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"Neighbors"

striatic 4:29pm, 23 December 2004
[this is technically a cross post from central ~ but it really belongs here, not there]

vacapinta and i were discussing this the other day, and i threw together the following UI concept.

neighbors

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 last.fm type stuff. last.fm 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..

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.

or you could generate an RSS feed weaving together your neighbors' favorites that aren't yet in your favorites.

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.
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(1 to 100 of 104 replies)
julian- 17 years ago
Nice idea.
otherthings 17 years ago
Cool idea!

The term "neighbors" is wonderful, but it does also carry the connotation of a physical neighborhood. At first glance I would assume my "neighbors" were other people from San Francisco. Just saying.
Drift Words 17 years ago
followers, then, is the name of this extremely cool idea. It's like the way flocks of geese use their honks to stay together.
Brock 17 years ago
I'm not showing my honk on flickr, you rude man.
ActuallyHawkeye 17 years ago
I love striatic.
matt 17 years ago
Doing this would be simple (if somewhat computationally expensive) if you don't mind a few quirks. For one thing, people like striatic who have several hundred favourites somewhat break the system; they would tend to be approximately the same 'distance' from people with an average number of favourites. Still could be a lot of fun to see what comes up, though.
striatic 17 years ago
For one thing, people like striatic who have several hundred favourites somewhat break the system

hm .. you'd only have to sample from the most recent X favourites.

besides, that means that it is measuring your most recent tastes, not what you liked when you marked your first favourite.

also, i supose you could compute who is in the neighborhood once a week and cache the positions. since the images you see beside the neighbours are just a running stream of favourites, you wouldn't have to compute on every page load. then in the next week it might change or it might not.

followers, then, is the name of this extremely cool idea.

followers is getting there .. but you could be following THEM. the truth is, if the neighbors start mutually following the neighbors page, the group should start reinforcing itself .. see where this is going with creating more intimacy within flickr?

it isn't just about finding better images, it is about creating community feedback effects. generating smaller 'enclaves' within flickr that save time and energy and prevent new folks from getting lost by presenting something a bit more managable.

"neighbors" IS 'maybe' too geographic and "followers" is a bit off, because it is more reciprocal. it is more like a PACK or a TRIBE.

but "neighbors" sounds nicer than "pack" or "tribe".

if you want to visualise it, think of it less as following and more as weaving.

I love striatic

i love you too, seuss, i love you too.
striatic 17 years ago
but the "kickr" is that it would require newbies to browse around in order to activate the feature. instant incentive to stick around flickr for a bit.

and the reward is not only a feature, but a little community .. and once the new user is integrated into a community...

downright machiavellian, but you know, in a nice way ; )
GustavoG 17 years ago
I do like the concept of "neighbors", definitely more wieldy than "people that like the same kind of stuff I like"...

What you call "pack" or "tribe" is technically called a clique.

If we're in the mood for innovation, we could start talking about "cliqrs". Heh.

Striatic, did you get a chance to look at what my script suggested for you? I actually should update it, I've changed the script in some significant ways since then...
striatic 17 years ago
i had clique in mind too .. it may be accurate .. but again, the word carries negative connotations.

i think that clique is better than tribe, but maybe not 'pack', because i do think the concept involves chasing eachother about.

maybe a 'pod' .. like a pod of whales or dolphins..

but "neighbors" is still the most 'friendly' of the terms.
Yogi 17 years ago
The neighboUrs idea rocks, Stri. Will you have my children? For about a week? While we go on vacation?
striatic 17 years ago
Will you have my children? For about a week? While we go on vacation?

of course!

you'll just have to mail them to me in toronto.

i can send you a cardboard box to pack them in, if you don't have one already.

an you have to tell them to call me "unkie stri"
matt 17 years ago
you'd only have to sample from the most recent X favourites...

Yeah, it's far from an insurmountable problem - it's just that no matter how you normalise something, people with a lot of favourites will behave a little wonky compared to people with closer to the average number.

Ferinstance, if you normalise by the most recent N favourites, you'll likely be counting only the last week or so, whereas a more-typical person will be counting the last month or more. If you normalise by date (say, the last month), you'll be counting many more photos than the average. In both cases you're not comparing like with like (at least not as much as two 'average' people would be).

Still, wicked fun nonetheless. If nothing materialises, and I get my PhD work done, and I continue to be motivated, I might throw something together myself for this with the API and some volunteers.
GustavoG 17 years ago
See www.flickr.com/groups_topic.gne?id=9813

I'll be glad to produce some suggestions for you. :)
GustavoG 17 years ago
striatic 17 years ago
In both cases you're not comparing like with like

what if the system tended to group people with similar activity levels when it comes to favourite marking, as well as tastes in favourites?
Peter 17 years ago
You could probably do this pretty easily through the API.

