How I Waste My Time (#238)

I like Flickr. There is lots of good stuff on Flickr, and I’m not just talking about the photos. There are interesting discussions, cool tools, fun mapping toys, and of course lots and lots of images.

Flickr is one of the original “social networking” sites that came about before “social networking” became “a thing” (a thing which some of us have HAD IT UP TO HERE hearing about, by the way). It works because it is well thought out, nicely designed, and has a lot of interesting people on both the front end (the users) and the back end (the people who make Flickr). What it doesn’t have is a big stupid “hey everybody! I’m social goddamn networking!” flag flying over it. But I digress…

One of the great things about Flickr is that the Flickr experience is made by the users. For example, pretty much anyone can start a “group” (a collection of contributed images by people who share an interest). Unfortunately, by now there are far too many groups to even comprehend, so they don’t have the kind of cohesive sense of groupiness that they used to have. (For example, if you like pictures of black cats, there are dozens of cat photo groups that you can belong to.) But still, it’s a nice aspect of the Flickr package.

Overall that “of the people, by the people” is pretty cool, and it is reflective of the way social networking used to be before it went corporate and start-upy. But it also means you have to put up with a lot of dopiness and stupidity, because “the people” are, by and large, pretty dopey and stupid.

Your best photo’s what?

Tonight I found a Flickr group called “My Best Photo’s” (sic). As some of you might know, the plural (photos) does not take an apostrophe. “Photo’s” is the possessive; it means something belongs to a photo. So “My Best Photo’s” is incomplete. Your best photo’s what?

  • My Best Photo’s history?
  • My Best Photo’s asking price?
  • My Best Photo’s pet rat?

I fully acknowledge that anyone can make a mistake. Loyal readers know that this blog is peppered with more typos than a blood bank. But when I see them, or other people point them out, I correct them.

But “My Best Photo’s” has been running for at least 15 months. It has 3629 members and 28,533 photos in its group pool. Did none of those people think to correct the grammatical error in the group’s name?

So I sit here contemplating joining the group for the sole reason of pointing out the error. However, I’ve been around the Web’s blocks a few times, so I know how ultimately futile that would be. Instead I will simply bitch about it here, on my blog.

An award I could do without

I should also note that many of the images in the group are really outstanding. There are some great photographers on Flickr. However, even if I wanted to put an image forward as “my best,” I simply could not bear to do so in this group. It is so fundamentally wrong to have something that you consider your best defaced by such a glaringly obvious grammatical error; especially one that no one will step up and fix.

So I remain unacknowledged. My best photos end up on my photo blog, thank you very much, and my photos on Flickr continue to limp along, as they should, since they are not my best. They’re just there, happy to be looked at, but possessive of nothing.

13 thoughts on “How I Waste My Time (#238)

  1. @brendadada: More Type Os than a Blood bank. Type O as in a blood type.

    There’s no better way to kill a joke than to dissect it.

  2. Not a cultural thing then. Canadian blood banks don’t have home made signs hung with string saying things like Two Pint’s Please.

  3. Thanks for killing my joke Dave. ;-)

    Just to reiterate; anyone can make a mistake, but every time one of those 3629 people use that group they’re making the mistake again, over and over and over without correcting it. THAT’s what kills me.

    It is possible that you cannot change the name of a group once you’ve created it, but that’s no excuse. Once you spot the error (which should have been really quick) you KILL the bastard and start over!

  4. You could always drop them a note in their discussion section, but you would have to join the group in order to enable that function. Given the circumstances this quote by Groucho Marx is appropriate – “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

    “more typos than a blood bank” – Still chuckling 15 minutes after reading it… which is 14 minutes after getting it. Good one!

  5. You can indeed change the name of a Flickr group after you start it — I run 4 Flickr groups myself, the most popular being “Professional Creatives At Home,” which I had to change the name of about 4 times because people kept applying to join without reading the description, submitting off-topic pics, etc…

    When Flickr started it was very much a ‘web and creative insider’ kind of thing…so the membership tended to be a little more *cough* literate.

    When Yahoo! shut down Yahoo! Photos and gave its members the non-choice to merge their accounts with Flickr or be left without hosting, you basically had an infusion of a completely different demographic — the all-caps typers, the plural apostrophizers, the “I won’t bother to read the FAQ thread answering my question, I’ll just pose it again”-ers…. oy.

  6. Harry, the “how I waste my time” was actually a reference to the fact that I could join the group and point out its error, but that would probably be just that — a waste of time.

    AJ, maybe your group will get some competition from another, related group. Something like “Professional Creative’s at Home.”


  7. Maybe the person that started this group was not a native speaker of English. That happens sometimes on the Internet. In some languages (one of them is Dutch) the plural form of a word ending with an “a” or “o” is formed by an apostrophe and an “s”. So the plural of “foto” is “foto’s”, the plural of “agenda” is “agenda’s”, etc.
    This is also the rule for abbreviations e.g.. “DVD’s” and “CD-ROM’s”.

    So it is a very common mistake for native Dutch speakers to make this error when writing in other languages. Hey, I sometimes am guilty myself.

    And the fact that in English “its”, “yours” and “hers” are depicting a possession but have no apostrophe doesn’t make it easier.

    But if it was pointed out to me I had made a mistake in the title of a group I had started I’d change it in a heartbeat…

    Another very common mistake in English, almost exclusively committed by native speakers. Please join all those groups and have them change their names :-)

    BTW try typing Flickr in the Notes application on your Ipod Touch…

  8. Mare, I hear you, and that’s why I pointed out a couple of times that anyone can make a mistake. But what about the 3695 OTHER people in the group? It’s this silent acquiescence that disturbs me so much. Making a mistake is forgivable, but perpetuating a mistake, pretending the mistake never happened, turning a blind eye to a mistake (especially one that is easily corrected)… THAT’s the part that drives me nuts.

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