The future of NSFW

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#1 by yorhel
2020-02-14 at 10:44
Alright, so recently a few issues regarding NSFW flagging have been brought up, and I'd like to discuss these problems and see if we should consider changing the way we've been handling things.

The short of it: Images on VNDB can be flagged as 'NSFW' and we have some guidelines to determine when that should be applied. There's a few problems with that right now:

1. The guidelines are subjective and have quite a few borderline cases, resulting in pointless edits when people try to rigorously enforce their own interpretation of the guidelines (like this).

2. The current guidelines are also too lax, in a way, in that they consider images as "safe" that most people would totally not want to be seen with in public. The NSFW system is intended so that you can "safely" browse VNDB in public scenarios where gaming/anime is generally tolerated, but porn and other suggestive material may not (this may or may not describe your work place - don't take the "work" part of NSFW too literally).

On the first point, I'm afraid we'll never be able to define objective guidelines. The only mitigations I can think of (in case things get out of hand) is to either more actively warn and moderate users or to limit the number of people who can change the NSFW flag. I believe the most important realization here should be that "perfect" flagging is not necessary for the NSFW flag to be useful. (In that sense, maybe it should be vote-based?)

To add to the second point, another idea that has been mentioned is to create a completely "safe" proxy for VNDB, with all NSFW imagery and scary words filtered out. I've not worked out the details yet, but this proxy ought to make VNDB more accessible in places where the vndb.org domain has been blocked. This includes search engines in various countries, porn-blocking ISPs, corporate/university networks, public WiFI, linking from Reddit and other communities, etc. With our current NSFW guidelines, it's quite likely that the proxy will still get blocked on a bunch of networks.

Unfortunately, properly defining the line between "safe" and "not safe" is a ridiculously hard problem and, as I see it, this will only get more complicated if we try to adjust the guidelines to consider more images as "not safe". Drafting new guidelines and consistently applying them (insofar this is even possible) is going to be a herculean task, so here's what I'd like feedback on: Are people interested in working on this problem? Is it worth the effort? Should we keep the NSFW flag as it is and add a separate "unsafe for purists" flag? Or should we just continue doing what we've been doing and pray that the current solution is sufficient for most people?Last modified on 2020-02-14 at 10:47
#2 by kiru
2020-02-14 at 10:57
There are actually quite a few problems currently, that should in theory be looked at. (i.e. very wrongly applied tags/traits, where too many misunderstand what the tag, or trait, actually mean) That doesn't happen though, because it's way too much work.

Some tags/traits also have very questionable children. A good example for this is Twin Tails . A very common anime hairstyle, that refers to, as the description says, "bunches, also called angel wings and pigtails, are a hairstyle in which the hair is parted down the middle and gathered into two symmetrical bundles, like ponytails, secured near the scalp. In some English-speaking regions, this hairstyle is referred to as "pigtails," but in others, the term "pigtails" applies only if the hair is braided."

And JUST that. The child-tags are already highly questionable (as they are very different from this description and are most definitely not twintails) , but the tag in itself is also commonly used as long as you somewhere see 2 tails, as small as they might be. It's supposed to JUST be two tails. I mean, the description is pretty obvious there, but nobody reads those I suppose. It's basically two ponytails, that can be short, but still need to be made by the entire hair.


Long story short: This is probably never going to change, as it's a lot of work and people don't read guidelines and descriptions anyway. And this issue is present with a lot more tags and traits. So why would it be different for nsfw vs. sfw? It's not going to work, without dedicated administrating staff for that, where every picture is checked for nsfw by admins, and/or people can report nsfw pictures so admins can set the flag. Is that worth it? I honestly think, there's more important stuff to do, if we would get to assemble people to check "a whole damn lot of stuff". But maybe that's just me.
#3 by naiohoras
2020-02-14 at 11:51
I just have a suggestion that NSFW has "levels" like tag does. for example, Lv. 0 are things that can be shown to most of your friends. Lv. 1 is where you see revealing clothes or something, Lv. 2 is that there are sexual organs showed on the pic, sexual activities, etc. Lv. 3 is that there are not really "safe" for general community in the pic, like loli, gore, scat and so on.

from there, you can assign which level would be shown to which visitor (ex. Lv. 0 non-registered visitors, Lv. 1 for registered users, and so on) I think it would solve a lot of problem in the site.

making VNDB a more family friendly site is a nice idea, and I would like to see it happen, or at least I want to make it appears on google search result without making a "safe proxy". although, if it works like konachan.com and konachan.net or the infamous e-hentai and exhentai then I have no problem.Last modified on 2020-02-14 at 11:58
#4 by rampaa
2020-02-14 at 13:40
Is it worth the effort?
Nay. It's too much effort for no guaranteed gain.