I wonder...
Drift Words 17 years ago
HONK HONK.

I've glanced at the stats wonks talking about this in 'Central. Hmmmm. Strokes beard.

There's enough clevr people here to devise metrics of like-mindedness to do whatever you want, but first you have to decide what that is.

To reinforce sense of community?
To keep up with your contacts-once-removed?
To find out about new like minds?

If I was feeling clevr, I'd run a points system. Points accumulate, with various weights for:
a comment (to you or from you)
a favo(U)rite (the same)
a mutual comment
a mutual fave

Points get weighted down as:
the number of points increases (put in a logarithmic function)
the time since the connection (put in a half life of a month)
Drift Words 17 years ago
coefflickants
striatic 17 years ago
To reinforce sense of community?

yes.

this is ultimately the most vital thing to do with such a system.

you can base it on mutual favourites, or mutual comments on the same image. or the other things that you mentioned.

determining the relatedness of two users is the easy part. the trick is what you are going to do with the relationships you discover. how do you define them? how do you make them useful?

vacapinta and i initially discussed the autoformation or the autosuggestion to form a more intimate "club" type group .. this idea might still have merits, but as you're probably thinking now, this would be extremely problamatic.

the second idea was very similar to this one, except instead of favourites, you got the person's photostream .. this is a very bad idea .. you'll probably make these people your contact anyway, and then you'd simply replicate the functionality of the 'photos from contacts' page. favorites are also generally better images anyway, so the secondary purpose of finding great images is better fulfilled.

the favorites thing made the most sense as an 'excuse' to link likeminded people together in a slightly more formal way. sort of like how flickr uses photography as an excuse to link people together.

plus, you get to see new neato favorites ~ which some people will see as the primary purpose but to my mind is secondary purpose to underlining the people who like the same things as you in a more formal way.

that's why the UI and the terminology is so important. the focus is more on people than just throwing new images in front of you, and your relationship to these people is given a formal title.

having it as a true flickr feature and not an API trick improves the quality of the social engineering involved here.

so i ask you all ..

say we have this neighbourhood with a solid sampling of quality images flowing towards you flowing through it.

what more can we do with the 'neighbours' concept after that?
striatic 17 years ago
or maybe the experiment doesn't work and it just sits there supplying you with awesome images.

that'd be cool too.
Drift Words 17 years ago
[mystery double post - first draft thrown to the ashcan of history]
Drift Words 17 years ago
I agree, the purpose and language of such a view is vital. The mechanics are secondary.

Having a Title implies a yes/no character. This is fine for a Contact but perhaps not for a community member. It buttresses the clique-phenomenon.

It would perhaps serve better to refer directly to the metric being calculated, the Distance or whatever (the coefflickiant). Flickr says: These are the people close to you, and here are their distances from you, and here are the photos between you. Then a button that shows/hides your existing contacts in the list.
striatic 17 years ago
that's partially why i chose 'neighbors' .. because it is a rather informal designation..

your neighbor can be a friend, a rival or someone you choose to ignore.

it is a title .. so it is somewhat formal .. but as titles go, it is about as informal as you can get.

a neighbor is just that. someone who is close to you by some objective metric {traditionally geography}, but not necessarily by affiliation.

the more i think about it, the less 'clique' is the right word. cliques form by affiliation. neighbourhoods do not.

maybe a neighborhood can "turn into" a clique .. but these are not innately cliques in any way shape or form.
Quadsk8 17 years ago
I am thinking of a word something similar as 'Zeitgeist': Wavelength.

In Dutch it is an expression that somebody is on the same wavelength as yourself, meaning that he thinks alike.
Drift Words 17 years ago
ooh gosh we could get wave-mechanical about this! Who are your resonators, your eigen-buddies? Who's on your frequency?
Yogi 17 years ago
Are you receiving me?
GustavoG 17 years ago
Heh, eigen-buddies...
Talk about being cliquish. ;)
otherthings 17 years ago
Some other words to play with:

Flock. (And those people in your flock, or whom you flock together with, could be your Flockrs. :-)

I'm also reminded of a Brazilian idiom: when someone is generally not on the same wavelength as you, you say, "they're not from my beach".

I'm getting much warmer towards the term "neighbor", thanks to striatic's spirited explanation. Go striatic!

