Auntie P PRO 11:49pm, 22 December 2004
I've discovered that checking out the favourites of my contacts, people whose work I love, and those who've faved my own pics yields great results. It's always interesting to see some of the same shots appear frequently too.

Here are mine:

How do you find yours?
... has left the building [deleted] 13 years ago
Right, I just noticed we have some of the same favorites, Auntie P ;-)

If someone likes one of my images I check their other favorites and have found several amazing images that way. Right now I checked yours and instantly found at least one I like. Still checking ... :-)
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
True, there are many unexplored ways to find new material of interest via the favorites. I suggested some in FlickrIdeas recently.
quas 13 years ago
I agree; I love looking at other people's favorites. I've amassed quite a collection, myself.

I started a similar thread a while ago in Playing Favorites.
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
I just went ahead and did it myself - I whipped up a quick Perl script to:

1) get a list of all my public photos
2) get a list of all the people that selected them as favorites, paying attention to multiple counts
3) get a list of all the favorites of those people
4) produce a report of suggested photos as I suggested.

The script considered:
- my 129 public photos, 32 of which have been selected as favorites by someone;
- 38 other people which made at least one photo of mine a favorite
- 1025 photos in their combined favorites list

The script suggested:

- with a score of 6:
1) Solea's After the love has gone. I had never seen this portrait before, and I think it's excellent.
2) My own Layers.

- with a score of 5: an amazing sunset by bail56 and two beautiful photos by Quizz69. I'm well aware of bail56's photos (though I don't think I had seen that sunset before!) and it's nice that the script suggested it without knowing anything about my favorites. I didn't know Quizz69's photography at all. I'm taking a closer look!

- with a score of 4: several additional photos by bail56, several photos by pepe, o_caritas, lorayne and others, most of them gorgeous. Definitely some eye openers!

I count this as a huge success, and I think the script had very little information to start with. This method for finding "more stuff that will interest me" would improve significantly if more people had more favorites. Much as the "thumbs up" suggestion has been disparaged, it could be a good method for enriching the available dataset of opinions.
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
quas, you should be looking at efatima's photos, starting with A survivor with a score of 50!

pandarine, the first hit for you was Werner's Ice cellar, scoring 36. Agnieszka featured prominently in your list, also lewesrat.

Auntie P, your results are much more varied, no obvious strong recommendation. Highests scores for orbit1, eshepard, devos, cameraplastica, dcrummey, sherizan, many others.
... has left the building [deleted]
Interesting. I don't like the ice cellar image at all, it's clearly not one of Werner's best. However I do like Agnieszka and lewesrat. And bail56, no doubt.

I don't add any sunset pictures to my favs, as much as I like sunsets - especially those of Truus. It's because something like that I can see (and photograph myself) every day, so I tend more to add stuff that's a memory from the past (autumn pictures, or snow and ice), or sometimes even a funny picture or a recipe I want to find again with one click. I wished I could easily change the order of my favs!

Thank you, Gustavo.
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
On further thought, what I implemented finds, in a sense (and stress that "in a sense"!) photography "similar to mine". In a sense, because it literally means "stuff that was liked by people that like my stuff". I'm not going to claim that my photography is "like bail56's" - that's flattering (to me!) but not realistic.

A variant would be to write a script that starts from my favorites (not my photos), finds who else favorited them, and summarizes what is shared in their lists of favorites. This should be more akin to "find more stuff similar to what I liked".

I want to stress again that the numbers are relatively low to make much sense, due to stochastic effects.

I'm also not taking into account whether someone has a long list of favorites (which could be interpreted as using a lower "cutoff" for adding something to the list) or a short one (which could be being very strict, or not having used the feature much, yet). I tried using this information but it was too simplistic, the results were too skewed to be useful.

One would have to use a better-thought probabilistic method. Probably Bayesian would give best results...
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
After a bit more testing, I found that indeed the results were too skewed. The simplest correction - square root of selection size - appears to give better results, but clearly I have to rethink how to score everything.

Among my new top hits is Vanita's Maxwell's Equations. I hadn't seen it even though she's in my contact list.

