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Tumblr will ban all adult content on December 17th (theverge.com)
472 points by phoe-krk 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 450 comments





If Verizon bought Tumblr with the sole purpose of having one more service to serve ads to, and if banning the adult content move aims to please the advertisers then oh boy, are they in for a nasty surprise.

Tumblr will become a ghost town in days.


Agreed. So many artists, photographers and models used tumblr to showcase their work. It was also easy to link your blog to a .com with little to no webdev experience.

The only other social media network out there with a following that allows near the same level of expression is twitter and I have already seen posts from artists directing their followers there. But twitter is no real substitute to what tumblr offered.

I imagine tumblr's bandwidth costs are going to shrink exponentially.


DeviantArt is a good alternative.

+1 for DeviantArt. Many artists and models already use it, the community is generally tolerant of unconventional modes of expression, and the platform is designed to be able to handle "explicit" (by U.S. standards) content in a fairly straightforward way.

I started using tumblr for a photoblog several years ago for the simple fact that it wasn't blocked by the Great Firewall of China. All the FB properties, and most other western platforms, were / are blocked. It meant I could post and view while on either side.

Perhaps Verizon is gearing up to market it there?


I'd say instagram is the other big one for artists, not twitter. Instagram has all the functionality of tumblr with even more accessibility.

I've known several photographers who have lost 25k, 100k+ followings by being banned from instagram for posts that did not break the ToS. This has been devastating to their careers as freelance artists. I wouldn't recommend leaving a more tolerant platform (tumblr) to put all your eggs in a FB owned basket. With instagram, it all seems to depend on who the mod is who got assigned the reported photo to look at. Many of these artists now run a backup instagram and promote it on their primary account about once every 2 weeks to keep a solid follower count on it in case their main gets the hammer.

Same with all sorts of legal cannabis business related pages. I see a lot of seed companies, dispensaries, culture/meme accounts with fallback accounts and bios saying ‘deleted at 25k...’, etcetera. It’s the same situation as consumers have long faced with Facebook, Twitter, Etsy and so forth - they don’t seem to care that other people invest time and money in their accounts, which the company tosses aside so easily.

Class-action lawsuit grounds?

Except for some very fundamental things (AKA "link in bio").

But yes, most artists I know moved away from Tumblr years ago (with great success).


I hope not... Instagram has terrible usability if you don't have a Facebook account and/or don't want to install the app on mobile. Tumblr was at least tolerable in that scenario.

But none of the permissiveness that old Tumblr had. I believe the new TOS for tumblr are still more liberal than the ones for current Instagram.

There were artists showcasing their work, but there were also a lot of accounts simply distributing someone else's explicit pictures without the copyright holder's permission. They didn't even have their own .com because they obviously benefited from being served under a subdomain of tumblr. I won't miss them at all.

Reddit has user pages now. It's a bit rough, but it can pretty much fill tumblr's functionality.

I'm already seeing posts on various NSFW Subreddits like "Tumblr banned me so here I am".

The trifecta I saw many people post was Twitter/Discord/Reddit moreso than DeviantArt.

I assume DeviantArt is only focussed on images themselves, and doesn't allow mixing media as trivially as the others, but would love to be corrected.


I'm pretty sure that the issue with DA is that they fell behind the times, the social features are pretty bad and so on.

As a photographer who does not care much for using nudity in my photos, this is no problem to me. But yeah, I think you’re right.

Can you elaborate? Are you doing it for a living? How did tumblr help you marked your local business (if any)? Thank you

They always make the same boneheaded mistake with media. People go to a platform because it has what they want. There is something very minutely controversial that nobody in the target market gives a flip about anyway. Therefore now that we spent all this money getting it we should make it bland and advertiser friendly like what everbody alreafy left and hey where did everybody go again?

I just don't get how that keeps on happening when it doesn't seem to be even a good short-termist move.


I would guess they will lure in a lot of advertisers, utilizing reputation and marketing -- and that will be a good short-term profit for Verizon.

Whether they'll hold on to it and make it a sustainable income however, is unclear. I personally doubt it because a huge chunk of the Tumblr user base will leave.


While "Tumblr is for porn" seems to be received wisdom, let me play devil's advocate (angel's advocate?): most of us are just taking that for granted without digging in.

In 2016, Motherboard actually did the digging, and discovered a few interesting numbers, categorizing 130M Tumblr users into "producers" of porn, "consumers" (those who follow the producers), and "unintentionally exposed" users who don't follow porn producers but see reblogs from them.

* Only about 1% of users are producers. * About 22% of Tumblr users are consumers. * About 28% of Tumblr users are unintentionally exposed.

So, what happens?

* Obviously, they lose the producers. * They lose some of the consumers, but not all. (Not all of the consumers are there exclusively for porn.) * They lose some of the unintentionally exposed, but probably not most.

They may lose a quarter or more of their userbase this way, sure, but Tumblr's estimates a few years ago for their total user count were over 200M. Maybe that drops down to "only" 150M, or even 100M. But now their hosting costs have dropped dramatically, too. So if advertising revenue increases or even stays the same as it is now, they win. And 100M users is absolutely a big enough audience to bring in advertisers.


The problem is that the lack of content moderation was largely a selling point for the platform. Without explicit material its basically Instragram without Facebook owning it and with a worse UI.

It might be slow but if you have no strong reason to be on Tumblr besides everyone having been on Tumblr you will see a slowly building migration away from Tumblr.

And losing 1/4 the user base overnight is a great way to kick off that migration. It only takes one blog in a web of follows jumping ship to motivate all the other producers and the fans of that blog and its related blogs to move to alternatives.


> It only takes one blog in a web of follows jumping ship to motivate all the other producers and the fans of that blog and its related blogs to move to alternatives.

Perhaps this is a neglected downside. By banning porn you will turn a part of your platform into advertisments for your compeditors. Every post from a popular person saying "I'm moving to X" is an advert for X on your platform.


That's probably the biggest risk, yes: a big drop, followed by a slow decline. (Sort of the opposite of the "gradually, and then suddenly" line.)

I suspect the bottom line comes down to the bottom line, though; Tumblr has spent over a decade being a pit that absorbs money, and Verizon is not the kind of company that's going to run a service like that as an experiment. They're making a bet that kicking off the pronz will increase ad revenue, and I'm sure they have projections to back that bet up. That doesn't mean the projections are right, of course, but I don't see how a money-losing Tumblr would have continued under Oath. If this bet doesn't work and they shut it down, everyone will say "ha, we told you that you shouldn't have kicked off the pronz," but the pronz ain't never brought in the bucks for them, and we can safely assume "explicitly set out to monetize the pronz" was never in the cards.


I know I'll stay in Tumblr for sure. I was never there for the good erotic / pornographic content anyway, I just found it a good bonus. I found a number of very good creators of pixel art which is a personal favourite, and a ton of good home design blogs. I love all these and I'll keep following them in Tumblr.

However, now it's very likely that I'll find a mediating app -- or I'll be scraping my own feed -- to avoid the inevitable increased influx of advertisements so Verizon will still lose that possible income from me. I suspect many others will take similar measures (less known apps like Tyblr in iOS for example rid you of ads and make your feed sorted by timestamp and not by an "algorithm").


Motherboard's methodolgy is highly dubious.

There are former Tumblr staff members on Twitter saying it will lose 50% of the userbase. Losing 50% of the userbase will unquestionably kill the site stone dead.


It was practically the only thing worth visiting Tumblr for!

That and fan fiction - which mostly has porn in it anyway

Hopefully it will all move back to traditional gallery and forum sites that don't have tumblrs horrendous "what's a tab" UI and don't slow my 8 core 16GB of RAM machine to a halt.

It looks like a perfect moment to announce a replacement service, complete with a one-click content transfer tool.

Something $3/mo, $30/y — and we'll save all your precious work without hassle! Could work for a significant portion of the audience.


Huge market opportunity for OnlyFans.com and similar Patreon-for-porn sites.

Don't you happen to know any alternatives BTW?

Some people on Reddit are recommending Pixiv, a Japanese site.

Pixiv is also a cool company. I don't want to speak too much for fear of messing up some of their story but they're basically a bit like Japanese deviantArt. They've open sourced some small parts of their code: https://github.com/pixiv

As far as content goes, it is constrained by Japanese law, which is mostly more liberal around art with the exception of their oddly specific yet vague censorship requirements.


Complete tangent, but Japan never had any censorship rules before WWII. When the Americans occupied Japan they imposed some laws to help rebuild the country. You can debate whether the laws were good or not. For example, there are many laws around farming geared to ensure that small independent farmers could survive and that Japan would rebuild its food infrastructure (which it kind of abandoned before the war, preferring to import food from outside the country). They banned the sale of farmland (so that big companies couldn't buy up all the land). They banned the import of "staple foods" (so that the country could become self sufficient in agriculture). And with the 1940's American view of wholesome society, they imposed censorship requirements on pornography (among a lot of other strange things).

Japanese culture has a very strange aspect to it, though. It is a rule following culture and they don't readily change the rules. Once you have a law for something, people don't question it. It's the law. It doesn't matter if it's a good law or a bad law. It's just the law and you make do. None of those laws changed in 70 years and unless some outside force puts pressure on the government, I suspect they won't change for another 70 years.

I always find it amusing that Americans, especially, complain about protectionist agriculture policies of Japan. Or American pundits show surprise at the really bizarre censorship laws. All of it was put in place by the Americans -- albeit probably without realising that once a law is in place, it's gong to be there for a long time :-) This is American culture fast forwarded in time 70 years!

WRT to the liberal laws regarding art... well, generally about what constitutes child pornography: if you are drawing something you have pretty much free reign to draw whatever you like. This is (IMHO humorously) constrained by the specific censorship laws (I suppose the 1940's American occupying forces did not consider child pornography). Artists will follow the letter of the law, but then will feel free to draw whatever they want outside of those boundaries.

