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The digital equivalent of stashing a dirty magazine under your mattress
May 23, 2013 1:13 PM   Subscribe

When news came through of Yahoo! buying Tumblr, everyone wanted to know what that meant for all the porn on Tumblr. But it turns out that long before Yahoo! signed a check, Tumblr had been quietly doing something about it on its own: stopping adult blogs from being indexed. [NSFW links]

Long-time smut blogger Bacchus has unearthed that over the last few months, all Tumblr blogs marked "adult" have a robots.txt that blocks all indexing by search engines and archives. So Google will never find your Teen Wolf slash art blog.

See also: How To Search Your Adult Tumblr Blog, How To Back Up Your Adult Tumblr Blog
posted by themadthinker (152 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tumblr has pr0n? And it's not just disturbing MLP fan art?
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tumblr has pr0n? And it's not just disturbing MLP fan art?
AHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA...AHAHA...hhaaahaha...haha...heh...heh...*sigh*...

oh. wait.

You're serious?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:21 PM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Wow that SUCKS. :/

WHY? WHY DO THIS?

It's just naked people doing naked people things. Why be shitty about it tumblr? You are just pooping all over your userbase for no good reason. AND you're lying about it. Lying through intentional deception is still lying.

It's like if people are "other" enough it doesn't matter if we treat them lower than dirt. I hate humans so SO much sometimes.

PS Does anyone know if there are easy ways for me to search for tumblr naked peoples and avoid the robots.txt stuff? Is there some rule I can use in google to go "naked peoples +norobots.txtavoid" or something?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2013


There are non-pornographic Tumblrs?
posted by Jacqueline at 1:23 PM on May 23, 2013 [31 favorites]


So Google will never find your Teen Wolf slash art blog.

Thus elizardbits is performing an humanitarian service.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:23 PM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yes, this is what Tumblr needs, to be even more difficult to search. Try Googling something you found on Tumblr: it rarely goes to a permalink. It usually goes to tumblr.com/tagged/THING_YOU_SEARCHED or THATONEBLOG.tumblr.com/page/37. Neither of those are useful, because whatever you are trying to find has long since been pushed to another page.

Maybe this is the real reason Yahoo! was so interested: using Google to find a thing on Tumblr is impossible. Here's hoping they use whatever search engine expertise they still have over there to actually make Tumblr searchable.
posted by almostmanda at 1:24 PM on May 23, 2013 [23 favorites]


:( But what if I want (really specific type of porn) via tumblr??
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


You are just pooping all over your userbase for no good reason.

Is there a tumblr for that? I'm, er, asking for ein freund.
posted by yoink at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2013 [40 favorites]


...over the last few months, all Tumblr blogs marked "adult" have a robots.txt that blocks all indexing by search engines and archives.

"over the last few months" suggests it was part of the sale negotiations--'oh, and get rid of all that porn shit now so we won't have to take the PR hit after we buy it.'
posted by jamjam at 1:26 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Biggest Dreamer: ":( But what if I want (really specific type of porn) via tumblr??"

Uh, So I've heard, that searching for
"Specific Fetish" tumblr
Does yield at least some index tumblrs. From there it's following the reblogs around...


Which makes me question: Are there any decent search engines that specifically ignore robots.txt?
posted by wcfields at 1:27 PM on May 23, 2013


Are there any decent search engines that specifically ignore robots.txt?

God, I hope not.
posted by kmz at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2013 [37 favorites]


Maybe someone could put up an algo that just crawls through all tumblrs and randomly samples like 10 pictures and sees if theres mostly naked people (using some sort of picture recognition - I hear that's relatively easy these days) and then makes a list of all the nsfw tumblrs. Then puts it on a public domain webpage or something with links. Is that possible?

Or EVEN BETTER specifically targets only robots.txt tagged tumblrs to see if their naked peoples tumblrs and then creates a list that can be archived by search engines on a public domain. What about that?

Can someone with some compsci knowledge tell me hard this is or how inaccessible robots.txt pages are from a technical perspective. This is making me so angry right now I want to punch yahoo! in the exclamation point until it yodels.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


They are a threat to free speech and they must be silenced!
posted by bukvich at 1:33 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tumblr has pr0n?

How you do fellow kids?
posted by raztaj at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Tumblr is probably one of the few sites that could increase page views by turning off search traffic. I suspect that the net effect is that people find prn blogs and then click through lots of posts looking for what they like. And they don't end up attracting unwanted attention via search either. Honestly, it's probably a win all around.
posted by GuyZero at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's pretty easy to find. Fuckyeah[thing I'm into].tumblr.com
posted by bondcliff at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmm. My tumblr blog's flagged as NSFW, and my robots.txt looks extremely reasonable:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /private
Disallow: /random
Disallow: /day
Crawl-delay: 1

Odd. Not like there's any words on a tumblr blog to index, though.

(Ah, I see, I need to post some really over the top stuff and get upgraded to Adult)
posted by Leon at 1:35 PM on May 23, 2013


Is there some rule I can use in google to go "naked peoples +norobots.txtavoid" or something?

No, Google's bots obey robots.txt, which means that those pages aren't indexed at all, which means that they can't be searched for using Google's search engine.
posted by unknownmosquito at 1:35 PM on May 23, 2013


Leon

According to the posts tumblr gives you permission to turn on/off robots.txt if you're flagged nsfw but if you're flagged "adult" you are denied permission and ghettoized. FYI (no problemo mein freund)

unkownmosquito

Is there another search engine I can use to get around the robots.txt standard?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:36 PM on May 23, 2013


ishrinkmajeans: Thanks, I need to learn to read properly.
posted by Leon at 1:37 PM on May 23, 2013


What is the point of Tumblr if not for porn? What else do people use Tumblr for?
posted by dogbusonline at 1:40 PM on May 23, 2013


Is there another search engine I can use to get around the robots.txt standard?

There's probably some sites out there that will serve you Trojans and malware along with robots.txt-ignoring search results.
posted by kmz at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2013


ishrinkmajeans:

I don't think so. There are device search engines like Shodan ( http://www.shodanhq.com/ ) but even that service is kind of shady (and they take steps to keep their users legitimate) and really any legitimate search engine that's out there is going to respect robots.txt.

