This is my last post on G+
I’ve been an active member on here for a year now. It has been a blast.
Thanks to G+ I decided a year ago to stop lurking on the Internet. To start using my real name for the first time online. That meant G+ became my identity service. As a product and platform, G+ was missing tons of features, was badly tuned, was far from answering to all my needs. I have been patient. I have been tolerant. I have invested a lot of my time in this place. I wanted to become a member of its community, I wanted to help it grow.
I still do. I still will.
G+ is failing me as an identity service. And by the looks of things, a year more of patience won’t do any good. How come?
You see, I’m an adult. Maybe that means something different to you, in your part of the world, than it does to me, but it doesn’t change the fact that G+ does not allow me to be who I am. Who I want to be. To interact the way I want to interact. For Google is deciding in my place what I can or cannot see, what I can or cannot share.
I try not to judge. I do not want to convince you of anything. That’s how I live my life. I do not care to discuss at length the values of the different social contracts on our globe. The different laws. Morality. What is right or wrong, what G+ should be like. I really don’t.
I know no taboos. I cannot be offended. I doubt things can shock me. Therefore there is little material I could not stomach to see.
I’m not a pervert. Granted, that’s my own subjective evaluation. I’m probably seen as a pervert or otherwise deviantly depraved monster in parts of the world. Please feel free to look at my posts of this past year and decide for yourself.
There is lots of material I care not in the least to see. I can find it boring, uninformative, cheap, tasteless... When I encounter such material too often by someone I follow, I will decide eventually to unfollow or block that person. And I can decide this for myself thank you very much.
Because, you know, I’m an adult. I can decide for myself, really.
I also think there hasn’t been any material that I’ve posted or would care to post that would be a breach of the rules here. Except maybe in the case of one post on breast cancer awareness as a result of the #booberday debacle a while ago:
The image in question has been up since September 2011. If it somehow would be a breach and would be flagged because of this post and would be removed, one has to wonder how many innocent children it has tainted since.
Because that’s why we have this censorship right? For the children? Or are we saying adults can’t actually decide for themselves?
I know I know, plenty adults all over the world are very sensitive about these matters. There’s plenty that doesn’t go well with their local flavor of social contract. It’s not just to save the children.
There seems to be one type of content that is resulting in the most censorship, and it is the one I want to focus on now. Gore, violence and hate-speech are even less my thing:
”Sexually Explicit Material”
”Do not distribute content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Do not drive traffic to commercial pornography sites.”
I’m going to knowingly break this rule. Once. And after that, never again here. Because, it’s arbitrary, a slippery slope, an impossible task to judge objectively. What is apparently considered sexually explicit/nudity here, is displayed on the streets where I live, on TV any time of the day, in museums...
I’ll share images, most I’ve encountered in my previous job, as a community manager (so I’m clearly saying that these or not images I care for myself). I know from experience that you cannot define a simple rule in a few words and expect it to cover all possible cases, to allow any moderator (or algorithm) to make 100% clear-cut correct judgments. Feel free to disagree. You most likely have not the experience I have in the matter, unless you have >5 years of hands-on experience in content moderation. What I’m sharing does not even come close to the degree of ‘disturbing’ material I had to moderate. Lots of it shared by teens. But in my sample you will get a sufficiently good idea, no need to gross people out more to make a point.
The point I want to make is this: allow me to mark my own content as safe or not.
All of the examples I’ll share, I would mark as unsafe if given the possibility. Because of the children. Because of the sensibilities of those adults that are living in social contracts that can’t deal with such ‘wrong’ content. To be on the safe side.
Once marked as unsafe, it should not be viewable by default. One would have to make a conscious action to view it, by clicking a warning message.
NSFW is subjective bullshit. Work/my job IMO should not define what is acceptable in public life or not. Work values can differ all over the world.
I want to be able to set my content as Public or Sensitive.
People that do not share my interpretation of sensitive can still unfollow and block me.
But what about the children? Well, instead of fighting losing battles with armies of moderators (= high costs) and algorithms trying to judge subjective matters, asking global members to flag subjectively,
let people work it out for themselves, find each other in like-minded (sub-)communities. People that still want to flag content, could. Review the flagged content that comes in (way less due to self-moderation, way cheaper). If still inappropriate (subjectively, but hey, it’s not a perfect world), simply put the content in Sensitive mode.
