Telling People How to Use Flickr

So Flickr–the photo-sharing web 2.0 darling that was snatched up by Yahoo! and made its mark as a site driven by a 2.5 million member community–is telling its members how to use its service:

Flickr is a website for you to use to share your photos. If the images you’re uploading either (i) aren’t photos, or (ii) are images you’ve ‘borrowed’, stock photos, celebrity photos, stuff that appears to be copyrighted by someone else, screenshots, porn or nudity/partial nudity, it’s safe to assume that we will probably have marked you as NIPSA (Not In Public Site Areas). (from their FAQ)

So if you upload images that aren’t photos, like screenshots, art, diagrams or examples of design you’re hoping to get feedback on, your account could be marked NIPSA, and then your photos won’t show up in public areas of the site, meaning you’ll be invisible in Flickr Groups (unless the user is signed in), Flickr badges and RSS feeds. That becomes a big deal when you’re trying to promote said group and people can only see 15 photos instead of 60.

If you’re a company powered by the people, and people have found a neat way to use your system that doesn’t detract from other uses, what’s the problem? Why discourage it? I’m not the only one who has asked this question. And so far Flickr seems to continually come back with the answer that Flickr is a photo-sharing site. So bugger off. Granted they’re not banning not-photo uses of Flickr, but they’re not making it easy to use Flickr for non-photo images.

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