To publicize a potentially disturbing site? March 12, 2002 9:23 AM   Subscribe

A real quandary here, folks. While Googling for "kisses of love" I found a site called Butterfly Kisses dedicated to lesbian paedophilia. It's very slickly produced and contains lots of photographs by celebrated photographers such as Sally Mann. This makes it all the more disturbing.

I was planning on posting it but somehow I feel put off by publicizing it. I'm reminded of the ethical problems associated with posting nutjob political sites. On the one hand, perhaps posting the site on MetaFilter will make it be denounced and go underground(which would be a good thing, IMO). On the other, it might just draw attention to something best left alone.

Though I'm aware MetaTalk is read by a lot of people, it doesn't attract as many readers as MetaFilter. What should I do? Post it or forget about it?
posted by MiguelCardoso to Etiquette/Policy at 9:23 AM (191 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Lesbian paedophilia. Wow. Call me naive, but I had no idea such a thing was out there. And, I'm just guessing here, but I'd bet that Anne Geddes doesn't know that she's being talked about there or else she'd use some of that "Sleeping Baby" money to hire her some lawyers.

Wow. I don't know, Miguel. I can't imagine what kind of dialogue this site would elicit.

It's your call, but I--personally--wouldn't want to bring this to the table.
posted by ColdChef at 9:34 AM on March 12, 2002


i don't know Miguel. I don't care if its lesbian paedophilia or a site for dirty old men. There is too much good in the world, and too many good things online to waste space, time, and effort on the twisted stuff. It would never end....and i definately don't need people here feeling like its ok to post that sort of material. How about finding a written article about it that outlines societal impact? I'd be much more interested in that.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:34 AM on March 12, 2002


FWIW, I sent an email to Anne Geddes to know that her stuff was being used on this site. (the article on her comes verbatim from her own site)

Unleash the lawyers from sleeping baby hell!
posted by ColdChef at 9:41 AM on March 12, 2002


Wow, I do not think it is worth it. I am attempting to balance the pros/cons here and I do not think it should posted. I'm not a lawyer (yet!) but I would not in any way want to open up Matt to any chance of liablity over something like this. Maybe IPLawyer can help on this one.
Beyond the possible liabilty issue...I can see the possibility of good discussion but it is just way to dicey.
posted by anathema at 9:42 AM on March 12, 2002


OK, that's three opinions I trust and that's enough for me. The reason I hesitated was that it looks like a real PR-driven thing, with media kits, legitimation by artists and a political agenda. I fear this may be an issue about to turn up as a civil liberties thing. I.e. not at all like porn. But you're both right.

It's OK with me if the thread is deleted. Thanks. The "There is too much good in the world" is a great argument and the counter-argument that sometimes good means fighting what's bad isn't as convincing, community-weblog-wise.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:45 AM on March 12, 2002


So, you just linked this from MeTa, increasing its Google PageRank against other lesbian paedophiliac sites?

That's some sort of DCSA, SSSCA, COPA or FIA violation right there, FYI (IANAL).

:-)
posted by costas at 9:47 AM on March 12, 2002


You should email The Matt™ and ask him to nuke this thread, before the hit count at "that site" goes through the roof.
posted by ColdChef at 9:48 AM on March 12, 2002


Damn. Whoever is running this site is going to get nailed BIG TIME. Beyond the subject matter, they have done some serious violating of §17 USC (Copyright Act). They have wilfully infringed which carries much harsher penalities...I think we may be talking about this here for a while.
posted by anathema at 9:49 AM on March 12, 2002


Matt...DO NOT TAKE ANY CHANCES WITH THIS! GET RID OF IT.
(REMEMBER, I AM NOT A LAWYER.
ADVICE IS STRICTLY NON-PROFESSIONAL.
I ASSUME NO LIABILTY RELATED TO ANY USE OF THIS INFORMATION.)


posted by anathema at 9:52 AM on March 12, 2002


Post it already. The collective neurosis on this subject is really keeping down the discourse in open society. Yes, I'm sure we can all agree this is wrong, but ignoring it for the "good of the world" is laughable. There are some real issues behind pedophilia, like law enforcement, criminal or psychological, proper treatment, Megan's Law, etc.

Miguel, you have no problem with posts about mass-murder, war, or the latest horrific crime, but when it comes down to something so tabooed you're backing off?

The reason I hesitated was that it looks like a real PR-driven thing, with media kits, legitimation by artists and a political agenda. I fear this may be an issue about to turn up as a civil liberties thing.

Yeah, political agendas and civil liberties are almost never brought up at metafilter.

posted by skallas at 9:54 AM on March 12, 2002


Yes, I'm sure we can all agree this is wrong

That's my concern. I'm sure that there are probably "some" people here that wouldn't feel it's "wrong." And my point was not that it wasn't something that deserves valid discussion.

I just said that I wouldn't want to give this to the community. If Miguel feels comfortable offering this site up to the group, then he should.

But I'm planning on stepping back from this one. It gives me the creeps.
posted by ColdChef at 9:59 AM on March 12, 2002


There is a huge difference skallas. There is no gray area of law with talking about politics, war, etc. But, linking to this site is totally different. I am just thinking about Matt here (and all of us collectively I guess). I am talking about legal action here skallas. Of course, in an ideal world, we could discuss and link and share etc. BUT, this could be WAY more trouble than it's worth. I don't think Matt should be used as a test case without consulting him first!
posted by anathema at 10:03 AM on March 12, 2002


OK, I've emailed Matt. I suggested he might nix the link and all the references to it so the discussion could continue. People will just have to take our word about it. No need to look at the damn thing. It's enough to know it's a wide-open site, no barriers or disclaimers, and is very smoothly produced.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:07 AM on March 12, 2002


Take it easy, anathema. There's nothing illegal about linking to a site in this context, with all reservations perfectly clear and the original post being my responsibility alone.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:09 AM on March 12, 2002


I am talking about legal action here skallas.

Are you talking about just linking there? According to google there's 83 pages that link to Nambla and two for this site, including the portal of evil.
posted by skallas at 10:11 AM on March 12, 2002


OK--I may be wrong. I may have overreacted.
posted by anathema at 10:15 AM on March 12, 2002


Have to agree with skallas here... I'm sure many of us find links to holocaust sites, or graphic imagery from 9/11 unsettling at the least, but they're still valid points of discussion. If you want to ask to have the topic removed, feel free, but I'd like to think that most of the people involved in this site are mature enough to have a proper discussion of the issues involved.

As for the link itself, if there's anything illegal about linking to a page without profanity, or explicitly illegal sexual imagery (the front page image is fairly wholesome, if you ignore the context), I'd love to see the case law.
posted by Jairus at 10:17 AM on March 12, 2002


original post being my responsibility alone.

Actually Miguel I don't think it is your responsibility alone. Matt moderates this site enough so that what is posted is partially his responsibility. We really need IPLawyer for this one. I am just a reactionary law student. You guys rock.
posted by anathema at 10:19 AM on March 12, 2002


That's OK, anathema - your reaction was the same as my hesitation. The MetaFilter sleuths are really needed here. Who owns the site? When was it registered? Who's paying for it? How come they have so many distinguished photographers' work, otherwise only available in art books and catalogues raisonées? Are there any connections with Nambla? (Another thing I'd never heard of till today). What are the reactions from the lesbian community? Does the law even forbid lesbian paedophilia?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:20 AM on March 12, 2002


What's most unsettling to me, as evinced by their contacts page and their general tone, is how confident they are that they're well within their rights.

Jairus: you're right about the imagery. But how important is context? And the personal stories posted there(which I didn't read, but judging by their titles)are certainly intended erotically. As for the mother/daughter stuff(I am the father of two girls)it's creepy as hell too.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:28 AM on March 12, 2002


Sounds like the issue is already resolved, and I certainly wouldn't object to you not posting the link, Miguel, but for what it's worth I don't think you should refrain from doing so just out of fear of giving them attention. It's not true that any publicity is good publicity; for instance merely by posting the question of whether or not to put it on the front page, you've brought about a series of events that will probably result in the removal of some material on their site, if not legal action against them.

And besides, it's out there whether we acknowledge it or not; let's not just ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist.
posted by Hildago at 10:29 AM on March 12, 2002


I just saw the frontpage of that site, I didn't dare click on any of the links. The picture on the frontpage looks wholesome as Jairus points out up above, but since we know what the site is about, it's just not right.
posted by riffola at 10:35 AM on March 12, 2002


anathema: IP Lawyer is an Intellectual Property Lawyer, as far as I'm aware, and unless he/she has studied digital paedophilia law, I don't see why his/her opinion is more relevant than anyone else's.

As far as liability and electronic board postings go, Prodigy was held responsible once for a post made by a member, but only because of its publicly announced moderation policy.. And that ruling was later overturned.

Miguel: It may be creepy as hell, but a quick trip to the ASSTR or any other erotica site will show you just how widespread these types of stories are. As works of fiction, there's nothing legally objectionable there.
posted by Jairus at 10:35 AM on March 12, 2002


The right thing to do would have been to email Matt and ask his advice up front. You're pretending that you're not posting the link by posting it here instead of to MeFi, but you went ahead and posted the link. That's hypocritical. If it's a pedophilia site, there are clearly legal and moral problems, and what can possibly be gained by giving it exposure? If you simply wanted a discussion about the issue, the link was completely unnecessary. You're in effect saying, "I'm being good by not posting this terrible thing. (psssst, here it is)"

Trying to draw an analogy between a pedophilia site and a 9/11 or holocaust site is absurd. If people can't see the difference between reporting on a historical disaster or atrocity and exploiting children, then they have a serious logical deficiency.
posted by anapestic at 10:41 AM on March 12, 2002


I still think IPLawyer could help, or maybe the MeFi'er attorney from Maryland (or Delaware?). Can't remember his name.
posted by anathema at 10:43 AM on March 12, 2002


Remember the discussion on whether you have a right to prevent people linking to you. The links list on that site is pretty disturbing. I'd doubt that Big Sisters of York are happy about being on it, or all the other sites included under the category of BIG SISTERS / GIRL SCOUTS / MENTORING.

That is what I find most worrying about the site. It appears to be a guide to how to embrace such a life style, whilst also attempting to justify it.
posted by RobertLoch at 10:48 AM on March 12, 2002


[If you simply wanted a discussion about the issue, the link was completely unnecessary. ]

Oh sweet Jesus like we haven't heard enough about posts without links. Miguel isn't exploiting children by posting this, he's educating you to those who are exploiting children.

[what can possibly be gained by giving it exposure? ]

Why don't you turn that logic on wife-beating, anti-gay hate and religious persecution and answer the question for yourself.
posted by revbrian at 10:52 AM on March 12, 2002


Miguel: FWIW, the website is hosted by a Dutch service provider, within a customer's personal webspace. Most likely, this violates the TOS, so if you really wanted to get them shut down, you could.

anapestic: Miguel is not exploiting children, he's reporting on the exploitation of children. If there's a large ideological difference between that, and the reporting of war atrocities, I fail to see it.

anathema: My foot doctor is not a good source of information about my lung cancer.
posted by Jairus at 10:54 AM on March 12, 2002


Anapestic: I'm not taking offense but MetaFilter is a community weblog - so other members' opinions are important. If I'd posted without including the link how could people judge? That would have been psssst... and hypocritical, in effect saying "I have a lesbian paedophilia web site here, which I'll only link to if I get the go-ahead."

