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Interview with a Pornhub web developer (2019) (davidwalsh.name)
298 points by brlnwest 10 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 214 comments





Back in the day I did work at a group of one of the largest adult websites.

Tech was PhP, MySQL, memcache and similar vanilla stuff running on many Linux servers - pretty simple stuff.

The trick was performance. Simple stupid mistakes that would not be detected in sites that have low traffic become enormous problems in a high traffic server.

Pretty much nothing was dynamic and we wrote scripts to create static pages for almost everything except search and authentication.

Things like logging just could not be done. It was easier to load a bunch of data in memory on a request and process it instead of running a slightly slower SQL query, since a ton of those could kill the database.

And yes, there were no placeholder images or videos. After some time you just get used to it and code. But I have to say you get pretty desensitized to it and when I resigned from that job my life in that area improved quite a lot.

Highlights were p*rn stars and random celebs visiting the office - but after some time that got kind of meh.

The job itself was just a programming gig and very professional except for the images on the screen which we learned to ignore.

On the whole, the guys who ran the thing were a pretty solid and great bunch of people and it was one of the best dev experiences in my long career.


I once worked on a site for a big underwear seller. It's not porn, but 90% of the media is extreme closeups of perfect ladies' bottoms and so on. The lead dev rapidly decided that the test product would be a very boring pair of men's boxer shorts.

Which was fine until he revealed that he'd chosen them because that's what he always wore.


I used to work at a porn company in early/mid 2000s, when IE was the dominant browser - the office breathed a sigh of relief when I coded a pixelation filter for IE using directshow effects or something, I forget it's been so long since I did anything for IE - but IE was fairly advanced for the time in what you could do with some CSS. The pixelation filter was for employee use only, of course. No longer did we have to actually watch clowns having sex to debug a problem with a specific movie depicting clown sex. Or any other porno, for that matter. It got kind of exhausting/distracting having to code when the data was porn.

This story could have ended so many different ways in the thread context here that I chuckled a bit of relief at the end.

But now I gotta ask: you say it was fine until the reveal. Were they pictures of him in the boxers or just a brand he liked-or what did the reveal change for the team?


They weren't pictures of him, but every time i looked at the test site, for a fraction of a second, i thought about my colleague's crotch.

That’s a quote worthy of bash.org

> Things like logging just could not be done

Good.

There are legitimate reasons to log requests. But far too often, developers that are used to 'printf debugging' will abuse the system. In many cases, what they were actually looking for was either some form of APM, distributed tracing, or much more commonly, would be better done by collecting metrics - which tend to be much more lightweight.

At work I've been fighting a battle to turn multiple dozens of terabytes of logs a day into something manageable, for years now. Sometimes I wonder if I could use the logging system itself in lieu of the application, as practically all data is dumped there! It's difficult battle to convince multiple groups to just use a counter instead of spitting out the same line of text every time the same kind of event happens.

Anyway, back to the point: no matter how busy the system is, you can surely engineer a mechanism to collect error logs, even if you have to sample them. But while things are running smoothly, track metrics. And, if you have a reason to suspect things are wrong, selectively turn on some logging.

I wish more people were aware of the costs of logging. Even more so nowadays, with the microservices craze.


At my previous company, one of the devs added some debug output, but they added it to a hot loop and forgot to if it out in production.

As a result, all of our frontend servers slowed to a crawl because the logging calls were thrashing our disk I/O - and keep in mind, this is an application which never hits the disk and lives entirely in memory, mostly just assembling data structures from other APIs and combining them into a response for the client. To see a server like that brought to its knees by disk I/O from three lines of debug logging was... impressive, to say the least.


There are some tools out there that run on-box to transform log events into metrics. Not the ideal, but scales much better than dealing with a firehose of useless logs in a central log system.

Counters are something I've become more familiar when logging from GPU drivers.

> after some time that got kind of meh.

When I was younger, I used to while away time by browsing exotic vacation destinations (that I couldn't nearly afford) on travel websites. One day, I got an offer to work at one of them. After about a month there, the last damned thing in the world I wanted to spend my free time doing was looking at travel website destinations. Made me re-evaluate what sort of jobs I'd want to do day in and day out.


Work ruins everything. I helped a friend set up a dance studio and it ruined dancing for me for a little bit. Some career advisors say "If your hobby is your job you'll never work a day in your life". Bad advice IMO.

Now if you could figure out how to do it without either customers or bosses...


Best advice I ever got: Do what you like, not what you love.

If you do what you love, what you love becomes work.

Is you do what you like, then you like your work, go home, and have energy for the things you love.


I am a non native English speaker. Whats the difference b/w like and love ? Both seem synonymous to me. If i love a person or thing i definitely like them.

Usually a difference in intensity. Love is what one feels towards their dog. Like is how they feel about their brand of dog food.

In this case, I would say they mean take a job doing something you enjoy but aren't so invested in that you will resent doing it the way your boss wants it done or feel like you lost something when you get home and don't want to do more of it for fun.

Some programmers write code at work and then do side projects on top of that. Other people enjoy knowing a little code, but would find it burdensome to write production quality code everyday. For them, programming is a hobby. Other people are content to program for their job and then leave it at the office and stop there.

People who have a hobby they love sometimes find their enjoyment is completely ruined if they try to turn it into a business. Loving something on weekends and evenings doesn't necessarily translate to being able to do it happily all day, everyday for work when other people are calling the shots and telling you how to do it.


I am a native English speaker. I would I agree with you that loving something does mean that you like it as well. "Loving" is a subset of "liking".

I would say that, in this context, liking something means it is satisfying to you beyond the average activity. While loving something means that it is something you consider a part of your life - something that you feel you couldn't do without.

So working at a job which involves something you love can sap the joy out of it, because you end up doing that thing not for you, but for other people.


Generally, the strength of the affection, with "love" being stronger than "like". There are other differences between "love" and "like", but this is the main (and relevant to this thread) one.

Having something you love removed would cause emotional pain, having something you like removed would be like meh.

This is great, thanks for sharing.

I think it is not that work necessarily ruins everything. The problem is turning your hobby into a job means turning your hobby into a business, which is were in my opinion most of the friction comes in.

For programming the difference between what I like to do and what I can easily get paid to do is not that big, so it makes sense to combine as a career advice. But for hobbies like music or painting, unless you get extremely lucky, it is whole lot harder, takes much longer and requires to make much more compromises to get to the point where it is really fulfilling.

I only ever tried the latter semi-professionally. And it was already a soul crushing experience at times.


Exactly. "Start a highly competitive small business and bet your entire livelihood on it, but the product is something you love" is pretty different than just getting to do what you love all day.

For it to make sense, at a minimum you have to also like and be pretty good at running a small business in addition to the thing that you love.


I’ve gone with “someone who turned a hobby into a career now needs a new hobby”

My best jobs have been at places where I simply did not care about the thing we were selling - in one case I was very far outside the target market, in another, just not something I use or think about much without a reason like income.

Several theories, probably something to each of them. The one I think explains the most is that if nobody is "passionate" about whatever you're doing, then you can approach things analytically, instead of having a layer of emotional investment gumming things up.


I've seen a few takes on this mindset.

Personally, jobs that I thought the concepts/industry were interesting to me, but the work was far enough removed that it didn't sour me to the industry have worked out well. e.x. If you're a car guy, working on the software for an inspection company isn't too bad, you still come out liking cars, and wind up with some interesting stories.

