his own altar and a lamp
Last update
2018-12-17 05:59:56

    Tumblr’s new content rules are intolerable

    After much painful contemplation, I’ve come to realize that I simply cannot continue this blog under Tumblr’s new authoritarian, cowardly and, frankly, misogynistic, community guidelines. This is a particularly heartbreaking decision, as my time here has come to mean far more to me than I ever expected. I never dreamt I would keep a blog in the first place, but after discovering people here that shared some eerily specific interests of mine, I couldn’t resist, and I found it effortless to start blogging and even maintain interest for over five years.

    Tumblr-as-it-was welcomed me to open myself up to a world of strangers in my own quiet way. It allowed me a place to celebrate my idol Lisa Suckdog, and to commemorate my tour of museums (et cetera) in London and Oxford. Most importantly to my mental health, it offered a million shoulders to cry on, and helped me say farewell, following the devastating loss of David Bowie. The particular sets of posts and reblogs prompted by each of those events would all have been diminished under the new rules.

    @staff​: This is not even remotely the way to make Tumblr “better” or “more positive,” and I most certainly do not feel “comfortable expressing” myself any longer. In fact, I feel quite threatened and personally insulted, and see that same reaction in other users everywhere I look. Community guidelines need to reflect community values, and those values grow organically from the community itself. They cannot be imposed from above without first destroying that community, as you seem intent on doing.

    Unless the previous content guidelines are restored, this will be my last post, barring perhaps a quick note if I ever decide to start again elsewhere. I’ve made sure to back up as much as I could at archive.org. It’s not pretty, navigation is wonky, and most of the media doesn’t play, but at least it's all there, and I’d rather have it incomplete due to technical limitations than a deliberate program of censorship. (By the way, please Please PLEASE make a donation to the Internet Archive! Not just for my sake—in addition to fighting to keep today’s Web available for future generations, they offer enormous collections of books, audio, video and more!)

    Thank you to all of my followers (where the hell did you all come from?!) and everyone who ever liked or reblogged anything from my Big Dumb Blog. Thank you to everyone I’ve followed, or whose posts I’ve liked or reblogged, or whose messages have brightened my day. Special thanks to @sagan-indiana, wherever you are, for getting me into this in the first place. Thank you to Tumblr-as-it-was, and everyone who made it what it was.

    To Tumblr-as-it-is, I have nothing else to say except:



    A better, more positive Tumblr

    Since its founding in 2007, Tumblr has always been a place for wide open, creative self-expression at the heart of community and culture. To borrow from our founder David Karp, we’re proud to have inspired a generation of artists, writers, creators, curators, and crusaders to redefine our culture and to help empower individuality.

    Over the past several months, and inspired by our storied past, we’ve given serious thought to who we want to be to our community moving forward and have been hard at work laying the foundation for a better Tumblr. We’ve realized that in order to continue to fulfill our promise and place in culture, especially as it evolves, we must change. Some of that change began with fostering more constructive dialogue among our community members. Today, we’re taking another step by no longer allowing adult content, including explicit sexual content and nudity (with some exceptions).  

    Let’s first be unequivocal about something that should not be confused with today’s policy change: posting anything that is harmful to minors, including child pornography, is abhorrent and has no place in our community. We’ve always had and always will have a zero tolerance policy for this type of content. To this end, we continuously invest in the enforcement of this policy, including industry-standard machine monitoring, a growing team of human moderators, and user tools that make it easy to report abuse. We also closely partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation, two invaluable organizations at the forefront of protecting our children from abuse, and through these partnerships we report violations of this policy to law enforcement authorities. We can never prevent all bad actors from attempting to abuse our platform, but we make it our highest priority to keep the community as safe as possible.

    So what is changing?

    Posts that contain adult content will no longer be allowed on Tumblr, and we’ve updated our Community Guidelines to reflect this policy change. We recognize Tumblr is also a place to speak freely about topics like art, sex positivity, your relationships, your sexuality, and your personal journey. We want to make sure that we continue to foster this type of diversity of expression in the community, so our new policy strives to strike a balance.

    Why are we doing this?

