Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And now Karp responds with a nonsensical post.

BTW, sweetie, it's whose, not who's.

Here it is:

I’m really sorry for how poorly I handled this. Last night, an email circulated at Tumblr that incorrectly implied we were enforcing a new policy on “reblogging-blogs”. Our community director accordingly suspended several accounts that had recently received numerous complaints.

This was brought to my attention late last night, and after deliberation with the team, we decided the most responsible steps would be to explain our decision, update our policy publicly, and apologize for the content being removed prematurely.

The harassing behavior we’re specifically looking to protect against is accounts who’s “sole or primary purpose” involves negatively targeting “specific members or groups within the Tumblr community”. That is, “reblogging-david”, etc. These were targeted for two reasons:

  • They seriously discourage the expression we’re building Tumblr to enable, and we know they can make Tumblr a shitty place for the people targeted.
  • We view them as an exploitation of our reblogging system which places accountably on the identity of the poster. The thought being that responses get to live on your site, not mine. So people are significantly more considerate of what they post.

That said, the timing was a mistake. We accidently rushed into enforcing this policy which was, in fact, on hold as we’ve been evaluating a new blocking feature as a programmatic alternative.

We have absolutely no interest in censoring users, though we will continue to police spam and illegal content. We’ll spend this week closely evaluating our policy changes and looking for a programmatic solution.

This policy decision had nothing to do with any personal relationships.

And to Owen’s point about us announcing “a new revenue-generating feature on Monday”: This was in reference to the Valentine feature, which proudly earned Tumblr its first revenue last weekend.

A few points:

First off, we can't succinctly reply to those first two paragraphs because THEY DON'T MAKE SENSE. Did you not take freshman composition?

Can someone explain what that second bullet means?

Um, you ARE censoring users Karp. And that's fine, you're allowed. But please don't say that you're not. Also, Julia's email to Gawker certainly makes it sound like you are doing just that.

Finally, Baugher had recently received complaints? She didn't have any new posts in a month! This is very hard to believe.

ALSO: If you use Tumblr, please consider taking your business elsewhere.


  1. Karp never finished high school, so it makes sense that his writing may leave something behind. He's a smart guy, but this is drivel. This is a back track and not even a good one.

  2. The second bullet means that Tumblr's reblogging system is meant to foster some kind of accountability because, unlike regular commenting systems, responses are hosted on the reblogger's page - e.g. I have a personal blog on Tumblr and I don't trash other people because I don't want that kind of crap associated with my own blog.
    Blogs solely dedicated to tearing other blogs down circumvent this kind accountability.

    I'm not saying I agree with it, but Karp point is clear.

  3. The funny part is the the reblogging blogs were the only ones on tumblr that i usually read, starting the Nick Guido Denton and Baugher.

    I don't know what sort of utopian community he was trying to bring to the internet, but he should of known that when he created a platform where people had the ability to respond to things other people said he was basically creating a digital high school.

    How is silencing negative commentary NOT censorship? Seriously Karp, I want to know.

  4. It was still poor form for someone trying to build a multimillion dollar business and lure investors, and it is still censorship.

    Where are their lawyers or do they just consult with them after they've made these irrational decisions and need to update their TOS? (which, if their attorney drafted, should be sued for stupidity).

    AND - the fact that other "reblogging sites" (ie Mary's) still exist weakens his explanation.

  5. I commented on this on an earlier post:

    As for Karp's 2nd point above, RBNS, the reblogging system if I understood right was intended to moderate comments and posts by encouraging people to think twice about what they post since the comments would live on their own blogs and be visible to all who visited there, reflecting on the blogger making the comments. With rebloggers Karp seems to think, if my interpretation is right, that they have no other content (besides the reblogged material and commentary) that comments critiquing others could taint. Sorry I know that is so awkwardly worded, I couldn't explain it well.