My question was moral - should I post it or not? I wasn't sure. It wasn't clear. Is that hypocritical? What's MeTa for anyway? After two opinions I was persuaded I shouldn't. Besides, I'm not exactly known for being a reluctant poster. This is the first time I've consulted MeTa and I'm very glad I did, because, if I hadn't, I would have posted it to MetaFilter, being generally more on Skallas's side of things.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:55 AM on March 12, 2002


i agree that discussion about this is a good thing, i just think that linking to an article or research about sites like this, the copyright issues involved, the impact, arrest and abuse rates of lesbian pedophiles vs. catholic priests...Whatever....is more interesting and useful.

so Miguel, find some articles. If you find a really good one, that will lead to a good discussion, Post it.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:56 AM on March 12, 2002


ps.

the little interlinked symbols for 'female', one adult sized and one child sized just thoroughly creeped me out.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:02 AM on March 12, 2002


Miguel, whilst I fully understand what you are saying, I can't see why you thought that it made any sense to use MetaTalk as a sounding board. If you only needed 2 opinions to make a decision, why not email 2 people and ask? Posting in that way was a bizarre thing to do.
posted by RobertLoch at 11:02 AM on March 12, 2002


Jairus-There are obviously a lot of different issues involved here and I do think IPLawyer could possibly help with some of them. That's all. This is the most interesting thread I think I have ever seen. Whatever the outcome here I am very glad I can be part of this discussion. Thanks MeFi.
posted by anathema at 11:03 AM on March 12, 2002


I haven't examined the site, just went to the front page, BUT, I doubt there're any actual images of children being raped on that site. It looks like it's probably some fetish erotica site. What's the big deal? I don't understand why people are freaking out.

People do have the right to fantasize, even if they are into creepy shit.
posted by Doug at 11:06 AM on March 12, 2002


Anapestic: I'm not taking offense but MetaFilter is a community weblog - so other members' opinions are important. If I'd posted without including the link how could people judge? That would have been psssst... and hypocritical, in effect saying "I have a lesbian paedophilia web site here, which I'll only link to if I get the go-ahead."

Ok, let me be more clear. You should have just kept it to yourself and not brought the discussion up in the first place. I can't understand what made you think that there was a possibility that that sort of site was a good thing to post to MeFi.

As for your points, revbrian, linkless posts are allowed in MeTa. And do you really think any of us don't already know that there are people exploiting children out there? What need is there for education on that point. Not every bad thing you find needs publicity.
posted by anapestic at 11:25 AM on March 12, 2002


anapestic: Myself, I think it could've been a rather worthwhile addition to MeFi, allowing for discussion of issues related to erotica with questionable subject matter, and otherwise harmless photographs used in this kind of context.
posted by Jairus at 12:00 PM on March 12, 2002


I think this site is innocuous and really interesting. It is not some vulgar thing whimsically thrown together for masturbators; this is a site with a real interest in examining the issues it deals with, and discussing them in a straightforward, polite way.

From their intro page: Within the pages of Butterfly Kisses you will find sexual issues and topics of female, and particularly lesbian pedophilia, and some of them will probably make some people uncomfortable...Our society needs to learn how to discuss highly controversial subjects without the "knee-jerk" reaction so prevalent today...

I agree. And I'm disgusted, though not surprised, that so many of you are eager to get the site shut down. Since they're in liberal Holland, and they're not charging money, and they're giving credit to the artists, I doubt you have much of a case, and in any event I hope you fail.

posted by bingo at 12:18 PM on March 12, 2002


What bingo said.
posted by Jairus at 12:27 PM on March 12, 2002


Giving credit to the artists does not matter. It may go to show that they think (willful) it is fair use. I would have to check the Berne Convention for details about the international problems here.

And bingo, I am sorry, but in my book "issues" regarding whether children can ever be consenting are garbage. Children cannot be consenting.
posted by anathema at 12:27 PM on March 12, 2002


Sorry, Bingo, I'm the biggest free speech advocate you'll find, but child pornography is just about the creepiest fucking thing in my book. To me, there is no "polite" way to
exploit children.

And I disagree with your assesment that this site isn't for "masturbatory" purposes. That seems to be the purpose of this. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd rather err on the side of the people that don't fuck babies.
posted by ColdChef at 12:31 PM on March 12, 2002


ColdChef: If I write a story about sex with a fourteen-year-old girl, does that make me a baby fucker, and who is being exploited, exactly?
posted by Jairus at 12:34 PM on March 12, 2002


I apologize for my crudeness there, but I've worked with exploited children and this gets my temper way, way up. I'm gonna go outside for a walk now...
posted by ColdChef at 12:34 PM on March 12, 2002


bingo - you are right that there is nothing wrong with that site in terms of illegal material. Forget being in libel Holland, from what I see the site would be legal in the US. However, I would not assume that it is harmless. A number of websites (and I'm not stating that this is one of them) have been acting as gateway sites, leading members to more sinister content. Such sites have also been critical in the successful creation of paedophile networks.

I've just noticed that it has gone offline. Coincidence?
posted by RobertLoch at 12:37 PM on March 12, 2002


My guess is someone from MeFi emailed the webhost.

Amazing how to some people, 'free speech' only applies if you agree with the speaker.
posted by Jairus at 12:43 PM on March 12, 2002


Are you talking about just linking there? According to google there's 83 pages that link to Nambla and two for this site, including the portal of evil.

There's a bigger issue than linking, though. If the site Miguel is talking about contains child porn, it's a felony in the U.S. to possess it. Publishing a link makes it easy for people to receive illegal content that could get them in significant trouble.

While there are times that might be worthwhile to do (linking to DeCSS to protest court decisions about the code, for example), I wouldn't consider this one of those times. If I was sent a link to child porn, I'd notify the police, prosecutors and media in that jurisdiction. The last thing I would do is share the link with other people because it might be interesting fodder for conversation.
posted by rcade at 12:44 PM on March 12, 2002


Incidentally, only the site's index gets you a 403 error -- browsing to other parts of the directory structure works fine.
posted by Jairus at 12:45 PM on March 12, 2002


Miguel has probably sent the site so much traffic that it has crashed ;-)
posted by RobertLoch at 12:47 PM on March 12, 2002


a certain "Honeypot" comment seems prescient now.
posted by Dean King at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2002


Regarding the copyright issue and beyond the fact that I am in law school, I am engaged to a painter who is dealing with some internet copyright issues. All of those artists who's work is being displayed on that site are getting burned, big time. I sent an email to a gallery where Sally Mann shows her work and asked that she be informed about this. The (visual) artist has the exclusive right to copy (or assign the right to copy). This is not a fair use.
posted by anathema at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2002


My guess is someone from MeFi emailed the webhost.

Amazing how to some people, 'free speech' only applies if you agree with the speaker.


That's such horseshit. First, free speech, in the terms most of the posters here are discussing, stems from US law. Second, the site has a right to remain so long as it remains within national and intl. law, but WE, (MeFi) have the right to say we don't want it here.

The fact is this entire thread came under false pretenses. Miguel claimed that he didn't want to post it on the front page, but casually puts it in here. He simply could have e-mailed Matt and we would have no problem. He instead creates a thread specifically devoted to discussing the thread. This is underhanded and rather inappropriate.

Miguel KNEW that people would see the site here. There was absolutely NO REASON to link it whatsoever. He simply used MetaTalk as a second string for MetaFilter, something Matt has specifically said he does not want. He broke the rules, plain and simple. And rather obviously, too.

The fact that we're discussing the site is exactly what Miguel wanted.

As for the site itself, whatever...I took a look, was rather disgusted, but don't feel that it should be taken down unless laws are being broken. I wouldn't recommend it to my friends, but I certainly wouldn't advocate its demise if it's following the laws.
posted by BlueTrain at 12:53 PM on March 12, 2002


rcade: Fair enough -- But is Anne Geddes considered kiddie porn? Do you see anything on this site that is actually in violation of federal decency laws, and not just in poor taste?
posted by Jairus at 12:54 PM on March 12, 2002


Jairus: I haven't visited the site, and I'm not going to visit it given Miguel's description. I am just talking about the larger issue -- whether you should post a link to content you know to be illegal.
posted by rcade at 1:00 PM on March 12, 2002


I haven't visited the site either. But Miguel, what is it here that's different from a male pedophilia site like Nambla? Other than the the copyright violation.

I mean, is there something about lesbian pedophilia that's questionable for you? Why? I think this is a non-post post, and you're talking about this one, and not one of the hundreds of male ped. sites, because of the novelty, and being more than a little disingenuous about it.

Children are being exploited here, it's sick, it's all over the net. Not worth posting, not worth discussing, not worth publicizing. Do you you can to shut it down and tell us about it when you're done.
posted by luser at 1:13 PM on March 12, 2002


I haven't visited the site, and I'm not going to visit it given Miguel's description. I am just talking about the larger issue -- whether you should post a link to content you know to be illegal.

No one knows if the content is illegal and if we're going to talk about law, intent makes a difference. From what I saw there was nothing in there there isn't in a family photo album. Porno when you see it? Porno in its context?

Who knows, but if you didn't visit the site how can you know anything there is illegal? Its not a catch-22, there are internet vigilantes that do nothing but visit these sites and the g-man hasn't come a-knocking for them. Don't be so paranoid.

Secondly, whoever wrote 'free speech only when you like it' is spot on. If I linked to a censored Chinese site (mirror) how many mefites would tell me I'm doing wrong by breaking Chinese law? People are making their own moral decisions here, law be damned.

I'm curious if this was truly a case of liberal holland's attitude toward content vs. US laws. Would angry mefites get together and demand a National US firewall to be safe from this content?
posted by skallas at 1:30 PM on March 12, 2002


I don't see the world thru happy-glasses or anything, i just don't think metafilter should turn into a what-turns-you-on forum. I don't want to see man-on-beast or woman-on-girl or extremely graphic photos of teens practicing abstinence.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:33 PM on March 12, 2002


Who knows, but if you didn't visit the site how can you know anything there is illegal? Its not a catch-22, there are internet vigilantes that do nothing but visit these sites and the g-man hasn't come a-knocking for them. Don't be so paranoid.

Tell that to Larry Matthews, skallas.

I never said that the content of this site is illegal. I don't know, nor am I interested in finding out. (Incidentally, that "Internet vigilante" who spends her time trolling for child pervs while her kids go without attention sounds like a raving nutjob.)

posted by rcade at 1:37 PM on March 12, 2002


No one knows if the content is illegal and if we're going to talk about law, intent makes a difference. From what I saw there was nothing in there there isn't in a family photo album. Porno when you see it? Porno in its context?

I saw a child, completely nude, seen from the front. I don't know the extent of kiddie porn law in the US, so I can't comment, but I can vouch for what can be seen on the site.
posted by BlueTrain at 1:39 PM on March 12, 2002


I agree that their site should not be taken down simply because the idea of pedophilia disgusts the majority of people.

It should, however, have to deal with the issues of taking other people's artwork and displaying it in a context that implies that the artist is a child pornographer.
posted by Hildago at 1:52 PM on March 12, 2002


the rest of the site seems to be deleted off the server now.. and the index page points to this thread..

puga
posted by PugAchev at 1:53 PM on March 12, 2002


Tell that to Larry Matthews, skallas.

