The New Content Policy
Beginning April 2012, TV Tropes
has a new content policy
. In summary, we will no longer be hosting articles, forum conversations, reviews, or recommendations about pornography. Similarly, we will not permit articles for material designed to appeal to paedophiles or any variation thereof, which we colloquially describe as "paedoshit".
To implement this policy, we have taken the following steps:
- A Content Violation Discussions subforum has been created. All conversation related to this policy shall be conducted there.
- A panel has been appointed to administer the policy. This panel is known as the "5P" (see below). They will be responsible for reviewing works that have been suggested for removal and reviewing petitions for restoration of cut works.
- The current work queue is here. Please note that the queue was initially seeded with all pages flagged by our mature content filter and is not indicative of what will necessarily be cut.
As this may be perceived by some people in the troper community as a drastic change (and it is), this post will also address many questions which have arisen or may arise. We would like this process to be as smooth and as drama-free as possible, and we welcome your cooperation and constructive criticism.
Fair warning: tropers who use this policy change as an excuse to exhibit hostile or nonconstructive behavior will be removed. Our rules have not been suspended and you do not get a free pass due to outrage.
"So what is actually happening, and why?"
We have decided to take a hard line as to what sort of content we allow on the wiki. TV Tropes
was never intended to be a directory of porn, guro *
, or paedo appeal media, and many tropers have worked hard to create a site that is clean, entertaining, and fun.
Unfortunately, parts of the site have moved in a direction which is at times creepy, at times prurient, and is most certainly not in line with our stated aims of being Family Friendly
. The administration never intended this site to be a free host for tropers to gush about their favorite pornography or to recommend it to other people. This is an abuse, and it needs to stop.
To this end, we will be purging all pornography and related materials from the wiki. This means that we will not be recommending pornfics, will not be describing pornographic tropes, and will not host articles on pornographic media. We are going to remove all such articles from this site. Previously, the policy was that we could describe porn for the purposes of troping; this new content policy overrides all prior statements to that effect.
"So... what exactly do you mean when you say 'porn'?"
By porn, we do in fact mean porn - not "explicit" or "NSFW", but "porn". It's a notoriously difficult concept to pin down, but here is site admin Fast Eddie
's take on the subject:
You can't make up hard and fast rules. "So many square inches of skin allowed and no more." "A scene becomes 'explicit' when gonads are mentioned or shown," and so on.
The Supreme Court of the United State's best attempt to identify porn came down to "You know it when you see it." Since we know that there are people who are completely blind to it, we need to find some individuals who we know have porn vision, people who can spot it.
The mods have nominated a certain number of people who we think can be the arbiters, people who can say "That's porn" and "that's not porn." We will be announcing this council's makeup after we have had a chance to offer them the position and get their agreement to serve.
They will be our judicial on this matter. What they say goes.
And that's how 5P was made.
"Wait, 5P? What's that?"
5P, or P5, stands for "Posse for the Prevention of Pedophilia and Pure Porn", or alternatively "Panel to Purge Pornography, Paedophilia and Perversity", or perhaps "Panel Preventing Perversity, Pornography and Paedoshit". It doesn't really matter. You get the gist.
They are the council that Eddie referred to above, and their function is to assess pages and determine whether or not they are appropriate for the wiki. The tropers who have kindly agreed to carry out this role are Komodin
. All have been chosen because they have shown the necessary maturity and understanding to be trusted with the task of assessing works carefully and fairly in order to determine whether they meet the standards we expect on this site. No pressure, lads. :p
"Of course I know what porn is, but what the deuce is 'paedoshit' (or 'pedoshit') supposed to mean?"
"Paedoshit" here means, broadly speaking, works created to sexually arouse paedophiles. Due to the utterly reprehensible nature of this material, it is subject to much stricter rules than porn - a zero tolerance policy. For purposes of this policy, we include hebephiles and ephebophiles in the broad umbrella of paedophiles, because an adult having sex with an underage person is wrong in just about any society.
Our guidelines here are explicit
. We don't mean that every work that implies or discusses teen sex is automatically paedoshit, but works which portray graphically explicit sex involving a minor or someone who looks like a minor are categorically forbidden. Works portraying any sort of sex, implied or explicit, involving preteens are similarly likely to be removed. Works falling within the margins of this policy (for example, non-graphic sex between teens) are subject to review.
Actual sex aside, works that intentionally portray children as objects of sexual gratification are forbidden. This includes Lolicon
in their original and primary meanings: adults who are attracted to young girls and boys, respectively.
The actual ages of the characters are irrelevant: We don't care if they are Really 700 Years Old
or some kind of weirdly maturing alien species; if they look like a preteen and they have sex or are designed for sex appeal, it goes before the panel.
"Does that mean you'll be removing Romeo and Juliet or Law & Order?"