Pandarine, it suggests for you Werner's Start and Garnite's Evening at the lake - more to your taste? :)
The most prominent photographers on your list are now Werner, Garnite, Swerve, Agnieszka, bail56. No surprises, I guess.
quas 13 years ago
Fascinating analysis, Gustavo. I am indeed a fan of efatima's, though that particular photo isn't my favorite in her photostream.

Would you consider publishing your script?
... has left the building [deleted] 13 years ago
No surprise - yes, I like them, but they are still not images I would take into my favs. If you look at my favs you can clearly see why those 2 images "don't fit".
arg, gustavo beat me to it!

anyhow, vacapinta and i were discussing very similar concepts today, and i threw together the following UI concept.


neighbours would be determined by the number of shared favourites you have with someone. the more favourites in common, the higher up in your 'neighborhood' they would be.

this is very type stuff. goes by percentage of common favorite songs. i guess that this would go by percentage of common favorite images.

the feature wouldn't activate until you had a set number of favourites. like .. 25-50 or maybe even more than that.

this would encourage people to go out and collect, which is potentially good for flickr in a lot of ways. it gets people browsing which is always a good thing. there may be an impulse to add favourites in a big thoughtless burst, but so long as the system is clear that neighbors work best when you add legitimate favorites and not random ones..

this was going to go into ideas .. but since we're all here.
once you have the concept of 'neighbors' in the system, there's a lot you can do with it.

generate "club" groups for neighbors that are a bit more intimate than the sprawling, special interest groups that we have right now, for instance.
Trinity 13 years ago
I would love to have that feature on Flickr. We've long ago reached the point where it is impossible to keep up with all of the new uploads. A feature like this could allow us to find many more new favorites much more easily, and would be great for time-pressed people such as myself.
you could generate an RSS feed weaving together your neighbors' favorites that aren't yet in your favorites.
striatic PRO 13 years ago
i guess the thing is that this is as much about suggested people as suggested photos. i guess.

most things in flickr that are good tend to be about both people and photos, not one or the other in a somewhat divorced way.
Trinity 13 years ago
I second that. Perhaps this feature could include not only a way to find potential new favorite photos, but also potential new favorite people.
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
I've switched to the variant I mentioned above - starting from my favorites - since it makes a lot more sense. A couple of bug fixes, a bit of tweaking the weights, and the end result is my staring open-mouthed as an idiot at photo after amazing photo that I hadn't seen before. My eyes are popping out!

quas, I have been asked for the script, but I think it would not be a good idea to "publish it" since it's not quite "well-behaved". I'm scraping pages, not even using the API. This should be implemented directly on the database! What I'm doing is just a prototype.

I still have a bit more to tweak - right now the results are very good, but they could be even more specific, less biased by photos that so many people choose as favorites that they come at the top no matter what you start with.

BTW quas, you should also look at rheros' photos. So the script tells me. ;)
Auntie P PRO 13 years ago
Wow! I lazily type a little comment onto a new thread and - kaboom! This all sounds fantastic. I don't pretend to understand the bits in the middle but the concepts and the potential end results sound like a great Flickr function.

I'm also pleased that my results are 'more varied' ;) I like to add a bit oc chaos to the universe.
Mermaniac PRO 13 years ago
This sounds very similar to the hints some of the Flickr-staff have been dropping about algorithms to find "interesting" photos. Can't wait!

Anyway, it sounds totally fascinating, and Gustavo I hope you post more of your great finds.
Now I made the script more modular, improved the logic, and I'm caching the info locally to reduce network use and hit Flickr less. The side effect is of course that the data becomes frozen in time. Not terrible, and I could randomly refresh it.
In general, the less favorites one has, the more "generic" the suggestions are, that is they reflect popular photos. The more favorites one has, the more specific they appear to be. Makes sense! The message is clear - use the favorites feature more! I'm not using it enough.

