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[P]
Excessive code and excessive nudity. What gives?

By regeya in MLP
Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 07:44:24 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

I just read this editorial on, of all sites, Freshmeat. The author basically states that, by coding for Internet porn sites, he's shunned by fellow coders who work outside the porn industry. He makes some statements about the quality of scripts and servers on the porn side vs. the non-porn side, none of which I can verify myself but still found it an interesting read.


So what the deal? Is he imagining this? Or is it real? And is it a moral dilemma that causes fellow coders to shun the porn-industry coders--or is it embarrassment?

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Excessive code and excessive nudity. What gives? | 19 comments (18 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
discussion (3.50 / 4) (#1)
by chale on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 05:03:43 AM EST

did you read the discussion after his story? i liked the responses and the back and forth with the author. i'm not sure what kind of discussion this would get here. from some stories i've seen here before, the reaction has been uneven.

ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir

discussion (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by mami on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 01:50:33 AM EST

I read the discussion on freshmeat and think the issue is not worth to be analyzed. Arguments for and against are tremendously big-mouthed denials about realities over the role of pornography on the web on society and the economy and the role of open source code developers in it.

I can't resist to make an equally big-mouthed statement as well, just to satisfy or counterbalance my urge to vomit.

<sarcasm>:
I think prostitution is a real cool job. I am in there for the money and I really get a lot of experience. I learn how to tweak my procedures and performance in a way I never could do on other jobs. Some people look down on me, because I am a whore and sell myself. Really I feel very much victimized. Poor me. What a cruel world out there. Everyone knows my services are so much needed and are only good for the society's well being.
</sarcasm>

Sounds familiar ?

How about the argument that without open source code, there would be less need for people, who want to develop GPL code for non pornographic sites, to work for the porn industry ? I am sure Larry Wall never thought about being an incubator for the development of code for porn, when he released Perl as free software. And I can't just figure that RMS or ESR ever thought, that people who want to develop GPLed code for a living, seem almost forced to accept to work for porn sites, even if they don't want to.

There were some posts in the discussion of people who said they would have never been able to develop e-commerce software without the working experience they got, testing their code against high traffic porn sites.

My question is, did they release their e-commerce code GPL ? That's the minimum as "pay back" I would expect a porn coder to do. Well, I have heard the argument often, one can learn a lot from the code which is used on porn sites.

Indeed. Hopefully everybody the lesson he needs to learn. Time will tell what the experience of a porn coder is worth. My guess is, it's short-lived. If you are a good coder you should be able to be recognized by people who can offer you a job for writing code in other areas. Let's hope that the coolness of the porn code gods will not backfire on to them and us.







[ Parent ]
Oh, let's add in prostitution. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by DavidTC on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 11:40:18 PM EST

Is this some sort of troll? It's really amazing. You manage to bash open source software and hookers.

I think prostitution is a real cool job. I am in there for the money and I really get a lot of experience. I learn how to tweak my procedures and performance in a way I never could do on other jobs. Some people look down on me, because I am a whore and sell myself. Really I feel very much victimized. Poor me. What a cruel world out there. Everyone knows my services are so much needed and are only good for the society's well being.

Let's see. There are two kinds of prostitutes. One of the kind that have been sucked into the underground, perhaps addicted to drugs, perhaps with threats made to their live, and basically hate their life.

The other kind are women who choose to earn money this way, by providing a service in exchange of it.

Obviously, the first group are victims. As for the second group, tell me, what exactly do you do to earn money? You sell your time, and your physical labor. But you somehow thing you have the right to call these girls 'whores'. Well, moron, everyone is a whore some way or another, and they can do whatever ethical activity they want to earn money. Granted, it's usally illegal, at least in the US, but of course, this article is from the Netherlands, where it is legal. So tell me, who appointed you God to choose exactly what people could trade for money? Do you invent derogatory names for plumbers, too? What about surveyers? Clerks at the local video store? Biologists? Will you kindy provide a list of all the actions that is it 'bad' to trade someone for money and a list of the actions that are 'good'?