Since the title addresses NSFW as a whole, let me shamelessly bring up some other NSFW related problems VNDB has:

VNDB is too strict for character images and because of that some characters either can't have any images on VNDB or they have some absurdly altered images: t950.656

We can't understand whether or not a release has sexual content in it with the current system: t12808.13Last modified on 2020-02-14 at 13:42
#5 by yorhel
2020-02-14 at 13:53
@kiru: While you make a good point, and while we should (and do) aim to fix all tags and traits as resources allow (we are occassionally making progress in that area, albeit slowly...), there's two aspects where NSFW flagging is different: I suspect the NSFW flag affects more people directly, and secondly, fixing NSFW flagging does not require knowledge about every visual novel in the database and should be much easier to crowdsource. Drafting up sensible guidelines is still a challenge, though.

@naiohoras: I don't really object to multi-level NSFW flagging from a usability point of view - I agree it'd be nice to be able to differentiate between "safe", "suggestive" and "porn" and let users select what they're comfortable with - but it only worsens the aspect of guideline drafting and flagging images. More options = more disputes.

That could work with a voting system, but we'd need quite a lot of people voting for that to work well. We have about 130k images right now (+ 84k if we also want to flag character images), so that will require serious crowdsourcing. ...which, now that I think about it, might actually be feasable with a bit of gamification. (As much as I hate gamifying productive work in general, mass NSFW flagging is a stupid/silly enough endeavor that it wouldn't even be that annoying).

@rampaa: I'm aware of both issues. They're worth fixing, but I can only handle one thing at a time. -.-
#6 by 420yoloswag
2020-02-14 at 13:56
@yorhel You, or someone should take all that data on here and build a binary classifier that identifies SFW and NSFW images ;p

Then you could use that model to programatically tag future images x))))))

But in all seriousness, if someone were to actually undergo the task: It would be ideal if there would be some mechanism to influence the created model as well. For example, if a SVM was used, there should be some way to translate the hyperplane to make the model more strict towards SFW images.
#7 by beliar
2020-02-14 at 16:40
I'm sorry, Yorhel, but I have to throw my lot in with the guys that said it's too much effort for too little gain. Engaging in this endeavour will create a separate branch you will have to dedicate the effort to, while DB would be better served by being improved in a linear fashion - by building on what's already here. Like taking care of the problems that Rampaa has mentioned...

In fact I like Naioharas' proposal. Creating levels of NSFW would create more work in a short term, but I disagree that "it only worsens the aspect of guideline drafting and flagging images". Right now we don't have a "suggestive" option. Introducing it could prevent a lot of edit wars regarding borderline images and would help in cleaning up the site for a safer viewing option.

Imho, I don't think that working on a separate branch of the DB could create potential long term improvements. Rather it's gonna distract you from what really matters and at worst it will get neglected in a long run and at best will get you a few hits from households where users will not want their family members to see that they are browsing a suggestive site.
#8 by yorhel
2020-02-14 at 17:56
@beliar: Wait, I'm not following. If you like Naioharas' proposal then you're in support for spending effort to improve the NSFW mess.

The "safe proxy" thing isn't a separate branch of the DB, it's the same interface to the same database with a few hard-coded filters applied. It'll be pretty low-effort once we have the NSFW flagging sorted out.
#9 by beliar
2020-02-14 at 18:17
Oh, in that case I misunderstood. Because you mentioned "a "safe" proxy for VNDB" I assumed you intend to create a SFW version of the website, not to improve the filters on the existing one. I have nothing against that particular approach.
#10 by forever-here
2020-02-14 at 18:24
I believe people should define what "work" means in the NSFW.
#11 by donkeyskin
2020-02-14 at 19:59
The only way to ensure that the proxy is going to be 100% safe would be to strip away all images, otherwise borderline nsfw images are always going to be there/pretty much impossible to sort out.
#12 by skorpiondeath
2020-02-14 at 20:08
@10:
I believe people should define what "work" means in the NSFW.
Something you feel comfortable opening at work with other people noticing...at my age and I'm my current workplace VNDB would never have a 0 level of safeness, it's hard to explain why I check cartoonish stuff anyway...
#13 by shukumeiteki1
2020-02-14 at 20:52
>I want to watch porn on my job and in public places but have no consequences whatsoever about it and force the porn site to make it possible for me to do so.
Sounds absurd? Well, because it is.
This is the same logic with people that want to browse vndb in their jobs or in public places, it makes absolutely no sense. Why would you browse vndb in your school?
It's common sense...

