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Old Apr-12-2012, 08:53 AM
#1
johnloguk is offline johnloguk OP
johnloguk
Abusive Comments and Thumbs Up/Down
OK apologies for bringing this old chestnut up again, but it is driving many of us nuts and Smug's response to our concerns is making the situation worse.

First, to avoid misunderstandings and lots of pointless comments, let me be clear about what I'm concerned about here, and what definitely isn't an issue. I am not worried about negative comments, and if someone doesn't like a photo and wants to give it a thumbs down then fair enough. This is all part of the fun of Smug, we all know that the most popular photos aren't the best ones, and constructive criticism should be welcome by all of us etc etc. I also know that we can turn off the comments and thumbs features to our galleries if necessary.

But many people are concerned about anonymous abusive comments, and aggressive thumbing down of pics to the extent that they disappear from a Community. Again, let me be clear here. By abusive comments I don't mean "I think this pic is crap", that is puerile not abusive, I've had worse. But I'd love to know if Smug has a line beyond which it isn't prepared to accept a comment, and would consider taking action against the poster? Occasionally there are comments that are so abusive that they'd result in a criminal offence if they happened verbally in front of witnesses, and yet Smug have claimed that they can't or won't take action against such things in the past. I know many people who have left Communities within Smug, and even left Smug entirely, because of abusive comments targetted at them. Again, let's be clear here, some people do target individuals with the most obscene abuse, and yet I have no knowledge of Smug ever taking action against the perpetrators.

Thumbing down a pic is part of the "game" yes, but is it acceptable to thumb images down so aggressively that they disappear? I know that Smug are aware of this, but again claim they can't do anything about it. At a certain point it goes beyond "fun" into "childish", then into "abusive", some have even called it harrassment, it certainly isnt acceptable behaviour?

Please don't suggest "turn comments and thumbs off then", that is ridiculous and we shouldn't have to do it. We pay for a professional service, that should include some sort of active protection from abuse.

Please don't start talking about "censorship" or "thin end of the wedge". Taking action against someone posting paedophilic comments doesn't equate to banning someone for their religion or political views, get real! With free speech comes responsibility. With hosting a professional photo hosting website also comes responsibility. Stop turning a blind eye, and please don't respond with some vacuous statement about "Smug always endeavors to give the highest service possible... etc". We don't want mission statements, we want action. Not punitive OTT responses, just careful, measured and balanced responses to extremely offensive behaviour.

A simple comment about what is and isn't acceptable behaviour on Smug would be good, with a recognisable line in the sand even better, but sadly I'm not expecting one.

Come on Smug, generally you give a great service, but turning a blind eye to this for years is getting tiresome. Seeing this discussed ad infinitum on Facebook and other forums isn't a good advert for Smug either.
Old Apr-12-2012, 10:44 AM
#2
Andy is offline Andy
Bicameral
Andy's Avatar
We handle these comment situations from the help desk routinely. And yes, we have taken action. Have you got any active tickets at our help desk I can take a look at? I and a few others on the team deal with this. One thing you (and anyone) can do is to turn comment approval "on" in your control panel comments settings - which allows you to delete a comment before it sees the light of day.
Old Apr-12-2012, 02:55 PM
#3
johnloguk is offline johnloguk OP
johnloguk
Andy I'll be honest, I haven't got any tickets in at the moment because of the response, or lack of response, that everyone I know has had on this subject before. The main Community where this is a big issue is the Dailies, although I understand it crops up from time to time elsewhere too. Please understand that I'm not just moaning about a few negative comments. Going back 4-5 years I know of several people, mainly women, who have left the Dailies Community because of extremely abusive and personal comments. All of them said they took it up with Smug at the time and the only response was to make comments by approval only. But you still have to see the offensive comments if you do that.

Less serious, but more common, is the aggressive thumbing down of images until they disappear from the gallery. This is particularly obvious first thing in a new Smug day, when the galleries only have a few images in them. As a Brit I see this most breakfast times. On one level it is amusing to see images appear and then disappear, and there has been much speculation as to who is doing it. Sometimes, if a particular person's images appear "immune" to the thumbs downer, we have assumed that they are the culprit, but equally they could be being set up, or their account could have been hacked, so it is difficult to know for sure. There has been much bad feeling over this, some people have tackled others directly and accused them of causing the problems, but throughout Smug have been informed and refused to act.

Freedom of speech has been quoted as the reason for no action. We have also been told not to take it so seriously as it is "only a bit of fun", and that Smug has no way of knowing who the culprit is. As I said originally, a few thumbs down isn't a problem, but individuals being targetted and their images disappearing from a Community is way beyond "fun" or "freedom of speech".

