(name subject to change if we can think of something catchier but easy to spell!)
Recently some longtime Topless Topics supporters and I were discussing what would be required to found our own Peertube instance for hosting videos containing nonsexual female nipples without the constant threat of getting arbitrarily banned for being “sexually explicit” (they’re not), and I realized that this idea can and should go beyond just Topless Topics–that the internet is FULL of creators and activists who are regularly shadowbanned, banned, or otherwise censored on mainstream, patriarchy-approved websites, often for no real reason at all, but without the support system of a real live moderator at Youtube, Facebook etc. to plead their case against getting banned.
And while we can and should continue to fight to raise sufficient awareness of these nonsensical, hypocritical bans on platforms that regularly let “famous” creators get away with a lot more egregiously “offending” content (like signing this Youtube petition that demands that Youtube moderators provide exact timecodes for parts of videos that allegedly break community guidelines, and give the creators the ability to edit out just those parts, rather than keep the entire video banned!: https://chng.it/CQTSyWgkdQ )–we should also face the reality that such progress on this front is likely to take years, if indeed it’s ever possible.
In the meantime, let’s hand the reins of content moderation so-called “offending” creators and their supporters, by carving out our own spaces for sharing our content–which leads to this:
Let’s establish a home where #normalizenudity supporters (as well as nudists/naturists), feminists, and activists for body positivity, LGBTQ+ Rights, Mental Health Awareness, Sexual Education and Advocacy, and other progressive ideals, to post our content freely–without the constant threat of being arbitrarily banned and/or having our entire accounts wiped out with the click of a button.
Let’s found the “Outcast Creator Collective.”
Keep reading to find out more about just what this means!~
What is the “Outcast Creator Collective”?
- The idea behind the Outcast Creator Collective is that it will be both a video host and a social media platform for creators and their supporters who have been pushed out of mainstream platforms for arbitrary, unfounded reasons like “sexually explicit” content (unmoving, untouched female nipples simply existing in the world), “hatespeech” (like saying maybe alt-right fascists shouldn’t be allowed to send death threats to transfolk online?), “medical disinformation” (like naming the growing death toll from Covid19, and suggesting that maaaybe it’s a bit premature to be dropping what few social-distancing and mask-wearing mandates we had in the first place?) and so on.
- What will set this website apart from other so-called anti-censorship online places is that racism, homo- and transphobia, conspiracy theory disinformation, etc will not be tolerated, as we want this to be a “safe space” for those who currently have no choice other than to suffer the mistreatment by such hate groups (even on mainstream platforms that claim not to allow such behavior), or simply not exist online at all.
- Posts by creators on our website will be free for anyone to view (unless you set your posts to different privacy options like followers-only, mentioned-accounts-only, etc), but only approved users will be able to create new posts, so you won’t have to risk logging into the site only to suddenly be faced with explicit porn, gore, violence, genocidal ideation, etc popping up into your timeline. This approval process will go quickly, and after a sufficient amount of time proving you’re not a troll (TBH, maybe six months, maybe a year) your posts will no longer be placed into an approval queue, and will instead post automatically.
- This sounds a bit tedious, but it will work out more easily than you think, and will do an amazing job of not letting the platform get taken over by nazis and trolls like so many mainstream (and especially “anything-goes” anti-censorship) platforms always do.
- Unlike most nudist/naturist focused websites, exhibitionism and erotic content will be allowed, simply not sexually-explicit content, and “sexually charged” content will be hidden behind creator-ordained Content Warnings per post, not per account. (More details about what “sexually explicit” means can be found at the bottom of this page).
What is required to found this “haven for rejected creators”?
To put it simply: money.
As much as we hate having to e-beg (and trust me, we very much do), “free” platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram etc are simply not an option for us, which is what necessitates this idea in the first place. They’re also not truly “free”–what you are selling is all your private data, which websites then sell to corporations and advertisers to bombard you with spam, track your online purchases, and much more. These content analytics are also used to guide you towards content that you are more likely to click on, which often leads directly towards radicalization you would not otherwise favor, for example: Qanon and other such conspiracies.
Thus, instead of falling for the same pitfalls of targeted advertising and harmful extremist radicalization, we need to come up with a different way to pay for the video and social media hosting, as well as other tech-focused costs that go with running a platform, through crowdfunding–soliciting donations directly from the users of said platform.
With web hosting especially, having the space to upload content requires a regular “subscription” cost–money that is used to reserve the space on the servers where the uploaded content is stored. Since relying on monthly or otherwise periodic donations by users to keep these servers reserved is unreliable–and we would lose everything if we were to skip a single payment–it makes more sense for us to first collect the capital needed for the first, say, year of hosting, then hope that we can encourage enough users to visit the site and become donors to keep the content hosted after the first year is up.
