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Copy edits, standardization, and layout tweaks[edit]

I just cleaned up the article a bit; I hope my edits won't be too controversial. In some prior edits, I mostly did copy edits and standardized the citations (mostly just filling in missing information). In this latest edit, I reduced the number of choppy sections and paragraphs. Also, now that Flickr has changed their account system, a few of the old primary sources weren't really applicable any more, as the FAQs and help pages have been updated. One solution is to source them to an archived copy, but I decided to try to find some secondary sources. Unfortunately, the only people who really comment on the minutiae of Flickr updates are bloggers. I really, really hate citing blogs and bloggers, but WP:RS/N seems to think that Mashable, Lifehacker, and such are acceptable. For something as inconsequential as commenting on Flickr's periodic updates, they probably are.

I reduced the amount of subsections in Features, because it seemed to be getting a bit ridiculous. I don't see why each individual feature should receive its own subsection, especially when there are already subsections that seem to encompass it. I further pruned down the number of main sections, as the White House and Museum sections were basically just discussing new licenses that had been introduced. They could also fit into History, if you don't want to play up the license angle. Implementation is poorly sourced, short, and probably doesn't deserve its own section, but I couldn't find any better sources or a better home for it. I decided to leave it alone.

I also pruned down some of the obsolete information, such as a work-around for old bug that was marked as fixed, the differences between Free and Pro, and some old web app that had been replaced. I don't think we need to obsess quite so heavily on those things any more.

I tried to keep the changes that I made somewhat discrete and easy to individually revert, in case any of them turn out to be against consensus. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 21:54, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Just as a followup, I figured that I'd mention that I moved Implementation into another section, as it seems to flow well enough. I also combined a few more choppy paragraphs. I don't really care if anyone reverts this edit; feel free if you think it looks uglier or doesn't flow. Also, I've been thinking about the Virgin Mobile Ad controversy; it doesn't really seem relevant. Isn't this controversy over the actions of Virgin Mobile? If so, then it should probably be moved to that article. Furthermore, the actions of China don't really seem relevant to criticism of Flickr, either; perhaps it should be moved to another section, such as History (or a new section that details censorship of Flickr). In my searches, I also turned up a few hits on minor controversies: an Egyptian who claimed Flickr censored him (Atlantic Wire) and a woman who claims that Flickr censored her complaint after she was plagiarized (BBC). Are they notable enough to include? NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 17:03, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

RfC: Weight given to redesign[edit]


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

How much weight should be given to the May 2013 site redesign, the reaction from users and the fact that Yahoo CEO made a gaffe while announcing it? --McGeddon (talk) 09:07, 8 August 2013 (UTC)


In May 2013 Flickr heavily redesigned its website and pricing structure, and many Flickr users were unhappy about this. Although there has been relatively little press coverage of this user response, it is clear from Flickr help forums that several thousand users were strongly upset by the changes. At a launch Q&A for the new site, the Flickr CEO gave an answer that suggested the modern prevalence of cameras meant that there was now "no such thing" as a professional photographer, a remark which outraged the professional photography community. The CEO later claimed to have misspoken.

An RfC was raised above to discuss whether a full paragraph about this being a "controversy" was giving it undue weight, and not reflecting the weight of the sources. User:SlimVirgin closed the last RfC framing their conclusion as "The current version seems to be a compromise between the other two. If that's not the case, and if there are still issues with it, someone should clarify what the remaining issues are so that I can see whether there's consensus one way or the other in this RfC." - the only comment they made after it was pointed out that the current version was not a compromise was that we "could hold a second, shorter RfC (say, for 14 days) offering different versions and asking people to choose". They've made no response to requests for clarification since, so I guess a second, shorter RfC is the only direction to head in from here.

I suggest that this RfC be closed after 14 days, per SlimVirgin's suggestion.

Instruction for expressing preferences[edit]

Please read the following proposals, focusing on the spirit rather than the letter - the wording will be tweaked if needed before the proposal is inserted into the article.