I believe this is due to a very strong feeling in Japan that what you think is private and up to you. Even discrimination is famously not illegal in Japan. For example, you are free to serve or not to serve any customer for any reason in Japan. It's a pretty big deal for most people. Remember that before the war Japan had no censorship laws. You could depict anything you wanted in art. The current state of affairs is just an extension of that, tiptoeing around the censorship laws imposed by the occupying forces in the 1940's.

Child pornography is reviled here in Japan to pretty much the same extent that it is anywhere I have ever lived (as well as art that depicts rape, or other violent sexual crimes). However, if you draw it rather than photograph it, it is not illegal. If it doesn't involve anyone other than the artist and the viewer, it's nobody's business but theirs. Talking about it publicly is completely not acceptable in normal society, but thinking about it is your own business (even though most people will privately judge if they think you are the kind of person who is interested in that stuff -- but again, that thinking is private and not expressed publicly).

I'm always hesitant to talk about this stuff on a public forum because I don't want to incite a large thread about what should or should not be classed as child pornography. It's one of those things where no matter what opinion you hold, you are going to be seen as a monster by people who hold a different opinion. I just thought people would be interested in some information about why the rules are so strange in Japan.


> Japan never had any censorship rules before WWII

This is not true. The obscenity censorship law dates back to 1907, and the enforcement of it for erotic content was also completely detatched from the occupation. https://www.reddit.com/r/japan/comments/4pss4u/why_is_porn_i...


Thanks for that. It's frustrating to make mistakes like that -- especially since I do my best to remove common misunderstandings about Japan. I'm as vulnerable as the rest :-( I really appreciate getting better information!

Yeah I used to believe the same factoid until I was corrected. Lots of stuff like that swirling around.

I've always heard that Japan's form of censorship was actually a means to help control and eliminate illegally produced pornography. Also, personally I've always held the belief that a drawing is just a drawing, and it is bizarre for it in itself to be considered obscene regardless of what it depicts. Of course, the actual law is a lot more complicated in pretty much every jurisdiction.

AdultsOnlySpace and sexchatsexchat.com/peeps/ have options for creating your own site / blog there, so long as all content has everyone over 18.

Certainly there are other wordpress multi-site powered adult options still out there.

If tumblr keeps the API oAuth stuff working for NSFA blogs then it's simple to import. Hopefully content will still remain available via backend and API past the 17th for blog admins.

A backup, auto-export service would be nice for end users and connected friends / followers, from tumblr, or wordpress or other platforms. You can never trust your content hosted on other people's computers. (or your own for that matter without a good off site backup system in place)


We're building Shuffle which isn't a direct replacement but is designed to be a home for your interests. We've had a lot of folks come from Tumblr today. You can check us out at https://shuffle.do

Seems interesting. I'll give it a try. Can one user create multiple channels there? E.g. I'd like a main SFW channel to post different stuff and some subject-specific including one to SFW post on particular "innocent" subject of my interests and another NSFW to post what I happen to consider the best of nude girls pictures I stumble upon.


Isn't it about "kinky" stuff only? I have nothing against it yet I personally am more interested in "normal" :-] porn, erotic and nudity aesthetics pictures, not themed any special way.

It seems strange to own Tumblr... and then reject a large chunk of it.

Why even own it then?


They ended up with it accidentally, didn't they? As part of owning Yahoo! (which owned Tumbler).

Yahoo bought Tumblr for completely irrational reasons years ago and it became dead weight.

Of course now they can't split it back off to live on its own - they'll just kill it instead.


Actually, why can't they? Could someone explain the executive thinking behind this hesitation?

Its career suicide to sell off a property that ends up successful once independent of your business.

Nobody thinks twice about burning something to the ground, though. Thats just a cost of doing business.


Seems like such a waste.

I don't think verizon had any interest in tumblr to begin with. Tumblr was just property that came with their purchase of Yahoo. Also verizon is a $250 billion company. Tumblr and it's potential ad revenue is a rounding error to them.

Usually when a large company buys another company with lots of properties, they invest in the ones they like and shut down the ones they don't like and write off the losses. I haven't read of any news about verizon investing in Tubmlr so this seems like verizon slowly shutting down tumblr.

Should be interesting what their plans for other yahoo properties. They shut down yahoo messenger. What are their plans for yahoo portal, news, sports, finance, etc?


Fair enough but why don't they just straight shut it down?

I don't understand the need for such PR dances. Nobody believes the carefully crafted copy-paste statement of the CEO anyway.


There could be a myriad of reasons for slowly shutting down a site. There might be client or advertiser contracts, leasing issues, employment issues and so forth. Of course, customer outrage and mitigation. There might be some value to be extracted from the operation. There may be execs and employees verizon wants to shift over to other divisions and properties over a prolonged stretch of time. They could even be looking for potential buyers to sell the property.

I don't know that is what verizon is doing. It's just an educated guess on my part. As for the specifics, I'm sure the execs looked at all the data and they are doing what they feel is in the best interest of the shareholders.


Thank you for the good perspective. Sorry if I seemed like I was raging.

My guess is somewhat aligned with yours albeit a bit more cynical -- I think they will try to exctract a stable advertisement revenue channel out of Tumblr but I don't think it will last.

And yeah, you are likely more right -- they mitigate the PR damage and try to prevent staff leaving in droves, plus maximizing shareholder value.


This news also seems relevant to the Net Neutrality fight. Once Verizon feels they have to protect us from harmful images or thoughts, where will it stop?

not so much about protecting us as making sure that the content that advertisers get shown next to is "safe" and "brand friendly"

Indeed. I should have put "protecting us" in quotes.

Well, the "otherkin" will probably still be there, so I guess if anyone wants to market to them..

By the time they're old enough to purchase things online they probably won't be using Tumblr anymore ...

Yeah, good luck with that. :D

Alternative Title:

"Tumblr will lose 80% of its visitors come December 18th"

Another one:

"Tumblr preparing to shut down"


This is exactly correct. Sure there are "clean" portions of Tumblr, but from what I can tell the real purpose is to host adult content. And there's nothing wrong with that! It's a fantastic magnet for eyes, with which to show ads. They're basically killing themselves with this.

The vast vast majority of advertisers do not want to be displayed next to porn.

Think of tumblr as nothing but a way to get pageviews for Cheerios and Volvo ads. It explains their decisions perfectly.


Every day results in another example of why free platforms supported by advertising might not be viable a long term solution.

I've always said that cheap is better than free. If all services like Tumblr had debuted at a nominal $0.25 or $0.50 a month and that had become normalized as a way to support the platform without mining data or being at the whims of advertisers, the internet might be in a better place.

Instead we have clickbait, engagement addiction and users as products and not customers.


you can see something awful and metafilter as examples. they're miniscule and dying now, but somehow despite being the bonafide scum of the internet 2000-2010, something awful has chilled out (and metafilter was always pretty chill)

Maybe pay per (full) view? Granular to 1 view if possible, with thumbnails? People would conserve their views but still watch/view the stuff they like. Better than shitty Chinese ads that make me wary of even opening the Youtube app.

> Every day results in another example of why free platforms supported by advertising might not be viable a long term solution.

Not just free platforms. No publication supported by advertising is a viable long-term solution let alone a desirable one. Advertising-based publishing was never a good idea. The current state of the press is a good example of that too. Unfortunately, there are not that many viable alternatives. People would pay for good journalism, not sure they would or should pay to reblog memes and other people's posts.


No publication supported by advertising is a viable long-term solution

Define what you mean by “long-term.”

America has a number of ad-supported publications that have been publishing for over 250 years. There are probably older ones in Europe and elsewhere.


Yes, thank you, I should have been more precise. Within the context of this Tumblr discussion, that comment refers to online platforms and I believe the comment above does too.

Indeed the ad-supported model is or was viable in print for a long time, although we started to see a shift there as well. Today the print media is struggling, ad revenue may no longer be enough to keep most publications afloat. The fact this model still works for some titles and was viable for centuries doesn't make it particularly good either. With an ad-based structure, the independent press ideal was flawed from the start.


> The vast vast majority of advertisers do not want to be displayed next to porn.

This i dont understand though. Who wouldn't their product to be subconsciously associated with sexual satisfaction?


Probably the same reason kissing in public is OK, but fucking is not. "Sex sells" doesn't actually mean what it seems to mean.

I'm also wondering why super-targeted advertising (showing actually relevant, and deeper integrated ads for different pages/posts/videos/etc) is still not a thing, there was a movement towards it but it kind of died down, even as everyone is shouting about ML and AI everywhere.


Because they are scared it may hurt their brands.

And to be fair, most of the ads that appear near porn is extremely low quality, so they may be right.

Of course it is a self-perpetuating issue, but that doesn't mean that they can just fix it.


Subconscious is fine. It's overt porn they don't want.


The click through for non-porn ads besides porn is, in my experience, almost non-existant.

Wasn't there an experiment where a sandwich company bought ads next to videos on Pornhub to target hungry people who'd just gotten off and were hugely successful?

Found it: https://blog.eat24.com/how-to-advertise-on-a-porn-website/


Well if you find a sandwich company, you should let them know.

But Mattel, Sony, GM, Apple, and American Airlines aren't signing up anytime soon. That's the problem for Tumblr.

I think this is just one of those instances in which a customer just starts costing you too much money. Will banning the low-rent crowd make a difference at this point? Who can say really. But keeping them pretty much ensures you will not get access to the deep pocketed advertisers.


Mattel could advertise on all the weird Brony shit, Sony could sell their VR gear, Apple could advertise next to the masochists, American Airlines could advertise seat sales to the country of the ethnicity specific ones... you could make it work.

