because of this. All of the pictures were blurry, the site lags a lot now, and browser crashes are very common for me. The aesthetic and monetary issues are not affecting some of us as much as that the new flickr is not usable.

    It also kind of occurs to me that The Brothers Brick is something of the definitive hub for AFOLs… So is it insane to throw out the suggestion that TBB provide an AFOL (and special cases of TFOL) -centric host?

  35. ry

    @ bruce n h: They do offer a prorated refund, which I stumbled across in the FAQs (http://www.flickr.com/help/limits/#150487675, see “If you’d like to switch to a free account:”) I’ve opted to receive the refund, and will be keeping my free account on Flickr. I’ve lost stats, the Pro badge, and a design I loved/was comfortable with, but I retain all the new terabyte and bandwidth limits and other benefits that free users gained.

    For the record, I’ve been on Flickr since ethereal hermit Jon Palmer introduced it to .spacers back in summer 2004. For 9 years I’ve paid good money into a site that’s served the Lego fan community mostly successfully (has everyone already forgotten what they did to the original 16 ?) but voting with my wallet goes both directions. If I’m not happy with the service I’m paying for, I’m within my rights as a customer to be upset about it.

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