State your preference for a proposal at the bottom of the "Survey" section, for example * '''Support A.''', followed by your rationale, ending with your signature (~~~~).

If you have a new proposal you would like to make, add it in a new subsection after the ones already present, provided that it is significantly different from the ones already made and not a minor tweak of one of them.


Proposal A: Leave unchanged[edit]

This is the current version of the section. It represents no intentional consensus or compromise.

On 20 May 2013,Yahoo held a product-related press event at short notice in Times Square, NYC. It was rumoured to be to announce the acquisition of the Tumblr blogging site, which was confirmed the same day. As the event started in New York, the entire Flickr website was abruptly switched to a radically redesigned model, while the main subject of the media event was revealed to be the new Flickr website. The major reconstruction of the website, changed its look and layout. An "infinitely-scrolling" wall of photos in a grid layout, with a high-resolution black-background view of each, replaced the previous thumbnail and text-based numbered pages. The change gave all users of free accounts 1 TB of storage, and discontinued the "Flickr Pro" account option for new users, replacing them with higher-priced "Ad Free" and "Doublr" accounts.

In response, the Flickr help forums were divided over the change; a majority criticised the changes. Many users expressed concern that the redesign ignored the needs of professional photographers. Web publisher and entrepreneur Derek Powazek saw this as Flickr moving away from paying customers and focusing on ad revenue. In help forum responses to users who had contacted them, Flickr affirmed that the site would not be reverting to an older version. Tech columnist David Pogue found Flickr's redesign to be "a gigantic improvement", and believed that the user response was justified "confusion" over pricing changes, as well as "the usual 'Who moved my cheese?' wailing that accompanies the redesign of anything". In early July, Flickr added a Yahoo toolbar (which links to other Yahoo websites) to the top of each page, which resulted in complaints from users.

Asked at a Yahoo press conference on 20 May whether Flickr would be "shuttering" its Pro accounts, CEO Marissa Mayer said that she wanted "everybody to have professional-quality photo space," and that "there's no such thing as Flickr Pro because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there's no such thing, really, as professional photographers." In response to outrage from professional photographers, Mayer apologized via Twitter for wording her answer "terribly," saying that she was referring to the changes to Flickr's storage space and the number of photographs that people take.

Proposal B: Remove journalistic analysis[edit]

This is a version suggested in User:Boot_minor/sandbox that removes the journalistic analysis of the design, revenue structure and user reaction, and the fact that Mayer apologised for her Q&A statement. (It contains no detail about the context of the press launch, but this was written before User:Boot minor themselves added the "Yahoo held a product-related press event at short notice" context to the article; their ideal suggested version may also include this detail. If you have any strong opinions either way about the press launch context when voting for this option, mention this in your rationale.)

On 20 May 2013, Yahoo unveiled a major reconstruction of the website, changing its look and layout. An "infinitely-scrolling" wall of photos in a grid layout, with a black-background view of each, replaced the previous thumbnail and text-based numbered pages. Also the subscription model, known as "Flickr Pro", was discontinued and replaced with a paid by advertising model. All users were offered up to I TB of server space without charge. Users could opt for new paid for "Ad Free" accounts or greater storage space known as "Doublir".

The public Flickr help forum was inundated with overwhelmingly negative user reaction.

Asked at the Flickr redesign press launch on 20 May whether Flickr would be "shuttering" its Pro accounts, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that "there's no such thing as Flickr Pro because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there's no such thing, really, as professional photographers." This prompted outraged responses from professional photographers.

Proposal C: Merge into "History" as a single sentence[edit]

This would remove the "Controversy > 2013 redesign" section entirely, and add the following italicised text to the end of the "History" section:

On 20 May 2013, Flickr unveiled a redesigned layout and additional features, including one terabyte of free storage for all users, seamless photostream, cover photo and updated Android App. The redesigned layout fills the page with dynamically re-sized photos and, on the home page, displays recent comments on photos. Tech Radar described the new style Flickr as representing a "sea change" in its purpose. Many users criticised the changes, with the site's help forum receiving thousands of negative comments.