This question was asked on StackExchange also:
http://webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/14180/search-engines-that-do-not-respect-robots-txt
posted by unknownmosquito at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


What is the point of Tumblr if not for porn? What else do people use Tumblr for?

SOCIAL JUSTICE BLOGS, SHITLORD

And the closely-related: people who think they are wolves.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:46 PM on May 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


What is the point of Tumblr if not for porn?

Some of us are creating art, fyi.
posted by cortex at 1:47 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Huh. It looks like tumblr flags them NSFW or adult without actually notifying you or anything? I guess it's possible that I flagged it myself as NSFW back when I opened the account, but idk.
posted by elizardbits at 1:47 PM on May 23, 2013


unknownmosquito

Wow. So so much for "routing around damage then". The only way to do this I think is to get an algo going like I was talking about and then make that non-robots.txt. Although if it was one centralized page it could still be flagged by the po-po G-men and taken off the search results. So it would have to be decentralized like a torrent somehow. What a massive bummer. I figure that's all but impossible.

kmz: Did I say something factually incorrect? Please clarify.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:47 PM on May 23, 2013


Wow. So so much for "routing around damage then". The only way to do this I think is to get an algo going like I was talking about and then make that non-robots.txt. Although if it was one centralized page it could still be flagged by the po-po G-men and taken off the search results. So it would have to be decentralized like a torrent somehow. What a massive bummer. I figure that's all but impossible.

This... is not how the Internet works.
posted by kmz at 1:48 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


LINKS PLEASE. Just kidding. No seriously. Halp.
posted by phaedon at 1:49 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


>Wow. So so much for "routing around damage then".

Accessibility does not imply searchability.
posted by xbonesgt at 1:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Robot.txt porn is like Philip K Dick erotic fanfic, right?
posted by spacely_sprocket at 1:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


ishrinkmajeans

Well in this case the publishers of the content are having their content de-indexed unknowingly. You could always write a Tumblr indexing bot that specifically watched Tumblr for nsfw content and then create a search engine of that index, if you wanted.

That probably wouldn't even be that hard.
posted by unknownmosquito at 1:52 PM on May 23, 2013


xbonesgt: I have the "meaning of life" written down in a book in my home and if you knock on the door I'll let you in and you can read it. Oh, I live in the US. But I won't tell you where. So go ahead, you have access but you can't search for me. Right?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:52 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this post. I have never known much about the culture of Tumblr. I wonder if similar things will be happening with Flickr post-redesign or if Flickr's "safe" desginations already maybe did that?
posted by jessamyn at 1:54 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kids these days, with their googles and their goggles... back in my day, we had to walk uphill, both ways in order to trawl through 100s of pages of Altavista results! (Get off my lawn!)
posted by fragmede at 1:56 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


What, exactly, is the point of not indexing the porn? How does this serve anyone's interests? I guess Yahoo doesn't take a rather mild PR hit if finding porn on Tumblr is...more difficult? (Doesn't Tumblr have an internal search function? Or would even the internal search not index these pages?)
posted by asnider at 1:57 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


unknownmosquito

Here's the problem as I see it. If a blog has been tagged as "adult" they are already de-indexed from google and so you can't have your algo search for them. So how does the algo crawl through de-indexed blogs parsimoniously (without greedily looking through all content on tumblr for NSFW images) to create a link table? It seems that building a crawler would be easy, but it would take a lot of computing power unless some trick was found.

Also, unless you had a way of publishing the list in multiple places at once, and keeping it updated, then it would be easy to have tumblr and google have it taken down. That is also a technical challenge that I don't know how to get around.

This is why I can't believe for the life of me that robots.txt is respected. It allows huge abuses like this. Why has no one managed to get around this and make a decent indexer for this before now?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 1:59 PM on May 23, 2013


Tumblr's internal search is pretty much useless, unfortunately. You can search for tags and blog names (IIRC), but that's about it. So a lot of people just use Google for the legwork, but it doesn't do a very good job of it.
posted by themadthinker at 1:59 PM on May 23, 2013


Guys, you are all looking at this wrongly.

Think of the robots.txt file as a guide!

The beauty of a robots file is that for it to be readable by the search engines, it has to be human readable. Just start looking for these files and you'll find what you are looking for. Exhaustive lists by the looks of it.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:01 PM on May 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Did I say something factually incorrect? Please clarify.

Pages don't get "flagged by the po-po G-men and taken off the search results". If the government wants a page shut down, they'll just ask the ISP/host to take it down (who may or may not comply), not some middle ground between indexable and non-existant.

This is why I can't believe for the life of me that robots.txt is respected. It allows huge abuses like this. Why has no one managed to get around this and make a decent indexer for this before now?

Tumblr is not the only host for content on the Internet. Believe it or not, there's still plenty of porn you can find rather easily.

Do you believe people should be able to have unlisted phone numbers and/or mailing addresses?
posted by kmz at 2:02 PM on May 23, 2013


considering the political climate in the US i wonder if this isn't more of a protectionary measure for the people who make porn than anything

yes, please please notice me so you can do something about it
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:04 PM on May 23, 2013


When I was a kid, tumblr porn meant the sticky magazines we found after we fell down the hill into the ditch.

And yet we still jerked off to it!
posted by item at 2:04 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is why I can't believe for the life of me that robots.txt is respected. It allows huge abuses like this. Why has no one managed to get around this and make a decent indexer for this before now?

This is a feature, not a bug. If you don't like Tumblr's policies, you can leave and find another host for your MLP slashfic.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 2:04 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is why I can't believe for the life of me that robots.txt is respected.

If they didn't get respected sites would just block crawlers by IP address which would really fuck things up. Or by user agent. Or sites would all implement rate-limiting, all of which would disrupt end-users as much as crawlers.
posted by GuyZero at 2:05 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tumblr has pr0n? And it's not just disturbing MLP fan art?

I shit you not, the first thing I though of was Mary-Louise Parker (because come on, it makes sense), and then I realized what it actually meant and I had a sad.

posted by psoas at 2:07 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


kmz

By po-po G-men I meant "google". I was making a joke on how Google was being the internet police on what will and will not be shown through searches. I was being purposefully obtuse in order to be humorous.

As far as unlisted numbers - yes. But that is a distinction between protection for the little guy, which I think is awesome, and the abuses of a massive corporation, which sucks. Robots.txt needs to be rethought if this is the consequence.

