Ken Welch 快樂老虎 Official

Originally from L.A., now living in Germany.
Most of my pics are from occasional travels in 50+ countries.

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Bug report (this has been around since last year): When you set Photo Privacy to Limited Access, only you yourself should be able to see your photos. But it turns out (bug!) that some or perhaps all VCG members can see them. I'm getting likes, only from VCG users, for photos that aren't supposed to visible. Because of this error I'll have to delete them from my portfolio entirely.

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Looking back, things I wish I had done better when I first started out (my Beginner Rules):
1) Don't post landscapes with tilted horizons. Especially of the ocean. This causes the seawater to spill everywhere.
2) Avoid outdoor pictures with boring, overcast skies. Just because I was at the right place at the wrong time doesn't mean I have to upload it.
3) But bright mid-day sun and flawless blue sky isn’t necessarily better. Just because I was at the right place at the wrong time doesn't mean I have to upload it.
4) More than 1 photo of a duck in a scummy local pond is too many.
5) Avoid routine vacation snapshots, as nice a time as I might have had. I should share them with friends and family on Facebook instead.
6) Check whether I accidentally uploaded just the thumbnail (though this doesn't seem to bother some upvoters).
7) Avoid HDR-ing a photo to the point that halos have their own halos and there are angry grey blobs in the sky.
8) Don't shoot a flower in a pot (including the pot) just because it's there and I happen to have my smartphone with me.
9) If I ignore #8 and shoot that single flower, don't use my smartphone's vignette blur filter. It doesn't add proper DOF but instead a round smear, including parts of said flower.
10) For that matters, don't shoot any random object in my apartment just because I need to upload a photo (Hey! Dirty dishes! That's an upload!)
11) Really, really think twice about whether a boring scene will be any better in black and white.
12) A photo that has a reflection on a lake is not automatically a good photo.
13) A photo with a sunset is not automatically a good photo, especially one taken out my bathroom window and which shows nearby power and telephone cables.
14) Leave documenting every mundane road in my city to Google Street View.
15) Wildlife photos showing public zoo enclosures aren't that wild.
16) Reconsider whether I really have to post that flower from #9 that I shot with my smartphone in glaring daylight. It required a high f-stop to the point that there's no background blurring and the cigarette butts in the dirt will be clear.
17) Just because I'm enjoying a pleasant walk in an otherwise ordinary park or forest doesn't mean that a picture I took while doing so will be interesting. Keep the memory, forget the upload.
18) Don't use the Orton effect on everything, including grungy urban street life.
19) Compose (or at least crop) my outdoor photographs such that I'm forced to actually leave my car, the sidewalk or road to get a nice scene. Trampled snow or trash on the side of the way just kills the mood.

Hopefully I'll be more attentive in the future to pleasing photography rather than uploading just for uploading's sake.

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Starting around 1 January we started seeing photos from previously unknown VCG users making it to the top of the Popular section. What was happening? Soon after uploading they were pushing a button that added anywhere from 100 to 1700 automated likes from fake VCG accounts to boost their photo's pulse to 98 or higher, close to the top, after which the herd mentality kicked in and real 500px users would start loving and commenting how wonderful it is, no matter how good or bad the upload was.

This cheating has continued, and even today you must assume that every two or three days one of the 10 photos at the top of Most Popular has gotten there using this VCG Viagra. The 500px office in Toronto, where a team moderates reports of spam, plagiarism, etc., does not have any control over VCG accounts. VCG is aware of the cheating, but it appears to be OK with it.

Looking into this cheating more closely I have found that it dates back, in fact, to as early as mid-2017. There are thousands of fake accounts being used for this automation. Each of one particular VCG cheater’s photos was often the number 1 photo during the time span May – November 2018.

FYI: I’ve collected many of those photos in this gallery

26 May 2020 (update) – Two VCG members in particular have been using this method on most of their uploads:


Note that Mr. Yingyephoto occasionally uses photos taken by other people, which explains why some of his uploads also appear in my One Photo, Many Variations gallery:

Let me know whether you feel 500px should make fake likes available to non-VCG members as well. Perhaps we can get a petition started for this function.

Note: I also discovered that there are numerous VCG users who have 1,000 – 4,000 followers, yet most of them are fake accounts. Let’s call this cheating, too, because we tend to assume that someone with a lot of followers must have them for legitimate reasons. Here's a gallery with some of the people with fake followers

  • 157,602 Affection
  • 2,173,060 Photo Views
  • 67 Following
  • Berlin, Germany