Proposal D: Split into two sections[edit]

Another suggested rewording from User:Boot minor was to create a new subsection of "History" titled "May 2013 design and funding changes" containing only the launch and design details:

On 20 May 2013,Yahoo held a press conference called at short notice. It was rumoured to be to announce the acquisition of the Tumblr blogging site, which was, in fact, confirmed on the same day. As Marissa Mayer began to speak in Times Square NYC, the entire Flickr website was abruptly switched to a radically redesigned model and the subject of the media event was revealed to be the changes to Flickr.

The design and functionality was changed to an "infinitely-scrolling" wall of photos in a grid layout, with a black-background view of each, which replaced the previous thumbnail and text-based numbered white pages. The funding model changed from subscription based, to being a free to use, advertising funded service. All users were now offered up to I TB of server space. Existing "Pro" account customers were offered a refund of subscription, or the option to continue their subscription on the new Flickr site without advertising. New $49.99 p.a. "Ad Free" accounts and $499.99 p.a. "Doublir" accounts (with 2TB of storage) were also available. Many existing members were unhappy. The public Flickr help forum was inundated with overwhelmingly negative user reaction.

....with user reactions, journalist quotes and Mayer's gaffe in the "Controversy > 2013 redesign" section:-

Following the sudden changes of 20 May 2013 disgruntled members inundated the Flickr help forum, with tens of thousands of overwhelmingly negative responses. Users complained about basic usability, unwanted infinite scrolling, slow loading, invisible captions, poor search and navigability, the front page, difficulty accessing links and personal data security issues. Many users threatened to leave the site. In July Yahoo introduced a ‘toolbar’ strip into every Flickr page integrating Flickr into Yahoo core services, which resulted in further complaints from users.

Web publisher and entrepreneur, Derek Powazek criticised the function of the design and suggested that Flickr “chose to burn the pro members Flickr had spent years cultivating because it thought that ads would pay better”. Author and Flickr user, Michael Stutz said that the changes were not “a typical Internet redesign. It was a complete replacement, with a new focus and new service plans, all calibrated for a different type of user. It also took away years of careful organization and work from many of its long-paying customers”. Tech columnist David Pogue‎ spoke for the Flickr changes. He dismissed the complainants as “cranksters” whining after having been given “something wonderful at no charge”. He claimed that Flickr had been “ugly, cramped and baffling” before, but now it had been made “lovely and generous”. He opined, “Many people, especially photographers, simply don’t like change”. The complaints were, in his opinion, the “wailing that accompanies the redesign of anything".

Asked at the 20 May Yahoo press launch whether Flickr would be "shuttering" the ‘Pro’ accounts, CEO Marissa Mayer said "there's no such thing as Flickr Pro” because “there's no such thing, really, as professional photographers", which provoked outrage from professional photographers.


Please read the instructions above before posting.

