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Fri Jan 09, 2004

We're testing a potential new feature on Photo Friday this week. Between 12:01am Friday until 11:59pm Sunday (UTC -06:00) you'll find a "Cast Noteworthy Vote" link within the Link Viewer header bar above each visited site from last week's Challenge. This means that Noteworthy photo selections will be chosen by you, by visitor vote.

This, by far, is the most frequently requested site feature, but we've resisted pressure to add it for technical and philosophical reasons.

Implementing a voting mechanism is technically pretty simple. Doing it in such a way that those few who would attempt to manipulate the outcome of the vote is more complex.

Philosophically, we want very much to stay true to the precept of Photo Friday, that participation is not competition. We believe that at the very least we give people something to do with their cameras each week, and sometimes maybe the Challenge will even inspire someone to make a photographic discovery they might not have otherwise made. Grandiose, we know, but this was the original idea that started it all.

When we chose a photo as Noteworthy it meant that your photo appealed to our personal aesthetic. We liked your photo enough to want to highlight it so others wouldn't miss it. It was never anything more than this.

We know in our hearts we've always been fair and rigorous in the process of choosing Noteworthy photos. Despite this, we suffer anonymous and not-so-anonymous attacks regularly for who and what we choose for Noteworthy.

Thus, here we are. We want to see how things proceed when the selection process is democratic.

This week is as much a test of our ability to detect and weed out duplicate ballots as it is of your response to this potential new direction for the site. Voting rules can be found on the welcome page when you first launch the Link Viewer.

We very much want your feedback.

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