As we work on this server idea, we can think of different ways to encourage such donations–things like donor perks (signed physical prints of creators, video shout-outs, etc), sellable items (T-shirts, cell phone cases and other branded merchandise, digital and printed photography, custom illustrations and drawing requests, etc), access to donor-only events like private (nonsexual) livestreams, public get-togethers (maybe someday our own convention!!!), and who knows what else.
What specific costs are required to fund this venture?
As with most of this idea so far, the exact amounts are still to be determined, based on interest in this idea and what we think we can realistically fundraise before making any final decisions.
For now, the plan is to hire the creator of the TROM peertube instance which is where Topless Topics uncensored videos are currently being housed, to rent the server and create the website platform under his “WebApe” developer and designer business: https://webape.site/
- The medium platform most likely required for the website itself is the WordPress Bonobo level package (70€ or currently about $74 per month)
- video hosting would require at the least the
“What does “Sexually Explicit” mean?
(I will fill this section out more thoroughly later when I have more time, here’s just a basic overview to get us started)
- Basically, the difference between “erotic/sexually charged” content and “depicting actual sexua acts.” On most mainstream websites, unfortunately the two are conflated as one in the same, and almost all (make that all) mainstream websites also include “female nipples” but not “male nipples” in that same “sexually explicit” category.
- Instead, we at the Outcast Creator Collective would understand that there is a more nuanced view of what is considered “sexually explicit”–though not nearly so hard to understand as the mainstream websites pretend it is.
- Examples of content that we would NOT ban as “sexually explicit” would include:
- Simply existing nude/without clothing, and certainly without censorship applied only to certain genders (the way it currently is in our misogynistic, transphobic puritanical-patriarchy-approved society)
- Nude art, imagery, illustrations, video recordings, etc (see: any naturist documentary, news coverage of a public topless equality protest, etc).
- Photography, illustration and videos that are “sexually suggestive”/”erotic” but NOT explicit (posts would merely be required to be self-censored under a Content Warning blur–users only need to click on the post to see the content without censorship blur. See next category for examples of what does count as “explicit”)
- Content that is “sexually explicit,” and would not be permitted on our site:
- imagery and video depicting sexual acts, like body parts entering orifices (penises, fingers, fists, whatever, into vaginas, mouths, so on)
- camera angles pointed directly at genitalia, unless it’s for a very specific reason that is not obviously intended to elicit a sexual response (no “money shots” straight down vaginas, or hands stroking erect penises, etc)
- Keep in mind that content doesnt need to contain nudity to be “sexually explicit”–even if the actual penis and vagina are hidden from view under a blanket, etc, content that is clearly depicting a sexual act will not be permitted
- Links to sexually explicit content are allowed, as long as the link is 1. placed under a content warning, 2. described in clear terms that it shows the described sexually explicit act or imagery, and 3. must be contained within the context of a larger purpose–such as a sex worker alerting followers that she has a new video up on Pornhub, etc. Again, links to outside content only will be permitted under these circumstances, as long as they follow the above stipulations–sexually explicit content will not be hosted on the website itself. Nor can sexually explicit content be embedded to a post so that viewers do not have to follow a link to see the content on the site where it is hosted. For more explanation on what “linked to” vs “hosted,” here is an explanation: https://www.greengeeks.com/tutorials/the-difference-between-embedding-and-uploading-a-video-in-wordpress/
The reason for having such strict rules about “sexually suggestive” vs “sexually explicit” content is that we want this space to be supportive of sex workers and sexual educators, without simply becoming a “porn site” where users come and use up bandwidth just to watch explicit acts they could view elsewhere, and also to protect users interested in normalizing nudity, discussing nudism, etc, without unwanted sexually explicit imagery appearing in recommended posts, sidebars, etc as it does on sites that allow nudity as well as sexually explicit content (like the graphic repeating GIFs advertising videos and other porn sites on any porn site you can look up on your own).
If you are unclear if a post would be considered “sexually explicit” or not, you can ask other users for clarification, either in a social media post that contains a description of the intended post (but not the content itself), or by asking in the Outcast Creator Collective chatroom (TBD–probably one on Discord, and another on Matrix, Signal, or a similarly decentralized chat platform)
(Later, I will put up graphics that will clearly show the difference between sexually explicit and non-sexually explicit nudity, for those who are still unclear on the differences!)
Have a suggestion for changing/amending the rules for what content we should and shouldn’t allow? Maybe a suggestion for types of incentives to offer for the donations required to fund such a website? Use this feedback forum to share it with us!