    Thanks for this post RBNS and for your encouragement for those who disagree with this policy to consider leaving Tumblr. I totally agree with that. Businesses respond to $ and customers, etc. If all a business has to face is negative talk but no drop in profit or customers, etc. they usually just pay lip service to the concerns till they fade away, just as Karp has weakly done with the comment posted here.

    Plus by using and supporting businesses we do support their policies, especially if we have other options but choose not to take them. I think this is a serious issue. I understand it's not a first amendment issue etc as some Tumblr users seemed to claim but it still matters. Just because they have the legal right to instate the policy doesn't mean the policy is acceptable. (Not to mention that I question if under their own TOS they did have the right to delete the blogs the way they did anyway.)

    The fact that a blogging platform is equating reblogging and critiques with "harrassing behavior" is truly distrubing and sickens me.

  6. I found out about this about half an hour ago. I have sent an email to David and a response to Gawker, who asked for comment.

    I just found my email from Marco, dated last year, assuring me my account would never be deleted because it didn't violate the TOS. And honestly, I don't believe I did. Yes, the site was often cutting and biting and critical, but mostly satirical and playful. Yes, I gave them nicknames, but these are three women whose entire business model is predicated on them being public figures. Why they are

    I didn't use ad hominem attacks, at least in the past six months, I didn't criticize their personal appearances. I just commented on their public statements in a satirical (snarky is such an overrated word) way. Often, people reblogged my posts and agreed. Sometimes, they disagreed. Which, I thought, was how tumblr was supposed to work.

    David's explanation is baffling, to say the least. Most of tumblr users don't use their full names in their tumblr domain and are largely anonymous. JA has already unsuccessfully tried to out her rebloggers and seriously employed the tool of harassment, so this is all just incredible.

    In the end, it appears that tumblr has taken a page out of NS and allowed only positive comments about another public site.

  7. Does the Nonsociety website fall under the heading of specific members or groups within the Tumblr community?

  8. @PupCake: is based off the tumblr platform.

    @baugher: shame to see the site go, it was truly well written satire.

  9. God forbid anyone consider signing up for any premium (pay) services at Tumblr. Looks like they've modeled themselves on the PayPal let's-freeze-accounts-for-no-reason-when-we-need-some-working-capital model.

  10. So, the geeks invent computers and build the internet, the emo and goth kids create sites for people to express their creativity and reflections on life, and the popular crowd, realizing that nobody cares about their stupid football games and beauty pageants any more, decide to get online and ruin the fun. Fuck you, beautiful people. Fuck you.

  11. I feel sort of sad for David Karp and company. They have seriously convinced themselves that taking personal contact and requests from JA does not constitute some sort of ethical breach. The first time she asked Karp to shut down a blog should have been an alarm that something wrong was going on. Just because you tell yourself JA didn't affect your decisions, it is obvious that she did at some level.

    But thanks for the rationalization and half apology.

    On another note: baugher, it is good to have you back.

  12. i use tumblr and am now embarrassed that i do :( FML.

  13. I think Karp has learned his lesson. You guys have to keep in mind that this guy is a baby (he is 23) and he probably thought he was doing a good thing. They fucked up. They should have notified us about the change in TOS before deleting blogs. They should set up a notification system for blogs that violate TOS. They should clarify their writing in the TOS. Karp got burned (and rightly so) by everyone and I think he realizes that he fucked up.

    BTW: This isn't "censoring." Karp runs a private company that he can do with as he sees fit. Just because he deletes your blog doesn't mean that he is cutting off your right to free speech: you can go blog on a different publishing platform. It would be censorship if the government deleted your blog.

    I would like it if they addressed the Charlsie incident because I think that is more pressing than deleting some blogs that mocked people.

    I think it is kind of funny how people are so up in arms about this, but when a girl kills herself on myspace because of cyberbullying, everyone is demanding more protection from cyberbullying/harassment. I think Karp sees himself as part of the solution by getting rid of cyberbullying blogs (which some of them were) but it backfired because he mismanaged and trying to police the internet is a futile cause.