Fidel Cashflow

To the extent that a private company becomes a monopoly their actions are (or should be) curtailed to what is to the public benefit. I mean, your gas company can jack up its rates too, and its totally fine because you can always sign up with the one other crappy gas company in town. Or internet provider. I mean whats the tumblr alternative? Flickr?

GuyZero

That is an EXCELLENT point. I have no solution for this. But I'm still mad.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 2:10 PM on May 23, 2013


SOCIAL JUSTICE BLOGS, SHITLORD

And the closely-related: people who think they are wolves.


That and poorly attributed single subject image blogs was my previous assumption. I guess porn is going to be a subset of that but I'm suprised that it's considered a notable segment there. You live and learn I guess.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on May 23, 2013


Here's hoping they use whatever search engine expertise they still have over there to actually make Tumblr searchable.

* chuckle *
posted by mrgrimm at 2:14 PM on May 23, 2013


What, exactly, is the point of not indexing the porn? How does this serve anyone's interests?

It serves the interests of Tumblr, so they don't have little Johnny "accidentally" finding MLP porn on Tumblr through Google and having a moral outrage on their hands. Or any other number of fetish types of porn. It makes the barriers a little higher, so people have to communicate in some back channel to find these things.
posted by zabuni at 2:14 PM on May 23, 2013


Another thing that is a huge deal is that there are some SRS BZNS Ad Sense rules about NSFW content which we (here on the all-text internet of MeFi) have gotten notices about occasionally. And it's awkward because robots enforce the rules so asking a question about sexual health stuff which is totally normal, has no raunchy images or anything, can cause you to get into non-compliance. So uncoool.
AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with adult or mature content. This includes any content that is sexual in intent or may not be considered family-safe, such as sexual aids, devices and fetishes. More information about this policy can be found in our help center
So if you have a monetization scheme that includes Ad Sense (or anything with similar policies, I realize it's unlikely that Google and Yahoo are getting in bed together in this way) you have to have a way to indicate that you are adequately policing your sites for adult content. I think this is a bad move for a number of reasons. And I rarely say this but I blame conservative America for making people think this is somehow an appropriate response to people flipping out when they see a butt on the internet.

And it's not just disturbing MLP fan art?

Maui Land and Pineapple?

posted by jessamyn at 2:14 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


This means the Internet Archive won't have those Tumblr sites either, if the robots.txt entry is a general one.
posted by zippy at 2:15 PM on May 23, 2013


Crawlers respect robots.txt because it's my damn site and I don't want Google wasting my bandwidth.
posted by wierdo at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


isrinkmajeans: I was making a joke on how Google was being the internet police on what will and will not be shown through searches.

It seems to me that what you're misunderstanding is what Google's role is in this. Effectively, each adult tumblr is telling Google "Hey, keep this content out of your index, please!" and Google does exactly what it's been asked. If you want to direct your ire at someone, tumblr is the one adding the "don't index me" bits to sites without the content publisher's say-so.

(Which, honestly, is still a perfectly valid thing to do. tumblr is running the service and unless you have a contract with them that says they'll do everything they can to keep your stuff indexed, they get to decide how to run their service. It's trivial to host images elsewhere for free or for money and have your stuff indexed wherever you like.)
posted by fader at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


It serves the interests of Tumblr, so they don't have little Johnny "accidentally" finding MLP porn on Tumblr through Google and having a moral outrage on their hands. Or any other number of fetish types of porn. It makes the barriers a little higher, so people have to communicate in some back channel to find these things.

I suppose. But is there going to be similar outrage if Johnny stumbles across obscure fetish porn on any other portion of the web?
posted by asnider at 2:17 PM on May 23, 2013


MLP non-fan art
posted by mrgrimm at 2:18 PM on May 23, 2013


By po-po G-men I meant "google". I was making a joke on how Google was being the internet police on what will and will not be shown through searches. I was being purposefully obtuse in order to be humorous.

OK, but this action isn't even being done by Google. It's being done by Yahoo/Tumblr. Google generally will give you whatever you want to search for (while still respecting robots.txt).

To the extent that a private company becomes a monopoly their actions are (or should be) curtailed to what is to the public benefit. I mean, your gas company can jack up its rates too, and its totally fine because you can always sign up with the one other crappy gas company in town. Or internet provider. I mean whats the tumblr alternative? Flickr?

Blogging services beyond Tumblr exist.
posted by kmz at 2:18 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's like if people are "other" enough it doesn't matter if we treat them lower than dirt. I hate humans so SO much sometimes.


Apparently, Homo Neanderthal didn't have this. Then we ate them all.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:18 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember Yahoo Clubs? They became Yahoo Groups. And for a while, porn was very easy to find.
posted by Melismata at 2:20 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please won't someone think of the panda gangbangs?
posted by elizardbits at 2:21 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


because i really don't want to
posted by elizardbits at 2:21 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please won't someone think of the panda gangbangs?

yes oh god every minute
posted by shakespeherian at 2:22 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


How many times do people have get screw by online...oh forget it. Just read this.
posted by DU at 2:22 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I suppose. But is there going to be similar outrage if Johnny stumbles across obscure fetish porn on any other portion of the web?

The Internet is already seen as a den of deviants. This could be seen as the site your little Sally spends all here time on could be a gateway to horrible sexual images.

It's the combination of being a site that teens congregate on, and the huge amounts of rather unusual porn that could be the issue.

And as far as alternatives, the blog part isn't the full part. Community is what the glue is. People wouldn't just shrug their shoulders if Matt pulled up stumps tomorrow, and offered the source for Metafilter. Even if other people could host it, it wouldn't be the same.
posted by zabuni at 2:23 PM on May 23, 2013


What if we replaced him with MechaMatt though.
posted by elizardbits at 2:24 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


How many times do people have get screw by online...oh forget it.

Will you?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:26 PM on May 23, 2013


Ha. Yahoo Groups. Porn is still easy to find on there, no?

I'm more curious about Pinterest because it's against the TOS and it's pretty rampant.

This sort of intense focus on Tumblr (and obvious imminent increase in advertising) is gonna kill the thing.

I mean whats the tumblr alternative? Flickr?

The clear winner here is Blogger. Between Yahoo or Google who would you choose?

