Red Flags

Now listen, here's a question I've been meaning to ask, and it's a tricky one so hold tight: when someone makes one of your photos a "favorite" on Flickr, what do you do?

No, I don't mean technically. Technically, of course, you don't have to do anything---the person likes your photo enough to favorite it, and nine times out of ten it's because it's a cool shot, or they're digging the light, or they know the town it's taken in, or they maybe want to take a picture of your haircut to the hairdresser the next time they go. And these are all great reasons for a person to mark one of your photos a favorite, and 95% of the time you're immensely flattered, and everything is fine, and you check out the photos of the person who favorited your picture, and this person, from what you can tell from their own photos, seems a person you'd totally have brunch with if you knew them in real life, or sometimes even like a person you might donate a spare kidney to. You know, if they asked nicely and you had the right insurance.

So I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about what you do when the person who has favorited your photo seems a little......odd; when you notice, perhaps, that they've marked a picture of your pointy shoes as a favorite, and so you click on over to their other favorites and find a whole gallery of pointy shoes, and we're not talking in a fun, harmless, OMG-those-are-the-cutest-flats! kind of way, but more in a way that brings to mind a word that starts with F and rhymes with "lettuce," or at least the way Sean Connery says "lettuce," which I imagine to be something like "letish."

What do you do then?

And what about when someone favorites---no kidding---over a hundred pictures of you from all your different archived photo sets, and when you click on their My Favorites page, you find, with a rising sense of discomfort, that the whole thing resembles a sort of shrine to you, and all that's missing are the candles and the voodoo doll? What about when someone favorites a picture of you and all he seems to be doing is favoriting hundreds of thousands of pictures of girls in glasses? What about when someone asks you to add your photo to a pool called Girls With Visible Bra Straps? (No, seriously, it exists.) What about when a person favorites a picture of you cooking in an apron, and so you go to their favorites page, and, hey, it seems like they just like cool vintage aprons and that's fine, but then WHOA HOLD UP A SECOND, there's a picture of someone cooking in nothing but a vintage apron, if you know what I mean, and uh, wow, that's a totally different story altogether. (Also: most likely dangerous. Wouldn't you think? Standing so close to the stove?)

What I'm saying is that Flickr can be a little creepy, man. And yet it seems so high and mighty just to "block" someone because they've made it publicly known that they like your picture. Don't you think? I mean, what constitutes blocking? At what point do you block? Is it harmless for a foot fetishist to have a picture of your gold Payless flats? I don't know. On the one hand, no small babies are being harmed or anything, and really, it seems churlish to take the picture away from the person who favorited it, but on the other hand, I don't know, something about it just doesn't sit right with me. Call me crazy, but I don't want my photos to be someone else's porn! Can't we all just admire each other's sunsets and kitchen appliances and new red ballet flats and dimpled kids and bathroom remodels without some potential perv putting everyone on guard?

A few days ago, for instance, I noticed that someone had favorited about fifty of my photos over the course of half an hour, and it struck me as just a tad strange, although she seemed otherwise fairly normal, and so I dropped her a note and politely inquired why. I said I hoped she didn't think I was rude for asking, but I couldn't help noticing that she'd favorited an awful lot of my pictures in the last half hour, ha ha ha, um, any particular reason? And she wrote me back and said that she'd favorited all these photos (of me, my apartment, my cats, my dinner) because she liked them but she was too tired to comment on them and say she liked them, and so by favoriting them---easier than commenting, you see--she was effectively just letting me know that she liked them.

And then, of course, I felt stupid for asking. I felt like a heel! She liked my photos! Big deal! I put them up there for people to see them, didn't I?

So why did I still feel just a teensy bit weird about it?

I realize that most people who add one of your photos as a favorite are totally legit and absolutely harmless, and I do understand, of course, that when you publicly post photos of yourself, your apartment, your cats, and your dinner, you're effectively building a neat little glass house around yourself from which you shouldn't really be allowed to throw stones, but I'm wondering, Flickr-users, where you draw the line. How do you feel when someone you don't know adds a picture of you to their favorites page, or when you check out their other collected images and find stuff that makes you a little uncomfortable? Is it a case of simply hitting "block" and banishing their vague sketchiness forever? Or does your ingrained sense of British politeness get in the way, because oh my gosh, what if you offend them? Do you err on the side of caution and banish the potential creepies forever, even if they're only---at this point, at least---potential? Or do you give them the benefit of the doubt and choose to believe that they're just trying to compile a little research on their next pair of glasses or earrings or stilettos?

(On the other hand, of course, when all evidence points to the fact that they might be trying to compile a little research on their next pair of boobs, you should probably block them immediately, I'd say. You know, just to be on the safe side and all.)

