Tumblr Bans Reason Most People Have Heard of Tumblr
December 3, 2018 11:20 AM   Subscribe

As of December 17th, Tumblr will ban "adult content", which "primarily includes photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts". The Verge gives some further context.
posted by Etrigan (298 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Following Craigslist and others, sigh. Some day, the Rebellion will take back the Empire.
posted by Melismata at 11:23 AM on December 3 [6 favorites]


I have adult content blocking on for tumblr so I can browse it at work. I had to close it today as some users I follow are now posting photos of their "female-presenting nipples". This is not a complaint.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:23 AM on December 3 [6 favorites]


I'm so tickled by the idea of female-presenting nipples.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:23 AM on December 3 [24 favorites]


How does a nipple present as female?
posted by obstinate harpy at 11:26 AM on December 3 [13 favorites]


female-presenting nipples

Does that mean pictures of people presenting their nipples to females? I'm so confused.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:26 AM on December 3 [8 favorites]


This is so fucking aggravating. One super insightful comment about this that I heard was like: tumblr let you view your kinks and fetishes and porn amidst everything else you're interested in; your recipes, your art, your architecture, your fandom, your friends updates -- it treated your interests as if they were all one cohesive thing, just like hey, this is you, this is your stuff.

It was so refreshing and I am /mad./ So much original photography and artwork was being shared there, and it's all going to fucking vanish.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:27 AM on December 3 [76 favorites]


I would say this blows but looks like I'll be seeing a lot less of that :(
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:27 AM on December 3 [10 favorites]


This is shitty for a whole bunch of reasons. :( I hope that someone somewhere can come up with an alternative, but it won't have the reach or name recognition. Darn censorship anyway.
posted by Alensin at 11:27 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Spoiler alert: they are choosing this self-destruct mechanism because otherwise they would have to pay moderators to handle all the pornbot spam, and everyone knows moderating the internet is unrealistic.

(that was sarcasm, in other news, ilu metafilter.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:29 AM on December 3 [67 favorites]


If I had time, I would photoshop a baby bottle nipple into the hands of a female presenter model -- you know, the ones with the fake smiles that do the hand gestures ("ooh, what a lovely nipple!"). I.e.: female, presenting nipples.

But seriously, in the end, I think this is a good thing. The more restrictive and dumbass these sites get (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook), in essence the more unwelcoming they become, and this in turn drives more people off their sites and to the distributed-architecture options like Mastodon and Diaspora which are out of corporate control. But those sites won't become viable to use by "the masses" unless they hit a critical number of people, and said critical number of people won't move off Twitter, Tumblr, etc. unless they get essentially a boot to the butt ... which, unwittingly, is what these sites are actually doing by making their sites as unwelcome as possible.

Sorry if this isn't coherent.
posted by WCityMike at 11:30 AM on December 3 [6 favorites]


This is an opportunity for Metafilter.

veryspecificporn.metafilter.com
posted by bondcliff at 11:30 AM on December 3 [72 favorites]


Tumblr valuation tumbles after anti-naked bumble, community grumble, and potential platform crumble.
posted by cirgue at 11:30 AM on December 3 [51 favorites]


Welp, pack it up. What's the new hotness? I'm probably too old to know.

Every so often I would pop in to Tumblr to check a fandom tag for some fic or some relatively* wholesome art, and I would notice how much raw porn I seemed to be picking up -- not the kind that would appeal to its stereotypical base, either, but the gross male-gaze variety. I didn't like it, but I also don't like the ancient disciplinary technique of FINE, SINCE NONE OF YOU KNOWS WHO THAT IS, YOU'RE ALL GETTING DETENTION.

-----
* The internet has made my standards for this mighty relative, I'm afraid.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:31 AM on December 3 [10 favorites]


So guess that means fandom's moving! someone tell me where we're going, I hope it's not Discord. Or Twitter.
posted by yasaman at 11:32 AM on December 3 [29 favorites]


. . . this in turn drives more people off their sites and to the distributed-architecture options like Mastodon and Diaspora which are out of corporate control.

I dunno, man. Those options take work. Joining Mastodon requires learning a lot more than joining Twitter, including about personal connections and politics. And as for Diaspora, I haven't heard of it since I heard it was invented years ago. I'll never say I'm an expert on how certain sites become popular and others don't, but I would bet money that ease of onboarding is a huge factor.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:33 AM on December 3 [14 favorites]


After they got deleted from the App Store, this was inevitable. The thing about the internet is that you can't have nice things on it, because the bad people will ruin it.
posted by dis_integration at 11:34 AM on December 3 [7 favorites]


Tumblr valuation tumbles after anti-naked bumble, community grumble, and potential platform crumble.

Staff Tumblr grumbler humbler after move banning jumbler-fumblers named a real stumbler-bungler.
posted by WCityMike at 11:34 AM on December 3 [18 favorites]


Presumably female nipple presents have pink bows, and male ones have blue bows, wile the choose-not-to-says and its-more-complicated-than-that get the entire non-conforming rainbow of wrapping options.
posted by bonehead at 11:34 AM on December 3 [9 favorites]


So where are all the cool people I follow going to go now?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:34 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


I guess I should start actually using my Pillowfort account, huh.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:34 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


This is a huge development for fandom on Tumblr. There really isn't an equivalent for sharing fanart - yes, a lot of which is explicit.

I've seen a lot of discussion about moving to Dreamwidth (again). I'm there and have been there. But Dreamwidth never really took off the way it could have, because it's not what a lot of people are looking for in a platform. I hope we get more users, regardless.

Twitter is already big with fanartists and AFAIK they allow adult content, but Twitter is terrible. It's not clear if Pillowfort is going to be successful.

they are choosing this self-destruct mechanism because otherwise they would have to pay moderators to handle all the pornbot spam, and everyone knows moderating the internet is unrealistic

You say you're being sarcastic but I think you're right, except that they don't know they're self-destructing. The pornbot spam is a huge fucking problem.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:35 AM on December 3 [6 favorites]


Presumably female nipple presents have pink bows, males ones have blue bows, and the choose-not-to-says and its-more-complicated-than-that get the entire non-conforming rainbow of wrappings.

As we discussed in the gender reveal party thread, female nipples can walk in heels, while male nipples can drive cars.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:36 AM on December 3 [16 favorites]


Mrs Grundy wins again.
posted by Catblack at 11:36 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


Tumblr is owned by Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon. This is VZW's puritanical avarice at work in response to the Tumblr app getting pulled from the Apple App Store.
posted by Revvy at 11:37 AM on December 3 [8 favorites]


Mrs Grundy wins again.

I don't know if it's so much "Mrs. Grundy" as "preferring not to see a woman presenting a tergo every time I wanted to look for fic recs"
posted by Countess Elena at 11:40 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


What's the new hotness? I'm probably too old to know.

I felt super old when I was informed recently that to at least a certain subset of its users, Instagram is a casual dating app, not just something to share photos of your pets being cute or promote your side-hustle / business idea.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:41 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


I think that people predicting doom and gloom for Tumblr are reaching a bit. I have gone back to using Tumblr more frequently, not because of the presence of all my favorite kinks, but because compared to social media alternatives, like Twitter and Facebook, it's a much more pleasant place to be. I don't think this will make it less pleasant or make me want to be there less, it just might not have all of the content everyone desires. It's a shame they're doing this but I don't think this is going to hasten tumblr's demise (more than it was already dying).

On preview:

The Tumblr post about what is permitted, specifically says that illustrations of nudity in art is permitted, just not sex acts. I'm probably underestimating the amount of fanart depicting sex acts aren't I?

In my opinion Mastodon is never going to be a (big) thing because the learning curve for new users is so damn steep. Perhaps that's a feature, but it's always going to be niche if that's the case.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:43 AM on December 3 [3 favorites]


|||So... tumblr is committing suicide.
||
||via autoerotic asphyxiation
|
|in the closet
posted by Revvy at 11:44 AM on December 3 [31 favorites]


I'm okay with this. I am actually really tired of accidentally clicking on the Jobs at Tumblr link when I mean to click on Next.
posted by srboisvert at 11:44 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I'm not surprised, only surprised that it took this long. For one, advertisers are super-wary about putting buying ads adjacent to porn. If you've ever paid any attention to the ads you get on Tumblr, they make Twitter ads look good and relevant.

Porn will find a way. It always does. Personally, I expect we'll see more Adult Focused Mastodon Instances spinning up, and hopefully this'll also be a boon to getting PixelFed (a decentralized Instagram style service) off the ground as well.
posted by SansPoint at 11:45 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]




I'm frankly a bit shocked it took this long for Tumblr to hit its Great Strikethrough moment; I thought for sure they'd come for the pr0n after the Yahoo! sale, and everything after that has felt like borrowed time. Plus ça change, and all that.
posted by halation at 11:47 AM on December 3 [7 favorites]


I'm probably underestimating the amount of fanart depicting sex acts aren't I?

that depends
how close to 100% are you estimating
posted by halation at 11:48 AM on December 3 [46 favorites]


I think that people predicting doom and gloom for Tumblr are reaching a bit.

No, just remembering the death of LiveJournal and how it came about, as well as a few other sites that tanked after banning adult content.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:48 AM on December 3 [35 favorites]


I wonder just how much Tumblr content is porn these days.

Also, how they plan to accomplish the "we'll only delete nasty, prurient porn, but leave the tasteful stuff."
posted by doctornemo at 11:48 AM on December 3


Female Presenting Nipple

Also, how they plan to accomplish the "we'll only delete nasty, prurient porn, but leave the tasteful stuff."

Last time they tried this, all the LGBTQ stuff got marked 'NSFW', so.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:50 AM on December 3 [46 favorites]


You say you're being sarcastic but I think you're right, except that they don't know they're self-destructing. The pornbot spam is a huge fucking problem.

I was only being sarcastic about the general SV refusal to pay moderators-- the pornbots on tumblr are INFURIATING and the platform has been refusing to do anything about them for years at this point.

(for those not familiar with the platform, pornbot=/=NSFW fanart, but tumblr mgmt has apparently decided they are one and the same, go figure)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:50 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


I'm probably underestimating the amount of fanart depicting sex acts aren't I?

You're definitely underestimating the amount of fanart depicting sex acts.

The other thing was that Tumblr dominated fandom for so long because it was one-stop shopping. You could get your fic and your meta and your fandom socializing and your fandom art and your fandom vids, all in one place. It used to be that you had AO3 for the fic, and the meta on Blogspot or Diaryland and the fandom socializing on Livejournal/Dreamwidth and the pictures on deviantart and the vids on vimeo/Youtube.

Tumblr was the opportunity to do all that on a single site, plus gifsets. I don't know if fandom can go back.

Also, what a week for pillowfort to be down. :/
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:50 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


I wonder just how much Tumblr content is porn these days.


Like 95 percent


I dunno, does homoerotic art count? there are no female presenting nipples
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:53 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


We're having a grand old time over on Mastodon about the female-presenting nipples, fwiw.
posted by odinsdream at 11:53 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


I'm probably underestimating the amount of fanart depicting sex acts aren't I?

Probably, but even aside from that, if you think tumblr's going to be competent about deciding what is and isn't allowed, you've got a whole lot more faith in them than their user base does. I doubt fan artists and other artists are going to be thrilled about posting their work, crossing their fingers, and hoping that the Almighty Algorithm decides it's clean enough. It's a safe bet this is going to lead to a lot of indiscriminate deletions and declarations of things being explicit that are not explicit. I bet everything from "two dudes kissing while shirtless" to "literal actual penis photo" is going to be called explicit, and tumblr will not have the capacity or ability to handle a flood of support requests from all the people posting said photos or fan art of two dudes kissing while shirtless or whatever.
posted by yasaman at 11:53 AM on December 3 [11 favorites]


There's a ton of porn on tumblr, and I don't mean the fannish kind, and it's aggressively spread by bots, such that it's hard to avoid if you're just looking for...well, anything else. This is a real problem. Even if I didn't silo identities, I would never dream of going on there on a lunch break on a work computer, and it does have a negative effect on my use of the site generally.

I'm not sure if losing only that fanart depicting actual sex acts will be sufficient to drive fandom away. It's true that tumblr used its greater image-friendliness as a draw back in the day (and I've certainly seen more and better fanart than I would have on other mediums, good job, fanartists), but I'm not sure it's a sine qua non now, especially with the other alternatives being very speculative or flawed. Guess we'll find out.

Picturing nipples waving tiny gender flags now.
posted by praemunire at 11:53 AM on December 3


I never accidentally run into porn (images of live adult humans engaging in sexual intercourse) on Tumblr. What are you guys searching for (so I can add that to my regular things to search for)?
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:56 AM on December 3 [16 favorites]


Soon, Tumblr will belong solely to me and my squeaky-clean Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction.