Repeat offenders (and thus higher cost)? Define some threshold. Provide warnings to the offender and put the flagged content as sensitive. Once warnings ignored and threshold passed, put all the user’s content by default in sensitive. You can even define a duration of time where the purp has no freedom to decide. Say 1 month. After that, if receding, say 3 months. Then 6 months. Then 1 year. Then real actual definitive ban.
It’s safe to say after several moderation interventions that the offender is hard-headed, trolling or otherwise disrespectful to the Terms.
Much clearer & objective to judge, lower cost to moderate, lower cost in support for offenders that complain. Because their content was still accessible. They got proper warning. They got incremental time to reflect upon their behavior.
So, me breaking the rules. I repeat: if my suggestion was in place, I would set all my examples to sensitive. If somehow it still got flagged or I otherwise breached some rule, warn me and set all my stuff to sensitive for a month for starters.
But my suggestion is not in place now right. And the chances of it happening are low to nonexistent right? So, I should be ‘sanctioned’ right? Whether you Google decide to do so or not, I will stop posting publicly until a satisfactory solution has been put in place, allowing me to use G+ as the adult I am. Allowing me to see the content the people I follow intended me to see. I solemnly swear, so no need to block my account.
And don’t give us the equivalent of the ‘Safe search’ solution. It would be an improvement maybe, but it is flawed.
I’m posting the images I would like you to check separately in an album, as a test, to show how things are subjective:
WARNING: sensitive material!
This way I’m hoping this post will not be deleted, so that the people that want to check me out know why I went inactive on my own page. I will remain active in comments on other people’s posts and in Limited. In doing so, I hope I will still be able to help grow this place, to interact with all the wonderful people I’ve met here. I also hope it will suffice to prevent me from bailing out definitively, switching to another platform.
#censorship #fuckcensorship #stopcensorship
Because several of the images might be removed, and to allow us to discuss them, I’ll list them here (if you think I made a sarcastic comment in the list somewhere, you could be right):
1: Google asking not to censor the web. I didn’t realize when joining that G+ is not part of the web.
2: Japanese-style characters that represent a sexual action. Sexually explicit? Yes? To children? Well, those capable of interpreting it correctly would already have been exposed to other inappropriate material. Humorous, creative or witty? Is that an argument? Better be safe than sorry. You know, to keep the illusion kids today are clueless. Illusions are important.
3: teenage rockband with millions of fans at the time, showing a message to their teenage fans on their site, with the youngest member wearing a t-shirt displaying drawn stick-figures in a sexual pose. What were the parents of that kid thinking?? And then the label, perverting all those millions of underage fans??? Having that on a site for teens, sure, but we can’t have this on our G+.
4: cartoon of a little devil ecstatically playing with his tail. Everyone can clearly see that the tail stands for something else, and thus the ecstasy expressed is of the wrong kind.
5: cartoon of the linux penguin violating Bill Gates with a text: f*** the system. Even though the drawing style and message is clearly humorous, still an explicit sexual action...
6: drawing of 2 video game babes posing closely together. In such a way that a healthy hot-blooded heterosexual guy would take a second look. If only just to examine closely if no indecent parts are exposed. Sexually explicit? At least as explicit as all those model babes in all those magazines that are made to sell sex!
7: drawing of batgirl feeling up superwoman’s breast, though nothing is exposed. If that isn’t a sexually explicit drawing, then I don’t know what is. Or wait, it’s safe because no nudity?
8: anime style girl naked on a bed. No nipples, no vagina visible. No way not to think of sex though.
9: artistic drawing of a warrior style woman sitting in a ruined city under a full moon. Very artistic, nice mood, but oops, there’s a nipple. Was that really necessary?
10: some 3D avatar style of women with naked breasts. She’s clearly not real, but those are clearly naked breast!
11: drawing of a couple engaged in sex, but with the outlines to be connected by numbered dots. Sexually explicit even without filling the dots + nipples! Sorry, to be clear: female nipples!
12: Edvard Munch’s Madonna. Art. And female nipples (at least one that I can almost certainly see, the second one either missing, either covered by her hair).
