do the screeners have any feeling as to the effect of the introduction of lists for "Top Uploaders" and "Most Popular"?
Nothing specific Tamsin. The number of uploads has gone through the roof this year - Kingwide recently produced some very interesting stats for us and there's been a massive increase in uploads since mid-2003 which hasn't abated this northern winter - we are now handling probably double the number of uploads that we did this time last year. But its difficult to attribute any trend towards mass uploading to the changes to the search page, unless Jason's stats are regarded as directly pointing to such. We screeners were of the opinion that the increase in availability of "reasonably priced" digitals (e.g. 10D, Digital Rebel) was more of an influence on the huge increase in uploads to a.net since the summer.
A few things that seem obvious to me though:
* A number photographers have started using new names (some several different names), possibly to get themselves on the "welcome to the following new photographers" list on the search page
* As far as "most popular" is concerned, the "most popular in the last 24/48 hours" link on the front page has a large influence on hits (suspect far more than the list on the search page), and since the "most popular of yesterday" photo has been displayed on the home page, that's had a huge impact on hits on each photo featured
* Access to digital cameras has had a direct influence on serial uploading. Film costs money, and takes time to process, scan and upload. Digital is often far easier to process, and it costs nothing to shoot 20 BA
A319s. Cost concious film users have in some cases become trigger happy digital users. As more people switch to digital, it is more likely that they'll take more and more pictures of common subjects (and then upload them to a.net), because the incremental workload and financial costs of doing so is practically zero
* I think digital has encouraged photographers to go out and photograph more. With film, many people would look out of the window and think "bad day" and not bother because they knew the results would be marginal - possibly not worth the cost of the film used. With digital, it doesn't cost, so more people are inclined to go out more, and even if some digital images are a write-off some won't be - therefore we get more uploads