But perhaps, for the sake of trans-Atlantic diplomacy, we should spell it "neighbr". ;-)
evanescent memory [deleted] 17 years ago
I vote for Flockr :D
Quadsk8 17 years ago
So then should it read:

"Your Flockr Favourites:" ???
evanescent memory [deleted] 17 years ago
Nope. It would read "Your Flockr's Favo(u)rites" ;-)
Art Ascii 17 years ago
excellent idea
can't wait for it to arrive
when will that be? January or February 2005?
Happy Christmas
matt 17 years ago
Flockr. That's brilliant.

Anyway, a quick break-down of ways to do this:

1. Vector distance. You need a way to reduce the size of the vectors (since a vector the size of flickr's photoset is a little unwieldy), which could be by date (last two weeks), by size (last 100 favourites), or even by popularity (weighted high or low by number of times 'favorited') and probably a few other ways. You could even make a weighted combination of two methods of normalisation.

2. Spreading activation. Favourites form intermediate nodes between users. You give an initial amount of power to a node (probably a user) and it propagates through their favourites to other users. The users with the highest power have the most favourites in common. This has the benefit of no normalisation, but there are at least as many ways to define and weight the links between users and favourites (mutual comments, etc etc).

The fun bit is trying out the different weightings, combinations, and methods to see which ones work the best.

I think I'm going to go with the second approach, at least initially, because I've got some of that code written. But for now I'm going to shut up about it until I have something to show people. See you in the new year.
GustavoG 17 years ago
Yes, I have already played with different weightings and logics. Have you seen what I produced, matt?
GustavoG 17 years ago
In case people don't know what I'm talking about: not long ago I suggested a method for suggesting "photos of interest", which would be those that were liked by your neighbors/flockrs. Two days ago I implemented a first prototype, and with feedback from people I have been improving it since then. Now we're using the Playing Favorites group for further tuning the algorithm.

This method may or may not be used as the basis for any official Flickr system for finding photos and people of interest - it's an interesting (to me!) exercise anyway. Feel free to enjoy it.
striatic 17 years ago
i don't knowif they will implement this in the way gustavo has ..

but gustavo's script proves that you can generate user specific analysis that will make strong connections to photos. the same techniques can be used to link people together.

it is a great proof of concept.

i like the UI and neighbrs/neighbrhood idea .. flockr is a nice concept, but it sounds a little too much like a certain dirty word..

i like "neighbrs", with the flickrish spelling. it is a great google word too .. if you want to find out more about the concept, it doesn't get mixed up with the many references to neighbours and neighbors all over the web.
striatic 17 years ago
i wonder what would happen if this wasn't over christmas .. we'd probably have eric in here saying "nice ideas, we thought of them back in may, but nice ideas"

i know cat and stewart and cal use last.fm , so this is nothing new to them.
evanescent memory [deleted] 17 years ago
flockr is a nice concept, but it sounds a little too much like a certain dirty word..

So does Flickr, at least for Germans :p
Mermaniac 17 years ago
Actually, isn't Flickr a visual pun on that certain dirty word? In all-caps in a sans serif font....
quas 17 years ago
So that's why they called it Flickr... ;)
GustavoG 17 years ago
...make strong connections to photos. the same techniques can be used to link people together.
it is a great proof of concept.


Thanks.
The same concept could indeed be used to suggest people by shared contacts, but I can't do it. The "reverse contacts" feature appears to be private.

I was thinking of a way to combine favorites and contacts to suggest interesting photos, but without being able to ask "who made X into a contact", I'm at a disadvantage. I could again use only forward-contact info as cached from previous queries, but that would [probably] be significantly less powerful.
Xanada 17 years ago
The concept doesn't interest me much, but wouldn't hurt either. Just so long as you spell it "neighbour" -- and not just for "trans-atlantic" comity: Canadians spell it that way (Flickr is a Canadian company, after all). Then there are all the people in Asia and Africa for whom English is a first or second language, and who don't use the American spelling. Bet the population count would tip the scales in favour of the 'u' and not the 'US."

Then again, "neighbr," as someone suggested, might be the best way to duck the issue.
GustavoG 17 years ago
You may be interested in joining the group "The English Debate". I must say though, that unless the people claiming the British spelling is the right and only way to do things become more flexible and more willing to reason together with others, there's little point in even raising the whole issue.
otherthings 17 years ago
Thanks Pandarine and matt!

Regarding that certain dirty word that "FLICKR" resembles: the domain appears to be taken. So don't get any ideas ;-)

Can I just say how cool it is to see all you folks brainstorming about all this stuff? It's very cool. I can't wait to meet my neighbrs/flockrs!

I'm also curious as to what trends might emerge once lots of people start flocking this way. Trends having to do with patterns in how people discover new favorites.

So far, most of my favorites have come from (1) the "Everyone's" stream, (2) groups or tags I like, or (3) other people's favorites.

