#PoolPollution and what @Instagram should do about it

Every now and then, Instagram does a feature on a particular hashtag, both on their Instagram feed and their blog. This is often to highlight a particularly creative project (#WillItBeard, #Martina_Fiat500) or a roundup of Instameets from around the world.

Today, Instagram featured #VodaWalk as part of their roundup. As a contributor to the hashtag, I have a vested interest. Read more about #VodaWalk here and here. This is what the pool looks like at time of posting (there are no relevant images bar the one from Instagram, bottom right):

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 4.38.58 PMWithout fail, the pool of images associated with the featured hashtag will be swamped with other, unrelated images, as fucktards piss in the pool by tagging their crappy selfies and pet photos with the featured hashtag.

This pool pollution immediately negates the integrity of the collection of images associated with the hashtag, diminishing the feature by @Instagram, as rubberneckers add their images to the pool with the hopes of being noticed.

Instagram does have some control over hashtags – there’s a bunch of bad words which don’t result in a pool of images being created, even if you tag your images with them.

We are desperate for some model of  moderation to prevent pool pollution.

In the case of an @Instagram feature, the pool should be locked, with no further images appearing once the @Instagram account has mentioned the hashtag in their feature post. This should exclude contributors to the tag before the feature, so that ongoing projects may continue, even after the @Instagram feature.

Another option would be to enable password protected hashtags. To add your image to the pool, you would need to get the password from the pool moderator. You would then tag your image as #thisismyhashtag:password. The “:password” bit would need to be filtered out server-side by Instagram when posting to other social social media like Twitter or Facebook. Only posts with the correct #hashtag:password combination would then appear in the moderated pool.

It saddens me everytime a great collection of images gets corrupted by pool pissers, seconds after @Instagram mentions the hashtag. I hope Instagram fixes this issue soon.