So now that I’ve decided to bite the bullet and make a FL account with limited identifying information (ETA: b/c as I’ve mentioned, there are local groups whose meetup schedules are exclusively posted on FL), iiiiiiiii’m even more annoyed at this whole deal of aces rec’ing the place to other aces with zero warnings about it, ’cause on top of everything else —

if you’re an ace yourself, I expect you to know that sex-repulsed aces exist.  If you’re an ace yourself, I expect you to get that people might want to limit or avoid exposure to porn, or at least be informed about it before it’s thrown into their face.

  • you can’t just assume that these total strangers you’re making these recs to are okay with seeing that at any/all times
  • you can’t just assume consenting to join a kink social network = automatic consent to constant porn on your screen the whole time you’re on the site with surprise instances of even more porn
  • you can’t! just! assume! that everyone! has! adblocker!

What the actual hell.

This is basic common courtesy, esp. for the ace community.  Warn people about sexual content in the things you’re directing them to.

Context/info for people who want to know: there are sidebar ads on Fetlife on pretty much every page (not sure if every page, but definitely on the landing pages & the basic areas of the site you’ll come to even if you don’t do much exploring).  If these ads were just technically NSFW, that’d be one thing (say, images of dildos, bondage gear, etc. as just the items themselves, maybe some suggestive partial nudity), but there’s also pretty regular instances of actual sexual imagery, like closeups of genitalia and pictures of people in the middle of having sex.

Those, at least, can be eliminated with an adblocker.

And if you’re an un-fan of nudity, seems best to avoid KNP (Kinky and Popular) as well, which is basically the trending topics page.

The one thing I have yet to find a workaround for: there are also some people who have graphic nude pics/sex pics as their avatar images.  Even if you never visit another person’s profile, these’ll show up anywhere there’s a list of users, such as on the members tab on a group or if you click a specified “fetish” link (esp. relevant because you end up on this “users who are also into” page even if all you’re trying to do is set a certain “fetish” as a hard limit, i.e. a Do Not Want).  Anyway, I know of no option to disable images or anything like that. [edit: Hezekiah has a suggestion!  I didn’t find the Stylish script, but I did find this and this.]

So, to review: if you don’t want to see porn, externally block the ads, don’t look at trending topics, don’t go on discussion tabs/message boards, don’t look at profiles, don’t look at the members of groups, and don’t use the site’s options for specifying your own interests.

Basically despite having “asexual” as a drop-down orientation option, Fetlife is really inhospitable an environs for anyone who doesn’t want visuals of genital interaction on a constant/random basis.

Filed under: things an asexual recommending Fetlife to other asexuals should have said before me.

[edit: see also lyricalagony’s commentary on Fetlife’s activity feed & its platform effect.]

10 responses to “⚀⚁⚂

  • Alex Black

    Wow. Okay. This is less than encouraging. Thanks for the thorough info about what to expect on FL, though.

  • doubleinvert

    Also, FL has a wall/news feed just like Facebook. If anyone you’re connected with posts pictures, those will show up in your feed and there doesn’t seem to be a way to prevent this from happening. This is in addition to the Kinky and Popular feed.

  • Sennkestra

    The other thing to be wary of on fetlife is that in some ways it’s less like facebook and more like a dating site in that there’s a good chance that you will eventually be solicited by random strangers for hookups/roleplay/etc (probably more likely if you are female, have pics, are a sub, and/or are active in a lot of groups). The actual content of the messages isn’t necessarily much worse than a regular dating site, but I it’s pretty annoying if that’s not what you were joining the site for.

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    There is a Stylish user script (the Stylish addon) for FL that is called Safe for Work and it makes it so that pictures don’t show unless you mouseover them. I used it when I was still on FL, and when I realized that the only thing keeping me on FL was the Pokemon trades community, I decided to deactivate my account and find Pokemon trades elsewhere.

    • Coyote

      :D :D :D :D Thanks for the tip!

    • Kat

      A couple of alternative options if that solution doesn’t work for some people: many adblockers have the ability to create custom rule-sets that let you block images/content with varying degrees of specificity (e.g. you can block all comments on youtube, all images from a website, etc).

      Also, I don’t know about the specifics of FL’s back end code, but another possible solution is to use the RequestPolicy add-on, which controls the way the one website can access another. Quite a few sites which post user content will have images stored at a separate website (i.e. a content delivery network, often named “website name + cdn.com”) and so can be easily filtered out. This makes it a good general purpose blocking tool. On the other hand, it’s powerful enough that some sites will require micromanaging permissions to function normally, so it might be overkill. Basically, I’d suggest using a customized adblock if there is a small amount of content you can’t otherwise block, or RequestPolicy if this a more general concern.

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