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Reporting Unfortunate Sex Blogs on WordPress.com

  1. Okay, I'm new to this -- I hate being Blog Police -- but I stumbled upon an atrocious WordPress.com hosted blog today.

    I have checked with some of my BDSM friends who know much more about this sort of thing than I do and they, too, find the blog "atrocious and distasteful" so I'm not being entirely prudish.

    The blog also links to for-pay sex sites.

    I reported the blog this morning via the "Mature Content" thang in the blue bar but I don't know if that was the best route to take to get that blog off of here.

    I won't post the URL here because they don't deserve the light of day, but I'm happy to get someone the info outside the forum for investigation.

  2. I'd go ahead and send in a feedback with an explaination on why you find it distasteful. That and point out the pay links.

  3. The Mature thing will get it looked at for labelling, but it's a good idea to put in a Feedback about the links as well, because that's a TOS violation.

  4. Okay, I'll go feedback the URL now.

    Thanks!

  5. And thanks for not posting the URL. Things like that upset Nosy and TT. :)

  6. drmike!

    Reported to feedback.

    Ooof! The site is awful. Sexual parts sewn up and burned and twisted and bruised and whipped and needled and inside sexual parts pulled outside the body. Ugh. Ugly.

  7. As I understand it, Mark said he removed the blog for the outside links but not the content.

    I would like to propose that hardcore nudity and sexual torture -- real or pretend -- also be included as WordPress.com TOS violations.

  8. boles
    Mark is very quick on the turn around when one reports a "adult" blog. The labeling removes the blog from being counted within the top posts, top blog and growing blogs rankings. Perhaps you would like to read this. http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=3131&replies=63#post-19915

  9. I'm glad the blog is gone.

    If anyone wants to visit their "real" website to catch an eyeful of the crud they had here, let me know, but I'll only send it to people I know well here. I don't want to be in the titillation exchange business but I do think that sort of vicious content should be identified and removed as a WordPress.com TOS violation.

    I understand sexuality is drawn with fine lines and subtle shadings, but I just can't imagine anyone from WP.COM holding up those sorts of images as examples of "non-TOS violations."

    The behavior may be legal but so are links to paid sites, etc. The only reason link violations are "illegal" here is because the TOS makes them "illegal" by definition. I believe the same sort of TOS coverage would go a long way in protecting sexuality while removing extreme visual examples of sexual exploitation and torture.

  10. The need to address blogs that feature degradation, exploitation and torture as TOS violations has my unequivocal support.

  11. Hiya timethief!

    Thanks for the comment on my blog -- I answered you -- and thanks for the pointer to your blog -- I commented there.

    There is a human idea of "Common Human Decency" that we must all stand together and support in light of those who choose to not only cross that idea but violate its very tenets in the name of entertainment and profiteering.

    Sometimes supporting ideals like "free speech" over the harsh reality of sexual exploitation damages us in horrible, awful, internal ways as people that cannot be outwardly understood until it is too late and the damage has been inflicted on the body and the national psyche.

    Mark and I have had a thrilling and thoughtful conversation on this matter and I appreciate the opportunity to open a frank and blunt dialogue on the matter with the powers that be inside WordPress.com.

    There is great power in standing up for Doing The Right Thing in bandwidth support and blog publication.

  12. I am going to play devil's advocate here. I don't believe that content, outside of advertising and legal issues, should be up to WordPress, and I would hope that WordPress doesn't want to be in that position either, the position of saying "these desires and thoughts are acceptable, but those are not."

  13. if i were mark, i certainly wouldn't want to have to be the judge of where the line is when it comes to BDSM, or any other sexual practice.

    automattic's position is that they are a common carrier. i can't explain that very well, as i'm not a lawyer. if wp.com wasn't a common carrier, they would fall under all sorts of laws (not least of which being section 2257, which would require that automattic, not the blog owners, keep records of any nude models here on wp.com), which would make daily operation cost prohibitive.

    personally, i'm very glad that wp.com TOS doesn't prohibit adult content. that sort of TOS is the reason i left blogger.