  14. Why is no one addressing the Molly McAleer connection? Like Julia she also whined about her critics and then wrote gleefully about getting one of them banned in the anonyblog purge:

    The Molls Show, the "online show" that is connected with her blog was "built" (her words) by Tumblr. I think they are part of the testdrive thing that Owen on Gawker talked about.

    Molly has been noticeably silent about this whole mess after she got excited that her critic was silenced (and she is usually pretty vocal about anything tumblr-related). Except she posted a picture of Mean Girls with "tumblr" written on it. I guess she is enjoying the fact that she is part of the so-called "Tumblr cool crowd" that can get anyone they want deleted?

    I used to like Molly when she was on Defamer, but this whole incident has made me really dislike her (and the fact her blog has really gone downhill lately).

  15. Fine. Let him say what he likes. It's his stupid company and it's private. He's shown his true colors and I, like many others, will be deleting my TUMBLR blog today.

    That said his latest response does nothing to address why Charlsie's inocuous blog was frozen and all posts "lost" literally HOURS after RBNS reblogged a paragraph of her comment and MR told her to take it down. Charlsie was willing to close her blog. She signed on to do so and while she was making her posts private all of her content disappeared and she could no longer access the site.

    He's LYING when he says that personal allegiances have nothing to do with us. Charlsie's blog wasn't even a reblogging site. The majority of her content was NYC/BF related. She had several posts with a paragraph or so of NS related content.

    He's a scum bag. I hate liars. I'd have more respect for him if he'd just say, "JA is a friend of mine and she utilizes our platform. As a result, I have made the executive decision to take down several blogs."

  16. I have deleted my tumblr account.
    I like the interface for its simplicity but that load of crap about this having anything to do with the good of the wider community; galling.
    Here's the link.

  17. Anon9:28: Deleting people's blogs without notice and without giving them a chance to back up their content is bullshit.

    And yes, it is censorship. If a newspaper doesn't print a person's point of view because someone might find it offensive, it is CENSORING that point of view. It doesn't have to be the government that's doing the censoring.

    For your edification, here is the definition of "to censor:"

    1. To examine (material) and remove parts considered harmful or improper for publication or transmission: bowdlerize, expurgate, screen. See include/exclude, show/hide.
    2. To keep from being published or transmitted: ban, black out, hush (up), stifle, suppress. Idioms: keep/put a lid on. See show/hide.

  18. I almost wish I had a Tumblr account, just so I could delete it in protest.

    Hell, when I did start some blogs in recent months, I briefly considered Tumblr, but then remembered Julia Baugher's connection to them and dropped them from my list.

    I also declined to renew my AG membership with after she was part of one of their "expert" panels. In fact, shortly before it was time to renew, I got a questionnaire about whether I was going to renew, and I wrote back that I was going to renew, until they exhibited such poor judgment in putting that idiot on a panel for which they had the gall to charge people to attend.

    Memo to businesses: If you are stupid enough to associate your business with Julia Allison/Julia Baugher, then I don't trust your judgment and will not do business with you.

  19. Someone is playing favorites. Not a good look at all. Gross mismanagement on their part as well that they didn't give advance warning before deleting legal material.

  20. I made my Tumblr go poofy, as well. It's about time I got my own domain name anyway. There are plenty of free templates out there, so it won't be that hard.

  21. Someone on Twitter last night complained that writing something positive about JAB got her a lot of un-followers. Jackles IS the cancer.

  22. It is censorship, but it is also entirely within Tumblr's rights and has absolutely nothing to do with the first amendment.

    That said, it's a poor business decision, even if users aren't paying for the service.

    Plus, Tumblrs are ugly as sin and, more importantly, WTF does "Tumblr" even mean? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills whenever someone talks about that. Like something that tumbles? I don't get it! And I invented the piano-key necktie!

  23. I just did (take my business out elsewhere)