Warning! (N)SFW!
March 26, 2007 10:21 PM   Subscribe

Warning! The [naked-ladies-swaddled] text of this thought-provoking article about self-censorship on the Internet is SFW. The other content on the weblog of Susie Bright (including the pictures accompanying aforementioned article) is frequently NSFW.
posted by CrunchyFrog (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Um, first link is not at all SFW. There are teh bewbs.

I guess this makes me a misogynist or something. And Susie Bright was interesting in 95 or so.
posted by bardic at 10:25 PM on March 26, 2007

As mentioned, the text is SFW, but the accompanying pictures are not.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 10:29 PM on March 26, 2007

Warning! Images in main article are not SFW at all.

Of course, the irony is the article is about the entire concept of NSFW being irrevelant and bowing to a heterosexist agenda, etc. However you really have to label the article properly, because while some of us don't mind performing civil disobedience, we should be doing it willingly.

Also, I tend to prefer knowing when there will be boobies on my screen.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:37 PM on March 26, 2007

This needs to be deleted immeadiately.
posted by null terminated at 10:37 PM on March 26, 2007


Your title is "Warning! SFW" and it leads a click happy person to ignore the parathensis, not to mention the convoluted way of saying "that first link isn't SFW either."
posted by mrzarquon at 10:39 PM on March 26, 2007

For Babies / Not For Babies
posted by thecaddy at 10:51 PM on March 26, 2007

The first comment on the blog sounds good to me - not all forms of sexual expression are good at all workplaces.

I thought companies tried to restrict that sort of thing to prevent a hostile work environment, where that one guy (you know him) is openly, vocally objectifying women on the screen & elsewhere.

If anyone's gotten fired for sharing their love of seed catalogs with their co-workers, I'd like to know.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:13 PM on March 26, 2007

Susie Bright blogs about sex. The New York Times, Harper's, even Rolling Stone are not ALL about sex. Thus, one routinely receives the NSFW tag and the others generally don't. This doesn't even address her tortured logic (which has more gaping holes than an army of menopausal "pro-sex feminists") that "the others" are never tagged with NSFW.
posted by basicchannel at 11:18 PM on March 26, 2007

As mentioned, the text is SFW, but the accompanying pictures are not.

My dad said the same thing to my mom about his Playboys.
posted by bardic at 11:48 PM on March 26, 2007

That whole article was nearly too flimsy to argue with, but here goes: basically, she's talking as if this is all one Big Scary Movement, but she's really conflating a bunch of different things, some of which are bad and some of which are just fine. In particular, indiscriminate filtering of the internet at libraries and workplaces (which is a despicable idea for a whole host of reasons) is based on principles that are pretty much completely opposed to the ones that lead people to label things "not safe for work".

Filtering is virtually always overly broad, and is driven by a distrust of employees and a belief that any possible distraction must be forbidden. Labelling something NSFW, on the other hand, is generally done with a wink and a nod. "Here's this link: I like it (otherwise I wouldn't be sending it to you), but it might not be that great to open it in front of your conservative boss, and if you're in a room full of people, it could make them pretty uncomfortable." It gives you some idea of what to expect, and trusts you to decide what to do with that information.

And frankly, I think not watching porn at work is really a pretty great idea. If I browsed through sexually explicit websites in front of my coworkers, I think it would make them uncomfortable, and rightly so. Watching porn at work is pretty creepy. I also don't hang Playboy centerfolds on the wall, or listen to music so loudly that the rest of the office can't hear anything, or pinch my coworkers asses and tell them to dress sexier. Somehow it just seems nicer that way.
posted by moss at 11:52 PM on March 26, 2007

But don't you think there's some creep in "NSFW"? For example, I think of it as only applying to sounds and images, things people are going to pick out from beyond the cubicle. The only text I think of as NSFW is "fuck" in 72 point Impact, and maybe extensive racist/Nazi diatribes. But apparently a lot of others don't think that, because there you have "the text is SFW", arguably, because curse words get picked up by internet filters. This has not always been the case. So, they aren't completely totally different issues.
posted by furiousthought at 2:38 AM on March 27, 2007

NSFW is bullshit - it's so puritanical-American, and yet gets imposed on the rest of the web by a lot of crying and moaning. Apart from anything else, it doesn't say what's actually on the page that the person might think unsuitable - it could be anything from anal hardcore to just the word "fuck". If something is porn, just write "porn" - labelling things "NSFW" causes too much collateral damage.
posted by reklaw at 3:01 AM on March 27, 2007

