Angela | 22yrs | aro-ace

I like kpop


A Critique on Tumblr's Community Guidelines.

(I apologize for the length…but I believe this to be important for all tumblr users and could not leave anything significant out)

I really do not like the language here. Tumblr staff say they’re “very proud” of the documents they’ve created but they seriously look like they were drawn up by a bunch of middle-schoolers. Let’s review some of them.

"What Tumblr is for"

  • "Tumblr celebrates creativity. We want you to express yourself freely and use Tumblr to reflect who you are, and what you love, think, witness, and believe."

"What Tumblr is not for"

  • Malicious Bigotry. Don’t actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. While we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech, we will take down malicious bigotry, as defined here.

Yeah. A lot of us are against malicious bigotry. We report harassment blogs all the time - yet they don’t get removed for quite some time if at all. However some bloggers aren’t dedicated to malicious bigotry - they just happened to be run by bigots. We like confronting them and educating tumblr users as to why things are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. “we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech” - but that’s what you’re doing. You’re censoring our ability to stand up for ourselves and you’re censoring others’ abilities to learn. The words are too vague here. What I think of malicious bigotry is a blog dedicated to it. Where do you draw the line? 

  • Harm to Minors. Be thoughtful when posting anything involving a minor. Don’t post anything relating to minors that is sexually suggestive or violent. Don’t bully minors, even if you are one. Life as a teenager is hard enough without the fear, anguish, and isolation caused by online bullying.

I agree. There are quite a lot of creepy people on the internet that prey on minors. That type of content and behavior should be stopped right away. Bullying though is much harder to handle - again - where do you draw the line between someone being maliciously bullied and someone just being mean? I’ve seen people on here get bullied pretty harshly by people who have never gotten banned for it. I’ve seen others who were perhaps obnoxious but did not actively participate in bullying get their accounts suspended. Bullying is a monster that no social networking site has been able to tackle. I’m not saying that we can’t take steps to prevent cyber-bullying, but, simply suspending blogs for it isn’t going to stop cyber bullying on this site. Not at all. Do something more worthwhile. Invest in PSAs, let your wonderful users work to end bullying through education and awareness - we already try our best to do that.

  •  Promotion and Glorification of Self-Harm. Don’t post content that actively promotes or glorifies self-harm. This includes content that urges or encourages readers to cut or injure themselves; embrace anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders; or commit suicide rather than, e.g., seeking counseling or treatment, or joining together in supportive conversation with those suffering or recovering from depression or other conditions. Dialogue about these behaviors is incredibly important and online communities can be extraordinarily helpful to people struggling with these difficult conditions. We aim to sustain Tumblr as a place that facilitates awareness, support and recovery, and to remove only those blogs that cross the line into active promotion or glorification of self-harm.

This is one thing in these guidelines I agree with 100%. There are many blogs that actively support self-harm and there are many unhealthy thinspo blogs online. Should you decide to suspend users that promote thinspo or self-harm, I would hope you’d give those users resources to help them with their battles with anorexia, bulimia, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, etc. Some of the people who run those kinds of blogs are suffering themselves and they need help.

  • Gore and Mutilation Content. Don’t post gore just to be shocking. Don’t showcase the mutilation or torture of human beings, animals, or their remains.

I’m assuming this means to not use gore and mutilation as an attention seeking device. There are many users that do this and it disgust me that people spread these types of posts around - especially the “if you don’t reblog this (severed head of a dog for animal abuse awareness) you don’t have a heart.” It is about time you did something about these kinds of posts tumblr staff.

  • Unflagged NSFW Blogs. Tumblr is home to millions of readers and bloggers from a variety of locations, cultures, and backgrounds with different points of view concerning adult-oriented content. If you regularly post sexual or adult-oriented content, respect the choices of people in our community who would rather not see such content by flagging your blog (which you can do from the Settings page of each blog) as Not Suitable for Work (“NSFW”). This action does not prevent you and your readers from using any of Tumblr’s social features, but rather allows Tumblr users who don’t want to see NSFW content to avoid seeing it.

