code of ethics?

I don’t have kids yet, but the way Pinterest is behaving makes me want to sit down with them and have this sort of chat that seems very much like a parent/child conversation on an ABC Afterschool Special.

“I know you had good intentions, but you’re hurting people.”

“I know everyone else is doing it, but it doesn’t make it OK.”

“You’re not living up to your potential.”

“You’re grounded.”

I’ve voiced my concerns here, and with friends and on comment boards across the web, that the “no pin” code doesn’t fix anything. It’s barely a Band Aid. The code does nothing to educate users as to why pinning should be a choice. It doesn’t explain what copyright means and why it should be respected. Sadly, it seems to further the chasm between those who want to choose what is pinnable and those who are annoyed with them for ruining their fun.

The code wasn’t the solution for various reasons. And here’s a new one I learned today.

The no pin code doesn’t make your work unpinnable. And I don’t just mean in a right-click and save or screenshot sense. I mean that you can pin from an image URL. Literally.

Even the code has a way around it’s own code.

I’m not a developer. These things are not in my area of expertise, but someone please explain to me how the code makers didn’t know that this was only a partial fix.

This is damage control that doesn’t stop the damage.

I respect those who want to use the code. I’m sorry to hear they aren’t being respected.

I can’t believe that the discussions continue as to why a website so questionable in its ethics is still unwilling to make a real statement about these issues. Issues that continue to grow larger. Why people talk about being “torn” as to whether they’ll keep using it but not changing the way they use it.

What is it that this so addictive that the idea of not being able to create virtual corkboards is on par with Sophie’s Choice?

I understand the perspective of the people who are making money and/or gaining traffic even if I don’t like the way the TOS works. But of the millions of users, they’re the minority. Most pinners are simply pinners, without any gain to be made by using the site other than to bookmark ideas they like. You know, kind of like what we can do with bookmarks.

So, if you’re using the no pin code, I suggest you add something to your site terms that clearly states that you do not want things pinned from your site. People can get around the code, but your words aren’t as easy to pretend aren’t there.

And your words matter just as much as your images. It all matters.

Pinterest, let’s talk.

P.S. I am continuing to try and make my boards an example of how Pinterest can still be “fun” and ethical. The two terms can coexist and often do. I am hoping to have it finished next week. Work and life have come first but bit by bit I’ve been working on it. I hope it will show that following the TOS you can still keep pinning. I’ll let you know when it’s done.


7 thoughts on “code of ethics?

  1. mskristiina

    Today I noticed that a blogger who is very popular and well known did a round-up of pictures and used pinterest as the source. It bummed me out because I feel like she is setting a terrible example to less-experienced bloggers.

    I’m really glad to see you are still writing about this topic and thrilled that you’ll be speaking at BlogHer. I’m hoping she’ll be there and see you speak. I think a lot of people out there don’t even think about what they are doing or the wouldn’t be doing it.

    1. alexandrawrote Post author

      I know it sounds afterschool special-y, but people not only should know better, many of them do. I give a pass to those who really are clueless. But there are those that absolutely know better and they’re only perpetuating the problem.

      1. mskristiina

        Yeah I have definitely seen that. One thing I noticed today is that there is actually embed option on the side of pins which makes it seem like all content on there is okay to use.

  2. Kal Barteski

    As an artist – I am really ticked that I can’t decide OF MY OWN WORK what is fair game to pin and what is not. The code is junk. I was hoping it would help create a moment of silence where the pinned could rethink their next move. But Pinners need EDUCATION. They need Pinterest to LEAD THIS. Properly linked or not – there are real problems with Pinterest. What I, naively thought was fun and unique – I now know is dangerous and disrespectful. My password-protected class materials are being pinned – which does not add value or build my brand. It disservices the people WHO PAID for that info… My mind is blown + my heart is heavy. Thanks for nothing Pinterest.

    1. alexandrawrote Post author

      I don’t like the TOS because they don’t educate users. I’d be pleased if they had a 45-second video about “how to pin” you had to click and say you watched when you joined. If you still broke the rules then it would be the pinners fault, but at last give them the chance to get it right…right?

  3. Jesse

    I’m one of those who feels ‘torn’ about using Pinterest. I know I can bookmark things privately on my own pc, and there are loads of ways to make boards for private use, even simply printing things out and sticking them in a scrapbook. But the joy of Pinterest was, for me, in the quick sharing of great work, and that other pinner’s archives were so accessible. It’s easy to filter links by following people whose taste I share.

    Now I’m trying Gimmebar: it allows private boards, and won’t let me save some pics from Flickr, say, if I want to put them on a public board.

    Pinterest has been slightly ruined too by all the companies that are pinning their own products in an attempt at social marketing; Gimmebar doesn’t seem to have too much of that going on yet.

    1. alexandrawrote Post author

      I will check out the site you mentioned, thanks!

      I think that in theory Pinterest is a great platform. What I’d like to see is a business model that works as well as the ease of pinning does.


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