I'm curious to see what happens to one of my fave tumblrs (and local celeb) Robert Reich.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:27 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


kmz; fader

So, google isn't the popo fine. But you know how this will play out if anyone tries and re-index what tumblr has de-indexed. Tumblr/Yahoo will find the site and send a cease and desist and then tell Google to de-index the site that is trying to re-index all the pr0n. Big corps against the little people again.

Tumblr had a social contract to treat users content as impartial. You can go stuff your terms of service no one reads that shit. As far as the law is concerned, that only matters as long as the law upholds the social contract so you can take all your musty books and stuff that too.

Once a sizable enough community is embedded in one services' way of doing things it means that all of the linking and cross linking will be lost if a user goes somewhere else. If all image services were created equally tumblr and imgr and flickr would be the same for blogging but they're not. Tumblr has become a pseudo-monopoly whether you admit it or not, so its not just a matter of taking my pictures and hosting them elsewhere. I lose the community that's been made. Them pulling the rug out of their users, who have no recourse, is immoral and in a more perfect universe would be illegal.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 2:27 PM on May 23, 2013


I'm curious to see what happens to one of my fave tumblrs (and local celeb) Robert Reich.

There's Robert Reich porn?!
posted by goethean at 2:33 PM on May 23, 2013


ishrinkmajeans: But you know how this will play out if anyone tries and re-index what tumblr has de-indexed. Tumblr/Yahoo will find the site and send a cease and desist and then tell Google to de-index the site that is trying to re-index all the pr0n. Big corps against the little people again.

Is that how it would play out? Can you show me any examples of this? (What grounds would they have to C&D a page of links? Why would Google pay any attention to such a request?) Furthermore, Google is under no legal or moral obligation to index anything in particular. They index as much as possible because it makes them more useful and keeps people coming to see their ads, nothing more or less.

Tumblr has become a pseudo-monopoly whether you admit it or not.

What is a pseudo-monopoly? Would it be a... non-monopoly?

I strongly urge you to read up a bit on the relevant laws and philosophy behind them. (Wikipedia is a good starting point.) I feel like you are arguing from emotion rather than any logical position here. "I want things to be this way!" is not a valid argument.

And them pulling the rug out of their users, who have no recourse, is immoral and in a more perfect universe would be illegal.

If you honestly believe this then I don't think we will be able to find common ground. Of course they have recourse -- there are any number of sites where images can be hosted, shared, and commented on. (Asserting that tumblr is a monopoly doesn't make it so.)

Have you ever given a neighbor a cup of milk when they ran out? I hope you will continue to give them one every day without ever complaining or changing the brand of milk you buy. By your reasoning, to do otherwise would be immoral and in a more perfect universe illegal.
posted by fader at 2:38 PM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Tumblr is the farthest thing from a monopoly imaginable. GYOB. Buy a server. Run Wordpress.

EOF.
posted by GuyZero at 2:48 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's Robert Reich porn?!

Steve Reich porn. "Spanking For 18 Musicians" is epic.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 2:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


This makes a lot of sense, if you keep in-mind Yahoo's balkanization of porn in their own Yahoo Groups area, many years ago. Back then, Yahoo Groups was every bit a porn hotspot as Tumblr is now. The groups still exist, barely, but I'm pretty sure they aren't indexed or searchable.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


fader

There is no sure way of knowing how it would play out. But that is my guess, yes. Why is the burden of proof on me to show that large corporations would screw over the little guy. Shouldn't it be on you to prove otherwise given the weight of history?

A monopoly is a "pure" economic concept. Many companies have the power to dictate terms of price to a greater extent than in a purely competitive market but less so than in a purely monopolistic one. I thought that was pretty self evident your patronizing tone notwithstanding. Here the service is "free" but the true cost is the potential future ads that will be installed and the ease of use of the service.

"This is the law!" is not a valid argument. The law is written by the powerful against the weak, it really has no place in rational discourse on the way things should be or what is moral. Again this is something I thought could be taken as generally acknowledged.

Your cup of milk argument is flawed to the point of irrelevancy. One person giving one neighbor a cup of milk is an entirely different power dynamic from what a corporation does to millions of people at once when those people have no recourse. It would be a more apt analogy to say General Mills opened a mill where people could grind flour for bread (for free). Then, when there were fewer options for milling your grain because other mills closed, they took all the people they didn't like and bared them from entering their mill. Is this right? Would you agree that that's ok, even if General Mills was offering the use of their mill for free?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 2:53 PM on May 23, 2013


I'm really not seeing that there might not be porn on the Internet as a valid worry here.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on May 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Tumblr is hard to figure out, so I just look at elizardbits's.
posted by Mister_A at 3:06 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tumblr had a social contract to treat users content as impartial.

Again, this is like the literal opposite of the basis for Tumblr's popularity.

Tumblr is not like plots of land on the prairie where it's just you and your annotated Ayn Rand library.

Tumblr is like renting a booth, in a building, on a fairground, in a city. You're subject to rules and regulations from dozens of entities, none of which you have any control over. You don't like that the windows are covered? Too bad. Go somewhere else. Want the A/C turned up? Too bad. Go somewhere else.

Oh, you like the huge crowds of people looking at your stuff?

Yeah, that's what I thought.
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


GuyZero

I'm sorry, I don't understand your argument. Was there a way before in which tumblr disallowed certain content (other than child porn) from being displayed other than tagging as NSFW which is a generally accepted practice?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2013


My point is that Tumblr does what the fuck it wants with your hosted blog. That's how blog hosting works. There is zero moral imperative for them to do anything except whatever it is they are doing at this exact moment.
posted by GuyZero at 3:11 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


> Tumblr had a social contract to treat users content as impartial.