OTOH, I've spoken with colleagues that have a bit more nuanced mindset: If they don't care about the product, that's fine, but they won't work for a company that sells a product they know they don't like, they won't do it.


I think having more than one thing in your life is important. I mean, I like what I am doing at my job. There's not many things (maybe except "being a multi-billionaire"?) I'd do instead as work. But there are other things in my life that I like to do off work. Won't want to do them as work, but definitely good as something other than work. Being able to switch and rest is the key, I think.

If you make your hobby to your job, then you have no hobby anymore, it's your job.

Programming was my hobby when I was 11yo. 38 years later, I still can't believe they pay me to do this shit, it's awesome. Also, I have new hobbies now.

Thank god I work in fintech. I guess nobody does that shit as a hobby.

Robert Fripp: "The concern of the musician is music. The concern of the professional musician is business."

So true. My father tells the story of when he was a kid and got a job loading bubble gum machines with bubble gum. Apparently they told him he could eat as much bubble gum as he wanted which blew his mind. Of course then after the first week he couldn't stand the stuff.

I had to make very tricky ad which required synchronization of flash "videos" in multiple browser windows, before js frameworks really started. To this day I hate "Hit the road jack" song.

Doesn't ruin gamedev though.

I remember reading a developer's horror story about working for an aspiring porn actress. He ran her site, monetized it and worked with her to get her videos out to larger sites and generate traffic for those so she could "move up in the industry".

The whole process sounded really seedy, and the parenting comments made by him the other guy who worked there were pretty distressing. Her kids (two boys, one girl all under 10) walking around while they were editing her porn scenes, all the marketing materials out in plain view of the kids as well.

He the nail in the coffin was when she stopped paying him and offered him sex instead for payment.

He said it was his first and last job in the industry. He said it also created a problem on what he should put on his resume for the time he worked for her. The suggestions on the site were pretty funny, but it was clear his experience was not like yours.


Yeah, what I learned during my brief time in the porn biz was that, while being a sleazy jerk isn't a requirement to work in porn, it seems to help.

Oh man, is that the same Eric Smith that I think it is?

Was this company located in a building on the corner with a flag flying? And did you maybe sit at a corner desk on the 3rd floor?!

If so, how are you doing, its DanS :)


ha, missed connections on HN.

Dan!!!!!

I love this forum.

> Things like logging just could not be done.

Had that problem at an ad tech company before. We just did sampling so that 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 requests would get logging.

It definitely made me wonder how many web servers out there have their performance determined by the rate at which logs can be written to disk.


>It definitely made me wonder how many web servers out there have their performance determined by the rate at which logs can be written to disk.

As someone in the HFT space I suspect a lot of traders are performance bound by this. Wouldn't surprise me at all if a couple darkpools were this way.


As someone formerly in that space I don't think so, assuming by "traders" you mean the prop firms who actually need the speed advantage. You can always arrange for the logging to happen outside the critical path, which is a tiny minority of the code you run. And you will do that if its necessary to gain a fraction of a microsecond on a competitive trade. Even if it's just being able to run a build with logging off for special cases.

For a looser definition of "traders" that includes dark pool operators and exchanges, then sure. Writing logs was definitely the bottleneck at one major European exchange for some years. They may not be able to turn off logging for regulatory reasons, but they also don't care so much about the microseconds. In this case they could definitely have improved performance with horizontal scaling (have each computer handle fewer stock symbols) but didn't consider that economically justified.


By traders I mean "anyone who doesn't sit on the market side of my network card", so a wide variety of firms. My comment about darkpools was tangential but there's a couple of them who aren't exactly known for running a tight ship.

>You can always arrange for the logging to happen outside the critical path, which is a tiny minority of the code you run. And you will do that if its necessary to gain a fraction of a microsecond on a competitive trade. Even if it's just being able to run a build with logging off for special cases.

Yes you can do that. Yes you'd think that anyone for whom it would be beneficial would do that... but you'd be surprised how often people run with logs cranked to 11 in prod.


I've had the opposite. Where we couldn't turn logging off because the writes prevented a weird race condition that would crash the application.

Lmao why use data synchronization when you can just write to disk?

Heh. It was a bit hard to pin down, but we did eventually fix it. One of those Java super deep dependency things where the 3rd party thing at the bottom is broken. I think it was cxf.

Why write to disk when you can just sleep() sporadically?

Trading systems often record every single packet going through the network using fiber optic splitters, which makes it pretty easy to replay traffic to a debugging instance.

Most teams don't understand the cost of logging on their infrastructure, they just seem to thin writing logs is 'free'.

Close experience. Apart from I was working for a shady porno dating website and where I was the sole sysadmin on-call 24/7. The "Oh wow, I get to look at genitalia at work" novelty wears off pretty quick. Especially to when you have to wake up at 4am to diagnose why some guy can't get off.

The company scammed and logged and sold the data as much as possible. The models were barely legal and a few looked like they were held at gun point. Lasted eight months up until I started getting nightmares and then the company went bankrupt. After receiving the first ever lawsuit in the UK for fake dating.


Reminds me of the Ashley Madison scam.

Did anyone have a chance to work at the company that created Ashley Madison? I always wondered what really happened there.


< Pretty much nothing was dynamic and we wrote scripts to create static pages for almost everything except search and authentication. >

Would you mind elaborating on this please? I'm just trying to work out if you mean things like a custom user's menu, etc. you'd somehow pre-generate and then cache the HTML, or do you mean things like certain categories, etc. were just HTML?

Maybe i'm overthinking this, but would you generate a dynamic page once (ie. first time user logs into the site -> generate their "my account" page) and then cache it in memory, or as HTML on the disk, or set the cache control header and leave it to them locally?

thanks!


> Pretty much nothing was dynamic and we wrote scripts to create static pages for almost everything except search and authentication.

I believe you can put JAMStack on your resume!


Yes, I think the desensizing is the biggest problem and you get less interested about it all.

long ago (before the Internet) I spoke with a woman who 'performed' in such videos. She said she was a user of pain killers (addict), and second she urged me sincerely not to watch the products; sad situation in the flesh.

Basically the same setup as a large newspaper I consulted for but not php.

I suppose it didn't have anything in the way of user generated content, like comments?

Mojo?

I guess my biggest question is not really a technical one.

Why do porn sites get so much traffic? Why do people enjoy consuming pornography as much as they do, at the volume/frequency that they do?


I suppose because sexual gratification is one of our species basest instincts, and due to the way our brain evolved to be social creatures, we have mirror neurons[1] which fire when we observe actions as well as when we perform them. For this reason, viewing sex can emulate (to an extent) our primal desire to mate.

Everyone has different levels of libedo however, so it's likely that your lack of understanding is due to your own lower libedo not generating the same level of sexual desire. Or, you are the kind of person where the emotional connection involved in sexual relations is far more important, which obviously means watching people you have no connection to would not arouse you as much. Alternatively, it could be that you may have decent access to actual sex, which is obviously more gratifying as a general rule.

[1]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron


Very good answer I must say

This is the first time I've seen libido written as libedo. Could it be a typo?

you might be amazed at how little actual content is consumed, despite the high traffic number.

these sites get a lot of traffic(clicks and page views) and serve a lot of bandwidth(videos) but most users are just clicking around and watching just a few seconds to a couple minutes of any video they load(due to skipping). I think a lot of the traffic just people looking for the perfect scene or something new... there is a lot of junk on those sites these days.

source: i used to manage a number of high profile adult websites.


Why do people like alcohol or any other vice that some group may frown upon? I don’t think you’ll find a satisfying answer here. Different people like different things.

