A History of Fandom Purges












I’m curious how many related deletions we can come up with.

  • 2002 – FFN bans porn
  • 2002 – FFN bans RPF
  • 2004 – FFN bans script format
  • 2005 – FFN bans CYOA, Readerfic, 2nd person, Songfic
  • 2007 – Strikethrough, Boldthrough
  • 2009 – GeoCities shuts down, taking old fannish websites
  • 2010 – FFN forums deleted
  • 2011 – Delicious destroyed by Yahoo’s incompetence
  • 2012 – major FFN crackdown on porn
  • 2014 – Quizilla shuts down
  • 2015 – Journalfen’s servers become fully robust, deleting Fandom Wank

Didn’t quizilla have purges before finally shutting down? And I know basically every vidding home hot destroyed, repeatedly taking out the entire history of vidding online.

… they deleted Fandom Wank???

Well, not specifically. Journalfen failed completely and has never come back. FW was on Journalfen, so while you can see some entries on the Wayback machine, I think (?), the long comment threads aren’t archived.

  • 2007 – Youtube starts using its “content ID” system to identify (and block) works that include copyrighted material in their database.
  • 2009 – Greatestjournal shuts down, taking down fandom’s biggest collection of blog-style RPGs
  • 2012 – Megaupload shut down by FBI; some (many?) fanvid archives lost

I thought there was also some kind of purge at Deviantart, but I don’t recall the details.

I’d like to remind folks that there was literally wank last month about why do we need the OTW.

Well, this would be why: we sincerely believed in the internet values of a decade or two ago, which involved owning our own servers if we wanted to see our projects remain stable, in the long term, online.

Worth mentioning: Yahoo purchased GeoCities, and was behind the decision to shut all those sites down. 

Yahoo’s incompetence destroyed Delicious.

Yahoo owns Tumblr.

1356: 50% of monks.

People just… completely forget. I was there for all of the bans on fanfiction.net. You don’t know panic until you go to log in one morning and find out a bunch of your works have been deleted, gone forever, because some asshole arbitrarily decided that they wanted to ban something.


2016 -y!gallery an archive of m/m art and stories, original and fanfiction was completely destroyed and all works were lost

Y!gallery itself was originally built in response to Sheezy art banning adult themes in 2005

Deviant Art in my experience says it doesn’t allow porn but will allow erotic art of women to reach the front page, straight male gaze gets a pass. Art focused on men is more likely to get deleted.

A lot of things destroyed by anti-porn rules are really anti-porn not made by and for straight men. It’s women’s and queer folks work that is demonized.

^^^^^ i actually tested this when i was on DA. I drew a bunch of s*xually e*plicit vag*nas and d*cks and the d*cks were removed within 24 hours. the vag*nas were never reported.

these bans are attacks on women and queer/LGBTQ people. the straight male gaze is apparently the only legitimate n sfw view

You missed some:

Fandom purges are almost never just about one thing. Fannish content both relies on fair use exemption and is frequently sexually explicit, so it gets attacked on both copyright/legal grounds (thank you, OTW Legal Team, for protecting us!) and TOS/hoster rules about porn/specific fictional content (thank you, AO3, for being an open archive!). On top of that, there is a nontrivial history of fannish content being lumped in with content that criticizes authoritarian governments, and targeted by sweeps by those governments and their censorship agencies when they purchase or put pressure on the commercial entities that own the servers (thank you, OTW, for being a nonprofit and owning and defending our servers!).

If you care about fannish content, you have to fight for fanfic on all three fronts. And if we hop off of HTTP and onto one of the decentralized protocols like dat et cetera, like people are starting to talk about in response to Article 13 and the Tumblr purges, we will inevitably be targeted along with a) people pirating media, b) porn distributors, and c) anti-government protestors, because those groups are also going use those protocols, too. I’m not saying, don’t think about migrating. I’m saying: there is a systemic problem within fandom, regarding the fact that we routinely get hit on three fronts: legal rights to the material we transform, sexual content, and governmental disapproval. Protecting fandom means fighting for fandom on all three fronts and putting thought and effort into how to make an archive robust against all three prongs of the attack.