So, as a possible trend: if method (1) dominates, i.e. if most people find their favorites by looking at the Everyone's stream, then we could expect flocks to form out of people who happened to join Flickr the same week, or people who happen to be awake at the same time. Kind of like how friendships form in college dorms.

But who knows what will really happen? We'll just have to try it and find out!
GustavoG 17 years ago
I can't wait to meet my neighbrs/flockrs!

Why wait? :)
Right now it only suggests photos, not neighbors, but I intend to give that info as well.
outstanding cent [deleted] 17 years ago
In addition to the "neighbor" idea, why not also make a "fan" listing? We could get a listing of people who added our pictures as favorites arranged in order of # of pictures added. As corollary, we could also get a "fan of" listing, meaning a list of which members we are a fan of. What do you think?
GustavoG 17 years ago
I'm pretty excited about some new results on the "neighbors" field. I modified my script again, this time not to find and suggest new photos to see, but to analyze in a different way the "weights" it assigns to the different people.
In short, I rescaled the weights into a log space, and saw that the distribution of log(weight) is nearly normal, so I can identify outliers. That is, neighbors that are particularly close (or significantly distant) among those considered in the analysis.

Specific results: My closest neighbors turned out to be the_nannish_one, ladymolly, Chendur and JohnYuan, then Umberta and quas, Mellody and gakas. Of all these, only the_nannish_one and quas are in my contact list, and the_nannish_one only since earlier today, after looking at many new photos suggested by my script! For several of my other neighbors, I'd never seen their names before.

Specific results for quas: Closest neighbors are jonesfish, Chendur and fubuki; then royalts, special, arnoldo, lifeinpixels, seannarae and mcsixth. I haven't checked them all, but quas and jonesfish are not on each other's contact lists, and I'll risk a guess that they are not really aware of each other.

otherthings (cassidy), you wanted to meet your neighbors. You have very few favorites, which lead only to 67 other users, none of them significantly close. Sorry! You'll have to pick up more favorites! :)

It's important to note that, as defined, the "neighborhood" relation is not symmetric. For example, quas is significantly on my list, I'm not on his. This probably reflects (among other things) the fact that he has many more favorites than I do, and is therefore "influenced" by more people.
MattL 17 years ago
GG: would love to hear my new results with the log space script to see whether they were less striatic-centric :)

(Though I still wish I could get an RSS feed of your favorites striatic)
GustavoG 17 years ago
MattL, your neighbors appear to be andreika (Z-score of 2.65), striatic (2.53), väcäpinta (2.43) and freebeets (2.30).

Contrast this to my own Z-score of 3.60 towards the_nannish_one, or quas' 3.22 towards jonesfish.

Clarification for the less mathematically oriented: a Z-score is an indication of significance, with a value above 2 meaning "less than 2.5% of the population" and over 3 being "less than 1%" or so. The "population" here is that of people with whom one shares favorites.
otherthings 17 years ago
Workin' on it, GustavoG! Thanks to your script, I picked up 8 more favorites just now. (8 out of 50 is not bad!)
matt 17 years ago
Ah, Z-score. I'm loving the way this discussion is going.
GustavoG 17 years ago
A few more clarifications and ideas -

* A Z-score above 2 is typically considered "significant", and above 3 is "highly significant".

* When I list a few names as being "neighbors" I mean only those that are significantly close. There are many more neighbors that I'm not listing. Neighborhoods are not small as the short lists may appear to imply.

* When mentioning that quas and jonesfish are not mutual contacts, I again confused contacts with neighbors. They can like the same stuff, and not like what each other is doing...

* One could in principle calculate, for each person, a number describing how much their own work relates to their preferences. There could be significant discrepancies. Just one example, someone could live in a city and produce images of urban life, but have a favorites list of exotic landscapes.
GustavoG 17 years ago
8 out of 50 is not bad!

That's very relative. striatic expects to see at least 25 out of 50. :)
stimulating bikes [deleted] 17 years ago
I wonder who mine are... with so many overwhelming contacts and awsome work.
striatic 17 years ago
MattL, your neighbors appear to be andreika (Z-score of 2.65), striatic (2.53), väcäpinta (2.43) and freebeets (2.30).

interesting neighbourhood .. vaca and i go bck to before the beginning of flickr, interesting to see us end up in the same neighbourhood after all of that.

odd that vacapinta and i brainstormed the neighbrhood idea together .. and then both ended up in mattL's neighbrhood.

striatic expects to see at least 25 out of 50. :)

actually, i don't.. so long as i don't 'dislike' half the images, i would be fine for 1 out of 10 for favourites. : )
GustavoG 17 years ago
I have some further thoughts on the asymmetric neighborhood relationship - not very polished out, so I'm mostly thinking aloud (yes, the keyboard is not that quiet).