Apr 08, 2008

Sorry.. I was laughing so hard imagining Sean Connery saying lettuce that I couldn't read the rest of the post as my tears of laughter were making the words all blurry... lettuce lettish har har

Apr 08, 2008

You say

something about it just doesn't sit right with me

And that (along with the title of your post) sounds to me like exactly what Flickr's block option is all about. From their Help files:

Blocking is a simple way to make sure that everyone is comfortable. If you've been blocked by somebody, it is most likely your interaction with them is outside their comfort zone.

Note that when you block people they are not notified of it at all. (Unless they've got you as a contact -- in that case, you're removed from their contact list).

When people skeeve me out on the Flickr I feel no compunction about blocking them. It's supposed to be comfortable, and those controls are there because sometimes they're needed.

Rachel Green
Apr 08, 2008

It sounds fairly harmless to me but then I have no problem with people's lettuces ;).Just be careful not to leave your address or telephone number up there with, for example, a photo of your front door and street sign (don't laugh -- I've seen it done!)

Apr 08, 2008

Perhaps I get creeped out too easily and jump to blocking people without thinking it through, but if someone gives me a weird feeling I have to go with my instinct. I've blocked people I actually know from having access to certain profiles and web content because it seemed to me that they were oddly interested in me. As my mom says, instinct is there for a reason, as long as it's not paranoia it's good to listen to it. And the fact that you share some of your life in this fabulous blog (kinda brave! and always entertaining!) shows that you're not paranoid about Strangers On the Internet.

My two cents.

P.S. I just found your blog and have discovered I must read it at home, because I giggle audibly at least once every entry.

Apr 08, 2008

Block 'em.

On the one hand, you might hurt their feelings. On the other hand, it's not worth feeling uncomfortable every time you put up a photo of your new shoes, wondering if someone is getting double the pleasure from them.

I guess it could be argued that, if your photos are public, there could be a million shoe fetishists looking at them without even joining Flickr or favoriting anything. But still.

I had the same dilemma when a turtleneck fetishist (yes, really) favorited some of mine. I don't have anything against turtleneck fetishists, but I didn't want to have to think about what sweater I'm wearing every time someone takes a photo of me that I might want to post.

aBd libbing
Apr 08, 2008

I read through this post really quickly and thought it was Sean, your boyfriend, who pronounces lettuce as "letish," which I found both extremely strange and hilarious. Oh, and I'd block them if it creeps you out.

Apr 08, 2008

Hello! Thank you for writing about this, I am going to forward a link to your post on to a few people that I think I may have slightly offended in the past by getting cross at them for putting personal pictures of me on flickr! :)

I now have a philosophy of not putting any pictures on flickr that are of private occasions or are too personal eg. me in my pijamas or something! 95% of people out there are lovely but then there are that weird 5% who want to use your pictures for *ahem* other purposes and I am just not happy with that. I got loads of odd messages when I posted a picture of some knackered old converse on flickr.

If I was you I would definitely block anyone that you did not feel comfortable with.

Apr 08, 2008

I thought it was odd when people I don't know started adding me as their flickr contact. I'm in no way a photographer, and I don't even use flickr that often. Then someone added me whose flickr stream consisted entirely of...nudists. Doing whatever it is that nudists do. I don't know why he would want to add me as his contact, as nothing in my photos would indicate that I'm nudist-inclined, or even nudist-friendly. For some reason I never thought of blocking him, but now I think I will, just for my own peace of mind.

Whew! I feel better now. :)

Apr 08, 2008

I say that if you're uncomfortable at all, block away! Back in December, I uploaded a whole set of over 100 old photos that spanned the 25 years my best friend & I have been....well, best friends! One of those photos was from the late 80's, when teenage girls were prone to wearing LONG band t-shirts (for instance, with spandex shorts-- purely in the name of comfort, not to show off our behinds. The shorts came down to our knees and the t-shirts came down just about as far, so it's not like we were showing anything OFF.
So, when I saw someone had favorite'd a photo of she & I in our matching Def Leppard t-shirts/spandex shorts (though, AGAIN, our shirts were so oversized they might as well have been dresses, it was not "sexy" in any way), I wondered why and clicked over to that person's flickr.
I promptly heard the psycho knife high-pitched notes because this man had lots of photos of HIMSELF in very revealing spandex, and every photo in his collection taken by other people was because THEY were in spandex. I was more than mildly disturbed, so I blocked him immediately.
The internet can be freaky sometimes, and if you're ever feeling uncomfortable, I say go with your gut every time!
House of Jules

Apr 08, 2008

Personally speaking, I'd tend to get freaked out if a stranger was favouriting lots of pictures of my kid. That said I think any picture of myself that's public is fairly fair game and I tend to feel fairly relaxed about various people's lettuces.

But having said that, I think you need to do whatever is right for you, and if that means blocking to feel comfortable then by all means go for it.

Apr 08, 2008

Do you remember Liz's friend, Gemma? Well, anyway, a stranger favourited a photo of her sporting some boots; then she discovered that it was the latest in a pretty hefty collection of boot shots.