We both know that's not a fair comparision. Larry asked where he could trade photos, he wasn't just pointing and clicking on his browser. Larry's is something of a unique case as he was running his own 'journalistic sting' in the middle of a real sting operation. Sounds like something out of A Scanner Darkly.
posted by skallas at 1:54 PM on March 12, 2002


a certain "Honeypot" comment seems prescient now

Can I pick 'em, or what?
posted by briank at 1:54 PM on March 12, 2002


Check this out. I'll keep my opinion to myself.
posted by BlueTrain at 2:00 PM on March 12, 2002


What is going on with Metafilter? Two days ago I read about where to find the best strip joints, and now we are debating about children's abilities to consent in pornography. I am not arguing for censorship, but I am arguing that people should respect one another. That thread about the strip clubs turned my stomach. It was totally unncessary and only contributed to further the Boyzone aesthetic here. I used to really respect and enjoy the fact that Metafilter didn't have this exact kind of pseudo-liberal nihilistic post modern sexism. Because is seems like every group of intellectuals with a predominantly male group does this. I wish that certain people would stop posting sexist threads and comments. Just stop it. Have you read what it is like to have been a victim of child porn? Miguel, it was an important article, we could have talked about why this is so much more horrific coming from women, (ie, we aren't used to it) we could have talked about why statistics show that men abuse more than women do, we could have talked about a lot of things Sally Mann, (whose work is beautiful and non-exploitative...), and we could have tried to get the site taken down. But the current membership of Metafilter doesn't seem capable of engaging in that level of discourse. I wish you wouldn't all go and read Lolita in your freshman English classes and then jump to the conclusion that there are grey areas regarding small children being forced to perform sexual acts on adults.
posted by goneill at 2:16 PM on March 12, 2002


"Witchhunt"? They've obviously never seen us in Kaycee mode. ;)

But seriously...Miguel, I'm going to have to agree with BlueTrain and ask why you posted it here. Again, if you were questioning the worthiness of a link, you could have emailed Matt or others and gotten an opinion. Or you could have posted a general query about the appropriateness of the site.

Instead, you posted a link to it here, trying to wash your hands of it by begging off that you're just soliciting community opinions. Extremely disingenuous and underhanded, if you asked me. It seems obvious to me that you wanted to post the link but didn't want to take any heat for it, so you did the MeTa trick. Next time, don't.

As for standards: with this sort of thing, what sort of discussion could come of it? Did ya think people were going to rationally discuss the merits of lesbian pedophilia? That someone was gonna stand up and go, "WHOO, I LOVES ME SOME LESBIAN PEDOPHILIA!!!"? No, we would have lots of condemnation, some First Amendment banter, some horror stories, and not much else besides pointing and yelling. Deserved or not, moral condemnation does not a good thread make.

What were your motives here? Because to me, it seems like you're just looking for attention - something you have no short supply of in Metafilter.
posted by solistrato at 2:24 PM on March 12, 2002


There is so many things wrong with this thread.

First of all, as pointed out previously, Miguel tried to weasel his way into get this link posted under the premise of "is it ok to post?", where if he truely wanted to know, he'd e-mail Matt or just allude to it in this post.

Second, next time anyone finds what they think is child pornography, do one of two things. If they're in a different country (such as this one appears to be), then there isn't much that can be done but you should report it anyways. The other thing to do is just leave it alone. Borderline things like this, which also are in another country probably won't be given a second glance. If you don't want to report, at least keep it underground.

I always go under the assumption that there will be a group of people who will find a way to feed their fetish, at least not let them expand in ranks by putting it on a high traffic site. I'm not saying that not reporting is the good thing, what I'm saying is either report it and shut up, or don't report it and shut up. These people know what they're doing is wrong, we know it's wrong, end of discussion.
posted by geoff. at 2:25 PM on March 12, 2002


Hats off to Miguel.
I notice that the self serving little quote that appears there addresses sexuality. At no point do they attempt to deny Miguels accusation of paedophilia. Their ranks will not be expanding via that site, not for a while anyway.
posted by Fat Buddha at 2:51 PM on March 12, 2002


thanks, geoff.

I'm at work, and can't visit the site, but I do recommend that anybody who did visit the site clear their cache.

Free speech doesn't apply if it's used to violate somebody's rights. The right of children to be protected trumps the right of artistic expression. If Jairus wants to write that story, it doesn't require the participation of a child. Photography does. I reckon it's worth being pretty careful about protecting children.
posted by theora55 at 3:03 PM on March 12, 2002


I don’t think that Miguel was dishonest by asking whether or not this link was appropriate in metatalk. Once he got his answer he said it was ok to delete the thread. Also, I think emailing Matt every time someone had a link that they were not sure should be posted would lead to “matt policing” rather than self policing, and it would probably be a lot more work for him as well.
posted by guyincognito at 3:19 PM on March 12, 2002


Yeah, when did Miguel become some manipulative mad-genius? Hell, Matt had to put in the tag closer just for him, we should be glad he can hold down a steady job!

I kid, because I love!
posted by skallas at 3:27 PM on March 12, 2002


These people know what they're doing is wrong, we know it's wrong, end of discussion
I agree with what said goneill, there are no grey areas when dealing with explotation of children.
posted by riffola at 3:32 PM on March 12, 2002


Ugh I meant... I agree and also with what goneill said, there are no grey areas when dealing with explotation of children.
posted by riffola at 3:33 PM on March 12, 2002


Why do so many of you think:

asking matt for opinion == asking MeTa/Fi community for opinion

The reason Miguel didn't simply email mathowie is that he wanted the community's view, pro- and con-. There's a big difference between seeing what the MeFi "Authority" advises, and what the MeFi "public" actually thinks should be done.

That said, as guyincognito points out [in preview], it seems to me that Miguel realized early on that this wasn't such a reasonable topic to debate (or rather, that initial public opinion matched what he felt matt's [and his own] would have been), and, in his own way, he wound the topic down.

Jesus, lay off the guy.
posted by Marquis at 3:45 PM on March 12, 2002


The site now says: Butterfly Kisses will return after the witchhunt has passed.

Well, some good has come out of this. Personally, I wish the "witchhunt" never passes. Go MeTa! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:46 PM on March 12, 2002


"...perhaps posting the site on MetaFilter will make it be denounced and go underground (which would be a good thing, IMO)."

Just a thought:

If the primary reason for posting something here is to rally members to stamp out an evil presence on the web, then where does the MetaHammer stop?

We can all wage war against unwanted websites, but be careful what you ask for...
posted by blackholebrain at 3:52 PM on March 12, 2002


I am certainly sympathetic to standing in defense of unpopular opinions, and if that's all the site in question was about, I would have no problem with it. Clearly that's not all it was, though, as the opinions were neither merely unpopular nor was the site merely a place of political activism. Rather, they are advocating an illegal activity and providing copyrighted materials in a questionably legal manner.

And I don't like the immediate tactical retreat they made to the status of injured minority group; to call this a "witch hunt" is to simply deny responsibility, to insist self-righteously that surely, someday, we the innocent will be vindicated. I'd rather see them deny the charges against them, or vow to alter their site so that they can operate without a cloud of illegality or breach of contract (or TOS) over their head. Their note to us sounds like the response of someone who may not believe as firmly as they pretend in the rightness of their message.
posted by Hildago at 4:00 PM on March 12, 2002


I'm okay with our good friend Miguel asking Metatalk, but the fact he included the link, I think is wrong. It led the discussion to whether this qualifies pedophilia (or whatever he intended it to be). What would have been the right thing to do? In my opinion it would have been to explain basically "I want to post a site that seems like it is trying to be legitimate pedophilia, is there any way I can go about this ethically, or is it just not possible?"

I got the impression that he had a feeling the idea would be shot down, so he included the link so that some discussion would be fostered. It seems analogous to what politicians do with with the "Like this idea? You don't... oh... that's just a rumor the press started... you like it? Oh yeah it's all mine."
posted by geoff. at 4:03 PM on March 12, 2002


What would have been the right thing to do? In my opinion it would have been to explain basically "I want to post a site that seems like it is trying to be legitimate pedophilia, is there any way I can go about this ethically, or is it just not possible?"

Which would have left us to guess about Miguel's definition of what constituted 'legitimate pedophilia', and whether his concern was warranted. It was much better that we were able to see the site for ourselves, and make our own assessment.

Not posting the link would have been a head-in-the-sand approach - not looking at it doesn't make it go away (although it appears that looking at it has made it go away).

Better the devil you know, I say...
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:13 PM on March 12, 2002


Meh. Just telling us about this site wouldn't have given us enough information to answer his question. It's not just another child pornography site, and the question isn't as simple as "should I post this child porno site on the front page." Rather, the site is more nuanced than that and, I would say, deserves a more sophisticated examination.

So the question is "why didn't he vet it with Matt or with some friends of his?" Well, I don't know, maybe he should have. Then again, this worked itself into a more-than-decent thread, which some of us have benefitted from (me for one), and which we might not have seen if Miguel hadn't bypassed the usual channels.
posted by Hildago at 4:17 PM on March 12, 2002


geoff, that is called floating a trial balloon, which is what Miguels' post turned out to be. Doubt it it was meant to post something while pretending not to post that thing. Everyone who clicked that link is probably on Ashcrofts list, but most folk here were undoubtably on his political enemies list anyway.
posted by Mack Twain at 4:19 PM on March 12, 2002


geoff.: Perhaps I could have framed the question differently, but how could I get people's opinions without the link? As for the politician analogy, well, I did post the link. And I did make my opinion clear in my post: . perhaps posting the site on MetaFilter will make it be denounced and go underground(which would be a good thing, IMO). Here in Portugal we call this "preso por ter cão e preso por não ter cão": "being arrested for having a dog and being arrested for not having a dog".

Well, it has gone underground and I'm happy about it. Following Hildago's line of thought: If these weirdos are so sure of themselves why would a simple MeTa thread be enough to make them back down so easily? And why would they link directly to this thread?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:21 PM on March 12, 2002


I guess my main caveat wasn't that everyone should be shunned from the site, I don't think I made it clear that I think it should have been in MeFi if he posted a link. That was my biggest concern, not that people shouldn't be told what to view and what not to view. I also haven't been able to view the site, but I take that it wasn't anything hardcore -- more borderline stuff. I think it would have been a good discussion but I don't approve of Miguel's methods.
posted by geoff. at 4:24 PM on March 12, 2002


Wow, ok that sounds more confusing. I will now only use simple sentences. Discussion good. Trial runs in metatalk bad. Asking about controversial things first good. Asking about controversial things and including the controversial thing so that some may see it as trying to get a discussion started and if it backfired one could go "I was only asking", bad. I honestly don't think Miguel's intents were underhanded now, but it did seem like it.
posted by geoff. at 4:31 PM on March 12, 2002


goneill - I'll go out on a limb and guess that I'm one of the "certain people" you're reffering to. I may be a lot of things, but I am not a sexist. I could offer a long list of things to prove this but it would be too much like saying "some of my best freinds are[whatever]" so I won't.
The thread in question was, compared to most internet discussions on the topic(not to mention most real-life conversations) remarkably. If what you saw there turned your stomach, the conversations most men(and many women) have amongst themselves would give you a heart attack.
Several times in that thread, I made my intentions and attitudes clear, that it wasn't meant as a male pornagraphic fantasy thread or whatever.
I'm also a little confused at whats "OK" here. We've discussed serial murder, goatse.cx,Piss Christ and pinoccchio porn on mefi but a thread about strip clubs is too much to take? That just dosent make sense to me. I understand that some people may be offended. I've been offended by other peoples posts and comments, but it's their right to voice them. If it's something I find especially egregious, I just avoid the thread altogether. Tolerance of difference goes in all directions.
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on March 12, 2002


"...It seems analogous to what politicians do..." except politicians *generally* aren't floating trial balloons about lesbian pedophilia. >;]

To me, the best option would have been to have taken the "Move along... there's nothing to see here" attitude and simply not posted it at all.

Why? Well, underground sites like that won't have any problem finding a new dark corner to set up shop again somewhere on the web [i.e., dalnet irc and the likes]. So although the discussion here has been good, the original intentions of Miguel's post----which seem to be geared more towards exorcising demons from the web than simply discussing the pros & cons of posting links to evil websites on MeTa----are mooted by the fact that we all know that site WILL inevitably reappear somewhere on the web.

Maybe instead of posting the link here, you could have posted a link to your own blog in this instance [I know, another taboo] saying "I've put up some links and my reasons for doing so over on my own site, so come read if your interested... yada yada" which would have released you from the whole "putting the link on Matt's site" pressure. [Heh, the lesser of two evils?]

posted by blackholebrain at 5:07 PM on March 12, 2002


Maybe instead of posting the link here, you could have posted a link to your own blog in this instance [I know, another taboo] saying "I've put up some links and my reasons for doing so over on my own site, so come read if your interested... yada yada" which would have released you from the whole "putting the link on Matt's site" pressure. [Heh, the lesser of two evils?]

