hello michael (zhang)
since about a couple of months, i am noticing with concern that the army of product advertisers (i.e. blog members that obviously do not have any other purpose than presenting products and/or links to online shops) have become increasingly active on photoblog.
i am not talking about the other nuisance, the comment and forum spammers, which are obviously not under control here either but which CAN be dealt with, rather tediously, by deleting their content from blog pages and pushing it out of forum focus. no, i am talking about one of the CORE FEATURES of photoblog which helps users to find interesting pictures from people all over the world: the "browse" function.
the percentage of advertisers that spam the list of "latest" with blog entries trying to sell me shoes, sun glasses, fashion products, bags, and right now EURO tickets with half naked women pictures is getting more and more, so that their presence now even outshines new entries of "normal" members. there is more advertisers on the "latest" list right now than there is "real" entries by members who post their own pictures. i am overwhelmed with crap. and aside of the friends i already have, it has become increasingly difficult to find new photobloggers with interesting content.
now, i know i'm an old photoblog fart since 2007, and maybe i'm just bickering about the unavoidable... but i would like to get your vision about photoblog's future; in particular regarding any chance to adjust the terms of conditions AND increase the controls/content maintenance here, to prevent the advertisers and spammers of taking over the site. i have seen this happening on other online community sites with a certain maturity and it is not a nice thing to see happening here again.
i believe we need a plan to prevent photoblog from being overrun by this flood of commercialisation. i assume these people are not paying you any revenue, so i don't think there is any benefit for you nor the community of photobloggers here to tolerate this kind of photography unrelated activity.
i know this is not a simple task. it requires adjustment of the PB policies as well as basic manual/human content checking. but i see possibilities to get this pest under control. we already have a content flagging system; i'm just not sure if it is being used and maintained properly. we already have a large group of very content aware members here who may even volunteer to investigate in offending websites and their removal. we could think of policies and set up processes, as people have done here already with pushing the spammers out of the forum focus, to self administer photoblog's content. it only requires the commitment of a few enthusiasts to keep this site afloat of the rubbish that unavoidably is part of the internet.
i believe that this community has shown a huge amount of self control and will to keep photoblog alive, interesting and a place for people to share picture/text/idea content; and that there is a general consensus in this community, including the rather silent majority, that spammers and product advertisers, completely unrelated to photography, have no place on this site.
thus, i urge you to prioritize further development of photoblog to tackle with these content problems. it is worth it, i am sure: most people i have met here enjoy this place as refreshingly open minded, diverse and decently focussed on sharing photos, personal impressions and thoughts - not products, spam and exploitation.
i am looking forward to your suggestions!
michael AKA stormfish