And the day after that... THE WORLD.
posted by delfin at 11:56 AM on December 3


I dunno, does homoerotic art count? there are no female presenting nipples

What? Do you think there's no homoerotic art featuring women? Homoeroticism isn't limited to men.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:57 AM on December 3 [10 favorites]


Mastodon is simple: 1. Find a server. 2. Sign in to server. 3. Post and like stuff. World of Warcraft had millions of users with a multi-server model, so do most websites.

Dreamwidth is pretty much dead or niche barring a design overhaul because, like it or not, mobile is already the biggest platform and Dreamwidth comments are unreadable on mobile.

Generally though it's a sign of priorities that we're seeing a broad banhammer applied to porn, which is going to net a ton of false positives, but not the circles and tags that encourage harassment.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:58 AM on December 3 [8 favorites]


Previously.
posted by Melismata at 11:58 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


where do I get my happy sexy funtimes vision board ideas now
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:59 AM on December 3 [6 favorites]


| | | | | but are
| | | | they
| | | | | | ever going
| | | | | | | | | to fix this
| | ux
| | | | | | abomination?
posted by schmod at 12:00 PM on December 3 [58 favorites]


I never accidentally run into porn (images of live adult humans engaging in sexual intercourse) on Tumblr.

Whenever I post anything to tumblr, in the next few hours I'll get a number of new followers, all of which when you click through to them to see if their accounts are anyone I know/anything interesting, always turn out to be are generic automated porn accounts, with content ranging through various shades of soft to hard porn depending on the day, seemingly.

I'm not sure of the last time an actual human being saw or liked or followed anything i've ever posted on there.
posted by dng at 12:00 PM on December 3 [11 favorites]


lol they've already purged tags related to "dick" which includes any person named richard who uses that nickname
posted by poffin boffin at 12:02 PM on December 3 [9 favorites]


I’m old and grumpy because I keep hating that social media apps stop doing what they’re actually good at. Instagram adding “close friends” is an example of this. Stop changing and just do what you’re good at. Also, I’m getting an ad after every three or four photos on Instagram, it’s becoming more and more of an annoyance that will make me bail. Tumblr getting rid of adult content may not be platform suicide but it’s really going to change it. I’d love to see someone do an economic impact study on all the people using it to funnel people from Tumblr to their private snapchats etc.
posted by misterpatrick at 12:02 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


presumably residents of scunthorpe will be the next to perish
posted by poffin boffin at 12:02 PM on December 3 [17 favorites]


So guess that means fandom's moving! someone tell me where we're going, I hope it's not Discord. Or Twitter.

“PLEASE BE PINTEREST. PLEASE BE PINTEREST. PLEASE BE PINTEREST.”
posted by Fizz at 12:04 PM on December 3 [9 favorites]


After they got deleted from the App Store, this was inevitable.

Serious question: why does Tumblr need an app? Is the app doing anything that a properly designed website can't do, in 2018?

To be clear, I haven't used the app, but my personal experience with websites pushing apps is that I cannot recall a single one that seemed like there was a reason for it to exist, other than "because we should have an app".
posted by tocts at 12:08 PM on December 3 [43 favorites]


World of Warcraft had millions of users with a multi-server model, so do most websites.

WoW did have pretty fixed standards across servers, and while servers weren't identical, users did at least know whether specific servers were RP or PvP or high-population or low-population. Mastodon... doesn't really do any of that, or at least it didn't when I tried it out, and it seems like there are some pretty wide levels of variance.
posted by halation at 12:09 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


I bet everything from "two dudes kissing while shirtless" to "literal actual penis photo" is going to be called explicit, and tumblr will not have the capacity or ability to handle a flood of support requests from all the people posting said photos or fan art of two dudes kissing while shirtless or whatever.

Not to mention

-all the junior puritans who keep trying to report fanfic to the FBI because writing a 10 Things I Hate About You AU counts as CP in their opinion, and the Authorities Need to Step In.
-the original flavor fundamentalists who flag anything about sexuality as pornography to help people meet Jesus
-the brigading resulting from fandom fights
-the fanart plagiarists who get REAL MAD when the original artists ask them to take stuff down or at least give credit
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:10 PM on December 3 [25 favorites]


I stopped using Tumblr ages ago because it was just frustrating to me, including all the pornbots, and it's double-frustrating that instead of fixing any of the longstanding, glaring problem they're just killing their platform.
"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."
Who is your community?
posted by muddgirl at 12:10 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


it's funny bc you can't see porn through the tumblr app anyway. you can't actually see anything at all bc the app is so incredibly fucking terrible.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:11 PM on December 3 [47 favorites]



Serious question: why does Tumblr need an app? Is the app doing anything that a properly designed website can't do, in 2018?

To be clear, I haven't used the app, but my personal experience with websites pushing apps is that I cannot recall a single one that seemed like there was a reason for it to exist, other than "because we should have an app".


TBH, I prefer the Tumblr app to Tumblr itself, especially for searches. They also seem to screw with the app layout a lot less.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:11 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


How does a nipple present as female?

Long hair.

If you've ever paid any attention to the ads you get on Tumblr, they make Twitter ads look good and relevant.

That weird occasional moment when I realize there are supposed to be ads on Tumblr and Twitter.
posted by bongo_x at 12:12 PM on December 3 [13 favorites]


Mastodon is simple: 1. Find a server. 2. Sign in to server. 3. Post and like stuff.

I don't want to derail the thread with my simultaneous delight and annoyance at mefite Mastodon stans, so... previously.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:12 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


halation: The population and a short mission statement of any Mastodon server is displayed on the home page.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:13 PM on December 3


Yeah, the app is absolute garbage. I've tried using my dash on an ipad or phone, on my own wifi network, and nothing loads, or what does load takes forever. Same posts, same internet connection, and accessing tumblr on a browser on a laptop? Everything loads just fine.
posted by yasaman at 12:14 PM on December 3


Last time they tried this, all the LGBTQ stuff got marked 'NSFW', so.
Exactly.
It's a long-running problem. Some might remember Facebook getting into trouble for banning historical photos and pictures of sculpture.
posted by doctornemo at 12:15 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Some might remember Facebook getting into trouble for banning historical photos and pictures of sculpture.

Some might remember AIM banning the word "breast," resulting in some furious people who were part of breast cancer groups.
posted by Melismata at 12:20 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


The pornbots have also lately taken to commenting on popular posts, so you have the choice of letting that crap sit on your post, or having to manually clean it off. (I understand that some of it may be actual, real child porn, too, though at least I haven't stumbled over any of that, thank God. But who wants to worry about that popping up on your posts about Steven Universe?)

Don't get me wrong, I think everyone's concerns here are valid, but I think we should acknowledge that the commercial porn is invasive there and that that is a problem. (It would turn out to be funny if the core Tumblr audience was people advertising for sex work, though.)
posted by praemunire at 12:20 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


To add on to the Tumblr App Bashing, it's almost 2019, and Tumblr's iOS app still doesn't support split view and slide over on the iPad. What the hell are they even doing over there?!
posted by SansPoint at 12:23 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Who is your community?

Their advertisers, of course.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:23 PM on December 3 [15 favorites]




But their ads are so baffling that people mistake them for shitposts.
posted by yasaman at 12:24 PM on December 3 [12 favorites]


I just saw a gifset of two people shown only from collarbones up in the shower (washing blood off of nongraphic injuries on their arms and faces) marked as "SENSITIVE CONTENT FLAGGED" in case anyone was wondering how hilariously puritanical this is going to be.

meanwhile nazi blogs are still 100% okay with tumblr. just don't show any nazi titty bc that's harmful and dangerous.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:24 PM on December 3 [42 favorites]


I don't want to derail the thread with my simultaneous delight and annoyance at mefite Mastodon stans, so... previously.

Well, again it's 1. find a server. 2. sign in to a server, and 3. post and stuff. Your biggest complaint seems to be that you joined social media space and people were being social in Local and Global. Oh, and you didn't get accounts shoveled on you by some master algorithm.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:25 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


I just saw a gifset of two people shown only from collarbones up in the shower (washing blood off of nongraphic injuries on their arms and faces)

It was Steve and Bucky, wasn’t it?
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:26 PM on December 3 [17 favorites]


just don't show any nazi titty bc that's harmful and dangerous.

Thanks for the Charlotte Rampling flashback.
posted by praemunire at 12:27 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


It was Steve and Bucky, wasn’t it?

Captain America's magnificent bare chest is definitely not going to be considered Safe by the Algorithm.
posted by yasaman at 12:28 PM on December 3 [9 favorites]




no it was altered carbon
posted by poffin boffin at 12:30 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Presumably female nipple presents have pink bows, and male ones have blue bows

This is outdated and offensive. Obviously, the male nipples wear camouflage hats while the female nipples wear high heeled shoes.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:43 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


And some more sensitive flagged content. That turtle, how scandalous!
posted by zabuni at 12:48 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


I think we should acknowledge that the commercial porn is invasive there and that that is a problem.

I already said in this thread that it has been a dreadful problem for years, but more to the point-- there is no digital system I know of that hasn't almost immediately become a target for pornbots. I dread clearing out my spam filter at work, because 99% of it (even when just reading the subject lines!!) is incredibly degrading pornbot trash. Tracking a trending hashtag on twitter (again, something I have to do for work sometimes) almost inevitably means seeing something vile (meaning really misogynistic and violent content, not just NSFW).

It is part of what makes this so infuriating. Fandom has always been about consent and opting in-- the porn is carefully tagged and curated and rated usually behind a cut so that people can manage their own access and experience. And the pornbots are the total opposite-- they will co-opt any space to put explicit material you do NOT want in your face and on your posts and in your work email and everywhere everywhere everywhere.

So having the two conflated is especially galling, for me, for that reason. They are fundamentally opposite views of what NSFW content is for and how it should be disseminated, and having them both collapsed into one "problem" is really frustrating.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:52 PM on December 3 [43 favorites]


A friend just had a photo of a little fluffy kitten flagged. I don't know what is going on. Maybe someone is drunk.
posted by LindsayIrene at 12:52 PM on December 3 [10 favorites]


So, after reading this post, I just skimmed down my fanart tag on my tumblr, and found that two of my drawings - depicting fictional middle-aged Frenchmen* cuddling affectionately, whilst fully-clothed, with nary a whit of groping or exposure of any private portion of anatomy - have been “marked as explicit”.

The drawing of them both starkers (diligently placed under a cut, and clearly both tagged and labelled as NSFW, because springing Unexpected Naked Chaps on people without warning is extremely impolite), where Bonking Is Clearly Imminent, has not been flagged.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

* Les Misérables is both an impassioned treatise for penal and social reform, and the tale of a doomed police inspector/former convict romance, is all I’m saying. :P
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 12:54 PM on December 3 [28 favorites]


Good twitter thread on how this will affect communities on tumblr.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:54 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Kadin2048: I felt super old when I was informed recently that to at least a certain subset of its users, Instagram is a casual dating app, not just something to share photos of your pets being cute or promote your side-hustle / business idea.

... to at least a certain subset of its [male] users [literally any app or website where you can interact with other users] is a casual dating app, not just [whatever its purpose was supposed to be]
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:57 PM on December 3 [24 favorites]


there is no digital system I know of that hasn't almost immediately become a target for pornbots

Is this limited to ad-supported platforms?

Because I feel like subscription-supported platforms might not have the same problem.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:59 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


A friend just had a photo of a little fluffy kitten flagged. I don't know what is going on. Maybe someone is drunk.

Maybe people are pissed and attempting to demonstrate the follies of the new policy.
posted by overglow at 1:01 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Yes, all of the alternatives have issues, but it's pretty clear to me that Oath/Verizon, Facebook, and Twitter can't be trusted as curators of LGBTQ communities or content, and we need toolkits to spin up our own alternatives.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 1:06 PM on December 3 [6 favorites]


Maybe people are pissed and attempting to demonstrate the follies of the new policy.

Maybe? Going through one of my own (completely pornless) blogs, I'm finding so many posts that are flagged. The site is basically unusable at the moment.
posted by LindsayIrene at 1:07 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


A friend just had a photo of a little fluffy kitten flagged.

Technically, it’s “visible pussy”, I suppose...
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 1:08 PM on December 3 [28 favorites]


This looks like an algorithm gone mad. Probably this one.
posted by zabuni at 1:08 PM on December 3


How do I mass-save all my favorites?
posted by Sterros at 1:10 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Is this limited to ad-supported platforms?

I mean, my work email is not ad-supported, but part of the point of work email is that people need to be able to reach you there. And as long as people can reach you somewhere, it seems like porn is going to be sent your way.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:11 PM on December 3


i think you'd have to mass reblog favourites and then export the whole blog? idk if export actually exports everything or just the stuff for which you were the OP though.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:12 PM on December 3


I have no evidence of this, but I have noticed that it seems like non-NSFW stuff on tumblr will get flagged as NSFW if that user has recently posted NSFW stuff. So, a blog I follow might post a Boris Vallejo painting with full nip and then another painting of a robot in a different post will be flagged. It doesn't seem malicious but it certainly doesn't bode well for their ability to distinguish banned content from non-banned content.