I think that would have been a GREAT idea. Discuss the issue on your own BLOG. E-mail a couple MeFi'ers, tell them to check it out, and after a consensus was reached, make a discussion.

I stand by my original post: I think Miguel abused MeTa and the MeFi community.
posted by BlueTrain at 5:12 PM on March 12, 2002


Self-righteousness is funny.
posted by Optamystic at 5:16 PM on March 12, 2002


Strike discussion, insert decision.

Upon preview, name calling is funny too, poopyhead.
posted by BlueTrain at 5:22 PM on March 12, 2002


I think Miguel abused MeTa and the MeFi community

More to the point, BlueTrain's self-righteousness is funny. You sound like Mrs. Olsen, from "Little House on the Prairie".

Miguel has a proven track record of sincere contribution to, and improvement of this community that you claim to hold so dear. Your contributions have been mostly limited to indignant finger-pointing. Do you really think that Miguel's intentions were insincere, or underhanded? That's just absurd. The judgement call that he made may have been questionable, but there is no rational way to call into question his intent or his motivation with regard to this thread. The guy didn't just sign up yesterday and start posting lesbian pedophilia links. Look at this thread in the context of his other work, if you can read it from way up there on your high horse.
posted by Optamystic at 5:27 PM on March 12, 2002


Bluetrain's right - 'poopyhead' is funny.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:05 PM on March 12, 2002


Kudos to Miguel and Metafilter for (at least temporarily) getting this shut down.
posted by revbrian at 6:43 PM on March 12, 2002


By the way, the Netherlands is part of the Berne Convention. This basically makes it against the law for a party in a member country to violate a copyright held in another member country. It also provides remedies similar to those in §17 USC (500-512?).
I can't seem to muster the strength to get back into "to-post-or-not-to-post" discussion right now, but I do hope all of the artists who had their work purloined go after these creeps on the copyright front. There are probably some good torts in there too. As if Sally Mann has not taken enough crap for her work. This "association" could be incredibly damaging to an artist.
posted by anathema at 6:56 PM on March 12, 2002


I agree with stavros, 'poopyhead' is funny.

As for this who what's happening with MeFi, well I couldn't tell you, I've only been here a short time. Since I've been here, I've been subject to some rediculous comments and made some myself, but you don't see me complaining, I just move on along.

I admit, my posting style may seem to be a little on the rough side, but hopefully I don't make people like goneill become disgusted, too much that is. Sure my response to the strip joint thread may have been a bit on the edge, but you know what, it gets people thinking about something other than the what normally goes on inside their head. Open thought and expression is good for self-being. We've all learned what closed thinking and repression of expression have done in other societies of the world. Trying to censor the freedom to be and think differently tears apart the fabric of what the internet was founded on. You all have the right to object to what we or anyone think. No one has the right to tell anyone what they can not express.

The part I like about MeFi is that it's ok to disagree.

/em awaits the self-righteousness remarks.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:00 PM on March 12, 2002


Miguel, if as you said, MetaTalk is read by a lot of people, but doesn't attract as many readers as MetaFilter, then you were right to post it here and like ColdChef, I’m now going outside to get some much needed fresh air.
posted by Tarrama at 7:52 PM on March 12, 2002


Strike discussion, insert decision.

You're such a dick, BlueTrain.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:58 PM on March 12, 2002


What goneill, sjc and geoff said. And...(*takes deep breath, climbs up on soapbox*) This is the kind of thread, I think, that makes people throw up their hands and go, "OK, this is it, the last straw, I'm outta here." Just how much more offensive do the links and comments have to get before people start thinking, "I used to like Metafilter but it's getting more like Fark and Memepool every day." Some go quietly, some make a grandiose announcement and then leave, but they leave. (*climbs down from soapbox*)
posted by Lynsey at 9:49 PM on March 12, 2002


Bravo, Metafilter! I'm so proud to be part of a community that can come together and, based on knee jerk reactions, silence those we disagree with. It gives me a truly warm feeling inside. After all, if I disagree with someone, why should they be able to speak their mind?
posted by Doug at 10:58 PM on March 12, 2002


Doug, I didn't see anyone from MeFi or MeTa holding a gun to the site owner's head, did you?

If it wasn't against laws and didn't fall into the category of 'crimes against society', and wasn't against the host's TOS, I doubt the site would've been taken down. I think they would've gotten a lot of angry email and a lot of finger-pointing, probably some news stories. But to take the site down and post a snarky quote and a link back here? They knew it was wrong, or they were told in no uncertain terms that it was wrong and bad things would happen if they didn't take it down... and not by the MeFi/Ta community.

I mean, hell, I'm still glad that the picture of me getting a bath in the sink when I was .5 years old got lost in our house fire a few years ago...

Doug, your comment seems to imply that you found value in the site. Where did you find that value?
posted by SpecialK at 11:29 PM on March 12, 2002


"That thread about the strip clubs turned my stomach. It was totally unncessary and only contributed to further the Boyzone aesthetic here."

Thanks for mentioning this, goneill. I found that thread to be quite excessive, and I'm somewhat relieved to know I wasn't the only one to feel so.
posted by jess at 11:55 PM on March 12, 2002


So I just got home from texas to a lot of messages about this and a huge thread about how it should be deleted, and a few thoughts come to mind.

- why did you post it in the first place Miguel? Why not post it on your own blog as something crazy you found?

- are people incapable of divesting their emotions for the sole purpose of discussion? I know it's possible to discuss even the most emotionally loaded subjects with close friends, in a supreme court sort of way. Isn't it possible to discuss the issues?

- I'm going to work on some guidelines for MetaTalk, and change the way posting works around here. I don't want this section of the site used as the "on deck circle" to test the waters for links you might post. The purpose of the etiquette section is for talking about etiquette of users on the site and policies surrounding that. I'm going to start limiting new metatalk threads to one per week for users so people use some discretion.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:09 AM on March 13, 2002


OK, Matt. One lives and learns. I thought etiquette included what should and what shouldn't be posted to MetaFilter and, in this particular case, although a lot of borderline links have been posted and discussed on MetaFilter before, I would say it involved policy too, given the issues involved. Also, if I'd posted it directly to MetaFilter I'm sure the discussion wouldn't have been as high-minded as it was here.

As for why I posted it and why I didn't post it on my own blog it's a question than could be asked of any post(or any poster with a blog) and the only answer is because I thought it would be interesting to discuss it here. Which it was.

So some guidelines would definitely be welcome. Although, all things considered, while I'm sorry it was inappropriate, I have to say I'm still very glad this discussion took place, given the happy ending: the site in question was temporarily removed and we'll all get some clear guidelines to help us decide what should and shouldn't be posted to MeTa.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:28 AM on March 13, 2002


Late to the party, but:

A real quandary here...
...somehow I feel put off by publicizing it.
I hesitated...


Something tells me you should have trusted your instincts, Miguel, since they seemed to be trying to tell you something. You gave enough information (Googling for "kisses of love") for anyone who was interested enough to go and find the site in seconds, yet you linked to it here. So, it becomes a Metafilter post anyway, just not on Metafilter. And the result was, you got exactly what you intended - you posted your now daily link, a discussion with lots and lots of comments ensued.

You post a link to MetaFilter almost every single day, and you have been for weeks. And on the very rare day you don't post something to MetaFilter, you just happen to post something to MetaTalk. Check your stats. Perhaps a few days without the pressure of finding that perfect link for MetaFilter, or the pressure of finding a topic to engage everyone in MetaTalk, will restore your hunting instincts, and give you time to find something really fantastic to post. Quality versus quantity, and all that. Take this with an extremely huge grain of salt, since it's coming from a first time contributor newbie who has yet to post a link. Or even a comment (hello, everyone). I'm just... uh... hanging back, trying to cancel out some of your overspill. Yep, that's it. And go mathowie - I applaud the one post a week MetaTalk idea - it'll stop people from using it as their personal chatroom and/or testing ground, a trend which seems to be escalating as of late.

PS - Boyhowdy, there are a lot of people who rush to Miguel's defense every time someone says something the least bit critical of him. While that's very admirable of his friends, he sure as hell seems to be perfectly able to speak up for himself.

PSS - Miguel, I wish you would do an english version of your weblog (or is there one already that I don't know about?). That would rule.
posted by iconomy at 3:19 AM on March 13, 2002


Iconomy: no irony intended, that has to be(and here I have to adopt the hated standard from)the.best.inaugural.comment.ever. It's also good advice and well...welcome to MetaFilter! There's no turning back now, you know... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:18 AM on March 13, 2002


Yes, welcome iconomy, keep up the quality.

Well I have gone off about the whole copyright thing enough so I thought I would mention something about the speech issue.
I normally subscribe to the Oliver Wendell Holmes maxim (paraphrase) that to remedy noxious speech you never limit it, but instead encourage more speech and discussion.
I think that this assumes a type of level playing field and when there is an adult/child relationship involved I do not believe there is ever an equal footing. The laws in the US reflect this also. Courts have often gone out of their way to limit the normally gauranteed rights of those that exploit children.

posted by anathema at 4:49 AM on March 13, 2002


For future reference : Report Child Pornography International Agencies.
posted by Voyageman at 5:19 AM on March 13, 2002


Add me to the list of people who think the Boyzone feel has gotten out of hand lately, with the strip clubs thread a shining example. A number of people I know have taken to calling MF "BoobieFilter," and not kindly.
posted by rodii at 5:50 AM on March 13, 2002


OK, enough people I respect have made enough points, that I hereby promise that I will keep my cruder instincts in my pocket from here on out. Prepare for jonmc-New Age Male.
posted by jonmc at 6:08 AM on March 13, 2002


Jon, I don't necessarily think the strip clubs site was a bad thing to post, but some of the comments in the thread were depressingly close to "I LIKE TITS, OK?" These things have to be discussible in a way that doesn't alienate half the population one way or another. The trick is to figure out how to frame the discussion so that it doesn't get into this tit-for-tat cycle of "oh, boyzone! I disapprove" leading to "look how transgressive I can be! I LIKE TITS" leading to... but it's difficult to make that happen.
posted by rodii at 6:18 AM on March 13, 2002


I do not understand how this has anything to do with the Boyzone complaints at all. Please explain rodii. It seems as though Miguel made it clear why he did/would post this. He was not trolling/baiting whatever but honestly thought there were viable issues to discuss here. I didn't go anywhere near the strip club post, it is just not something I am interested in. This was completely different in my book.
posted by anathema at 6:28 AM on March 13, 2002


rodii- maybe, but after reviewing you, jess and goniell's comments I've decided I'm tired of painting myself into boxes and "Resident Boobie Guy" is just not something I'd like to be known as.
posted by jonmc at 6:30 AM on March 13, 2002


Doug, your comment seems to imply that you found value in the site. Where did you find that value?

"Are you now, or have you ever been a Communist?"

Seriously, that's what it sounds like. I came to the thread long after the butterfly site was down, so I didn't see it, but to be slapped down for suggesting that the 'net not be ruled by a mob mentality is bullshit. And implying that Doug, by his defense of it, somehow approved of (or even enjoyed!) the content of the site is a friggin' gestapo tactic.
posted by jpoulos at 6:32 AM on March 13, 2002


Oh, and I while I vehemently disagree with some of his comments here ("Personally, I wish the "witchhunt" never passes."), I don't think Miguel did anything wrong with posting this. I think that "how do I handle this" posts are part of what MeTa is here for. Obviously, Matt disagrees, and since he defines why the site exists, I am wrong. But personally I found no problem with it.