Keeping your prolactine levels high keeps your mind clear.

Evolutionary reasons are pretty much self-evident, I think.

> We actually don’t use placeholders when we are developing the sites! In the end, what matters is the code and functionality, the interface is something we are very used to at this point.

Interesting... 5 years ago I was contacted by a recruiter for a job offer in a (sic) "non-standard industry". Back then, "fullstack development" was the job trend for "people who deal with computers".

During the first call, she told me her client was the biggest adult website in my EU country of origin. She insisted that the working environment was (sic) "clean".

I raised that topic during my interview with their CTO. He told me the opposite of this post: devs were running the website locally with place-holders and innocent cartoons videos. He was straight-forward about it and mentioned "of course, once in a while you have check an issue on the live website, the way we handle this is by joking about the live content between us."

For those interested, they had a pretty standard stack for such a high volume website. Postgres, Django, Redis and RabbitMQ with an HAProxy frontend.


When I was working for Kink (one of the largest hardcore sites based in San Francisco) and developing their new site, we intentionally picked MaleWank to be the first site we converted over to the new platform.

Looking at that content all day long was a lot of motivation to get the site done faster and provided endless hours of quality entertainment. It was done in the early days of the company and wasn't particularly high traffic or quality so it made a good test case.

The whole 'not safe for work' thing didn't apply at the company at all. You don't go work for a company like that without being fully aware of what you're going to see.

Long after I left, they re-did the platform again and that site disappeared and now just redirects to the main site. =(


What was the gender balance like?

In the IT department, it was standard suck. In the production department, it was mostly people who identified as female (with a few F2M/M2F mixed in). In general, this was a very good company to work for.

I am actually very curious what adult website uses Django? My understanding was that most of them are written in PHP and re-used across various domain names.

Jacquie et Michel, which is a very popular site in France, uses Django.

I'm the top comment poster. And, yes, the company in question was the company behind this website.

It's the website mentioned by conradfr. It is basically the French equivalent of Brazzers.

We talk about the history of the stack during my job interview. From my understanding the two founders of the website started by just hiring freelancers on short contracts to update/fix a growing PHP/MySQL codebase. When their business started to become profitable, they hired full time devs, and gave them carte blanche. (the two original founders have no clue about tech) The team just rewrote the whole thing in Django.


your understanding is correct, the two/three original code bases many tube sites started with was all written in PHP.

in fact i cant think of any widespread use of any other language at all, in adult.


I doubt the interviewee meant "we" as in the entire adult entertainment industry, just their particular employer or team.

Oh.. Sorry, maybe my phrasing was wrong. I was just surprised that some adult websites would just not do that.

If it sounded like I was implying that he was talking about the entire industry, that was not my intent.


Just curious, is there a different reason to use “sic” besides spelling errors?

It literally means "really", to direct the reader that an incredulous comment or spelling error came from the source

I assume that in this case it indicates a direct quote.

I stumbled into a meet and greet with these guys a few years ago. The recruiter invited me to an event for one of the world's largest content distributors. The role actually sounded really interesting and I assumed this was a corporate edition of CloudFlare but upon entering the social... ...well they had pornhub signs everywhere.

They ended up being a really cool group to meet. Very interesting people with a lot going on in their lives. They had a strong entrepreneurial culture and many employees had their own companies on the side. Their home base is Montreal; it sounded like it didn't pay as well as other areas... but they were quick to point out that the cost of living is among the lowest in North America and that Montreal is a really cool city (This is true).

The most significant thing I remember is a surprising number of people walking by tried to get into the event. :)


I did a small contract involving scrapping pr0n websites (top ~20). Most are using very similar back-end infrastructure (similar/same apis, storage structure, data formats), leading me to believe there might be maybe 3-4 owners and the rest is just branding/business siloing. Obvious one is the titan MindGeek and its pronhub tube8 youporn redtube xtube, but even smaller ones are run in this way like porntrex/shameless. Then there is user facing tech stack, with majority using https://videojs.com/ player, HLS is very rare, pretty much >90% just serve mp4 files.

There is most definitely some kind of porn site white-label thing going on.

I wrote something similar for Quora some years ago. Since Quora links seem to be a faux pas on HN, I'll paste it here in its entirety:

-----

What is it like to work on the development team for a porn site?

I was the Chief Technology Officer of Kink.com 2006-2007.

I will say in advance that every company is different and my experience will not necessarily resemble the experience you will have at another company (or even Kink today). There's more variation among companies than among industries. Still, here are my observations:

* There's a lot of really awful technology in the porn business. It's the content that sells, not the technology. You'll be amazed by how many thriving businesses are "my first PHP project".[1] When I arrived at Kink, the core infrastructure was essentially a system that processed credit cards and inserted a username/password into an apache dbm file. No CRM, not even any idea if bob123 on one site is the same person as bob123 on another site. Most porn sites start like this, so expect to deal with a lot of legacy code.

* Third-party tools and services generally suck. The really great payment systems like Stripe and WePay won't touch adult content, so you're left with third-tier processors who can barely keep their sites online. A disproportionate amount of your concentration will focus on reliable (and redundant) billing, because your provider may suddenly decide to exit the industry with almost no warning. Some variation of this same problem exists for most of the cloud services you commonly take for granted - CDNs, email delivery, support desk, etc. It has gotten somewhat better over the last seven years, but you will often feel hobbled compared to developing "normal" software.[2]

* It is hard to hire good people - yeah, even harder than it is for normal development jobs. This surprised me. I have a large and talented social circle to draw from, but a couple key individuals rebuffed my intense lobbying. These are progressive, sex-positive Bay Area folk who would have loved to come work with me, but couldn't accept the inevitable explanation to their mother-in-law what they did for a living. Some of my team hid their employer from their extended families.

* The salary is good, but there is no other long-term upside. Adult companies don't go public, and the few that broke this rule have been fiascos. You won't get stock options, and even if you did you couldn't sell them. Unless you're a founder and getting a direct share of the profit, negotiate hard for cash.

* If you're in a production house like Kink, technology is not at the top of the totem pole. My department was 10 people out of a 100-person company and remember, it's the content bringing in the customers. Combined with the pay differential between production staff vs technology staff, it can produce ugly politics. At one point the head of production got a list of all the salaries in the company and exploded at me. I had to patiently explain to her that we pay six-figure salaries because that's what you have to pay to get technology employees, and we still had unfilled job openings. I'm sure there are politics at department head level at all big companies, but the cultural gap between unrelated fields didn't help.[3]

* Speaking of a 100-person production shop, a significant part of your responsibility is to support internal users. It's not nearly as glamorous or fun as building customer-facing software, especially when you start with a rotting pile of hastily-developed internal tools. But this is just as important for keeping the porn flowing as managing the data center. On the other hand, internal users would have your entire team perpetually building software for them and the paying customers wouldn't get any new features. Marketing has an agenda too. It's a balancing act very different from life in a startup where all you do every day is add features to your product.

That probably sounds more grim than it was. There were some fantastic things:

* Building software that millions of users around the world actually use. Gigabits of traffic, zillions of hits per day. It wasn't Google traffic, but it was a hell of a lot more interesting than business apps or yet another game that EA was going to cancel on me. If you work in the porn biz, you will almost certainly get enough real users to feel like someone cares.

* Working with fun, creative people. The set builders and directors were making art cars and art flicks in their spare time. Kink was a very hair-down kind of place - it was actually fun to go into the office. To me it felt like a big family - sometimes warm, sometimes squabbling, always chaotic.

* Office parties... oh, the office parties. Friday after work was happy hour for employees and friends of employees in the Bar Set, which conveniently was also a fully stocked bar. Guest listing was coveted and most nights ended in the massive Hot Tub Set on the roof of the building. I met a lot of great people at these parties, including my wife. I'm not saying this will happen at every porn company (it doesn't even happen at Kink anymore), but it's hard to imagine it happening at nonporn companies.

* I loved the moment when you meet people at cocktail parties and they inevitably ask you what you do for a living. "Pornographer."

In case you are wondering:

* Yes, porn gets boring. The novelty of looking at your coworkers naked wears off fast.

* Most pornstars are pretty much just like everyone else out of costume. For some it is a hobby/thrill and a convenient source of extra spending money (maybe $1-2k for a day). Most have what I would call a healthy attitude about pornography and BDSM, but there are a handful of damaged ones.

* If you're considering working in porn, the main question I would ask is: Would you be embarrassed to put it on your resume? Some people are very self conscious, worried what future employers might think. IMHO those concerns are overblown. If you can "own it", don't be afraid of the industry. That said... there are definitely some awful companies in the industry (as there are everywhere) so do your due diligence.

[1] This is not criticism. The hard problems in porn are 1) marketing content and 2) producing content. If you solve those two problems, you have a thriving business no matter what your technology stack looks like. #1 is way more complicated than you imagine.

[2] In 2006 there was one CDN which would handle porn - Limelight Networks - and they were getting sued by Akamai over patents. It cost $30/Mbit (95th percentile) at volume. Now you have your pick of dozens, at rates a small fraction of that. This chart is what allowed the explosion of tube sites: http://drpeering.net/AskDrPeering/blog/articles/Ask_DrPeerin...

[3] It's also possible that Type A personalities naturally rise to the top of a BDSM company.


> It's also possible that Type A personalities naturally rise to the top of a BDSM company.

teeheehee you said top

I read all that morbidly curious about actual D/S relationships infesting the work culture. I'm a little surprised, and relieved to hear how professional it sounds.


> I read all that morbidly curious about actual D/S relationships infesting the work culture.

This is why #MeToo is a thing. I say that as someone who has mixed feelings about #MeToo.


How does having an adult focused website on your resume look to conventional tech companies? Is there stigma?

Not that I'm aware of, but I haven't gone through a normal job application process in decades. At least here in the Bay Area it's a nonissue.

[flagged]


Friend of a friend, not in the business.

Some things I'm curious about are not addressed in the article.

First, how does the pay compare to industry standard?

Second, for people that have moved out of the industry how did it impact your future opportunities?

I feel like it would be more difficult to find new employment outside the industry due to the negative stigma attached.


> I feel like it would be more difficult to find new employment outside the industry due to the negative stigma attached.

I don't share this feeling at all. None of my peers would have any stigma attached to anyone we knew worked in this industry. In fact, if anything the opposite would be true. The porn industry deals with scale that most others don't, and often leads innovation on things like video players. It's not uncommon to see youtube copy features that showed up first on a porn site.


I don't care whether my peers feel any stigma. I care about what the hiring manager feels.

I'm convinced that the mid/upper management at the B2B companies I've worked at (and the one defense contractor I've worked at) would not be pleased. OTOH, Google, Facebook, and Amazon probably wouldn't care.

Of course, I've never worked for an adult entertainment network, so I don't actually know.


You'd be wrong, I worked in public sector, for defense and other corp related gigs and it's never been an issue.

What I've learned in my years at Pornhub is invaluable and has made finding a job stupid easy.


Agreed. I would add that the other way around is harder (from defense to other tech industries). There is bias in US tech circles against working in defense and you can't talk openly about what you did depending on the project.

I do not know if one data point, or an anecdotal observation, can be generalized. A good measure would be to look at companies developers worked for after leaving an adult website (for e.g. MindGeek aka Pornhub). And then look at average pay change, duration of stay etc.

Sure, but as far as I can tell nobody in this comment thread is proposing a generalization be derived. We were both sharing how we felt about people having worked in the porn industry.

Not a high bar; industry standard pay in Montreal is pretty crappy, from what I've heard. OTOH, rent is cheap and quality of life is high.

It's probably the case that a significant subset of people would look more favorably on someone working as a dev in porn than on ad-tech.

I don't see a significant negative stigma as very common at all.


I can say if I were to see a reference to the adult industry in a resume, I'd be more interested. It may be because I've worked with clients from the industry before and I know they have a lot of interesting and unique challenges there, and if the candidate solved them successfully it'd certainly be a point in their favor.

All the porn companies have innocuous real company names like WebClicks or Vintara - nothing that would set off alarms on a resume.

Pay was generally well above average to counteract the adult nature of the work.


moving out of the industry is hard unless you did something remarkable. if you were in it a short time i would recommend leaving it off or finding a way to make it appear more mainstream.

i have certainly been removed from hiring funnels because of my years of work in the adult industry and they were not shy about stating that as the reason. One was a SaaS that happened to have a LOT of religious based organizations using their software. It has even been a possible issue for VCs.

sure, in a few coastal cities, porn and sex work are becoming less and less taboo, but most of the country still isn't on board with that and the risk of that attachment sabotaging something can be too much for some employers to look past.


Most interesting bit for me was to hear

---

Most of our sites use the following as a base:

Nginx

PHP

MySQL

Memcached and/or Redis


Another former developer here [1][2]; the memcached cluster is what keeps the entire thing afloat.

We used to have dedicated 50 Gbps fiber connections straight between the web and memcached nodes, but now the caching is done locally on the web servers with a lot more of them. I would say there's probably something like 100+ servers, 128/256GB RAM each.

All the pages are server-side rendered. Every DB query, every DAO object instantiated, every partial/full page HTML render, even some functions at times, gets put into cache. We weren't really afraid of high traffic, that scaled almost on its own... instead we were afraid of infrastructure maintenance or bad manipulations, because too much of the cache could disappear at once.

The most incredible part to me was the storage and delivery of the video content. Try to picture 7000 petabytes [3] :)

[1] https://www.pornhub.com/humans.txt [2] https://github.com/nitrix [3] https://www.pornhub.com/insights/2019-year-in-review


> All the pages are server-side rendered

I should add that this wasn't out of optimisation, just "old-school" PHP+Html with an MVC framework to serve the rendered page.

Still can't beat that in my view.

> The most incredible part to me was the storage and delivery of the video content

That was the fun bit, I still remember the logistic of opening a new origin for the CDN back in 2010 (11 maybe?). Flying hard drives, can't beat that bandwidth.

(Former developer here as well, however from before this humans.txt was introduced)


Former Ashley Madison here with basically the same tech stack.

At risk of making a useless comment: "nice".

Local memcached's? local caches or still distributed cache?


Hello fellow former PH dev. ;)

What did you find interesting about this? Seems like a typical stack to me.

The stack of a major site could include words you haven't heard yet, prompting urgent studying. Or it could be a bunch of traditional stuff like here, implying a whole lot of new tech could be overhyped. If they can do it with PHP and MySQL, why not your project? :-)

I worked at the second largest adult content network about 10 years ago. They used the same stack mentioned in the article. The design philosophy was about simplicity and continuity above all. They didn't want to use newer technology because it's hard to find people to support it. They didn't even like you to use regular expressions when case statements could be used. Regex is too conceptually complicated.

