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Porn on the net is not a problem.
June 24, 2000 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Porn on the net is not a problem. Readers chime in on an opinion column with opinions of their own. My favorites "All one has to do if you don't want to read such garbage is to delete it when you first sign onto the Internet" (this guy obviously has no clue how the web works) and "Is there software I can buy to block out you?" In this article, Porn site supporters and detractors both seem to agree that users have to go out of their way to see pornographic content on the web. You have to click on the link to see porn. Funny how the writer of the original article couldn't figure that out. Is porn really that much of a problem on the web, or are some people just too embarrased to admit that due to some curiosity, they wanted to follow the links?
posted by mathowie (11 comments total)

 
There are occasionally times when you go to a search site and get more than you bargained for. Imagine being a seven year old who types in "toys" at some search engine. I'm not surprised what one would find (i find it amusing), but some people would be horrified. However, you don't always have to hunt to find offensive material. There are times when one is looking for something innocent and find themselves falling head first into (glorious) trash.

This is largely an issue for the company running that search engine. Ask Jeeves found a sufficient answer. There's basic AJ (which can pull up some really funky porn if you make a concerted effort), and then there's AJ for Kids, which has some added filters to it and is very clean. I don't see a problem with that solution.

But how many unsupervised children are going to go to AJ for Kids by choice, when the standard AJ offers so many more.. options?
posted by ZachsMind at 5:29 PM on June 24, 2000


I think it's only a problem in that many people may not want their kids to see it. Short of not having any Internet access, I don't see how you could keep kids from finding pictures of people having sex with dogs.

I don't have any problem with porn on the Internet, but it must make it harder to be a parent these days. "Mommy, why is that woman eating poo?"

Of course I don't have any kids, so I'm not sure my opinion here is relevant.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:34 PM on June 24, 2000


I teach a lot of basic computer classes, and when I teach "Introduction to the Web," I have people go to a search engine or two, so that they'll learn how to use them. Nowadays, I usually show them Google and Yahoo, but I used to take them to Hotbot. I would say to the class, "Please type www.hotbot.com." One time, after asking the class to do this, I heard this woman shriek. It seems she thought I had said www.hotboD.com.

Another time, I did one-on-one training with this sweet old guy. He told me that he once looked up "Jello" on a search engine and got some hard-core porn site. He was totally confused. I told him that sometimes the search engines, being programs, had trouble understanding what a person was looking for. But he was still totally perplexed. "How could anyone confuse sex with Jello?" he asked.
posted by grumblebee at 7:27 PM on June 24, 2000


I've been a fan of the .xxx solution for a long time. To be fair though, you would need 3 top level domains, one each for the current 3. They would need to be given to the holders of the originial domian. No reason to charge them for a change in regulations they could not forsee.

No one is going to stumble apon a "woman eating poo." Young kids should not be left alone on the net anyway.
posted by Mick at 7:32 PM on June 24, 2000


While I agree that generally you do have to make a small effort to find porn on the net, I also agree that it's really annoying how pervasive it is. I've noticed a strong uptick in the pornographic spam I get at my normal e-mail address lately; but it's a far cry from the HOT TEENS NOW links that fill up an AOL user's mailbox, even with filters on. Not to mention the sometimes baffling "context-sensitive" banner ads that pop up on search engines. Or the porn sites that fight their way to the top of search engines with meta tags like "Britney Spears".

I want to help get my eleven-year-old nieces and nephew get online, but the consequences of unsupervised surfing aren't the kind of thing I relish thinking about.
posted by dhartung at 8:12 PM on June 24, 2000


The problem with the .xxx solution is that it wouldn't change anything. Right now you can register your porn domain with Net Nanny and it will get blocked. The problem is the people who don't want to play by the rules. The people who don't want to be blocked. Not to mention all the stuff that isn't part of a "porn site", but just floating around the Internet.

And as soon as data havens get established, no one has to play by the rules.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:04 AM on June 25, 2000


Um, credit cards are how the larger sites collect revenue. If CC companies refused to accept business from sites not playing by the rules (.xxx) then it would certainly push them in the direction of compliance.

Also if the larger sites (which tend to play by the rules). would also enforce the .xxx domain then the renagades would get even less traffic, they would no longer be profitable.


posted by Mick at 1:27 AM on June 25, 2000


I don't think porn is the problem it used to be. Last year a federal law came out where a porn site was forbidden to put full nudity on their splash pages, and most of them complied.

Now "family-oriented" AOL. We're talking the enemy here. To add onto what dhartung was saying, my kids would go into the *kids* chat room, and their mailboxes were bombarded with emails like "For naughty schoolgirls.. [Click Here]"

WTF is that? Are my kids chatting with predators?

And yeah, we've been lucking out with MSN Search when the kids want to look up their teen idols... but I remember the good old days when Lycos would turn up their top ten with "Spice Girls t*ts and p*ssy!!!!"

After leaving AOL and getting a *real* ISP, and search engines cleaning up their act, I can honestly say it's getting better....
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 1:54 AM on June 25, 2000


It seems like the author of the original article was offended, not because she saw pornographic material, but because it was offered to her as an option.
posted by harmful at 9:48 AM on June 25, 2000


My motto is: when in doubt, see for yourself.
Here are the results to the search for "tongue" that the author was so embarrassed by. 8 out of 10 were porn sites, seven of those just repeating the same words over and over ("earlobe tongue" "dildos tongue" and, of course, "føøk hardcore tongue").
The other two point to a satire site that isn't as good as what certain webloggers are doing, and a "breathtaking new product" - a $9.95 tongue cleaning device.
Nothing obscene in itsef, just profane. But if you assume the top 10 to represent the proportion of porn-to-non-porn sites with the word "tongue" in it (a common "web newbie" mistake), it would seem genuinely shocking.

But then, maybe the real problem is owners of collaborative sites who notice their page has only gotten one post in 18 hours, getting panicky and doing the old "get their attention by putting up something about "porn" bit... :-)
Or maybe the real problem is webloggers who can't post a comment to a collaborative site without throwing in some self-promotion ;-P
posted by wendell at 10:35 AM on June 25, 2000


Yeah, Eric, there are programs that sit on top of an AOL session and basically log into chat rooms, read all the Screen Names in, and move on. These are against AOL rules, but then, spamming itself violates the AUP almost anywhere. They just use throwaway accounts.

I think it's disgusting that anyone would send porn spam to a random address. And I have no problem with search engines filtering their results or offering sanitized versions (go.com's is sanitized by default, which I think isn't a big deal). It ain't like the p0rn gets any harder to find.

That said, there are extremes at the other end. along the lines of Dr. Laura slandering a skateboard shop owner for having a teen-oriented skateboarding magazine that happens to be published by Larry Flynt.
posted by dhartung at 9:27 AM on June 26, 2000


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