This is what’s made AO3/the OTW so special: we have lawyers protecting our right to make what we make, we have a TOS that protects our right to make things that are sexually explicit, and because the OTW is a nonprofit, it’s more robust to the pressure that can be brought to bear upon commercial entities by both corporate and governmental powers (though, I note, especially when it comes to governments, it’s not immune, and we have to keep actively protecting it, and we have to protect other fans). If you are in fandom but you think that copyright upload filters are fine, because, well, you don’t want to put fanvids on YouTube, you are part of the problem. Your community is under attack. The powers that be have always come for us by attacking us in pieces, and we have always only ever successfully fought back by banding together.



The end.

Adult Content. Don’t upload images, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples —this includes content that is so photorealistic that it could be mistaken for featuring real-life humans (nice try, though). Certain types of artistic, educational, newsworthy, or political content featuring nudity are fine. Don’t upload any content, including images, videos, GIFs, or illustrations, that depicts sex acts. For more information about what this guideline prohibits and how to appeal decisions about adult content, check out our help desk.


The end of tumblr.

The end of tumblr.: undefined


A better, more positive Tumblr


Since its founding in 2007, Tumblr has always been a place for wide open, creative self-expression at the heart of community and culture. To borrow from our founder David Karp, we’re proud to have inspired a generation of artists, writers, creators, curators, and crusaders to redefine our culture and to help empower individuality.

Over the past several months, and inspired by our storied past, we’ve given serious thought to who we want to be to our community moving forward and have been hard at work laying the foundation for a better Tumblr. We’ve realized that in order to continue to fulfill our promise and place in culture, especially as it evolves, we must change. Some of that change began with fostering more constructive dialogue among our community members. Today, we’re taking another step by no longer allowing adult content, including explicit sexual content and nudity (with some exceptions).  

Let’s first be unequivocal about something that should not be confused with today’s policy change: posting anything that is harmful to minors, including child pornography, is abhorrent and has no place in our community. We’ve always had and always will have a zero tolerance policy for this type of content. To this end, we continuously invest in the enforcement of this policy, including industry-standard machine monitoring, a growing team of human moderators, and user tools that make it easy to report abuse. We also closely partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation, two invaluable organizations at the forefront of protecting our children from abuse, and through these partnerships we report violations of this policy to law enforcement authorities. We can never prevent all bad actors from attempting to abuse our platform, but we make it our highest priority to keep the community as safe as possible.

So what is changing?

Posts that contain adult content will no longer be allowed on Tumblr, and we’ve updated our Community Guidelines to reflect this policy change. We recognize Tumblr is also a place to speak freely about topics like art, sex positivity, your relationships, your sexuality, and your personal journey. We want to make sure that we continue to foster this type of diversity of expression in the community, so our new policy strives to strike a balance.

Why are we doing this?

It is our continued, humble aspiration that Tumblr be a safe place for creative expression, self-discovery, and a deep sense of community. As Tumblr continues to grow and evolve, and our understanding of our impact on our world becomes clearer, we have a responsibility to consider that impact across different age groups, demographics, cultures, and mindsets. We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content. In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.

Bottom line: 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.

So what’s next?

Starting December 17, 2018, we will begin enforcing this new policy. Community members with content that is no longer permitted on Tumblr will get a heads up from us in advance and steps they can take to appeal or preserve their content outside the community if they so choose. All changes won’t happen overnight as something of this complexity takes time.

Another thing, filtering this type of content versus say, a political protest with nudity or the statue of David, is not simple at scale. We’re relying on automated tools to identify adult content and humans to help train and keep our systems in check. We know there will be mistakes, but we’ve done our best to create and enforce a policy that acknowledges the breadth of expression we see in the community.

Most importantly, we’re going to be as transparent as possible with you about the decisions we’re making and resources available to you, including more detailed information, product enhancements, and more content moderators to interface directly with the community and content.

Like you, we love Tumblr and what it’s come to mean for millions of people around the world. Our actions are out of love and hope for our community. We won’t always get this right, especially in the beginning, but we are determined to make your experience a positive one.

Jeff D’Onofrio




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