I follow only SFW blogs on Tumblr and the adverts I get are mostly way more sexualised (scantily clad ladies reclining to sell perfume, etc.) and full screen on the iOS app (revealed as you scroll the content). I'm surprised they'd have any problems with NSFW content.

Except people who watch porn also buy Cheerios and Volvo's - I've never understood why such a massive market is always immediately ruled out in such an ad hungry world.

Because the people who sell Cheerios and Volvo's do not want people posting pics of their ads in some camgirl site and annoying the larger audience who don't (admit to) watch porn. Head on over to pornhub, marvel at what must be absolutely mammoth page view counts, and then wonder at the below-the-bottom-of-the-barrel ads that the site is filled with.

I eat cheerios. I wouldn't not eat cheerio's just because I saw that bee next to a gangbang...

I think the disconnect here is that advertising has a tacit endorsement of the site, everyone knows Volvo and General Foods is writing a check to the pornography host to display their ads.

Brands were so freaked out to have their dish detergent show up next to an ISIS video because whoever uploaded the video gets their check for $5 or whatever, and then they're literally supporting terrorism.


The world is nothing like ad-hungry. Ad rates are falling to the floor.

Advertisers in the current environment can be as picky as they want to be.


If that's the goal, then why buy a platform that's rife with porn in the first place?

well I think they bought yahoo, and tumblr just came with it.

> The vast vast majority of advertisers do not want to be displayed next to porn.

https://www.nycpride.org/sponsors/

You should see what happens on and slightly off the floats.


honestly nsfw pages should just be grouped as their own package which could be sold on the basis of attracting higher potential views but also the risk of being associated with controversial content. this could be a great avenue for smaller brands who don't want to have their ads compete with nike & coca-cola for eyeballs. trying to homogenize the audience so that they fit the needs of advertisers is a fundamental failure to understand why people come to these platforms in the first place, and that isn't good for anyone's business

Do you think porn watchers don't buy Cheerios and Volvos?

so no ads for adult tumblrs then.

Why shutting them down? You can't tag adult content or you can't write a SELECT...WHERE filter?


Maybe Verizon just signed a deal with Instagram to shut down?

Really, way to shoot yourself in the foot.

What's next, Twitter banning all bot accounts?


Which is what Oath probably wants.

"fuck oath mate" has never been so true, or so relevant.

Nah it's "fucking oath mate"

As someone out of the loop, can I get an explanation for this?

Too expensive to police. Losing users every month, downward trends, etc. Tumblr has become a money loser and won't ever be competitive with Facebook, TikTok, etc.

Another botched acquisition.


> and won't ever be competitive with Facebook, TikTok, etc.

Which is just another example of why the corporate culture today is absolutely insane.

Why can there not be a site like Tumblr that is perfectly stable (leaving aside for the moment whether today's Tumblr is or could become that stable), but is not and could never be "the next Facebook" or "the next Twitter"?


Sites which break even do tend to keep on trucking. The fact that Tumblr now seems unlikely to become huge is relevant specifically because it's a money pit that needs further investment merely to continue to exist.

Because Oath's board would rather pay it's useless execs fat salaries rather than competent engineers to maintain Tumblr.

Before the Yahoo acquisition, Tumblr was hemorrhaging cash. I don't think it ever was "stable" financially, which is all that matters in the end.

Seeing as everyone seems to agree the whole point (if we're being real) of Tumblr is adult content, that there's at least some acknowledgement that there's real societal value in having a safe space for various kinds of healthy adult sexual kinks that are non-mainstream, and that with this move Tumblr will surely pull a Digg and probably disappear for all intents and purposes...

...why isn't Verizon managing to sell it to someone who wants to support that, instead of effectively shutting it down? Financially it doesn't make sense to me. If free porn sites make money, I really don't see how a porn-embracing Tumblr wouldn't do the same?

Or just split the site in two automatically based on analysis of each account's contents, decide whether the "Tumblr" brand is more valuable for clean content or adult content, and sell off the adult side with or without the name. Sure splitting a site isn't technically the easiest thing, but I can't believe it wouldn't still make sense financially.

Banning this much content seems like literally burning piles of money and just destroying value. Whatever happened to stockholder value... for real? How can a board approve this, or allow it to happen? Looking it up now, MindGeek owns PornHub and so many other sites... surely it would fit perfectly in their portfolio?


4chan just split the SFW parts into 4channel for advertiser reasons, so its clearly a feasible idea

One should wait a year or so to see if 4chan's split was a good decision. That site doesn't have a history of good financial decisions.

HN's reaction is snarky and amusing, but based on a biased sample of snarky anecdotes. Verizon probably has actual data on the amount of content they are planning to ban, and the amount of traffic they get. Not to say they've though all the second order effects through, but they're working from a much more informed starting point than HN's consensus.

there are a lot of jokes being made along the lines of "there goes their userbase" but for me personally this is a huge loss.

especially for those of us who have certain kinks, Tumblr to this day has been the only place to ever exist where women could safely express their sexuality.

it allowed us to meet like-minded people, it allowed us to break the taboo and it ended the isolation that many of us felt.

Tumblrs main asset has always been it's community,and I'm deathly afraid this new policy will take all of this away


"(...) the only place to ever exist where women could safely express their sexuality."

Some female friends of mine used to like fetlife.com. They say its like facebook, but with... fewer family members and coworkers I guess you could say.


They say its like facebook, but with... fewer family members and coworkers I guess you could say

I'm being mildly sarcastic in tone when I say this: they're probably there, you just haven't found their profiles yet ;)

Which is kind of the interesting thing about Fetlife, one can't approach someone about being on "that" site without outing themselves for being on "that" site as well-since you're not able to see any profiles without logging in (assuming a friend doesn't login and show them around and they spot your face in a profile pic commenting in a group thread or on someone's photos) where others you can't see at all unless that person has added you to their friends list-you're directed to a generic 404 page.


not just for women, a lot of the kink side of tumblr expressed a much healthier attitude and freer mindset towards these topics, and it's a rough thing to see it go away.

I run 3 obscure tumblrs myself (only one of which is sfw) and it's a damn shame to see it go. especially before there is any real viable replacement.


> especially for those of us who have certain kinks, Tumblr to this day has been the only place to ever exist where women could safely express their sexuality.

Long before tumblr there were the alt.sex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alt.sex) newsgroups. There have always been dedicated sites for just about any kink since the web existed plus meta ones like fetlife.


This is the new reality of the internet, best get used to it. Free speech is dead.

This seems like the opposite of free speech being dead. A website shut down and you can just... go... make or use another one, anytime you like, without having to worry about it even being illegal.

I also see this as a market opportunity for a startup to adapt / improve on tumblr and fill the void. An unexpected, and permanent content restriction on a major platform is a disruptive event.

Yesterday's BitChute discussion [0] brought up the unfortunate fact that many ostensibly free-speech zone sites such as Voat and Gab just end up being havens for far right bigots and conspiracy theorists. Made me wonder if that toxic stew could be balanced if far left activists brigaded those platforms. With this story, it'd be even more amusing if amateur erotica creators and kink community people migrated from Tumblr to those places as well.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18583211


Interesting thought experiment but based on my understanding of online community behavior I highly doubt erotica creators would go to a place already entrenched with Qanon believers.

I do think they would jump to “the new tumblr” not owned by Verizon that has its own cool culture. Both consumers and creators like building stuff up.


Far Right + Far Left !== somewhere good, you just get Reddit (or WW2). You need sane people to have sane conversations.

Oh, I hardly think it'd be much more than a toxic cesspool. But at least it'd be a multipolar, interesting cesspool.

What an ignorant comment. This isn't a free speech issue. The government isn't censoring down Tumblr. Its owners are.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if it was that valuable to you, all of you guys should have gotten together and offered to start paying.

The next website you guys find yourselves on, you should really consider paying.


I'm inclined to agree with the general sentiment here—the fact that no one is willing to pay for software is harmful in the long run, because companies find other ways of extracting money, that either harm the product itself or the user.

But, asking users to "get together and offer to start paying money" in exchange that's free is completely unreasonable. Tumblr didn't offer any kind of payment avenue.


You can purchase premium themes.

But we were paying. Advertising and data mining are valid payments from a user base.

Those aren't users, those are used. You were the product.

Wow. Damn. Got 'em.

My daughter at 12 got sucked into Tumblr and developed an eating disorder. She was in this gigantic web of pro-ana tumblrs with crazy diet plans that tell you to eat like 100 calories a day. Then the app would just keep suggesting more, "skin and bones", "thinspo", "meanspo". Holy crap there are some scary corners of Tumblr.

I of course am more mindful of what she looks at, but she was hiding it and I can't monitor everything.

It's hard to balance my love of free speech with the responsibilities of myself, these bs Tumblr pages, and the app suggestions.

From what I've seen, Tumblr can be a very toxic place and I could understand why advertisers would have problems with the content that ends up next to their ads.

I wish them luck trying to figure out this mess.


My daughter at 12 got sucked into Tumblr and developed an eating disorder.

I'm really sorry to hear this, having gone through a similar thing with a now ex-significant other.

She too became very active in the segments of tumblr you identified and others (showed me many of them, some seemed like teenage angst in blog form, others were far more...worrisome), developed an eating disorder along with severe anxiety issues, and in my attempts to remain empathetic, supportive but cautionary about the affects those groups had had on her in the last two years of a five year relationship, she abruptly called it quits on our relationship and walked away.

Citing the anxiety was too much for a relationship, to this day I can't help but look back and wonder if those groups were partly to blame given how recent her changes were leading up to us parting ways.