Also, I feel like because of the numerous false-positives on the the "sensitive" content in tumblr we're conflating content that could be flagged as sensitive or NSFW with what is proposed to be banned in this update. For instance, if I have safe mode on, which I do at work, I'd be fine with a photo of a topless human of any gender being flagged because, as my sexual harassment training just informed me, displaying images of scantily clad people in my workplace could be considered sexual harassment. I probably also wouldn't mind a video, picture or drawing of a deep tongue kiss being flagged as well. I don't think any of those things should be banned from tumblr and they're not proposed to be.

Even given all that though, their proposed list of banned content is schizophrenic at best. Genitals and female-presenting nipples are banned, but they make an exception for art, like sculpture and illustration. Well isn't photography and well-recognized type of art? There's no way they'll be able to separate the two.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:18 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Following Craigslist and others, sigh.

I think a lot of this is because of Craigslist. After the Craigslist clampdown, porn spam suddenly got much worse on Tumblr, and much of it was thinly-veiled advertisements for sex work.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:22 PM on December 3 [13 favorites]


I guess I should start actually using my Pillowfort account, huh.

I mean, good luck with that. They've been down for over a week because of a security audit. As I've noted here previously, Pillowfort decided they were going to try to replace Tumblr on $40k/year in dev salaries. Pillowfort's servers probably would not have been able to handle today if they were actually up--not even signups, just people visiting to find out what it's about. It's not a plausible replacement to start with but it doesn't have sufficient funding or engineering talent to scale the way that would be required for it to be useful.
posted by Sequence at 1:23 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


goddamnit Morfil why have you awakened something in me

I don't seem to have been flagged on my long-dormant blog, and I don't think that I should be under these terms, but I expect that someone will flag some artistic nudity I drew just to be a PITA
posted by Countess Elena at 1:23 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


The weird thing about this is that if they'd launched a tool for users to report pornbots/child pornography, the user-base would have done the work for them. For free.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:24 PM on December 3 [36 favorites]


As if I needed another reason to avoid doing business with Verizon.
posted by Consult The Oracle at 1:25 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


edit to my last post: some topless photos, specifically those with female-presenting nipples in them do fall under the ban, which is just silly.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:26 PM on December 3


This article makes a convincing case that Apple's smug puritanism is mostly to blame.
posted by mcmile at 1:26 PM on December 3 [24 favorites]


And as long as people can reach you somewhere, it seems like porn is going to be sent your way.

Hmmm not if you have to pay to send it. I don’t get ANY porn in my MeFi inbox.

...should I be concerned I don’t get porn in my MeFi inbox?
posted by schadenfrau at 1:26 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


If their algorithm can't tell the difference between robots and sensitive content, how could it tell the difference between a drawing of two mostly-clothed men having sex (which I understand will be banned) and a drawing of two MMA grapplers (which would not be banned)?
posted by muddgirl at 1:27 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


I wonder just how much Tumblr content is porn these days.

I did not realize it was used for anything else.

What's the replacement going to be?
posted by rokusan at 1:31 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Two words: Web Ring
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:34 PM on December 3 [22 favorites]


You joke, but this sort of thing would have been a lot less likely pre-Web 2.0, when everyone either had their own privately owned and operated website or hosted their art on someone else's privately owned and operated website. This development is largely thanks to the continual effort to centralize and monetize content on the internet.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:39 PM on December 3 [34 favorites]


I'm no expert user but I don't like Tumblr for porn, because I can't tell if a blog is real or by a bot, and secondly because the reposting and commenting system aren't useful. These systems are flawed by making the user browse through stuff they don't want in order to find stuff. It's a system that favors the company and their pathetic attempts to monetize a commons. I'm not sure a website that is actually good for porn could ever practically exist but it's not because the technology isn't there, it's because money and social interests prevent it from happening.
posted by polymodus at 1:44 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


It is part of what makes this so infuriating. Fandom has always been about consent and opting in-- the porn is carefully tagged and curated and rated usually behind a cut so that people can manage their own access and experience. And the pornbots are the total opposite-- they will co-opt any space to put explicit material you do NOT want in your face and on your posts and in your work email and everywhere everywhere everywhere.

So having the two conflated is especially galling, for me, for that reason. They are fundamentally opposite views of what NSFW content is for and how it should be disseminated, and having them both collapsed into one "problem" is really frustrating.


Sorry if I wasn't clear! I don't consider the fannish porn a problem at all (nor would I consider other forms of consensual porn a problem if they weren't being pushed on me involuntarily). As you say, fandom is careful about making things opt-in. But clearly distinguishing the two would present problems even if we didn't have the usual sexist, anti-LBGTQ, etc. dynamics or the fandom purity brigade to contend with. I wish I had a great solution to suggest.
posted by praemunire at 1:46 PM on December 3


This development is largely thanks to the continual effort to centralize and monetize content on the internet.

Somewhere in Palo Alto, a programmer scribbles a note to himself: "What if porn, but blockchain?"
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:47 PM on December 3 [34 favorites]


You joke, but this sort of thing would have been a lot less likely pre-Web 2.0, when everyone either had their own privately owned and operated website or hosted their art on someone else's privately owned and operated website.

Well, a lot of personal websites back then were run through ISPs at first and then through free webhosts like Angelfire/Geocities when those became available. Most ISPs prohibited the hosting of adult content, and I'm absolutely positive that that both Angelfire and Geocities did.

However, yeah, there would have been communities that popped up around the few webhosts that actually did permit non-illegal porn. (I say "would have been" here mainly because I was rather prudish at the time so I don't have direct experience. But based on my experience with other kinds of pre-Web 2.0 communities, I can infer this with a lot of confidence.)

Really, there's no technical obstacle to running pornfic communities as a bunch of independently hosted websites except for the big discoverability issue. I.e., you don't have a chance in hell of getting on the first page of a Google search unless you're on Tumblr or or else if you're catering to a really narrow niche.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:53 PM on December 3


If their algorithm can't tell the difference between robots and sensitive content, how could it tell the difference between a drawing of two mostly-clothed men having sex (which I understand will be banned) and a drawing of two MMA grapplers (which would not be banned)?

I believe this is a response to my comment about nipples and robots, where I end the paragraph with, "It doesn't seem malicious but it certainly doesn't bode well for their ability to distinguish banned content from non-banned content." So, I think we agree?
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:54 PM on December 3


You joke, but this sort of thing would have been a lot less likely pre-Web 2.0, when everyone either had their own privately owned and operated website or hosted their art on someone else's privately owned and operated website.

I am actually still very much in favor of the model where you pay for services instead of doing this you're-the-product thing, but old-fashioned web hosting traditionally banned porn unless you were using a hosting account intended specifically for porn. Those accounts were substantially more expensive and hugely so if you wanted a reliable provider. I'm pretty sure many, if not most, of those hosts would totally have extended that policy to adult fanart, though I didn't know as many people who were doing it back then to know for sure. A huge part of why Archive of Our Own exists was because fanfiction.net cracked down on hosting even textual adult content. I don't like Twitter as a company at all, but I'm probably going to wind up with a second Twitter account now for fanart purposes because even the non-adult artists I know are intending to leave Tumblr now, and there really aren't better places.
posted by Sequence at 1:55 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


female presenting nipples

Where does this leave the Tom of Finland drawings in which there is no exposed genitalia and no sex act in progress but there ARE some pretty aggressively-presented male nipples?

Asking for a friend.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:01 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


they're already flagging fully clothed same sex hand-holding as explicit
posted by poffin boffin at 2:04 PM on December 3 [14 favorites]


I don't blame Apple for this. Tumblr had an app on the App Store for years without Apple throwing a wobbly about porn, as long as Tumblr had the "17+" requirement. Child porn slipped through, something Tumblr's staff openly admitted to, and that is probably what pushed them finish what was a clear path Tumblr had started on in the late Yahoo days of banning porn.
posted by SansPoint at 2:12 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


To be fair, a vast array of non-explicit content is getting flagged because whatever flagging algorithm they're using is nowhere near up to the task of identifying nsfw content. I've seen pictures of a fully clothed guy sitting alone at a desk get flagged on blogs that have never posted any nsfw content. It's completely broken.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:13 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


I believe this is a response to my comment about nipples and robots, where I end the paragraph with, "It doesn't seem malicious but it certainly doesn't bode well for their ability to distinguish banned content from non-banned content." So, I think we agree?

No, it was in response to this comment which, yes, Tumblr is not proposing to ban all NSFW content, but their shitty flagging system is absolutely relevant to what they are going to delete.

The fact that LGBT content is regularly flagged as NSFW in ways that straight content isn't, is a related problem on the platform.
posted by muddgirl at 2:13 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


In other words I guess we agree.

But LGBT kissing is not any more NSFW than straight kissing.
posted by muddgirl at 2:15 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


goddamnit Morfil why have you awakened something in me

:D

(Just found that several photos of my pet rats have been flagged as “explicit”, too.)
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 2:15 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


When we say "they" are flagging, are we talking about user clicking to flag something or a tumblr bot trying to identify prohibited content? Because if it's user flagging, then it could easily be users unhappy with the new policy spamming in order to impede the process.

I will grant that the commerical porn was becoming invasive. I got so tired of clearing pornbots out of my follows. Even their userpics showed explicit sex acts, so just mousing over to get to the "block" option meant I had to deal with unwanted porn exposure.
posted by Karmakaze at 2:19 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


But LGBT kissing is not any more NSFW than straight kissing.

so many people already choose to tag g-rated fully clothed lgbt kissing as nsfw by themselves, without any kind of automated flagging process, and it's so gross and an auto unfollow from me if i see it.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:19 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


I'm not a fan of social media nor fandom so I'm mostly satisfied by Tumblr shooting themselves in the face. People flocked to these sites because maintaining your own presence was a pain in the ass, and it wasn't cheap. That hasn't really changed.

Hopefully the lesson is learned: Tumblr, like the properties fandom is based on, will not love you back.
posted by Merus at 2:25 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


algorithms gone mad
posted by epersonae at 2:25 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


(also, from the related posts below: apparently we still need a National E-Commerce Strategy?)
posted by epersonae at 2:27 PM on December 3


It is part of what makes this so infuriating. Fandom has always been about consent and opting in

I keep reading fandom as 'Femdom' and it still works. Also, that's what I use tumblr for.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:27 PM on December 3 [18 favorites]


Anyone know how to mass download a blog's content including reblogs? I've got one tumblr that is 100% reblogs and probably 95% content that will be nuked by this new policy and I'd kind of like to save that content for my own use.
posted by Mitheral at 2:32 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


. . . hoping that the Almighty Algorithm decides it's clean enough . . .

Dear Algorithm:

No, I have no idea what this "Usenet" thing you've been scanning about is.
It looks like just a bunch of gibberish.
Just keep ignoring it.
It's probably nothing.

Kisses!
Bellman.
posted by The Bellman at 2:34 PM on December 3


As one person I saw put it on Twitter, they picked the most gender-inclusive language possible for their gender-exclusive policy.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:44 PM on December 3 [26 favorites]


Woah, I'm kind of surprised by all the reactions here saying that tumblr was all porn anyway. That hasn't been my experience at all in the seven years I've been on the site. And this 2016 study cited in Vice only identifed 1% of tumblr user accounts as adult content "producers" (though it seems a little iffy how that is defined).

Granted, I mostly follow blogs that only post about art, politics, history, and cute animals, so I've been in my own little bubble, but the point is that your experience of tumblr is 99% shaped by the accounts that you choose to follow. So if you don't want to see porn, you don't follow accounts that post porn, and you use filters. The only exception to this has been the absurd proliferation of pornbot accounts that hijack completely unrelated posts to get you to click on their links. And instead of just purging these bot accounts that everyone hates, Tumblr has decided to "solve" the problem by automated flagging anything that has even a whiff of nsfw. And the algorithm is completely awry: my last post that got flagged as "sensitive content" depicts...a photo of two hands holding a dove.
posted by adso at 2:46 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


I don't use tumblr for porn, but I did appreciate the allowance for female nudity so it's where my pagan stuff lives because people being naked is perfectly okay and nonsexual unless they are actually engaging in sex.

I have no idea where or if I'll replace my tumblr with anything.

None of my original content seems flaged, but plenty of my reblogs are.

But i was pretty happy there. I do feel that the bots have become more invasive in the last year. I think that they do need to figure out a way to opt in to explicit content and I didn't trust tumblr enough to try and view at work.

