Since releasing the first pass of our community ratings system we've received a lot of feedback. We've taken the best of your suggestions and made things much better already. We've explained some things (read on below) and we've made some changes.
Well for starters, because you want an app. We hear it non-stop. And we want to give you an app, which we're already working on. You also want a site that won't get shut down or randomly expel all the adult content one day. That's what we're building. Apple says apps can't have porn and similar content. We need a bullet proof way to segregate that content if we're to avoid various international laws, company policies like Apple's, etc. The bouncer at the bar is there to keep kids out PRECISELY so you can go nuts inside. We're trying to build that bouncer, without whom the whole party gets closed.
If we were censoring (but we're not), we would tell you that you can't post something, or we would just delete it ourselves. We don't ever want to do that. All we're saying is... actually all we're ASKING is... could you please give your post a proper rating so that we can have a chance of getting our app into Apple's app store, and so that governments around the world don't come down on the site and try to shut us down because minors are continually exposed to adult content.
The ratings system is necessary so that minors won't be exposed to adult content, or adults who prefer may avoid various degrees of adult content and can use the platform in peace and comfort. This is 100% about making a safe space for CHOICE; it has nothing to do with censorship.
We're doomed one way or another. If we say men's nipples are ok, but women's aren't, then we'll have an uproar about that instead. We're trying to be a bit more progressive here and say that men and women are treated exactly equally. Same sex couples and different sex couples are also treated 100% identically.
In the specific case of nipples, the rating has nothing to do with nipples at all. It has everything to do with the amount of (or lack of) clothing in a photo. The sheer quantity of shirtless males being uploaded is astounding. Besides the aforementioned equal treatment of men and women, there's a super-wide variety of images of topless men, some a bit more tawdry and less safe for work than others. Rather than attempt to specify when a photo of a shirtless man is ok for O and when it's not, it easier and more equal just to say shirtless people belong in M.
When you make an original post or reblog someone else's post, the system won't allow you to do so if the post rating exceeds your blog's rating. If at any time in the future the post gets rerated (either by the original poster or an admin) and becomes higher than your blog's rating, it is deemed "Out of Range".
Let's say you have an O rated blog and you reblog a post rated 0. No problem. But later, an admin determines the post is rated M, then you'd have M rated content in an O rated blog. That post is no longer visible in your blog, so we alert you to that fact. If you really want that post to show up in your blog, you'll have to change the rating of your blog. Otherwise, you might as well delete the post since no one will ever get to see it.
We could always just eliminate adult content altogether. But we don't think you'd like that, nor would we.
A personal message from our team:
If you are a concerned community member who values the privilege of having the freedom to post content of your choosing, we would like to think that you would welcome our ratings system. Here's why...
Since opening this site, we have had numerous users attempt to upload child pornography. The only way to get rid of it is to review each and every post. Tumblr couldn't do that. They still can't get rid of their NSFW content, try as they might.
Right now we have a measly 20,000 posts per day. If we become successful, we would expect that number to grow to 20,000,000 posts per day!! How the heck are we supposed to root out all the child pornography and illegal content then? It just wouldn't be possible unless we motivate a substantial force of people (i.e. Monitors) to review all that content and advise our admins about it. With our monitoring system in place, illegal content will be rooted out in seconds, leaving us with a vibrant community that is safe to post all the smutty content we like, provided of course that it is legal.
The single biggest request we've received so far is, "Do you have an app?" Even if we did have an app, we would never be allowed in the app store. That's because Apple has a policy that says they won't accept apps that can inadvertently expose minors (or even unwitting adults) to ANY NSFW content. How the heck are we supposed to control that if we simply allow anyone to label a hardcore porn image as F because they don't care enough to rate it correctly. This unruly (or even accidental) behavior ruins the whole endeavor for everyone.
By having monitors look at posts immediately, we can efficiently turn off unreviewed posts for all minors, logged out users, or iPhone users. Then, once reviewed in a minute or so, we can safely show posts without worry that minors will be exposed to adult content.
Please consider all of these factors and our intentions on HELPING this community survive the onslaught of forces that want to shut down porn on the internet altogether.
This system is here for two very specific reasons:
1) Make porn safe to post on the internet, and
2) Make it feasible for us to do our job so we don't get shut down.
This is not a penalty system to censor or hurt anyone. It's here to protect freedom of speech and to keep the site open and accepting of all content, including yours.
If you are even remotely conscious of the ratings system, you will not have any problem with it. We promise it won't get in your way.