Restore former Tumblr Community Guidelines

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TLDR: This petition is addressed to the Tumblr Community Officers as well as the base website developers. It can be signed by the general populus, regardless of whether or not you personally use the website. Signers would like to appeal to the content ban recently placed on December 3rd, 2018, that outlines a prohibition on pornography and other adult content on the Tumblr platform.

First and foremost, this petition is not created because I will be missing out on artists that I follow, or find it less convenient to use other platforms for digital media. In fact, I do not use Tumblr on a basis to where I would find the changes an inconvenience. The purpose for this petition is that I recognize there are other independent artists who care about his/her work, and likewise, followers who care about their art.

All links in this petition are Safe For Work.

As of December 3, the official support Tumblr has posted a message regarding their updates to the Community Guidelines. The post is strictly focused around the adult content on the platform, and the changes being made to combat the exposure of it. Their definition of adult content is "photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content - including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations - that depicts sex acts."

Aside from other issues on the platform, such as the spam blogs that message users and image resolution reductions, Tumblr has faced some problems with the iOS App Store recently. For similar reasons, it has been removed due to the presence of explicit underage content that had bypassed the content filtering database being used by the platform. Additionally, there have been issues in the past regarding the censorship of adult content that have warranted the implementation of safeguards. For example, in June of 2017 the Tumblr staff introduced the 'Safe Mode' option, the first dedicated update since the dashboard filter that was introduced in March 2013.

The official staff blog for the platform claims that "There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community."

According to SimilarWeb, a website that provides web analytics services, Tumblr is ranked the 26th website in the United States (the location of its establishment) for the amount of traffic it receives. It is the 51st when compared to all the other websites in the world. SimilarWeb estimates that the greatest percentage of traffic for the platform is for the 'Adult' category. Another in-depth article from TechCrunch.com (focused mainly on the launch of Safe Mode) gives the statistic, "The measurement firm estimates that adult content drives 20.53 percent of clicks to Tumblr’s desktop site, compared with the next largest referring category, books and literature, which drives just 7.61 percent of clicks (Paragraph 4)." 

Following the removal from the iOS App Store, Tumblr started removing blogs that contained 'adult content' without warning. Personally, I recall the removal of a specific blog whose artist was dedicated to keeping safe for work. Through his other blogs he had announced that it had been removed amidst all the other 'adult' blogs during what users called the 'Tumblr Purge.' Shortly afterwards and possibly from the community's backlash, staff began restoring blogs to their original state.

Many Tumblr users have also complained about the method in which Terms of Service/Community Guideline violations are handled. Currently blogs are instantly terminated without warning. Tumblr does not notify users of offending posts via email, cite guideline violations, or even offer a strike system similar to YouTube's copyright citation process. Additionally, the option to appeal - or even contact support - is also infamous for its automated responses and lack of effort. The platform's 'Safe Mode' option and 'adult content' filtering are also criticized for missing content that qualifies as such.

Ironically, today (December 3rd) it has been reported by multiple users on twitter that their dashboards contain promoted adult content, detailed by this article. There are also reports on Twitter claiming that Tumblr is hiding posts that contain specific tags. Specifically tags related to the Furry internet subculture. Tumblr's automation of their guidelines seems to be a key problem that the platform does not address (also seen here).

If this petition were to succeed and the Tumblr staff were to rescind their changes to the Community Guidelines, it could keep a sizeable portion of their userbase and as its always been, be a home for the works of artists and producers. Without them, the platform will most likely move forward and inevitably fall down the ranks in popularity - perhaps being replaced by another platform that will take advantage of the traffic Tumblr chose to surrender.

 



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