Nudity vs Porn - not a question of ethics, but a question of implementation
February 14, 2007 4:58 PM   Subscribe

How would you, as a site owner, encourage people to upload photos as part of a social networking site including those with "soft" or "respectable" nudity but discourage the mountain of spam-like XXX cam girl sites from exploiting that loophole for shady business tactics?

Okay, so let's quickly compare Flickr to MySpace in regards to photos. MySpace is over-run with "near nudes" and cheap plugs for the gazillion "hot XXX cam girls" sites all over the web, et al. However, they don't allow nudity and they're very clear about that.

Now, Flickr allows nudity - and i've read nary a complaint from anyone about that. Not to say there are no complaints, but I just haven't heard about it. Ditto for sites like DeviantArt.

So, the question becomes..
How would you, as a site owner, encourage people to upload photos as part of a social networking site including those with "soft" or "respectable" nudity but discourage the mountain of spam-like XXX cam girl sites from exploiting that loophole for shady business tactics?

Is it just a matter of how it's implemented?
Is it just the way a community is built in the first place?
Is there some specific wording that should be used?

I'll probably be posing another question, similar to this in regards of user behavior, in a few days for a project i'm working on and I trust the MeFi crew above any other place I could openly ask this question - so your opinions are all very greatly appreciated.
posted by revmitcz to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You may be posting in two weeks, but alas, not a few days.

To answer your question, I would say its more about cultivating the audience you want, not having blind registrations, and a little moderation.
posted by stormygrey at 5:23 PM on February 14, 2007


You can't prevent abuse. The only solution is vigorous and forceful moderation.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:24 PM on February 14, 2007


It costs $X to upload a pic, and after a few weeks you get paid $X+Y for having uploaded a pic, where $Y is the money that doesn't get paid back to the people who uploaded camgirl spam. User reports highlight the spam, a moderater confirms and disqualifies.

Ok, so it presents a barrier to uploads, but I just like the idea of paying real users real money extracted from spammers :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 5:43 PM on February 14, 2007


Steven ( as usual ) is spot-on... and I think you get this concept, from the way you worded your question. But here's my experience: I had a MySpace account and ( have ) a Flickr account...

Flickr and MySpace both have "flag this photo" buttons, but the MySpace button is hard to find... and once you click on it, you have to fill-out a form ( eek! ). The Flickr button, conversely, is easy to find, and there's no silly form. Also, I like the termenology: "Flag this photo as 'may offend'". This language implies a certain group ethos.

Anyway... Flickr's approach, in my opinion, is superior.

I also got the sense that MySpace just grew to fast to monitor — no group ethos ever developed.
posted by silusGROK at 6:19 PM on February 14, 2007


Flickr also hides 'adult' photos from site searches and suchlike, so it's a lot less obvious they're there. Thinking about it now I realise they let you post those kinds of things, but I've never thought of it while using the site and it would never occur to me to upload anything like that to my own account. So I think a degree of subtlety in how you organise your site and advertise it's content can go a long way to creating the kind of image you want for the place.
posted by shelleycat at 8:33 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


-harlequin-'s clever idea is an example of a feebate, a concept I first saw explained by Amory Lovins.

The feebate concept as applied to vehicle fuel consumption is that having established an average consumption for each class of vehicles, the government charges a fee to purchasers of thirstier-than-average vehicles, and pays a rebate to purchasers of less-thirsty-than-average vehicles, with the rebate rates adjusted to be fully funded by the fees.

The net effect is to stimulate demand for vehicles in the lower half of the fuel consumption bell curve, which will act over time to push the entire curve to the left - and to keep pushing it as the average consumption figure that defines the fulcrum of the fee/rebate seesaw keeps getting lower.

It seems to me that the main reason this would work is that the fees and rebates would be substantial enough to get the purchaser's attention, yet not too outrageous in the context of a multi-thousand-dollar vehicle purchase. To do something similar on a web site, perhaps with the aim of pushing a content-quality bell curve ever upward, I think you'd probably have to set the fees high enough that they actually would be a prohibitive barrier to entry for general site use.

Plus, content quality is not an objective measure like fuel consumption; to work it out you'd probably need a MeFi-like flagging mechanism and something like MeTa where disputes could be thrashed out in public. Of course, once you had good flagging and dispute-resolution mechanisms, you probably wouldn't need the feebate if the sole aim was to limit spam.

But it might be fun to have a special section of your site where it cost the user ten bucks to upload content, with a refund a month after submission of anywhere from nothing to twenty bucks depending on user-generated quality rankings, and see what happened.
posted by flabdablet at 11:03 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


So far, I'm liking flabdablet's idea of a site-wide talk area for people to kinda "sound off" and publicly discuss what the community as a whole considers worthwhile or worthless. We've also talked a lot about flagging, and having many options available to flag content - not just "this is adult" or "this is bad" but levels of flagging. Also, of course, we'd make it a really fast/easy process, with the option of someone flagging w/details or just flagging and moving along.

Just to clear up some confusion - the site I'm working on (which will probably be going live in a few days) is not a photo site, but it allows for the addition of video, audio, and photo content alongside the usual social networking and profile creation stuff. We feel like we've done a lot of market (and personal) research to get where we are, combining our likes and dislikes of various sites out there to come up with "here's what we need... here's what we want to avoid", etc.

We're basically all in that group of people that have at one time, and occasionally still do, find usefulness in MySpace but the sheer idiocy and lack of compelling content (not to mention the terrible site design, the hacked-together profiles, things like this) has driven most of us away or limited our use to the bare essentials.

In essence, if there's anyway to create and maintain a quality social network where the myspace-addicts could still have their fun without ruining anyone else's --- that's what we're hoping for.
posted by revmitcz at 11:19 PM on February 14, 2007


Don't forget -- the more important your system becomes, the more people will try to 'game' it. Flickr's may work in large part because being flagged isn't particularly onerous. But start charging and paying rebates, and you'll soon have sockpuppets and hacks and all sorts of headaches.
posted by alexei at 12:14 AM on February 15, 2007


Alexei makes an important point. Perhaps offering the rebate only as a credit against future uploads would offset that problem.

Using moderation doesn't involve money, so in that respect, it's simpler. As with security, there are two fundamental approaches to moderation: default-allow and default-deny.

For something like this, I'd recommend a default-deny regime. Get a core of trustworthy users who can see and vote on photos in the moderation queue. Once a photo passes a certain vote threshold, it goes public. You'd probably want a smaller group of super-moderators who can spike or approve a photo with just their own vote.
posted by adamrice at 7:39 AM on February 15, 2007


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