We’ve been delighted to read all of the thoughtful feedback you’ve sent to our policy team, and have hopefully answered every single email. Please let us know if we missed you.
Based on all your notes, we’ve made a few tweaks to the upcoming policies. Here’s a short summary of the changes:
We’ve clarified that our policy against “tag spam” doesn’t apply to creative and meaningful uses of tags. You should tag your posts with any useful tag you can think of and feel free to use them for punchlines. #britneyspears
We’ve overhauled our policy on contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways, making it a separate policy that is, we hope, easier to understand.
You can review every change to the policies, letter for letter, on GitHub.
Finally, we strive to apply all our policies fairly. When there’s a concern that a user is violating a policy, our team will evaluate the situation carefully before taking appropriate action. Accounts are only suspended in cases where a violation is particularly severe or where warnings have been ignored.
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to write in. We’ll be rolling out the updated terms and policies later today.
One of our service providers just suffered a major network outage, reducing our web capacity significantly for the past two hours.
We’re frustrated with the amount of time it took to resolve this issue, but are more disappointed that this issue had such a dramatic impact on our service. We’re already working to remove this component as a single point of failure.
Our deepest apologies for letting you down tonight.
South by Southwest brings together some of the world’s most creative people in film, technology, and music. We’ll be heading to Austin to put on a bunch of Tumblr meetups, panels, and shows. Come hang out with us!
Meetups and Events (open to everyone, even if you aren’t attending SXSW)
March 10 @ 4pm: Tumblr meetup at the The Jackalope (404 East 6th) NEW LOCATION!
We’re really proud of the new documents. We think they’re easier to understand and better for you and our community. In particular, we’ve clarified some of the content ownership language in our Terms of Service, dropped a few legal restrictions, and revamped our Community Guidelines to better reflect what we’re seeing and how we’re enforcing our policies.
It’s worth noting that, while the Community Guidelines have gotten longer, the only new policy in the draft that we weren’t already enforcing is “Promotion and Glorification of Self-Harm”. The other additions are meant to clarify our existing policies.
We’re planning to officially launch the new terms in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, we’d really love your feedback.
You can preview the new documents with the links above. And starting today, we’ll be making all policy revisions historically viewable (and diff-able) on GitHub!
Follow-up: Tumblr’s New Policy Against Pro-Self-Harm Blogs
Last Thursday, we posted a draft of a new policy against blogs that actively promote self-harm, along with some PSA-style language to appear next to searches associated with self-injury. The reaction was overwhelming. The post itself provoked more than 25,000 likes, reblogs, and replies; and more than 2,500 of you sent in comments by email. Thank you.
By far, the most common comment was some variation on this:
This is really great, but what about people who just talk about it? They aren’t promoting it in any way, but like some of us just express ourselves through posting about it. I don’t promote self-harm or eating disorders or anything, but I do talk about my experiences with these things. Do those count as something that’s going to be banned?
That’s an important concern, so we want to be totally clear: While we won’t allow blogs dedicated to triggering self-harm, we will not act against blogs engaged in discussion, support, encouragement, and documenting the experiences of those dealing with difficult conditions like anorexia, bulimia, and other forms of self-injury. We absolutely want Tumblr to be a place where people struggling with these behaviors can find solace, community, dialog, understanding, and hope.
We will apply this policy on a blog-by-blog basis. There won’t be any wholesale suspension based on tags or text. We’re not under the illusion that it will be easy to draw the line between blogs that are intended to trigger self-harm and those that support sufferers and build community, but, thanks to the tireless efforts of our amazing Support team, we will do our best.
With the benefit of all your input, we’ve written a new draft of this policy, changing some wording and adding some clarifying language:
Promotion and Glorification of Self-Harm. Don’t post content that actively promotes or glorifies self-harm. This includes content that urges or encourages readers to cut or injure themselves; embrace anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders; or commit suicide rather than, e.g., seeking counseling or treatment, or joining together in supportive conversation with those suffering or recovering from depression or other conditions. Dialogue about these behaviors is incredibly important and online communities can be extraordinarily helpful to people struggling with these difficult conditions. We aim to sustain Tumblr as a place that facilitates awareness, support and recovery, and to remove only those blogs that cross the line into active promotion or glorification of self-harm.
In addition, we got some helpful suggestions from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to improve the language that we’ll start showing alongside searches for tags associated with the promotion of self-harm, such as “pro-ana”, “pro-mia”, “thinspiration” and “thinspo”. Here’s an example of the revised language:
Eating disorders are not lifestyle choices, they are mental disorders that when left untreated, can cause serious health problems, and at their most severe can even be life-threatening. For treatment referrals, information and support, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association’s Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
We’re working with other health organizations to help us craft similar language around pro-cutting and pro-suicide search terms.
After the jump, we’ve pulled out several thoughtful messages from the community on both sides of this issue: