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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sex Bloggers, Explicit Content Warnings, and TOS Violations

I just opened a MySpace page because my erotic writer colleagues told me I needed one. I opened it for advertising purposes, without which I might not get as many readers. The MySpace page has a blog, and I've been writing to that as well. I'm already addicted to MySpace, uploading sexy pictures and friending people. I even friended William Shatner, Jenna Jameson, Madonna, and the electronica artist DJ BT. Okay, so those MySpace pages are run by their handlers. I can dream, can't I?

I haven't even posted for a week and I've already seen a "terms of service" violation.

I found the sexiest, buff dude MySpace comments graphic. I'd like to show it to you. The problem is that MySpace spanked me for violating "terms of service", and instead of that hot, buff guy, you see a square with "terms of service violation" written on it.

The only way I can show you the picture is to tell you to go to this link. The image is the second one down; the one that says "God's Angel".

I don't even know why it's a TOS violation. I checked my e-mail and there aren't any warnings giving me a spanking. Is it because the image says "God"? Is it because the buff guy is naked and holding his jewels in his hands, and you can see pubic hair? One of my MySpace writer friends, Tess, posted a pic of four buff guys in my comments, and that stayed up. So why are four buff guys allowed to stay up, but one buff guy with wings gets the ax?

The odd thing is that I can't post that picture to MySpace friend's comments sections, but I can post it to MySpace blog sections. Why is the picture a violation in one area but not another? I think it may be a copyright violation, as in the artist who created the graphic didn't give permission for it to be forwarded. That makes no sense, though, since I can post the graphic to my MySpace blog, but not to MySpace friends comments. I have no clue why it's a violation.

I haven't had to deal with TOS violations in years. I used to post to AOL, and I was a master at avoiding TOS violations when people who hated my point of view tried to get me banned by abusing TOS. TOS abuse is when you try to ban someone whose opinions you don't like, or if you just flat out don't like that person. What was funny was that when the people on those AOL forums who hated me tried to TOS me because they claimed I was "harassing" them, THEY ended up getting TOS notices. Three notices and you're banned from posting for two weeks, from what I remember. These people didn't know the difference between harassment and opposing points of view. The message boards weren't their personal platform for them to air their views without rebuttal posts from those who don't agree with them. I remember when I ran my own message board on AOL about family law issues. The people who hated me continuously wrote to AOL admin, saying that I was writing hate speech, and they demanded that my board be shut down. They had their own board, and they complained that I was harassing them when I was only presenting a different point of view - one that they didn't like. In retaliation, they tried to get AOL to cancel my account and shut down my message board. They were quite vicious about it, calling me names, saying they wanted to find out where I lived, etc. In reality, they were violating AOL terms of service by flaming and trolling me on their own message board and on mine. What actually happened was that THEY were banned from posting for two weeks, and THEIR board was shut down. Dealing with TOS on AOL was like playing chess. It was a game, and you had to play by the rules in order to win. The problem is that the rules change all the time, and the rules differ everywhere you go. It's like posting in a carnival Fun House.

The logic behind a terms of service violation is never clear. It hasn't been as long as I've been online. And that affects sex bloggers, who have to deal with "explicit content" warnings.

So, why this image violated MySpace's TOS is beyond me. I won't post it anymore, obviously. Tess says she has images worse than that on her page, and they go through just fine. I don't get it. How can I avoid violating TOS when I don't know why I violated it in the first place?

My experiences with TOS violations (or the lack thereof, for me at any rate), made me think about Blogger boinking sex bloggers with "explicit content" advisory warnings. Who does that to sex bloggers? I don't think the sex blogger ever learns who went all Church Lady on their blogs. I've seen a couple of sex blogs with those "explicit content - choose the red pill or the blue pill" kinds of pages that come up before you get to their blog. How many bloggers have had to deal with content complaints in the past? I haven't had to deal with that at Typepad, where my blog is located. I was surprised by the MySpace image that was deemed a Terms of Service violation. I have no clue why it got spanked.

What are your experiences? Have any sex bloggers seen attacks on sex blogs based on supposed TOS violations?


Blogger Richard said...

Most likely it was banned because it was a male figure. There seems to be a bias toward nude males. Even on TV. A movie would have frontal and rear shots of women, but the male front will not be shown.
I am surprised that my blog hasn't been targeted yet. I wouldn't mind though. It would create a lot more traffic. You may see many nude guys on porn web sites, but rarely on the site of the guy next door type.

Thu Sep 27, 04:13:00 pm GMT  
Blogger Imelda Imelda said...

I'd be gutted if I started getting attacked like that. I'm too much of a softie to deal with it and get really upset.

BTW love the pic! And I agree with Richard, it's not fair that male nudes are censored more than female. Pah I don't mind some objectification of the female body but I wanna objectify the male one as well!!

Thu Sep 27, 09:44:00 pm GMT  
Blogger Elizabeth Black said...

I'm not sure that it's because it's a male nude. My writer friend Tess posted a pic of four nude men holding their family jewels, and that pic was okay with MySpace. I think that the one I posted may have been a copyright violation. Another, tamer, fantasy picture from the same area also received the same TOS violation notice.

I put up a "parental advisory" banner on my blog just for the principle of it. Not that it would keep horny teenagers away. I remember the "South Park" episode when Stan and the guys were cruising porn on the Intenet. Stan saw the page that says "Are you 18 or over?" All of them yelled "Yes!" and got into the site. LOL that was funny.

And yes, that picture was gorgeous. ;)

Fri Sep 28, 05:58:00 pm GMT  
Blogger KarymĂ© said...

As a new blogger, I find it frustrating that all the rules/boundaries are not spelled out more clearly. But like all sex censorship (legal and social), that's probably because the rules/decisions are totally arbitrary, e.g. suddenly a man's body is itself offensive? Sheesh. Yuck.

I wouldn't mind having a warning for the weak (minded), but I don't want my blog deleted. The fact that blogger's terms and conditions only appear in German doesn't help me figure it all out, either.

Mon Oct 01, 08:09:00 am GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I myself got a TOS on the yahoo 360 page that I had up. I posted a picture of me in a wet tee shirt and I think tat was what got me to get one of those TOS thing's...Not sure because they never actually told me that it was!
I have the same picture on flickr though...! Go figure.

Tue Oct 30, 11:02:00 pm GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never had any problems but i think I keep my sex content pg and suggestive instead of in your face.


Fri Nov 23, 06:36:00 pm GMT  

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