Had I done it myself, I probably would have included the url without linking to it, but I don't think there's anything wrong with the idea of the post itself.
posted by jpoulos at 6:38 AM on March 13, 2002


And one more thing... :-)

I thought the strip-club link was just fine too. Some of the comments inside made me embarrassed to be a MeFite, but I don't think jonmc was out of line.
posted by jpoulos at 6:41 AM on March 13, 2002


Agreed, jpoulos. Doug, Skallas, Bingo, Jairus and blackholebrain bravely stood up for the ethos of the Internet or, if you're not that wired, for the freedom of expression and judgement. Freedom is a handy thing to have around; specially when we're all moralizing. However right we are. Which of course I think we are. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:41 AM on March 13, 2002


I like cheese sticks, okay?
posted by dong_resin at 6:43 AM on March 13, 2002


I did look at the site briefly before it went into its shell. I thought there were a number of interesting issues implied in the site (though not, I suspect, acknowledged by the women who put it there) where they put their own proposition (the idealisation of sexual relationships between adult and child females) alongside more mainstream feminist, gynocentric or queer pieces. It stands an interesting comparison with sites that propound man/boy relationships. And there are a number of questions surrounding this issue that I think could have been usefully discussed (for example, the intellectual rather than emotional reaction of women whose position was co-opted by the site for their own purposes).

I didn't see very much that was pornographic, but there were a number of images that were inocuous (essentially taken from photo-disks or catalogues, of mothers and children) that were pornographised by their relationship the the intention of the site. Another notion that I detected (and perhaps this is paranoid projection) was the idea of the purity of girl-sexuality (exploiting the implication seeping in from the outside world of the corrupting force of male sexuality).

These are just random thoughts, and really not an argument. But these issues are supremely important given that female paedophilia is invisible to the point of non-existence - one would normally think of a thirty-someting woman and a teenage boy, those are the cases that people hear of. This was the first tangible sign I'd seen of the existence of a female paedophile community, which I'm sure a lot of people would rather did not exist at all. I'm uneasy about the palliative result of causing them to shut up shop, because they still exist, but now invisibly and unchallenged. Pieces authored by the sites' creators (rather than those simply co-opted from other sources) suggest that not only do they believe mother-daughter sex to be agreeable, but that it is actually positive and should be encouraged. This is not only morally wrong, but also false and should be confronted and defeated both in argument as well as legally. The way that notions of paedophilia have been constructed in our society have resulted in a situation where female paedophiles can easily disappear.

I'm sorry if this is confused and repetitive. This is the argument that I would have liked to see other people have, particularly women and especially lesbian women, not because I think they have anything to defend, but because they would be addressing the quasi-feminist, pseudo-liberationist ideology of the site from closer to home. it is not an argument that I feel fully qualified to prosecute myself in an ideal situation. Which of course no situation is.
posted by Grangousier at 6:55 AM on March 13, 2002


I realise it's now a little late, but I looked at the site initially and spent ages working out what I thought. So...

I think this would have been an appropriate MeFi post. It is an unfortunate thing about human nature that we have wayward desires: we want things that cause harm to others. One of the most troubling things that can happen in morality is when people persuade themselves that something they want to do is okay, when they would never make such a mistake if they didn't have these desires. The people on this site had not lost sight of ethical responsibility altogether: they were emphatic that they never wanted to hurt anyone, or to do anything non-consensual (though of course the underage cannot give consent). But they argue that childhood sexuality is normal and healthy, when any research done shows that people can be very emotionally damaged by having sexual experiences as children. Whatever good arguments there may be for more openness when talking about sex with children, and against telling lies about children's sexuality, it is corrupt to co-opt these arguments into a justification of pedophilia. And all this is worth discussing. An appropriate post could have led to such discussion.

Moreover, I do not think that blanket condemnation of the existence of such a site is in order. Whilst some of the material was clearly unacceptable, a large part of it was confessional, for example (paraphrasing): "when I was a teenager I realised that I was only attracted to little girls, my parents found out and kicked me out etc." We don't gain anything by pretending that people do not have wayward desires or by preventing them from being discussed. On the one hand, it can be dangerous to have a community of people with pedophile inclinations, because they will tend to give spurious justification to each others' desires. But on the other hand, people can only be brought to see morality clearly, and to get treatment, by discussing their feelings. With an appropriate moderator such a site could even be socially useful (though admittedly this site fails any such test).

Again, it is something worse discussing. When you have a society you have to confront the fact that people's desires are dangerous and potentially harmful to others, and you need to find a way of reconciling people to being dissatisfied. (I apologise if anything that I have said offends anyone, or appears to justify the site in question, that was not my intent).
posted by Gaz at 7:27 AM on March 13, 2002


Well, given my agreement with Grangousier and Gaz and taling into account the attitude shown by all posters, without exception, here, I think it's only fair and out-in-the-open to share an e-mail I received some moments ago. The tone of the letter, even for out-and-out moralists like myself and so many others , is sympathetic and entirely acceptable within the wide ethos of the Internet.

I'd just add that things don't go away just because we wish they wouldn't exist. Take it as you will.

So here goes:


"Dear Miguel,


Please check out a website Liza and I made about
female childlove.

We're trying to start some more serious discussions
about (female) childlove on our website. We want to
invite you and other people (who talked about
Butterfly Kisses on MetaTalk) to participate in our
discussions. On the letters page, you can find some
e-mails which you can reply to. I think the discussion
at MetaTalk on pedophilia, free speech, copyright
issues, et cetera is very interesting. Only serious
messages from you and others will be posted on our
website.


Don't worry: you will NOT find any porn on our
website. The content of our website is completely
legal under all applicable (Dutch) laws. Also, we will
not take our website down as easily as Supergirl did
with Butterfly Kisses (and go underground). We will
easily find new webspace if we have to. A lot of other
forums about childlove support us with this. Just to
name a few:


http://www.annabelleigh.net/
http://www.martijn.org/
http://www.boychat.org/
http://www.legarcon.net/
http://www.jungsforum.net/
http://www.jongensforum.net/
http://www.freespirits.org/
http://www.philianews.org/
http://www.openhands.net/
http://www.cvmc.net/
http://www.ipce.org/


I hope to hear more from you soon...


Love, Linda."
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:29 AM on March 13, 2002


You did it again Miguel...there was no reason to link that site. Once again, you could have easily told us that you received an e-mail and a copy is on YOUR website. Instead you blatantly abuse your privileges here.

The more I think about this, the more I firmly believe that the reason you didn't put this on your site is because your traffic isn't nearly as good as MeFi's. You are purposely using this forum to promote yourself and your interests. I think this is dishonest and rather selfish. Your lack of character is surprising...MeTa isn't the forum for your crusades, and I am appalled that you feel that these abuses would go unnoticed.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:41 AM on March 13, 2002


As much as I feel they have a right to post whatever thoughts and ideas they want on their own website, it doesn't mean that I have any desire to discuss those ideas with them. Thanks for the note, Miguel, but count me out.
posted by Jairus at 7:41 AM on March 13, 2002


The tone of the letter... is sympathetic and entirely acceptable within the wide ethos of the Internet.

I'm sorry, this is just sick. I need to know what you mean by "tone," and why you don't address "substance." Miguel, these people are advocating sex with children*. What exactly do you find sympathetic and acceptable about that?

*I'm guessing. Didn't follow the links.
posted by luser at 7:52 AM on March 13, 2002


BlueTrain--I'm in total agreement here, man. I'm so glad to know now that when Googling "childlove" the road will now lead to MeTa as well.
posted by macadamiaranch at 7:56 AM on March 13, 2002


We're trying to start some more serious discussions
about (female) childlove on our website.


That's just revolting. It's like wanting to have a serious discussion about squicking. It's just beyond the range of acceptable behavior.

I can maybe sort of feel sorry for people who have those urges, but I can't in any way, shape, or form even discuss condoning the action. You want something you just can't have. Deal with it. They don't need serious discussion. They need therapy and possibly incarceration.

Why do you keep giving them publicity?
posted by anapestic at 7:56 AM on March 13, 2002


for christ's sake, miguel, enough! take it to your own site if it's such a personal campaign for you.

things don't go away just because we wish they wouldn't exist.
man, ain't that the truth...
posted by Dean King at 8:01 AM on March 13, 2002


I'd just add that things don't go away just because we wish they wouldn't exist. Take it as you will.

In addition, euphemisms don't alleviate the devestating consequences of people's behavior.

Childlove indeed.
posted by iceberg273 at 8:04 AM on March 13, 2002


Dear, respected Luser: Hey, it's a wicked world. Hiding one's head in the sand doesn't help. I'm Jewish and I know how much Jews suffered because everyone(including Jews)pretended that no one in their right mind would ever want to exterminate us. Nothing is gained by looking away.

The Internet is about freedom and, whether we like it or not - not that they're Nazis - these people exist. Until yesterday I'd never heard of lesbian paedophilia. Isn't it good to know they exist? Aren't they human beings?

As a father, I'm glad. Understanding them and knowing what they think I'm better equipped to protect my daughters. Previously - call me innocent - I wouldn't have thought twice about leaving them with a full-grown woman.

Perhaps it's a form of machismo. In any case, I assure you that knowledge is always a good thing and that the Internet, bless it, has made us a lot more knowledgeable about the world we live in.

Besides, we openly discuss murder, massacres, suicide bombers, wars, violence, serial killers, etc. We discuss heterosexual paedophiles. Why should we suddenly wish we'd never heard of their lesbian counterparts? They're probably a lot less violent - and therefore more dangerous.

But, I repeat, pretending they don't exist - had anyone here ever heard of them? - won't make them go away. The Internet os about freedom and all of us should strive for knowledge and truth, the better to defend our own values.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:06 AM on March 13, 2002


I do not understand how this has anything to do with the Boyzone complaints at all.

Anathema: you're correct, it doesn't. It was (depending on how you look at it) topic drift (for which I apologize, kinda) or drawing some disparate threads together as part of a larger issue that's been "in the air" in MeTa lately. Discussions don't always stay in one track--communities are like that. Please note, by the way, that I didn't raise the issue here, I just chimed in.
posted by rodii at 8:17 AM on March 13, 2002


Not only do we know about them, Miguel, but you're serving as a promoter for a dozen of their sites. If you can't find a way to discuss this issue without actively shilling for pedophiles, after Matt has already told you this thread shouldn't have been started, I question whether you belong on this site.
posted by rcade at 8:23 AM on March 13, 2002


For the record, I have no objection to the link. I just wish Miguel had been honest enough to post the damn thing out front. And I don't understand this creepy reluctance he has to just state his revulsion and look away.

You know, I've never heard of man-mitten love, but I guarantee there's somebody out there that practices it. (OK, me.) For a writer, Miguel, you seem to have a limited imagination. We're all talking about this because you were suprised it existed? Every sick thing you could imagine and much you cannot is being done, somewhere. Take that as a given. A good rule of thumb, lest you get taken by surprise re: tomorrow's pervision du jour, is not to leave your children with anyone you don't know well.




posted by luser at 8:25 AM on March 13, 2002


Straight up, Miguel: I resent you using MetaTalk as your personal vigilante launching site. If you want to gather a posse and do a takedown, do it from your own website. Don't use this community as a front for your personal crusade. (I know I just said it, but I had to say it again, and now I'll say no more.)
posted by Dean King at 8:28 AM on March 13, 2002


I brought up the boyzone issue because I felt that it was related to the climate here and now. I think that a group of people could discuss much about the site, but I don't think that discussion by this group of people would contribute much to the discourse because Metafilter has become a place where people are sharing their very private sexualities with little regard to the impact on others.

I respect the way that evanizer (sorry to use you as an example in your absence) talks about his sexuality non-stop in a joking way, and I feel that that is fine and funny, and not damaging to the community. Talking about the specifics of one's own sexuality (which Ev does not ever do seriously) is kind of inappropriate here, and devolves into an "i like boobies" discussion quickly. I don't want to know the specifics of jakeEXTREME's strip joint trip. Shouldn't that be obvious?

