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Closed Missing Photos

Discussion in 'ZooChat Community & Website' started by snowleopard, 6 Oct 2010.

  1. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Is there a reason why 25,000 photos (and counting) have been removed/deleted from ZooChat within the past 24 hours? Is the gallery being streamlined? Are some older photos being deleted? Some zoos have seen the majority of their photos erased...or is this a temporary measure?
     
  2. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    I don't have it in my head exactly how many photos were in the galleries with the most photos before Snowleopard brought this up; although I'm sure London had more than the 1004 they have at present and Chester surely had more than their present 2273. Oddly, no other than Kansas City Zoo is now the top zoo, 2743 photos, mostly of the same animals or exhibits from multiple visits by a local user that just joined two months ago.

    If this is the work of a trojan horse or a system error of some kind, it is needless to say a bad thing; those do not see the difference between good and bad photos, they just delete and damage as they are designed to do. Dozens of users have spent a lot of time with filling up the gallery, including myself, and are unlikely to undertake the work again.

    IF on the other hand, this is a cleaning job by the administrator, moderators or someone authorised by them, I'm delighted; the number of dublicate, or almost dublicate, photos that some users will upload from the same visit (or from multiple visits if they are locals) have for long annoyed me and kept me from gently browsing for pleasure through many an otherwise interesting gallery. In many cases, parts of animals are missing, in many cases you can hardly see what is on the photo because the contributer couldn't, or even wouldn't, focus through wire or glass.

    It will be interesting to see what SIM or the moderators have to say.
     
  3. SMR

    SMR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The forum tells me that London has 1,627 photos, Chester 3,491 and Kansas City 2,896. I've no idea what they had before, but for some reason those numbers don't tally with yours.
     
  4. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    I got my figures by going to 'Stats' and clicking 'Zoos'. By pointing my mouse at a zoo's line in the graph 'Zoos with the most photos' I got the figures cited.

    However, now I am #6 in 'Users with the most photos' but I'm sure that last week I was only number #8 or #9. I ended up as #5 or #6 after I finished uploading all my photos from the past 7 years but that was some months ago. In the meantime, I think Hix and Mhale got past me but now I'm again higher than them.

    But someone who follows the gallery progress closer than I do must comment on this matter; so far it seems only Snowleopard has noticed something (and done something).
     
  5. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    So if I understand this correctly, you must now be placed under suspicion of knocking off the competition in order to raise your own ranking! :p
     
  6. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Guilty as charged! :D
     
  7. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    There have now been around 40,000 photos deleted/removed from ZooChat, including 9,000 just from me!;) I have had many photos deleted from 2 zoos that I've uploaded lots of photos from (Greater Vancouver Zoo and Woodland Park Zoo) but I've also had loads of photos removed from the 90 or so zoos and aquariums that I've uploaded photos from over the years. Everyone is being affected, and if it is some kind of virus then it will certainly devastate an enormous amount of hard work that people have done for this site.
     
  8. KCZooFan

    KCZooFan Well-Known Member

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    It must have something to do with old photos, because almost all of Kansas City's photos are fairly recent. And none of my images have been deleted.
     
  9. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    In the last 12 hours 1500 of my images have disappeared from the galleries. And some of my oldest photos are still intact.
     
  10. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    I guess that until Sim can check into this all we can do is hope that the images and their discussions are still sitting on the server...that this is a glitch in the forum program only.
     
  11. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    Okay - sorry about this, but I got an urgent request from my hosting provider to reduce the amount of disk space we were using. They were having problems on their storage subsystem and needed to reclaim some drive space.

    We thought we were using just under 10GB of space, but it turns out their control panel was not reporting disk usage correctly and we were actually using over 50GB of drive space - almost all of which was in the galleries.

    Given the cost of enterprise class hosting storage arrays, this was a huge expense to our hosting company ... who graciously have allowed us to maintain a high degree of usage without additional charge - but not as high as we have been using! If they were to charge us for our actual usage, it would amount to somewhere close to $2750 per month :eek:

    So I had to do something drastic to help reduce our usage and keep on their good side, so that they would allow us to continue using a lot more than we should be, while maintaining a control over just how much we do use.

    So effective immediately I have implemented an automated pruning routine which purges old photos from the gallery. There is a range of criteria used to select which photos are purged, but the key ones are:

    - photos at least 1 year old
    - photos which haven't been viewed many times

    ... basically I am aiming to keep popular photos online, while purging a lot of the clutter which doesn't seem to interest people as much.

    I will run the purge routine daily to prune more photos once they reach one year on the site.

    Just to be clear - not all photos will be removed after one year, only the ones which my system deems to be not as popular.

    I am looking at alternative mechanisms for a future version of the photo gallery ... I already have some ideas I'd like to implement which I think might make the photo galleries easier to use and a more interesting feature for the site.