  • Support Option C. Unsurprisingly, I still favor the minimalist version. Besides the natural simplicity and conciseness, it avoids the following issues/problems: who to cite (bloggers and dismissive journalists have both attracted much controversy from multiple editors), how to cite them (quotations vs summation), and violations of WP:NPOV (using Wikipedia to register disapproval of Flickr's actions), WP:UNDUE (I'm not convinced that this is any more notable than other single sentence controversies, such as Flickr requiring Yahoo! logins), and WP:RECENTISM (the controversy seems to have died down now). Though I prefer C, I might be willing to accept B as a compromise solution if consensus goes in that direction. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 06:08, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Option D. I think this option allows for the most broad inclusion of critique on the redesign, positive or negative. The Controversy section talks about how the redesign was in fact a major controversy, while the history section can have analysis of journalists, positive and negative. This is the most diverse and uncontroversial edit. CaffeinAddict (talk) 18:25, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Option C. WP:UNDUE/WP:RECENTISM to single this out with a full section, when comparable user outcry over Yahoo acquisition, Yahoo logins and allowing users to upload video merits at most a single sentence in the "History" section. Three months on, nothing further seems to have been written about the user reaction, or any consequences of it. Tech blogs having different opinions about a site redesign is not in itself "controversy", and Mayer making and then apologising for a live Q&A gaffe was only ever mentioned in passing by a single near-mainstream source. --McGeddon (talk) 09:54, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Option C per the concerns I expressed at the original RFC, which are essentially summarized by McGeddon. DonIago (talk) 12:57, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Option A or D. Normally I prefer to avoid journalese etc, and I am not personally interested in the whole affair, but it seems to me that people who are interested would probably find the longer versions more informative. Being uninterested, I can skip reading what I don't want to read. If I were interested, I would not have the contrary option of un-skipping what I would have wanted to read. An encyclopaedia is not supposed to be constrained by the personal tastes of arbitrary subsets of the compilers. Our main good-faith options for moderation are such considerations as verifiability, notability, and basic literacy. This is not absolute of course; there are more aspects to quality than those, but one does need a good justification to apply strictures. (talk) 13:31, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Option C. Summarises nicely my thoughts on this from the previous RFC. Samwalton9 (talk) 15:09, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Option D However both contain errors and need rewriting and compacting Longshot1944 (talk) 16:52, 19 August 2013 (UTC)


I did a little searching, and here's what I found:

  • 2013-07-31: Popular Photography says that the redesign was "massive, contentious, and brought a lot of photographers back into the fold."
  • 2013-07-30: TechSpot and TechCrunch say that SmugMug just did their own redesign, like Flickr's. No mention of controversy over Flickr's redesign.
  • 2013-08-07: PCMag references the Flickr redesign without mention of any controversy when discussing Yahoo!'s logo redesign.
  • 2013-07-24: CNN and NBC News reference the site redesign without any mention of controversy while discussing planned maintenance.
  • 2013-07-15: Mashable do a retrospective of Mayer's leadership and note the Flickr redesign without mention of the controversy.

These results are all from, restricted to one month (or newer), and using the search terms of flickr redesign, "flickr redesign" (note the use of quotation marks), and "redesign of flickr". I'm not trying to dispute that there was a controversy; rather, I'm pointing out that the redesign controversy seems to no longer be notable in the majority of reliable sources, which leads me to believe that a three-paragraph write-up is WP:UNDUE and WP:RECENTISM. It favors the initial outraged reaction from bloggers and forum posters, rather than the reality of how reliable sources are now reporting on the issue. Before anyone accuses me of cherry-picking, please keep in mind that your results may vary by location, language preference, or other, random variables that Google does not share with us. I don't have a Google account, and I regularly delete all the cookies in my browser, so my search results may be atypical. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 07:12, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