Here are some updated suggestions. For each person, 1 is the most relevant, 25 the least, I stopped at 25 arbitrarily. Please don't yell at me if you don't like your suggestions! But feedback on relevance will be appreciated. :)

Auntie: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Panda: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Mermaniac: 1 2 3 (not sure why it stopped here, have to check)

Trinity: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

quas: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Striatic: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

This whole analysis does make me wonder how many "cliques" there are within Flickr, with the link/edge between two people/nodes being "likes the same kind of photos".
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
Here are some numbers of interest. For each person, I quote:
- the number of favorites
- the number of other users considered (share favorites)
- the unfiltered number of photos considered (favored by any those users)
- the final number of photos considered (excluding the user's own favorites, and requiring a "double hit", i.e. two of the neighbors should have favored it)

Mermaniac: 15 - 2 - 739 - 3
GustavoG: 21 - 59 - 5802 - 427
Pandarine: 50 - 119 - 15715 - 2336
Auntie P: 118 - 307 - 27015 - 4994
Trinity: 157 - 198 - 13720 - 1555
quas: 762 - 869 - 41774 - 9031
striatic: 1636 - 597 - 37162 - 7561

Clearly, it's not only how many favorites one has, but how many other people share favorites. The comparison between quas and striatic is very interesting in this context - striatic has more than twice as many favorites, but they link to fewer people, hence less suggestions. Auntie P also appears to be more eclectic than Trinity.
Thank you, Gustavo!!

Interesting, I'd seen quite a few of those, but forgotten to add them to my favorites. There were some that I hadn't seen, though, like #14. It's also interesting to see #24 and #25 on my recommendation list.

As you said above, the results are biased toward photos that are in a lot of people's favorites. I'd be interested to see some of the more obscure photos. I'm not sure exactly what your script is doing, but maybe it could look at the percentage of users who have added a particular photo as a favorite, who have also added one of your photos?

EDIT: Er...never mind...sort of. I'll have to think about that a bit more before I start making sense. ;)
Nice, you're being recommended your own photos. I intentionally did not remove one's own photos from the list, and it's nice to see it does work.

"People who like the same kind of stuff you like, also liked your photos."

BTW I was struck by how different Trinity's recommendations are from mine (or yours for that matter). Then I visited her favorites - makes sense!
OK, here's my analysis (correct me if I'm wrong):
-The first number is just the number of favorites I have
-The second number is the number of users who have favorited at least one of the photos I've favorited. This number will be higher if I add more popular photos to my favorites (i.e., lots of other people also count them as favorites)
-The third number is the total number of photos collected as favorites by all the users above
-The fourth number is the number of photos that appear in at least two of the above users' favorites collection

The resulting photos are ranked by the number of users from the list above who have the photo in their favorites collections.

Am I getting it, or not?
You got the definitions mostly correctly, but not the description of the final ranking, and some of the interpretations.

The number of neighbors will also be higher if you are eclectic, even if the photos you select are not popular.

The fourth number also excludes your favorites.

The ranking system is more complicated than that, with weights and normalizations. :)
quas 13 years ago
That's some tricky stuff, Gustavo.

So my idea (and you have probably done something like this already!) is to look at the percentage of people who have added a photo in the list from step 4, who are my neighbors. That way, photos that have been added to a jillion people's favorites won't come to the top so much. At least, that's what I think.
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
That's already in. If someone shares many favorites with you, their opinion is considered more highly for the scoring. If a photo has been selected by many people, its score is weighed down to highlight more specific suggestions.
... has left the building [deleted]
Very impressive, thank you again, Gustavo.

I found 6 new favorites instantly - some from the photos you suggested, or some other images, but from a suggested photographer.

I really wonder how I could have missed some of those!
Mermaniac PRO 13 years ago
Wow, this is amazing. The lesson for me: mark more pictures as favorites. The more you favorite, the more interesting the results.
Pandarine, have you been adding lots of favorites during the last couple of hours?

Your updated numbers: 96 - 215 - 20460 - 3479.

Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

I realize many of these are the same you were suggested earlier. Alas, there's no "negative score" for favorites.
I know some people will howl at the suggestion, but for a system like this to be effective, one should be able to score photos at least from -2 to 2, meaning "really disliked", "disliked", "neutral", "liked" and "liked a lot". These stats could be kept private to the viewer and be used only to feed such a "further suggestions" mechanism.
Once a photo gets a score (from a viewer), it needn't be suggested anymore (to that particular viewer).
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
I don't know whether this will precipitate the adoption of a feature like this... or a thunderbolt in my direction! ;)

Caterina: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Stewart: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

George: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Eric: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

bees: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Trinity 13 years ago
Whoa, a trip down memory lane! Not a single image was uploaded earlier than June, and many of them were in my favorites at one time but had to be kicked out to make room (there used to be a limit on the number of favorites you could have--50).