It added to the creepiness that they had taken the (innocuous to the average eye) photo from her boyfriend's Flickr account - suggesting an unsettling subtext, you know: "Hey, man, thanks for adding that photo of your girlfriend - now I can ogle it too!"

I think they blocked Boot-boy and decided to go private, but I guess it's different if your Flickr photos furnish a public blog...block and be damned, I say.

Apr 08, 2008

Block them. Do not feed the fetishists (is that even a word?). Let them get their material from other people who don't feel icky about it.

Side note, I actually had a man come up to me at work one day and say how much he liked my sandles (total stranger, I don't always work in an office). I just said thanks and went back to work. He kept staring. He then wanted to know what size they were. That got my attention. Then he reached down and CARESSED MY FOOT. That more than got my attention, that sent my scurrying for my car and then the nearest hot shower.

Foot fetishes touch a raw nerve with me.

Apr 08, 2008

When I participated in the shoe pool in flickr, a lot of my pics got fav'd and I knew that quite possibly it was by people that would skeeve me out, so I just didn't look. I used to date a foot lettuce in high school and I am so scarred that I still can't get a pedicure over 10 years later. I'd rather not know.

Then one day an odd pic got fav'd. I wasn't sure why so I went to look and it was a guy that had pics of girls that looked like they were being strangled. That was the name of his sets. BLOCKING NOW KTHNX BYE.

Another girl faved a pic of the contents of my purse. All of her faves are the contents of peoples purses. Very odd.

Flickr is a strange place at times.

Apr 08, 2008

The internet is a bunch of voyeurs by definition, so there's your automatic grain of salt. Some people don't understand common guidelines of what might creep out a stranger... and others are of course just looking to spank it to some really nice Payless flats.

Anything makes me feel creepy, I block they shit pronto. I actually just changed my flickr profile to reflect the fact that I will block anyone who leaves blinky glittery animated kittycat photos as comments. (Did you even know you could DO that? Leave a photo as a comment? wtf.) This rule was, tragically, totally necessary, but it's also a good example of how little it takes for me to block somebody.

Which is of course only MY solution. But dang, life's too short to feel plagued by weirdos.

The bra strap guy contacted me too. Um... thanks??

Apr 08, 2008

I block them, too. I block everyone who seems creepy, or weird, or leaves insane comments.

Apr 08, 2008

I rule with the majority and say block 'em. I have had a couple of odd people favourite photos of mine and when I looked through their photostream, my spidey senses went BOING. My inner Canadian politeness (a cousin to your British sense of politeness) was not sure what to do and then remembered that I have pictures of my nieces and nephews on there and want no pervy people looking at them.

All in all, Flickr has a been a good experience for me but when your spidey senses are getting skeeved out - I say block 'em.

That is your 2 cents from Canada.

Apr 08, 2008

My roommate and I had a good giggle over letish, which made my Flickr blocking experience about a year ago easier for me to recall and re-tell. Roommate worked for American Eagle, who had a new promotion in Aerie, it's ladies' pajama/dorm section, which therefore included that she wear a promotional card with her nametag. It awkwardly said, "FREE AERIE THONG." We're just immature enough to think that it's both uncomfortable and hilarious, and I took a photograph of her holding the nametag with faux enthusiasm, only to receive a message the next day asking that I go in the store and photograph the underwear. Maybe I'd like to photograph my roommate holding the tags in other ways? He had some questionable images favorited and I didn't want to be added to that group, so I blocked him. ...and then I found five dollars.

Apr 08, 2008

I say block the creepy little person! I blocked a ballet flat fetishist last year with no hesitation! Its your right to not be a part of his that person's creepy little pointy shoed droolfest!

Apr 08, 2008

Block em!

I try to screen every person who faves my photos or adds me as a contact, to make sure they're not creepy. And I go through my old photos occasionally and further restrict the privacy on them, just to make myself more comfortable.

And I'm linking to a post about my first encounter with flickr lettuces, so you know you're not alone.

Apr 08, 2008

I've mostly let them go if they're harmless foot fetishist types, because in that long of a line of foot shots, it's not MY feet, it's just the collection of feet that gets them off, if that makes sense.

If it's my face, or anything uniquely ME, then I block them. Or, and I know this is annoying, you could make some of your more personal photos Flickr-friend only and expand your group of Flickr friends. Personally, I've never wanted to go quite that extreme, but I haven't been ... fetished ... that often, and I completely understand when other people do.

Apr 08, 2008

I'm on the blocking bandwagon, myself. I posted some pictures of my friend's roller derby birthday party (in which, yes, it's true, we were mostly wearing tiny shorts and striking poses that highlighted that fact) and the person who made some of the photos favorites had pictures of his own, ahem, naked bits, on his site and his favorites were nothing but photos of girls in small clothing. Also, his name was rubthemagiclamp. It just creeped me out. The funny thing is, I understand that by making photos like that public, I am allowing for the possibility that they are viewed by those with less honorable intentions, and I am not too bothered by it as long as it remains a vague possibility that I don't have confirmed for me. But anytime I get a favorite that suggests weirdness, I block it.