Most people seem to suffer in silence, but whenever I mention it on the dailies, like today, I am inundated with comments or private messages from people who have been targetted. It is also a regular subject on Facebook, and in the interests of balance I must say that some people just think the abusers should be ignored, and I've no doubt that they may feed off the attention that compalints get them. But the bottom line is that this sort of thing shouldn't be acceptable, and if it can be shown that a person or persons are regular abusers then surely Smug would want to close their accounts, or even report them to the relevant authorities?

I hate moaning about this, I know the internet encourages trolling of all sorts and it can be difficult to tackle. But surely Smug has some way of seeing who is behind anonymous abusive comments, or extreme aggressive use of the thumbs down feature?

If you need people to make current complaints I am happy to mention this on the dailies tomorrow morning and encourage anyone who is affected to contact you?

For me personally, this morning my posts to the main Daily Community and the Daily Post Community both disappeared within minutes of being uploaded. I logged out, thumbed the pics back in, but they both disappeared again. Eventually I made a comment on my own Daily pic as a guest, simply to get it back up again. A few hours later there were a lot more comments on it, making it difficult to thumb it into oblivion, so I deleted my guest comment. However, I did notice that my pic had 9 comments on it, and was surrounded in the rankings by pics of 3-4 comments, which was odd. It was clear that a small number of other pics had been similarly affected. It also appears that anyone who puts their head above the parapet by mentioning this behaviour becomes a bigger target for the idiot(s) doing it. Maybe this is why many people turn a blind eye to it?

Finally, I am aware of various bizarre behaviours that some people use to boost their images in large Communities like the dailies, most of which are laughable and not serious. Imaginary friends, family members commenting en masse, careful timing of uploads to maximise the chances of being on the most popular page, cliques boosting each others photos etc. These things are petty and silly, and will always go on. But hopefully the more serious stuff can be tackled?
Old Apr-12-2012, 03:29 PM
#4
Andy is offline Andy
Bicameral
Andy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnloguk View Post
Andy I'll be honest, I haven't got any tickets in at the moment because of the response, or lack of response, that everyone I know has had on this subject before. The main Community where this is a big issue is the Dailies, although I understand it crops up from time to time elsewhere too. Please understand that I'm not just moaning about a few negative comments. Going back 4-5 years I know of several people, mainly women, who have left the Dailies Community because of extremely abusive and personal comments. All of them said they took it up with Smug at the time and the only response was to make comments by approval only. But you still have to see the offensive comments if you do that.
OK But they'll never see the light of day. How exactly are we to stop them from being abusive in the first place? When brought to our attention, and if we can know who the commenter is, we have dealt with this.
Quote:

Less serious, but more common, is the aggressive thumbing down of images until they disappear from the gallery. This is particularly obvious first thing in a new Smug day, when the galleries only have a few images in them. As a Brit I see this most breakfast times. On one level it is amusing to see images appear and then disappear, and there has been much speculation as to who is doing it. Sometimes, if a particular person's images appear "immune" to the thumbs downer, we have assumed that they are the culprit, but equally they could be being set up, or their account could have been hacked, so it is difficult to know for sure. There has been much bad feeling over this, some people have tackled others directly and accused them of causing the problems, but throughout Smug have been informed and refused to act.
I'm sorry but what should we do to "act" on this? If people want to thumb down, they will. How could we stop them?
Quote:

Freedom of speech has been quoted as the reason for no action. We have also been told not to take it so seriously as it is "only a bit of fun", and that Smug has no way of knowing who the culprit is. As I said originally, a few thumbs down isn't a problem, but individuals being targetted and their images disappearing from a Community is way beyond "fun" or "freedom of speech".

Most people seem to suffer in silence, but whenever I mention it on the dailies, like today, I am inundated with comments or private messages from people who have been targetted. It is also a regular subject on Facebook, and in the interests of balance I must say that some people just think the abusers should be ignored, and I've no doubt that they may feed off the attention that compalints get them. But the bottom line is that this sort of thing shouldn't be acceptable, and if it can be shown that a person or persons are regular abusers then surely Smug would want to close their accounts, or even report them to the relevant authorities?
We ALWAYS do the right thing - if there's abuse, show me who is abusing whom. I will personally handle it. If a law is being broken, or someone is threatening, or otherwise violating SmugMug Terms, show them to me and I will personally handle it. You can always write ATTN: Andy at the help desk.
Old Apr-13-2012, 12:04 AM
#5
johnloguk is offline johnloguk OP
johnloguk
OK Andy thanks for offering to be personally involved. I promise you that I and many others have brought this up before, including recently, and not had any satisfaction, hence my frustrated tone I'm afraid. I keep being at pains to point out that I'm not remotely worried about people disliking images, making negative comments or using the thumbs down feature appropriately.