I think that Miguel should have just posted this to metafilter and let the discussion ensue. I think that Matt wants to prevent Metatalk being the staging area for Metafilter.
posted by goneill at 8:43 AM on March 13, 2002


“...Matt has already told you this thread shouldn't have been started,...”

Just where exactly did Matt say that? I'm sure you could read that into what he did say if you wanted to, but Matt never said, “Bad thread, should never have been started.”

To better phrase Miguel's original question (sans link):

What is the etiquette involved in posting links that may be considered taboo, or sick and twisted (to MeFi that is)? Are these things roundly denounced, or so off-putting that no interesting debate or discussion can ensue? Are topics like these destined to turn ugly or be deleted? Are we all supposed to go around thinking happy thoughts, discussing benign links and topics, and doing the Safety Dance?
posted by mikhail at 8:47 AM on March 13, 2002


Tune in next time. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.
posted by mikhail at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2002


I'm speechless, well not quite. I don't understand why Miguel posted that email. His follow up rant, whilst great, does not explain why he felt the need to publicise the thoughts of a promoter of child love, along with her top site list. This is getting stranger and stranger.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:51 AM on March 13, 2002


though im fond of miguel, i question his intentions also. i always thought he had an agenda (SEIDM, SIS, culture shock artist, drunk pundit, affable...no, miguels is anything but affable) your "should I or should i not" stance is like the one my (not by blood) 11 year old takes. like hiding behind some ethical skirt. This a prime reason why i dont post. I fully understand ego also. If one wants to survive, ya gotta feed that bad devil, but this is the sprinkles for my ascertion that miguel posts on the fly as i fly on the comments. If the thought that goes into a comment requires more then a minute (too long in my book) then it is worthy of more respect. this takes all of 20 seconds. Miguel baby, your neato and we will do dinky-drinkys in eruo land someday but please THINK BEFORE YOU LINK.
posted by clavdivs at 8:57 AM on March 13, 2002


This is getting crazy. Miguel, we could have discussed this (note Oliver Wendell Holmes paraphase above) WITHOUT the link. There are so many issues here it's making my head spin. What a strange 24 hours it has been here.
posted by anathema at 8:59 AM on March 13, 2002


...i hit the link...check it out now: METAFILTER=witchhunt. to them, through their link back to this thread. Hey miguel shutting down (gettin in ) is easy, its the escape baby. (attempts to highjack thread) anyone seen 'HEIST' last night. (chat is part of the diversion, play along or ignore) remember, some of you are in this for all the rest of us who, are in [this] together.

posted by clavdivs at 9:07 AM on March 13, 2002


This whole matter brings to my mind the controversy of those pro-anorexia sites that are scattered around the web. Those sites take the same attitude that these women do: "I like it, it's my body, and no-one is getting hurt". But of course, someone is getting hurt. What makes these "girl-lovers" even more insidious is that the person they are in denial about hurting is not themselves, but innocent children. On the posting boards at the new site that these people have set up, some of them talk about targeting kids under the age of ten! Disgusting. There is no doubt in my mind that the acts they are describing are, and always should be illegal. Of course, its not illegal to fantasize about such things, but I would never knowingly let any children near these people, and I would also fight to take away any children that the do have. These people are child molesters, even if they think of their relationships as mutual erotic encounters.
posted by thewittyname at 9:08 AM on March 13, 2002


I do not recommend even checking out that stuff wittyname. I think we can talk about this without visiting the site. Like it was said somewhere above--empty your cache.
posted by anathema at 9:17 AM on March 13, 2002


I'm willing to assume that Miguel's intentions are pure with regards to the metafilter community, and that he's just being a tad obtuse, here. I think some of you may be confusing enthusiasm with narcissism.

Miguel, you're fumbling the ball, kid. Just quit with this while you're still on the cuddly side of pariah.

Also, I thought Heist was okay, at best.
posted by dong_resin at 9:18 AM on March 13, 2002


Miguel - please. Thank you for *not* sharing! Take it to your own site, wouldja? You cannot equate the persecution of Jews with the sexual exploitation of children. Go and interact with those folks if you wish, but don't make us witness it, ok?
posted by Lynsey at 9:19 AM on March 13, 2002


[Sorry for the huge comment, but it's also my first in this fiasco. Making up for lost time?]
Macadamiacranch: I'm so glad to know now that when Googling "childlove" the road will now lead to MeTa as well.
Oh, please don't try that. Anybody looking for damn near anything could likely end up here if they just happen to pick the right(wrong?) set of words. This site represents a massive amount of text. Childlove(ooh, more for the pagerank!) is now just one more. Not like pedophilia itself hasn't come up before. Besides which, consider that this entire discussion has been almost unanimously negative. So why would it be a bad thing in your eyes for someone Googling childlove(oops) to find it? If it's so bad, then I'm surprised nobody has brought up Google-bombing to drown out the real sites.

The "giving them publicity" argument is exceedingly thin, by the way. Really, now. Anybody looking for such a particular type of site won't have too much trouble finding it, and underground groups tend to be well-networked. One site is all you need. It's going to take MeFi a while to work its way to the top of this list. I agree that the link should maybe not have been included in the first place, but it was, and guess what? Matt hasn't removed it, or the second one above(so far). I'm surprised all these people who are freaking out and trying really hard not to be associated with the topic keep posting comments. Run away, if it's that horribly disturbing. It's turning into one of those "doth protest too much" things, and it's really unbecoming.
Pedophilia happens, folks. So do all the things I linked above, and bukkake, which I forgot to include, and videos of Japanese people blowing snot rockets into each others' mouths and getting off on it. You've seen them all here, and you know you looked. Maybe you even came away a little better-informed, or maybe just disgusted. I still consider that better than ignorance.
It's been brought up before, but there are people who hunt pedo- sites down as well as other types. Do you really think Miguel, using Google, just randomly happened to do a better job? There's probably nothing for the law to hold onto here. As for you people who keep saying that children cannot give consent, in those or other words: go here, and think about how many twelves and thirteens you see before imposing your own cultural standards on the discussion. Part of the problem with this entire thread is that it(meaning the site) is probably not happening in your country.
posted by Su at 9:25 AM on March 13, 2002


About 90% of contributors to the Library Section (I don't blame you for not clicking, I'm kinda sorry I ever did) admit to satisfying their earliest child-love urges by fondling THEIR OWN CHILDREN. Wow. And they describe it so non-chalantly, conflating the concept of Child-love with outright Incest as if saying, "Well, I'm here on this site disclosing paedophilia, I might as well acknowledge my interest in incest as well, while in good company," etc.
posted by Karl at 9:25 AM on March 13, 2002


I guess I should clear up a few points:

yes, I hate metatalk being used to discuss links instead of just putting them on metafilter.

There are 4-5 good comments here discussing the issues, the rest are mostly reactionary. I would have loved to see the site discussed on metafilter proper if good level headed comments were the norm

BUT

I have a huge problem with this phrase Miguel:

"I'm still very glad this discussion took place, given the happy ending: the site in question was temporarily removed"

What the hell does that imply? Metafilter/Metatalk are now your personal mob justice beacons? You're actually proud of knocking a questionable site off the internet? It's a happy ending when something you personally don't like goes away forever (but actually keeps going, only hidden from your view)?

Remember the discussions about those borderline teen model sites? The ones where under the guises of modeling, 14 year old girls offered for sale various photographs and pieces of thier clothing, and it appeared they were done with parental consent? I was glad to see them discussed, to see the curtain peeled back on some strange corner of the internet I didn't know existed, but would I be happy if the coverage here resulted in a denial of service attack on them? I wouldn't.

I've talked with people that work for hatewatch groups, and I can't remember the exact argument right now, but there is value is knowing and seeing the worst elements of society speak freely. I'd rather they do it in the open, no matter how objectionable, than in secret.

There's an old argument about graffitti. If you see some on a public wall, do you paint over it instantly, or do you stand in front of it, telling passerby why it is wrong? One could argue you'd get a lot more converts choosing the later, even though it more work. In this case, now we have no idea who is doing such objectionable things to children, or where they are going to put their site up next. They've gone back underground, but they are still very much alive and kicking. How is that a happy ending?

After hearing that statement Miguel, I'd like to openly question your motivation for posting it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:29 AM on March 13, 2002


"confusing enthusiasm with narcissism." i thought of this, can be the only explanation due to miguels good stature() (hes a pretty interesting fellow also:) but that can be a ploy my favored master. i would bow, but with one eye upon his shoulders. HEY, who has had to formally bow to another person whos custom it his to do so....dont answer. i just get a feelin like imbeing interrigated with posts that seem to beg a reply that walks only upon moral or ethical grounds. we are not going to solve them on MeTA. (sits back down on the porch. watches big dog run off)) man im fuckin tired.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 AM on March 13, 2002


OK, I quit. I believe in the freedom to know, to say and to fight within the constraints of the law. We should know our enemies, by letting them speak, and fight them. This I shall do on my own blog - have done, in fact, with good results, all my life, in the newspaper I started and edited for years, as well as in my columns. I guess it's difficult to stifle a journalist's instinct for discovering outrageous things in order to shame and combat them.

But there's no need to keep spelling it out, I agree. There are too many horrid things in the world and this is only a weblog, after all.

Put it down to my naiveté. I'm sorry I misjudged - but I'm specially sorry I subjected MetaFilter, i.e. people I like, to something we all hate and could have gone on living without knowing about. Apologies all round!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:34 AM on March 13, 2002


Jesus.

Christ.

Allmighty.

sjc covered a lot of what I would have said.

But everyone settle down. Read carefully. Digest. Think. then post.

1. I've said this a lot and Matt has said it alot, and Derek (fraying) has mentioned it. Don't use MetaTalk as some second-run link haven. MetaTalk is to discuss general issues, usually of a linkless nature. If you have a site to discuss, put it on the front page.

2. Miguel - I haven't a clue about your motivations for posting the site the way you did. Maybe you posted it on MetaTalk so you did't have to have a good discussion reason for it.

3. All you stupid, stupid people trying to get the site shut down because it doesn't agree with your moral leanings can kiss my ass. Hey - why not go get Planned Parenthood's site taken down because they're all baby killers? (and because I don't trust all of you to actually understand sarcasm and go off on some rant... the baby killer comment and the call to take down Planned Parenthood was allegorical sarcasm)

4. Anyone who was after the site because of blatant copyright violations, hurrah. (But I didn't see any similar barrage of help on the same level go to ericost or leslie when their site material was stolen, so I'm assuming most people went the 'it's against my moral sensibilities' route)

5. All the armchair lawyers yelling 'Matt! You're going to get sued! Deleted your cache everyone!' - sheesh.

6. Why didn't this discussion focus, from the beginning on one of the following valid topics that would have been an excellent reason for linking the site:

a) copyrights and illegal use of material for causes the artist doesn't support
b) pornography law differences and effects over international boundaries
c) How the internet has changed the ability for traditionally 'fringe', illegal, or near illegal groups to begin to create some legitimacy around themselves and what are the trade off for groups, such as homosexuals, battered wives, and the such to use the same technology for similar purposes in trying to regulate morallity or illegality

But no, none of that happens here at Metafilter or Metatalk. You get witchhunts and stupid banter about what topical areas should be on or off limits. Someone else said it would be pretty obvious no one here would agree with the site's purpose, which I agree with. But then the witchhunt turns into calling people who don't agree the site should be taken down pedophilacs themselves.

Its crap like this that keeps reminding me why I should just quit this all together.
posted by rich at 9:37 AM on March 13, 2002


Put it down to my naiveté. I'm sorry I misjudged - but I'm specially sorry I subjected MetaFilter, i.e. people I like, to something we all hate and could have gone on living without knowing about.