    So I apologise for the extreme measures, but I really had no choice and had to act quickly - and the fact is that there are tens of thousands of photos which people are just not looking at much.

    My suggestion going forward for everyone uploading photos is to not just upload hundreds of photos from each zoo you visit - especially not multiple shots of the same feature ... choose your best photos and upload only them.

    At the end of the day, you can upload whatever you like and it will stay in the system for at least a year and then will only be purged if not many people take an interest in the photo.
     
  12. SMR

    SMR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    50GB is not actually that much.

    That is ludicrous. Many of our clients are in cloud environments and push hundreds of GB of data a month - we bill them a tiny fraction of that.

    It's not fun moving hosts, but to my mind that would be preferable to pruning the galleries. Did you have an archive of all the files that have been deleted? Perhaps they could be reviewed and moved to a static archive?
     
  13. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    I for one thank you Sim for cleaning up some of the clutter. It makes browsing through some of the galleries more manageable.
     
  14. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    Baldur actually made some good points:

    There have been a lot of very poor quality photos uploaded to the gallery - and there needed to be a purge done at some point anyway.

    The way I've implemented it, the more interesting / more popular photos get kept, while the rest are given a year and then removed. I think a year is long enough.

    If we wanted to keep more of a historical record of zoos, zoo exhibits and animals, this gallery format is not the way to do it anyway ... we would need to be much more deliberate in which photos were kept and not just upload thousands of them.
     
  15. KCZooFan

    KCZooFan Well-Known Member

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    I also thank Sim, as some galleries were becoming too large to enjoy.
     
  16. SMR

    SMR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I completely agree that some the galleries could be tidied up, especially when it comes to substandard photographs and duplicates, but the ideal way to do that would have been via a review/moderation process rather than an automated purge. It's unfortunate that some really fantastic animal photographs get so few views and under the new scheme they'll be at risk.

    Still, it sounds like you're paying (Quadrahosting?) through the nose for hosting, so maybe a move would be prudent regardless of what happens to the galleries. They really shouldn't be forcing content changes on you.
     
  17. Ituri

    Ituri Well-Known Member

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    Sim,

    Thank you for paring the photos down. Also would it be feasable to allow us to be able to delete our own photos (as long as they don't have any comments)?
     
  18. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, that would be nice - but with 130,000+ photos in the gallery, it has gotten out of hand somewhat and we needed to start somewhere.

    As I said, I am planning an alternative structure for the gallery, one which will allow more direct input by users in relation to which photos get "promoted" and which get removed (ie if enough people vote a poor quality photo down, it will get removed by the system, or at least flagged for moderator deletion).

    I've been studying the mechanisms used on other websites for this type of thing and I think it can work quite well ... just need to spend the time to build that functionality into the site.

    Actually I pay very very little for the hosting on ZooChat - which is one of the reasons I've been able to run it the way I have, just about anything else would be a very expensive proposition compared to the income coming in to cover those costs.

    The arrangement I have with Quadra requires a bit of flexibility ... they have been extremely good to me and so I need to give back a little when they need me to - all up it's a very good relationship, especially given the support I get from them.

    I have been looking at cloud based alternatives for storage, but haven't found anything I find compelling from a price / reliability / ease-of-use point of view ... and it would take quite a bit of work to re-architect the site to cope with a 3rd party storage solution - something that will have to wait until I've got time to rebuild the whole site.
     
  19. SMR

    SMR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Sim, I'll PM you with some hosting ideas just to put a few alternatives out there.

    But yes, a user approval system would be one possible solution, whatever the situation regarding hosting when somebody uploads two hundred out-of-focus shots of wire, I think most people would agree that they're not really worthy of the site. It would also mean high quality images and historical photos would be retained.
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    a big problem with an automated purging of the gallery is that the less well-known zoos, especially in countries that aren't as much viewed as the UK and USA galleries, are going to lose out to a greater degree. As of right now there are about 2550 photos in the entire Asian gallery, as compared to, say, 2244 in the Chester Zoo gallery or 2744 in the Kansas City Zoo galleries. There are only 553 photos in the whole NZ gallery; Willowbank Wildlife Reserve to name one example has lost at least half the photos from its gallery. Because most Zoochat members (and probably most unregistered viewers) are from the UK and USA the galleries for those countries will naturally be most viewed so I think the losses will be greatly disproportional. You're going to end up with lots and lots of photos remaining in there, and fewer and fewer from other countries (especially as most of the countries in, eg, Asia, Africa or South America -- and to a much lesser extent NZ and Australia -- are rarely going to have new photos coming in to replace the purged ones). Further it makes it seem a bit pointless even bothering to upload photos from the less-visited countries, as they are likely to be automatically deleted within the next year.
     
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