If user A is strongly in the neighborhood of user B, but not the other way around, this could be (again, among other things) due to the fact that B browsed A's favorites and added several of them. In this sense, A is "leading" B to find A's favorites. The best word I can think of is "mentor" - A would be B's mentor.
A user that is a mentor of many could be thought of as a trendsetter. I wouldn't be surprised if striatic came out as being one.

If A and B achieve similar sets of favorites independently, they will probably end up being mutual neighbors. This could be also less a less independent result if both follow the same mentor.
GustavoG 17 years ago
striatic, out of curiousity I just checked who your neighbors would be.

txkimmers and Vanita (outerspace) lead with Z>4. (These are the strongest scores I've seen so far.)
lewis, Z~3.36
wise, katflora, rakka, Z 2.92-3.02
efatima, Z~2.74
goldrunt, ellipse, trinity, hurleygurley, shikasta, Z 2.53-2.66
GustavoG 17 years ago
Vanita's neighborhood:

kryphtonized (chun), Z~4.27
txkimmers, Z~3.75
raga, hurleygurley, Z 3.14-3.19
rjnagle, Z~3.01
rakka, striatic Z 2.84-2.90
jessamyn, Z~2.68
goddess_spiral, hyperbob, theunholytrinity, Z 2.50-2.56
tamaki, grange85, beneteau, AtlasWinks, caterina, Z 2.26-2.39
Hugo! 17 years ago
I love the Neighbr idea, and when I first read about it I thought it would be a great way to discover great photographs/graphers lurking in the depths of Flickr that would otherwise remain unnoticed...

However what's the danger here (as with other ideas such as picture rankings) that instead of discovering new items, you'll only get a self-reinforcing effect: I browse your favourites, and add some to mine... you do the same etc. Aren't the Neighbr-hoods going to turn into cliques?
GustavoG 17 years ago
A good question, but my guess is that the answer is probably negative.
So far, when browsing my suggested photos, I've been exposed to tens of photographers I had never seen before. If I liked their initial photo, I would browse some more from their photostream, perhaps pick a few more favorites from there.

Sure, if one only follows what one's suggested, there's the danger of being just that - a follower. A trendsetter with a cadre of followers could become an apparent clique. In reality, people's tastes are more varied and (usually) more eclectic, giving gradations. As far as I can tell, the neighborhoods change and fluctuate as one picks more favorites.
matt 17 years ago
Actually, the neighborhoods already are cliques (at least by some definition of the word). You should think of them as automatically discovering people with similar taste.

For discovering photos this actually isn't optimal as it functions at the moment - since your neighborhood, by definition, is composed of people with a very similar set of favourites.

You could discover new photos using this, though, by seeing which of your neighborhood have favourites that you don't have (which is what Gustavo's previous script seemed to do).

Automatically discovering underviewed photos is a problem with statistical methods like counting mutual favourites. We can use our knowledge of the system, though, to tweak it. Take someone with a lot of favourites (like striatic) and find people who have almost nothing in common with his set of favourites; they'll have photos that are fairly unique.
otherthings 17 years ago
That's a good point. I like seeing other people's favorites, but I come away with the feeling of being "just a follower", especially when I pick one that's the favorite of, like, 100 other people.

That's why I like looking at the Everyone's stream. Are there any other good ways of finding completely new photos?

A feature that might be fun would be a "random shuffle" of everyone's photostreams. That way we wouldn't be limited to the most recent uploads.
striatic 17 years ago
You could discover new photos using this, though, by seeing which of your neighborhood have favourites that you don't have (which is what Gustavo's previous script seemed to do).

and my UI example has a link for removing any images that are already your favourites from the list .. this seems to be a pretty obvious arrow to have in the quiver.

txkimmers and Vanita (outerspace) lead with Z>4. (These are the strongest scores I've seen so far.)

makes sense, these gals are two of flickr's brightest lights.

i know them ~ as well as rakka, efatima, ellipse, trinity and hurleygurley.

i have no clue who lewis, wise, katflora, goldrunt and shikasta.

that's a pretty useful mix of knowns v. unknowns.


Aren't the Neighbr-hoods going to turn into cliques?

if they do, that wouldn't be so bad in my book.

recently i've been getting 2 to 3 contact requests "PER DAY", if something like this gets people interested in their own group of flickr users, that's fine by me. i'm getting stretched thin.
GustavoG 17 years ago
which is what Gustavo's previous script seemed to do

I have currently three scripts - the main one suggests new favorites based on "suggestions" from your neighbors. This appears to refer to be what you referred to as "previous". It definitely doesn't suggest favorites you already have, and in its current incarnation it doesn't include your own photos either.