I will miss some of the contributions to fandom by people who post who will now go somewhere else. Hopefully I'll find out where that is and feel comfortable there.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:47 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Anyone know how to mass download a blog's content including reblogs? I've got one tumblr that is 100% reblogs and probably 95% content that will be nuked by this new policy and I'd kind of like to save that content for my own use.

There is this, although I don't know if it works for reblogs
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:04 PM on December 3


So if you don't want to see porn, you don't follow accounts that post porn, and you use filters.

Are you really blaming people, in 2018, for not successfully dodging the attention of porn spammers?
posted by praemunire at 3:05 PM on December 3 [8 favorites]


Anyone know how to mass download a blog's content including reblogs? I've got one tumblr that is 100% reblogs and probably 95% content that will be nuked by this new policy and I'd kind of like to save that content for my own use.

Tumblelog Picture Downloader works really well on the Mac. It's in the App Store.
posted by bongo_x at 3:12 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Are you really blaming people, in 2018, for not successfully dodging the attention of porn spammers?

Sorry, I didn't phrase that clearly. That's not what I was trying to argue at all. The point I was trying to make is that the pornbots that get in everyone's face are the real problem, not the people who post nsfw content onto their own blogs and keep to themselves.
posted by adso at 3:12 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


Somewhere in Palo Alto, a programmer scribbles a note to himself: "What if porn, but blockchain?"

Cockchain, surely?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:31 PM on December 3 [15 favorites]


In case anyone's wondering how tumblr's flagging algorithms are going to work, here's a collection of samples - screencaps of posts that got flagged for review.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:45 PM on December 3


Tumblr, here's a wild thought.

The thing where I have a main and a secondary blog, and I want to leave comments on others' posts as the secondary rather than the main without reblogging the posts?

Fix that. Then worry about nipples.
posted by delfin at 3:46 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: Worry about nipples.

Can I get in on this nipple-presenting worrying? Mine are all kinds of confusing right now.

And yeah this is some crazy bullshit. And, yeah, there's been a crazy knock on effect from CL closing personals and stuff.

There's an old regional personal subreddit I subscribed to like 10 years ago and then it was basically dormant and likely unmoderated, and after CL closed their personals it took like a week or two before it exploded with dick pics, "service my boring, lazy ass" type posts and a whole lot of even more skeezy stuff like very creepy oldsters offering housing barters for sex work.
posted by loquacious at 4:03 PM on December 3


Sigh. I really liked Tumblr, too. And I thought, of all the social media platforms, they were the most transparent about coming clean over Russian interference in the elections. Now this. I mean, I feel like people should pay for their porn and most of the stuff on Tumblr is clearly pirated, but they clearly aren't doing this to fight piracy.

But the hate content, though? Guess that stuff stays, huh?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:06 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity.

In banning all good ole fashioned "adult content", isn't Tumblr making it officially political?
posted by philip-random at 4:13 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Literally everyone in my feed is flouncing over this. I’m not quite sure who will be left there. I do wish we had a concrete place to go to.

And oddly, my feed in the last month has gone crazy with porn ads, whereas I never saw them there BEFORE they disabled the nsfw filter. Like, by trying to get rid of something, they just made it worse...? But surely that can’t be.
posted by greermahoney at 4:23 PM on December 3


Is there anything like it? Am I being sent back to NSFW subreddits for kink gifs?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:44 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Hey so this policy and the failure to do anything about the porn bot issue that got them kicked off the app store is basically the platform equivalence of arson insurance fraud. Does anyone with a better grasp of Oath, Verizon, etc know why they’re passively killing the platform? It’s been clear for a while now that the owners are letting it die, but if anyone has any insight about why, I’d love to hear it. Tumblr was afaik one of the last big social media platforms that wasnt owned by or synced with facebook or google, and I keep wondering if that’s part of it.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:50 PM on December 3 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: Literally everyone is flouncing over this.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:51 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


I did not realize it was used for anything else.

What's the replacement going to be?


“I’m fairly sure if they took porn off the internet, there’d only be one website left, and it’d be called Bring Back the Porn.”
posted by trillian at 4:51 PM on December 3 [8 favorites]


I'm in the crowd advocating for a return to Dreamwidth. Their image hosting has problems, but they're fandom-friendly and good for actual conversations.

Other people are pushing for Pillowfort, which is new (Kickstarter this year). It has an interface similar to Tumblr, plus communities, and a strong no-Nazis, no-vicious-attacks TOS. Right now it's down for security code updates; it should be opening tomorrow or the day after; reg codes are currently $5, although they have plans to go free at some point.

PF's biggest issue, IMHO, is their lack of financing plan; I don't think they've figured out how to pay for hosting a site after the first year or two. They don't know what their premium features will be yet, either.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:52 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Does anyone with a better grasp of Oath, Verizon, etc know why they’re passively killing the platform?

Verizon has no interest in managing a social media site; they want eyeballs for advertisers, and they're happy to kill any portion of the site that isn't clicking through and sometimes buying from those advertisers. As far as they're concerned, the rest of the site is dead weight.

Verizon's also trying to get into the unique video content game - and again, users posting what they care about is not useful for that.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:00 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


adso: "Woah, I'm kind of surprised by all the reactions here saying that tumblr was all porn anyway. That hasn't been my experience at all in the seven years I've been on the site."

I've got two tumblr identities. One doesn't see anything purient at all. The other sees quite a bit but nothing much more riske than page 3 girls. but it is pretty easy from either to click through to a person who reblogs or likes one of my posts and see some pretty extreme stuff.
posted by Mitheral at 5:06 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


There are dozens of queer sites that combine porn (sometimes vintage) as part of a cohesive, complex aesthetic, the accretion of this being an emergence of a new queer aesthetic--including but not limited to golden fleecing, cruise or be cruised, pink mince, ultrasparrky, sissy dude, otterj, walter cessa, voodude, etc etc etc....the loss is not just porn.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:13 PM on December 3 [15 favorites]


.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:14 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Now that the "Female Presenting Nipples" jokes have died down: This part of their policy is especially galling coming from someplace where Female Presenting Nipples are perfectly legal anywhere Male Presenting Nipples are. American Puritanism is sloshing over into my county and it is extremely annoying. Let alone the assumption that nipple presenting is inherently binary.
posted by Mitheral at 5:30 PM on December 3 [13 favorites]


I wonder just how much Tumblr content is porn these days.

Depends on how you measure, but roughly 20%? 2017: '“adult” content is the top category that drives direct clicks to Tumblr’s desktop site, accounting for 20.53% of clicks'. 2013: 11% of top Tumblr domains are adult, 17% of traffic, 22% of incoming referrals, 8% of outgoing referrals. I was surprised it's way, way less than half of Tumblr by these numbers.

Tumblr is unique for porn in two ways.

One, it's mostly static images and short animations (so called GIFs). There's a zillion sites for porn movies, half of them under the PornHub umbrella, but not so many for high quality still images.

Two, Tumblr has the best collection of very precise subcommunities. Interested in musclebear redheads age 40-60? There's a group of 5-10 Tumblrs for that. Elaborate Japanese rope bondage more your thing? There must be 100+ busy Tumblrs for that, sharing and resharing the same images. The easy reblogging / favoriting of things allowed users to be both consumers and curators of porn, and create an easy social sharing of very specific pornographic tastes. I'm going to miss that.

Hard to see how to replace it too. The thing is Tumblr was also hosting the porn. That's the complicated part, the part that bumps into copyright licensing and child porn concerns and sheer expense. But the hosting isn't particularly interesting to me, what's interesting is the social community and sharing. In theory you could build something like that for images hosted elsewhere but I fear it wouldn't work very well.
posted by Nelson at 5:41 PM on December 3 [19 favorites]


Tumblr users seem to universally regard the Tumblr staff as a bunch of incompetents, which is why I'm wholly unsurprised that they decided to use an algorithm to try to identify which content should be removed. That's never going to work, because while convolutional neural networks can do some amazing things, they also sometimes confuse a turtle for a gun. They were also never going to go for moderation via user-sourced flagging. That has a ton of issues as well as requiring actual human work, which Tumblr was never any good at. They still have "threading" that results in a single column of basically-unreadable letters FFS. So, good job at killing your own platform, idiots.
posted by axiom at 5:43 PM on December 3


These instructions are being passed round for how to download/back up yr account/art/reblogs
posted by runincircles at 6:07 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


No trust here that "lesbian" and "bisexual" tags and references won't end up on the wrong side of the porn-detection algorithm, just as they did elsewhere.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:17 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


I mean I've been secretly hoping for Tumblr to die and take my embarrassing teenage years with it so I can become a famous author* in peace without people digging up random shit on me.

But this is... a super shitty way for it to go.

*let more than one person read my work
posted by brook horse at 6:28 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]




I haven't looked at Tumblr in a long time, so I don't have any personal stake in this, but it sounds like this is being done in a terribly incompetent, if not bigoted, way, where the LGBT content gets flagged first, etc.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:46 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Yeah, “LGBT content gets flagged first” seems like a pretty apt description. Great job, Tumblr.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:02 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Somehow I have no doubt if your tastes run to commercialized heteronormative pornography, somehow that will still be available on tumblr

Also, is there anyway to mass save the feeds of people I follow, and not just stuff I reblogged?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:03 PM on December 3


They snagged my super hot triceratops (note: triceratops drawing not actually sexy)
posted by velebita at 7:09 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


ProZD's take.

The more I think about it, the more I think a service that has never (?) turned a profit nor blown up does not have and was not going to get an adequate budget for human moderation, even if they wanted it. So they resort to the crude auto-moderation tools that somehow end up taking down a lot of marginal content that doesn't actually fit the criteria for deletion. I don't think they suddenly developed a case of puritanism after all this time (it's even been a while since the Oath acquisition), so I honestly wonder if it wasn't this or, well, nothing.
posted by praemunire at 7:14 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


tag yr porn, velebita!
posted by praemunire at 7:14 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Serious question: why does Tumblr need an app? Is the app doing anything that a properly designed website can't do, in 2018?

The Tumblr app is such an abomination that one wonders if it wasn’t created to actually kill-off Tumblr. The app strips away what are arguably the two best features of Tumblr...Custom site designs, and a browseable visual archive of every site.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:09 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Same old, same old: if you're not paying, you're the product. And in this instance, as with LJ and other sites beforehand, you're subject to their rules with no recourse. If you're not paying them, they don't care what you think.

Which is why I'm still at Dreamwidth after all these years. Speaking of which, founder Denise posted a welcome to new members coming in from Tumblr today. You pay for your membership on DW, and there are no ads. There's also only limited image hosting, but they're going to look into that.

I must admit that I wouldn't mind terribly if more of fandom took place on DW again; I miss a lot of old friends who migrated to Tumblr.

All that said, I'm going to quote myself, in something I like to refer to as cofax's Law of Fannish Persistence: Fandom will survive. Fandom will thrive. Feel free to stress and challenge people's motives and plan for the worst and hope for the best. Me, I'm not really worried. In twenty years, I'm pretty sure there will still be porn.
posted by suelac at 8:22 PM on December 3 [13 favorites]


Just yesterday a post was going around that furry-related tags were being shadow banned. Tags like "furry" and "furries" were blocked, but "furry art" and "anthro art" were not. And this all this today... (I'm away from my own computer or I'd dig it up).

I've been on Tumblr since 2009. I sincerely love it, bullshit and all. I've made actual friends on it. No other service feels like Tumblr, and I hate that this is happening. I'm on other networks, but I don't want other networks. I want Tumblr, warts and all.

(The pornbots and nazis could go, though. That'd be cool.)
posted by gc at 8:26 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


could it tell the difference between a drawing of two mostly-clothed men having sex... and a drawing of two MMA grapplers 

In fairness, I'm not sure I could tell the difference.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:58 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


suelac: "Fandom will survive. Fandom will thrive."

Sure, but a lot of curation work is going to disappear. It's not really unusual for even a casual user to spend 10-15 minutes a day messing with their niche topic; heck I spend more than that on my daily 365 photo project. Some of these blogs have been around for a decade. That is a shit ton of work to be redone and much of it won't if only because the original curator is either uninterested or unavailable.

Of course users aren't paying for the service so don't have any leverage, blah, blah, blah. We can still be sad/angry/upset/dismayed about all that work and community being flushed.
posted by Mitheral at 9:24 PM on December 3 [9 favorites]


The current state of Tumblr
posted by JamesBay at 9:53 PM on December 3


Serious question: why does Tumblr need an app? Is the app doing anything that a properly designed website can't do, in 2018?

