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MyBlogLog Does What’s Right

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The MyBlogLog Blog: Everybody hurts… sometimes So I’ve kind of watched from the sidelines the past few days as this MyBlogLog drama has unfolded. I’d joined MyBlogLog in the past after reading about it on Fred Wilson’s blog but never seemed to really get into it. Maybe I just need to spend more time with it to figure it out, but anyways.

I quit MyBlogLog yesterday after reading a post over at Andy Beal’s blog where he was protesting the site after they banned this this blogger Shoemoney for documenting an exploit on his blog about how to impersonate people on the service. Shoemoney basically saw a flaw and used it to grandstand actually in kind of a funny way.

Compounding it all, MyBlogLog didn’t even have a TOS when it banned Shoemoney.

Again, anyways…

So now MyBlogLog has come back and done the right thing and unbanned Shoemoney. And I think they probably learned a good lesson in the process. It’s good to see them reinstate him, but if it were me I’d probably change his name on their site to Shoemonkey just for all the trouble it caused, in kind of a loving way of course. Bottom line is that Shoemonkey is a rascal and a troublemaker, but these are not necessarily bad things.

You see here’s the thing with communities. The best communities are full of rascals and the rascals actually make them a more interesting place. At Flickr, a community that I’ve been pretty engaged in for a while, it’s full of them. And even when they get banned and their trolls get banned, they typically are always back.

And it’s these people that make the community in part the interesting place that it is.

My good friend Mr. Chalk (warning Mr. Chalk is almost never SFW) has been banned numerous times from Flickr. All most likely for deserved reasons. Mr. Chalk is a crazy character. He claims that Flickr instituted the ability to lock threads because of him. He’d go to war with groups on Flickr flooding their forums with crazy threads and their pools with hundreds of repetitive photos of fireworks. This guy Vinny on Flickr once threatened to kill Mr. Chalk. This in turn got Vinny banned (you’re not allowed to threaten to kill people on Flickr).

Once Mr. Chalk impersonated me on Flickr. He took my avatar and got my name Thomas Hawk with a period at the end of it to make it look like me. Then he went around Flickr saying all kinds of craziness.

I thought Flickr might think it was me so I sent Heather Champ, their community manager, an email just letting her know that it wasn’t me saying all these crazy things and she deleted his account. Only afterwards did I discover that it was my good pal Chalk wrecking havoc on my reputation and I had a good laugh over this one.

My friend ShhexyCorin’s been banned numerous times on Flickr as well. She had this great account that went by the name Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer who would do the craziest things. Once Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer joined the Animal Rights group at Flickr and posted this huge block of cheese with a giant human teeth marked bite taken out of it. He was appropriately kicked out of the animal rights group. I’m not sure what PPWP actually did in the end to get banned, but when he was banned there were remembrances, even audio clips made and shared, etc. But the point is that despite all the antics Shhexy Corin is still there on Flickr and one of it’s most avid users.

Although he was never banned for it, one of my favorite pranks on Flickr was when Flickr pal Fubuki posted a bad camera phone shot of a package of toilet paper to his stream. He them pimped the shot up on various voting communities to build activity around it and soon had it promoted as the the number one "most interesting" shot for that day in Flickr’s Explore section where they highlight what they feel are the most interesting shots (by algorithm). It was quickly manually removed (I think by Fubuki himself when I threatened to send the link to Boing Boing), but we all had a good laugh about it at the time.

Sometimes bad behavior needs to be punished but it should never be permanent. These rascals at heart love their communities and play the important role of jesters and comedians.

I’m glad to see MyBlogLog let this Shoemonkey character back into their fold and in the future if they want their community to succeed they should realize that having folks like him around is a good thing not a bad thing.

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