OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Ploggle OFFLINE

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Where to begin?

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re trying to access Ploggle, either as one of our few thousand registered users, or because you want to look at somebody else’s photo gallery.  Here are the things you need to know, at their very simplest:

  1. We have taken Ploggle offline, because of an official complaint about the use of the site to host indecent images of children.
  2. We have no current plans to bring Ploggle back online.
  3. If you are a user of Ploggle, we will be making all your photos available to download as soon as possible.

We received a formal notification from our web hosting company earlier today that the site had violated the following clause of their terms of service:

1.4.4) Sites must not contain pornographic or other lewd material. Adult Material includes all pornography, erotic images, or otherwise lewd or obscene content. The designation of “adult material” is left entirely to the discretion of Fasthosts.

This was as a response to a complaint by the Internet Watch Foundation.  One positive we can take from this is that they were able to monitor the content on Ploggle in a way that we were not, and we’re grateful to them for drawing our attention to this.

You can read the back-story of Ploggle on one of my previous posts – suffice it say say it’s a web-based photo gallery service that anyone can freely sign up to and post pictures to, a bit like Flickr.

It’s been running for almost five years now, and has never looked like becoming in any way commercially viable, but it has brought us – and, we hope, other people – a great deal of pleasure.  That is the sole reason why we have both invested the time, effort and money required to keep it up and running.

What’s particularly upsetting about this development is that so many people, including ourselves, use Ploggle to share pictures of our families, including young children.  To think of somebody using it as a vehicle for child pornography is very disturbing, and makes us realise that the time has come to reassess Ploggle’s future.

It may be that we decide to put the site back up for its existing users, and refuse to accept any new members.  That would mean a complete sweep through the hundreds of thousands of photos on the server in order to check for any other content of this nature, eliminating the possibility of a further issue, which might lead to prosecution.

Alternatively, we could put the site back up, but require active users to specifically request that their content is brought back online.  This would make the task of content moderation a bit more manageable, but would require more time and effort on our part in terms of processing requests as they arrive.

The other option is to shut Ploggle down for good.  It would be a terrible shame to do so, but I think this latest development has caused us to question whether it is really worth the effort of overcoming this kind of obstacle.

WHATEVER WE DECIDE TO DO, OUR FIRST PRIORITY WILL BE TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL OUR USERS CAN DOWNLOAD ANY PHOTOS THEY HAVE UPLOADED TO PLOGGLE.  WE WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW AS SOON AS WE HAVE A MECHANISM TO DO SO IN PLACE.

If you are a Ploggle user, either posting photos or enjoying someone else’s galleries, you can use the comments box below to tell us what you think, or you can reach me at [email protected].

If enough people feel strongly enough that they would like us to bring Ploggle back online, we will try to find a way to do so.

Tags:

  • Jocelyne

    Hi,
    What a sad news. I was one of the many who used ploggle to share pictures of my children with friends and family. I hope very much that you will bring ploggle online again. I would even pay for it (as I have done before ploggle was completely free).
    Whatever you decide, I wish you luck and thanks for the beautiful service of ploggle!
    Regards, Jocelyne

  • Nick

    A great shame. Due to living at opposite ends of Britain my brother, myself and the rest of our family used ploggle to keep each other up to date with our recent family additions. Ploggle was a really easy way to do this that has kept the grandparents happy too.

    Ploggle has brought many smiles, a real shame if it is to be no more – thanks for the effort to date

  • Mark

    What a shame.

    I’ll miss ‘classicburberry’.

    mvp

  • Terrible shame. Wednesday I used half the free time I had cause my oldest child was at his grandparents to finally make a ploggle site for my newborn baby. Her grandparents were so happy to see all the pictures of their offspring… Every week my sister put new photos on her site so her friends our famly and I could see how her family was doing and her young children developed. It is really sad, shocking and stunning this has happened.

  • S

    How were the Watch Foundation able to monitor your service in a way that you were not? Sorry if that sounds facetious, it’s really not meant to be. I’m genuinely interested.

  • I’m also very sad. It was fun to share.

  • Dan

    Everybody – thanks for your comments. We’re planning to start putting individual plogs back online over the weekend. We’ll do so on request. The site is now closed to new members.

    S – we stopped be able to justify spending the time monitoring Ploggle content some time ago. We both have lives to lead and time, more than ever, is money. We don’t know how the Watch Foundation came across the material, but we’re glad they did.

  • Annamieke

    What a sad news!
    So sad to loose ploggle and therefor also my sons site.
    I started his site before he was born and put the site on his birhtcard…
    Am still hoping ploggle will return!!

  • I am very sorry to hear about the abuse. I hope they are able to prosecute the abusers. When my sister had her kids (3 & 1) I was able to see pictures of them which was very nice as we lived in different continents. We now also have a 3 week old of our own and have posted a few pics on finn.ploggle.com so that we can share our little man with family & friends. We don’t have many pictures on there, but would really like to keep submitting if you are allowing existing members to keep posting.
    Thanks for all you have done for so many people over the last 5 years.

    Angel, Reint & Finn

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  • Dan

    hi guys – find out the latest news at http://www.daniellight.co.uk/ploggle-is-alive-again-sort-of/. to summarise, we are putting individual plogs back online on request. email me at [email protected] if you have a particular plog you want us to bring back online.