Okay, I don’t post here too often. I figure I’m allowed at least one petty, rambling lil’ rant of my own.
Anyone else frequent TV Tropes? Y’know, fun, time-consuming wiki of fiction’s cliches, storytelling devices, etc? Proll’y a couple others here.
Anyway, the site’s ad-supported, and Google (providing the banner ads) has gotten uppety in the past about “mature” content—articles mentioning sex, etc. They had to do some site-reorganization to get that all squared away so they could get ad revenue again.
Well, it seems a few days ago, someone complained about one of the articles again—apparently they had issue with the discussion of mollusks in eastern animation. i.e., pervy tentacles in anime—which got the ads temporarily pulled, again.
That sparked the site’s owner to enact a new site policy change, which basically involves axing anything “porn” related or linked—as the site put it, “Massive cut of work pages documenting works with alleged offensive contents or pedophile overtones. Many of these pages will be reviewed by a council being formed by the mods to determine whether they truly fall afoul of the no-pedophilia-friendly-works policy; if they don’t they will be restored.”
They didn’t actually announce any of this; I happened to stumble across it when looking for the fanfiction recommendations page updates—hey, in my defense, they often beat network TV—apparently the closest to an announcement or a discussion about it was in the TV Tropes forums, which you’d miss out on if you don’t visit regularly. (Which is another gripe entirely…)
So they cut stuff like the article on the novel Lolita (with a big ol “We do not want a page on this topic.” warning, in bold, in place of it), quite a few anime series’, some arthouse films, the fanfic recs (“Sorry, fanfiction recommendations have been shut down for now. We are removing anything which may connect us to porn. The recommendations may come back after we have had time to go through them in detail.”), etc.
Frankly, I’d have never noticed if they cut most of them, actually. Not that that’s something I’d like to say to defend censoring.
And worse, although there is discussion about the whole situation on the tropes forum (which I don’t really frequent—I think the SDMB has spoiled me, being based on decent software, well organized, and filled with approachable people. And being the bunch of freaks I know you all are, that’s saying something. ), despite a lot of objection by users, there seems to be a message of “Tropers who got taken by surprise by this should check in with the community in the forums to learn of decisions that could affect them” (okay, fair enough point, albeit one that’s a little irksome when I just browse the wiki fairly casually), combined with a dose of “well, this isn’t up for a vote, it’s done, and we’re just trying to do what’s best for the site in the situation we have.” Y’know, with that forming their council [del]of robot elders[/del] to keep out the “porn.” Plus a little salting of “if you don’t like the way it’s run, leave.”
Yeah, TV Tropes is privately owned, they can do whatever they want with their stuff. And the cold-blooded Machiavellian in me can at least understand the “oh, hell, our ad revenue is at risk—cut everything! Make broad insinuations about it being to keep out Pedophiles™ and keep it family-friendly; that’ll make objecting to it seem unseemly!” tactic.
But in the end, what’s that mean to me? Well, a website I enjoy just got whittled down, mostly in areas I don’t even notice, but on a principle and method I can’t approve of. And what’s going to happen next? That can’t be the last subject matter that someone will find objectionable, and’ll get shut down by fiat. What if the next one is something I actually like using or reading about?
Then, do I really even have a leg to stand on in objecting, practically or morally? I don’t own the site, I don’t run it, I don’t pay to use it. I’m just someone who reads the wiki. Even if I do try and make the effort to get involved with this community involved with it, what then? I’d still never have any influence in the decision-making behind the site’s policies; it seems very few people do, ultimately.
It’s just frustrating, disheartening. Something silly online I enjoy, that brightens my day a bit, is arbitrarily lessened, in a way and for reasons I utterly dislike, and there’s not much I (or possibly anyone) can do to help it, and I’m probably just a selfish dip for complaining about it. And it’s probably just going to keep getting worse in the future.
Bah. Maybe I just needed to vent, rant, get that off my chest, whatever. Let my inner doom-and-gloom melancholiac out for some air. Honestly, I kinda feel like I need a hug, a little.
Here’s to you, TV Tropes.