Oh, and rubthemagiclamp? His account got deleted and he started rubthemagiclamp2 and added my photos again. Ew. Go. Away.

Apr 08, 2008

I've definitely been through this before. Someone I've never interacted with will favorite a picture of my face, or my shoes, and I'll pop over to their site (I always do if it's a picture of ME and I don't know the person) and find mildly pornographic content. BLOCK! It's not high and mighty, it's just a privilege to prevent drooly gross pervs that you don't actually get in the real world. Wouldn't it be great if you did though? Creepy dude on the subway? BLOCK!

Apr 08, 2008

You shouldn't feel bad about blocking someone, afterall, you likely don't even know that person! If something makes you slightly uncomfortable - whether you know their intentions or not - I say that is appropriate for you to block that person. But please don't make your flickr account private, because I really enjoy those glimpses into your beautiful San Francisco life!

Apr 08, 2008

i block people all the time on myspace and i don't sweat it. to quote the doors, people are strange

Apr 08, 2008

Trust your gut. Guts always know first.

Apr 08, 2008

I have NO problems blocking. If the user's favorites make me uncomfortable? BLOCK. If they have no photos? BLOCK. (Currently, I'm having issues with my glasses. Seems there are some Buddy Holly fetishes out there. Ew.)

Apr 08, 2008

My basic rule is that if it makes me feel icky, then it probably IS icky. I had several people favorite a few of my pregnant belly shots, and when I clicked over, found that they had a whole gallery of preggo shots in their favorites. CREEPED. ME. OUT. So they were blocked.

They're my pictures, and even though Flickr is 'public', I still like having control over that sort of thing. People are very strange...

Apr 08, 2008

There's a great book by an ex-NYPD detective Gavin DeBecker. He talks about fear, and how people who are the victims of crime often are in situations they know seem a little "off," but are embarrassed to cross the street, or ask someone to walk to with them, or to generally get out of the situation they're in.

Block 'em.

Those little "off" feelings are really you reacting to lots of little things that you can't necessarily put your finger on, but that are there nonetheless. Listen to your instincts. Follow them.

And f--- 'em if they can't take a joke.

Just my two cents, but it seems that it's the general consensus.

Apr 08, 2008

That icky feeling means something. And truly, unless it's an art expo on a specific subject there is no reason for someone to download multiple pictures of you and add you to their 'collection'.

I read an article about the age we live in - the age of over-exposure. Sometimes we need to reign in our exposure and control what people see!


Apr 08, 2008

Oh Holly... Flickr. I love it because my family overseas can peek into our lifes as if they live around the corner. But I hate it at the same time, because I didn't invite all those creeps in!

Last month some random guy commented on one of my vacation photos with the o so classy line "nice tits". I was wearing a bikini and coming out of the pool, my 6 year old daughter took the picture. Nothing erotic. I didn't know if I should feel flattered or worried. But I let it slide (after all, I don't hear that my tits are nice that often anymore).

That same week I receive another comment. Different guy, different photo. This time it is a sweet picture of my 6 year old daughter and her dog on a walk together, she is all wrapped up in a hat and scarf and winter coat but her smile makes all the snow melt. And this creep puts a line under it saying "nice smile, wish I could see her naked!". I assume he wasn't referring to the dog. Needless to say I blocked him. And Flickr has left a bad taste in my mouth. My husband was furious for not cancelling the whole Flickr account right then and there. But I figured there were 2 rotten apples in the pool of happy Flickr users and I unfortunately happened to "meet" them both. Now they're blocked from viewing my pictures and all is peachy again.

Not! Last week some other dude(it's always the guys) comments on a picture of my daughter on the beach with some friends, saying "soon they'll have real boobs". Soon? She is 6 years young. Are you serious? I didn't even tell my husband that ... uhm... may be there are a whole bunch of rotten apples on Flickr.

So now I am limbo. Funny that you're posting about it. I'll take it as another sign. I love sharing on Flickr but it is only a matter of a right-click on your mouse and your picture is now saved on the harddisk of some creep. God knows what they will do will do with it (side note: did you know - of course not, how would you - that some pedofiles in Holland right-clicked on a picture of our princess Amelia (only 5 years old) and photoshopped her royal head on a naked body and placed it on their pedo website in a very graphic position? Shocking!)

Djeez... ventilating all this here makes me come to the conclusion I might actually have to take it down. Curious to hear what you will do.

Last thing: I always wonder how they find MY pictures in all those millions of family albums. I don't even tag my pictures.

Apr 08, 2008

Wow, Jess, that's REALLY creepy. I haven't had anything as overtly gross and sketchy as THAT. I think I might have taken my entire Flickr account down if I had!

That's the thing, you see: I do have the built-in radar that knows when something is icky, and in those cases, I have no qualms blocking the perv. Like if someone favorites a hundred pictures of me? GONE. My problem is when it's sort of straddling the line, and I'm not QUITE sure.