Because it's much harder to block their ads in the app than in a web browser. And because the app can collect all kinds of data about you that they can't get from serving their pages in your web browser.
posted by straight at 9:56 PM on December 3 [6 favorites]


This is the end of Truth Coming Out Of Her Well memes, and I don't know if I can handle that.
posted by meese at 9:57 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


runincircles: "These instructions are being passed round for how to download/back up yr account/art/reblogs"

Works well and instructions are clear however it doesn't seem to work for blogs marked explicit.
posted by Mitheral at 10:33 PM on December 3


I haven't been to Tumblr ten times, but I've gotten the impression from what people say around here that the overall political tone is quite left-wing.

Funny how the stuff on the left always seems to get bought out and transformed or shut down.
posted by jamjam at 10:46 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Here's a post about some of the stuff being flagged (warning: one of the images at that link does indeed feature a bare female hip).
posted by Mitheral at 11:00 PM on December 3


deviantart continues to play the long game.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:03 PM on December 3


"Pillowfort decided they were going to try to replace Tumblr on $40k/year in dev salaries."

Wow! That's what Dr Bronner's apparently pays it's lowest paid (warehouse workers) employees. Good luck with that.
posted by el io at 11:42 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


(Just found that several photos of my pet rats have been flagged as “explicit”, too.)

Were they fucking?
posted by Meatbomb at 12:23 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]


I'm an odd one out among regular Tumblr users. I went there after del.icio.us was fucked over by whoever bought it. And ended up creating a social media monster for business news (listed in their Directory). It will be interesting to see how this affects traffic and follower rates.
posted by infini at 1:03 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Interesting to me that of the two pieces of OC on my Tumblr which contained "female-presenting nipples" it's the one of a white subject which has been flagged; the one of a woman of colour hasn't.

I'm guessing this is AI not recognising people of colour very well.
posted by gmb at 2:00 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]


As far as I can tell, Tumblr's algorithm mostly works by identifying how much of the picture is skin tones. This means my dash is full of people whose posts about bread, dogs and birthday cake are being flagged.

It's a mess, and totally expected.
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 3:06 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


I think it is a shame when people lose something they love. I am also surprised that anyone thinks the weird, wild, wonderful aspects of the web would survive on any billion dollar platform (especially if it is ad supported).
posted by snofoam at 3:58 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Good twitter thread on how this will affect communities on tumblr.

What this all makes me think of most is Delany's Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. I should re-read that.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:51 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


> Tumblr will ban "adult content

Nooooooooooo....err, I mean... Oh...
posted by Webbster at 7:08 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


The weird thing about this is that if they'd launched a tool for users to report pornbots/child pornography, the user-base would have done the work for them. For free.

The frustrating-as-fuck thing about this is that they have a tool for this, they just never did shit about the reports until Apple went "wait, child porn?!?" and deleted their app.
posted by XtinaS at 7:47 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


> Nooooooooooo....err, I mean... Oh...

I too only read it for the articles.
posted by cirgue at 8:10 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


I have never been offended by anything I see posted in my Tumblr feed because I choose who to follow and I don't follow people who would post things I hate. The issues I had were all the spambots in the comments and to a smaller extent, the spam bot followers. All the comments had very similar phrasing, links, and number/letter replacements (t0nite), so it would have been trivial to filter that stuff.
posted by soelo at 8:16 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


runcibleshaw, it's not just the vast amount of NWFS fan art. Tumblr is using bots to flag content for deletion on the 17th. Here's a list of content I've reblogged that's going away:

* Gifset of a kid's cartoon show
* analysis of a movie scene
* character analysis of a kid's cartoon show
* another gifset from a SFW show
* pet pictures

I have no idea what their algorithm is using, but it's not accurate. And so far appeals seem to be hit or miss.
posted by Ahniya at 8:33 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Wow! That's what Dr Bronner's apparently pays it's lowest paid (warehouse workers) employees. Good luck with that.

I mean, the up side is it's not a completely exploitative per-hour rate, the down side is that they think they're going to only need less than one full-time equivalent developer.
posted by Sequence at 8:38 AM on December 4


Blogs are getting deleted for 'too many' flagged posts, even if they're in the appeal process. Infinity War jokes abound.
posted by LindsayIrene at 8:42 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


Looks like it's time to export my tumblr...
posted by which_chick at 8:44 AM on December 4


my export backup has been "processing" for 24h so i'm not particularly optimistic about that actually working.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:53 AM on December 4


So which fandom peeps here are on mastodon? I'm @kutsuwamushi@mastodon.social.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:00 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


my export backup has been "processing" for 24h so i'm not particularly optimistic about that actually working.

Mine was actually ready and waiting for me this morning, after about as long. Of course, it's taking forever to download-- 1.8 gb and counting.
posted by nonasuch at 9:06 AM on December 4


poffin boffin: "my export backup has been "processing" for 24h so i'm not particularly optimistic about that actually working."

Mine too, and I can't post because of "technical difficulties" anymore.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 AM on December 4


I can't help but wonder if perhaps Yahoo is losing money on Tumblr (and really, how could they not?) and wants to shut it down but not, you know, openly just say "yeah, we bought it, we can't monitize it, so we're killing it"?

Surely the execs at Yahoo have enough internet history to know this is basically the end of Tumblr, so if they're self destructing it, I assume they have a reason for doing so?
posted by sotonohito at 9:31 AM on December 4


The Mac App store has something called "tumbleog picture downloader" which allows you to speedily download your likes and all the photos from entire blogs much more speedily than tumblr's downloader tool.

It's pretty sad to look at all these images and gifs without the context and out of order.

Does anyone know if it is technically feasible to keep my actual blog and all the content intact and just move it to a self-hosted place? My secret animated gif diary is one of my favorite things I have ever made and the thought of it and the rest of tumblr disappearing makes me very very sad.

Also these downloads don't seem to include any of my text content. What's a person to do? print out blog posts for the memories?
posted by wowenthusiast at 9:32 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine has a tumblr full of thoroughly explicit erotic art. The one thing that was "flagged" was a picture of a fully dressed woman doing absolutely nothing sexual. The bots are not exactly well trained yet.

There are a few things that are going to survive that I like, assuming the bots don't go crazy like that. Lynda Barry's tumblr should survive, and Richard Sala's (if I remember correctly, non-explicit artistic nudity is fine, and that's as far as he ever goes).

This might be a good idea for people to look into Indieweb "POSSE" solutions, though "Indieweb" is more a set of ideas and works-in-progress than ready-to-use options.
posted by edheil at 9:39 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


[c]ustom site designs - honestly, avoiding these unreadable myspace monstrosities is the best reason for using the app?

Meanwhile, I managed to rediscover my Dreamwidth account that I created seven and a half years ago. I'm waiting for Pillowfort to come back to use an invite from a Tumblr friend. Two fannish discords that I'm have gained a few new members. I'm debating starting a fandom-focused Twitter? Completely redoing my personal website? (Which makes me miss GReader even more)
posted by epersonae at 9:55 AM on December 4


One place I've seen mentioned in several tumblrs of people fleeing tumblr is Newgrounds. Which totally surprises me, I'd forgotten they even existed and thought that the site had shuttered years ago. But apparently it still exists and is trying to make itself appealing to tumblr refugees.
posted by sotonohito at 10:14 AM on December 4


Surely the execs at Yahoo have enough internet history to know this is basically the end of Tumblr

I used to be close to someone who was pretty high up at yahoo, and I cannot even begin to tell you how hard this made me laugh.

Like I do think they’ve given up on it (or on what they hoped it would be) but also all of this was kind of baked in from the get go. Tumblr was literally always a disaster from a business perspective (as in I can’t believe they acquired it after doing due diligence on how shit actually works there) and David Karp pulled off the stoner con of the century.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:26 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


yeah, we bought it, we can't monitize it, so we're killing it

If that data I posted upthread is right and only 20% of Tumblr is porn, then getting rid of all the porn may very well be the perfect thing to make the business successful.

I just can't for the life of me think of a pervasive non-porn use of Tumblr. Some fandom stuff, sure, although the porn restriction is not great for many of those communities either. I guess I can't imagine what the other 80% is. We're about to find out.
posted by Nelson at 10:29 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


the other 80% is memes about how tumblr is stupid
posted by poffin boffin at 10:32 AM on December 4 [10 favorites]


So I don't know anything about this website and it might very well be another cesspool or something, but I really enjoyed this open letter from Sharesome CEO Tudor Bold, especially for the last paragraph.
By banning “adult content” from your website in truth you categorically ban sex workers regardless of how they are using your platform. You cut them off from the ability to build an audience for their work, and what’s even worse, you declare their very existence as obscene.

Tumblr allows every content creator, artist, or small entrepreneur to build an audience and communicate with this audience at any moment in time - if you do not work in the adult industry of course.

.....

Sharesome is a site that welcomes all the people that you just kicked off your platform. You gave them time until December 17th to export a backup of their blog to save their years of work. Meanwhile we will develop an import tool, so they can move to us, and we leave you with all the white supremacist Nazi blogs – because we ban that kind of shit.
posted by rokusan at 10:32 AM on December 4 [14 favorites]


(And yes, I also thought that "Tudor Bold" was just a typeface.)
posted by rokusan at 10:33 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


I can't help but wonder if perhaps Yahoo is losing money on Tumblr (and really, how could they not?) and wants to shut it down but not, you know, openly just say "yeah, we bought it, we can't monitize it, so we're killing it"?

It's not Yahoo anymore, it's Verizon Media Group.

As I said above, I strongly suspect they crunched the numbers and figured that anything resembling proper human moderation--which is still plenty flawed--would be much too expensive to be feasible based on revenues, but leaving it effectively unmoderated would continue the reputational hazard of potential child porn and give exposure to potential FOSTA-SESTA liability. I doubt they want to kill tumblr, but I suspect they don't really care if it dies as the result of cheap, flawed moderation if that's the price of avoiding those two problems. (Especially if the pornbots are also eroding use, although I don't actually know if that's true overall.)
posted by praemunire at 10:34 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


I guess I can't imagine what the other 80% is.

Nazi propaganda.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:40 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


I just can't for the life of me think of a pervasive non-porn use of Tumblr. Some fandom stuff, sure, although the porn restriction is not great for many of those communities either.

Organized media fandom is, in fact, largely tumblr-based these days. If it weren't, I suspect there'd be a lot fewer comments on this thread. The new restrictions really only affect (directly and if the rules were actually applied properly, of course!) fanart that depicts actual sex acts. Which is why I wonder if people really will revolt, or whether they are just yelling. Most people's fannish experience isn't really founded on such art. But of course fandom is censorship-shy and bad application of the new rules will probably catch a lot of fans who aren't actually out of compliance, so...we'll see.

This is all darkly humorous coming on the heels of the latest round of "how dare AO3 allow people to publish perfectly legal writing that I find icky!" This is why, kids, this is why.
posted by praemunire at 10:40 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


I'm sure that's what the suits think, Nelson, but the problem is that if their algorithm is so garbage as to be flagging totally harmless posts, then even totally SFW blogs are going to be hit by the new restrictions again and again, and like, who wants to deal with that? If some artist or fan artist or gifset maker is constantly having their entirely wholesome, fully clothed or "safely" nude posts flagged and hidden, necessitating a review process that will almost certainly be inconvenient at best and totally useless at worst, then why stick around? And that's not even accounting for how these "adult content" bans always fall disproportionately on queer content, even queer content that's not at all "adult" like fully clothed people kissing.

Plus, as the social networks people built on tumblr erode user by user, more and more people will leave. It's a domino effect: why stick around if half or more of your dashboard is gone? Tumblr can't just neatly excise the porn and hope the other 80% of the content/userbase sticks around. It's all enmeshed.

If there was a competent algorithm and review process, then maybe, maybe, people would stick around. But of course, that would cost money, so it's highly unlikely. This time next year, tumblr's almost certainly going to be a ghost town.
posted by yasaman at 10:41 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


I just can't for the life of me think of a pervasive non-porn use of Tumblr. Some fandom stuff, sure, although the porn restriction is not great for many of those communities either. I guess I can't imagine what the other 80% is. We're about to find out.
Some of it is the same stuff you might see on Facebook or Twitter, people living their lives and talking about them, and talking about politics or art or whatever. They share things they read and see elsewhere. They make up jokes (written and visual); I honestly love the Tumblr meme-generation experience. And a lot of art, fandom and otherwise, and discussion of art, writing, and other creative endeavors. I follow a couple of writing prompt tumblrs, and that's a nice thing to have on my dash.

There's a joke which I'm probably mangling "too gay for Facebook, too ugly for Instagram" that I see cycle back periodically, and I think that's really the heart of it?

It's a broken janky-ass user experience, and yet I've found a community there during a really difficult time in my life and I'll be disappointed to see it self-destruct. (In the meantime, the gallows humor is really quite astonishing.)
posted by epersonae at 10:43 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]


I just can't for the life of me think of a pervasive non-porn use of Tumblr.

i think maybe at most 5-10% of my tumblr experience is porn. the rest is video game stuff and generally uncategorizable text-based nonsense and extreme memeing and a large and self-aware community of gay disasters.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:46 AM on December 4 [8 favorites]


...and we leave you with all the white supremacist Nazi blogs – because we ban that kind of shit.

