I was planning to post new fiction today, but I never had the chance to edit. Between scrolling through thousands of posts on Tumblr to check for erroneous “NSFW” flags, making alternate accounts, backing up blogs and general unhappiness, my hands and shoulder are horrible. Stress, unsurprisingly, is a pain trigger, and I put my hands through hell in trying to catch Tumblr’s mistakes.
(Until last night, I didn’t even have a functioning chronic pain tag in which to post about said chronic pain flare. I am pleased that it has been returned to us; I am not pleased that Tumblr hasn’t acknowledged the damage caused by denying disabled people access to this tag.)
Mermaid sequin pillows, pencil cases, slime, squishies, chew pendants, text posts about aro autistics discussing our creativity and a post advertising Their Courts of Crows were flagged as NSFW. Everything flagged as explicit, despite being worksafe content, was for or about queer, autistic, aromantic, disabled and trans people. My posts seem to have become unflagged since I reported them, but I have no reason to trust that Tumblr will remain a safe space for marginalised content creators.
People who haven’t violated Tumblr’s new restrictions can’t trust Tumblr as a reliable host for our content. Where does that leave everyone else?
To be clear, I don’t and won’t support the banning of appropriately flagged, cut and tagged legal (by Australian reckoning) NSFW content. I have zero interest in porn, but explicit creatives deserve space on the internet. That outsiders view Tumblr as a hotbed of porn startles me: in six years of using Tumblr, I’ve never seen an untagged, unblacklisted explicit post on my dashboard. I have been exposed to explicit usernames and avatars/icons by the porn bots who follow my blogs and leave spamming comments on my posts, but I have no interaction with explicit content created by legitimate bloggers. I rarely venture into tags (mostly aro-spec tags for @aroworlds content) and I only follow (generally) SFW blogs, so more adventurous folks may have a different experience. As far as I’m concerned, it isn’t difficult to have a porn-free Tumblr experience if only Tumblr does something about the porn bots. I’d rather that Tumblr, in addition to taking action with regards child porn and spam accounts, turn its energies towards hate speech and a rampant culture of suicide baiting and bullying.
Sex workers and legitimate creators of legal explicit content do not endanger me on Tumblr. They never have. If you’re tagging and flagging content so I don’t see it, and you follow me from a main blog with a SFW username and avatar so I’m not exposed to unconsenting explicit content on my activity page, I have no problem with your existence.
Yet Tumblr has proven that it won’t put money into implementing more accurate screening methods in order to protect the users it claims it wishes to keep. Tumblr has dictated what is and isn’t allowable, but it’s breaking its own rules in its hamfisted approach to flagging content. Why should I trust that? Well, I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t.
I’ve made a Twitter account (despite my pathological inability to brevity) under my @aroworlds handle. I don’t expect to often use it, but it exists. I’ve also returned to Dreamwidth as k_a_cook to create a fiction-and-personal-posts archive. Having so many blogs means my fiction posts get scattered, as I post them in various places depending on the length and theme. (Long fiction is best posted here, but short and flash fiction gets a better response on Tumblr.) So I’m posting everything there as an archive (with the side benefit of a friends-lockable platform) so nothing goes down with any one platform.
I’ve also signed up for a Pillowfort code, and I want to say a huge thank you to the couple of people who kindly bought me a ko-fi, for I wouldn’t have been able to pay the $5 USD without it. I’m not sure how much I’ll use Pillowfort, yet, but it does seem like it will combine the best features of LiveJournal/Dreamwidth and Tumblr.
Additionally, I’m coming up on two years of running @stimtoybox. I don’t regret this blog; I’ve learnt a good deal from it. Unfortunately, it does me little benefit in the sense that it takes my time and energy away from my writing. It has no connection to my main purpose online and I get little interest when I post my fiction there. I’m also at a point where I have enough stim toys and don’t want to buy only for reviewing purposes. I’m thinking, therefore, that I’ll cut back to posting only when I feel like doing so. This need to find and review content just to keep the queue filled for a blog I’m not that active on is exhausting me.
This said, I don’t want to lose my reviews, tutorials and information posts. For this reason, I’m starting to post my original content on WordPress. If you’re interested in stim toys but dislike Tumblr, I’ll be posting once a day for as long as I have the spoons to format and queue my old reviews, tutorials and informative posts. In future, I’ll be posting reviews to both sites.
Lastly, if you are still staying on board the Tumblr ship, I started a blog called @alloaroworlds, for collecting and archiving any allosexual aromantic content I find on Tumblr. Allo-aro-specific posts tend to get lost among general aro-spec blogs and discussions. So this blog aims to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, so to speak.
I think that’s it! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you at any of the aforementioned accounts!