This wasn't a 12 year old adolescent as it was in your case, she was-up to that point-a healthy, happy 34 year old woman with a great career in the corporate world. Our relationship was healthy, we had a track record of building each other up and improving as people together. If there was something going on under the surface for these groups to infiltrate and exacerbate to the point of us breaking up, she did an amazing job suppressing it. The decline however was swift, immediate and depressing. Each time I'd try to be involved and supportive to help her out, I always got rebuffed and turned away until, well like I said she decided to just walk away from our relationship. To say I'm still stunned would be an understatement.

Good luck with your daughter, I hope what you and your family must be going through improves for the better


These online groups have the same advantage that many other cults have over their victims: they can re-try until they find enough buttons to press that work to bring out the vulnerable people. It's like negotiating against a much more experienced adversary: you're going to lose.

The only way to deal with that stuff is not to get exposed to it in the first place. Something similar happens with advertising, there too the best recipe is not to be exposed, not to think that you are strong enough to withstand it.

One way in which these groups succeed is by alienating their victims from anybody that would empower them with common sense. Parents, siblings, spouses are all pushed away with tricks honed over many encounters.


What does a "pro-ana" group gain from attracting new members ? Seems to me the dynamics are very different from a cult, where members are asked for money/work, and to bring new followers.

This is mostly just teens discovering fetishes and sharing them to feel better about it.


To drag in new members in order to normalize their own behavior. The more people do it the more normal you feel.

Lots of cults are like that, not all of them have money or labor as their prime motivators.


>What does a "pro-ana" group gain from attracting new members?

Friends. I'm 'part' of a pretty positive one (they allow thinspo but don't encourage it, no one is shamed for speaking about anything they want) and I think in the right conditions, it is actual helpful.

Many people (see thread) shame those with eating disorders and being around others can help recovery by being exposed to others with the disorder, even without having to be shamed by messages. Huge asterisk though. :)


There are a lot of valid answers to this, but I honestly feel like they can all be boiled down to the same idea: people organize into groups, no matter what.

Don't discount the possibility that these groups generally believe that they are helping others through outreach.

Does anyone have any resources that explore how these groups achieve these things? (Especially the process of alienating inductees from friends and family--that's scary stuff.)

It seems like understanding how these systems work would be a prerequisite for protecting your loved ones (or even yourself!).


Read up on Scientology. It's pretty much a textbook example of how it is done.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disconnection

See also, the Fishman affidavit and a lot of other bits and pieces of the COS internal documents that were leaked or published.

https://kspaink.home.xs4all.nl/fishman/home.html


This is bull. I have had ample exposure to far right and far left groups and their philosophy as well as many varieties of weird deviant porn and a plethora of other subcultures the wider world would look askance at. I fall pretty squarely within normal.

Online subcultures can’t target people because online subcultures don’t have memories, minds or goals. They are distributed patterns of behaviour, beliefs and norms, which attract people or not based more on the people than the subculture.

Brainwashing doesn’t work. The cult panic was bull. You can’t change people’s minds outside of a totalitarian society. They change their own minds.


> Brainwashing doesn’t work.

It looks like there is ample evidence to the contrary. The fact that it doesn't work on you is great but the number of cults out there that have successfully managed to co-opt large numbers of otherwise pretty intelligent people (and let's not get started on religion) and that have managed to get these people to act against their self interest, to harm people they loved and to do things they would never ever do under normal circumstances is proof positive that brainwashing does in fact work.

To say that they 'change their own minds' is victim blaming of the very worst sort.

Groups and pressure from groups on an individual are extremely effective means to get people to conform. The need to belong is extremely strong and a very powerful button to press and all kinds of groups have abused this and other psychological levers to gain power over others.

So yes, online subcultures which consist of large number of individuals are able to influence other individuals. They have a collective memory and they act as emergent structures that have a lot more power than each individual.

Your personal experience is - unfortunately - not a very good guide for this.


If brainwashing doesn’t work why don’t you rule the world? Why doesn’t somebody? If there is a known or knowable with some research way of altering the goals and beliefs of people permanently outside (or including) totalitarianism I am unaware of it. If you are aware I would appreciate some citations. If brainwashing worked a whole hell of a lot more of the world would be communist in name and fact than is the case for either now.

If people do things mostly because they want to do them is victim blaming where is individual responsibility for anything? We are all enmeshed in society and systems of social control (but I repeat myself).

Groups and pressure from groups on people to belong may be extremely strong but the overwhelming majority of people belong only to the most anodyne inoffensive subcultures, thoroughly accepted by the host society, whether they be a religion, political persuasion, musical taste or athletic subculture. People dip their toe into a subculture and if they like it they either start paddling or jump right in. Most of them try multiple subcultures and eventually settle on a small number to continue in or none.

Online subcultures are no more, and probably less, able to influence other individuals than offline ones. They’re just more attractive because you can find the one that’s just right for you. People move to be around others like them, gay men and lesbians to Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, New York, hippies to San Francisco in the 60’s, people into dance music to Detroit or Chicago, rationalists to Berkeley and the Bay. The only way emergent structures and collective memory can have _control_ over free people is through their free choice.

My personal experience is as excellent a guide as yours. I do not see successful brain washing. I see subcultures, some deeply unhealthy, attracting people who find them congenial.

Here’s a literature review on brain washing and how it doesn’t work.

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/TiG8cLkBRW4QgsfrR/notes-on-b...


As much as I'm a fan of Gwern's work the conclusion he reaches is dead wrong. A high rate of attrition does not prove that brain washing does not work. It proves it works as long as a victim can be kept isolated, see previous comment about how cults do what they can to isolate their followers. The converse is also true, family and friends already belonging to some group is a powerful agent to keep an individual in that group.

So all of this is about belonging and how to get someone to move from one camp to another.

Scientology and all the other cults out there have to live by the same sword that they die by: influence. And the fact that there are online support groups for some of these cults is a powerful anti-dote.

Some groups are simply more effective at isolating their followers from people who really have their best interest at heart.

I'll do you the courtesy of continuing the conversation on your terms, you want to call this brainwashing and if that's it then it works. If you want brain washing to refer to the CIA being able to program people then that indeed does not work. It requires constant upkeep and maintenance as well as the will of the victim to belong to some group to begin with. But once that condition is met the victims can be made to do a lot of stuff they would not otherwise do.

If you have not seen firsthand how cults can take otherwise normally functioning people and drive a wedge between them and their loved ones to see their lives taken over then I don't think your - or Gwern's - faulty conclusions count for much. It's bad enough that this happens, it is much worse to see people deny it because that essentially leaves the victims of cults without any support at all, which effectively enables the cults.

For many people - including many people who are simply religious - fear of being thrown out of the in-group is sufficient to get them to act against their own self-interest.

Quite a few religions have this practice and members have been known to kill themselves for the simple reason of being thrown out of the group they've been a part of for all of their lives simply because they are who they are. To see you dismiss this so callously because of a link to a narrowly researched article that has a conclusion that skips a few thousand years of evidence to the contrary seems a bit of a short-cut.

Take for instance Catholicism and the fear of excommunication, a powerful form of peer pressure where the people thrown out of the group are shunned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excommunication

here is another interesting view on the original subject, eating disorders and the kind of pressure they flourish under:

http://nedic.ca/eating-disorders-and-depression-story-surviv...

Not to mention the kind of pressure your typical ballet dancer is under (or fashion models for that matter).

None of these rate a mention in your finely researched link, and that is the sort of thing I was getting at before you moved the goalposts.

Isolating people from their friends and family is a tried and true method of cults (including mainstream religions) the world over. It usually starts with attacking the identity of the person and driving a wedge between them and their families or friends. Can't have that kind of interference if you're going to get away with the next stage.

That's a very practical approach. For an encore, of course it helps to start with targeting people who are already in a fairly weak position socially.

For more examples of how strangers get into your head and make you do stuff you don't actually have a self-interest in see advertising, aka applied psychology. Attack the persons self-image and presto, you can sell beauty and fashion products much more easily. Buy our shitty product and you too can be loved.

Of course in basis everybody has agency and you could if you are really strongly opinionated resist all of this. But even for the most die-hard resisters the fact is that all of this works, and works ridiculously well. The best way to stay on the right side of the line is to avoid exposure and that is getting harder and harder.


> As much as I'm a fan of Gwern's work the conclusion he reaches is dead wrong. A high rate of attrition does not prove that brain washing does not work

Yes, it does. What else could possibly show it doesn't work better than the fact that it doesn't work?


Your sample size of one is incredibly convincing. /s

People who are isolated, bullied, low self-esteem, shut-ins, suffering mental illnesses, or a host of other factors can and do fall into echo chambers of radicalization and extremism. You see the results in the news every day. Of course forms of it exist, like what happened to op's daughter.


I don’t have a sample size of one. I have the evidence of my eyes. Incredibly successful social movements look like the Mormons or Corbyn’s Labour, not some master brain washers who can take mentally healthy people and make them join a cult or other social movement and never leave. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints is the most successful new religion of the past two centuries, possibly excluding the Baha’i. It has some weird and crazy beliefs and demands a level of commitment and community involvement that most Europeans or Americans would balk at and the average missionary spends two years trying to convert people. And most of them get nothing. I don’t even live in America and I know two ex-Mormons and one who based on his lifestyle will soon be an ex-Mormon. I hope I don’t need to convince you that Corbynism has been very successful indeed. It took over the main opposition party in the U.K. Much as I’m impressed by their fervour and convenient as they’ve made becoming a member of the Labour Party most of these people will not be Labour Party members in ten years, possibly five. They’ll get older and more cynical and age out of thinking they can make a difference in politics, Corbin will get into government and disappoint them, they won’t have enough cash to renew their membership. And that’s a successful political movement!

People aren’t brain washed. They make choices, sometimes shitty self destructive choices, occasionally deluded ones. But they are making choices.