If you can host and serve porn on a LAMP stack from a traditional bare metal server data center, the guy on the other end doesn't care as long as it's reliable.

I work at a large tech company now and it amazes me how terribly executed and unnecessarily complex most development efforts are. There was a very strong results-oriented culture at the adult media company.


It's funny how in 2020 PHP use is a sharply bimodal signal—it either means your tech leadership is clueless/absent/hopelessly-terrible, or they are among the few who've achieved true enlightenment.

PHP is a very robust, debugged, proven, workhorse language, with millions of pages of documentation, tens (probably hundreds) of thousands of seasoned developers, huge libraries and communities of support, decades of experience, strong, universal, server support, and is used on a lot of "big pipe" servers.

Like C++, it's not going anywhere, anytime soon; despite all the kvetching about it.

That said, I don't especially like the language, but I knew that I needed to use it, if I wanted to design an infrastructure system that I could throw over the wall to be taken over by a bunch of other people.

I was right.

There's that old urban myth about the fancy space pen, vs. the pencil.[0]

[0] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-n...


In many ways I preferred PHP4. Can't stand all the pseudo-Java in PHP5+.

You can still (mostly) code in PHP4 style and ignore all the new cruft and syntactic sugar they added over the years. And you get the performance boost of 7.x for "free".

Yes, I suppose what really worries me about the "Modern PHP" movement how it looks down on anything that isn't Java-style OO. Procedural PHP is now considered to be some kind of unwashed Cinderella. I cringe when I look at a typical PSR-compliant page of PHP with its K&R braces, blank lines between each line of code and fanfold doc comments. You're lucky if you get more than a handful of lines of business logic on a screen.

I never learned Java until late in my career (when I learned up on Android). I started as an EE, and my programming has been primarily self-taught.

PHP is a kind of crappy OO language, but it is sufficient. I think Java is a better language, for OO. PHP 7+ is lot better than it was, before 5.

A lot of Java programmers came out of school, and started to create PHP chimeras. I feel as if that results in unnecessarily complex code. Things are complex enough, without applying UI-style MVC to server backend systems.

I wrote PHP for around twenty years, starting off procedural and mixed into HTML pages, to OO-based pure PHP systems.

I stopped a couple of years ago. This was my final PHP project[0][1]. It was sort of a "dissertation." No one is actually interested in using it, but it was developed in order to practice my architectural skills. It's a pretty intense system.

[0] https://riftvalleysoftware.com/work/open-source-projects/#ba...

[1] https://github.com/RiftValleySoftware/basalt/tree/master


It's crazy how conservative most high-reliablity high-volume stuff is on the technical side. And yet, especially the porn industry, is quite on the fore front of other tech, like VR, DVD, VCR,...

They don't seem any different from other industries in this respect. A lot of banks still run on systems originally designed in the 60s. So they are conservative from an operations perspective. But most of the big ones have no issues pumping money into the latest financial fad, so they are pretty flexible from a product perspective.

Their content is relatively cheap to produce and it tends to be churned out at a high frequency. There's almost no industry out there that matches the frequency of content they produce, except maybe radio (and now YouTube). And with new technology, the limiting factor is almost always content creation.

So it makes sense that they'd put aside a few dollars buy some new equipment for some trend. Doing a VR shoot probably involves a new camera and a plugin for Premiere.


i truly believe that a lot of devs make stuff often much more difficult than necessary JUST for the sake of it. reason is probably that the main product is boring af, so you need some distraction to keep it interesting :-)

> They didn't even like you to use regular expressions when case statements could be used.

I'm confused. How are those two related? Case statements can replace if statements and can be used for exhaustiveness checking. Regexes are for parsing strings.


All of the stuff you can do with regexes can be done with some hand written code. Since thst code often implements the FSM for the regex, it contains a fair share of case statements.

The benefit is that the regex library costs a lot in hidden complexity - debugging why a particular regex works slowly or eats lots of memory is hard. If a similar problem pops up in hand written code, you can use your standard profilers and other tools to see what's happening.


> debugging why a particular regex works slowly

I encountered one of these once. A user decided to enter this in the middle of their post:

  ------------------------------
It triggered catastrophic backtracking, and IIRC, 16 characters was right around where you could see noticeable delay, then at about 19 was when it ran so long it never returned.

I can't begin to imagine how much MORE complicated reproducing a regex long-hand might be. They were invented to solve real problems.

The corresponding FSM usually isn't too bad. I've personally never really used regexes that much in production code, but I guess I don't work with strings very often.

It's actually pretty easy to hardcode a regex. Most CS degrees expose students to how finite state machines work and that's all that's needed.

Well, I read Jeffrey Friedl's "Mastering Regular Expressions" two or three times since the 2nd edition was released and I can tell you there's no way anything more than a simple regex is going to be easier to grok when converted to some FSM, especially with look-behind or lazy operators and significant backtracking. I'm referring to the Perl/PCRE regular expression flavour which is the only variant that matters to me. Perl regexen are NFA so I'm not sure your assumptions about FSMs apply.

It's not always simple. Regexes have inherent complexity because the equivalent FSM is, in general case, nondeterministic. This implies it cannot always be easily simulated.

So you either drag this complexity into your code or dump it on the regex library. It's a trade-off.


I think the point was that even within the codebase, simplicity and reduced complexity was preferred over perhaps a "cleaner" or more advanced approach.

So managing a bunch of hard-coded code paths via a switch instead of using a regex to pattern-match.

It's less future-proof, but even an entry-level dev can reason about a switch statement and update it as needed.


This is exactly it. The nuances of regex patterns can be misconstrued. Obviously if the regex used for flow control cannot be sensibly translated to more traditional conditional statements, then they are permitted. Even in that case, the "simplest" regex was preferred.

Yeah, reading too much HN might make you think that the only way to write a scalable website is to write your backend in Rust, use Kubernetes, Cassandra w/ PostgreSQL, Kafka, and Hadoop, and TypeScript w/ Webpack and complex functions compiled to WASM.

The K8 cult annoys me most. When Kubernetes and Docker hit the scene YAGNI was the idiomatic response to any scaling scenario which involved less than a massive fleet of servers. Now every solo dev looking to launch his tiny Node app on AWS is expected to use Docker and Kubernetes. Utter madness.

Because my resume needs new tech buzzwords to look good to recruiters/hiring managers.

Very true, which is why I, as a manager, ask senior devs during interviews why they made those choices and how they integrated and deployed the changes. In a lot of cases it turns out their flashy new tech choices were for one-off greenfield projects that were support systems and not primary production systems. I'm usually more interested in how they improved prod systems using the existing stack. This helps me figure out if they're into maintenance work or if they're only interested in tinkering with shiny new things. Both activities have their places on dev teams, but I take it consideration for the actual role I'm filling.

I'm curious is if there was experimentation or not, and what's their attitude towards this.

It totally makes sense to use PHP and MySQL as it's what already works, and because there's a team who knows how to use those correctly in this kind of environment.

I just wonder if they have a research-oriented team that could experiment with whatever they see as a potential fit and see if they can improve performance, developer experience (without sacrificing performance) or both. Or if they don't (and if so - why?)

Facebook is kind of famous for this, as they came up with HipHop VM and Hack.


We experimented with HHVM, had a preview version of it very early on but ultimately the extension support was too bad and the performance gain just not impressive enough to justify moving away from the existing stack.

We didn't have a research-oriented team per say, but myself and a colleague (I was Lead Dev and he Senior) did spend a lot of time experimenting with things like Redis (back when it was very early and "unproven"), varnish, PHP engine tweaks, custom extensions, ... We still did feature work and regular stuff too.