No. We are establishing a prima facie
exemption for works that are considered acceptable for mainstream publication and distribution in a Western market — for the sake of resolving any disputes, this means the United States. We will not accept recommendations to purge anything that meets the following criteria:
- Is a film rated below "R" for U.S. distribution.
- Is a show that can be aired on prime time television.
- Is a video game that is rated below "M" by the ESRB.
- Is a written work that is sold in major bookstores without an "adult" or "mature" label. *
- Is an anime/manga/etc. that is approved for U.S. import as a non-adult work.
- Is read/shown/taught in high school or below.
- Is in another format and meets equivalent criteria.
Note that for serial works, each installment/season/chapter/whatever of the work may be considered independently. Some anime, for example, may have one season that's clean and subsequent seasons or spinoffs that are not.
Just as we will not be removing every page on a work containing an instance of explicit sex, we will not be deleting every non-explicit reference to paedophilia. We are not purging every reference to Law & Order
from the site because paedophiles appeared on the program, for example. But we will be purging articles on works which portray children as being sexually arousing to the reader or viewer, even if those works are not entirely pornographic.
If there is any doubt, consult the Content Violation Discussions forum.
"Aren't there different grades of attraction to minors?"
For purposes of this policy, paedophile, hebephile, ephebophile, lolicon, shotacon, etc. are treated identically. We are not interested in pandering towards these people or providing them an outlet for their desires.
And while it shouldn't need to be said, if you are a teen attracted to other teens that does not make you an ephebophile. If this is your concern, please calm down.
Relatedly, referring to young girls as "lolis" is unacceptable and will get you banned, exactly as will calling anyone a "faggot". We are not interested in people who call other people by such terms, even in jest. The sole exception is certain tropes that are named after preexisting terms, such as Elegant Gothic Lolita
, where the term does not refer to lolicon.
"You make it sound like you don't want paedophiles contributing to TV Tropes!"
Let's be frank. We are not interested in your fetishes, fantasies, or sexual preferences unless you make them an issue. There are plenty of people with "deviant" sexual interests who manage to live entirely normal lives. For those who cannot, we advise you to seek counseling and/or other medical assistance. Do not attempt to use TV Tropes
as an outlet. Paedophilia is an extremely dangerous, damaging thing, and we are not going to tolerate it.
Similarly, we are not going to tolerate paedophilia/lolicon/rape apologists. Do not come on here and protest that it's just "misunderstood" and that if we just open our minds a bit... no. We are not going to be engaged in that sort of discussion and we will ban you if you try to start it.
We also wish to make it clear that we are not sponsoring or implying that it is okay to embark on a Pædo Hunt
. We're just retroactively enforcing standards that we probably should have had from the beginning but didn't appreciate the need for. Those persons who do not wish to comply with the new standard are invited to go somewhere else that will appeal to their interests better — or in extreme cases seek professional therapy.
"Does this have anything to do with the Google Incident?"
Yes and no.
To those unfamiliar with the Google Incident, it involved the pulling of Google ads from this site. There were actually two Google Incidents. The first one, otherwise known as The Situation (no relation to Michael Sorrentino), happened back in October 2010, when Google disabled Adsense, cutting off the site's funding. Steps were taken to ensure that the wiki met with their expectations, and the ads were restored. You can read more about it here
. The second Google Incident, which you can read about here
, again concerned the pulling of the ads from the site. The specific page which led to this was an article entitled Naughty Tentacles.
In response, various measures have been taken to clean up the site. However, while taking these measures, Eddie discovered that we were playing host to a lot of content which was definitely not suitable nor in line with our intended aims, and which we certainly do not endorse. So you'd be right in thinking that the Google incident is related, but this isn't solely about Google anymore.
"What can I do to help clean the site?"
You can flag content as unsuitable using the flag tool, which is located in the Tools menu to the left of each article. You can also report pages as needing 5P scrutiny in this thread
; a list of works reported in the thread is maintained at Pages Pending For Perusal By P 5
You can also help with general perversity clean-up. For more information, see Don't be creepy
"Should I just start cutlisting stuff?"
No. Please don't.
We have had problems with tropers deciding to cutlist large numbers of works, some of which were not in violation of the content policy. Instead, wait for 5P's judgement.
"Is 5P accepting new members?"
Not at this moment in time, sorry.
"This work is not actually/primarily pornographic. Why was it cut?"
This could be for a number of different reasons. If the work was deemed to be paedoshit, for example, it will be cut whether or not it's actually sexually explicit. Being pro-paedophilia or pandering to paedophiles is bad enough. If a work claims to be anti-paedophilia or a deconstruction of paedophilia, but portrays children in a manner that is clearly salacious or prurient (in other words, insincere moralizing as an excuse to sell paedo porn), it will be cut.
Another possibility is that the work is a Bleached Underpants
(also a technical term) version of a work that was originally pornographic, and was cut for being in an index of pornographic works. If this is the case, it may be restored, although an article on the pornographic source material will not be. Appeal it.
