Flickr Comment Spam: Any Solutions?

A great photo by Wolfpix seems to have attracted a lot of obvious Flickr comment spam.

(UPDATE: Turns out the comments I’m complaining here are not comment spam — but man, they sure look like it. See Karoli’s comment below for an explanation.)

I love Flickr and other photo-sharing services. Not that I’m much of a photographer myself, but I love that Flickr makes it easy to designate and find Creative Commons-licensed images. I even have a Flickr CC search plugin on my Firefox search bar, and I use it daily. That’s because I prefer to include an illustrative image with every post. It just makes blogging more fun.

Whenever I use a CC-licensed image, I always comment back thank the owner and let them know I used it as an illustration, and where. I figure it’s the least I can do.

Because I leave lots of comments on Flickr to thank photographers for their CC-licensed images, I’ve been noticing lately though that comment spam seems to be picking up on Flickr. That’s a bummer.

Case in point: This morning I used this great duck picture by Wolpix to illustrate this E-Media Tidbits post by Steve Klein. When I went to leave my comment, I noticed many other comments that appear to be spam — they’re identical, except they’re left by different “users” — as if someone set up fake Flickr accounts for the purpose of leaving spam.

Spam in this environment especially sucks because it cuts off conversation and dilutes relevance.

What could Flickr do — or are they doing something I’m missing — to either prevent comment spam or discourage it by making it harder?

5 thoughts on Flickr Comment Spam: Any Solutions?

  1. Hi Amy,
    I didn’t know about the FireFox plugin. Thanks. Which of the plugins are you using?

    I also hadn’t thought of adding a comment to an image I’m using. Good idea. I had been sending private messages to the owner but I like the idea of letting other viewers know that an image has been used.

  2. Amy, that’s not really comment spam. Some groups invite images in, and then the members comment by posting preset code (usually created by the group admin) to award it with a comment and a “vote”.

    The more ‘votes’ an image gets, the more likely it is to wind up on the “interestingness 500′, which is the goal of many who participate in the Flickr Community.

    I recently posted this photo, which was invited to the same group you mention in your post. As you can see, I didn’t receive the same number of ‘votes’ as the duck did.

    Nancy White would call those comments a ‘community indicator’. To me, they’re a lot of work, so I’ve actually considered taking the tack of asking that my images NOT be invited to groups.

    (PS — mine are available under the same CC license…feel free to use them)

  3. Ah, Thanks Karoli. I didn’t understand how that worked. But man, those group invites sure do look like spam! Ugh. There’s got to be a better way to handle that side of the process.

    – Amy Gahran

  4. Thanks. That’s the one I settled on myself. Initially I was a bit cautious of the vast selection of plug-ins available. Like my cats, I was suspicious and felt the need to wap them first.

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