I worked at SG years back (~2005) and that was the stack sans-redis.

On my resume I don’t list the company name. In its place it says “social network centered around ‘art’” because we weren’t allowed to call it porn.


Looks like it was hugged to death. Internet archive link here: https://web.archive.org/web/20200724225904/https://davidwals...

YouPorn made a big-ish article about their stack, ten years ago or so. The backend in particular was of interest for me. For that time when clusters just started getting popular, they were rather exceptional in their scale and thus performance requirements: notably they put HAProxy in front of multiple replicas of Redis, for the throughput—while for me Redis was the second-fastest thing around after Memcached. Also apparently they were massively into using syslogd for logging and statistics—with a multi-tier setup where nodes aggregate entries from other ones. Again, that's before logstash and such plus Elasticsearch became widespread.

I’m very proud to work on these products, those close to me are aware and fascinated by it. It’s always an amazing source of conversation, jokes and is genuinely interesting.

I wouldn't say porn sites are the most regressive (or otherwise evil) thing in the world, by any stretch. There's much, much worse stuff going on out there.

But the complete absence of any introspection as to the obvious negative side effects of the product he helps push -- not to mention the notoriously exploitive aspects of the industry that creates that product -- all wrapped up in an almost sheepish "What's not to like?" attitude --

is, sadly, quite typical for Big Tech.


Am working in the online casino industry and was always told that porn sites are at the forefront of technology but based on this interview it seems that pornhub are clearly not

It possible that they are using the best current tech and what is fashionable right now is actually garbage that would never work for a high volume, easily maintainable site.

Bingo. Modern web dev has actually made me hate my job, it's a nightmare for no real value.

Source: Former Pornhub dev as well.


Did I get this right in that you would rather be back at Pornhub where they don't indulge all the whims of modern web dev?

I'm relieved to see others with this sentiment. I enjoyed full-stack (including front-end) development back when JQuery was just starting to be a thing. Now when I have to dig into these layers where you have an Angular components wrapped inside some React stuff that's all part of an Elm app I just hit a mental block too fast. I don't understand how anyone can reason about their code in such an environment...

When MVC front-end frameworks were taking off (back in the Ember.js days) I imagined a future where you'd have a combined backend + frontend framework and you could interact with data objects from the frontend directly like you'd use an ORM on the backend and all the communication, synchronization, data serialization, etc abstracted away (obviously with security restrictions enforced on the backend).

Meteor.js was the only serious attempt at this but it was too different from the status-quo (for most projects, SQL is what you want - MongoDB will bring lots of problems down the line) and never caught on.

Instead, 10 years later, we still mostly have a mess of everyone reinventing the wheel and doing most of the API communication, de/serialization, error handling manually. MVC has never taken off on the frontend either despite it being a good fit for most projects in my opinion. We have things like GraphQL, websockets, etc and yet still nothing that takes all of those together and provides a no-BS development experience comparable to backend frameworks like Django, Rails or Laravel.


Angular inside React inside Elm??? Does such a thing really exist or did I miss the hyperbole?

Angular and React intermingled, yes. Elm in the same project, yes. I'm still unclear on the relationship between what was Elm's responsibility vs. mainstream JS framework's responsibility.

The forefront of technology isn't as stable and bulletproof as a decade old technology. That's why companies like MS or Oracle have been around for ages although not as sexy as the HN crowd might expect them to be.

I had a brief stent at a company that hosted some adult sites - it was really awesome because there were people constantly trying to hack the sites and get the restricted content, it really kept you on your toes.

My dream job would be someplace like pornhub. Even if their stack isn’t the latest and greatest, the challenges that come with their scale has got to be over the top amazing. Like Cloudflare level amazing.

I’m on the wrong side of the country for both, but I can still dream...


How about the ML stack ? Looks like porn sites has improved the recommendation systems a lot over the years.

Can't access the interview at the moment.

Was this trafficking topic discussed [0], i.e. the site hosts criminal content and the owners apparently didn't do anything about it.

[0] https://traffickinghub.com/

Criminal Content = child pornography, rape videos and filmed exploitation.

Edit: Clarity


Why single out Pornhub? The fact that criminals are dumb enough to upload videos there rather than somewhere on the dark web is something we probably shouldn't try to stop.

If you look up the BBC article from february 2020 you'll find that Rose Kalemba's case took place in 2009, then the article mentions several similar but more recent cases where Pornhub took immediate action (so clearly they've improved), followed by how this trend has now moved to smaller individual porn sites - so again, going after Pornhub in particular seems pointless.

Also interesting that the movement is non-religious but the organization behind it clearly isn't: https://exoduscry.com/getinvolved/prayer/


It's not being singled out.

But the topic is Pornhub.


It is being singled out by the campaign, though.

All they are able to do is take content down when it is reported. There isn’t really a solution that can be had other than that. Taking down the porn site would require a restructuring of the first amendment or proving that the site owners purposely did not remove said content.

Have you read what was said on the campaign site? If not - here is the important bit:

"In recent news there have been numerous shocking cases of sex trafficking and child rape films that were hosted on Pornhub. A 15-year-old girl who had been missing for a year was finally found after her mother was tipped off that her daughter was being featured in videos on the site — 58 such videos of her rape and sexual abuse were discovered on Pornhub.

Her trafficker, who was seen in the videos raping the child, was identified using surveillance footage of him at a 7-Eleven where he was spotted with his victim. He is now facing a felony charge.

In February 2020, the BBC reported the harrowing story of 14-year-old Rose Kalemba from Ohio who was taken at knifepoint, raped for 12 hours, and the crime scene videos of her abuse were uploaded to Pornhub. Rose said that she pleaded with Pornhub to remove the videos of her rape and torture for months, and it wasn't until she posed as a lawyer and threatened legal action that Pornhub finally took them down.

These are not isolated cases. In 2019 the Internet Watch Foundation stated that it alone had confirmed 118 cases of child rape and sexual abuse on Pornhub—half of the videos were Category A level abuse, which includes penetration and sadism.

Likewise, the Sunday Times investigation into Pornhub reported finding "dozens" of illegal abuse videos within "minutes", including abuse images of children as young as three years old. Some of the videos identified by the newspaper's investigation "had 350,000 views and had been on the platform for more than three years." It went on to say "three of the worst clips still remained on the site 24 hours later."


>> Her trafficker, who was seen in the videos raping the child, was identified using surveillance footage of him at a 7-Eleven where he was spotted with his victim

If I understand this correctly, both the victim and the trafficker / rapist were found because the video was on PornHub, right?

It's super scummy that they didn't take it down after, and you have to wonder how many people got further into these "interests" because of the footage, but this little detail complicates my feelings on how this should be handled. Would they have ever rescued the victim or charged the perpetrator if this had been on darker channels only?


These are truly sad things, but perhaps having a better model verification system in place would solve most of these problems?

Taking down Pornhub doesn't seem like the only solution worth considering...


Have you seen their model verification stuff? I don't say there's no improvements to be made, but what I saw when I looked at it last year seemed pretty strict.

[flagged]


> Would you really expect a smut peddler to behave ethically?

I would hold them to the same ethical standards as any other industry. There's nothing inherently unethical or immoral about porn; your ad hominem in silly to say the least.


Porn is inherently immoral though. It's self-serving and degrading. It weakens the mind and spirit and results in a weakening of society. Also, just because you don't like a description doesn't mean that it's an ad hominem.

