Last night I posted in reaction to a number of comments I read on the dislike button saying I quite liked it and explaining why (see In support of 500px's dislike button
As a consequence, two things happened this morning. When I woke up, there were a number of comments and favorites on my photos that weren't there the night before. Also, my affection had dropped by a couple of points. When I checked the rating on some of the individual photos, I noticed that the last 6 photos had dropped to single digits of low teens.
I had been actively disliked.
Of course, there's a superb irony in there. People who clearly disagreed with me used the dislike button they so hate to punish me for coming out in favour of it, thus not only contradicting themselves but also showing that they didn't read what I wrote. Not that I care much: vindictiveness doesn't really affect me.
The comments and tweets however were more interesting and pointed to something I didn't properly explain. Re-reading my previous post it became clear that you could read it as me disliking high quality pictures in genres or styles that we see too many of to cull the herd, as it were. That's not what I do. What I do (occasionally, I should add, I don't spend my days navigating the popular section ;-) is focus on pictures I find interesting and original to like them, and focus on genres and styles that aren't to my tastes to target the duds in those genres.
In other words, I still only dislike pictures that I don't think should make it (either because they are really not worth the accolade from a photographic point of view or because they're overprocessed to the point of looking like advertising) but I am more critical of genres that we see too much of in my opinion.
Now maybe that's not the best way to tweak the ecosystem to my liking (and remember, I'm just one vote, so I have no illusions as to the influence of my voting) but it's the only one I have. And I'm fully aware of the way the dislike button can be abused. But every time I followed a tweet or blog recently about someone complaining about having been disliked, I didn't really see the stunning pictures that their authors suggested they were...
So I think that despite the possibility (and as I've clearly experienced, the reality) of abuse of the dislike button, in the absence of a better mechanism to express what I'd like to see, I'll use that one.
The irony is that as I was saying yesterday, exposure trumps everything else when it comes to being visible. Sounds recursive, and it is. I agree that 500px might allow really good stuff better visibility than other photographic hosting networks starting with an F even if the author is unknown, but if the author is well-known and followed, any of their pictures will come to the top no matter how good they are.
So in writing this blog post and creating the miniscule controversy that I created, I attracted attention to my photos. I got intensely disliked, but over the course of the day today, my affection rating went up 9 points. Not only did that cancel the effects of the dislikes, it increased them. I don't much care and I don't see it as anything but a pleasant ego boost, but more importantly, I think it's proven my point on that count at least...