>link
This sounds like a bad solution and a waste of resources to a problem that doesn't need to be fixed in the first place.
Let's just say that pandering or trying to appeal a certain group of people will never achieve anything.Last modified on 2020-02-14 at 20:56
#14 by ramaladni
2020-02-14 at 21:00
Let's just say that pandering or trying to appeal a certain group of people will never achieve anything.

I agree. The logic behind removing content just to appeal to certain people (which is honestly what seems to be the reason behind that modification) is so absurd that it's borderline crazy. This doesn't benefit the regular user. If someone just wants to not see the NSFW pictures, they can disable them on their profile. So what's the real purpose? Getting more traffic? More clicks? More patreon donations? Seems like a waste of resources to me.
#15 by shining17
2020-02-14 at 21:01
^^^
#16 by naiohoras
2020-02-15 at 03:04
it is true the current regulars and VNDB itself are pure porn-inclined, but it should not always be the case in the future. VNs aren't always 18+, furthermore VNDB itself is a DATABASE, where people should have an access to. yet, VNDB are blocked on most of safe platforms, and it doesn't appear on google safe search...

just look at some similar websites like AniDB, MAL, etc. they have NSFW stuffs yet they appears not have been blocked, whereas VNDB is... it's saddening, really.

it's hard to explain why I check cartoonish stuff anyway...
not if your workplace has some weeb(-ish). but even with that considered, the current VNDB is still somewhat unsafe to show it to them (you can literally show the NFSW with just one click)

"cleaning" will be a lot of work as we know it, but I think it's worth the effort.
EDIT: by cleaning I meant moving NFSW stuffs to registered users only, and I still hold on my suggestion of adding levels on NSFW.

also... my name is NaioH"o"ras, not Naioharas lolLast modified on 2020-02-15 at 06:12
#17 by bobjr2000
2020-02-15 at 03:30
"just look at some similar websites like AniDB, MAL, etc. they have NSFW stuffs yet they appears not have been blocked, whereas VNDB is... it's saddening, really."

That is because VNBD as said is a database and knowledge can be dangerous.
#18 by eacil
2020-02-15 at 05:55
Some people don't want to find 18+ content? It's understandable. I would have said "like people complaining about vndb being filled with OELVN, learn to use a database in the first place". However, contrary to languages, I see some limits with the filters. You can't save your age rating filter when searching VN. Anyway, the filter is inclusive, so you will find all VN which have Unknown to 17+ AND 18+ releases. It's half useless (that's why my first use of the new labels was to create an all-age one to save true all-age VN from drowning in the pool of mixed 18+/all-age entries) and that's why you need NSFW tagging atm, because, if you hadn't such issues, you could spend your life searching for non 18+ content and never find 18+ stuff like me with OELVN or adult content on anidb or MAL.

As for the sanitized version of vndb, I don't know, it looks like gogle trying to appeal to Chinese (I mean, the tyranny that rules them all) by censoring its search engine. I don't see the need for that solution, you can hide the adult content by default and show it through the options when you get an account, anidb style, and optionally add a checkbox for guests that would give them a cookie allowing them to access such content.

Anyway, if we have to talk about the current NSFW flag... The current guidelines are a joke if they were meant to avoid "awkward" content. However, I don't think we need much tweaking to make them more useful.

First, rename NSFW with Sexual Content, Suggestive Content or Adult Content. "Flagged as showing sexual content". "Shows sexual content".

Nudity is not safe, even partially hidden.
Swimsuits and bikinis are only safe if they contain no implicit indication of sexual anatomy (nipples and cameltoes).
If the picture is sexually suggestive, by the poses, the context, the objects displayed (sextoys), the clothes used (g-strings, microbikinis, underwear, bondage suit), the situation, the angle chosen, etc., it is obviously not safe.
If you are not sure but the original material is a nukige, the cover is most likely intended to be sexually suggestive in some way.

Something like that. Feel free to improve it.Last modified on 2020-02-15 at 07:54
#19 by forever-here
2020-02-15 at 06:34
you can't place an objective standard on something as subjective as a workplace. a workplace that doesn't allow wahmims will find partial nudity or even nudity as safe. because the question is "safe for who?".
#20 by yorhel
2020-02-15 at 06:48
@forever-here: Quoting myself:
The NSFW system is intended so that you can "safely" browse VNDB in public scenarios where gaming/anime is generally tolerated, but porn and other suggestive material may not (this may or may not describe your work place - don't take the "work" part of NSFW too literally)