Apr 08, 2008

November's experiment in daily shoe photos left me with some creepy foot-stalkers. I had no qualms about blocking them all. And thank goodness I was able to look at their other "favorites", otherwise I would have assumed they just liked my shoes! I guess that I like that flickr gives you the option of figuring out the creepies and blocking them.
I would feel strange about someone favoriting that many of my photos if I were you. I think that's normal! There seems to be a fine line between sharing online and maintaining some privacy. Wonder if we'll ever figure that one out...!

Apr 08, 2008

Oy. Interesting topic of concern here, for sure. A Flickr pic of mine was stolen and used on someone's profile of a dating site! A reader of mine alerted me to this when he saw my pic on the homepage of this obscure dating site (I'm not convinced it wasn't this reader who set the whole thing up, but the verdict is still out on that). I wrote about it here.

At first, I thought it was hilarious, but then it really started to creep me out, wondering if this pic was being used in other places on the internet. I had noticed earlier that it got tons of hits to my blog for months after I posted it (people searching for "hot blonde girls" and the like). So I had to make the pic only visible to my contacts, and I also changed the settings in Flickr so my pics cannot be right-clicked and saved as other people's own.

But, it's tricky. And you should go with your gut on these things. If you feel creeped out, by all means, block 'em. I eventually took down a photo of my newly pedicured feet because it was getting way too many hits (hundreds every day) from the rhymes with lettuce, sounds like Connery contingency.

What does Sean say about it?

Apr 08, 2008

As a photographer, I tend to favorite photos because of the composition or lighting; or because I want to remember the exact f-stop the photographer used for the perfect depth of field in a specific photo. Sometimes I favorite a photo because it's a shot of something I love. But a lot of times, I don't even consider the content, because I am so focused on the technical. I think I may have favorited some rope bondage photos, simply because the lighting is incredible, and I wanted to remember a number of the photographer's techniques.

As for my photos: I have always said that I never put anything on my blog or my photo sites that I wouldn't mind ANYONE seeing (or reading). If I am unsure of the content of what I might be putting out there, I just don't post it. Like someone else commented, people who AREN'T favorite-ing your photos may have fettishes with them, too. You never really know. *And I am very big about not posting details about my life. You may find a lot of photos of my dog on my flickr, but you'll never find one, in which you can read her dog tags.

I say, block if you're uncomfortable. That's what it's there for. But keep in mind that it could be anyone, or (to play devil's advocate) it may not be what you think.

She Likes Purple
Apr 08, 2008

I'm with Whoorl. I don't have a problem blocking. If their favorites list even leans toward the fetish side of things. If they don't have any pictures. If there is anything offensive in their profile. Block, block, block. I enjoy Flickr. I think it's a great resource for bloggers, so in order to be comfortable with it and on it, I'm okay blocking someone even remotely creepy.

Apr 08, 2008

Smoness, I totally agree: I also don't put anything on my blog or on my Flickr page that I wouldn't mind ANYONE seeing -- from my grandmother to my high school German teacher and everyone in between. But that's just the point: my photos are totally innocuous! They're of everyday, quotidian, boring things! They only take on a questionable merit when they're "favorited" out of context, like as part of someone's wide-ranging collection of pictures of boots.

Apr 08, 2008

So... you're saying that I should take down the I Heart Holly Burns fliers from my neighborhood? And maybe tear up the life-sized poster of you and Sean and the kitties that is hanging up on the back of my door? Blast.... I'd gotten so attached. :o)


Apr 08, 2008

Eeks! This was a creepy entry. Block the shit out of that crap, lady. I'm with Whoorl. The "this user has no photos available to you" also scares the bejeebies out of me.

Apr 08, 2008

Oh honey, block away. You're not offending them since they're not even people you know. You can also delete comments off of your picture if you'd rather not have them associated but don't want to go as far as blocking someone. The person favoriting all of your pictures could want them in once place so they can make copies of them all for their own website, you never know. I love the idea of the wardrobe remix pool and look through there, but I've had weird comments about the most innocent pictures I've posted in it so it makes me stay away.

If I had pictures of kids I'd really consider making them "friends and family only" to avoid the creeps, even who don't comment or favorite.

Apr 08, 2008

I feel like my photos are pretty innocuous as well, but I still get the weird favorites/random people adding me. I felt a little rude about blocking at first, but now I do it without hesitation.

Rude/inappropriate comment (e.g. saying that my homemade Oreos looked "f*cking disgusting")? Blocked! Someone who favorites a photo of my flip-flop clad feet (who has no photos in their account and no profile picture)? Blocked! Sock fetish person with an account full of photos of naked people? Blocked!