I just… what? What gives you that impression?
posted by savetheclocktower at 3:12 PM on May 23, 2013


didn't Yahoo quietly rely on being a premier porn search engine as a financial mainstay for a long part of its history...
posted by Bwithh at 3:12 PM on May 23, 2013


this seems crappy if they've been hiding it, but the monopoly social contract talk seems over the top.

but, what will happen is what always happens, someone will step up to fill the niche - or rather, another platform will be found to be useful for this until the volume becomes too much and that platform discourages this behavior and it'll move on again. yahoo groups, stumbleupon, flickr, tumblr, etc - porn will find a way.
posted by nadawi at 3:13 PM on May 23, 2013


GuyZero

I fundamentally disagree with you. Are you saying that whoever owns the infrastructure of communication can bar what is communicated? To the extent that users have been a large part of generating the community that tumblr hosts, do they not have any rights on how it is used? If they can do anything they want with a hosted blog, could they take images or video I take and put it in a national soda commercial (if its buried in the TOS/EULA of course)? Could they take what I've written and put it in a book and then sell that book (if I had a really good fanfic for example)? Could they mine all the user data to find the best way to sell us shit we don't want or need?
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 3:16 PM on May 23, 2013


"We should abolish robots.txt" is not a sentiment I'm used to seeing. It's extremely useful for anyone who's tried to run their own site, and the fact that following it is entirely voluntary on the part of search engines is something that just gives me a faint warm glow whenever I think about it. Google may be an enormous behemoth, but if I write a few properly formatted lines in a text file, they respect me and the mutually agreed-upon guidelines of civilized behavior on the internet enough to follow my wishes.
posted by figurant at 3:17 PM on May 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


To the extent that users have been a large part of generating the community that tumblr hosts, do they not have any rights on how it is used?

They have the right to be governed by Tumblr's terms & services conditions that they agreed to when they signed up. Google up "digital sharecropper".

Get. Your. Own. Blog.
posted by GuyZero at 3:22 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


To the extent that users have been a large part of generating the community that tumblr hosts, do they not have any rights on how it is used?

Well, no. You don't have a contract with Tumblr to host your stuff. Thinking they will do anything other than what they think is best for their business in the short term is pretty naive. As is IMO using any free web service, where your value to the company is in the form of your commodotized content (which you provide them for free), rather than in a contractual, financial transaction.
posted by junco at 3:22 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Are you saying that whoever owns the infrastructure of communication can bar what is communicated?

This isn't infrastructure, and even if it were, Tumblr is not a common carrier. They do have the right to bar what is communicated on their web site — as many other sites have. (Tumblr, by allowing all kinds of adult content, is in the minority for large communities.)

> To the extent that users have been a large part of generating the community that tumblr hosts, do they not have any rights on how it is used?

I am somewhat sympathetic to the idea that Tumblr is built on some of the very content it's now trying to throw curtains over, but even if their users did have rights on how their content is used, I doubt it would extend so far as to prevent said content's de-listing in search engines.

If Tumblr had a paid option, I would feel differently. (And I do think they should have a paid option.)
posted by savetheclocktower at 3:23 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are you saying that whoever owns the infrastructure of communication can bar what is communicated? To the extent that users have been a large part of generating the community that tumblr hosts, do they not have any rights on how it is used?

If Tumblr wanted to bar what you communicate, they would do it by simply no longer serving your pages. If you were running a local strip club and they closed you down, that would be equivalent.

Tumblr is, in this case, asking mapmakers to stop listing the strip club on their maps, and mapmakers are respecting that request. As the owner of a strip club, you might be annoyed because you won't get as much publicity and business without being on the map, but you're still able to operate the club and drive business in other ways.

For instance: what's stopping you from hosting a single web page (that gets indexed, of course) containing a sample of what you put on tumblr, with a link to your tumblr? Anyone looking for your stuff will be able to find it. There. Done. Effectively, you're making and distributing your own map. Your ISP will even host that page for you.

Unless, of course, your ISP says "no obscenity allowed on your hosted pages", in which case you can drop a few bucks a month to host it somewhere else that allows such things. That's two solutions, effectively, that don't even require a "use something other than Tumblr" response.
posted by davejay at 3:24 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find it pretty laughable that some people who just learned about robots.txt this very day are ignoring its nearly 20 year history, proclaiming it hopelessly broken and stupid.
posted by cellphone at 3:25 PM on May 23, 2013 [48 favorites]


Seems most people don't agree with me. Eh, fine. I still think it's shit. But I'm getting tired and angry. I'm done.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 3:26 PM on May 23, 2013


Tumblr is not like plots of land on the prairie where it's just you and your annotated Ayn Rand library.
soooo it's like plots of land on the prairie where it's just tumblr and their annotated Ayn Rand library

what i am seeing is nominal disdain for ancap ideas literally being used to justify ancap actions

amazing
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:26 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tumblr is trivially easy to leave and/or simply not use. If you do not like its indexing policy, stop using it. Why is this so hard to understand? It is not a common carrier, it is not an essential service and it is very, very far from being a monopoly. It is entirely possible that the reason all the Tumblr porn blog have not been deleted is that they are not indexed and thus no one pressures Tumblr to shut them down.

But seriously, just read this 4-year old article on Tumblr's business model.
posted by GuyZero at 3:30 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, I'm assuming this is all content that comes from somewhere else anyway?
posted by Artw at 3:32 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


but of course this affection for the governing hand of the corporation turns to vapor and ghosts when they start allowing people to leave up shit you don't like

also, i am not saying that "GYOB" is 'privileged', but it puts important things out of the reach of a lot of people
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:33 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


i am not saying that "GYOB" is 'privileged', but it puts important things out of the reach of a lot of people

I broadly agree with you, but I don't think I would call having a blog on tumblr an "important thing". Especially because the whole shitty social-media "ecosystem" seems like a land grab to supplant and commodotize real-world social spaces and interactions.
posted by junco at 3:36 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


A dollar or two a month doesn't really put blogging out of reach for anyone who can afford Internet access in the first place.
posted by wierdo at 3:36 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


hell, I'll say GYOB is privileged, but there's a reason it's called privilege and that's because you get to do stuff that other people don't get to do. Like write your own robots.txt file.

Again, there is no moral imperative that your "work" be indexed or even indexable. I think it is indeed a pretty useful thing, but if Tumblr doesn't offer it then someone else does.
posted by GuyZero at 3:38 PM on May 23, 2013


Again, there is no moral imperative that your "work" be indexed or even indexable.
people being able to communicate with each other is important
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:40 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


people being able to communicate with each other is important

So thank god Tumblr isn't the entirety of the universe.
posted by GuyZero at 3:42 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


"What is the point of Tumblr if not for porn? What else do people use Tumblr for?"