What a shitty blog post. "NSFW" isn't a fucking blocking mechanism; it's a warning for people in delicate situations. Everybody makes their own choices.
posted by beerbajay at 4:12 AM on March 27, 2007

well, that's one of the odd things about this thing called work ... you spend your time doing what your employer wants you to do and not what YOU want to do ... furthermore, your employer is more concerned about making a profit or serving a purpose doing whatever it is the company does than whether people get to look at whatever they put into their heads to see on the internet or whether miss susie bright gets to send her precious emails to the corporate server

furthermore, there are jobs, such as mine, where the employees don't even get internet access because we don't need it and the company doesn't want to give it to us

not only that, but there are jobs where the employees don't make enough to live on or get health insurance ... to put it in terms that susie will understand, they're getting fucked, but they're not getting orgasms

so, she can save her privileged whining about "omg, nsfw, no boobies allowed" in american corporations because they do a LOT worse than this as a way of life
posted by pyramid termite at 4:56 AM on March 27, 2007

Part of the article is that the same words that are NSFW via the internet, are perectly fine in your dentist's waiting room, in Harpers, the New Yorker or Vanity Fair.

'Cause, y'know, after all, we have to protect the kids. Or your workplace. Or that libraries shouldn't have works with all that NSFW stuff.

It's censorship filtering from one medium to another, and being asked "why is it safe here and bad there," when the content is the same.
posted by filmgeek at 4:56 AM on March 27, 2007

NSFW is bullshit - it's so puritanical-American

While not disagreeing with the premise that NSFW is, in some sense, bullshit, I have to take issue with the puritanism angle, in that it is only, at best, tangentially related to puritanism, whereas NSFW is all about, as noted elsewhere, employers avoiding "hostile workplace" lawsuits.

Now - since the perception, and therefore definition, of a "hostile workplace" is entirely, like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder, what else is a prudent company to do other than force everyone to behave so as not to risk offending the most delicate, sensitive flower in the office?
posted by kcds at 4:58 AM on March 27, 2007

I thought companies tried to restrict that sort of thing to prevent a hostile work environment

That's all there is to it. "The Man" doesn't want NSFW. It just creates extra costs and legal risks for the company. NSFW is a direct, if unintended, result of the American feminist approach to sexual harassment. The courts have repeatedly interpreted the concept of "hostile work environment" to mean that companies are now legally required to police employees' speech and surfing habits. If you don't like it, then lobby for a relaxation of sexual harassment law.
posted by fuzz at 5:03 AM on March 27, 2007

help help i'm being oppressed

Actually I like it just fine. If people have to all of a sudden be somewhat concerned for how others around them feel, all I have to say about it is Welcome To Earth, Enjoy Your Stay.
posted by perianwyr at 6:03 AM on March 27, 2007

What sucks about the whole concept of "NSFW" is that it isn't even really about puritanicalism. It's about "Sexual Harassment"

The idea is, having an environment where women are harassed and uncomfortable at work means they'll quit and it becomes and unfair to them, makes it so that they don't have equal opportunity.

Lots of work places used allow expressions of sexuality, canonical example would be hanging up playboy centerfolds in a locker. But that went away.

The other problem is hypherlegalism, where company lawyers over interpret the law not so that they won't break it, but so that even the craziest person wouldn't think that they broke it and sue (even if they'd ultimately lose).

Ultimately we end up with this legal situation where women are treated as if any hint of sexuality in the workplace will just devastate their ladylike sensitivities. It's ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 6:44 AM on March 27, 2007

Reklaw, do you work for a living? And by that I mean outside of the home and around real live people. No offense, but you don't sound like you have a friggin' clue about work environments or standards regarding sexual harassment. It takes a uniquely unworldly view to proclaim NSFW as an evil censoring tool instead of realizing it is a method of allowing people to avoid getting their ass canned from their job and to view such items when NOT at work.

Also, are the people on this board like 17 years old or something? Do none of you know of or even contemplate the massive historical sexual harassment that happened (happens) in the workplace for decades? One staple of the harassment was the objectification of fellow female workers through constant exposure to porn on the job and comments regarding their anatomy.

When you look at boobie filled links from MeFi you probably have no intent to objectify women or harass them, but that stigma is still around today and frankly if it means I look at nudity at home versus at work, well, I don't find that too bad a compromise if it makes my fellow workers feel more respected.

After all, if I'm at work, I should probably be WORKING instead of looking at NSFW links, don't you think??!!