I'm now curious as to why every image was that early. Is it a propensity for snagged images or a preoccupation with the past?
carpolena 13 years ago
hey, i want my photo fav's read, GustavoG, you truely are a great coder!
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
Not a single image was uploaded earlier than June

You mean later than June, yes?
I'm quite impressed if as you say the script found many that used to be your favorites!
What I saw as a recurring theme in your suggestions was a lot of text in the images. Your favorites also have a lot of text in the photos...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Same clique as Trinity, huh? Text and furry things.
Auntie P PRO 13 years ago
That's great Gustavo - I faved 6 new photos from that list and added some new contacts. I think that's a pretty good hit rate.

I liked all of them in different ways - the ones I didn't fave were not because they weren't relevant, the all were for different reasons, just that some things made them not quite what I like in a favourite - eg lots of manipulation. Fantastic!
Trinity 13 years ago
Yes, I meant later than June.
I just thought - could I tap into the lists of contacts, to help find photos? There are at least two (non-exclusive) ways of doing it:

1) include my own list of contacts and consider their favorites

2) include the contacts of my neighbors, and consider their favorites

The latter seems to make more sense as an extension of what I'm doing right now. It may become rather crazy...

I have to think more about it. It seems to me neither of those two options is the best.
fubuki 13 years ago
gustavo - could you shine some your coding kungfu on my favs?


i'd love to see who is out there and who relates through my favs. great hack. (tips his red cap...)

i know you are prolly flooded with requests, so i appreciate it if you dont have time :) thanks for this great add to the community
Special 13 years ago
Wow Fubuki.. 40 pages of favorites. I wonder if that will torture his script. heh.
Fubuki, your photos feature quite prominently in your suggestions. No surprise here...

1427 - 899 - 42156 - 8938

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Just so you don't feel cheated, here are the next 25:

26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

It wasn't a difficult task now because I'm caching everything. By far the hardest task was quas. Once that was in, striatic's added quite a bit. After that, fubuki's was relatively easy. :)
fubuki 13 years ago
ahhhhh....thanks much. a fine xmas present. i appreciate it greatly.

now i get to dive in!
emdot PRO 13 years ago
My new favorite flickr shortcut to awesome photos = surfing fubuki's favorites.
quas 13 years ago
Wow, fubuki and I have similar taste, it seems. Nearly every photo in that list is either in my recommendation list or in my favorites already. Cool.

Now you just have to write a script that scans every image as it is uploaded, and based on the digital fingerprints of images in my favorites rates it on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is "unlikely to enjoy" and 10 is "definite favorite". That would be hot.
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
I was impressed with Caterina's suggestions. Haven't looked at everyone's, though.

Heh, quas, I don't have access to the database, you know? :)

(Fubuki, please note I added 25 more to your list above.)
quas 13 years ago
Yeah, I was just kidding. :)

(Though it would be pretty cool...)
efatima [deleted] 13 years ago
emdot! I agree with you!! Hez got one awesome collection.
fubuki 13 years ago
thanks you again Gustavo. all these hidden diamonds - how did i miss them!! great fun.

(clicks wildly, eyes rolled back in his head in a flickr ecstasy)
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
Fubuki, just for fun, here are your updated top-50, this time not including any of your own!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
quas 13 years ago
Hey, where can I get my top 50?

Gotta love demanding users... ;)
Auntie P PRO 13 years ago
I don't have time to cruise Fubuki's favourites! It takes so much time going through his own pics.

*gets lost in a Fubuki/Flickr haze*
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
quas, updated top-50 of 9123 considered:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
I don't know about you, but I'm seeing more interesting and novel photos by starting from the 50th. Maybe I'm not penalizing enough those photos that are on everybody's favorites...
quas 13 years ago
Thanks, Gustavo. Yes, I absolutely agree about the photos later in the list being more interesting (but maybe this is just because I haven't encountered these photos yet). I'd probably be interested in seeing #50-100 than #1-50 with the current weighting. Pretty good for a prototype, though.