Now I feel all sheepish because I just use mine to post my photography, and I mostly follow other photographers.
posted by klangklangston at 3:43 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


But hey, if anybody in LA wants to get naked and be shot be me, you can help make my tumblr nsfw.
posted by klangklangston at 3:43 PM on May 23, 2013


But that is a distinction between protection for the little guy, which I think is awesome, and the abuses of a massive corporation, which sucks. Robots.txt needs to be rethought if this is the consequence.

This is so misguided it's beyond laughable. I have my own little-guy website. I don't want all of it indexed by search engines, so I use robots.txt. If search engines could just disregard my instructions, I would consider that to be "abuses of a massive corporation." The flip side of my bargain for selective search-engine obscurity is that any human can load my robots.txt and see what I don't want to have indexed.
posted by stopgap at 3:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Are you saying that whoever owns the infrastructure of communication can bar what is communicated?

By Jove, I think she's got it.

Not to join the pile-on, but the phone network and the internet are very different things. The internet is a made up of millions of private networks that have voluntarily agreed to run the same protocols. There's no such thing as a "public internet".

Robots.txt is an example of one of those protocols that everyone agreed to run, because it was in their own best interests to do so. It's pretty amazing it works at all, when you think about it.

(If you think there should be such a thing as a public internet.. well, you might be right. We need public spaces. I don't know how we'll get to there, though.)
posted by Leon at 3:56 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey ishrinkmajeans (and whomever), after a short break I realized I'm kinda being a dick here and I wanted to say sorry about that. I actually agree with you - sure they should allow all blogs on Tumblr to be indexed. But it's not a moral issue. And saying that they have to do this and they must do that is just... unrealistic. Maybe theres a reason they do it that we're unaware of.

Anyway, sorry to get my Khrushchev on there with my shoe on the table and all.
posted by GuyZero at 4:13 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


(If you think there should be such a thing as a public internet.. well, you might be right. We need public spaces. I don't know how we'll get to there, though.)

This is actually something that was better in the early days of blogging. Most people had access to free hosting on their ISP's server with at least a /~username/ space, and Blogger, for example, could manage your templates and upload a static site for you using FTP. But almost no one has ISP hosting anymore, and even setting up something like Amazon S3 hosting for simple static sites is insanely complicated compared to starting a new Tumblr blog (does anyone still say tumblelog?). And Tumblr even throws in a free subdomain.

I suppose if IPv6 ever takes off then people might get static IP addresses from their ISPs for each device and everyone could run their own sites off their old computers without involving middleman services like Tumblr. But as it stands now, reblogging and trackbacks are difficult to do properly without some intermediate or central service provider — and impossible on static hosts like S3.
posted by stopgap at 4:24 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]



Tumblr has pr0n? And it's not just disturbing MLP fan art?


The only good thing on Tumblr is pictures of gorgeous hipsters wearing very little clothing.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:37 PM on May 23, 2013


... and MLP fan art.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:47 PM on May 23, 2013


what the hell is 'ancap'?

Anyway.

As someone who has his own blog, and I do have a Tumblr that I used rather effectively a few years back due to their ease of use during a trip where I wanted to post pictures, I appreciate the robots.txt file. It would be nice for users to be able to make their own decisions about indexing, preferably with some instruction on what it is, as well as a set of defaults for it - maybe an internal search might work best - but at the end of the day, those terms of service that you clicked "I understand" when making your tumblr are in effect.

My only complaint is that I dislike the 'without warning' clause for changes in ToS that most have. I think there should be a warning beforehand, including things like what is being discussed here, so that you can decide whether or not to GTFO when it happens. That's the one thing I find most unpleasant here.
posted by mephron at 4:50 PM on May 23, 2013


oh god even more Tumblr refugees on mefi
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:55 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Steve Reich porn. "Spanking For 18 Musicians" is epic.

All the GIFs are nearly identical, but with subtle differences that slowly shift over time.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


robots.txt is commonly used to prevent search engine crawlers from crawling bandwidth intensive parts of the site; archived bits no longer updated but kept around to prevent bit rot; things sites just don't want indexed; and parts of the site in beta or otherwise not ready for prime time. These things are all of course accessible by humans but they prevent all sorts of undesirable to the hoster stuff from being crawled or indexed.

ishrinkmajeans: "This is why I can't believe for the life of me that robots.txt is respected. It allows huge abuses like this. Why has no one managed to get around this and make a decent indexer for this before now?"

Search engines that don't respect robots.txt would be completely useless because all their crawlers would get black holed. I'd certainly wouldn't serve any pages to any crawler that ignored my robots.txt.

By the way this is really easy to honeypot. Watch for anyone loading a URL protected by robots.txt on some obscure part of your site (do all those SEO/tracker tricks to it like white text on white back ground and 1 pt type so humans don't click on it) and then black hole any IP that loads it.

Ignoring robots.txt must be one of the only social problems that can be solved with a technical solution.

ishrinkmajeans: "I mean whats the tumblr alternative? Flickr? "

There must be thousands of hosting companies out there who will serve what ever you want with no robots.txt file if you choose. I like Nearly Free Speech for hosting.

However once you run your own host and pay for the bandwidth you'll immediately come around to the robots.txt is good point of view.
posted by Mitheral at 5:37 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I, too, had no idea that Tumbler had porn. I knew about the teen angst fan art, but not that there was full on pornography.

But, then again, Tumblr still makes no sense to me. It's like Twitter, but way more confusing, and missing letters.
posted by jb at 5:46 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, and I've see the gifs. So, so many gifs.
posted by jb at 5:47 PM on May 23, 2013


Huh. It looks like tumblr flags them NSFW or adult without actually notifying you or anything? I guess it's possible that I flagged it myself as NSFW back when I opened the account, but idk.


I think by now, everything in your path is just automatically flagged, or at least emblazoned with the sign FUTURE SITE OF ALL THE BUTTS.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


/wonders if he's been oblivious to massive LiveJournal and Pinterest porn communities as well.
posted by Artw at 5:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


What grounds would they have to C&D a page of links?

O man, good one. real thigh slapper right there.

Ask any torrent site that's even been shut down how that one went. Several sites were de-indexed by google over this too. And yes, i'm including sites that don't host or even link to real torrent file, but only magnet links like TPB.

Simply telling someone where something is, that a company doesn't want them to see was criminalized on the internet years ago.
posted by emptythought at 5:56 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kids these days, with their googles and their goggles... back in my day, we had to walk uphill, both ways in order to trawl through 100s of pages of Altavista results! (Get off my lawn!)