Wrong Miguel...it wasn't that we didn't want to know about it. The manner in which you brought this topic, and its sites, was deceitful. You had an agenda; you've already shown that you wanted them defeated. There's nothing wrong with thinking that this type of thing was wrong. There's nothing wrong with openly discussing the issue. There IS something wrong with bringing the issue under false pretenses with hidden motives.

You fucked up Miguel. I'm coming after you, not as a personal issue, but as an issue of truth and motivations. And now you're using a condescending attitude, claiming that MeFi members don't want to know about this. That's NOT the issue. I don't feel that it ever was. It was a controversial issue that you didn't setup properly. Beyond that, you further abused the community by creating a mob. Matt is right...he just said:

Metafilter/Metatalk are now your personal mob justice beacons?

You used us Miguel, and you used the power of MetaFilter for your own agenda. This isn't about the fact that most people here don't want to see this. It's the fact that YOU DIDN'T GIVE THEM A CHOICE.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:42 AM on March 13, 2002


I did not know about the problems leslie and ericost have and (maybe too late, but) I am very interested in finding out. Rich--I'm glad we finally have an outline. Seriously.
posted by anathema at 9:45 AM on March 13, 2002


I'd like to defend Miguel a little. He's getting hit from both sides now: from those who think that he's given too much publicity to these people, and now by mathowie saying that it's somewhat irresponsible to take delight in websites being shut down. I tend to agree with the latter sentiment, but I imagine that Miguel felt inclined to say he'd be pleased if the site got taken down because it's obligatory to say something suitably horrified and condemnatory when discussing these sites.

Anyway, I was interested to see this link. The purpose of MeFi (though not MeTa, of course) is to show each other interesting links that we won't have seen before, that will help us learn about the world and the web, and perhaps will lead to interesting discussion. Miguel has apologised for making a misjudgement, but since there doesn't seem to be agreement about what he should have done (post to MeFi, not post at all?) I'd cut him some slack.

I think the people who say that Miguel should have kept this to his own blog have forgotten what a community weblog is:
A typical weblog is one person posting their thoughts on the unique things they find on the web. This website exists to break down the barriers between people, to extend a weblog beyond just one person, and to foster discussion among its members.

So Miguel, don't be discouraged, and don't let the sniping get to you.
posted by Gaz at 9:54 AM on March 13, 2002


After hearing that statement Miguel, I'd like to openly question your motivation for posting it.

No motivation whatsoever besides discussion. Matt. I am not a child molester, an abolitionist or a campaigner for anything at all. I have never had any contact, personal or by e-mail, with any of these species. I simply speak my mind. I'm sorry - and offended - you'd think I had a motivation other than the purest and most obvious.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:55 AM on March 13, 2002


Anyone who was after the site because of blatant copyright violations, hurrah.

I love a value system in which it's OK to call for the removal of a web site because it violates copyright, but it's offensive to do so because it encourages the sexual exploitation of children.

It's a perfect example of First Amendment fundamentalism: an actual child is worth less protection than an Anne Geddes photo of a child, and the only moral judgment some people are comfortable making is that moralism is wrong.

As far as I'm concerned, the best thing that happened as a result of Miguel's naive walk on the wild side is the report that the scrutiny made the publisher uncomfortable and they pulled the site offline. That's what happens when you cast light under a rock.
posted by rcade at 10:08 AM on March 13, 2002


I second BlueTrain's statement. And also thank Su for her post. That age of consent list was fascinating - a real eye opener.

Miguel, framed right, this could have been a very good post on MetaFilter. If you are genuinely interested in this topic, then let me tell you this. That site is totally harmless in comparison to a lot that are out there. Furthermore it would almost certainly be legal in the US and Europe, in respect to the content, copyright aside. For reasons to do with free speech and expression, photographs of naked children are legal as long as the context of the photograph is not deemed as sexually explicit. For instance, US law defines Child Pornography as -

'"any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, , video, picture, drawing or computer or computer-generated image or picture, which is produced by electronic, mechanical or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where:

(1) its production involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or;
(2) such visual depiction is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;
(3) such visual depiction has been created, adapted or modified to appear that an `identifiable minor’ is engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
(4) it is advertised, distributed, promoted or presented in such a manner as to convey the impression that it is a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct."

I believe European law is similar.

If you think that the law should be stronger, then start fighting that battle. What none of us have the right to do is harrass sites such as the one listed above, however disturbing they may be to us. I was personally concerned with the links list, as it pointed at youth support groups etc, but the only action that I have the right to take is to write to those groups and inform them of such.
posted by RobertLoch at 10:17 AM on March 13, 2002


I love a value system in which it's OK to call for the removal of a web site because it violates copyright, but it's offensive to do so because it encourages the sexual exploitation of children.

rcade: true and sad. Though we have our differences(who cares?)yours is probably the most acute insight so far. What it amounts to is that those who are protected(adults, copyright-holders)protect themselves. Those who aren't(children, non-entities)are left to fend for themselves. It's freedom all the same but the difference between those who have the freedom to fight back and defend their work and those who are only free to be abused and exploited is so great as to make one cry.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:21 AM on March 13, 2002


rcade-I know it may seem ridiculous to separate the issues (copyright--speech) but I think I made it clear way earlier that I, at least, realized the difficulty of balancing this crap with free speech issues. I am not sure where I am willing to draw the line between speech and allowing people to gather at these sites which encourage abusing children and let these people network. Sorry, I am having a hard time with this and the way I initially chose to deal with it was to skirt the moral side. It took Sally Mann a long time (not even over yet) to divest herself from this kiddie-porn tag. So that was the route I took.
posted by anathema at 10:29 AM on March 13, 2002


rcade and Miguel: Again, I ask, were there any children exploited or abused in the making of those Anne Geddes photos, those 'childlove' fictons, or those 'how-to' lists?
posted by Jairus at 10:29 AM on March 13, 2002


If you are genuinely interested in this topic

RobertLoch: I would have thought you'd understood by now I have no interest whatsoever in the niceties of the law regarding child abuse. My only interest is in decrying and denouncing those who abuse children - specially those clever enough to act within the law.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:30 AM on March 13, 2002


I am not sure where I am willing to draw the line between speech and allowing people to gather at these sites which encourage abusing children and let these people network.

I see your point, anathema. I am not sure where I am willing to draw the line between speech and allowing Falun Gong members to gather at their sites (which encourage committing treason) and network.
posted by Jairus at 10:39 AM on March 13, 2002


'decrying and denouncing those who abuse children - specially those clever enough to act within the law.'

I personally agree with the sentiment of what you are saying, however there are better ways to address it that force a site underground. I personally found the context of that site disturbing, I think that there should be something in the law that discourages the promotion of illegal acts against children. It seems odd to me that people are able to meet up and discuss tatics for child abuse without that being illegal. In the same respect as it is now illegal in the UK to incite people to racial hatred, perhaps incitement to child abuse should also be illegal. Maybe there should be some form of 'aiding and abetting' law, holding people responsible for assisting people in commiting illegal acts against children. Perhaps those are the fights that we should be engaged in.
posted by RobertLoch at 10:45 AM on March 13, 2002


Like I said much earlier: There is a major MAJOR difference when it comes to the protection of children.
posted by anathema at 10:52 AM on March 13, 2002


"(4) it is advertised, distributed, promoted or presented in such a manner as to convey the impression that it is a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct."

Isn't that the main purpose of the site?
posted by anathema at 10:58 AM on March 13, 2002


The fact that some of you would have a website shut down because you don't agree with the ideas advocated is shocking to me, at best. The idea that some of you might like to make it illegal to sit around and talk is horrifying, regardless of the subject matter.

If we can outlaw this discussion, why stop there? Make it illegal to advocate racist views. Go after the hackers next, always hanging around those 2600 meetings and discussing new and interesting ways to commit felonies and fraud. After that, we can hit up those filesharing engineers, who are obviously designing systems to circumvent copyright protection! How can they be allowed to discuss these things in public?

anathema: Speech is Speech, regardless of how much you might disagree with the particular ideas advocated. The instant you make a certain type of speech 'not okay', whatever the reason, you're undermining the most important freedom that those of us lucky enough to live in civilized nations enjoy, and setting a very, very dangerous precedent.

As for the law you quoted, you're forgetting that it is referring to sexually explicit conduct that is being promoted as a sexual depiction of a minor, not depictions of a minor promoted as sexual conduct -- like dressing up a twenty-year-old porn star to look twelve. Aren't you supposed to be in law school or something?
posted by Jairus at 11:12 AM on March 13, 2002


This caught my eye after reading and posting here.
posted by Lynsey at 12:24 PM on March 13, 2002


I love a value system in which it's OK to call for the removal of a web site because it violates copyright, but it's offensive to do so because it encourages the sexual exploitation of children.

rcade - I'm not sure if you read my entire comment. The point about bringing down a site for me is rooted in the spirit of what the internet was for in the first place. Just as I wouldn't want someone's morality focusing on bringing down Planned Parenthood's web site (that is a legal site and content), I don't want people bringing down other sites that they find morally objectionable (but happen to be legal).

The reasoning behind it, for me, is quite clear. You have to abide by the law for pratical purposes. But if you force the closure of sites simply based on oral objections, you are destroying the freedom of information and expression the internet as a medium, better than any other medium in existence, provides.

People who went through lengths to bring down Butterfly Eyes based purely on the moral object to pedophilia I have problems with. And more to what bothers me - where were all these people that brought a site down in less than a day when people who stole content from members here (leslie, ericost, and others) either are still operating or took days or weeks to get down?

Quashing people's legal right to speak is more important than stopping blatant violations of the law and people's rights? (and don't give me crap about 'what about the children's rights' because that is not what I was talking about)
posted by rich at 12:34 PM on March 13, 2002


People who went through lengths to bring down Butterfly Eyes based purely on the moral object to pedophilia I have problems with. And more to what bothers me - where were all these people that brought a site down in less than a day when people who stole content from members here (leslie, ericost, and others) either are still operating or took days or weeks to get down?

It's not clear to me how much work anyone put into bringing this site down. A couple of people may have sent emails, but it seems like the site folded with relatively little prompting. I don't know that to be the case, but I don't think you know for sure that people put went to any particular lengths to get that site off the net. A lot of us wouldn't even click on it, and wouldn't have known who to complain to in any case. And many of us who didn't think the site should be linked here stopped short of calling for its removal from the net.

Quashing people's legal right to speak is more important than stopping blatant violations of the law and people's rights? (and don't give me crap about 'what about the children's rights' because that is not what I was talking about)

I reckon it depends on the subject matter. A lot of us are more offended by pedophilia than by copyright infringement.
posted by anapestic at 12:51 PM on March 13, 2002


Anapestic.. the point is the difference between actually being guilty of copyright infringement versus being guilty of just *talking* or discussing pedophilia on a site.

I would hate a site that said 'Yes! Infringe on copyrights!', but wouldn't call for it to be taken down.

Sure, the site had child porn (reportedly) on it, and that's a valid reason to try and get it taken down.. but the majority of comments I saw cheering on the effort were based on the moral wrongness of pedophilia, not any specific breech of any law. I don't care how offended you are morally if someone has a right ( no matter how revolting, etc) to talk about it or express their opinion.
posted by rich at 1:05 PM on March 13, 2002


Good lord. This has to be one of the most posted to FPP's in MeTa history. What is #1 for meta? mefi? how many comments?
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2002


I don't know about MeTa Ufez Jones, but for MeFi, I bet it's thread 1142 with 1538 comments as of today (more added all the time).

THERE IS NO CABAL™
posted by thewittyname at 1:48 PM on March 13, 2002


What the hell does that imply? Metafilter/Metatalk are now your personal mob justice beacons? You're actually proud of knocking a questionable site off the internet?