I fail to see how any profession that provides a sevice by one person to another can be a bad thing, if they don't affect any other people.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Oh, let's add some common sense (none / 0) (#11)
by mami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 02:20:57 AM EST

The original author complained being discriminated by other coders for his engagement to code for porn site. He seeked compassion from his fellow professionals and was bragging about his coolness etc. He didn't like to be judged. There is nothing wrong for anyone to make judgements. We do it every minute in our daily lives.

I have neither bashed the open source software, nor did I bash prostitution (I thought I made some sarcasm mark-up in my post), nor do I care what is legal or not. I would be a strong supporter of controlled broadcasting of free porn on the internet, the same way as I would be a supporter of controlled distribution of free (no cost) legalized drugs.

So much for your shortsightedness regarding morals about prostitution and porn as response to my provocative previous post. If we had both (free porn, free drugs) there were no sort of "victims" you mentioned, neither the sucked in drug-using prostitute victim, nor the threatening BMW driving pimp chasing his "girls" around with guns, nor the drug-lords in suits running "respectable" businesses.

To me selling porn online is comparable to selling drugs, just less dangerous to your physical health, but similar in the way both influence your own mental health as well as that of your surrounding family members and similar in the way they abuse a very basic, recurring and urgent human need.

To base a huge profit making industry on that kind of misuse of human needs I consider as immoral as I consider drug selling immoral. I strongly support decommercializing online porn and drug usage. If the demand for it is that urgent users should be able to satisfy their needs free of costs. I would support any help for those addicted users to get off the hook at the same time.

You must be in a state of denial for not seeing a cause-effect relationship between the availability of free software and the explosion of profit making porn sites online. The R&D costs to run a highly profitable online porn business are extremely low, due mainly to the fact that open source software costs nothing much and bandwidth is cheap. In addition programmers are abundantly available and labor costs for the porn business low. That also is due to the (very positive ) effect of open source code software to lower the access barrier to teach programming to the masses.

To interpret this observation as open source software bashing is ridiculous. I simply state what is easily to observe by anyone who is willing to look at it.

If you ( a good programmer) decide today that you want to develop single-handedly a GPL software application fulltime, you would not be able to make a living without a sponsor. You had to find another job to pay the bills, you might even make the "business plan" to finance your R&D time spent for your non pornographic software application with "side" work, where you sell your expertise to porn sites to pay the bills.

The same would not be necessary if you would develop a commercial software application. You could safely calculate that the profits you will make in the future by selling your proprietary software will reimburse your R&D time and labor. That's not that certain for any GPL software you develop.

In this sense (and only in this sense) I argue that a software developer, who wants to work on a major GPL package fulltime without having a sponsor, is almost forced to accept to work for porn sites, because few other clients would guarantee him enough income in short time. There are simply not that many well paying clients out there who would hire your consultancy services. Do I find coding for porn sites under these circumstances morally questionable ? Who cares, I certainly do find it a very sad state of affairs.

I fail to see how any profession that provides a sevice by one person to another can be a bad thing, if they don't affect any other people.

Then you may have to look a bit harder. Besides, the service of pornography online does affect many people other than the provider and the user.

[ Parent ]

Free porn, not software! (none / 0) (#16)
by DavidTC on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:24:09 PM EST

Um, if we remove the commericalize from porn...why exactly would people pose for it? And I am well aware of the facts about prostitution. You were the one who called them 'whores', not me. I respect people who sell, in fair trade, services people want, and I respect them even more if they do it while it's illegal. Making prostitution, porn, and drugs legal would also get rid of the victims. You don't need to screw up the market by giving them away for free. (Of course, you couldn't really give prostitutes away for free. That's an oxymoron. That would just be 'free sex partners', and I seriously doubt any government would pay people to do that.)

And you are GPL bashing, by claiming it removes jobs, and thus the author has to get a job at a place he doesn't like. First of all, I don't see any indication of his not liking his work, and he actually mentions that he enjoys some aspects of it.