The upshot being that Tumblr has decided that porn is worse than Nazism, porn is easier to fight, and that Nazism is more in tune with their business model.
posted by Revvy at 10:56 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


I don't porn at all... That is, except for the really reprehensible pornbots that plague the site.

I use Tumblr for lighthearted diversions, mostly. I use it to see pictures of animals with jokes on them, and videos of animals doing hilarious stuff, and other things like that. Also, every once in a while, a truly fascinating screed about linguistics or whatever will show up, and it's great. I also keep track of fandom stuff related to the McElroys (and the worst pornbots always show up when I search for the mbmbam tag). Tumblr is where the LOTR first time liveblog was put up, as well as the stories about Arwen the dog, both of which made their way to metafiler, and both of which are great. While I follow people on Facebook because I know them (and usually have no interest in what they post), and while I follow people on Twitter because I want to be updated on their happenings (but otherwise have no interest in what they post), I follow people on Tumblr because they're fun and I like the content they put up.

I honestly didn't know Tumblr had a reputation for hosting porn. It's not my experience at all.
posted by meese at 10:56 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]


Ummm, GYOFB?
posted by terrapin at 11:01 AM on December 4


I can't imagine this will actually be the outcome, but anything that sends people to dreamwidth and gives us the glorious LJ revival future that we deserve is, well, maybe not *good*, but I'd take that silver lining.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:03 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


I can't imagine this will actually be the outcome, but anything that sends people to dreamwidth and gives us the glorious LJ revival future that we deserve is, well, maybe not *good*, but I'd take that silver lining.

I had an account there in 2009 and barely used it, and just created a new one to get the username I use other places, and I... have no idea what I'm doing, but I just realized that even if Tumblr winds up being fine, I really want some stuff out of fandom that Tumblr isn't giving me? So if a lot of people are also doing this... this could be good either way?
posted by Sequence at 11:06 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


For me I actually had to have someone tell me that there was straight tumblr, because I have only ever followed queer tumblr and was very happy in my little bubble. I wasn't following much porn, but since I'm queer it doesn't matter - queer stuff always gets flagged first and hardest, even, as stated repeatedly, innocuous stuff like two fully-clothed adults kissing. I was posting comics there, reading about linguistics, following Medieval People of Color, following a lot of great art and comics blogs, some fandom stuff, and some queer and fat fashion blogs, including like, cute fat girls, adorable trans and nb folks, butch women holding cute animals, and while there was some nudity the most porn I saw was from a few friends who got really excited about stuff they found and reposted it, or incidental fandom things.

Tumblr was the first time in my life that I ever had access to photos of people like me just existing, and I'm in my 40s.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:15 AM on December 4 [16 favorites]


queer stuff always gets flagged first and hardest, even, as stated repeatedly, innocuous stuff like two fully-clothed adults kissing

This is how this policy change affects me, despite my lack of interest in porn. The algorithms, when not just straight up broken, will be discriminatory, and a lot of the fun stuff I read on Tumblr is produced by queer folk and others who will be harmed by this policy.
posted by meese at 11:28 AM on December 4 [10 favorites]


A lot of people, myself included, used tumblr as a source for curated, non-exploitative/gross porn, amidst the other stuff we used it for. The CEO saying that their were plenty of places on the internet for porn misunderstands why people used tumblr for porn. And although the drawings of starships and whatnot that I like to look at will still be there between the deleted porno, there's no reason for me not to go with the people I follow who have been evicted.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:32 AM on December 4 [12 favorites]


Sorry, I'm really not making my point clear... What I wanted to get across in my last post was this: this policy change isn't just about access to porn, but it will affect how the entire site operates. The fun and enjoyable atmosphere in Tumblr, as I experience it, is a result of the freedom people currently have there to be themselves, openly and unapologetically. And the new policy is going to undermine that joyful freedom.
posted by meese at 11:34 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


I follow a lot of photo bloggers and accounts that aggregate photos of specific things. There are great Minnesota and Minneapolis specific blogs, Europe, origami, meerkats, pandas, etc. Tumblr was the place I found out about the Prince of Egypt musical and the reason went to see it last year. Tumblr is one the many places I hear about new books, movies and tv shows that relate to my interests. I know it has a reputation for lazy armchair politics, but again that depends on who you follow. Most political posts have references and follow up comments that inform rather than incite. I can't say that about facebook.
posted by soelo at 11:46 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


To backup your blog (or anyone else's) I've found the following options:

TumblThree:
https://github.com/johanneszab/TumblThree
Free. Downloads content (including videos) but not context, far as I can tell. Super easy to use. Windows executable.

Tumblr utils (including backup):
https://github.com/bbolli/tumblr-utils/blob/master/tumblr_backup.md
Uses Python, which is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc. Getting it configured and running properly takes some command-line banging, but it maintains context and generates a local HTML repository of the blog you're downloading. You'll need to install youtube-dl to pull down videos instead of just linking to them.

Good luck, everybody. I'm downloading like crazy.
posted by ZakDaddy at 11:47 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]


My partner just found that one of her Sims 2 character portraits got flagged.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:14 PM on December 4


I had never heard of Dreamwidth—it seems pretty cool. I guess we'll see how many people on Tumblr are willing to pony up a bit of cash (although actually it looks like Dreamwidth has a free tier that's pretty decent?).

It's important to note that even as commercial services have seemingly taken over the Internet, both the cost of maintaining your own site, and the difficulty of doing so, have never been lower.

While, as an old-school Web 1.0 LAMP-stack kind of guy, I tend to eyeroll a little bit in the general direction of the modern trend towards containers, containers everywhere and microservices and crap, I can't deny that they have made deploying a modern web site pretty easy; the modern equivalent of a late-90s Geocities is probably to deploy Wordpress to an AWS instance and—bam—you've GYOFB. And there are much better (and less costly) ways of running a site today, just by picking a template out of a catalog of containers and clicking "Deploy", for almost any kind of site you want to run.

So on one hand, I think we've seen that depending on "free" always ends in tears, but on the other hand, the costs involved in getting your content in front of other people's eyeballs has decreased substantially.

The more I think about it, the more I think the correct model all along might have been the 90s "web ring", where a bunch of sites—all separately hosted, separately funded—decide to join together to provide the ability to easily navigate from one to another.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:48 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]




getting your content in front of other people's eyeballs
This is where a standalone blog fails for me. Yes it is published, but how do you drive traffic to it without SEO expertise? Social media websites have an existing community, many bolstered by tagging, that will at least glance at your stuff.
posted by soelo at 1:45 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


I'm really trying to understand the wave of posts I'm not seeing on my tumblr dashboard where people post things that were flagged as explicit that aren't explicit. Is the idea that because tumblr generates so many false positives with their current explicit content filter that lots of things that would be permanently banned in the new scheme would also have a lot of false positives? Does anyone actually know how the current filtering scheme works? Does anyone know how the potential future one will work? All I see is a lot of flailing and panic with no actual attempt to get a handle on the scope of the problem.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:49 PM on December 4


You drive traffic to it the same way most sites gain traffic - a combination of advertising, SEO, and word of mouth.
posted by svenkatesh at 1:50 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Used to be blogs would have blogrolls, i.e. a giant list of "if you like this site, check out these sites as well". To say nothing of links embedded in the content.

Which is to say "we" basically continued to do webrings until "we" all decided to outsource content discovery to opaque algorithms (oh, did someone mention SEO?) managed by unaccountable corporate entities. (Which certainly puts Google's decision to kill off Reader into an interesting light, doesn't it?)
posted by tobascodagama at 2:06 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


(fwiw, this is my favorite bit of tumblr gallows humor so far)
posted by epersonae at 2:08 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


You drive traffic to it the same way most sites gain traffic - a combination of advertising, SEO, and word of mouth.

I'm sure 17 year olds who want to talk about She Ra and post songfic about BTS will find that an easy hurdle to clear!

It is very weird for people who seem actively opposed to the functions of social media to come into a discussion about a specific platform and discuss its demise without any acknowledgment of how it is used in the real world by real people.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 2:11 PM on December 4 [11 favorites]


This is where a standalone blog fails for me. Yes it is published, but how do you drive traffic to it

The days when search engines did ranking on a site by site basis rather than a page by page basis are long gone. This is something I suspect a lot of people don't fully appreciate, just because celebrities are getting millions of followers on Instagram or Youtube it does not follow that a page you setup on those platforms will automatically do the same.

I think good content placed on a standalone website is no more or no less likely to be found and shared today, than it would have been 20 years ago.

Social media does make a difference, but the best social media links, like the best job references, come from other people.
posted by Lanark at 2:12 PM on December 4


Which is to say "we" basically continued to do webrings until "we" all decided to outsource content discovery to opaque algorithms

Well the first outsourcing was to reverse chronological feeds full of reblogs/retweets, which did a pretty good job of it imo. The algorithms came long after we'd gone all-in on the single feed mechanism.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:28 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


Who wants a million followers? I literally want a small group of people to nerd out with me on any given topic. This happened on Flickr back in the day, it happened on my blog back in 2005-2009, it happens on Tumblr today.
posted by soelo at 2:29 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]


My husband works for Yahoo/Oath/Verizon Media Group/whatever, and I tried to explain to him what an absolute dumpster fire this whole thing has become. He was under the impression that they were trying to throw Apple under the bus, but that message is not getting across clearly. It may have been the App Store thing that was the final straw, but the fact that Verizon was so reactionary in response and that Tumblr is using an absolute joke of an automated detection system is not on Apple.

He works on the technical side of monetization, and his perspective is that Verizon needs to find a buyer for Tumblr as soon as possible. The money they overspent on it is gone, and it’s just bleeding more money at this point. Any brand loyalty they hoped to gain by buying a social media platform with a young userbase and promising non-interference never appeared; indeed, if Tumblr users ever mentioned Yahoo since the purchase, it was to say that Yahoo sucked. Now that Verizon has destroyed any trust in non-interference even if they somehow decide to reverse the decision, it’s totally dead in the water. Of course, finding a buyer even at a fire sale price is going to be a difficult prospect given how badly the userbase has been alienated, how difficult the site is to monetize, and the specter of liability that has brought about by this incident. It’ll probably be easier just to let it die, unfortunately. I get the impression that Verizon’s not particularly concerned about being the bad guy on this one, because they get to offload a white elephant while still getting some moral leverage from the THINK OF THE CHIIIILDREN crowd.
posted by Meghamora at 2:35 PM on December 4 [10 favorites]


Some of us left because we were not terribly interested in being open targets for hate-fueled "discourse" brigades. So a part of this mess is that they tolerate harassment (including structural features that encourage it) but not "adult" content.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 3:23 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]


That "Sharesome" site (NSFW) generates the most hilarious/horrifying random usernames.

Generating random usernames is an awesome service for a site to provide though, that's cool.
posted by edheil at 5:00 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Re: things Yahoo bought and ruined and need to sell off, maybe in the future we'll see the remnants of Tumblr folded into Maciej Ceglowski's empire....
posted by edheil at 5:04 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]


He was under the impression that they were trying to throw Apple under the bus, but that message is not getting across clearly.

In what way does "ban/block LGBT content but leave Nazis alone" throw Apple under the bus?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:08 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


Yeah, my understanding was that the (abysmal) Tumblr app got delisted a few weeks ago because of how poor a job Tumblr had been doing dealing with, apparently, a significant child porn problem, and Apple stopped bothering to give them the benefit of the doubt. The normal porn was never an issue for the multiple years before that.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:10 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Vox gives some history and inside information:
the NSFW ban was “in the works for about six months as an official project,” adding that it was given additional resources and named “Project X” in September, shortly before it was announced to the rest of the company at an all-hands meeting. “[The NSFW ban] was going to happen anyway,” the former engineer told me. “Verizon pushed it out the door after the child pornography thing and made the deadline sooner,” but the real problem was always that Verizon couldn’t sell ads next to porn.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:35 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]


In what way does "ban/block LGBT content but leave Nazis alone" throw Apple under the bus?

Apple has more of a problem with pornographic content than it does with Nazis, or anything involving text for that matter. The unveiling of the new policy right on the heels of the App Store deletion, on some level, was intended to be a LOOK WHAT WE HAVE TO DO TO STAY IN BUSINESS gesture.

As has been pointed out, though, Apple didn’t have a problem with Tumblr’s porn in the past, and also seems to have no problem with Twitter porn. The Vox article stating that this ban has been in the works for a while doesn’t surprise me, because Verizon has given up on cultivating brand loyalty through non-interference with Tumblr. The fact is, Oath/Verizon Media Group is just not their priority. If Tumblr becomes smaller and has less “problematic” content (read: less monetizable content), that’s fine with them.