There are as many articles like that as there are that fill out the controversy section. We've said in the past discussions on this page, this is less about a competition of which side of the issue has the most media coverage and more about how users (especially paying users) and professional photographers were outraged by the redesign and subsequent gaffe by Mayer. Therefore it is not WP:UNDUE or WP:RECENTISM. Another argument that has been made is that this is one of the single most important changes to Flickr since it's inception. CaffeinAddict (talk) 18:23, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
"There are as many articles like that as there are that fill out the controversy section." But they're not being written today. Current consensus in reliable sources seems to be that it's a non-issue – a momentary "cause of the day" that blew over quickly. Which side has the most media coverage is critically important; it decides on whether this is WP:UNDUE or not. If no reliable sources consider it to be worth discussing, then it's not notable. Honestly, I really don't care how many outraged bloggers or forum posters there were; I'm more concerned about how reliable sources characterized the incident. It seems as though you are extremely biased on this issue, and I disagree that this is the single most important change to Flickr. It's just some redesign, and the reliable sources that I found agree. Why are you so worked up over this? Are you a disgruntled Flickr user? NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 03:08, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Calm down. It's not "just some redesign" because there's been an on-going and heated discussion on the topic since May 20th. You can't just paint criticism as irrelevant whining in one brush stroke. Try to comment on your arguments rather than go after me please. CaffeinAddict (talk) 17:21, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I never said anything about whining, though I did characterize the outrage of bloggers and forum posters as irrelevant; this is because it is irrelevant – as far as Wikipedia is concerned. Wikipedia follows reliable sources, and they seem to be moving away from the original reaction. Nothing can negate that original reaction, and it should be documented; however, this is not the reality of the situation any more (as far as I can tell), and the article should reflect that. The controversy has not been long-lasting in reliable sources, even though it may still be raging in blogs and forums. Thus: brief overview of the controversy in a single sentence, rather than excruciating blow-by-blow through three paragraphs. I think people care so much about this because it's recent. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 08:51, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Recent Events...Bernardo Hernandez Gonzales (a former colleague of Mayer at Google) has recently been appointed head of Flickr (August 6) replacing Brett Wayn who has left
(Community services manager Thea Lamkin )who had to administer the largely negative Help forum response has also left Flickr in the last few days.
The Yahoo toolbar isn't universally installed (its not on my display in the UK even now I've cancelled my Pro account). A far more important change which should be included on the Wikipedia page is the recent imposition of the Justified/Infinite Scrolling as the only display option in Flickr Groups replacing the full 5 choices of displays formerly offered in Groups. Within 48hrs, following complaints of unworkability from Group Administrators Flickr reinstalled a 'Thumbnail display choice for them. Ordinary group members found they could access the thumbnail display by a simple URL 'workaround' add-on (?thumbs=1) which was quickly made public on the help forums....within 24 hrs Flickr destroyed the URL workaround.
(Just so fellow editors know what's going on)......Longshot1944 (talk) 11:26, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Is there a Wikipedia definition of a 'reliable source', please?
If an art-gallery curator installed a series of airport baggage carousels to display the paintings with their frames removed instead of the usual wall-hanging process you might expect raised eyebrows, but when the carousels malfunction and deny access to the paintings you might expect continued hostility Longshot1944 (talk) 13:34, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
WP:RS should tell you everything you need to know about reliable sources. You might want to split this off into a new talk page section if it's unrelated to the above RfC poll. --McGeddon (talk) 13:39, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I think longshot was trying to suggest it's an ongoing issue, refuting Ninja's comment that it's RECENTISM. CaffeinAddict (talk) 19:54, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps an experienced editor could split up what I've posted appropriately and insert whatever is considered important on the WP page (the Bernardo Hernandez appointment is surely significant)...the extension of the new 'Justified' look as only viewing choice from July 29 in Flickr Group Pools with a new look Groups homepage perhaps also warrants noting? [The latter has a feedback thread launched by Thea Lamkin (her last project before leaving Flickr)]....otherwise you can bin my latest posts Longshot1944 (talk) 23:55, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
McGeddon There should be a insert in 'Interaction and Compatibility' describing the introduction of 'Infinite Scrolling' which is part of 'Ajax' software (and a section needed on Infinite Scrolling in the Ajax WP) but it needs and technically competent editor to describe it, I'm not competentin that area (It is possible to talk to Paul Irish, Infinite Scrollings inventor by email (I have)). Flickr use the term Justified for their new look (in the print-trade sense so it needs disambiguation, again I don't know how to do that), but it's the implementation of Infinite Scrolling which is causing the slowness and computer crashing at the root of the continuing complaints. Longshot1944 (talk) 12:24, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
If you have a suggestion for the "2013 redesign" section which is significantly different from the four given above, by all means add a Proposal E - just copy the format of the others and edit it appropriately. It doesn't have to be worded perfectly or wikilinked. --McGeddon (talk) 12:48, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

