I put this little manifesto up on my flickr profile...
I am a collector... which is to say, a member of a category which is the subject of some controversy. I have to admit, I don't get the controversy. My collecting has, as far as I can tell, no impact whatsoever on the production and consumption of photography. If it has no impact, then it is has no harmful impact.
[Note that at Deviantart, faving has an impact -- it raises the profile of the faved photo. This can be expected to be a good thing for the producer of the photo. On the other hand, if crap gets faved, then crap builds up in photostreams ranked by most faves... Luckily, I don't fave crap!]
In the unlikely event that my favorites are inspected, perhaps they might provide some inspiration to skilled photographers. I take it that this would be a good thing. Here is a possibility for how this could happen: Suppose that I fave a photo. Its producer might gather information about some of what makes her photo is good by seeing how it is similar to my other faves.
I could imagine that some collections (mainly porn collections) might place certain photographs in a context their producers do not like -- a skeezy context. Perhaps this would take what is a pleasure for its creator, and transform it into something skeezy -- i.e. unpleasant. (Imagine that a porn collector adds photographs of my own children to his collection... ugh.) This would be a cost, but I suspect that my collection does not place any photos in a skeezy context. [Though I might be be persuaded otherwise. Give it a shot, if you'd like.]
I am interested only in what seem to me good photographs. Often enough, the good photos that capture my attention are photos of nude women. But I don't see how this entails a skeezy context. (Certainly, the producers of nudes cannot reasonably object to nude photography as such.) Good photos (often/always?) reveal something beautiful and interesting. People are often beautiful and interesting. To me, women are often especially beautiful and interesting. So, to me, good photography that takes women as its subject, is especially engaging.
Moreover, since clothing performs such important social functions, nude photography tends to have a kind of interesting abstract aesthetic content. For example, what is an everyday thing and object of perception -- the body -- is transformed into something not everyday by its being lit and photographed naked. For another example, the circumstances of its production are often a salient part of a nude's aesthetic value. The model is a performer and the nude model performs an especially fraught kind of craft. Nudes are a record of that performance and can be interesting in something like the way it is interesting to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman act.
Finally, I hope to produce my own photography some day. In the meantime, I cannot do this; but I can enjoy and be educated by some of the excellent work available here.
To everyone I follow and fave: Thank you for your skilled labor. You produce something which makes the world a better -- more pleasant, more interesting -- place. To those who block collectors: please reconsider your position.