I am only bothered about comments that are so abusive that they make people want to leave Smug, and people who deliberately target individuals with the thumbs down to the extent of making their photos disappear.

Thanks again for offering to look into this personally, I'll mention it on the Daily Community today and pass the word around people I know have been affected so that they can get in touch rather than suffer in silence.
Old Apr-13-2012, 03:55 AM
#6
Andy is offline Andy
Bicameral
Andy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnloguk View Post
OK Andy thanks for offering to be personally involved. I promise you that I and many others have brought this up before, including recently, and not had any satisfaction, hence my frustrated tone I'm afraid. I keep being at pains to point out that I'm not remotely worried about people disliking images, making negative comments or using the thumbs down feature appropriately.

I am only bothered about comments that are so abusive that they make people want to leave Smug, and people who deliberately target individuals with the thumbs down to the extent of making their photos disappear.

Thanks again for offering to look into this personally, I'll mention it on the Daily Community today and pass the word around people I know have been affected so that they can get in touch rather than suffer in silence.
I have been handling these Personally for nearly 8 years.
They rarely turn out well, typically the reporter shows us an anonymous comment that I can do nothing about except delete, and tell the site owner to turn on comment approval.

Please make sure that when and if you write me at the help desk, you have information about the offending party - website, name, the actual comment.

Remember, comment approval is your friend.
Old Apr-14-2012, 02:58 AM
#7
RuSu is offline RuSu
Absolute Beginner
Yes, comments are our friend, but thumbs (up or down) aren't helpful to anyone. and it seems the only way to solve the problem is to completely remove them, which I thought was under consideration months ago. I understand SM probably has no way of determining who the nasty culprit is, but the problem disappears if thumbs are no longer an option. Like most in the Dailies, I, too, have been a victim. I've also had people give the thumbs up to shots which have no comments and, quite honestly, it's completely meaningless to me. Get rid of the thumbs, please. It'll stop annoying your customers and give you fewer headaches.
Old Apr-14-2012, 07:08 AM
#8
jmcqueen is offline jmcqueen
Big grins
It seems there should be a reasonable way to solve this problem .... is it possible to only have the thumbs up option? Really, if we think about it, what is the purpose of the 'thumbs down'? If the viewer doesn't like a shot, do nothing, if they do... a thumbs up will show their approval. I've never really understood the need for the thumbs down & it certainly is creating an atmosphere that is sometimes very difficult to deal with & threatens to destroy an otherwise wonderful supportive community, particularly in the Daily Photos.

Thanks for your personal attention to this Andy, it will be appreciated by many, especially if you can find a way to resolve the issues.
Old Apr-14-2012, 07:43 AM
#9
Allen is online now Allen
"tweak 'til it squeaks"
Allen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcqueen View Post
.... is it possible to only have the thumbs up option? ....
Great idea, should be adapted immediately.


After all, there are "like" buttons but no "unlike" buttons.
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Old Apr-14-2012, 09:03 AM
#10
arthill is offline arthill
Art Hill
arthill's Avatar
Yes, eliminate thumbs down
Or eliminate it for anyone who is not logged on.
Best idea is to just eliminate it. What's the point?
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Old Apr-14-2012, 09:15 AM
#11
Synapped is offline Synapped
Foto Fool
Synapped's Avatar
Awesome idea, JMcQueen! I was actually in the process of suggesting the same thing, but my browser closed unexpectedly, and you beat me to the punch! Love it!
The whole "community" concept implies fellowhip, comaraderie. We are sharing, helping and learning from each other. I belong to several other photo sharing sites, and none have an equivalent to the Thumbs Down. If a person wants to express dislike for an image they should do it openly in a comment of constructive criticism. It's disappointing that Smugmug won't listen to us -- we've addressed this over and over. I've been tempted to leave the site because of this issue. Now that my year Pro subscription is up, I'm seriously thinking about it again, but I've made friends here and hate to do it...
Old Apr-14-2012, 10:25 AM
#12
Kresten Refslund is offline Kresten Refslund
Beginner grinner
I should like to add my experience to this thread. Over the last 18 months I have had 8-10 pictures in the "All times" list" However every times my pictures have been there a day or two the suddenly disappear. At one time I was able to follow the culprit in action. Every 10 to 15 second I could see my picture drop in the ranking. It was obviously a attack from one person not logged in. I tried to give it "thumbs up" a few times, but in vain. I don't think that I have annoyed any member of the SM community. If I dislike a picture I do not give it a comment. If Andy wants a reference you could look up this picture: http://refslund.smugmug.com/popular/...619023&k=wKD8W
It have been in and out of the "All Times" several times. On April 1st it came up again and reached rank #750 by April 2nd it had disappeared again. On the statistic page I saw that there had been 1453 "hits" on that picture. The picture have 135 comments and should therefore have had a rating among the 25 best pictures. this have been so disappointing for me that I have stopped uploading pictures to the dailies and intend to leave the SmugMug community next time my membership is up for renewal.