The child porn problem did push things forward. While, yes, they do use the database from the FBI for filtering child porn that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. use, things slipped through, either because Tumblr users were more likely to post new child porn or because someone at Tumblr dropped the ball on keeping up with database updates.

Right now, the whole thing smacks of incompetence. The filter algorithm is obviously a joke, the staff levels at Tumblr are in no way sufficient to keep up with the appeals process, and the response seems totally unaware of what Tumblr actually is about. They think they can keep (and monetize) the 80% of users that don’t post adult content, without taking to account how arbitrary automated moderation affects those users.

Basically, Tumblr as created was supposed to be a unmoderated playground that other social media platforms didn’t offer. Tumblr under Yahoo was supposed to keep that promise while figuring out how to make it profitable. Tumblr under Verizon...? It’s a red mark on the ledger with a voilatile and unprofitable userbase. Verizon doesn’t really give a shit about the culture that non-moderation developed, or about the social capital earned by providing a space for marginalized groups. Nobody ever said Verizon was in business to make the world a better place, unfortunately.
posted by Meghamora at 6:17 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]




Movim is lightweight (only a few megabytes) and can be deployed on any server. We are providing a Docker image, a Debian package or a simple installation tutorial if you want to deploy it yourself.
[...]
You can then build your own instance in a few clicks and host your own content while still being connected and explore the rest of the network.


Hahaha no. The Tumblr replacement, if there is one, is not going to be "install server software and connect with other users who happen to have the same software installed." A big part of Tumblr's appeal was "go to this website and start clicking on things." It may be unreasonable to expect any platform with that setup to survive, but if that won't work, fandom is not going to shift to a decentralized, Linux-based (but hey there's a Windows option!) manage-the-backend-yourself system. Collection of systems. (Isn't that what Mastodon is?)

One instance can handle several hundreds of simultaneous sessions in real time.

Um. Whoa, that falls so short of being useful for a broad range of fandom. If someone had a nice Undertale-themed Movim, it would've collapsed over Thanksgiving weekend with the release of Delta Rune.

It looks like an interesting and usable social-media-something arrangement, but it's very much not going to fill the needs that Tumblr did.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:23 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]


I hope all the smut moves to Flickr and Yahoo still has to foot the bill


*I don't know if Yahoo still owns either of these entities. I don't need to know things to hope. metafilter!
posted by elr at 7:40 PM on December 4


My sea lion got flagged.
posted by soelo at 8:29 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


The Archive Team is working hard at backing up NSFW tumblrs before the deadline. If you have some that you'd like to make sure are on their list, they have a submission form.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:45 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


As an old-school fandom person who never really "got" Tumblr and has been steadfastly pining for the good ol' days of Livejournal, I would love, love, love for this disaster to revitalize Dreamwidth. I miss the ability to have actual discussions and long, thoughtful (threaded!) conversations without having to continually fight against the crappy site infrastructure.

Sadly I think that might just be a utopian wish — a) the site is totally different from what Tumblr users are used to, b) an old Livejournal fork is not going to make any sense to users under the age of 25, c) I feel like no one has the bandwidth/spoons anymore for longform, or at least that's the sense I get from my overworked, anxious, stressed-out cohort.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 4:46 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


A handful links to places where fandom is gathering and thinking through what is going on, and the consequences:

Dreamwidth officially welcomes Tumblr folks.

The Organization of Transformative Works' This Week in Fandom sums up the Tumblr situation, with many links.

All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again: Fanlore.org's article on Strikethrough and Boldthrough.

"There are no plans for the OTW to offer a social media site or forum."

Dreamwidth users thinking through what they'd like to see on the next fannish social platform.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 4:53 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


My Tumblr experience was about two-thirds professional and aspiring pro artists and a third fandoms (comics, Trek, Mass Effect). The artists all posted links to their other online venues, mostly Deviantart and Instagram (which also censors posts, but I guess the thought is that, if they're going to be on a censored platform, it may as well be one with some real exposure and popularity), and the fans are going to Mastodon and Pillowfort. That leaves a few other people, some of whom are making a point of saying that they're staying, but a lot of their posts involved "discourse" of one sort or another that seems really problematic in a lot of ways. So, you know, w/e, time to find another campsite I guess.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:08 AM on December 5


So, I've seen people talk about moving to Twitter and, as I said in my own 'where to find me' post, why would you move from one Nazi coddling app to another?
posted by soelo at 7:32 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


So, I've seen people talk about moving to Twitter and, as I said in my own 'where to find me' post, why would you move from one Nazi coddling app to another?

If people are leaving tumblr because it's banning porn, whether or not a platform bans nazis is a secondary concern. It's real for you, but not necessarily for others.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:37 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more "let's move to Mastodon" discussion. Under the hood Mastodon's features aren't that different from Tumblrs. Follow people, like posts, re-post posts. The UI is different but that's changeable.
posted by Nelson at 7:45 AM on December 5


No, it's not just me. Most of the discussion I have seen directly on Tumblr is denouncing censorship of explicit material while not censoring nazis. There are graphics showing that you get zero results for something like 'nekid' while you get lots of results for 'white genocide', as an example.
posted by soelo at 7:59 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Mastodon.social's local timeline is a firehose of people coming in from tumblr. People are going to Mastodon, but

(a) It's not as well-known as other alternatives; not everyone who is leaving Tumblr knows about Mastodon or understands terms like "federation" - it's a little intimidating

(b) A lot of fans are already on Twitter, and people aren't just seeking out a place to post their stuff - they're seeking out networks

I've been encouraging people to give Mastodon a try but it's probably not going to become the next big thing overnight, if at all.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:04 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


What I'm hearing is less "they're banning my porn" and more "I really don't trust the people running this system to understand the difference." This comes a few weeks after a big purge of porn accounts that also caught up a number of non-porn blogs that likely were victims of malicious reporting. And a while back there was another imposed filter problem. These are the sort of things that pretty much killed American livejournal a few years back.

In addition to actual child porn, there's been a fandom movement to label and report people for child porn as part of ship wars, especially with youth-focused media and kinky adults who do age-play. Not my thing but definitely a factor about why tumblr's attempt to buy PR through an indiscriminate banhammer is considered suspicious.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 8:05 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Although I think the most depressing thing about the Vox article for me is that tumblr management was talking about how to market and monetize Black Lives Matter.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 8:10 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


There are graphics showing that you get zero results for something like 'nekid' while you get lots of results for 'white genocide', as an example.

I can well understand that there are people who are vexed that Nazis aren't banned but porn is. But that can be interpreted as aconditional statement - if you're going to ban porn, then you should also ban nazis. Presumably the people advocating going to Twitter are more drawn by their "porn is fine under our opaque TOS/EULA enforcement" than they are repelled by their "Nazis are okay under our opaque TOS/EULA enforcement".
posted by Going To Maine at 8:42 AM on December 5


But that can be interpreted as aconditional statement
I really don't need you to explain to me that not everyone cares about Nazis or that some people care less than others. I am wondering why someone who does care about Tumblr's Nazi coddling would go to Twitter.
posted by soelo at 9:00 AM on December 5


lol update my backup is still "processing," it's been 2 days.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:01 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


My backup took about a day to process (I've only been active on tumblr for not quite 2 years), and then was >6gb to download. I've seen posts, btw, that what you get out it is startlingly (and yet unsurprisingly) not useful, so I think I'm also going to try one of the third party options.
posted by epersonae at 9:03 AM on December 5


I can well understand that there are people who are vexed that Nazis aren't banned but porn is.

it's not that people are saying one should follow the other, although it's certainly true. it's that for YEARS people have been asking why nazis and other hate content hasn't been banned on tumblr, and the answer was always "it's impossible, it's too hard" similar to how twitter has always pretended that they can't get rid of nazi content even though they do it in countries where such content is illegal.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:03 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


I feel like every time we have this conversation about Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Reddit tolerating nazis, there's a broad consensus from one group that yes, those companies are bad and tolerate nazis but they offer services that are extremely difficult for some people to replace. I also feel that in general trying to shame people for having an account on those services (and full disclosure, I don't) often is a case of slaktivism punching down. Getting my parents and all their peers off of Facebook and turned on to something more ethical, especially when ethical is going to make some things more challenging for them, isn't a fight I consider worthwhile at this time.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 9:35 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


I'm in fandom and have used tumblr as my home base for the past seven years or so. I'm bummed about the NSFW ban and the almost certain migration elsewhere, tumblr was a shitshow but it did some things extremely well - specifically being able to easily share and view fanart and gifs. I love other people's visual art, and tumblr is absolutely amazing for that.

I primarily write fanfiction so a move back to dreamwidth doesn't hurt what I have to share, but I want to also continue to enjoy other people's fanart and gifsets and dumb fandom memes and DW is just... not that.

I don't know what that means yet. I'm kind of hoping it doesn't mean twitter. I'm dusting off my (never used before) DW account. I just opened up an account on pillowfort yesterday and I'll check that site out. I'll stick around on tumblr for a while, I guess, to see what happens. Other than that: ???
posted by blithers at 9:50 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


So I just opened a Mastodon account and I agree with runcibleshaw about it not being super friendly to new users. I've figured things out through a lot of clicking around but it's been a struggle. Couple things of note:

1) I accidentally skipped the tutorial because the 'skip' button was where I expected 'back' to be. My partner apparently did the exact same thing, on the same slide (3rd or 4th one I believe?) because the next slide didn't make a ton of sense, so we wanted to go back to the previous one, and then accidentally skipped the entire thing and uh... that was a mess.

2) Mastodon has you automatically follow the developer, Yulegen, who boosts a lot of posts. If you're used to Tumblr, where reblogs appear under the icon of the person who reblogged, and not Twitter, where the icon of the original poster is what shows--it looks like you're randomly following a bunch of people (the same experience runcibleshaw had). I tried to unfollow but that didn't get rid of all that content in my feed so I had to eventually mute him (I'm sure he's a very pleasant person but I like to curate my content).

3) I still don't really get the instances thing... are they like groups? Do you need an account on each different instance? Is my account only on the Mastodon.social instance? Will/can I have different usernames for different instances? Different passwords? What's the getting started bit on the end of the url and the right of the screen? Am I temporarily in a baby Mastodon instance, for babies?

4) Replies took a while to figure out. Probably would have been less so if I was used to Twitter, but coming from Tumblr (even though I haven't used it in a year or two) it just seemed like the replies weren't connected to/threaded to an original post, and I thought the @function was just like the Facebook one where it'll notify you someone has replied, but it didn't seem to actually connect to my original post.

Anyway I'm gonna keep trying to figure it out. I'm thinking that the format is one I'll be able to adjust to, but I think that initial new user experience isn't streamlined or arranged in a way that's friendly to new users. (Maybe it is if you don't skip the tutorial but... alas. At the very least, a button to restart the tutorial? The "getting started" bit of text that has a hover indicating it should act like a button doesn't... do anything).
posted by brook horse at 9:52 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


I still don't really get the instances thing... are they like groups?

It's less complicated than the terminology makes it seem.

An instance is a server. Instead of having one big, corporate-run server, Mastodon has multiple servers. You're on the mastodon.social server, like me. You can choose the server that best suits your interests and preferences. I chose mastodon.social because I didn't want to join a server for a particular interest or identity. It's a good, general-interest server that has rules that I mostly agree with.

You only need an account on one server. This is where your account is hosted.

Anyone from any Mastodon server can follow your account - you don't need to be on the same server.* This is what Mastodon is talking about when they talk about "Federation." On Twitter, your address is just your username. On Mastodon, your address is your username and your server. I'm kutsuwamushi@mastodon.social.

Your "Home" feed will show the people that you follow. (I unfollowed yulegen, and the posts disappeared, so I don't know what happened to you.) The "local timeline" is a feed of all posts to the server you're on. This is why people like to find servers that fit their interests - it means the local timeline will have more content/people that they're interested in. The federated timeline is a feed of posts across different instances. (I'll leave out how that works specifically, but here is an explanation).

* Sometimes servers will block other servers, e.g. if a server is known to promote harassment/hate speech. This probably won't be an issue for you.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:12 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


2) I get both icons and "username boosted."

3) Instances are servers. Servers talk to each other. Servers can also blacklist each other. It's very similar to email, and a lot of social-networking software that existed before the big silos. You don't need multiple mastodon addresses unless you really want them.

4) Threading can use improvement, but if you click on the time mark for any post, you bring up the entire thread.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 10:13 AM on December 5


When I floated the idea of Mastodon as a replacement, I had in mind a custom-skinned Mastodon that looked like Tumblr. I think it could be done with a lot of features from Tumblr implemented in Mastodon. Starting with the basic presentation UI, something that heavily emphasizes the media content over the metadata / cruft of who shared what when.