"Tumblr is home to millions of readers and bloggers from a variety of locations, cultures, and backgrounds with different points of view concerning adult-oriented content" - exactly, so how do you define NSFW. People are already able to block content they consider to be “NSFW” using tumblr savior and missing-e’s ‘safe dash.’ I could understand if blogs are dedicated to posting NSFW content they should flag their blogs as such…but not all blogs that may make a “NSFW” post or reblog one…are dedicated to “NSFW” content. 

  • Uploading Sexually Explicit Video. You can embed anything as long as it follows the other guidelines on this page. But please don’t use Tumblr’s Upload Video feature to host any sexually explicit videos. We’re not in the business of profiting from adult-oriented videos and hosting this stuff is fucking expensive. You can use services like to host those instead.

Okay so here you really need to be specific tumblr staff. You can say it: pornography. If you don’t say it outright, we don’t know what you mean by “sexually explicit.” Also, very nice of you staff for including expletives in your oh so professional community guidelines. 

  • Non-Genuine Social Gesture Schemes. Don’t participate in schemes to gain non-genuine gestures like follows or reblogs. Don’t orchestrate or engage in “follow trains,” where users are encouraged to follow lists of other users to gain more followers for themselves. Don’t scatter deceptive links to your blog or Follow pages. Don’t make bulk or indiscriminate use of messaging features like Fan Mail or Asks to bait followers.

I agree this kind of behavior is really annoying but why would you even consider this an important thing to monitor? A lot of the non-genuine attempts to gain reblogs and followers use gore and mutilation - such as animal abuse or human torture - to falsely raise awareness. Going by your earlier statement “Don’t post gore just to be shocking. Don’t showcase the mutilation or torture of human beings, animals, or their remains,” you wouldn’t have to be worried about this rather silly guideline. If we think that there are blogs that people would be interested in following, we will make lists. I’ve found friends through “follow lists.” They don’t say you have to follow them. They are a suggestion.  

  • Username and URL Abuse. Tumblr’s URLs (usernames) are for the use and enjoyment of our users. Don’t squat, hoard, collect, trade, or sell Tumblr URLs, and don’t register a URL for the purpose of impersonating an individual, organization, or brand.

I agree that people shouldn’t be buying and selling URLs. That’s just plain stupidity. Personally, I’ve never seen this happen. I’ve seen people squat, hoard, or collect usernames before. In excess, it can be obnoxious but there are many users who would like to change their name temporarily but would like to make sure their old username is not taken. They have the intent of returning to that username. If they don’t save it - it can be taken. This poses a problem for many users. Especially when other bloggers try to imitate the original owners of that username. It sounds silly, but it feels like one’s identity has been stolen. It’d be nice if we were allowed to protect our online personas. 

-I agree with their spam and mass registration and automation guidelines, therefore I am skipping them-

  • Unauthorized Sweepstakes or Giveaways. Everyone wants to be a winner, but there are many reasons (including legal ones) why Tumblr can’t be used for sweepstakes without our involvement and consent. If you’re planning something like this, let us know.

There are many giveaways going around tumblr. I even won a giveaway once. I don’t mind if you have to authorize a giveaway too much but I don’t like the wording “without our involvement.” In no way do I think the staff should take part in creating the giveaway guidelines or profiting from giveaways. A lot of giveaways are small. Some may be run by actual stores who have tumblr blogs. ex. Fredflare. We are more than capable of coming up with the terms for our giveaways. Tumblr is just the platform we use for the giveaways. Don’t be vague, if there are many valid reasons as to why tumblr shouldn’t have giveaways hosted on it - tell us why.  