Online groups can and do influence people's thoughts and beliefs over time. Just my own anecdotes, but I've seen people completely turn against those in their lives who were obviously well meaning and supportive, because of baseless anger and fears which seem to have come from nowhere. And then it comes out that they were actively reading online groups that encouraged and normalized these anxieties and rage, condemning those who common sense and anyone else can plainly see are active forces of good in a person's life.

It sounds like you did all you could in your situation and you were willing to work through it with her. Empathy and support are really all you can provide in situations like yours. Particularly as a partner there isn't much more you should do other than encourage professional help.

Eating disorders are a complicated class of mental illness with a varying collection of co-morbid issues such as anxiety and depression. I've come to dislike the binary labeling of anorexia and bulimia because the symptomology is so much more complex than the classifications we give them.


I think a lot of people over-estimate the resilience of the human emotional state, especially their own. Time and time again we see regular functioning adults get sucked into objectively insane or self-harmful communities, be it the above phenomenon or 4chan crap like QAnon.

I would put it as "people misunderstand the source of their emotional resilience". A lot of people think that having "strong will" or "strong values" is what will prevent them from picking up extreme, obsessive or hateful ideas.

Instead, anything like resilience is a process. Your friends and your community is part of it. Everyone is suggestible, everyone takes beliefs from associates as well as from experience. Conspiratorial and prejudiced ideas are seductive specifically because of how uncertain the world is. One has to reject such ideas in a way that avoids considering them in terms of "either this is true or this is false" since so many questions well beyond proof either way.


How many people follow QAnon or 4chan nonsense? You're over weighting a sheer minority of people who probably have other issues in their lives as for why they chase down conspiracy rabbit holes.

Alas, they don't have "other issues" - because recommendation algorithms drive people down the conspiracy rabbit holes.

Conspiracy, fear, hate - they all drive engagement better than anything else. And since we all optimize for engagement, guess where things are heading. And no matter how resilient you are, there's some really dark shit out there. Ready to tear down even rather healthy people.


optimize for engagement

This to me seems like it's the key to all of this, or at least a portion of it that really shouldn't be ignored. As I shared, if my ex had other ongoing issues under the surface, they were never presented and she did a great job keeping the visible symptoms from manifesting for the better part of three years.

Maybe she didn't realize they were there herself, hard to blame anyone for that.

It doesn't seem that remarkable, contentious or incendiary of an idea to wonder if following these blogs and communities infiltrated and started poking at something that was already there, driving a curiosity to dig further, effectively picking at a scab....so to speak. And when the platform responds to your interactions, likes, reshares, searches by pushing more of that in your face, it doesn't seem any more remarkable that someone could find themselves facing mental anguish or other personal/emotional problems that wouldn't have ever otherwise seen the light of day.


Optimization for engagement is actually quite scary to me: because the effects upon the user (beyond engagement) are literally meaningless. If the system can burn out your mental health while increasing engagement, it can and will make that choice.

If the system can burn out your mental health while increasing engagement, it can and will make that choice.

While the platform, many more times than not profits from that engagement? I completely agree.


Came to say I agree with village-idiot, many if not everyone overestimate their emotional resilience and those that become victims usually become so inadvertently and don't realize the ramifications until it's either too late or a real steep climb to get back up. QAnon might not be the most common rabbit hole, but it was in all fairness just an example. The most common example is probably drugs and alcohol.

QAnon stuff gets millions of shares on Facebook every week. It's nuts and not a tiny slice of people. Ballpark 20% of republican voters at the very least believe in this stuff.

At least 20%. I’m right wing. Lemme tell yah.

I mean this question without any malice or partisanship, because I’m genuinely curious. What’s it feel like to watch those in your political in group seemingly lose their minds? Has it affected your opinions or relationships with fellow conservatives?

No, if anything it's brought us together. What's been hard is losing leftie friends for no reason. I don't talk about politics, but if they find out I went to a Trump rally (instagram pics) suddenly we can't be friends. It's weird. I lived in San Francisco 20 years ago and had rabidly leftie friends whom I very much enjoyed sparring with over drinks, however something has changed and we can't even make small talk anymore. Bizarre.

The sign of our polarized times.

Enough to win an election.

It’s not like 4chan is the first cult to start up and rope in otherwise functioning adults.

there are functioning adults that frequent 4chan. I think not.

There's a lot more to 4chan than /b/ (and the associated /pol/, /r9k/, /s4s/ crap). I haven't used /b/ in years (it stopped being funny around 100M get) but I still use some of the special-interest boards.

First, my point is not specific to any one crazy movement or community. QAnon is the most recent one, but anyone historically aware can point to a variety of similar examples.

Second, if you think QAnon is relegated to only those who visit 4chan, I have very bad news for you.


I do. It's entertaining, especially since there's been some Qanon posts which seem almost plausible, and the rest of the time it's some guy with a neckbeard trying to get likes.

I have my own share of mental issues, but I just have a hard time seeing how I could ever get involved in one of these groups, much less believe the bullshit they are spouting.

What is the situation that makes these seem like a solid choice?


I try to keep in mind that if a con looks obvious to me, I'm just not the kind of mark the con was designed for. Why will a fish bite on bait that doesn't look edible to me? Because it looks delicious to them. It was made to look delicious to them though a long process of trial and error.

For a long while I was fascinated that people could get caught up in cults. It was very much not the kind of thing I would fall for. So I read a bunch of memoirs from people who had left/escaped cults and eventually it made a lot of sense to me. I would still never fall for one, but I can see how they take advantage of basic human drives and the weaknesses of their particular kind of victim.


I'm more interested in how I (apparently) avoided it all.

Methinks it's because I got it out of the way early on. I definitely have had my own phases for occult, religion, conspiracies, MLM, alcohol, outrage addiction, counter cultural impulses, protests, etc.

Further, I once thought I'd get into journalism, did student radio & TV, wrote for a bit.

I think seeing how the sausage is made, learning the craft, helps one develop an immunity.

Having a contrarian reading list probably helped. For example, Robert Anton Wilson and stuff like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_SubGenius


Equating journalism with QAnon and recommending “contrarian reading” seems strange advise for avoiding conspiracy theories.

Early is the keyword. I got through a lot of conspiracy / UFO stuff as a kid, the way others go through paranormal phases. I outgrew it, just as I outgrew Santa.

Robert Anton Wilson is also good, because he presents all this stuff clearly marked as fiction.


What?

My advice is to study the techniques, to better guard against them. This much is obvious, no?

Though illustrative, I acknowledge The Illuminati and the Subgenius stuff are not very accessible.

Thank You for Smoking https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427944 and Network https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958 are probably more your speed.


I've heard this type of story way too many times. People getting sucked into some social media community and becoming anxious, fearful, and bitter. Social media is much more dangerous than we bargained for it seems.

You make me think of Boyinaband.

(https://youtu.be/xR3hrZS2c0A?t=705)


Not to point out the obvious, but the content you are talking about isn't going to be affected.

The issue with banning adult content, is that it often ends up being more easy to ban all adult content and LGBTQ+ content.

Generally speaking, people on the fringes lose a safe place to discuss issues that matter to them, due to keyword proximity to pornographic keywords.


Likewise we can't ban/censor our way to good parenting nor will it prevent people (not just kids) from finding bad information in the internet.

If anything the kids will stop using Tumblr at a faster rate once all of the false-positives of the censorship stuff blocks basic enjoyment.


I read the two anecdotes shared as mere allegories of the reaction tumblr is taking to the content that is being banned from the platform, not a 1:1 comparison of pornographic content and body image content; that in mind I think these types of stories are just as relevant when looking at how we signal collective approval of the types of content we are willing to expose ourselves and our young ones to-and the impact these disparate types of content have, wouldn't you say?

This content will still be allowed, though, since it's not "real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples".

Yeah it's just 'how to live an unhealthy life and risk dying well before turning 15: 101'

I don't know what to do about it, but even as a tech savvy free speech proponent I feel very unhappy about the content kids consume on tumblr specifically. Bullying groups on snapchat etc are just the same old bullying upgraded with a better communications platform, but tumblr offers thousands of insane cult groups run for and by kids.


It is the same as before but parents feel safer the kids are on their room.

That's because at this time parents manage to do the following two seemingly incompatible things:

1) pay no attention to the kids (got to do Netflix! Read HackerNews! Enjoy my hobbies!)

2) demand that the entire universe of everyone else revolved around their kids and those kids be protected against any possible exposure to the negative thoughts -- "Good vibes only!"

So by the time kids become semi-autonomous adults they quite literally do not know what to do when anyone or anything does not fit into reality their parents managed to construct for them.


>From what I've seen, Tumblr can be a very toxic place and I could understand why advertisers would have problems with the content that ends up next to their ads.

I'm with you on the free speech thing. Early days of the internet I was much more optimistic / naive about free speech and the internet. Now, not so much. Not that I belive in government censorship, but maybe less naive about the results of free speech.

I guess it would change if I had tons of money rolling in, but just generally if I created / ran a social media site, Facebook, Reddit... whatever. I'd feel really NOT OK with a lot of the content those sites are ok with hosting.


I think monitoring the child's online activity is a must, until he's mature enough and at 12 years old, that's basically the start of adolescence, when children aren't very trustworthy :-) On the other hand you can't let them know that you're constantly monitoring them, or they will feel suffocated and start a rebellion.

In other words I think having some kind of anti-virus software on their computer or tablet, that logs the websites they visit, the articles they view, is totally fine.

The problem is that many parents aren't very subtle when bringing up sensitive issues, causing anxiety and determining the child to hide in the future. And I don't have a good solution for it — my son is only 8 and I'm still thinking how to tackle such problems.


Yeah you really have to be tactful about it, and do parallel reconstruction wherever possible. Once they know their devices are bugged their behavior will change to evade you.