Second, you apparently think it's a good thing to have people keep reinventing the wheel over and over, whereas it's fairly obvious society will progress more if people can learn from each other. Sure a few people who can't keep up will get left behind, attempting to sell the ability to designed a means to move vehicles easier then dragging them, but everyone else will go on to inventing harnesses for horses and internal combustion motors. Having a general wheel shape as public knowledge helps society. So does having a general web server, a general scripting language, etc...

While I'm at it, I have to point out something very odd. You apparently think people should be forced to give away porn and drugs(presumably with the government paying the actors and farmers), but you don't like open source, which is people deliberately giving away stuff. I fail to understand this.

And, BTW, if the porn industry hurts people other then the producers (who are getting paid to be 'hurt', or at least inconvenced, just like any other job on the planet), or the consumers, then why do you want to make it free! What kind of screwy logic is that! If a business is hurting other people, then you make those actions punishable by law and police the industry. (I supect you mean that porn is changing how the consumer act, and is thereby hurting people, but you cannot fine an industry that, even as it's main design, changes consumers to act in a bad way. Consumers have the right to be affected however they want to pay to be affected.) The porn industry does not 'misuse' human needs anymore then the food industry, or the housing industry, or any other industry in existence. They provide goods and services to people in return for money. This is how our society operates. (The drug industry does, at this time, misuse human needs, simply because they can get away with it, being illegal. If they were legal, they would have incentive to be 'good' to people, because if some place started abusing people, they'd lose those people to another company.)

The only thing I agree with you is that people do have the right to judge other people. However, he wanted to know why people were judging him, which is a valid question to ask. Most geeks have no problem with porn persay, unless it's sucking all the bandwidth of a local network, so he was wondering why they were having problems with him.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Free porn, free software (none / 0) (#17)
by mami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 08:30:58 PM EST

Easy, easy...(first I am not an English native speaker, may be the word whore has a meaning to it which I was not aware of, but that is just a side note).

Let's see, you say I am GPL bashing, because it takes away jobs and I don't like open source, and you fail to understand why.

Me too, I don't understand that, because I have no idea from what you draw your conclusions. I like open source so much that I exclusively use it since five years and I have high respect for any coder who releases his software GPL. Period.

I think I do understand the GPL and one of the features is that GPL software has to be distributed at no cost. So, logically, it is harder to make money, writing open source software. That statement is such a no brainer, that I really can't add anything to it. If you can't follow that thinking, I can't help it. Thousands of people develop open source software, because they see important non monetary values in it and so do I.

You also said I am against code sharing and am for reinventing the wheel ? You couldn't be further off the point. Other people's open source code is my learning material. I couldn't be more happy to have it available at no cost for studying it.

I know enough people who develop open source software, they are either so good that they work in an open source company and get paid, or they have a sponsor company who pays them and allows them to develop what they want. Some of them manage to survive on their income they generate as consultants promoting their own open source software package they have written. There are not many who can generate enough income to make a living for their families just by doing this on their own. Usually they have sell, merge, resell, remerge in ever larger open source companies to rescue their open source software from dying away and being further developed to always better, more flexible and more extended packages. Why you deduct from this comment, that I am against open source software, I have no clue.

(Your remark that the poster liked to code for porn is really not relevant, I am not against him liking what he does, contrary if he had to do this work NOT liking it, then I would really pity him).

With regards to legalizing drugs and porn or prostitution, I think you need to rethink a bit what you said.

There are countries which distribute drugs to heroin addicts at no cost, they try to convince them to replace slowly the hard drug with something less addictive and slowly to rehabilitate them to get off the hook. Netherland and Switzerland have projects like that AFAIK. One of your own governors (either New Mexico or Arizona) has suggested such measures as well.

With regards to porn all I am trying to point out is that there are four parties involved in the set. The porn running online company, the women, who act, the coder, who supports the company and the majority of male users, who are consumers.

The only party, who is exploited here, is the male consumer. Of course the casual male consumer will not see himself exploited, as he is willing to pay for a service he enjoys.