A minor variant tells me the "scores" of each of the favorites, so looking at the end of the list may point out "out of theme" favorites.

The newest variant is the one that tells me about neighbors and how significant the similarity is to them, compared to the larger population of neighbors.

striatic, you lost me with the "contact requests". What do you call a contact request?
striatic 17 years ago
you lost me with the "contact requests".

what i meant was people adding me as a contact. this isn't a contact request, really.

that said, i find that flickr is most fun for me when the relationships are somehow symmetrical. i'm not that interested in spectators, nor do i think the quality of my photography really warrants it.

i'm all about playing, and responding both with comments but also by having my own photography influenced by others .. either through group memes or by responding to a specific photo with one of a similar genre .. experimenting with a contact's style .. more indirectly .. subconsciously.

two to three people making you a contact each day doesn't mean that they are just sitting around being spectators, but it does diminsh the reciprocal nature of the relationship and of relationships on flirckr generally.. which to me is pretty much the only worthwhile kind.
intutum 17 years ago
i sometimes wonder if striatic is part of the flickr staff...

the point about neighbors, is interesting... however, there is always one of those... but...

i am more for why not?
i am familiar with the last.fm site and the neighbors is one added social feature to explore/discover images which you would other wise not.

flickr, go for it, if it is doable and within your objective and scope, but keep the site simple... i like the simplicity of it. the simpler it is, the more people will use it.
striatic 17 years ago
i sometimes wonder if striatic is part of the flickr staff...

i do try to make explicit distictions between myself and the flickr admin.

otherwise i would get even more "help requests" in my flickr mailbox than i already do.
bodhi47 17 years ago
great idea (although I'm partial to pack and don't think that that is a negative sounding group name, or tribe for that matter, both are communities/social groups.)
Maybe striatic should get a job with flickr so that they can pay him for the help requests that clog up his mailbox.....
lint 17 years ago
This is a great idea.

Why just favorites, why not commonly used tags as well, and shared interests? Must. find. my. ultimate. flickrtwin. (flickrmate?)
GustavoG 17 years ago
lint, your current closest neighbors appear to be wazdog, mattohara and uriba.

Sure, all the extra information might be handy in finding more stuff. I'll have to leave that to the Flickr staff, though - I'm not in the business of duplicating the entire database! ;)

Please note though, that favorites are the strongest expression of approval of a photo. The tags you use refer to your own content, not what you best like seeing (they needn't be the same). As for shared interests, I'm not sure to what extent (for example) having liked the same book will be indicative of liking the same kind of graphical art. But who knows!
rvacapinta 17 years ago
I have this phrase I like to throw around: "social hothouse"

The idea is well-known in psychology. You put any random fixed number of people together in a closed environment and they will start to interact, to argue, to fight, to hate, to love and to explore each other in a way that can not happen with casual strangers. Throw any people in a small room, lock the door, and they will form a small society.

This is why we form our closest attachments among college roommates, housemates in later life, co-workers and other realms where our options for interaction are artificially limited in some way.

The basic idea is to find some way to form "tribes" within flickr. Right now, the closest we have is groups. But they are too open and too fluid to fit the criteria above. As striatic and I discussed, its just (mostly) the same people joining the same groups. I proposed the experiment of having flickr throw you into a random tribe of people who become your "neighbors." Striatic proposed that this be determined by mutual favorites and thus form some initial bond as well as a motivation for new users to explore flickr and entangle themselves in the community.

I think theres some article pointing out that Flickr is more like a game than a photo-sharing site. I've always thought this myself. Flickr still uses some of the code and framework from an MMORPG - the Game Neverending, whose only goal was to find ways to continue the game. Flickr has many of the required elements but is still missing:

-A transactional framework where users are forced to interact. In society, this is gift exchange or monetary exchange.
-A territorial sense, a land grab, which can bind the community (again, the current groups are not enough)

However, what Flickr does have is a shared goal, an implied sense of value, which is supplied by the photographs themselves. To make a photograph a favorite is to supply a social currency. So, things are beginning to take shape.
txkimmers 17 years ago
I just posted elsewhere that I expect the next big thing to come out of the devs would be a Neighbors concept for favorites. I am not sure I would love this, although I definitely see the benefits. I don't think it would throw me into cliques so much as it would sort of passively restrict my own personal velocity in exploring the site.