  14. My position is:
    BDSM - An overlapping abbreviation of Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM).

    I do not want to click on "next blog" and unexpectedly be looking at what David describes:

    Sexual parts sewn up and burned and twisted and bruised and whipped and needled and inside sexual parts pulled outside the body.

    I agree that these blogs should be labeled, removed from the tag system and rendered ineligible for top blog, top post and growing blog rankings just as blogs with "adult" content are. I also do not want the bloggers of such blogs to be allowed have their usernames linked to their blogs on the forums so I unwittingly click on their names trying to help them and am unexpectedly viewing such disturbing images of depravity.

    I believe that Mark and our other staff are dealing with the reports I make prompting and in appropriate ways. If however this can be addressed in the TOS as a message to those kinds of bloggers to seek hosting elsewhere then I want that to be done.

    No arguments about freedom and censorship will ever convince me that these kinds of blogs contribute any value whatsoever to my blogging experience at wordpress or to society as a whole. I do not want what they are peddling. To me the it's spam of the very worst sort.

  15. raincoaster -- Take a look at the content before making a blanket judgment without knowing the specifics of the violation.

    Adam -- The "Common Carrier" argument doesn't wash and even the link you provide proves that point: "Common carriers typically transport persons or goods according to defined routes and schedules. Airlines, railroads, bus lines, cruise ships and freight companies may be common carriers." Where in the world do you read “blog publisher” into that defintion?

    WordPress.com is hardly a "Common Carrier" under the law and if they are claiming that, I believe they will have hard and unwelcoming reckoning soon.

    WordPress.com, is a publisher of content in partnership with the blog. Without their servers and access to bandwidth and the public eye, the content doesn't get published. I have used that argument many times -- that the web hosting service is a de facto co-publisher -- to get my stolen content removed from the internet because the web host has the money, the power and the position to remove the Copyright infringement if they so choose. I force them to choose the illicit activity or the courts: The responsibility is theirs for remedy to my grievance and to shrug their shoulders and say, "Gee, it's them not me, it’s them" is to wrongly shift the responsibility for content publication away from those who have the power and the understanding to remedy.

    timethief -- I'm with you all the way!

  16. boles, I do not believe that freedom of expression should be subject to taste considerations. Providing the participants were legally competent to voluntarily participate in legal activities, I don't want their content subject to approval. I perfectly see TT's point that we should prevent people from stumbling across adult sites, but censorship is a slippery slope. You don't like the sexual practices of these people, and you want the expression of that banned on WordPress; what if you didn't like the political practices of these people either? I simply don't approve of such thumbs-up, thumbs-downism, at all.

    And for the record, I am personally acquainted with a man currently charged with multiple murders, and have been a crime writer off and on for several years. Believe me, I know what it looks like.

  17. raincoaster -- I find it unfortunate you are defending the images of a vagina being sewn shut and another image of a vagina agape via four hooks stretching its lips by a chain as a "non-TOS" violation -- as well as the graphic image of a woman's cervix being pulled from within her body to live outside her vaginal lips so a pencil may be inserted into it for public demonstration as confirmation of your belief in "freedom of expression" and a non-violation of a TOS of a public company that is pressing its brand into the mainstream mindset.

    You are arguing a point that is stillborn, but embedded, in the scope of human abuse and suffering, but that doesn’t mean it should appear unfettered and sponsored by WordPress.com.

  18. Boles, you're the one who posted that to the forum. I've seen worse, believe me. Do not try to shock me with the content of the site; it's unlikely that you can do it, and unseemly as well. If you really don't approve of those images, don't plant them in the minds of the people who surf the Help Forum.

