Check one two. Phhhfft.
Yep, still works.
Q and A Time!
Q: Tell us more about tags
A: I think the most recent photo that has been given a particular tag within your fotolasphere should be the icon for that tag.
A: Read it again. It's about what tags will look like in the interface. About a quarter the size of links, like flags. Four to a link space.
Q: Um... Okay, what's a fotolasphere?
A: The filtered set of fotolae which you trust. It's like another level of favorites -- only it works in reverse. Everyone is in your fotolasphere, until you remove them - you decide what is offensive and what isn't. And you can share fotolaspheres, or parts of them, with others. It's the only way I can think of to allow an influx of new members to wash across the entire community, but also limit the amount of spam and allow free expression across cultures on the site.
Q: Will there be a moderation or vetting process?
A: I should bloddy well think so. But I want to make that as light-weight as possible, because we don't have any professional moderators. Maybe we only allow new members on Thursdays or something. Maybe you can review at a glance all of the new members since your last visit, and weed out anything obvious right away.
Q: Speaking of which, what *about* all those membership requests?
A: I'm mean, and lazy. That should have been fixed a long time ago. We get membership requests all the time from about.fotola.com, but I never answer them. I don't actually want new people to join (though I love you all) -- I was really happy when we closed membership, because I had this idea that all 300 of us had something special -- that in 20 years, the ones that were left would be putting up the same amazing work that they are today.
I know who you are. You'll get an old-skool tag when the next version launches.
Q: So no moderators?
A: Didn't say that. No professional moderators. You can moderate for everyone who shares your fotolasphere. You can link fotolaspheres together. You can pay your little sister to moderate, I don't care. The point is, I'm not going to pay moderators. I want fotola to be able to feel open, I want to want millions of fotolae. I don't right now. Passive moderation will change that. I hope.
Q: And what's this about tags?
A: The technology behind tags, the infrastructure if you will, makes all of the rest of this possible. I can fetch all of the fotolae that have a particular tag in one query. I can fetch all of the fotolae that are tagged with the id of your fotolasphere in one query. This still amazes me, I wrote a version of it today. It makes some really, really cool stuff possible.
Q: So tags are the key to sharing and vetting?
A: Yep. And just keeping threads of photos going. Collections, if you will. You can hang tags on your entries just like other users can leave comments.
Q: And comments will obey the bounds of your fotolasphere too?
A: That will be an additional setting for comments. I don't want you to exist in a bubble, that's not what this is about. I still, on some level, believe in anonymous comments -- because I make it hard to register and I don't your real-life friends to have to join in order to comment on your photos. (Or maybe I should?)
Q: But anonymous comments are subject to spam and other nastiness.
A: Well, this is the internet. Why should fotola be any different then anywhere else? On the other hand, we know how to fix the spam problem, up to about 90%: run all new comments through your email inbox with enough information to allow a decent spam filter to toss it. You choose which anonymous comments make it onto your entires, by clicking a link in the email. Grandma makes it, p3nisenl4rg3nt doesn't.
Q: Anything else?
A: Nah, just realized we should be "expecting" certain responses for each user. It's a security thing, to prevent someone from emailing you a disguised approval link that causes you to approve the wrong message. I'm writing a book on this stuff, and this belongs in the Cross-Site Scripting chapter. Sorry.
Q: No worries. Thanks for the time.
A: You're welcome. Thanks for the eye candy. And by the way, don't think I've forgotten all the other plans - about making fotola a federation so you can run your own servers if you want, but still be hooked into the same meta community. It's all part of the plan.
Must. Take. Pictures.
Between having to scrub the black mold off of my office walls (leaky drainpipe completely trashed the room), biking to and from work, and just generally getting my shit together in a world gone mad, I have not taken a single picture in something like a month and a half.
But at least I was able to hack on the Fotola code a bit today, and do some much needed maintenance on the server.
Back in New York, back at work, waiting for a bunch of delegates, protestors, and anarchists (heh) to take over the city next week.
I plan to do a lot of walking...