Dear fellow Tumblr Refugees
If you are disgusted by the #censorship that happened on #Tumblr and if you want to keep #Ello from suffering the same fate, please stop what you are doing right now and take the time to read what I'd like to share with you.
As most of you I'm new to Ello. When I set up my account a few days ago I noticed a sign next to the entrance, it read:
THE CREATORS NETWORK
Ello is a global community of artists dedicated to creative excellence. Built by artists, for artists."
To me this sounded like the promise of a beautiful garden, curated by a community of individuals who care for their "plants" and value and respect the work of their fellow members. – Curiously I opened the gates and entered the garden. I could already smell the flowers and see the lush green of creation all over this magic place. "Wouldn't it be fantastic to live and work here?", I thought to myself.
I had brought a few seeds of my own and was eager to see if they might sprout and flourish here. Before I got my spade out and dug a hole anywhere though, I decided to find out which spot would be suitable.
I found a little patch with my name on it and I noticed a little sign which said "Community Guidelines". It was written in a friendly and inclusive tone and it reminded me of Tumblr how it used to be many, many years ago.
Curiously I planted some of my seeds. I took the time to put little notes up telling the interested visitors what they are looking at. Then I went to bed, wondering how my work would be perceived.
When I woke up the next day I noticed I had had a few visitors. Some of them had liked my work and I felt appreciated. It felt good.
I was just planting some more seeds when suddenly THE GATES OF ELLO BURST OPEN WITH A BANG!
There were people pouring in, some had a bag of seeds in their hands, looking for a safe place to plant them, whilst others were hauling wheelbarrows, pushing everyone else aside. Their wheelbarrows were laden with ripped out plants from other gardens mixed in with some garbage that would take aeons to compost. As soon as they had found their patch of attributed Ello-Land they dumped their load in a big pile, got their Ghettoblasters out and started having a lewd party.
When @elloblog kindly reminded folks about the "Community Guidelines" (which they revised slightly over night – possibly in sheer panic), the uproar was huge. People started chanting ”We are refugees!!", "Stop censorship!", "You are as bad as Tumblr!", "How dare you!!".
I felt ashamed. Is this the community I tried to defend against Tumblr's efforts to #censor adult content? No, this can't be! Where are the #LGBTQ+ people, where are the #bodypositive people, where are the #sexworkers, my fellow #photographers and #models? – I realised they are hard to find. I guess they are somewhere here with me, in this mess that only a few days ago had seemed to be a promised land.
Why am I writing this?
Because I realised that the problem we are facing is not #censorship in the first place. It's our own #behaviour! WE are #responsible for our own actions on social media as well as in the real world. We might get away with bending the rules a bit (that's what art is really good at!), but if you BREAK the rules you'll end up in (a) prison.
Let me give you another example:
Imagine you are the parent of a teen and they ask you for the maximal personal freedom. Which teen would be likely to receive more freedom?
a) The one demanding it the loudest that actually never cared about your boundaries.
b) The one that asks kindly and has proven to be able to act responsibly in the past.
If we want to keep ELLO an environment where we are free from #oppression and #censorship we have to start behaving responsibly.
Here is what I'd like to propose/discuss with you, in order to make Ello our new beautiful home:
• If your posts are NSFW, mark your blog as NSFW accordingly
People who want to see NSFW stuff will have set their accounts to show it. We will not gain more followers or sympathy points by shoving NSFW content into the faces of the fainthearted or minors.
• Let's not litter, let's curate
Let's stop uploading images that are not our own. If we think an image is necessary for the community and we can't produce it ourselves, let's make sure we give credit to the source! Who took the image, where can we find their work.
• Let's not be dealers in stolen goods
If we come across images that we like but which are not properly credited, let's NOT reblog.
Instead I'd suggest to have a look at the blog who posted it. Depending on our findings we might contact the owner and ask them to credit the work OR add the source in the comments (if we happen to know it), OR even BLOCK/REPORT them.
• Who are we?
If we are a real person and are uploading our original content, let's tell our visitors in our bio and underneath our artworks. This will help everybody to quickly distinguish our work from (porn-)bots.
(Personal remark: If your blog is full of stolen, uncredited work and basically indistinguishable from a porn bot, I WILL BLOCK YOU WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE.)
• People are REAL, let's allways treat them with respect.
Even though this is the internet: The people on the other screen, or the model on a photo, are REAL people. They've got feelings and they deserve as much #respect as we do. Let's always keep that in mind when we comment, even if it is unlikely that the person on the photograph will ever hear or read that comment. Before we comment, let's imagine we are standing right in front of the person we are talking to/about.
(Personal remark: If you still think saying things like "I'd fuck her virgin arse until she screams." is appropriate, I WILL REPORT YOU WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE.)
• We have a voice. Let's use it.
If we come across something that upsets us, we should make ourselves heard in the comments. Freedom of speech is not a given, it has to be earned. Our ancestors fought for it... LITERALLY!
But also: Let's respect the opinion of others. Let's be sure we listen to what they have to say.
• I may add more points to the list in the future.
If you have any suggestions let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading, please share.<3
#gutenbild #opinion #freedomofspeech #tumblr #refugee #respect #photography #nsfw #swf #communicate #community #welcome #notwelcome #rules #guidelines @gabbyontherocks