DearAndy. I hope you can do something about this misuse. My suggestion is that the use of the red "bottom down" is canceled.
Old Apr-14-2012, 05:34 PM
#13
Andy is offline Andy
Bicameral
Andy's Avatar
The New SmugMug Gallery Style
Hi guys, take a read again of the changes coming down the road, with our new gallery style. In particular, this quote regarding thumbs:

Quote:
Originally Posted by onethumb
- PhotoRank. Our PhotoRank algorithm has continued to evolve over time, and this is yet another one of those evolutions. The thumbs up / thumbs down metaphor is gone, and we instead rely on other signals (many of which we've always used already, some of which are new) to determine how popular a photo is. As usual, we won't disclose specifics and it's always a moving target, but this is a big change.
Old Apr-15-2012, 08:37 AM
#14
Allen is online now Allen
"tweak 'til it squeaks"
Allen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post
Hi guys, take a read again of the changes coming down the road, with our new gallery style. In particular, this quote regarding thumbs:
We need the thumbs up. Almost all visitors will click it rather then leaving a comment. It works like a
"like" button. Another thing that would be nice is under tools add a "reset" popular so we can easiely
remove some photos.
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Old Apr-15-2012, 10:09 PM
#15
RuSu is offline RuSu
Absolute Beginner
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post
Hi guys, take a read again of the changes coming down the road, with our new gallery style. In particular, this quote regarding thumbs:

The question is, when is 'down the road'? Everyone's been waiting for quite some time for the new gallery style & the change to thumbs. It's getting old.
Old Apr-16-2012, 04:37 AM
#16
arthill is offline arthill
Art Hill
arthill's Avatar
I would say your algorithm still needs some work. This picture
http://fotoeffects.smugmug.com/Daily...954366&k=Pm8sC
is currently number 3 in the most popular TODAY, even though it is a year old and only has THREE comments today.
What's the point of having a most popular TODAY?

And, I'm not sure how to interpret Andy's comment about thumbs. Andy, are you saying that thumbs already are not figured into popularity?
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Old Apr-16-2012, 08:40 AM
#17
Andy is offline Andy
Bicameral
Andy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by arthill View Post
I would say your algorithm still needs some work. This picture
http://fotoeffects.smugmug.com/Daily...954366&k=Pm8sC
is currently number 3 in the most popular TODAY, even though it is a year old and only has THREE comments today.
What's the point of having a most popular TODAY?

And, I'm not sure how to interpret Andy's comment about thumbs. Andy, are you saying that thumbs already are not figured into popularity?
7 comments....
thumbs will be not part of the new gallery style.
Old Apr-16-2012, 11:23 AM
#18
jmcqueen is offline jmcqueen
Big grins
Quote:
thumbs will be not part of the new gallery style.
Wonderful news, Andy!! Bring it on, these changes can't happen too quickly!!
Old Apr-16-2012, 07:50 PM
#19
Synapped is offline Synapped
Foto Fool
Synapped's Avatar
Bravo! Thank you, SM, for listening! I hope this is SOOON!
Old Apr-18-2012, 07:58 AM
#20
johnloguk is offline johnloguk OP
johnloguk
Just some final points of clarification from me Andy, are you saying that Smug have no way of knowing who is doing the excessive thumbing down, or you are not prepared to tackle it because you feel it is acceptable or just human nature etc?

My idealistic, non-techie assumption is that in this high tech age Smug do know who is thumbing down or up. If you're saying that it is technically impossible to know then I will remain frustrated and angry, but at least people can't claim that Smug aren't concerned about it.

The same applies to anonymous commenters. I understand that devious and tech savvie people can re-route their computers through others somehow, therefore hiding their identity from all but the highest tech pursuers, but I assume that most anonymous commenters can still be identified relatively easily so long as the motivation is there to do so?

Again, I wouldn't expect Smug to waste time and resources chasing someone who thinks a photo is "crap", but at some point a comment becomes so offensive that the perpetrator needs tracking down.

So Andy could you confirm what Smug can and can't do in this area, and give some idea of what constitutes "offensive" to the extent that it would be pursued rather than ignored?
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