"This work is being/has been cut, but it is not a violation of the content policy. How do I make an appeal?"
Make a post about it in this thread
and 5P will take a look at it. Finished petitions are to be listed here
"This work is pretty much pure porn, but it's really good porn. Can an exception be made?"
Nope, sorry. If it's mainly porn, it goes.
"I heard some works were cut before the council was established. What's up with that?"
Where the administration was given strong reason to believe that works were not appropriate for this site, they have been cut on a "better safe than sorry" principle. Yes, this includes Lolita
, which was cut when it was reported as being in violation of the new content policy; this happened prior to the establishment of 5P and should not be taken as representative of the new policy. We understand that a lot of people are unhappy about this, but before you get up in arms, relax - 5P will be reviewing contested works to decide whether they get to stay, and that includes Lolita
"How will you ensure that the operation to remove the offending material is transparent?"
5P will hold their discussions in a publically viewable forum, here
. Although 5P will have the final say on what stays or goes, tropers will be able to politely contest and question decisions, and civil, reasonable concerns will be listened to and addressed.
"Does this affect There Is No Such Thing as Notability at all?"
No. Notability remains irrelevant to our aims; it is not a criterion we assess works by. However, that does not mean that we have no standards, only that notability is not one of them.
It's worth noting that, if a work is mainstream and can be discussed in polite company, it's very unlikely to be pornographic or a violation of our content policy. This has nothing to do with the notability of the work and everything to do with the standards of the society that produced it.
However, the argument "this work is purely porn, but it's really notable porn" is not going to hold water.
"Why would you cut this? In [culture x], it is totally acceptable."
The vast majority of our readers come from the Americas or Western Europe, so we will be adhering to what could broadly be termed "Western" standards. This means we will not be permitting works which sexualize 14 year olds, and nor will we be demanding that every picture of a woman on the site must wear a burqa.
"How can you possibly claim to know authorial intent? (Roland Barthes is my co-pilot.)"
Obviously, we're not claiming we can read minds. For any communication to be possible, we have to do some interpretation. If we can say that a work contains environmentalist themes, or feminist themes, or is trying to make you buy the latest games console, then we can say when, for example, a work was written to elicit sexual arousal.
I've seen the term Death of the Author
thrown around here. To the uninitiated, "Death of the Author" was a famous literary essay which criticised the practice of incorporating authorial intentions into a reading of a text. This concept and its application within critical theory have a complex history which has led to a lot of misconceptions, none of which is relevant here. It is not a statement of TV Tropes policy, and should not be taken as an excuse to disregard said policy, either. If you insist on treating the philosophical position that true communication is impossible as an excuse to ignore all context and freely interpret pornography or TV Tropes policy itself "against the grain", thereby undermining these rules, then I am afraid we will just have to ban you. The rules were made to be followed as intended, not to be creatively reinterpreted beforehand.
"Wikipedia have articles on all kinds of awful stuff. Why can't we do the same?"
Wikipedia is a strictly academic site. They have to cite sources and do not have a no-negativity rule. They also do not aim to be Family Friendly
, and are not reliant upon third party ads for funding. Stylistically, we are much less detached; while articles are not supposed to be gushy, one of our stated aims is to celebrate fiction, and our generally light, non-negative tone is a reflection of this.
We are also much smaller than Wikipedia, with fewer staff to maintain the site. This might not be an issue if it weren't for the reality that among certain tropers there does exist a tendency to gloss over problems with works which are plainly pornographic or which eroticize rape, paedophilia or torture, and these tropers not only fail to report this content, but will go to great lengths to make excuses for the works. If you care about this site and you do not wish to see its funding pulled, please don't do this. It absolutely doesn't help.
Unlike Wikipedia, we have a policy of non-negativity and non-notability, which if left unchecked enables the writing of articles about obscure, offensive works, which gives them publicity. Since listing criticisms of the works we trope is both negative and off-mission, we are unable to present a truly neutral perspective on these works, which creates the impression that we endorse them. This is not a problem Wikipedia has to concern itself with.
"So should I take every article here as an endorsement of whatever it describes?"
No, of course not. The other day I was asked whether we simultaneously endorse Ayn Rand
and Michael Moore
, which would obviously not be possible. However, the reality of the matter is that TV Tropes articles are written by tropers. The scope of our coverage is very, very broad, and we cannot possibly have pages on all of fiction. If we choose to focus our attention on schoolgirls' thighs or porn, it does reflect very poorly on us.
Fan Fic Recommendations
are a slightly different issue. If a work is recommended there, this should
be taken as an endorsement by the troper who wrote it.
"I still have some questions/concerns."
If you have questions and concerns not addressed here, we will be happy to answer them. There is a thread for this
edited 26th Oct '12 3:59:27 PM by BestOf