On the other hand, like sysadmins who enjoy reviewing network logs to find which married executives spend their days skulking around Grindr there are a lot of parents that abuse this to become straight-up voyeurs. There's even an episode of Black Mirror about it. Regardless of your moral/religious convictions, you really don't want to discover or become party to your kids' sexual proclivities without cause.

I don't bug my kids' devices, but I did have to resolve a sexual harassment issue with my own daughter. Her behavior was starting to become worrysome-- lengthy secretive sessions on her phone, followed by signs of distress, anxiety, not eating, etc. When she didn't have access to the phone (or the battery died) it was even worse. So I black-bagged the damn thing, found out what was going on, and confronted her only on the nature of her behavior ("you haven't been eating lately"), gently guiding the questions toward what I knew to be the truth ("is someone bothering you?") and letting her do the talking.

She's none the wiser, the problem got resolved to mutual satisfaction, and I don't have to continuously violate her trust or privacy.


I had a couple mention to me "we don't like to big brother our kids".... Without thinking I said "big brother when you are the parent is just parenting." made the wife/mother really mad.

Not sure what you do when they realizing you're watching them and then just get sneaky about it. I remember being sneaky. I assume my kids will be sneaky.


I don’t think anyone would consider making your children wear a wire to school/friends’ houses “just parenting.” Yet many parents are proud of the digital equivalent. The big bad internet is one thing, private conversations with real-world friends are another.

maybe not provide them the smartphone, and also limited the time of playing tablet?

I knew pro-anorexia groups use slang like "your friend Ana" to hide their actions, but had to google "thinspo" and "meanspo".

Thinspo (thin inspiration) is positive anorexia reinforcement, like anorexic role model pictures.

Meanspo (mean inspiration) is negative anorexia reinforcement, like aphorisms demonizing fat or destructive critic.

Why are young girls so vulnerable to mental disease trends? What can we do better as a society to strengthen the resilience of kids?


> Why are young girls so vulnerable to mental disease trends?

Are you serious? Have you heard of qanon, anti-vax, scientology, pyrmaid schemes? We all are vulnerable to this stuff.


I know this is getting downvoted, but the odds are very good that we each believe something that future generations will correctly see as obviously idiotic. History is just full of things where large fractions of society were wrong. It seems extremely unlikely that this is the moment in history where that stops.

I think it's fair to say that kids are more vulnerable, though, for the same reason that they also get physically sick more. Immune systems develop through exposure, and they just haven't had as much exposure.


History is just full of things where large fractions of society were wrong.

It's sometimes really hard to appreciate how much a moment in time affects the long-tail of history when you're living in it.


| Thinspo (thin inspiration) is positive anorexia reinforcement, like anorexic role model pictures.

Thinspo was originally "thin and sporty" (Thin+Spo) and promoted a super healthy and physically fit lifestyle and positive choices.

Over time it has been co-opted by those with deeply negative body image issues, and those with anorexia fetishes.


I'm not asking for a specific source, but how do you know this?

I've just heard people saying it as 'in-SPO-ration' for so long that a -spo suffix seems more intuitively to be a truncation of -spiration.


Boys instead fall into other toxic communities, like incels.

The youtuber ContraPoints made a great video about such communities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD2briZ6fB0


You have highlighted a key distinction here, but proceeded to go back to "kids" but I wanted to highlight something that the US HHS found when studying the gender differences between bullying and that is girls tend to experience victimization in the form of sexual harrassment or emotional aggression where as boys were more likely to be victimized physically. Whether nor not this leads credence to any sort of gender theory, or how girls and boys are stereotyped or whatever you want to infer, there are real measurable differences between the type of toxicity found through online bullying or in person bullying, and for girls it does tend to be something emotional (think "ew you're fat, you should just stay home", "ew why are you wearing that", "ew you look like such a pig") versus boys where it tends to be physical threats of violence (think "I'm going to beat your ass", "give me all your lunch money fatty or you'll pay")

> Why are young girls so vulnerable to mental disease trends?

Nothing to do with young girls in particular, nor "mental disease" in particular.

Adolescents are constantly trying to find some axis along which they can excel/stand out, in a way that gives them societal power. (They're trying to "win", without really caring what it is they're winning at. They're just aware that right now they're not winning along any axis, and that has to change.)

For women specifically, being beautiful is one thing you can "win" at that can give you power.

Now, separately, anorexia can happen to anyone—recent research has suggested it's a sort of dual to obesity, another way the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMN) can become deregulated and cease to output the correct signal in response to fluctuations in leptin levels. For obesity, that makes people eat when they're "full" (because they don't feel full); for anorexia and bulemia, that makes people not-eat when they're "hungry" (because they don't feel hungry, and do feel disgusted/nauseous at the idea of eating more just like someone who's already stuffed full would.)

Like obesity, anorexia isn't necessarily genetic, but rather seems to be a disordered "state" that the brain can get into, which means that it potentially has environmental "triggers", even if it's purely a neurohormonal problem from that point forward. Some scientists hypothesize obesity as being the result of "re-training" your brain by forcibly exceeding your calorie budget. Anorexia is hypothesized similarly: "re-training" by forcibly starving yourself.

So: take teenage girls who want to "cultivate beauty" in order to gain social power. Some of them think they need to be thinner in order to be more beautiful. At this point, they're okay. After dieting, some are still okay. For others—perhaps the ones who saw the largest gains in social power from their loss of weight—something in their brain breaks a bit, and now they can't eat regular amounts of food any more without feeling sick.

Note that that could have happened to anyone, at any time, who decided to go on a diet. We don't understand exactly what makes people more "vulnerable" to anorexia, but adolescents aren't especially vulnerable. Teenage girls are just more likely to be people who are trying to diet for the first time, and therefore are more likely to be triggering and exposing an underlying vulnerability to anorexia for the first time—which we end up describing as "developing" anorexia.

Compare also: the guys who obsessively lift weights to gain muscle mass—because "cultivating your physique" is social power for teenage/college-aged boys—but then, once they start, their "unfitness" becomes a self-image problem, and they can never be happy with how they look, no matter how "ripped" they get.

Compare also: the development of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. People find that "cultivating a charismatic public image" gives them social power, but then become unable to stop optimizing their public image, even to the point that they habitually lie to their loved ones to present every action in the best possible light.

I feel like there's some unifying neurological principle to how these disorders develop, though I've never heard one suggested.


There is evidence that it's gendered. One example is that hospital admissions for self-harm are higher for girls than boys. It's also going up for girls and not going up for boys. See figures 1 and 2 of: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/26640...

That reminds me that The Economist had some interesting material on suicide rates recently: https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/11/30/...

In some countries there has been a huge fall in the suicide rate for women. It seems to be correlated with increasing opportunity and independence.


Check the statistics of hospital admissions for being harmed by others, check the perpetrators, and you'll find the boys missing from your statistic.

> Why are young girls so vulnerable to mental disease trends?"

all kids are vulnerable. maybe girls are more sheltered? and..

> "What can we do better as a society to strengthen the resilience of kids?"

stop sheltering them, let them fail.

i am still a little pissed at pink floyd. i get what they are railing against, but yes, yes I do need an education. i nearly took that too literally when i was a kid.


It's not a gender thing. Young people in general are vulnerable to all kinds of negative groupthink because they don't have a fully formed identity, experience, or adult critical thinking skills. The nature of the toxic material seems to differ a bit by gender.

Loads of teen boys are sucked into toxic online cults too including neo-Naziism, extreme misogyny, other kinds of toxic political radicalism, gaming addiction, self-help cults, etc.


I think you hit the nail in the head. Kids (and many grownups) are very vulnerable to groupthink, The only solution I see is encouraging common sense through critical thinking.

Considering most of these groups rally around conspiracy theories, which by definition start from a position of questioning commonly accepted facts (i. e. "critical thinking"), maybe we have actually gone too far with the critical thinking?

We teach the idea of critical thinking but not the intellectual disciplines of doing it honestly and effectively.

It could be taught in schools, but it has to be taught at home too, by example. I wonder if enough parents would be willing to let their kids question something as basic as their religion and indoctrination?

> maybe we have actually gone too far with the critical thinking?

No, because it would be something else than critical thinking. It's like the scientific method, where you can't dismiss any possibility, unlikely as it be, but pursue the most likely explanations first.

Conspiracy theories bizarrely pursue the least likely explanation. Granted, this explanation might be real, but until new data arrives (Assange, Snowden, Manning, etc.) it can't outweigh the simpler ones.


There is evidence that it's gendered. One example is that hospital admissions for self-harm are higher for girls than boys. It's also going up for girls and not going up for boys. See figures 1 and 2 of: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/26640...

Check the statistics of hospital admissions for being harmed by others, check the perpetrators, and you'll find the boys missing from your statistic.

I couldn't find those stats - could you please share your source with us?

I was able to find stats on violent crime by youth (mostly boys), and unlike self harm by girls, the rates of serious violent crime have been trending down for years.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/477466/number-of-serious...

In any case, there is a clear gendered difference in the average behavior of girls and boys.


And groupthink is orders of magnitude more powerful in the era of social media.

I love how your comment is being downvoted for the heresy of suggesting there is something wrong with neo-nazis or /r/incels.

4chan is a cult with a lot of traction among mostly male technical types.

There are lots of online cults though, not just on the chans. Tumblr is particularly bad. Lots of little Borg minds looking to assimilate young novelty.


The modern web hasn't changed from olden times in any significant manner. Yeah, there's not just random cp being shared across open channels, but the internet is a reflection of humanity. Humans love to share their problems and evils through it. Platforms like Tumblr take what you've found some interest in and scope in on it to surround you with it.