  • Third-Party Theme Distribution. To manage the safety and stability of blog themes, the vast majority of which are contributed by the Tumblr community, it’s important that themes are distributed through our centralized Theme Garden. Third-party theme directories are often used to inject nefarious code that results in spam, ads, or phishing attacks. Since anyone can host and promote their themes in the Theme Garden, don’t create or use third-party services to distribute source code for Tumblr themes. Creating blogs or directories that curate themes in the Theme Garden is a-okay.

This is just bull. No one wants to use your theme garden tumblr staff. First of all, you have very limited themes that we don’t have to pay for. Second of all, the majority of your themes are limited in terms of ability to customize. Third of all, the majority of the themes in the theme garden frankly are butt-ugly. Stop blaming creative and innovating users for your inability to prevent spamming and phishing. There are many theme creators that are very good at what they do and are very responsible in what they do. You’re demonizing a lot of innocent users with this crap.

-I’m also skipping the copyright community guideline…I understand most social networking sites have one and deem them legally necessary. You don’t have to agree with them because in many cases I don’t…but this is a universal thing-

  • Impersonation, Stalking, or Harassment. Treat the community the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t attempt to circumvent the Block feature. If you want to parody or ridicule a public figure (and who doesn’t?), don’t try to trick readers into thinking you are actually that public figure.

Tumblr, tumblr, tumblr… Harassment is annoying and hurtful. Stalking is dangerous. We know that. We’ve spread the block feature around to stop users that have maliciously harassed or stalked other users. We protect our past usernames to avoid impersonators - yet you’re not letting us do that anymore. A lot of this is common sense but this kind of behavior is not going to stop solely because it’s stated in the guidelines and again - where do you draw the line? We feel, as users, that we’re not listened to. That’s dangerous. It takes a lot of us to bring down a dangerous blog yet it doesn’t take much at all for tumblr staff to suspend a blog some consider slightly irritating. 

-I’ll be also skipping the privacy violations. This is important for all social networking sites to have and I personally agree with this guideline-

  • Disruptions, Exploits, and Resource Abuse. Our servers and the valiant engineers that support them work hard for you. Don’t attempt unauthorized use, disruption, or exploitation of or our other products and services, or otherwise abuse Tumblr’s resources.

I’m assuming this is meant to be against the use of xkit, missing-e, unfollow hater, greasemonkey, stylish, tumblr savior, etc. I’ll go back to what I’ve said before. Chrome and Firefox are great browsers in that they embrace user creativity and ingenuity. This has lead to the immense popularity of these browsers and greater browser efficiency. Tumblr seems to loath its creative users.

These add-ons and extensions have made tumblr into a better place. Heck, missing-e has come up with features that tumblr staff have not yet even thought of developing. These downloadable features have allowed for better usability of this site, better communication, better blocking of triggering content that is harmful to your users, better customization, etc. If you want tumblr to be closer to a utopia of a social networking site, these programs do it for you. The developers of programs like missing-e are always helpful to users. While tumblr staff refuse to help users who have missing-e installed solve problems that are inherently tumblr’s fault - the guy over at missing-e will answer all our questions and will honestly tell us whether or not recent bugs are related to tumblr or missing-e.  

-Skipping the last guideline. It is common sense for tumblr to not support illegal behavior-

I feel like you’re trying to make tumblr into a utopia but it’s not. No policies you create will stop any of the social ills that you’re so against from invading this site. We can fight hateful speech with more speech but you’re basically taking that away from us. I agree that blogs that pose a significant threat to our health and safety should be removed: spammers, pedophiles, thinspo, pro-self harm, pro-suicide, hate-speech dedicated blogs etc. In the past we’ve tried our best to get these kinds of blogs suspended but instead I’ve seen many blogs that are not dedicated to any of the above get suspended for petty violations.

"Tumblr celebrates creativity. We want you to express yourself freely and use Tumblr to reflect who you are, and what you love, think, witness, and believe."

The sad thing is no you don’t. Your users create so many positive things and are punished for doing so and you don’t have the best history with deleting hate-filled and disgusting blogs without a big enough out-cry.