    It is our continued, humble aspiration that Tumblr be a safe place for creative expression, self-discovery, and a deep sense of community. As Tumblr continues to grow and evolve, and our understanding of our impact on our world becomes clearer, we have a responsibility to consider that impact across different age groups, demographics, cultures, and mindsets. We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content. In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.

    Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.

    So what’s next?

    Starting December 17, 2018, we will begin enforcing this new policy. Community members with content that is no longer permitted on Tumblr will get a heads up from us in advance and steps they can take to appeal or preserve their content outside the community if they so choose. All changes won’t happen overnight as something of this complexity takes time.

    Another thing, filtering this type of content versus say, a political protest with nudity or the statue of David, is not simple at scale. We’re relying on automated tools to identify adult content and humans to help train and keep our systems in check. We know there will be mistakes, but we’ve done our best to create and enforce a policy that acknowledges the breadth of expression we see in the community.

    Most importantly, we’re going to be as transparent as possible with you about the decisions we’re making and resources available to you, including more detailed information, product enhancements, and more content moderators to interface directly with the community and content.

    Like you, we love Tumblr and what it’s come to mean for millions of people around the world. Our actions are out of love and hope for our community. We won’t always get this right, especially in the beginning, but we are determined to make your experience a positive one.

    Jeff D’Onofrio CEO


    Dear Tumblr,

    Yes, by all means, get rid of the paedophiles and the pornbots (and while you’re at it the nazis and all the  hackers and social engineers bent on world domination). But how can you claim that “Tumblr is also a place to speak freely about topics like art”, if you remove original creators of nude art, or even the reblogs of old masters? What if that photographer you block is the next Edward Weston, Robert Mapplethorpe, Imogen Cunningham, or Ruth Bernhard? What if that painter of nudes is the next “old master”? How exactly are you helping these artists express their “creative self-expression” by censoring them? How can you even talk about “sex positivity” when you will ban “real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples” (and why just female nipples?).

    I get it Tumblr, you don’t want to lose market share because your app was banned by Apple and Google. So, don’t let the app surface NSFW content, but let it show up on browsers, even mobile browsers, if a user has turned their Safe-Search off.

    And what you’re doing and how you’re doing it is just laughable. I’ve had my original photos of squashes and pumpkins, and a macro photo of a bee on a flower flagged as explicit; and I’ve seen other users post some of their not-at-all-nsfw images flagged as explicit: a guy hugging his dog, a stairwell, a seagull at sunset, a duck flapping it’s wings, ballerina shoes (without the ballerina in them)…

    I was hanging out on Tumblr because of the cool #original photographers, #original photography and #photographers on Tumblr, and yes, some of them even had NSFW content. And yes, I also looked at and found fine work under the #artnude and #artmodel tags too. Was I offended by any of that? No. Not any more than Titian’s Venus, or The Nude Maja by Goya, or even Mapplethorpe’s racier male figures (and I’m straight…not that it should really matter). Am I offended by what you’re doing though? Hell, Yeah!

    Come on Tumblr, show us you’re smarter and better than that. Show us you’re smarter than the bots and the hackers. Show us that you have the kind of smarts and sophistication that we imagined or wished you had. You do that, and I promise I will keep feeding your content machine with my photos of pumpkins and macro flowers. Don’t, and like many others I’ll pull the plug, as I suspect would quite a few my 536 followers; not because they’re here for me, but because like me, they too are here for the #photography.

    Kalki Avatar

    “[T]he earth will be destroyed by fire and flood, and out of the cosmic waters the universe will be created again, with the new Golden Age. The cycles of gradual decay followed by sudden renewal will go on until the end of time. To symbolize the destruction of the of the evil Kali Age, Vishnu will come in his final avatar as Kalki, the warrior riding on a white horse, who will drive the barbarian kings from India, destroy the heretics and save a remnant of good men, from whom the people of the next Golden Age will be descended.” 

    -Wendy O’Flaherty, Mythology: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Principal Myths and Religions of the World, Chapter 1: Hinduism 


    This just seemed appropriate today.


    oh please please PLEASE let Tumblr flag this post




    send nudes?


    Send dunes


    I’m going to continue tagging @staff in all these ridiculous violations.