That's rich.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:57 PM on March 13, 2002


well obiwan, for what it is worth, I never started a thread about them, with the hope of getting the site knocked offline. I put a little link on the sidebar of the site, which I run. Big difference between that and a single user trying to gather up some mob rule.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2002


I was wondering what were the chances this would get to MeFi. I'd love to talk about this on MeFi where the discussion would focus around the topic, not if the topic was appropriate. Has it derailed to the point where a viable discussion on MeFi proper would not be possible?
posted by geoff. at 2:50 PM on March 13, 2002


and a single user trying to gather up some mob rule.

Excuse me, Matt? After three comments I asked for the thread to be deleted and said I had my answer. I e-mailed you, asking to delete it around comment nine. I sent no other e-mails and incited nobody to even complain. After that, I just followed the discussion. Where is there any mob rule or mob justice?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:24 PM on March 13, 2002


Jairus-Courts in the US have consistently held that there are different kinds of speech and like I said before they are also fond of protecting children. Look, I am just pointing out that "speech is speech" may not be completely accurate. I certainly understand the difference between saying and doing.
As far as the statutory construction, I may have read it incorrectly, it obviously turns on the word "conduct." Considering trends in the judiciary, I do not think it out of the question that it could be interpreted in the way I suggest.

posted by anathema at 3:39 PM on March 13, 2002


Big difference between that and a single user trying to gather up some mob rule.

"Here's to hoping anyone searching for Critical IP at google sees this...if you feel like sharing this message with anyone else, just copy this HTML and post on your site..."

If that wasn't 'a single user trying to gather up some mob rule', I don't know what is.

Or perhaps you were simply doing what Miguel did - a bit of well-motivated public service work that others beyond your control took too far?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:44 PM on March 13, 2002


Lynsey, thank you for that link...that is the type of article that i think miguel could have posted to get a discussion going on this subject.

posted by th3ph17 at 5:14 PM on March 13, 2002


This is stupid stupid stupid stupid.
posted by crasspastor at 5:17 PM on March 13, 2002


This is what Miguel said initially (so it's how we'd tell if mob rule were being incited):

"perhaps posting the site on MetaFilter will make it be denounced and go underground(which would be a good thing, IMO)"

There's nothing there about DoS attacks or googlebombing, just the hope that exposure would have it's own effect, without the need for an organised and crafty campaign; and it looks like that's what happened. All that Miguel is inciting here is 'denouncing', and that seems pretty legitimate. Then the comment that Matt objects to so much:

"I'm still very glad this discussion took place, given the happy ending: the site in question was temporarily removed"

All that's saying is:
1. Good riddance.
2. If they hadn't been exposed in this way they'd still be there.

Now if I could do something which would make, say, the Nuremberg Files go away, and all it took was exposing them, I'd be pretty damn pleased. You can argue that with a pedophile site it might not be such a good idea to drive them underground, but that's a completely different argument from whether mob rule is being used to do so. As obiwanwasabi has said, the Critical IP thing is far closer to mob rule because it is an incitement to take action - Matt could have just chosen to relate his experience with them and say how terrible he thought it was and see if people agreed with him. It's one of those things about the distinction between speech and action - shades of grey maybe, but still a distinction.
posted by Gaz at 5:22 PM on March 13, 2002


goneill, I would like it if you would email me, and then I can continue a decent conversation with you. I'd do it in the open but if I have a normal conversation in public, it would ruin my [sarcasm on] brash loud mouth typical male neanderthal image [sarcasm off] here on MeFi/MeTa. That, and this thread is about greater things than you and I. My addy is on my profile. Thanks.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 5:39 PM on March 13, 2002


'The idea that some of you might like to make it illegal to sit around and talk is horrifying, regardless of the subject matter.'

What, you mean like planning terrorist attacks?

So by your logic it would be ok for people to run courses at you local community hall on 'how best to snare a 7 year old', or 'best practices in getting away with child abuse.'

I presume that you must think that is fine. I don't, which is why I stated that perhaps the law should be changed to make it illegal for people to share best practices on abusing children. even online.
posted by RobertLoch at 6:03 PM on March 13, 2002


Metafilter/Metatalk are now your personal mob justice beacons? You're actually proud of knocking a questionable site off the internet? It's a happy ending when something you personally don't like goes away forever (but actually keeps going, only hidden from your view)?

Matt, I have to agree strongly with you here.

You know, people wanting to run others off line because they don't like their site/OPINIONS is really silly. It has to be 2002. Ever since this year has come in, people have been trying to run me off line. Why do it on Metatalk/filter? And MiguelCardoso? What the hell did you think you'd find, searching for "kisses of love" anyway? Those old cabbage path dolls that used to "kiss" when you squeezed them? Anyone who runs, or tries to run people off line who aren't bothering them have serious mental distubances.
posted by Kafei at 6:36 PM on March 13, 2002


You know, people wanting to run others off line because they don't like their site/OPINIONS is really silly.

You're right. We need more sites advocating child abuse. More asbestos, more asbestos!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:18 PM on March 13, 2002


Excuse me, Matt? After three comments I asked for the thread to be deleted and said I had my answer. I e-mailed you, asking to delete it around comment nine.

Miguel, since I was traveling at the time, I didn't get your email until there were something like 70 comments already, and I couldn't reach the site in the original link.

Obiwan, the example you quote of when I asked for incitement of mob rule was done on my personal site, not as a metafilter or metatalk thread I started. Big difference.

The subject of the site is quite objectionable, and I don't know how many people clicked around the other pedophillia links, but these are some screwed up people. Personally, I think it is horrible if they go underground thanks to anything that happened here. A couple days ago, you could have found this person running this site without much trouble and arrested them if you thought they were breaking the law. How are you going to find them now? How about people running sites trying to say this childlove crap isn't child molestation? Isn't it better to see their flawed arguments out in the open so we can say "no, you're wrong because 'consent' doesn't apply to an 8 year old that doesn't know the damage you are doing to them when they say 'yes' to you.

I've posted links to pro-anorexia sites before on metafilter because the people running them baffled me. There were good discussions about the psychological problems associated with someone with anorexia. Someone searching for a pro-anorexia site might find metafilter, and see people telling them why it is wrong. I think it's healthy to get these dirty secrets out in the open, as no one is going to get help when they are underground. It could be argued that highlighting something objectionable would attract others to it, but I think there's just as much chance for more people to see why they shouldn't do whatever the site is advocating, thanks to discussions here.

Miguel, your original post said you wanted to see it roundly denounced and taken underground. I think that's not only a bad way to phrase a post here, but a bad idea for others to follow. It implies that you want to silence others speech that you find personally objectionable, and whether you inteded or not, a lot of other people followed your lead and the site is now underground. Are our children any safer now that a pedophile is now hidden instead of somewhere they can be easily traced?

So in conclusion, I think the site is an incredible find, and is incredibly offensive, but would have made for a great discussion on metafilter (not metatalk) if people would have stuck to the issues and put a light under that rock without being incited to throw stones.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:56 PM on March 13, 2002


MC: Excuse me, Matt? After three comments I asked for the thread to be deleted and said I had my answer. I e-mailed you, asking to delete it around comment nine. I sent no other e-mails and incited nobody to even complain. After that, I just followed the discussion. Where is there any mob rule or mob justice?

Right here, Miguel, 15 minutes after that email, where you say: "The MetaFilter sleuths are really needed here. Who owns the site? When was it registered? Who's paying for it? Are there any connections with Nambla?" This is what you do; I keep seeing it. You stir something up, then sit back until everyone's gone nuts, and eventually pop back in with "Apologies all around!" It's tiresome, man.

On preview, Matt has just said all that needs saying. I should probably just not post this, but I gotta get it off my chest.
posted by Dean King at 9:02 PM on March 13, 2002


Thanks for that, Matt. After 182 posts, finally a definitive answer to my original question: I should have posted it to MetaFilter. I'll do it first thing tomorrow. Just joking... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:22 PM on March 13, 2002


I think it's healthy to get these dirty secrets out in the open
It could have been as good a MetaFilter post as the recent FPP about Ethnic Cleansing, the Video Game. Several users urged Matt to delete the thread. Others pointed out, as has been done here, that no purpose is served by averting our gaze from evil. I thought it was an excellent thread. And then the next week, Wired News ran a story on this exact same game.

Naturally, "Butterfly Kisses" had been taken down by the time I saw this thread, so I can't form any opinion as to its content. But it bears the title of that song I despise with every fiber of my being, so I'm confident it truly is evil and must be destroyed, just like everything else of which I disapprove. [smirk]
posted by StOne at 10:32 PM on March 13, 2002


What, you mean like planning terrorist attacks?

If the site in question was a bulletin board where people planned child abductions via the site, or back-alley molestations, it'd be different. If you want to bullshit with friends at a coffee shop about different ways to steal planes, or innovative ways to sink ships, more power to you. If you're actually planning it, that crosses the line from 'expressive freedom' to 'criminal intent'.

perhaps the law should be changed to make it illegal for people to share best practices on abusing children

Perhaps the law should be changed to make it illegal for people to actively encourage abusing children, much as it is to encourage a hate crime. Telling others to 'go, do this' is obviously not in the public interest. However, making a website and saying 'This is my opinion, this is what I think about this subject' shouldn't be a crime, regardless of how unpopular, or immoral that opinion may be.
posted by Jairus at 10:59 PM on March 13, 2002


You're right. We need more sites advocating child abuse.

Don't play dumb. It seems that other's here knew what I was talking about. People have disagreed with me, and tried to run me off the web using my race as the reason that I didn't need to be online. My general meaning here was simple: I think that it's pretty terrible to celebrate running someone's site offline. As a webdesigner for nearly 7 years, I know how hard it is to make a site from scratch. I'm not defending this site at all. I can't be for it or against it. I didn't get to see it. I'm pretty sure that it's on the WayBack Machine or something, but that's not important to me. I don't care for seeing it. I'll take everyone's word on this. I was reffering to a general principle here. Not the site, it's content, or the "principles" that those things should bring up.
posted by Kafei at 11:39 PM on March 13, 2002


Amazing how to some people, 'free speech' only applies if you agree with the speaker.

Taking this quote out of context, I just wanted to add that there is actually a legal partition between free speech and incitement. I don't feel qualified to comment on whether or not this site crossed it, but if one was concerned about the legality/morality of any website, surely one's best recourse would be to report it to the legal agencies responsible for making that kind of decision? Angry mob justice often misses the facts in the roil of emotional response.
posted by walrus at 7:05 AM on March 14, 2002


Not the site, it's content, or the "principles" that those things should bring up.

So you're saying that, on 'principle', sites that advocate child abuse should be permitted, because web designers put a lot of effort into them. Nice one.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:44 PM on March 14, 2002


So you're saying that, on 'principle', sites that advocate child abuse should be permitted, because web designers put a lot of effort into them. Nice one.

No, I'm saying that you shouldn't celebrate getting anyone's site thrown off the web, no matter what's on it. Be glad that you did it and go on. Don't go around gloating about it, or expecting MetaFilter to be a place that's soul mission is to get sites taken off the web. I know that's not the purpose of MetaFilter. Here's the part of the post that you didn't read:

"I'm not for or against the site."

Next time, read the whole post before commenting or thowing ridiculous ideas around about it. I was not talking about the site, it's content, or any other thing about "Butterfly Kisses" or child porn sites at all. I was talking about getting a site taken off the web. One that wasn't made with push-button publishing.
posted by Kafei at 9:04 PM on March 14, 2002


For those tracking this, Butterfly Kisses is back on line, 100% intact.
posted by rodii at 6:40 AM on March 15, 2002


Good for her for booby-trapping the mad Portugesan's link from this page - that pithy little JavaScripted message should be taken to heart by every last one of you who would deny someone their right to do what you feel so free to do here: voice an opinion to like-minded readers. How does it go again? "Judge not lest ye be... what was that line?"
posted by JollyWanker at 10:02 AM on March 15, 2002


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