But there is enough evidence that porn consumption is addictive, that it has quite often negative mental health effects on the male user ( causing severe depression) and that it can cause damage to your real life friends and partners and social life. Compulsive porn consumption can certainly cause problems in some marriages.

I have no idea why I should support the porn industry's monetary exploitation of a compulsive consumption of that magnitude, based on those findings in the mental health field.

In addition I have my doubts that the women selling their acting services to porn companies are adaequately paid, at least not on average. I also doubt that it is a clean business, meaning that I could imagine there is a considerable number of women (especially in Third World countries), who earn pennies for that sort of work and are forced into it. In that case I see an exploitation of the women, who sell their images and acting services as well.

I have a hard time to see any exploitation of the porn coder or the CEO of the company, who runs the porn sites.

It would be very easy to produce porn at no cost and offer services for free. There are enough women who would be willing to do so. Of course you might not like the idea, because it spoils business for the coder and the porn company.

But like the GPL is braking into a monopoly business of MS by taking away the profit making aspect with GPLed open source software, insisting that free software is freely available at no cost, so would no cost and free porn destroy an exploitative porn industry.

You say If a business is hurting other people, then you make those actions punishable by law and police the industry. Well I don't know how I can convince you that you can't punish away porn consumption (nor should you), nor can you police the online porn industry by law. But you can take out the monetary incentive from that industry by offering porn at no cost online.

Hopefully I get my point crossed over correctly now. Of course you are welcome to doubt my integrity of thinking, but that's really up to you. I won't answer another time.

[ Parent ]

re: discussion (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by chale on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 01:57:48 AM EST

were the world not so hung up about sex, your sarcastic statement could be an endorsement for a sex trade employment opportunity. while his lament may have been about coding for porn sites, it could also apply to any other activity that ones peers in any field would look down on. his coding for an activity that is considered out of the mainstream has brought him critisism and ridicule.

pornography (and the associated industry) thrives on the disapproval of society. over time, attitudes change and what was once decadent and immoral becomes commonplace. the minority that wants to control society does not want this aspect of change to happen because it threatens their means of control; that is societal disapproval and the regulation of the activity by fiat of law.

changes in society have been driven by activities that were once considered on the fringe. a society that does not change dies. it is past time that we stop trying to restrict other peoples freedoms just because there are people who don't like what others do even though it has no effect on them. when we can acknowledge the worth of what anyone wants to do, then we will be able to move forward and society will be be improved for our efforts.


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir
[ Parent ]

discussion (none / 0) (#12)
by mami on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 10:28:47 AM EST

our sarcastic statement could be an endorsement for a sex trade employment opportunity

If I were to support sex trade employment opportunities then I would certainly want that the service being traded is happening in real life and not in a digital phantom replacement cyber world. After all, where is the "beef" ?

What I resent is the "fakeness" of the service and the capitalistic abuse of the addictive usage component of it. I think I made that clear in my other post.

[ Parent ]

"beef" (none / 0) (#18)
by chale on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 05:03:32 AM EST

the web is only another media outlet. everything on the web exists in the real world. all of the reality and all of the fantasy. it may be easier to represent some activities on the web, that doesn't mean it's "fake" just because it's digital.

there is someplace in the world where everything that doesn't directly harm anyone is legal and available. and there are people who want to make these things illegal because that activity offends their sensibilities(or what ever reason is currently in vogue).

the worth of these activities to society is that the freedom to do as one pleases, as long as no one else is directly harmed, enhances the freedom for everyone.

no form of economic or governmental system should be interfering with the freedom of the many because of the displeasure of the few.


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir
[ Parent ]

not exactly rocket science (4.16 / 12) (#2)
by eLuddite on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 12:35:02 PM EST

My impression from reading the article is not so much that he's shunned as that he's ignored. So you write scripts for a porn site. Big whoop. Not exactly interesting or pushing the envelope, is it?
pr0nMeister: Hi! I author porn site scripts!

developer: Really. So what's that like?

pr0nMeister: Well, I write top ten lists in really tight perl and you know that "Enter your email here and click on the submit button to receive daily ads?" I wrote that :-) Oh, and Javascript? Heh, dont get me started.

developer: Well, will you look at the time. I have to be somewhere 5 minutes ago.