I'm glad the option is there, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Apr 08, 2008

Politeness, schmoliteness. The book by Gavin DeBecker mentioned above is called "Protecting the Gift", and my take-away from it is this: if it raises the hair on your neck, don't ignore it. Women, especially, are socialized to be polite and not hurt anybody's feelings, and that's when things can go bad. Whether it's blocking someone on Flickr today or crossing the street to avoid a sketchy-looking person tomorrow, you should always listen to your gift of instinct.

Wouldn't you rather risk offending a stranger than have your photos used for questionable purposes?

Apr 08, 2008

We should never feel weird or bad about protecting ourselves. I think, as women, we worry way too much about offending people. Even if you do offend these creeps, why should you even care? They've offended you! The police officer book mentioned above--the guy was on Oprah once talking about how we're the only species that intentionally will put ourselves in dangerous situations when every other species will flee. Would you get on an elevator with someone that gave you a bad feeling just because you were worried about offending them? BLOCK! It's okay!

Apr 08, 2008

Block away. You might be all for free speech and perfectly fine with letting people have their harmless weirdo fetishes, but that doesn't mean you have to allow them to co-opt your photos to fulfill said fetishes.

Sometimes when things make us feel uncomfortable, we spend all kinds of time agonizing over whether we SHOULD feel uncomfortable or whether we're overreacting. I do this. I generally take a live-and-let-live point of view about many things, and when a certain topic makes me stray from that philosophy I wonder whether I'm being weak or prudish or narrow-minded. But I think this is an instance where you don't need to agonize. You're not advocating a law against weird Payless shoe fetishes, or advocating that everyone with an affinity for girls in glasses be thrown behind bars. You just don't feel comfortable allowing your personal photos to be included in those worlds. No problem there -- block 'em. And don't feel the least bit apologetic for it.

(Incidentally, I would *absolutely* be creeped out by someone making a photo shrine to me. That doesn't indicate a strange, but likely harmless, fetish for a pair of shoes that you and millions of other women happen to wear -- it indicates a stranger with an unhealthy obsession with YOU. Could that be dangerous? Sure, maybe. So I wouldn't enable or indulge that person by allowing him/her to view my photos anymore.)

Apr 08, 2008

ooh i had the same thing when i posted to nobloshoemo.

especially of one my flip flops and then i clicked over to see who had favorited them. and i saw really xrated disturbing things. there are a lot of feet-loving people out there.

so i blocked them.

people who favorite my feet FREAK ME OUT. if it's a favorite of say my plant or dog or whatever, that's totally fine. and i don't feel bad at all for blocking them. i just don't give into the foot fetish thing.

Apr 08, 2008

I haven't been using Flickr very long, so I don't even know all the bells and whistles that are available. I didn't even know a person could "favorite" someone else's photo - that is kinda creepy. Which might explain why one of my photos has been viewed over 457 times?!? Which I thought was very odd seeing as how I get on average about 4 comments per post, and maybe 3 views on each photo.

457. That just seems really really weird to me.

Apr 08, 2008

well I was 'stalked' on flickr, actually - a guy I met & went on like 1 date with so many years ago, and ended up just being friends, just happened across my flckr page what, like 10 years later... and emailed me through flickr - it turned out OK, because I knew him and it was a case of someone I'd lost touch with - for no reason really... but it made me realize that anyone in the world can see and possibly download/screenshot/*take* my pictures and use them in obscure ways, places, etc.

The solution for me was to not allow ANY of my photos to be searchable, and then make them all friends and family. And if you need to share them with someone not on flickr then you can do a guest pass which you can expire at will...

some of the things I've been reading in these comments horrify me... be careful out there kids! ^-^

marsha parker
Apr 08, 2008

I personally am amazed at how much information you bloggers put on the internet for the entire world of creepy weirdos to see. You're just asking for trouble. Just my opinion.

Apr 08, 2008

I'm late to the commenting but agree with everyone. I'm a quick draw blocker. I don't think anyone has any favorites on my photos except my brother. I immediately checked people who favorited or commented funny on my photos - I check their photos and if its even the slightest bit off I block them. I'm not going to risk it. Mostly I don't want my photos to end up in their feed and then one day I post a photo of my daughter and even though they are into feet, they possibly spend a little time checking her out. Bluck. Block Block Block. Manners be damned.

Apr 08, 2008

Stories like these are why I don't even like posting pictures of myself on the internet. Not that I'm suggesting I'm gorgeous or awe inspiring. And not that I think we should all become frightened hermits. But, seriously, who ARE these people???? My sympathies to Jess especially.

Apr 08, 2008

Someone mentioned wardrobe_remix upstream & there's actually a great discussion in the group on it at the moment:
It pretty much tackles everything you discussed; feeling like a prude for blocking someone with an obvious fetish, feeling like a paranoiac for block someone with no pictures of their own or just feeling like a hypocrite because, after all, *you* put the pictures up there.

When all's said & done, though, I just block away. I don't even think about it anymore. Flickr is not something I personally use as a means of expressing my sexuality and I don't appreciate others drawing me into a circle of intention I didn't ask to be in.