I had a 14 yo cousin who started subscribing to /r/incels and a 'pol' attitude and is simply incapable of being a decent human being. All it takes is group-think and idealogy. People will fall into it, and teens are especially targetable.

You two will get through it. Teens have a lot more change to go through.


Hey, firstly I am so very sorry for what you and your family is going through. Having a child encounter very scary parts of the world is always awful.

I'm now in my early 20's, but when I was a kid about your daughter's age I also stumbled into that awful, awful corner of the web and developed an eating disorder (ED).

As an adult now, my message is it can and will get better. ED is a tough problem, but with work and persistence both she and you can work through it.

I won't tell you how to raise your daughter, at all. Just offering a sympathetic viewpoint!


Giving people suggestions based on their profiled interests was a nice toy idea, but it's very dangerous in the real world. I worry about that often with my kid online now.

Outside of purposeful oscillators, positive feedback loops rarely are a desireable thing.

I mean, maybe this is where neural networks that forget are valuable? They allow for exploration, and don't create local maximas in the same way?

Its bad in general, for sites like Facebook as well. People are now presented with news and stories that they are predicted arithmetically to like, in order to further "user interaction" (ie, more ad impressions). But this leads to an echo chamber, where people are not exposed to alternative ideas, contrasting viewpoints, etc. (And then, when they are my parents, call it 'fake news' when presented with them).

It's worse. It's not an echo chamber - because the recommendation algos don't keep you with like minded people. They purposefully guide you towards more "engagement". And online, the most engagement can be had by trolling, not by agreeing with each other.

And "contrasting viewpoints" mean little when they're sheer lunacy.


And online, the most engagement can be had by trolling, not by agreeing with each other.

The example that screams out to me reading this cmoment is Reddit and it's ability to sort comments and threads by "controversial".


You need to teach critical thinking skills. Not promote censorship. There's a lot of stupid things in the world you can't censor.

I do not for a second advocate censorship. No content should be barred from uploading, that should be a retroactive process always, otherwise free speech is impossible. Gotta make mistakes to learn from the correction, and that is especially true for young people unfamiliar with the law.

What I am against is machines feeding you more of what you just looked at. That's dangerous. It's too easy to end up VERY deep down dangerous rabbit holes. You should have to use critical thinking to explore your interests, not just get fed whatever will drive engagement.


Sure arguing against the algos is fine. THAT should be under discussion, not censorship. Censorship is an easy out because every fucking person on this board profits off of algos that drive people insane and unhealthy but censorship is an easy out to avoid confronting the real problem.

You hit the nail on the head there. Blacklists just don't work for users. They work for providers, but only for CYA. Users need tools to help them find good useful things.

This brings my morning routine to mind, which I explicitly designed to combat this feed poisoning that everyone is enduring. I literally hit the wikipedia random button every morning before I get out of bed. It's hooked into my morning alarm. I don't check feeds in the morning because I want to let my mind explore without someone influencing my focus, which helps me be more creative later in the day.


This actually sounds interesting and I'll try it.

While this is ideal, critical thinking skills take time to develop.

That's not how mental illness works.

The lack of critical thinking skills is a mental illness.

Some people are strong willed, some people are followers. Some people are deep thinkers, others are quick wits. Some people plan, and some only live in the moment. Everyone has different tools they use to navigate the world.

Some people are going to grow up and be out on their own, and not have you around to censor for them. Everyone needs critical thinking skills. Without it, you're going to become a sucker, sooner or later.

Can you show me where it says this in either DSM or ICD?

Classical critical thinking skills are great, and no match for reinforcement based suggestion engines. You might critically pick the best item from the 5 pieces of shit you are offered next, but comprehending how your viewing habits are being shaped over time by moving the _neutral_ point a half-a-degree is another thing entirely.

Not getting promoted by a recommendation algorithm is not censorship.

[flagged]


Does knowledge of the obesity epidemic help anorexics?

Anorexia (and pro-ana websites with words like "thinspo") were around before Tumblr even existed, so it's nothing new. I suppose recommendation algorithms and the existence of this stuff on popular platforms like Tumblr and Instagram could make it more viral and spread more, but I wonder if that's true (e.g. if Anorexia has increased in the past 10 years).

Yep. Pro-ana groups were a serious problem back when Livejournal was still relevant (i.e, early/mid 2000s) -- and that was with very limited discoverability features. Modern recommendation algorithms just make the problem worse.

Yes, it was around and was more focused upon when I was a kid without an internet connection.

But nowd you get that fed straight to you on sites/blog-platforms targeting children. All with huge real-time support groups that will help you not to eat. It's the $90/session personal trainers but available 24/7 and without any knowledge of side-effects and with a huge amount of denial.


Yeah but those are not adult content. They are undeniably very bad but tumblr is only banning porn.

This post is literally "cocaine and rock and roll" but they know they won't win the war on calling for bans on porn for their innocent child's eyes so they do this diatribe that is fully unrelated to banning adult content.

I'm sorry about your daughter, but blaming Tumblr completely for her disordered behavior is incorrect.

Simply being exposed to the existence of behavior doesn't cause a disorder.

She would've developed those behaviors regardless, maybe not to the same degree but you can't 'catch' or 'develop' anorexia nervosa (or any other mental illness) from viewing media. You can absolutely make it way worse, but the seed has to have already been planted.

There are biological and mental predipositions to eating disorders. If people could will themselves to have eating disorders, everyone would have eating disorders. It's a really terrible disease and blaming 'the Internet' papers over the deeper reasons she developed the disorder (pressure to reach high standards, little control, hopelessness, etc)


Why can't you monitor (almost) everything? Unless it's at a friend's house, my ten-year-old has no access to tumblr. I fail to understand why children must have access to internet connected devices.

What's your long term game plan with that? At some age, they'll get a device, are you just hoping for the best when that happens? Or "you pay for it, it's your problem" or what?

We limit device time and I try to be as involved as I can, we ask them what they're doing, we try to play games with them, etc. Every day. We keep repeating the mantra about not talking to strangers online, and to tell us if they talk to you. Honestly, I think it's other stuff that will make the difference, spending time with them every day, talking to them about everything, and encouraging active participation in real world stuff like sports and some volunteer work for the homeless through our church.

I don't disagree with the "no internet" idea exactly but at some point they'll be exposed to it and the way things are, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if a smartphone was required equipment for junior high or highschool within the next 5-10 years. Already our schools send us just about everything online, we have regular emails with the teachers and they use google docs and other platforms for online sharing within the school.


>What's your long term game plan with that?

That they're going to be more mature when that happens because they've demonstrated that they weren't ready just yet.


It is difficult to demonstrate your readiness when you've never been allowed to use it. Access + monitoring and support is a better strategy than hiding technology from your kid. Unless you are Amish, your kids are going to get dropped into the deep end.

Like all the old people on facebook demonstrating that their decades of life experience has taught them to recognize obvious bullshit..?

That strategy is proven ineffective with abstinence only sexual education, and I'm sure the exact same problems would arise applying to online access.

There's a pretty wide spectrum between full-blown free-for-all and full-blown Amish-mode. In particular, routers/firewalls with parental controls (whether network-wide or by MAC address) are increasingly common in homes nowadays, even if those features go unused. A whitelist would be pretty effective here for outright blocking.

All this does is create adults with the same problem. You have to introduce them to the world (including the bad parts) slowly, not shield them from it until they move out.

Just on google, children are a few clicks and a word or two away from hardcore porn. I agree that a parent who gives their child open internet access has to accept their kid will probably see disturbing things before they’re ready, or strictly restrict and monitor everything. I’m not even sure how feasible or reasonable it is to try.

This sort of stuff furthers my resolve to give my kids dumbphones and PCs with no internet access until they're at least 14 or 15, with plenty of education beforehand. For example, at school we got taught about anorexia, body image and coping strategies in junior high. If they need to get online they can use the family PC in the living room that's in full view of everyone.

My observation is that what I can only call information operations on Tumblr are very similar in form to various groups retweeting divisive political memes on Twitter or other social media. Most likely it has been freelance individuals with some sort of sexual fetish, not an organization, but still. It's not normal user behavior to be constantly re-posting and mashing up memes all day long every day encouraging pre-teen girls to be anorexic.


My observation is that what I can only call information operations on Tumblr are very similar in form to various groups retweeting divisive political memes on Twitter or other social media.

I'm sure it's no different on any other platform, so I hope this comment isn't seen as some way to skewer tumblr for being unique in this regard: but the number of times I've stumbled across content spreading some nugget of content about a health-condition, mental state of being or current event that is OBJECTIVELY untrue getting eager reshares and comments applauding the original poster that would cause any trained professional to expire from the horror is staggering to behold sometimes.

Again, not unique to tumblr, not here to suggest it is, but since it's the focus of the conversation we're having, there it is.

Already I've seen people I follow talking about leaving the platform because of this decision, which is going to hurt my own blog as I rely on them to discover new and interesting content (not porn, but I'm a big fan of futurist artwork, giant robots, Ralph McQuarie style space paintings, stuff like that).


Gosh, that's tough, and I'm hoping she came out the other side stronger.

This doesn't seem specific to tumblr though. I can't think of a network that doesn't have the same dark corners and nasty reinforcement. It's the internet.


No, it is not the internet! It is a recommendation engine. It is a content network in the business of profit. It is a social entrapment.

The internet is a bunch of channels (websites) with subchannels (groups). Sometimes channels that have earned far too much legitimacy overflow into illegitimate corners. And that is a problem. It is like CNN with great content and then having crappy content. How do you start ranking sites then? How do you as a website evaluator start white-listing domains then?

I know you are defending free speech while encouraging selective roaming. But that is not an easy act. Some have difficulty while others do not. Some can moderate themselves while others cannot. Restriction + Avoidance is better than Exposure + Ignorance towards these harmful things.