Absolutely none of that is true, and I challenge you to make a compelling, objective case for any of it.

So pornhub helped to find the girl and catch the trafficker. What's the ethical issue with pornhub here?

Did you read the text?

One of the abused girls asked PH to take down that video for months.

And it's not just that girl - here let me highlight another bit of text from the campaign site.

"Likewise, the Sunday Times investigation into Pornhub reported finding "dozens" of illegal abuse videos within "minutes", including abuse images of children as young as three years old. Some of the videos identified by the newspaper's investigation "had 350,000 views and had been on the platform for more than three years." It went on to say "three of the worst clips still remained on the site 24 hours later."


I did, but i did not see any harm done by not removing the videos, only effect it had was helping to find the girl.

Good to know you don't see any harm done by not removing videos of 'abuse images of children as young as three years old'.

If we temporarily put aside the question of me being a monster, is there any evidence that fighting with the images helps in any way to prevent the actual crime? People playing violent video games do not go to the street killing people as a result of that, if anything they become less likely to get involved in actual crime. Do you expect someone accidentally seeing such a video to be "converted" by it and to attempt to do such things himself, or do you see some other harm done by not removing these videos?

FYI i do not support watching porn, using drugs, drinking alcohol, and all the other things that used to be frowned upon by different religions, but trying to prevent such thought-crimes and self-harm crimes by law instead of persuasion have always caused more harm than good.


I think you missed the point. This has nothing to do with thought police or trying to ban porn itself.

It's not about the viewer becoming an abuser him/herself.

It's about creating porn with people who are being abused, exploited and trafficked.

It doesn't necessarily have to be a violent porn video.

This is about the owners of those porn platforms having to take this issue more seriously - which they didn't according the investigations, i.e. profit is more important than investing more money in their platform to detect and take down those videos with trafficked and exploited people.


I understand that, what i don't understand is why do people consider deleting a number so important. No matter how was it obtained, it's just a number and deleting it doesn't benefit anyone. (Arguably leaving it online may even help, as it will make new videos of the same kind less profitable.)

Hopefully in a few years, when neural nets will be able to generate such videos with anyone, people will stop obsessing over deleting numbers.


Wouldn't a dmca request take down the video in 24 hours?

No, I was kind of hoping the interview would go into the ethics of it all beyond just 'how do your friends react?'

Yes exactly.

I wonder how the developers feel - working for a leadership team / company that apparently doesn't care much about ethics.


I wonder how the developers feel - working for a leadership team / company that apparently doesn't care much about ethics

You could ask the same of any adtech employees.


Not sure you can compare standard adtech companies with Pornhub.

Nothing wrong with consuming content that increases sexual excitement, but there are more ethical options out there [0].

If we as consumers care about this then at least we can vote with our wallet or attention.

[0] https://mashable.com/article/pornhub-alternatives-free-porn-...


Well, you could argue that widespread porn has massive implications on how people think about other people. I mean, why is it normal that we as a society prioritize access to porn so much ? Why is it possible, in under 5 seconds probably, see even the most hardcore act of non-humanizing act of sexual expression that we can imagine ?

Can this be good for the general thought process of humans, that you get to grow up with these very visual images of adults having sex that is so far fetched from what making love actually can be between two people ?

At least for me personally it has taken a lot of willpower not to look at porn anymore, and I'm willing to admit it. I wish the children wouldn't have access to porn where ever they go. I mean, why is this not an issue ?

Is is it because we are afraid to admit that watching porn can cause issues in our thinking ? How it objectifies women, and how these visual images can take up our thinking during the day, how these overly tuned sexual images actually can hijack our thinking and focus on only lust and sexual thoughts all the time, thinking about the woman on the street as a object to be used rather than an person?

And what about the effects porn can have on the self worth of men, who are looking to perform like these actors on the screen and compare themselves to them when making love ?

I have a hard time understanding why porn is being normalized, why we as a society are not thinking about the negative effects it has on our society, especially young people who are now growing up with this content available from every device they choose to use.

There are many psychological issues related to watching porn and also there is the issue of having to resist the urge during the day if you have ever started the habit, I mean you can access it from anywhere, you just have to google and there you are.

I wish there would be some moral compass when it comes to working to porn companies, or talking about porn, or supporting this idea that porn is just part of everyday life, when in fact it is far for a healthy thing to be thinking about.

Of course, there are sides to this, maybe porn can reduce the amount of rapes and non-conforming sexual acts, but those should be considered morally wrong anyway and guided towards educating our children to restraining their urges towards that anyway.

It kinda irks me that in this discussion also porn is just seen as something very normal, when in reality for example 30 years ago porn was not everywhere. Now it is just couple of clicks away, and your mind can be filled with people gagging stuff down other peoples throats, people being choked, violent acts of sex and all kinds of impossible beauty standards to fill.

Imagine showing these acts to a five year old and what is going on in his mind while he watches this ? Imagine a 10 year old obsessively thinking about the act he saw, and not being able to forget it, as it is triggering something very primal in his still developing mind ? Image thinking that is normal, and that is how you treat people.

To me, this is just a sign of a sick society, and we should as parents and people who are aware talk about the harmful sides of widespread normalization of porn. It is not allright. If you are working on porn, you are causing possible millions of people to possible get hooked into this act of loosing their vitality (sexual energy) in front of their devices every day. This is a fact.

This is a direct loss in creativity also, in yogic traditions creativity is considered to be coming from the sexual energy, so everyday we are loosing so much creativity to the fact that people are just jacking off to virtual images.

And I'm not even touching the widespread and common abuse of young women entering the field, possible traumatizing them for life, when thinking that a porn actress career would be something to pursue. And this is all because companies like PornHub don't just care, all they care about is making a profit in the end from ad revenues, by trying to maximize profit on the weak willedness of their viewers. To me, that is immoral and something that should not be supported.

PornHub acts like they're all cool and that, and it's hip to view porn, but actually they are just a hightech pimp selling to the lowest common denominator and taking advantage of people in the process. I hope everyone who works for the porn industry, thinks about their actions and what consequences it ultimately can have on our society.

Anyway, that is just my view on this, hoping that this will spark some thoughts on the subject.

I have recovered from porn addiction, and I am more happy because of that. But it is just a few clicks away, and sometimes I still have to struggle with these thoughts taking over.


The normalization of porn is bizarre once you stop. It's quite eye opening. There's nothing really sex positive about most of not all of the porn available on sites like pornhub. Some of it is straight up racist, too.

Thanks for sharing your views and you raise a lot of good points.

I'm no expert in this - but maybe a first good step would be to introduce some kind of rating system for porn, just like movies have. As with other things in our lives - porn is also on a spectrum. For example:

- Clips showing sensual sexual exchange between 2 people = safe

- Clips showing 10inch phalluses being rammed down your various orifices = probably needs a disclaimer that it's not reflecting the real world.

Regarding kids watching this stuff - I also wonder what this does to their brain development.

And regarding self-worth of men - if you promote the more realistic view of sex then porn can be educational, e.g. learning how to satisfy your sex partner.

You bring up yogic traditions - again not an expert in this, but didn't some yogis show how to elevate your creativity via tantric yoga?

But I think we can all agree (well not all, as is apparent from all the down-votes of the GP comment) that exploitation and abuse in porn is bad and hence why we shouldn't support companies that are not serious about eliminating this.


Thanks for commenting and sharing your views too. A rating system and some kind of system that would allow consumers to limit what kind of porn can be viewed from their devices would be something I would think would be made compulsory in the future hopefully.

