It is good to see this thread begin to turn (mostly) productive.
A couple of issues I would like to touch upon:
2> Screener Compensation & Holding the site hostage
3> Craig Murray
Not long ago the Admin addressed exactly the same old whiney charges of favoritism by writing:
<< It is of outmost importance to the reputation of Airliners.net that the screening is fair and that all photographers are treated equally. >>
But to temper that statement with even the hint of a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back" credo might be a bit of rough patch?
Now I certainly do not think a screener jumping around in the queue should be criminalized for crying out loud.
I really do see Colin Work's point. Sifting through hundreds or thousands of routine images must be exceedingly tedious. No doubt if one is going to sit down for a large screening, it might be neccesary to skim ahead to something a bit more rewarding (or less dreadful) to screen? But with the queue at 8000 images, I am not sure jumping thousands of them at a time (for a mate) is doing much more than leaving the job/mess to another screener and pissing off the faithful.
Also.. while no real harm is done in isolation for providing favors, there may be unpleasant consequences. There are now about 30 screeners. If every screener has just 2 mates, (and possibly other business associates), we're already up to 60+ folks that might need a favor from time to time. It is hard to describe that situation as anything other than a potential free-for-all. Is this really the *key* missing perk from a thankless job? To fast-track friends' shots? If it is, well then so be it I suppose to keep the screeners reasonably happy and the site moving. But with a new teenager buying a DSLR every week and being indoctrinated into A.net won't that just lead to a never-ending cycle of ill will?
Once the Admin provided a modicum of transparency to the screening process it is entirely predictable that people get upset at seeing (some of) their suspicions validated. The fact that some of the uploaders may selfishly not have shred of thankfulness in them to the screeners does not change that.
It certainly does not calm folks down to one week issue blanket denials of favoritism or impropriety, with attendant outrage & offense at such charges, and the next week chastise people for being too naive to know the ways of the world, and that of course the rules are broken.
2> Screener Compensation & Holding the Site Hostage
I really find it disturbing to see the same few screeners’ post repeatedly in the Photography forum their discontent at adolescents or the adolescent minded flinging (anonymous?) abuses their way. These tend to be the elder statesmen of the screening crew and their input in the process is no doubt vital and I don't think anyone who spends a fair amount of time uploading to the site should take their frustration lightly. Whether these screeners are cranky or not, as uploaders these are the people we want to stay on the job and be reasonably happy with the work they do for all of us.
I think it needs to be taken seriously when they basically imply that they will hold the site itself hostage by going on strike from a "job" they once *volunteered* and were happy to perform. It seems to me, screeners are asking for something here. Some sort of help or compensation. Is it from Admin or the uploaders? Probably both I am thinking, and as I read these posts from time to time, and between the lines it appears more is behind the scenes and left unsaid. But I doubt much will be gained from the uploaders without harsher penalties or restrictions.
I am of course sympathetic to the idea of screeners having some sort of perk or compensation for their work. If that means adding their own images directly, then so be it. But again, (just my opinion) it is really problematic to have a license or permit for fast tracking buddies.
3> Craig Murray
I dislike seeing the screeners take abuse, but lets not belittle Craig Murray or obfiscate his point(s) - such that they are. If he had not posted his message, it is inevitable someone else would've done so in some similar circumstance.