Leaving Flickr

It is the time of the year to renew my new 2-year pro Flickr account. The sticker price increased by 100% for long-term Flickr accounts. This is a good time to reflect if I want to stay on Flickr.

I’ve been a paying Flickr user for a long time with more than seven thousand uploaded photos. Not very surprisingly, I use the site to discover photos and to share photos with friends and family.

I have the greatest join by:
a) going through old my photos. Then I’m reminiscing where I was in my life when I took that photo. As public online photos are carefully curated, this is a 99% positive experience.
b) looking at other peoples’ photos. After leaving South Africa I did this. I’ve seen a lot of historic Cape Town and African wilderness photos. Flickr is a good quiet place to do that, no additional social network noise and distractions.
c) knowing that I can download my photos in case I lost some or all of them.

There are also negative aspects:
a) There is limited trust with Flickr as a company. It changed hands multiple times. How good is the data protection in the long-term? Somebody will monetize my data in obscene ways in the future.
b) The Flickr’s owner will go bankrupt one day. Then I have to leave. Now I can choose to or not.
c) When I joined Flickr it had a active community. Now most people left and went somewhere else. There isn’t much of a network effect. It’s low interaction and traffic.

There are basic questions to answer:
a) Somebody will be the missing marginal Flickr user that pushes the company running Flicker to close shop. If users leave then Flickr dies. This would be said as Flickr is a de facto photo archive for the Internet. Do I care enough that this archive stays up?
b) Opportunity cost, pretend I’ve exactly these $50 to use. Is this the best way to spend it?
c) Do I have to see this as a pure business transaction? One company bought Flickr from another company. It was sheer luck that Yahoo didn’t close shop already. Companies have their own motivations to sell/run/close a site. Why should I pay money to make this business transaction a success?

a) Yes, but I expect the internet archive would take over. It makes more sense to donate to the internet archive than a for profit company.
b) No, there are more interesting things to spend money on. I could buy 10 magazines, 10 movies or x GB of photo storage for the same amount.
c) Yes, this is a business transaction. At the end of the day they’ll do anything to make ends meet for Flickr. Including decisions that will finally destroy Flickr.

The also-good-fallacy

Institutions, including companies, claim that we should support them because they do good. If we follow this thinking then we are the victim of a fallacy. Any large enough organization will do good. This is unavoidable. A large organization makes a lot of decisions. By chance the outcome of some of those decisions have to overlap with the general good.

The fallacy is to think that this is the reason the institution exists, that this is a significant portion of their actions and this is a rational decision to support the institution. All the other decisions are very selfish and not aligned with the common good in deed or to state it differently “I support an organization because it’s mostly selfish and doesn’t align its action with the general good.” Changing the point of view to look at all actions shows how ludicrous the argument is.

To be also good is as profound a statement as to exist. As long as anything exists it will do positive and negative deeds.

It’s sad to stop my Flickr subscription. Somehow the optimism of the internet went away. Openness gave way to monetization in walled gardens. At least now I’m going to have my own walled garden where all the weed I want can grow. I’ll also give $50 to Wikipedia in 2020.

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