I’m really sorry to hear this story. It makes me feel pretty sad, and worried as a recent parent. I think I have a preference for free speech, but stories like this really make me wonder where the boundaries are. Communities are bound together by common stories. If we cannot control the stories members listen to, the community ceases to function. And I’m starting to wonder whether we are beginning to see this failure writ large around the world right now.

I'm sorry to hear that. I wish the best for your family.

Is there something unique to tumblr that makes this content thrive there? If tumblr cleans their stuff up (and I know there are legitimate stuff that is impacted by that) won't those communities find refuge elsewhere? There are some incredibly seedy parts of reddit and sites like voat and just tons of places where there is "bad stuff" on the internet.


The solution is in societal morals and not in tech companies doing the censoring.

While I strongly oppose the tech company censorship push societal morality is utterly dubious. As in let me know when you find anything worthy of the name. Seriously "moral" society has condoned all sorts of utterly fucked up things while stridently opposing harmless and helpful things for the stupidest reasons.

> societal morals

Good luck with that. Advertisers figured out they could pound those to a pulp, and they were not wrong.

Any sane man of a couple centuries ago is now a leper by modern standards. They don't have us walking on our hands because ... I don't know, perhaps there's no money in it or that did not yet occur to them.


I posted this 1 day ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18583017) "YouTube, for example, can show advertisements for well known companies in videos about Anti-vaccination, far-right conspiracies, etc. without consequences.

Why is that? Because all that happens in the privacy of your own computer. Usually any newspaper that publicly have printed such bullshit in their pages will be dead. Public will react to it.

What is different? Facebook, YouTube, etc. are personalized. You are shown what you are interested in without public accountability. Niche radical content gets a lot of views for its own controversial nature. Views and money.

Who wants to investigate, hire good writers and expend the money that it takes to write a good article when you can hire some one without ethics for a fraction of the price and get as many or more views as radicalization grows?

YouTube, Facebook and others say that they are not responsible of the content they offer. I think that it should be true for things like comments. But for the monetized content they are 100% responsible of incentivizing that radicalization and killing good journalism in the process. "

Tech (apps) companies cannot solve so much problems as they think. But, they can solve the problems that they have created.


How are they supposed to do that? You can't watch all of youtube. Even all of monetized youtube.

As for good journalism it either committed suicide or was killed off by management depending on perspective - either way it was quite a while ago. The actual newspaper conglomerated were doing the same damn thing before there was a Google - just look up a list of old moral panics. Look up Grunge slang hoax - they didn't even call a guy in Seattle to ask if they ever heard anything like the joke article to be sure it wasn't somebody taking the piss - and it was.


Google "elsagate" for some other disturbing examples of how YouTube is being used to traumatize and corrupt our children.

I came across "elsagate" the other day and was unpleasantly not surprised by what it means. As a father of two young children this is a tough one--I'm 100% pro free speech, especially the speech I don't agree with, but have a hard time with deceptive messaging designed to harm vulnerable populations. I don't have an answer, but it sure is a damnable problem.

None of that sounds like it would be affected by this. This move is to try to purge human sexuality from the platform, especially when it is depicted in a positive light. Appeals to insecurity, suffering, and ignorant health advice will still be permitted.

The loose association, engagement suggestion algorithms are seriously dangerous. The suggestions can cause a "thermal run-away" [1] feedback loop for the mind.

Even in a less egregious example than the OP, take modern English for example. If search engines loosely relate English words to some moving abstract concepts, humans no longer have direct control over the colloquial. In a world that defines terms with Google Search, the implications can be disturbing.For example ::

Search: "the beatles are an antiquated band"

-- Results -> "Beatlemania in 1964: 'This has gotten entirely out of control' ...", "Quincy Jones: 'The Beatles were the worst musicians in the world ...", etc.

And: "the beatles are an obsolete band"

-- Results -> "We'll Never See a Band as Big as The Beatles Again — Here's Why - Mic", "Is the notion of a rock band obsolete? - Quora", etc.

    __note:__ these results come from a computer with little google finger printing.
Definitions: [2]

-- Obsolete :: "no longer in general use; fallen into disuse:"

-- Antiquated :: "continued from, resembling, or adhering to the past; old-fashioned:"

-- Antiquated :: "no longer used; obsolete or obsolescent: "

Why are these almost synonymous, benign words related to love of and hate of? I honestly fear for what could be unethical software engineering [3] in these critical resources. Thermal run away of hardware is taken very seriously--see the Samsung Note 7 battery fires.

---

[1]: In a circuit, current through a resistor causes heat generation. Increasing heat on a resistor also lowers its resistance. Lowering resistance can increase current (V = IR). Ad infinitum or until catastrophic failure.

[2]: definitions from Dictionary.com on 12/2018

As a thought exercise, try replacing "current" with "negative emotions", "resistor" with "mind".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_runaway#Electrical_eng...

[3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering_ethics


My sympathies.

The internet an interconnected web of information, used by both children and adults.

It can be more friendly for children when large platform "police themselves", but those efforts will naturally paint with very broad strokes.

I suspect the best strides here will be made by parental restrictions, so that the choices can be more individual and appropriate. (That's no panacea either of course; I'm merely suggesting it is the most promising solution.)


>My daughter at 12

i think websites/pages, like for example movies, should have age restriction in their metadata.

>love of free speech

as we know children arent capable to give an informed consent and thus free speech (the same way like any issue requiring informed consent like freedom of entering into contract for example or submitting to medical procedure) just isnt applicable when it comes to children as they cant make that free informed choice themselves.


> i think websites/pages, like for example movies, should have age restriction in their metadata.

A few friends and I had an idea for voluntary rating back in '97, not long after the CDA of 1996 ("Black Ribbon") debacle.

To be fair, while when we envisioned it, it was something more facetious to get a laugh, but thinking retrospectively about it 21 years later actually made (and still makes) a hell of a lot of sense (now) as the father of a young boy.


Didn't we (sort of) try age restriction metadata during the '90's with P3P? (or a closely related technology.. the name escapes me)

If you tightened the settings in Internet Explorer it would only allow you to access sites with P3P data - which was pretty much _nothing_ on the internet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P3P


Did you know that adolescent children are clever enough to lie about their age, AND flout rules enforced by simple button clicks and honor systems?

Browser on locked in system honoring the age metadata would go a long way. It is parental decision whether to give locked or unlocked device to the child.

No offense but that sounds like the most likely effect is promoting tech literacy and sneakiness.

  locked in system
Is exactly the system they won’t be using on starbucks wi-fi. Laptops are cheaper than console games.

Chrome books cost less than a PS4. You aren’t going to solve this by locking down the client side. Not at school. Not in the home. Not even in federal prison.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phones_in_prison

You are out of your depth.


> free speech just isnt applicable when it comes to children

Are you arguing that free speech must be abandoned, just in case children happen to be listening?


"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize."

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


That isnt what I said. What I said is that children mustn't be allowed to some audiences the same way they aren't allowed in bars, porn movies or making legally binding decisions in corporate boardrooms.

> What I said is [...]

You actually didn't say that, you just said free speech isn't applicable when it comes to children, and left us guessing about how you might want that to be implemented :).

I'm glad you're not advocating for the end of free speech, however.


Of course not. I even against any restrictions on hate and harassing speech. Not that I like it. It is just I think that censorship in any form is worse than any speech it may be trying to censor. So choosing lesser evil out of 2.

note: Censorship above is in the sense of making content decisions for capable adults. Children isnt capable adults.


The post says "age restriction in the metadata" right there. So yes, they did say that, and you didn't need to guess.

This is patently false.

Pintrest is the same way... there are tons of pro-ana pinboards/etc up there, so beware.

What about safety filters or parental controls?

OK, but a) this is about "adult material" (porn) from what I can see, not other things that one may find disturbing like "thinspo", b) "thinspo" is around in lots of places, not unique to Tumblr

[flagged]


It's ok to make a point like that in general, but not fine when it's personal, and there's nothing more personal than a case like this. Please don't do that here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


> From what I've seen, Tumblr can be a very toxic place and I could understand why advertisers would have problems with the content that ends up next to their ads.

The content you're describing is not affected by this Tumblr policy change. Secondly, the content that you're describing is pervasive across all social media networks (Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth).

I'm sorry for your daughter's health struggles, and I wish her (and you) well, but it's a completely separate topic from today's announcement.


I'm sad this has happened to your daughter, nevertheless I believe it's your own fault, not Tumblr's (well, someway maybe, the recommendation system could have been made less nasty, people interested in weird content should probably search for it themselves) and not of its users. Every thing should have its corner on the web and you just shouldn't go and let your kids go to those that are not for you. The fact tigers will probably kill whoever they meet doesn't mean there should be no places on Earth where they are not exterminated, just don't go there unprepared. Not every site on the web is to be sterile.

Also really dangerrous and really weird content like that you've described is not going to be affected by the new policy, all it bans are genitals and nipples which actually make nearly as much sense to hide as ears and fingers, people have imagined particular body parts are some kind worse than others and made this a part of the culture but it's not real and just seeing particular body parts can not actually harm a psyche of a healthy human in whatever an age (although I don't insist actual sexual acts can't).


If you think those parts are scary, you should see the "yiff". Basically, furry porn. In the modern era it's considered rude to judge people for their kinky sex life, but some of the illustrations and cartoons in that community are highly unusual. To put it politely.

Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and say that blogs encouraging preteen girls to develop eating disorders are much scarier than furry porn.

Unless... unless it's pro-ana furry porn.


We just have wholesome vore encouraging healthy eating

... how in the world is that scarier than anorexia?

And which group of people are being harmed by this porn that's not to your liking?

Rude.

It's all moved to deviantart and FA now mostly anyway, but there is historical stuff only on tumblr.

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