Spoiled brats is the way this is coming off...not enough to have the ability to do whatever the hell you want on the net in the privacy of your home, you have to bitch you can't see nipples in your cubical. Give me a break.
posted by Muddler at 6:52 AM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Seconding what Muddler said. Please get a clue. NSFW means "not safe for work". If a bare breast appears on your computer screen, and someone from across the office sees it and is made uncomfortable by it, guess what, you now have a harassment situation, by definition, because a worker is uncomfortable in the workplace.

And stop with the "puritanical American" bullshit. People have the right to go to their jobs and not have to avert their gaze because there could be porn everywhere. Work is work. People pay you to come to their office and do what they tell you. If America was so puritanical, people like Susie Bright wouldn't be writing and people like all of you wouldn't be complaining that you can't see it at work.

Susie Bright has to make the very flimsy argument she does because most blogs are read by people at work. Her blog is very obviously NSFW, it's not a close call, so people cannot or will not read it at work. So no one reads it (or not as many people read it as she would like).

So she complains.

Hey stupid, you want people to read your blog? Lose the nude pictures. Text is very rarely NSFW, because no one is going to accidentally read 12 pt font from 30 feet away. Of course, she knows if she gets rid of the pictures, no one is going to read her site, because if this post is any indication, she's a horrible writer.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:28 AM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]

I've appreciated Bright off and on since the 90s, but Pastabagel nails it.
posted by everichon at 8:04 AM on March 27, 2007

NSFW is bullshit - it's so puritanical-American, and yet gets imposed on the rest of the web by a lot of crying and moaning.

Wow. You've opened my eyes. Having bills to pay has turned me into a puritanical Amurrikin bluenose. I had become alienated from my True Self, from my raw, animalistic urges. I had taken to wearing Dockers pants, worrying about property values. The usual lame suburban shit. But your comment has turned me around. It has awakened a new revolutionary consciousness in me. Goodbye, Apollo. Hello, Dionysus.

From now on, I shall eschew the "NSFW" tag.

I'm gonna stick it to The Man, baby. You watch me.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:23 AM on March 27, 2007

furiousthought: But don't you think there's some creep in "NSFW"?

Well, yes, and that's a fair point. It always feels a bit weird to me when people label text, or even clearly-non-pornographic pictures, as NSFW. But Ms. Bright isn't just talking about that kind of creep, and she is completely dropping the distinction between banning things and just informing people of what they are.

I think reklaw has the right idea: NSFW is too vague, so just describe links properly.
posted by moss at 10:46 AM on March 27, 2007

The good thing about NSFW is that it says STOP to workplace surfers. It's an easy warning sign to erect, and as easy to recognize as a red octagon.

Not every content creator has the patience to carefully limn the degree of skin or blood or ick. And not everyone will see a pink trapezoid and immediately get the sign's message.

At work, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Besides, heck, I always thought NSFW drove UP pageviews, considering all the prurient surfers out there.
posted by sacre_bleu at 11:01 AM on March 27, 2007

Susie Bright's merits notwithsanding, it's hard to believe people don't think there is something to be concerned about here when the Attorney General of the United States believes his best chance of getting away with corrupting the entire Justice Department and trying to destroy the Constitution is to say “I’m not going to resign. I’m going to stay focused on protecting our kids.”
posted by jamjam at 12:35 PM on March 27, 2007

That is something to be concerned about. This is not that.
posted by moss at 1:19 PM on March 27, 2007

The "W" in NSFW seems to imply that the "workplace" is an environment where all must be defended against impropriety and loss of efficiency.

Actually, no. Most bosses could really give two shits about efficiency. What really bothers them is being on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Viewing porn at work leaves you open to lawsuits. So . . . no porn.

Public libraries seem to have figured out how to have unfettered Internet access for their patrons— why can't corporate America get a clue?

Apple, meet orange. Orange, meet apple.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:08 PM on March 27, 2007

OK, so my comment got a load of responses about lawsuits - but guess what? Most countries aren't even one hundredth as litigious as America. Which was my point to begin with, really - you're forcing your own standards on everyone else.

Imagine your stupid government/employers decided that you couldn't read blasphemy in the workplace, and links all over the web started being labelled with warning: takes Lord's name in vain! It's like that - it's annoying.
posted by reklaw at 3:26 AM on March 28, 2007

Public libraries seem to have figured out how to have unfettered Internet access for their patrons— why can't corporate America get a clue?

Yes, and all those stories about people surfing porn and jacking off in public libraries, *this* is the peak that workplaces should be striving for??
posted by antifuse at 4:24 AM on March 28, 2007

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