Are you planning to get yourself an API key for this?
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
Planning to get an API key for this? Not really. This kind of stuff should be implemented directly on top of the database - I'm now selectively duplicating it! It doesn't make a lot of sense.

If I had a lot of spare time, and a server to make this available to the public, I could explore developing it in other directions, but the objections above remain. For example, I think it would be nice to create a "serial training session" of sorts. Imagine yourself sitting in front of a simple web interface that, based on your favorites, suggests a single best-matching photo. You rate it in the -2..2 scale. Parameters get adjusted, and you're presented another photo. Repeat until you're dizzy. After a few tens of photos the results could be quite amazing, and if many people did the same in parallel, the system could learn much more than it can by the current boolean "in favorites or not" system, which doesn't even distinguish between "not favorited because I don't like it [enough]" and "not favorited because I never saw it".

Again, [something like] this should be part of Flickr's functionality, not something external.
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
efatima: 713 - 754 - 38906 - 8006

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
zen PRO 13 years ago
i am stupefied by the whole process... wow!
You have very few favorites, zen. Maybe this can help you: ;)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

[Hmm, interesting, how you get rather unique suggestions!]
... has left the building [deleted] 13 years ago
Gustavo, you were right. Yes I had added quite a few favs today, some based on your earlier sggestions (see my comment above). Checking the updated list ... this is fun!
fubuki 13 years ago
thanks gustavo - youve been Santa to some very appreciative Flickristas. take a bow!
fubuki 13 years ago
kinda disconcerting though that my exact tastes can be quantifiably determined - everyone of these are totally impressing me.

as folks' streams grow, this tool is just the trick to mine out the gold nuggets that will pass by us. great hack!
... has left the building [deleted] 13 years ago
Added some more favs ;-)

Again: Not exactly from the suggestions, but they helped me find some real gems!
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
How does the "not exactly" work? You follow a suggestion, say "ok, but not fav", follow the link to the owner's photostream, browse a bit and then find the good one?

This thread is becoming rather unwieldy. Perhaps we should move to Playing Favorites?
... has left the building [deleted] 13 years ago
Right, I follow the link and decide it's not for me. But in most cases the picture is part of a set, and I find one I like in there, BINGO.

I also like how lots of people put their own favs in a set (I've finally done that today as well). Another nice place to find what I like!
I too popped in. The frustration of looking at those uploaded images in the pool and not being able to click on them and wondering if I will ever find them was too great to bear. I just can't look!
zen PRO 13 years ago
Thanks so much Gustavo! Most of the links were interesting shots and almost all generated comments from me, but very few new favorites (Except more Pandarine sunsets and a few Fubuki's i had meant to fave).

Like Pandy, nearby shots generated more interest. A fascinating way to go about things tho. I guess i'm just very niggardly when it comes to making something a fave. I'm kinda like the Anti-Striatic that way, i guess (not to knock Stri's approach at all). It just has to be more than just a exceptional pic, it has to touch me somewhere i can't define.

I also like looking at other people's generated numbers! ;) So, thanks for your good work!
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
I understand perfectly, I also equate favorites with "outstanding" or "of particular interest", not "I liked it". In the -2..+2 system I mentioned, my favorites would be +2, striatic's would be +1 or +2, I guess.

I'll be glad to produce more suggestions. Following feedback from striatic I'm penalizing more the most popular - let's see if that helps.

I'd suggest moving to Playing Favorites.
fubuki: i know you are prolly flooded with requests

In fact I'm not. It would be nice to have some more people testing it. I'm thinking of additional tricks to do with it.

I'd suggest - whoever would like to participate in this, please join the Playing Favorites group and start a new thread "suggestions for [your name]", and let me know there how many photos you'd like to see in each batch.
SiYH 13 years ago
Suggested photos; automatic, meta-favorites from contacts and suggestions from contacts of others' photos should all form a new section of the homepage.

Anyway - can I get a list?
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
AdaMacey 13 years ago
I wouldn't argue with a list either Gustavo. I've built up a few favourites now, so it might finally be worth doing :)
GustavoG PRO 13 years ago
Groups Beta