We're not getting much outside input. Maybe we should publicize this RfC in the relevant WikiProjects. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:29, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

I think we've got enough - some of these editors (including yourself?) were arriving with an outside voice in the first RfC. I alerted all of the first RfC's responders to this secondary RfC, after one involved editor (presumably being unaware of the canvassing guideline) only contacted the RfC responder that he agreed with, so the recurrence of names doesn't mean that these editors have any attachment to the article, or even had it watchlisted. --McGeddon (talk) 10:09, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, rfcbot did initially summon me. I suppose you're right. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 16:18, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

With all due respect...[edit]

That edit was bullshit. I'm quitting wikipedia. (talk) 15:13, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Goodbye. Samwalton9 (talk) 15:20, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Uh, yeah. Which edit? My close of the discussion that you did not participate in? The edit that reflected the consensus arrived at in that discussion? And you're gonna take your ball and to home over that? If you get this upset about something so minor Wikipedia is probably not a good place for you to try and contribute anyway... Beeblebrox (talk) 03:41, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
I think our Canadian friend here is pissed off that we don't think Flickr has been ruined forever. Apparently, in the Flickr forums, the redesign is treated like the end of the world, and it's probably not easy to adjust to the rather detached, neutral style of Wikipedia when coming from such an emotionally-charged echo chamber. I have no problem with people adding a few references to the end of the one-sentence summary, which would establish that there was more controversy than a single source would indicate. I just don't want the controversy to balloon into another three paragraph rant when it can be nicely summed up into a single sentence. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 05:04, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
This was me unsigned and I didn't realize it. But yes. It was a BS edit. Sorry. CaffeinAddict (talk) 22:58, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
McGeddon's options were, as I understood them, rough drafts. If you have a better suggestion for the wording, you could make it here. I think we're all open-minded enough to listen to any suggestions that you might make. As long as it's a brief statement of fact, I'll give it my support. I'm not interested in defending Flickr; I simply favor conciseness. Personally, I don't think you should quit over such a trivial thing, but you're free to do what you will. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:31, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

COI tainted previous discussion[edit]

It has recently been announced that David Pogue, a 'writer' who was a contentious centre of the previous debate on the Flickr redesign is now a Yahoo, Inc. Employee. I would like your opinions on whether a truly COI free discussion can now be placed. CaffeinAddict (talk) 18:00, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Hello again. The previous debate concerned whether the user reaction to the redesign had attracted enough third-party press coverage to merit a full section in the article, and consensus was that it hadn't. If you're suggesting that one of the few pieces of press coverage mentioned in the RFC should now be discounted for being retroactively biased, that's just one less reason to include a full section. The current article does not use Pogue's column as a source. --McGeddon (talk) 18:31, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Considering a recent article in Vice magazine [1] about companies paying for WP edits that bend the rules of wikipedia to their favour, I don't know if I can frankly trust any users that wanted to eliminate a "Flickr Redesign" section under "Controversies", considering the company did everything in their power to diminish the controversy, which is just as big as any of the controversies currently listed - except this one directly affects their shareholders and therefore would be in their interest to silence. CaffeinAddict (talk) 18:57, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I think that you'll attract more support by making policy-based arguments than vague accusations. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 19:43, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
You aren't very nice to folks on WP in general. CaffeinAddict (talk) 02:17, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
I'd recommend reading WP:AGF if you don't know whether or not you should take other Wikipedia users at face value. If you're at all serious in your suggestion that editors involved in the above RFC might have been paid by Yahoo to remove an otherwise valid piece of criticism, post a message at WP:COI/N and it will be looked into. --McGeddon (talk) 21:47, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I have indeed opened up a COI case about this suspicious censorship of controversy for Flickr here: [2] CaffeinAddict (talk) 02:42, 24 October 2013 (UTC)