13: Gustave Courbet’s The Origin Of The World. Art. Or is it pornography? It’s most definitely a nude. Case closed.
14: a woman driving a car, with an impressive cleavage. So impressive that it’s unmistakably sexual in nature. Even without nipples this is like, really sexual!
15: a woman’s breasts shot from below in such a way that it’s sexual. Or is that a girl? Could she be a minor? Even with such a set of... ok, sexually explicit anyway.
16: a woman (girl?) grabbing her uncovered breasts. I don’t think there’s a nipple visible, but I’m almost sure she’s going for a duckface.
17: close up of a female’s behind, wearing something so tight that there’s too much sexual detail for sure...
18: woman holding a man’s pants open, looking suggestively into the camera. Think secretary about to go down on some boss. So suggestive that it would even be clear to the children! Right? Because children these days understand such poses obviously. Because they’re exposed to such filth everywhere these days! No nudity is no excuse!
19: woman eating a banana held by a guy. In such a way that cannot be viewed by us of course.
20: 4 girls at some party suggestively holding a large dildo close to their mouths. Dildo!
21: depiction of an utopian soccer final as exists in the mind of the average macho male soccer fan.
22: official movie poster of Les Infideles, as was visible in the streets in parts of Europe. It’s not because it could be seen in public in Europe that it’s acceptable. The wordplay as cheaters would use it isn’t helping.
23: another example of an official movie poster of Les Infideles.
24: billboard ad by Dolce & Gabbana depicting a male model playing with a female model while other male models are watching. Only 2 males nipples there...
25: a guy posing with an unrealistically large artificial penis. Penis = nudity & sexually explicit. Fake or not, the horror!
26: a naked woman on a bike, but very very small. Too small to be sure that one black pixel is a nipple? Pubic hair? No matter, naked is naked!
27: paparazzi photos of a nipple slip from Lilly Allen. Nipple!
28: some very young girl posing as a model in a bikini. What is wrong with this world?
29: anime style drawing of a woman that appears to have been raped, with her nipples showing through her ripped bathing suit.
30: anime style close up drawing of what appears to be the face of an underage girl crying because an SM style tool is used on her. Could be mistaken by the non-initiated and innocent as a form of bullying.
31: anime style drawing of an underage girl lifting her oversized sweater to reveal her white undies. Normal in Japan maybe, but elsewhere...
32: still of P. Waterfield, GBR diver at the Olympics taking a shower. The image is so sexually suggestive that it’s maybe sexually explicit. Or maybe not? Better take a second look.
33: a baby wearing a hat with a marijuana symbol and holding a blunt to its mouth. No nudity whatsoever here...
Booberday: from my post on breast cancer awareness, depicting humorous bodypaint. With female nipples! And bodypaint, let’s face it, is applied on a nude body, and still is nudity.
David: the sculpture by Michelangelo is a nude. Google shows it in a safe search set to strict. But we’re on G+ here, not on the web and that’s a nude. Nude, nude, nude. Penis!
Madonna: by Munch, safe search set to strict. Oh no, hide the children!
The origin of the world: safe search set to strict showing pornography? Hmmm...
The wrong story: Obama grabbing Hillary’s boob while she’s smiling wide. Luckily censored, phew.
Censorship feeds the dirty mind: an image of a typical pit babe is compared to a clean censored version of the same image.
What follows then are the same images censored by me, using black bars. I think that almost all, despite the black bars, remain highly sexual in nature. Some have become even worse.
What do you think?
Regardless of what we think, provide us the tools to set these to sensitive and no-one would ever have to face the horror of unsuspectedly seeing them pop up in their streams.
Because I have no personal experience in facing moderation by Google, I don’t know how many of these images will stay up. Or even whether this post or the related one will stay up. Should too much be deleted to illustrate my suggestion, I’ll consider Google Docs, or even non-Google solutions... because the adult that I am wants conversations with other adults to reflect upon these issues, to find the best solutions.
what we are talking about in a single word is "Censorship", no?
How refreshing it is to hear Jakke Makela business logic. Lofty ideas like Censorship are subject to business needs in a capitalist society.
How refreshing it is to hear Jakke Makela business logic. Lofty ideas like Censorship are subject to business needs in a capitalist society.
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