Apr 08, 2008

If I find anything creepy on flickr, and oh, I DO sometimes, I immediately block the user from even viewing my pics. My peace of mind is worth more than all the other good stuff that comes with blogging....

Apr 08, 2008

I think that uncomfortable feeling you get is a good reason to block certain people from viewing your pictures. Better safe than sorry, yes?

A few months ago, back when I was a Flickr newbie, people would post random comments on my pictures – usually referencing my footwear or the tights I was wearing in the picture. It seemed pretty innocuous at first – the comments were generally flattering and nice. Then one day I got a comment about how “sexy” my tights made me look from a person I’d never met (and I was not posing in a come-hither way AT ALL) and the day after that another person commented on my “beautiful toe cleavage.” Both of these comments made me really uncomfortable so I checked out their albums: one of them had semi-pornographic photos of women showing off their tights and pantyhose, and the other was posting pictures of women’s feet and – get this – pictures of HIM wearing women’s shoes! After seeing those pictures I was not hesitant about using the blocking feature in Flickr at all.

Apr 08, 2008

I was recently added as a contact by a man who had about 300 female contacts-- all girls with glasses. And lo, his groups were all about geeky girls with glasses.

I blocked him, not out of pretension or fear, but simply because that's not the sort of "contact" I'm looking to make. I don't want to be a part of a collection on flickr; I add people to my contacts that I find genuinely interesting or people that continue to take amazing photos. (Lucky you, you're one of them!)

I would just want people to appreciate me the same way, not just toss me in a collection of sorts. Does that make sense?

Apr 08, 2008

Don't feel bad, block! Also, check your stats and see how people find your blog. Or flickr. A short hair fetish site keeps linking to my photos on blogger, flickr, everything. I tried to be ok with that for about 34 seconds, but I just felt violated. I have short hair cuz duh, less drying time. Not for interweb attention! I feel you, it's icky.

Apr 08, 2008

Um, there was this one time a photo of my duvet got favorited by some guy. Turns out he had a collection of down fetish photos (YES, A DOWN FREAKING FETISH), and the picture had a link to a story about how I had to sleep in my closet in the duvet because of a car alarm. I had no trouble blocking him. And tons of NoBloShoMo foot fetishers. I block if I get a funny feeling.

Apr 08, 2008

How does it make me feel? Creeped out! Which is why I post photos of myself and anything else remotely personal so that only friends and family can see them.

Apr 09, 2008

Go with your gut. It' always the right thing to do.

Apr 09, 2008

Holly, as though you need another supporter, block block block block block block block! Again, block!

1) Anyone who "knows" you from reading you online will understand--after reading this entry--how/why you are uncomfortable, and maybe they can expain themselves in a non-bizarro way. And maybe not, and if that is the case, then thank goodness you blocked them to start!

2) Anyone else? Does it even really matter if they are offended? I think no.

I do not use Flickr or post photos online except where friends and family can see them (my blog is private, too--just for the fam and friends to keep up with us when we were living abroad) because it stresses me out to think that anyone anywhere could access pictures of my sweet son and use them for who-knows-what.

Trust your gut. If you have to ask if it's okay, then clearly, even though you can't explain why some on-the-fence stuff makes you uncomfortable, you are uncomfortable. Block. Don't even apologize. Just block and live without worry while you post whatever you want into the great wide world.

We love to read about your life. You are totally brave to share all that you do. It would be nice if all the Creepies out there were in one collective blockable place, but, alas, no. You're on your toes on the streets of San Fran. Just because you aren't face to face with the Creepies on the Internet doesn't mean that you should respond to them the same way. BLOCK!

Go forth and block without regret....

Anne & May
Apr 09, 2008

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! Well, um, or maybe block those people. I had a female stalker once and I did the only logical thing I could: I moved to Brooklyn.

She kept writing me and asking for my new address but I just ignored her emails. Scary!

Apr 09, 2008

I'm easily creeped. So, if it's a weird photo to favorite, I block them. Just like I did to the guy who favorited ALL of the photos of me with my teeth showing when I had braces. SICK!

Apr 09, 2008

Oh I concur - that's whacked. And if your gut tells you something isn't right then listen to your gut and block this wingnut and if that happens to offend said wingnut then too bad - maybe they'll be a bit more cogniscent of other peoples' boundaries and you'll be happy - the most important thing. (Not trying to be harsh mind you, it's just that I've spent most of my out-of-diaper life tip-toeing around other people for fear of offending them at the expense of my own happiness.)

Apr 09, 2008

All these weird flickr stories! I have tons (1839 photos, to be exact) of family photos (I have 3 kids under 6) up on flickr, and have had my account for a year, but have never experienced such weird skiviness (is that a word?). Such would really freak me out. All my photos are public, but I have only been favorited a few times. I checked those few out and they seemed okay. But I do vaguely worry about someone freaky finding us through flickr. But not enough to do anything about it.

Apr 09, 2008

When I saw your title I thought you'd posted an entry about the torch relay. Hahahahahaha!

