Captured January 2003. Tuned August 2005.
Submitted to the DeleteMe group August 4, 2005 This is the only one of my pictures that was saved by the Deleteme! group.
At some point in July 2005 I started to run into pictures that had been through the DeleteMe! pool. Like everyone who first encountered the often toxic comment streams, I imagined that they were a group of wandering thugs trashing innocent pictures. When I learned that these comments were part of a consensual activity – a Flickr game – I decided to investigate further.
I hemmed and hawed for a week or two but finally decided that DeleteMe! was something I wanted to experience to understand. I submitted six pictures and this was the last. The experience of submitting photos improved my skills as an editor. I was pretty sure most of my pictures are not the kind the group would want to ‘save’.
With the way the group generated forum threads (very active! high turnover!) and talked about the ‘old days’ I had assumed it was almost as old as Flickr, but these halcyon days are April/May 2005. While DeleteMe! may be more lively than any other Flickr group I have encountered, the turnover in the group suggests all kinds of people don’t have fun.
For the most part the comments the group made on my own photos – primarily delete votes – are much less toxic than many other examples of DeleteMe! in action. I have no sour grapes about how my pictures were treated – and I did take something of value from the experience – but I did quickly regret being part of the trail of DeleteMe! slime following pictures around. This had the result of making me more active about finding pictures I wanted to say nice things about.
‘Interestingness’ had even more adverse effects on the group. The mechanics of the game, with members viewing again and again and then adding comments and tags to pictures (voting deleteme or saveme), seem to be exactly the kind of activities that elevate the ‘interestingness’ of a photo.
Suddenly the new Explore! page was connecting newcomers directly to DeleteMe! Some would be offended, others would join, and the group exploded. A splinter group has even formed, with almost the same name and unfortunate mechanics, and now pictures sometimes get run through both pools. (There are apparently groups that have different mechanics that don’t pollute the comment streams.)