As for the motivation: There are tons of non-porn visual novels out there and I care about those just as much as the porn VNs. If people are unable to use VNDB for non-porn because of the porn parts, then I see that as something to fix. Heck, VNDB has always been about *all* types of VNs, be it loli, furry, gay, 3D, photographic, OELVN or whatever. Just because we have users who are vocal about one type doesn't mean we don't cater to the rest.
#21 by kiru
2020-02-15 at 09:45
@5: You are making a good point. The main reason why I shy away changing things in the DB, is because I usually don't have played the game, and MAYBE the one who set it actually knew what they were doing, and for example the hairstyle is actually used. That shouldn't be an issue with nsfw vs. sfw.
Though on the other hand, in 99 out of 100 cases, looking at a character picture used on the official website or cover should also provide all "looks" traits. If there are others, they are probably only rarely happening. With tags and behavior traits it can be more difficult though. Behavior traits can be very subjective though, which is why I'm not a huge fan of them in the first place.
#22 by skorpiondeath
2020-02-15 at 10:06
@19: and here we go with the engineer take on life. Come on it's based on common sense, it doesn't define a standard. It's like the need to say you cannot have sex at work ... but wait if you are a pornostar you can...

And safe for who? Safe for you 'forever-here', people tend to have privacy issue in their 'normal' and I emphisize normal everyday lives.
Why everyone will take everything to the letter only god knows, but I should probably also define which god I'm talking about...

@16:
just look at some similar websites like AniDB, MAL, etc. they have NSFW stuffs yet they appears not have been blocked, whereas VNDB is... it's saddening, really.
I don't get why you should be sad in the first place... you found the site and you are here. Or maybe I don't see why it's one of your priority in going mainstream.
Beside that I like the idea of levels if we are not going to do the sexual content on/off switch.

I don't really object to multi-level NSFW flagging from a usability point of view - I agree it'd be nice to be able to differentiate between "safe", "suggestive" and "porn" and let users select what they're comfortable with - but it only worsens the aspect of guideline drafting and flagging images. More options = more disputes.
While you can achieve something with an algorithm based on tags and traits for VN, there is no escape for images, you will need a validation committee to check if everything is in the correct place otherwise some people can at any time ruin your work by stopping following the guidelines, even written at their best.Last modified on 2020-02-15 at 10:11
#23 by lucumo
2020-02-15 at 11:07
Agreeing with #18 here.

"I don't see the need for that solution, you can hide the adult content by default and show it through the options when you get an account, anidb style, and optionally add a checkbox for guests that would give them a cookie allowing them to access such content."

^ Makes a lot of sense. Then put "suggestive content" under the NSFW label and it's done.
#24 by forever-here
2020-02-15 at 11:35
@19: and here we go with the engineer take on life. Come on it's based on common sense, it doesn't define a standard. It's like the need to say you cannot have sex at work ... but wait if you are a pornostar you can...

And safe for who? Safe for you 'forever-here', people tend to have privacy issue in their 'normal' and I emphisize normal everyday lives.
Why everyone will take everything to the letter only god knows, but I should probably also define which god I'm talking about...

this take just simply means the problem is on them, not on vndb. just like it's not the porn site's responsibility to warn users that it has.... porn, it's not vndb's responsibility to warn users that it has loli content. or anything that is considered nsfw to their subjective standards.

they shouldn't be browsing anything while at work PERIOD. they are supposed to *cough* WORK *cough* and not to idle themselves to any website at all. seriously millennials I swear.Last modified on 2020-02-15 at 11:40
#25 by yorhel
2020-02-15 at 12:01
I don't see the need for that solution, you can hide the adult content by default and show it through the options when you get an account, anidb style, and optionally add a checkbox for guests that would give them a cookie allowing them to access such content.
Two problems with that approach: (1) It's too late for that, most block lists aren't maintained well and getting off one isn't happening anytime soon, (2) I really hate how I can't link friends to anidb when discussing hentai. Viewing content should never require creating an account, IMO. The cookie option is better, but... we already hide NSFW by default and it hasn't helped us much. :P

@forever-here: Your argument makes no sense. We already established that "NSFW" has nothing to do with "work" - that's just bad naming - and not everything on VNDB is porn, so there's good reason to browse the site in a more public setting.


Right now we don't have a "suggestive" option. Introducing it could prevent a lot of edit wars regarding borderline images
You know, I'm starting to think you may be on to something. It's likely that we'd only get more edit wars if we made the current NSFW flag more strict, as people who don't want to see explicit content but have no problems at all with suggestive images are more likely to fight for getting less images flagged. I can still see some disputes over whether something is "totally safe" or "suggestive", though (lollipops and ice cream anyone?)

First, rename NSFW with [..]
Yeah, we totally need to get rid of this term...