Our application is a full featured community gallery it would be instead of the gallery module ipb has.
As far as user uploads there are 3 types with ftp being the least used.
1. Normal upload via http prompt very common
2. flash uploader via popupwindow very common
3. ftp or bulkupload uncommon because you would have to give someone an ftp account locked into there own upload directory very time consuming to say the least. They then after ftping images would need to use the upload page and select the option to process files already in there upload directory.