Flickr purists gripe about video expansion

commentary Hundreds of Flickr users protest arrival of video clips. So why haven't photography buffs launched a No Dumb Snaphots group?

Shortly after Flickr added videos to its photo-sharing site, a number of users are up in arms.

Members of the No Video on Flickr group have posted hundreds of images protesting the photo-sharing site's inclusion of video. (Credit: Flickr)

The No Video on Flickr group amassed more than 4,000 members just a few hours after the new feature launched.

"I love Flickr, and I think it should stay the same way it has always been," the group description said. "We don't need another YouTube! I have nothing against YouTube, I just don't want to see all the $*#% that's on there to wind up on here!"

Personally, I find the concerns overblown, though it might have been judicious of Flickr to add an opt-out option for those who don't want video. A lot of people react unfavorably to change -- think film buffs who don't care for digital cameras, for one example.

And I suspect video is likely to dilute the great photography that's available on Flickr much less than the vast oceans of mediocre snapshots on the site. The days of Flickr being a haven solely for refined, high-grade photography are long gone if indeed they ever existed. Also, who knows? Maybe the addition of video will help improve Flickr's business so it can be overhauled with a better user interface.

Flickr member Haeretik posted a petition, so far signed by hundreds of members, that states, "We all joined Flickr because of its dedication to photography and photographers, and we want Flickr to remain true to this dedication. It is our request that this feature and addition to Flickr be removed."

Some discussion on the gripe group has been constructive. For those who don't want videos to play, there is a Flickr configuration setting that lets users reverse the default behaviour that the video will play automatically when its page is opened, and Firefox users can add extensions that block Flash videos.



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