Thursday, November 01, 2007

flickr disaster

It is now pretty well established that Flickr, the free photo-sharing service, eliminated about 190 of our photos because we were "inactive"- which I presume to mean, we had not been logging in or out, adding photos, or whatever. We had, however, been actually using the photos, linking to them, putting them on the weblogs, faculty directory, etc., so now we have a lot of holes where pictures used to be.

What's frustrating about this is both lack of warning (the e-mail box was empty) and, lack of clearly documentable evidence that we were somehow negligent (which, by the way, I wouldn't doubt, we being as busy as we are). The e-mail box was empty of any such warning. Flickr forums showed how some people had apparently been burned in a similar way, but didn't ever, in responses to these people, give any reason, or any proof that they had been warned of this. I may be missing something, but it seems to be a purge carried out by a machine that assumes that we, as non-logger-inners, no longer exist.

I've written to them, of course, asking that the reinstate those photos, many of which are quite valuable to us. Meanwhile, we've learned our lesson. We're backing up everything. Soon a web report will be published that will show where all our photos are- what a trial it is, the consequences of having photos on every table. The advantage of Flickr was that it saved large-bundle pictures and gave them a home which could hold a caption, which we nevertheless rarely used. Now, we are left with memories, ghost-squares in frames, archive-scooping.


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