Not so familiar with tantric traditions, but still that is something more coming closer to elevating your creativity and vital energy through sexual acts, than just releasing it that porn is encouraging people to do.

If you think about this from a deeper perspective, porn is taking a lot of power away from our young men, so maybe it is a good thing to some parties to keep porn available, so people would not have their strength to themselves to resist control structures. But this is just a thought.

We should not support, and yet, pornhub probably makes millions from their exploitative acts.


Wow - quite a few down votes on this one.

Care to explain why you felt to downvote the parent comment that highlights serious issues with PH?


Because a lot of people watch porn and have a ton invested in the notion that it is a completely normal and healthy human activity. The ‘normalization’ of porn is an emperor with no clothes.

Shut down the whole internet because criminals use it for crimes!

If you think about it, the adult-media field is scalable by design

Are you saying they know how to grow their content to show users? And they have no problem handling any load dumped on them?

>We are generally at the forefront of trends and big changes in tech as they roll out, which keeps it fun and challenging.

Still phasing out jQuery and using php and mysql. I'm sure their streaming tech and video player are cutting edge, but otherwise their stack sounds like a large, legacy webapp.


A "legacy" web app that happens to perform at the same scale as YouTube. Maybe there's nothing wrong with using simple, battle-tested technologies after all?

Seems I rubbed some people the wrong way. That's ok. PHP is a disgusting language. Of the over twenty languages where I have more than passing familiarity, PHP and Perl are the worst. There are better options almost irrespective of the use case. JQuery was fine back in the day, but there are much better options now too. If you find yourself working with these technologies, and you don't like it, find a new job. You couldn't pay me to work with them anymore.

I wasn’t actually commenting about the language itself, more about the fact that you can go very far with just a server-side language and powerful hardware without having to use overhyped stuff like microservices and/or Kubernetes which apparently everyone thinks is a must-have nowadays.

Eh. K8 is for orchestration, right, not performance.

Also adult site’s performance is insanely read heavy. They can cache the shit out of content and whatever is behind that doesn’t have to be the fastest. That model doesn’t apply to all software needs.


Sure, just about anything could work. With a dynamic language your hardware requirements will be about 10x more. But that's a tradeoff you might want for possibly faster development time.

When it comes to cost to performance ratio your best option is avoid cloud providers like the plague and go for good old bare-metal servers (from a third-party or on-premises if your scale warrants it). You'll get a 10x improvement without having to change any software at all. Then if that's still not enough you can consider switching languages.

What are you basing your 10x comparison on? What costs 10x less? Does it consistently cost as much?

I'm sure they would love to hear from you if you can cut 90% of their hardware costs without increasing other costs.


Based on these benchmarks - https://dizzy.zone/2018/01/23/Kestrel-vs-Gin-vs-Iris-on-EC2/ - Go could easily be reducing costs 10x at a PHP-based company. Just look at Go's memory requirements. It's insane.

Anecdotal reports basically, obviously 10x is just a round number I picked. I've seen a company that switched citing up to 40x hardware reduction going from Ruby on rails to Go.

10x cost savings is hardly unheard of.


I think you're significantly underestimating how well-performing PHP is, in the narrow but important field of serving dynamic web pages. Go (or Java, or C#) can be faster but you might be surprised that it's less of a slam-dunk win than one might expect. Python and Ruby basically aren't in the same league. Nodejs can be said to be licking at its heels, at best. Yes, seriously.

I'd put PHP somewhere under the middle of the list of languages/ecosystems I'd like to work in again (RoR, specifically, though not Ruby generally; non-TypeScript JavaScript; and gnarly AbstractFactoryImpl-style Java are all probably worse than it, IMO, and of course PHP deep in anything like Wordpress is pretty miserable) and I like Go quite a bit, but there's no denying that if performance is a top criterion PHP should probably be on your short list when choosing a language/ecosystem, and if PHP's not going to cut it then probably no scripting languages are on your list, and you're very likely looking real hard at C++.


Since when is jQuery, PHP and MySQL "legacy?"

Half the web runs on that stack.


And a significant number of financial and airline systems run on COBOL. Active usage doesn't make something more or less 'legacy'.

Brand new systems are being written all the time that use PHP and MySQL.

These are actively developed technologies that new programmers are learning all the time, with vibrant ecosystems of suppliers (like wordpress plugin and theme developers, or mysql performance consultants), that aren't showing any sign of fading.

Again, that doesn't compare to COBOL.


This is true. They're still subpar options though. I mean if you have to use them because that's what your team knows and you don't have time to learn something else, fine. But if you're building a new team and hiring for those skills you're making a mistake.

They're fine, as good as anything else right now. PHP can be very high-performance, and MySQL/MariaDB, when run in the strict modes (usually enabled by default now) it's ACID-compliant, fast, and still easy to administer.

I was part of a team that launched recently on C# (.NET Core) and MariaDB, but if more of us were comfortable with PHP I'd have had all confidence that that'd have been just as good a platform.

I don't see how it's a mistake. What wouldn't be? node.js? Something ruby- or python-based?


Use Python or Go. Better thought out languages, comparable or better tooling, libraries, and performance. A while back I would add ruby to that list, but Python seems to have won the market over it.

So, again if it's what your team knows best, it's fine. Otherwise it's a mistake.


I would like to argue C# is a well thought out language with great tooling, libraries and performance (not C(++) performance, but do we really need that if we could iterate 10x faster?)

The type system being static with dynamic support and reflection enables me to think about real problems instead.

I used to dislike GC languages, but working with C# changed my mind. (not saying refcounted systems aren't nice, I'm following rust from a distance)


I like C#, no problem with it as a pick.

I don't believe dynamic languages deliver on faster iteration over the long haul. I used to be the biggest dynamic languages fan, but now I avoid them unless it's a small project.

PHP is a mess of a language that's been cleaned up somewhat well, but it's still at such a disadvantage.

I would never advise a company to use it for a new project unless they have lots of talent very familiar with it already.

It's just a mistake. You can disagree, but know that you're wrong ;)


When I was a full time C# dev (after doing ruby for years), I found that ReSharper turbocharged my productivity to the point where I was faster with C# than I ever was with Ruby.

But credit to ASP.NET Web API being so solid too.

Now that I almost exclusively code in Elixir, I'd love to try F#.


i would like to see someone rewrite wikipedia in another stack and compare.

I guess I should do more of my own research (I am security ops, not dev) but when did jQuery become legacy?

jQuery provided a lot of quality-of-life functionality that is now part of the native Javascript language/runtime on modern browsers.

The most famous likely being the selector querying functionality, and the event management (and I'm sure others I am not thinking of).

jQuery still works, but under the hood it's just proxying those native methods, so you might as well just use those native methods directly.


With the advent of new frameworks like React (7 years old now) and Angular, jQuery has become less and less used. Anecdotally, I have interviewed at 7 or 8 companies over the last 7ish years and only one still used jQuery, and they were moving away from it.

Long time ago, even the creator of jQuery says don't use it.

if it ain't broke, don't fix it

Do suggest a better alternative.

I would use vanilla JS rather than jQuery now that most browser compatibility issues are sorted. But most of my work doesn't need to support versions of IE older than 11.

which is exactly what they are doing (also , nominally vanilla JS is even more legacy than JQ)

What do you gain? What do you lose?

jQuery has a better syntax and smaller coding footprint.


isn't jQuery nowadays also using all native functions of a browser? I still find the regex selector so powerful in jQuery.



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