Here's two Mastodon re-skins made to look like Twitter: Pinafore, Halcyon. So like that, but something that looks like Tumblr.
posted by Nelson at 10:20 AM on December 5




anyway pls enjoy this cinematic masterpiece which imo meets the library of congress' preservation guidelines as culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant
posted by poffin boffin at 11:40 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


hahaha i wondered when pinboard would come save christmas
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 12:29 PM on December 5


We don't deserve Maciej, and yet, we have him.
posted by SansPoint at 12:36 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Not much to add that hasn't been articulated better upthread, but I can't help but feel a bit melancholy about this. Tumblr helped cement the bearish aspects of my identity as a gay man, and I think that there's a lot of value in that outside of immediate, base gratification. Bluntly, the Tumblr users who shared the smut that I dug helped me know myself better. I have no idea what other reasonably-useful, reasonably-safe online communities are out there for people in need of similar self-inquiry.
posted by kryptondog at 2:34 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


Vox: Tumblr is banning adult content. It’s about so much more than porn is thoughtful and goes into great detail about how Tumblr is not just porn. Even the porn is not just porn.
posted by Nelson at 6:41 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Nelson: "I just can't for the life of me think of a pervasive non-porn use of Tumblr"

I use it to post my daily 365 project on a schedule. Nothing else is as easy or as easy to follow. Instagram's square format is very limiting (lots of my content is side by side stereo images (IE 2:1 size ratio)), facebook doesn't allow scheduling (and really who knows whether even the people who want to see your stuff ever actually does what with Facebooks fuckery algorithm), Flickr doesn't schedule and their uploader is bandwidth heavy (I have a 56K level internet connection 4/7ths of the week when I'm at work), Twitter has instagram's format problem, no scheduling, and no easy way to browse an archive unless you dedicate a account to each grouping. Many other options are for pay.

Lanark: "I think good content placed on a standalone website is no more or no less likely to be found and shared today, than it would have been 20 years ago.
"

Tumblr greatly increases the amount of cross-fertilization between different niches. So say for example you have a blog of pictures of 70s cars. One can pull from tumblrs about vans, or 70s fashion, or Mopars, or Mustangs or whatever ad nauseum. You can add a post to your blog with a single button click. Discovery is just as easy and regardless of whatever "awesome" theme/skin the bolg owner has developed one can always hit up the /archive page and get a very useable interface to browse their content. Hosting of linked content is handled without hot linking someone elses content. reblogged content doesn't disappear just because the source stops paying their bill or purges their site.

And It's easy. Account creation aside I can get a newbie user up and running in about 15 minutes.

soelo: "My sea lion got flagged."

The "good" news is the filter isn't only flagging white skin tones?

Nelson: "I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more "let's move to Mastodon" discussion."

Does Mastodon include hosting. That is a pretty big stumbling block for any main stream image serving service.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Yes, Mastodon includes image hosting. The default web UI is awful, showing a tiny little 200x150 or so thumbnail of the image. But it hosts the full image and alternate UIs can show them however they want.
posted by Nelson at 7:26 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


So one of the serious shortcomings of tumblr's flagging process (and maybe the plan is to address this after the 17th, I hope) is there is no notification of a post being flagged. No list of flagged posts. It doesn't show up in archive view. The only way to see which of your posts are flagged is to go back though your post history 10 posts at a time. I've "only" got 1100 posts on my daily 365 tumblr so this is taking a while. It's basically an insurmountable task for people with 10s of thousands of posts.

Just so I can request review of obviously questionable material like this provocative butterfly, female presenting 'shrooms, dripping wet duck, or, um, actually I have no idea why this rusty car was clipped by the flagging system. This blog has no guideline breaking or even pushing content; all flags are false positives and there are no false negatives.

And if they don't start notifying of flagged posts one will have to do this on a regular basis (whatever the review period is). If you don't a change in the algorithm/malicious flagger/malicious flagging bot(s) could flag some/most of your back catalogue without you noticing or being notified.
posted by Mitheral at 9:57 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


"I just can't for the life of me think of a pervasive non-porn use of Tumblr"

This turned into a monster with 60K young Africans

Most major museums are on it, as well as magazines. Its actually a really great place to hang out.
posted by infini at 10:21 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Urgh, now I have to find an alternate option for my Myspace parody site (suggestions appreciated).

I came of age during the teen girl subdomain craze. A lot of people got accounts on Dreamhost and set up proto-blogs with Greymatter or Movable Type, with ever-changing layouts made with lots of iFrames and tables. Back then you could just code a website entirely on Notepad and it'd work great. If you didn't want to go through the expense of your own domain name and site (especially useful to those of us in countries where PayPal wasn't operational yet and credit cards were inaccessible), just find someone willing to host you. There were personal journals, tutorial sites, fanlistings, fansites, so much content. People communicated with each other via copious forums, on comments on each other's sites, on other journalling sites like LJ/Diaryland/Manicjournal/Kiwibox. So many options.

Now all these frameworks make it complicated. I can't just fire up Notepad, code something simple, and expect it to work. I have a Squarespace account and customizing the code in specific ways costs extra money. I did a Javascript course recently and I feel like my coding skills are stuck in the dinosaur age. I look up how to set up a simple Greymatter-esque site and I have to install 50 different things and WHY.

Tumblr at least doesn't require a ton of installing anything, and it makes finding content to contribute to or at least share pretty damn easy. I gained words for my politics via Tumblr. I found friends, lovers, career opportunities via Tumblr. I'm considered "old" (being 33) and don't quite have the same fire I did in my early-mid Tumblr days, but sometimes that perspective is useful to share. I have run into major issues on Tumblr before (to the point of taking a year off) but that can happen on any platform - hell I'm slightly infamous on Mastodon for being horribly harassed my first week there just for talking about race.

(And yes, Mastodon also tried to "monetize" Black Lives Matter totally ineffectively, in that the founder tried to market Mastodon to Deray as some sort of BLM hub and was miffed that he won't reply. Any social network run by White people is going to have that issue, especially decentralised ones that seem to market itself as Safer Than Twitter but think that's purely a technical issue not a people issue.)

I don't really use Tumblr for personal blogging that much, Facebook does that for me now. But Facebook just banned discussion about 'sexual preferences' in very vague ways, effectively giving the same chilling effect as Tumblr especially for LGBTQ people (whose lives are seen as "inherently sexual"). Mastodon is still a bit stuck in "tech solves all problems" for me to be super comfortable focusing there. I've been asked to consult on another upcoming social network, we'll see how that goes.

If websites didn't become so complicated to set up, we could see a resurgence of teen girl subdomain culture. I miss GreyMatter.
posted by divabat at 2:45 PM on December 6 [6 favorites]


You can still do hand-coded static sites. Personally, I use a static site builder to manage my blog, which nicely handles all of the trouble of maintaining index pages.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 3:42 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


If anything, it's easier these days, because there are a lot of static site generators that make it easy to do templating and write everything in YAML -- which, for all its various flaws, is a lot easier to understand and harder for a novice to fuck up than HTML.

The big problem is that there's no roll-your-own tool that gives you eyeballs, whereas all of the social media sites make you instantly findable unless you specifically set out to hide. (For better and for worse.)
posted by tobascodagama at 5:53 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]




What It Is: YAML is a human friendly data serialization
standard for all programming languages.


The kids are gonna love it
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:36 PM on December 6


First of all, that was just an example. Most static site gens use other stuff anyway.

Second of all, you don't need to write your own parser, you nerds. (Which is, by the way, the thing that programmers hate about YAML.)

This is what actual YAML looks like. Behold the massively confusing concepts of words with colons after them and dashed lists.

My main point being that 14 year olds were figuring out static HTML sites back in the day and then static HTML sites with CSS. And now there are things that are even easier. The only real obstacle to going back to Web 1.0 is that everybody wants easy access to an audience (except when that audience turns out to be harassers, oops) and the kind of dopamine loop that only comes from dynamic sites telling you in real time how many people have liked your thing (and also that they hate you and your race and your gender and think you should kill yourself).
posted by tobascodagama at 8:03 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


I looked through a bunch of static site generators (like those on this list) and oh boy they are not nearly as straightforward as installing GreyMatter or Movable Type on your own (sub)domain. You have to install this, that, and the other! Copy clearly geared towards programmers rather than everyone else! So much command line work!!

I was a nerd in my day and this is like...extra layers of unnecessary nerdery. Publii is so far the most straightforward looking one, and even then the documentation doesn't really talk about creating a theme (just installing one) - theme design is a major part of the culture that was part of teen girl subdomaining and/or Tumblr.
posted by divabat at 9:51 PM on December 6


Yeah, very few people want to handcode stuff. They just wanna be able to post their shit and mod themes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 AM on December 7


One department where I work is recommending Wix for non-technical students. My point wasn't "use a site generator," it's that you can still hand-code your own static sites without knowing javascript, node, or php.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:13 AM on December 7


And ok, I've set up hosting for CMSs, wikis, and about a half dozen different web applications:

Hugo is easier.

Jeckyll is easier.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:44 AM on December 7


Tumblr's displaced bloggers embrace their new platforms (Wired)
Both Pillowfort and Dreamwidth embrace a business model that charges users directly and aims for relatively small profits—a radical idea in a web dominated by ad revenue and data sales.
The article goes over Pillowfort and Dreamwidth's approaches, features, and limitations as Tumblr replacements. (Short version: Dreamwidth doesn't have much media hosting; Pillowfort is new and unstable.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:13 PM on December 7


The future is paying for things
posted by Going To Maine at 2:17 PM on December 7 [4 favorites]


The future is paying for things

Not necessarily disagreeing, but that future is going to really suck for marginalized teenagers.
posted by brook horse at 6:49 PM on December 7 [9 favorites]


The best version of this I can imagine is the patreon/NPR/Metafilter model of some people kicking in some money so a lot of other people can have stuff for free. But that also requires a good amount of buy-in from your userbase, and also to have a good amount of your userbase to have disposable income.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:58 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


lol after 5 days my export is finally ready for download, i assume this will take another 2 weeks
posted by poffin boffin at 11:57 PM on December 7


Not just marginalized teenagers, but people coming of digital age across the developing world. My African tumblr has 60,000 young people from across the diaspora and the continent, and such free platforms are their footholds into the global digital world, seeding startups and encouraging dreams. If the quality future is paid then the web will become effectively segregated.
posted by infini at 12:50 AM on December 8 [3 favorites]


Tumblr never asked for money from its users, they just put up ads. There seem to be some things you can pay for like premium themes, but it is not a big part of the site. Pay services need free tiers at minimum so people can try before buying and make sure they fit into the community.
posted by soelo at 5:59 AM on December 8 [1 favorite]


>> You drive traffic to it the same way most sites gain traffic - a combination of advertising, SEO, and word of mouth.

> I'm sure 17 year olds who want to talk about She Ra and post songfic about BTS will find that an easy hurdle to clear!


Well, 17-year-olds in the 90s certainly didn't have much trouble with that. Or 13-year-olds, for that matter, much to the chagrin of many of us at the time. There wasn't the expectation of millions of followers, but interaction with other people in your niche community was achievable that way and almost certainly still is. (And you can always use social media to drive audience to your blog if you wanted to, but keep the content itself under your own control.)

FWIW, Movim seems to have figured this out for us Lazy Olds already; like Mastodon it has a peering feature for content discovery and propagating updates you make on one instance to others.
You can easily #tag content by putting #hashtags in your article or title. The other users will then be able to discover it while browsing tags on their own instance.
I find Movim's use of XMPP somewhat interesting (it seems like a bit of a strange choice to me), but hey, if it works, it works. Same with PHP.

Anyway, I haven't spun it up to check, but I think that Movim is like Mastodon, in that it's meant to be easy to set up but there's no requirement for every single user to run their own instance. You only need one person in a given community to run the instance and then multiple people can use it. So for, say, a particular fandom to move to Movim (and do it right), they'd just need one person willing to take on the initial setup and ongoing maintenance of the instance. That strikes me as a pretty low bar. And if a community isn't able to get over that bar, and isn't willing to pay for someone else to do the job, well, there's not really much that can be done. There are free public instances, but that just shifts the burden around. "Free services will always screw you in the end" should be one of the Iron Laws of the Internet, engraved on a giant plinth below an equestrian statue of Vint Cerf, right under "yes, there is porn of it".

I also just ran across Plume, which looks to be a more traditionally themed (a la Wordpress) insta-blog platform with federated activity feed. Not sure exactly how a pro/con with it vs. Movim would go.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:52 PM on December 8 [1 favorite]


Mastodon doesn't require users to set up instances. Don't know how that got started.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:37 PM on December 8 [3 favorites]


Timbr.xxx claims to be able to migrate your blog and eventually replicate the pre-censorship Tumblr experience.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:20 AM on December 12


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