There are already tribes here--those are the people that are forming the same groups, as Vaca said. They met, fell in love, bickered, etc. elsewhere and now they are setting up their familiar connections around new topics in new groups. But I don't think the groups themselves are inherently loose, it's the topics that fail to bind--the land isn't particularly grab-worthy. And new settlements are being built every day.

I belong to over 100 groups--why? Because members of my tribe have invited me. I join because of pre-existing connections. But each one of my known connections usually brings with it unknown possiblities--new people.

What the groups offer me, if their subject compels me enough to stick around even for a brief but intense while, is a opportunity to connect with someone new. Sometimes I only harvest one new connection. But my uber-tribe has gotten that much bigger for the time spent.

I guess the point I am making is that the looseness and the randonmess nevertheless delivers genuine and binding community. I think it grows more slowly via groups/comments/favorites--chat is more powerful and more direct, without a doubt.

I think Meet the Flockrs is inevitable, and I say bring it on. But I think it is less necessary than it looks at first glance.
GustavoG 17 years ago
Hmm... there is an underlying assumption there, that "neighbors" will be people you already know.

The testing we did so far of my script suggests that those using it typically find not only new photos of interest, but also new photographers they want to follow up on (contacts) and even people with very similar interests, that they weren't even aware of!

So far, it's helped people discover each other, not (as far as I can tell) prevented it.
Mattiaq 17 years ago
To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I don’t care to belong to any neighbourhood that will have people like me as a member.

More seriously, I would be interested in suggestions based on shared favourites, a sort of "other people with similar favourites also like...". But I would like to be helped to find beautiful images, not to know other people with the same tastes as mine and that, like me, can’t shoot a decent picture themselves.

Most of all I don't want to be pressed to form a community with strangers or to participate in social experiments as väcäpinta seems to suggest. If I were flickr I'd be careful not to scare the vast majority of their users who don't write in forums and are here to share with friends and families their holidays pictures.
cdevroe 17 years ago
Network, like Audioscrobbler, might be a better terminology. Neighbors suggest physical locality.

Perhaps using Longitude and Latitude (GEO), to determine neighbors. I'd say use Postal Code, but we have a lot of countries using Flickr at this point.
txkimmers 17 years ago
" Hmm... there is an underlying assumption there, that "neighbors" will be people you already know."

No, that is not what I was suggesting at all, sorry if I gave that impression. I don't know my purchasing neighbors at Amazon, nor do I know my listening neighbors at Lastfm--the script (that is correct term, right?) just offered them up to me based on what preferences I had registered. They are *potential* connections, and as I said, I see the benefits of having them available to me, for sure.

And actually, the reality is that even your most like-minded neighbors of any kind are still going to have something new to show you, to teach you.

edited to add: "Most of all I don't want to be pressed to form a community with strangers or to participate in social experiments as väcäpinta seems to suggest" Hmmmm. No wonder vaca wears so much black; clearly he has all kinds of secret plots hatching. *squints at vaca's icon*
caterina 17 years ago
See? You all are talking about very interesting stuff. I am mulling all of this over. I especially like Striatic's characterization of the photos as an "excuse" to get together.

This is very true in some ways, just like drinking coffee at a cafe is an excuse to run into your friends.
rvacapinta 17 years ago
The new group In Numerical Order:
flickr.com/groups/numerical/

is a good example of photographs for the sake of community. Any individual photograph is not important (although some manage to be interesting) but its a truly collaborative effort to get a photograph of every number.
striatic 17 years ago
Flickr has many of the required elements but is still missing:

-A transactional framework where users are forced to interact. In society, this is gift exchange or monetary exchange.
-A territorial sense, a land grab, which can bind the community (again, the current groups are not enough)


groups are close .. but groups are a bit too sprawling. i am in a lot of groups that friends have invited me to .. but this is like always hanging out with your friends at a football game or at a club .. not the most intimate, and you're always talking over the noise.

forcing people to interact is tough, scary stuff. very scary.

but there's a difference between forced at gunpoint and forced because it is innate behaviour in using flickr, without seeming obviously 'forced'.

automated 'club formation' might seem a tad too 'forced' for most people, but on the other hand, there is a critical period within a user's early usage where they need to be snapped up into a community, or else they are lost.

