The New Explore

Many Flickrites have been complaining about how difficult it is to get into Explore since Flickr made changes to Explore (and Interestingness) around August 20. Here’s my best guess as to what changed, and what Interestingness depends on.

 

First, I believe Flickr is updating Explore less frequently during the day. This de facto means less people are getting into Explore. Further, since the ones that do get into Explore stay there longer, they get more visits, comments, and faves, and are able to stay there yet longer. The top 50 photos in Explore have a LOT of views, so I can only presume they're staying there most of the day.

 

There are other changes I can conjecture:

 

1. There may have been an “acceleration” factor in Interestingness/Explore that has either been reduced or removed. If you got a lot of views/comments/faves in a short amount of time it would really bolster Interestingness. I am not sure I am seeing this effect any more. Since one of the advantages of the so-called “Explore Groups” was this acceleration, this could be the reason they have lost their dominance in Explore.

 

2. There must be some other reason why the Explore Groups are no longer represented so largely in Explore. If you look at the data, the Groups represented most in Explore (today it was Black and White and NikonD90) have 10 or less photos in Explore. In the heyday of the Explore Groups, the top groups had 30 or 40 or 50 pictures represented in Explore.

 

Are these Explore Groups somehow being BANNED?? Or their members??

 

Really really really doubt it. A more logical explanation is that Interestingness has somehow been modified with respect to the type of Groups you post to. If you look at the top 50 in Explore on any recent day, you’ll find most have either posted to no Group, or posted to a Group that is not a “popularity” contest.

 

So without being able to pinpoint the exact nature of the change, my advice is this: Post in less popular Groups! (and don't post in too many)

 

3. Interestingness for any given image probably depends on the image’s relative popularity compared to other images in your stream. Historically this led to some pics with very modest stats (e.g. 30 views, 10 comments, 8 faves) to get into Explore--just because that image was so much more popular than others they had. I am not seeing this anymore, so I think this effect has been reduced—Interestingness is more absolute and less relative to what is in the rest of your stream.

 

4. I have conjectured before that Explore and Interestingness were related but not one in the same. I am less certain about this now. Maybe I was wrong, or maybe I was right but they’ve become more coupled.

 

5. Finally, I have no doubt that images that get posted to more Flickr Galleries get a higher Interestingness score. Galleries didn’t exist before these recent changes.

 

In my own case, there was a time when I got into Explore a lot; and then I didn’t because I wasn’t posting to the Explore Groups; and when I started doing what everyone else was doing I got into Explore again… and then Flickr changed and I didn’t and I didn’t get into Explore… and then I quit worrying about Groups and went back to my old behavior and am getting into Explore all the time again.

 

So here’s a reminder of the important things to do IF you care about a post’s Interestingness or Explore:

 

a. Post only Interesting photography.

b. Include camera data and locate on map. For longer term Interestingness, include descriptive title, text, and tags.

c. Maintain a vibrant Flickr network of contacts and friends that will view your posts.

d. Don’t post more than one or two images per day.

e. Post to less than ten Groups, at least initially; posting to less popular Group may increase Interestingness.

f. It’s not only views, comment, and faves that matter; Galleries and notes increase Interestingness also.

 

(Yes, this got into Explore)

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Taken on October 10, 2009