I miss altavista's audio search.
posted by jb at 6:00 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


All of the porn on Tumblr has been ripped off from somewhere else, without even a link to the source. Oftentimes Tumblr posters work hard to remove the watermarks from wherever they got their dirty pictures.

In the grand scheme of things, using robots.txt to block indexing of porn Tumblogs is no big deal.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:15 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The weird thing is, if you use Google's "reverse image search" to find the source of a particular image, the top image search results are ALL Tumblr (this has great ramifications for SEO and content marketing, btw). So Google does index Tumblr images quite well.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:18 PM on May 23, 2013


That just means that, not surprisingly, robots.txt instructions lag the appearance of porn on any particular tumblr.
posted by Mitheral at 6:36 PM on May 23, 2013


i tried following @Robots.txt on twitter but their updates keep disappearing
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:52 PM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just randomly tag teen wofl gifsets with Sean Cody because seriously why the fuck not.
posted by elizardbits at 7:00 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The weird thing is, if you use Google's "reverse image search" to find the source of a particular image, the top image search results are ALL Tumblr

So they're the Huffington Post of porn?
posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on May 23, 2013


This doesn't super surprise me or strike me as an enormous moral outrage. Tumblr is a web site with a huge audience of teens and preteens, and it has a reputation for being fairly open to audiences of that age. The fact that Tumblr uses the "adult" category as a way of filtering adult posts out of google searches for "site:tumblr.com" (which is what search bars in themes often use—when theme designers don't trust Tumblr to do their searches right, they just build a domain-specific Google search) is not super surprising, and not super outrageous. Though I wouldn't fault them for NOT filtering out adult blogs, I'm not faulting them for doing so either.

Some of the angry responses here seem ridiculous, partly because robots.txt is a wonderful Internet standard and I'm amused that the same people who're opposed to privacy violations are ignorant of this wonderful online privacy mechanism that's about as old as the Internet, and partly because nobody is forced to check "adult" on their Tumblr blog. I'm pretty sure you can't report a blog for incorrectly being marked as "adult" either. So porn stars and porn blogs who want their pages to be Googlable will mark their pages "nsfw" or add an "are you 18?" warning to their page, remove the adult checkmark, and the Internet will retain its access to all that delicious, delicious smut.

The one absurdity to point out here is that part of Tumblr's enormous appeal to the middle/high school audience is that it makes accessing porn so easy—a whole lot easier than Googling, because here the porn comes to you! It's how I used forums back in the day, but personalized feeds have their advantages, if you're not super selective at which boobs and dicks you stare at. Tumblr's staff knows this, because they are pretty smart and chill people who seem to have a relatively sane attitude towards sexual behaviors among their users. But this action helps deflect the moral outrage that will inevitably strike once parents figure out the shit their kids are getting away with, and it'll give Tumblr a reputation for caring about The Children while enabling them to eliminate the last vestiges of innocence among our world's youth.

Another thing worth pointing out is that the ultra-meme-ness of Tumblr, down to the reblogging mechanisms, give it a ridiculously high standing among search engines. They probably do want to avoid the reputation of being an only-for-porn site, because there are many great non-adult uses of Tumblr that are worth people knowing about (and those legitimate Tumblrs help drive the traffic that then is diverted into starting porn blogs). I'd be curious, actually, if the reblogging mechanism is why permalink pages rank so low: the most talked-about content is also the content that repeats itself the most times, since everybody who likes it is posting a copy to their unique domain. To a search engine that cares about repetitive content with link back to a single source, and I don't know if that is indeed still a thing, permalink Tumblr pages probably look even more spammy than actual spam pages, since a Tumblr post is often reblogged tens or even hundreds of thousands of time. But that's just a hunch and I could be completely wrong.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:19 PM on May 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Alright guys, I'm gonna close this one up
posted by lordaych at 7:25 PM on May 23, 2013


Rory: Tumblr does say that they will mark your blog NSFW if it has a lot of adult content.

http://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/nsfw

"If you're not sure if you should flag your blog you can leave it unflagged, but keep in mind that we might flag it later if we see a lot of mature/adult-oriented content."

This page also includes a contact for appealing an NSFW/Adult flagging by Tumblr staff.
posted by shoyu at 7:48 PM on May 23, 2013


Man I spent all day at work thinking that unknownmosquito was a weird name for a tumblr porn site but people keep recommending it and now I find out it's just poor quote and reply skills! Dammit people where's my porn!
posted by graventy at 8:50 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The robots.txt standard is not the problem; the problem is that your stuff is on a site where somebody else controls the robots.txt file.
posted by Zimboe Metamonkey at 8:53 PM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this post. I have never known much about the culture of Tumblr. I wonder if similar things will be happening with Flickr post-redesign or if Flickr's "safe" desginations already maybe did that?

I really don't get where people think tumblr will remove the porn, have you ever searched flickr?? I take pretty tasteful nudes, but constantly get people favoriting them, and when i see their other favorites, it's crazy. There is a TON of full on porn on Flickr, and Yahoo owns them, so really doubt the panic is anything Yahoo is doing.
posted by usagizero at 9:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just as an illustration of how robots.txt is a useful standard, rather than a tool of the man to keep you down, try this: If you've been naive and trusting enough to include your real name in your mefi user profile, try searching for it now on Google preceded by "site:metafilter.com"
site:metafilter.com Firstname Lastname
Did your profile page come up? No it did not. This is because MetaFilter, for what should be fairly obvious reasons, presumably doesn't think that it should be easy to tie your activity here to your real identity without your express intent. That's why the robots.txt file for this site includes rules that let search engines know that user information pages should not be indexed. Search engines, out of both altruism and enlightened self-interest, respect these rules and everyone walks away happy.