See? You all are talking about very interesting stuff. I am mulling all of this over. I especially like Striatic's characterization of the photos as an "excuse" to get together.

sometimes flickr is very much centered on the photographs, other times {more often} it is centered on the relationships around the photographs.

flickr is good because right now it embraces both. this is very inclusive. whether you are more a photographer or more a social butterfly, or one of the various mixtures in between ~ you can make connections.

not only is it an excuse, but it is a damn good one.
lotusgreen 17 years ago
cool idea
striatic 17 years ago
another thing .. i played this one MMOG for a while where the users were thrown into random "teams" of 15.

in some ways it was annoying having to work with 15 random people, but people would cycle in and out until a good mix was achieved.

interesting "hothouse" situation.

i'm not saying that this is right for flickr, but grouping people somewhat arbitrarily and letting the culture evolve CAN work. occasionally.

flickr needs a more organic system. normally, people would create one for themselves .. but to a certain extent the developers are in control of the nature of the groups because the ranks and rules are mostly

flickr group admins can't build their own tools to manage along specific criteria that the flickr developers haven't taken into account.

groups are limited in their flexibility.

maybe we don't need a new type of 'club' or 'tribe' or 'circle' group to hang out in .. maybe the existing group structure can shift slightly to foster the formation of these types of groups.

wow .. it's like we've come full circle back to the fundamental conversations and debates surrounding GNE .. hilarious.

maybe i need to write a manifesto. see who will rally around something more evolving and ideals based .. abstract like a manifesto, as opposed to something as rules based and specific as squared circle.

rules based versus ideals based groups... and then you'll want you coffee house groups where there is no 'goal' per se, other than hanging out and chatting.

right now, everything is skewed so heavily to rules based groups. because they work. how do we get the other types of groups to work and do we even want to?
Aldaron 16 years ago
Nice idea.
quas 16 years ago
Glad to see this thread bumped again. I think it's a great idea, and I wonder what could be done with a bit of greasemonkey and API magic.
fanatical bike [deleted] 16 years ago
neat!
AndyRobertsPhotos 16 years ago
I suspect the concept of neighbourhood in a photo-sharing context rather than a music listening one, might be better illuminated through an analysis of tags applied to one's own photographs rather than choice of favourites. Or perhaps some combination of the two. I quickly read throuh the conversation so far and saw no mention of tags, so perhaps I missed something.
scattered rice [deleted] 16 years ago
My ideas on this are posted here as the idea of Recommendations, which is more about discovering new photogrpahs/pictures.
enchanted home [deleted] 16 years ago
An interesting statistical experiment. I think we'd all like to see, occasionally anyway, more of what we like.

There may also be another way to find a concept of neighbors, but it's much more computational intensive.

neighbor(X,Y) <- People-who-faved-photographer-X also faved-photographer-Y

Producing, rather, people who shoot photos like me, rather than people who like photos that I like.

Though I'm sure in most cases that's pretty much the same aesthetic. I'm all for it. More interesting browsing, and more efficient.

But yes, in all, it (and other ideas) are an engine to drive Recommendations.
familiars? [oops addition]: great idea btw
Yorick... 16 years ago
Great Great concept !
...
What if you realize that actually a 60 % of flickr is a neighboor at 40 % of commun favorites ? ;-)
.. just kidding . I believe it is a great flickr like feature.
...
Philippe and Angie 16 years ago
does this idea scale?

with last fm - theres a finite number of bands and songs.

with flickr theres 72m photos and counting.....

just putting it out there that maybe as flickr grows, the links to neighbours grows more tenuous... perhaps?

p
jakegnyc 16 years ago
I love this idea.
kool_skatkat 16 years ago
great idea.. now allow something like that for groups as well... where you could see pictures by member, from the member who posted last.
yojasonsparks 16 years ago
Great idea... I don't think there is a scaling issue at all. Search engines regularly index and make sense of very complex graphs with billions of links. It would require flickr to buy a few more machines though :) But now they have Yahoo! to back them...
Jason
</mark> 16 years ago
Didn't get through reading all of this thread (short attention span), but it looks to be going in a great direction!

This would be a really interesting feature to see. Roll on flickr!
Neil Zone 16 years ago
Get's my vote, sounds well thought out and very logical, great idea!
timtak 15 years ago
I think that flikr/yahoo should offer striatic a job he can not refuse, for a variety of reasons but the latest is that he comes up with lots of good ideas.
hypnotic side [deleted] 15 years ago
awesome idea striatic, props
I think that flikr/yahoo should offer striatic a job he can not refuse, for a variety of reasons but the latest is that he comes up with lots of good ideas.

well, used to come up with good ideas, over a year ago.

awesome idea striatic, props

i just made the post, vacapinta and gustavo were really all over this territory at about the same time.

now, i think what i proposed way up there is a very rudimentary idea in retrospect .. i think the most efficient thing would be a personal preferences profile that could be leveraged against people or tags or groups or sets as well as favourites/photos.

or something.
daryl_mulvihill 15 years ago
best idea I have heard on flickr ideas ......bring it on
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