Why is one of my pictures more Flickr Interesting than another?

Why is one of my pictures more Flickr Interesting than another?

Image by kevin dooley
Have you ever wondered how Flickr ranks your pictures according to Interestingness? I did a statistical study of my own 50 most Interesting images, similar to a study I did 18 months ago. The resulting model was quite good- (85% of the variance explained) so I am fairly confident in results.

So what matters in Interestingness?

1. Views, comments, and faves (no surprise!). A view is worth the least; a view and a comment and a view and a fave are about equal is worth; and a view and a comment and fave is worth the most. Of course to get good exposure outside your contact network, you need good title, tags, and text.

2. Notes added by others matter, a lot… although once you’re over 5 or so I am not sure more matter. Galleries did not seem to matter, but that’s a pretty new Flickr feature my sample is too small to observe its effect.

3. Posting to more groups is good, not bad, for Interestingness. My sample only includes images posted to between 1 and 30 groups. I’m not sure what happens when you post to 50 or 75 groups.

4. Posting to award groups is NOT good for Interestingness, all other things being equal.

5. Older pictures are less Interesting. Even if the image continues to pile up views and comments and faves, older images will be ranked lower in Interestingness, all else equal.

My results only pertain to differences in Interestingness between one’s own photos. The question of why your image today is more Interesting than mine, or why your photo did or didn’t end up in Explore, are more complex topics for another day…

Have a great New Year’s Day everybody!

21 thoughts on “Why is one of my pictures more Flickr Interesting than another?

  1. All a mystery to me. I have a photo that hit number 45 in Explore – has over 400 views, 100 comments and 50 faves (not exactly sure of figures, but give or take) yet when I look at ‘popular’ in my stream it does not even come in the top 200! As I said all a mystery to me! Happy New Year, KEvin!

  2. that sign is going to stick with me today! It makes me chuckle and roll my eyes. Could you – just for me – put a ‘less’ at the beginning of the sign, please???! I could even handle ‘boring.’ Great shot and analysis, Kevin!

  3. You are daring to analyze the Magic Donkey sauce? Ah, parsing this all out just based on your own images is interesting, but I can tell you that the flickr algorhythm does change and get tweaks at least a few times a year. There’s been many a thread of discussion about this in what is now called the Help Forum. In Arizona Wonders there are some good observations in a thread too. One thing you have not figured into your own analysis is the factor of WHO it is that comments and/or faves an image. I have found that there are some significantly "weighted" flickr members who themselves have had lots of images in the Calendar view/Interestingness (featured 500 for each day). If I get a comment or fave or even more, both, from certain members, I know my image is far more likely to be in Interestingness. Another thing that tends to hold true is that people who post to more than 10 groups or groups that are not always appropriate tend not to have their photo in Interestingness. Stewart (our missing flickr founder) had been in some of the Magic Donkey discussions and said that the 8-to10 guide on group placements was a good one and that the award groups were not positive ticks for Interestingness. Watch out for oddness to come along: once, for 3 months none of my images were in Interestingness or Explore. Used to figure on about 3-4 images a month in Interestingness and then poof, nothing. Found out in Help Forum that the tweak to the algorithm excluded images without EXIF data. Thus, when I had discovered and used the optimize feature in Photoshop, it stripped the EXIF data. Went back to my old method of creating a smaller file to upload and then poof, my photos were back in the usual average. This experiment was done by more than a few of us old skool members and finally confirmed by staff. Lots of times there will be distinct changes and you can figure an internal tweak is at play. All this said, I just want you to know that I will generally not find your wonderful work in Explore, Interestingness or by a search. Luckily met you online, perhaps through Arizona Wonders and then IRL. Your thumbnail views in my "Contact’s Page" always draw me to look further for you have such a fun mystery at times of image or concept. As you know, I wish you the very best, my friend, and hear, hear, hear it for more photo outings!

  4. I love it when you share your studies… it’s fascinating to me to read and watch reactions to all this. Happy new YOU! (as we always say in my family)

  5. Good stuff! I don’t pay that much attention to Explore these days, but I keep close tabs on how my photos rate against each other, and I’m often curious about how the rankings work. My own rankings have a few weird anomalies– I had a few mediocre shots, with only a few views apiece, suddenly shoot up my rankings after I restricted them from public viewing. Not sure at all why that happened. I also wonder — because I’ve seen it mentioned on discussions of interestingness — whether the pace of views and comments makes a difference. I’d heard, perhaps ages ago, that getting a lot of views/comments quickly gave a big boost to interestingness. Possibly another variable to consider…?

  6. Happy New Year! I like this shot. Really interesting flickr exposure, I was thinking about similar stuff as well the other day.. explore is a mystery for me, especially when I realize how it works and then it becomes a true enigma for me… Cool body icon, Kubrick alike 😉

Leave a Reply