This is literally the first time in two decades I've ever heard anyone complain about robots.txt, other than the fact that it's possible for webcrawlers to ignore it. The happy consensual protocol that it comes from is about as unambiguously beneficial to the internet as just about anything I can come up with off the top of my head.
posted by figurant at 9:29 PM on May 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Tumblrites get angry if they can't instantly access everything anywhere, and freak out if someone puts up a paywall or something.

but of course this affection for the governing hand of the corporation turns to vapor and ghosts when they start allowing people to leave up shit you don't like

also, i am not saying that "GYOB" is 'privileged', but it puts important things out of the reach of a lot of people
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:33 AM on May 24 [1 favorite +][!]


oh god you're going to start complaining if Tumblr takes down creepshots or borderline child porn/loli drawings, aren't you?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:12 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Tumblr can be a ducking gross place and the only reason why it doesn't have the same reputation as Reddit for kiddy porn is that no one can quite figure out what it's all about.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:04 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess until I got into sites/podcasts mocking the Internet I never thought of Tumblr as having a shared community like Reddit does. I just saw it as a hosting service for sites about girls and bands... and even the social justice/otherkin/fandom communities can exist without the rest of Tumblr.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:22 PM on May 23, 2013


If you've been naive and trusting enough to include your real name in your mefi user profile

Hahahahaha, oh you.

Wait, you're serious?
posted by Justinian at 11:57 PM on May 23, 2013


Indifferent cats in amateur porn remains my favorite.
posted by homunculus at 2:31 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah-hah, I was wondering why I couldn't find several previously discovered Tumblr posts about penises covered in glitter.
posted by DisreputableDog at 5:28 AM on May 24, 2013


@CiS

People are straight up white-knighting the ability of private businesses to fuck with our lines of communication, and this on a website with a sizable "communist" population. It's just astounding, is all.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:22 AM on May 24, 2013


People are pointing out the absurdity of assuming total personal control over the hosting decisions of a free hosting agency that doesn't promise total personal control, is mostly what people are doing. Being astounded that people are astounded by naivety is certainly something, but one thing it's not is particularly interesting.
posted by cortex at 6:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Just as an illustration of how robots.txt is a useful standard, rather than a tool of the man to keep you down, try this: If you've been naive and trusting enough to include your real name in your mefi user profile, try searching for it now on Google preceded by "site:metafilter.com"

site:metafilter.com Firstname Lastname

Shit it didn't work.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:41 AM on May 24, 2013


People are straight up white-knighting the ability of private businesses to fuck with our lines of communication

Tumblr porn=our lines of communication?

How fucking sad are we?
posted by yoink at 7:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


why it doesn't have the same reputation as Reddit for kiddy porn is that no one can quite figure out what it's all about index it all yet.

"What is the point of Tumblr if not for porn? What else do people use Tumblr for?"

* Honesty, I just checked my dashboard and this was the second post: Why the Democrats Can't Be Trusted to Control Wall Street

* I also enjoy following teenage philosophers. There's something both inspiring and comforting reading young people coming to terms with the absurdity of the world.

* Great rock n roll pictures, like Morrissey lying on his grave with a bango

* Fucking useless facts

* GOLDEN JACKALS

It's really just like Twitter, Facebook, or even Linked In for goodness sake. It's a "microblogging" platform, somewhere users can carve out original digital spaces to post their Michael Jackson with the head of a deer animated gifs, but the community guidelines are looser.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


white-knighting the ability of private businesses to fuck with our lines of communication

that is an absolute nonsense statement - like, it doesn't make sense. white knighting is a shitty charge when it's used in the proper context, but here it's just weird - like social justice magnetic poetry.
posted by nadawi at 9:00 AM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Linked off of the indifferent cats: A hipster spin the bottle party movie. (It's German, so you know somebody's gonna get pooped on.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:01 AM on May 24, 2013


@nadawi

if you don't understand how defending duh rightz of a business against the needs of its users could be metaphorically compared to a guy in armor keeping serfs in check, i cannot help you

maybe someday something involving things on the internet will be important enough to complain about
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:36 AM on May 24, 2013


if you don't understand how defending duh rightz of a business against the needs of its users could be metaphorically compared to a guy in armor keeping serfs in check, i cannot help you

Unfortunately a more apt metaphor is that it's like going to a seafood restaurant and then complaining that you don't like what's on the menu because it's all seafood.

There is a big, wide world outside of Tumblr. The only serfs are the ones who went in voluntarily (which some people are into I guess).

The only decent counter-argument so far is the one of privilege, where Tumblr is free and actual freedom costs money. But honestly, that's life. Freedom isn't free.
posted by GuyZero at 10:44 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


if you don't understand how defending duh rightz of a business against the needs of its users could be metaphorically compared to a guy in armor keeping serfs in check, i cannot help you

A) That's not what "white knighting" refers to: it refers to the idea of seeing yourself as the brave knight errant coming to the rescue of the damsel in distress. You're getting the vehicle and the tenor of your metaphor all muddled up.

B) Metafilter is an internet business that also has users. The owners and paid staff of Metafilter make all kinds of decisions about what Metafilter will and will not be used for and while they consult the users to some extent about those decisions, they do not let the users dictate them and they are happy to overrule the wishes of the majority if they see fit to do so. Want to post your porn collection on Metafilter so as to share it with the world? Guess what, you can't: not because of some technical limitation, but because the owner of this business doesn't want his business to be used that way. Is that oppression? Is that "fucking with our lines of communication"? No? Well then why is it in the case of some other internet business which makes certain rules about what can and cannot be displayed on their site and whether or not search engines can index it?
posted by yoink at 10:47 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


maybe someday something involving things on the internet will be important enough to complain about

Quite.
posted by yoink at 10:48 AM on May 24, 2013


Yahoo Submits Bid for Hulu
posted by oulipian at 1:44 PM on May 24, 2013


http://imgur.com/fOg16kD
posted by Jacqueline at 7:44 AM on May 25, 2013


Tumblr porn=our lines of communication?

How fucking sad are we?


I'd take the "porn" out of that, but possibly that's an unkind outsiders point of view.
posted by Artw at 8:12 AM on May 25, 2013


6 Ridiculous Tumblrs That Yahoo Just Paid $1 Billion For



notable for including one about Springsteen's crotch
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:15 PM on May 27, 2013


justanotherikeacatalog: scandinavian modern style furniture and accessories in amateur pornography (nsfw)
posted by homunculus at 11:05 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Facebook is not necessarily a monopoly per se. Yet, Facebook creates a problem that, if you don't use facebook, then you cannot fully participate in some social circles. Google Groups, Docs, etc. and Twitter create similar but less severe social problems. I've never encountered any reason I needed a Tumblr account.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:18 AM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


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