Block him! There is no reason you should be uncomfortable. Here, I'm you're mom: "Block him dear." Now you can blame it on me. It's not rude when you tell them that you're mom told you.

If a guy was following you, wouldn't you move to keep yourself in a safe place, it's the same thing. He might be harmless, he might not, why risk it?

Apr 09, 2008

I block them.

One guy went through and favorited every photo of my face. I had no idea who he was. So yeah, BLOCKED. No guilt, the end.

Apr 09, 2008

Maybe those people are designers or fashion students are are studying shoes, aprons, and other clothing... I don't know...

Apr 09, 2008

I block them. And I'm always worried about offending people. lol! But not on Flickr. There seems to be more Uncle Pervys on Flickr lately.

There are SO many places to go on the internet for their various lettuces :) and to sully a fun place is irritating!

Apr 10, 2008

I have also experienced the creepy side of Flickr. I have a very cute and sweet little niece who is going to be 9 next year. There was one picture in particular that was being viewed a lot on my Flickr photostream and it was always viewed large. It’s a picture of her sitting by the pool on a chaise lounge relaxing in shorts and t-shirt. I took it while we were vacationing in Florida last year with my family. Nothing terribly out-of-the-ordinary but it began to bother me how it was being viewed astronomically more than any other picture of mine. That kind of creepiness made me to decide to make many of my photos of her and various other things private.

And I agree with the other commenters about blocking. There are a lot of sickos out there so never be afraid to block anyone who makes you feel icky!

Apr 10, 2008

I KNOW! Flickr can be scary sometimes. Once I had a weirdo along the lines of your foot lettuce person favorite me and when I looked at their profile -- which advertised herself as a bisexual dominatrix looking to get roughed up (!!!) -- I freaked! Obviously, who wouldn't freak, but I was freaked to the point that I deleted my whole Flickr account, only to open a new one a few days later.

Anyway. Long random comment, but I totally get it. And I have no idea what to do other than block the weirdies. :)

Apr 10, 2008

oh my god, I knew, I knew, that at some point you were going to say "red ballet flats" because I too have been faved by the red ballet flat flickr fetishist - and made a contact. And that guy's I mean not absolutely fully porno but very very odd. even more disturbing than if it was somehow. I blocked him but then somehow he found me again. To be honest, even if you block them, if they're that bothered about having your photos for their letishes they can still take a's just icky. It's so easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when you're using flickr in a non pervy weirdo way - and then you realise there's this WHOLE other world of men (ok "people" why discriminate? oh come on it's all men) who are very definitely not studying apron design.

Apr 10, 2008

I just came across a flickr group called "things in the toilet." Seriously. It has 21 members. Suddenly the ballet flats fetish seems kinda normal.

Apr 11, 2008

I blocked someone (and removed a comment they made) on a photo of Eric snoozing with our dog from a moderator of a group, "Men Who Love Animals" (or something very similar) inviting us to join the pool... I went over to check it out and the guy just seemed a little off, shall we say. No guilt whatsoever.

Apr 13, 2008

The question that really burned in my mind is whether your shoe fetishist is a boy or a girl. If a girl, then maybe she is just way more obsessed with cute shoes than the rest of us.

If a boy, I have two words for you: Jerry Brudos. Google him if you don't know who I mean. But for God's sake don't let him google you.

Gail at Large
Apr 15, 2008

Since everybody's weighed in on the blocking advice, I'm going to pass along some tips about Flickr that you may want to think about (some have been mentioned already):

1) blocking people doesn't prevent them from looking at your pictures, it only stops them from commenting and sending you Flickrmail; they can still bookmark your stream or add it to their RSS reader and you would never know

2) look at your individual photo's stats to see what sites are linking to it and either delete it if the linking bothers you that much or REPLACE that photo with another one that says "GO PERV SOMEWHERE ELSE"

2) opt out of having your photos be searchable within Flickr or by API third-party sites by changing your account settings under "Privacy and Permissions" at BOTH options, a) Hide your photostream from site-wide searches on and b) Hide your photostream from searches on 3rd party sites that use the API?

3) you can also hide your Flickr profile completely from people searches and "find your friends" searches, and it also hides your icon from other people's contact lists

4) the more groups you join and post photos to, the more you will likely attract unwanted attention

5) even if you change a photo from public to private the image permalink remains the same (versus the regular link to the photo), but if you replace the photo, the image permalink will change. If you suspect someone is hotlinking to your photo, replace it.

The best way to stay on top of your exposure on Flickr is to keep an eye on your stats and change your settings.

The Simple Family
Apr 16, 2008

This happens a lot with pictures of me when I was pregnant or of my kids. And I'll go over to THEIR favorites and it is a shrine to pregnant women or small children in various states of undress. Then I tend to roll my eyes, groan and say "puhllllllllllease."

You do that and I block your ass for good. Then I remember I forgot to make that photo "private" and then do that as well.