    Again I say, regardless how repugnant various things may be to you or to any individual (and I have purposely not added my two cents, because frankly what they post on their blog isn't subject to my approval or disapproval), these particular ones are not TOS violations, and I do not support them being made so. That these thoughts appear on a WordPress blog does not mean WordPress endorses them, any more than a blog post about support for the Canucks means WordPress abhors the Calgary Flames.

    How many blog posts showing the execution of Saddam Hussein made Top Blogs over the past couple of days? Do I find this repugnant? Yes. Do I believe that WordPress should censor them? No.

    I am curious as to why it is ALWAYS the sex blogs that bring up these discussions, and not violence. Sociologically, it's revealing to say the least.

  19. I'm not trying to shock you, raincoaster, I'm letting others know the specifics of what you are defending.

  20. I am defending freedom of speech. If you only defend freedom of speech you approve of, you're not defending free speech. Support for freedom of speech means supporting speech which is abhorrent to you as well. I stand firm on that.

  21. raincoaster –

    You cannot yell "fire" in a crowded movie theatre and claim you are using free speech and so pornography and obscenity are not protected speech according to the Supreme Court of the United States:

    "The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether 'the average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obscenity

    You'll have a hard time in any United States court defending your belief that a cervix with a pencil it is protected speech under any circumstance.

    Back to the specificity of the topic: All the WordPress.com severs are on American soil. If they move to Canada, as I predicted they will in my 2007 Predictions and Resolutions article, they may find a safer haven, but not a better one on moral grounds.

    Remember, WordPress.com is an international publisher so "community standards" apply to all aspects of the United States and not a single locality.

  22. Final Thought:

    Thank you to everyone who participated in this vigorous conversation. Dialogue like this is invaluable and important.

    I especially appreciate those who take an opposite view to help fully argue all angles of merit. Devil’s Advocate is a hard and unenviable position to be played, but it must be fought for to be fair to all sides.

    I fully support the idea of free speech and as a publisher and an author I would be false to argue otherwise.

    As we all age and gain perspective on people and the law, we can become more and more sensitive to context and not overarching arguments. The Supreme Court of the United States fought hard over the idea of obscenity and concluded; we “can't define it, but [we] know it when [we] see it."

    Today, I felt I saw something that deserved a closer look. There's a time and a place for everything in a frame of understanding and our willful awareness of circumstance -- and the glimmer of specific issues over general ideals -- is what makes us all greater together and more wonderful in the whole of us.

    Good night.

  23. boles, if it is relevant (and for whatever reason it appears to be) I am not in the United States. And the Supreme Court has ruled that Robert Mapplethorpe's and Joel Peter Witkin's art is protected speech; the examples you give would also be protected.

  24. finally i know what bdsm means!

  25. Move on to LGBT next.

  26. what's lgbt?

  27. phwoar!

  28. boles: scroll down in that wikipedia article. it explains 'common carrier' as legally defined relating to telecommunications companies.

    ISPs are largely immune from liability for third party content. The Good Samaritan provision of the Communications Decency Act established immunity from liability for third party content on grounds of libel or slander. The DMCA established that ISPs which comply with DMCA would not be liable for the copyright violations of third parties on their network.

    .

  29. Adam --

    As I read your link I interpret it to mean "without previous knowledge" of a Copyright infringement a "Common Carrier" may be immune from prosecution or legal action.

    If, however, I inform an ISP/blog host that my content is being stolen and I prove the provenance of my pre-existing work and the ISP/blog host then refuses to remove the content on my behalf, then they become liable as a co-conspirator because they are willfully refusing to recognize and act upon the removal of my exclusive ownership of the work even though they've been given fair notice to remove the stolen content.

    Even if an ISP/blog host writes in their TOS they are absolved of all publication responsibility that doesn't mean they still cannot be put on the stand and crushed in the press as a meaty target for being made whole. Who has the deeper pockets for restitution? An ISP/blog host with a valuable brand and name or a fly-by-night Scraper/Spammer? The ISP/blog host may claim to be, in theory, right on the law, but it will cost them heaps of time and money to continue to defend that claim in court.

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