22 July, 2008

Flickr Filter Fiasco

So I was checking my stats on Flickr - something I've been doing much less frequently lately (the novelty tends to wear off after awhile, I guess), and I noticed that some of my pictures were getting a views spike (lots more views than the average) in the most recent day recorded in the stats. I thought it was curious, but I didn't see any explanation behind it so I just took it at face value.

But then I looked at the list of referring sites for the past 24 hour period. Call it narcissism or whatever you like, but I like to know when other sites are linking to my photos - it's a popularity thing, I guess. It's also always interesting to see what kind of things people are typing in search engines (usually Yahoo or Google image search - surprisingly Yahoo moreso than Google) that ultimately lead to my photos. Sure, most of the search queries are boring or predictable (teen nudes, guitar nude, nude student, nudist, naturist, etc. being the most common), but sometimes you get something unusual, sometimes that makes you scratch your head. Here are some of the more interesting examples (my own reactions are in curly brackets):

naked pumpkin run {what?}
nude 17yo {I have no pictures of myself younger than 18...}
natasha henstridge {lol}
angelina jolie {I'm certain that name has not come up ever in my entire photosteam...}
nude gun {my squirt gun, I suppose}
rabbit pelt use {heh}
slut wife {sorry to disappoint...}
san diego beaches {I wish}
bed bath and beyond {...}
naked girl standing straight {er...ahem}
naturist hard {I have a feeling somebody has the wrong idea about naturism...}
imaginary animal {?}
nudist nude {okay, this person has the right idea, but, duh...}
bikini flickr {I confess, I like to wear women's clothing at times, but I don't think you'll ever see me in a bikini...}
nice {yeah, I'm serious}
narcissus {guilty as charged}
bra {see the note for bikini}
naked 10 {and} 10 naturist {I'm hoping this person is looking for a "perfect ten" and not a ten year old...}
age 10 naked {oh well...}
nude 80 {ok, I think I'm starting to get sick...}

Anyway, even the odd and perverse ones usually don't bother me, but I didn't like the idea of my photos having anything to do with an image search for "gay nude" pictures, from which I noticed my photos were referred four times, all in the past 24 hour period. Now, if you're into gay nude pictures, then that's great for you. If you're gay, and you like looking at my pictures, I don't have a problem with that, either. But I don't want you getting the idea that I'm gay, too. Because I'm not. And I'd really rather you keep your "advances" to yourself, because they'll only be wasted on me, unless you're an interesting and hopefully attractive girl, which, considering that I'm a guy, is mutually exclusive with being gay.

I really wish you could find out which pictures were linked by a certain search query - if you can, I don't know how. Because to find out which pictures were linked, I had to go through each picture that was viewed in the past 24 hours and see which ones were listed as being linked to that particular search query. Instead of being one picture linked four times, it was four different pictures. There was nothing in the pictures, as I suspected, that would provide any kind of a specific connotation of "gayness", other than the fact that they each depicted a nude male - and stereotyping a naked guy as a naked gay is something that really bothers me. So I don't know how those images were linked to the search, but I suppose it's something that's probably out of my control.

But the other thing that I noticed, was that these were all supposed to be restricted photos - and thus could not be linked or viewed outside of Flickr. There was obviously something fishy going on. I rechecked the safety filter on these photos, and to my shock, they were marked as safe! I /knew/ that it was not a simple matter of having forgotten to filter those images. I checked some of my other restricted photos, and found out that quite a few of them had also been re-marked as safe. This would explain the view spikes I was seeing.

Well, I was pissed off. The last thing I wanted was to get into trouble for not filtering content appropriately (which is something I do diligently, dammit), so I changed my entire photostream to restricted, since it would take too long to fix the filters one photo at a time, with the risk of somebody stumbling across a photo that shouldn't be safe and getting offended and taking action against me. But now, the idea of going through all my photos and re-filtering them one by one is not looking pretty, especially with the knowledge that at any time, they can again be mixed up without warning.

Also, I'm hoping that it really was just a glitch, and not somebody hacking into my profile wreaking havoc. I feel like if I hold off on re-filtering all those photos, then if it ends up happening again in the near future, I won't have wasted that effort.