So what the deal? Is he imagining this? Or is it real? And is it a moral dilemma that causes fellow coders to shun the porn-industry coders--or is it embarrassment?

Its embarassment for pr0nmeister's innflated sense of accomplishment.

---
God hates human rights.

he does have a point (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by h2odragon on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 06:57:07 PM EST

"optimization". As far as it goes, I have to agree; my sites aren't made of such... attractive materials but I'm quite limited in server hardware, so everything I do tends to be more efficient than seems to be normal.

As for why pr0n hackers are shunned, you've come near the mark without nailing it. The "javascript hacks" while cool in some ways and admiriable in a deteched, intellectual way; have in practice earned their authors a nasty, messy death and reserved them a special place in the hottest circles of Hell.

[ Parent ]

I want the T-shirt! (4.00 / 4) (#3)
by kaemaril on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 01:34:09 PM EST

I'd just like to say that I think the term "porn coder" is a work of genius. Although I don't work in that particular sector, I'd be one damn proud geek wearing a "Porn Coder" T-shirt.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


Barrel of rotten apples spoils the good one. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by Blarney on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 11:12:29 PM EST

Nobody really likes porn sites, and they blame the porn coder if they see him.

Now, I'd like to say that there are lots of good porn sites up there. There do exist true enthusiasts who actually hire actresses, shoot photos, set up message boards, and generally try to provide a service and make a few dollars off of Adult Check, sales of files and videotapes, and nobody should be ashamed of working on a site like that. Some people collect magazine scans, video captures, post them on Yahoo or MSN community sites - and don't make a dime for it. Nothing wrong with that, either, except the inevitable removal of the site for offensiveness and copyright infringement...

But the signal-to-noise ratio on the Net is extremely low when searching for p0rn, and most sites that people find that way are complete crap. Lame attempts to extract money from the horny and stupid AOLers out there, with blurry photos (often stolen from the true porn site operators mentioned in the previous paragraph), buggy scripts that crash browsers, annoying popups that can't be left behind, annoying spam sent to whatever mailing lists that they can find, never mind what sort of people are on them, and constant demands to ENTER CREDIT CARD NUMBER 30 DAYS FREE ONLY $49.95 A MONTH over and over.

When people hear that "Seeking Sin" works on porn sites, what sites do they think of? Do they think of the scummy ones?



I'll agree with that. (none / 0) (#8)
by static on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 05:32:48 PM EST

I'll admit I've been curious about porn on the 'net and gone looking. I even found a few interesting sites worth revisiting. Conversation on them highlights that the good sites go from strength to strength, but the crooked sites live on theft and unfulfilled promises.

I say more power to the coder who posted on Freshmeat. If I was given his opportunity, I'd probably take it, too.

Wade.

[ Parent ]

Massive Overgeneralisation (none / 0) (#14)
by FeersumAsura on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 11:28:58 AM EST

Nobody really likes porn sites
If nobody likes porn sites then why are they there? Quite a few people do like them. We have your cache ...

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
I like Porn! (none / 0) (#19)
by Blarney on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 02:13:27 AM EST

Hey dude, I already said that I liked porn. I just don't like the way that most porn sites are done.

Kind of like somebody who likes food, but hates the grocery store. Not completely unreasonable. Maybe a little wacky, but not totally crazy. By the way, I like Steel Reserve. It's good malt liquor. However ............... awww, fuck, I'm out of blarney for the day. I'm gonna get drunk now. good night.

[ Parent ]

My 2 units of local currency... (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by jd on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 10:45:30 AM EST

This is one of those topics that can very easily get me extremely irritated, but I'll try not to deliver a withering flame.

First, as one person has already said, this stuff is NOT exactly rocket science. It doesn't matter what web site you code for, or what the web site contains, in the end, all you're doing is layout control and flow control. Stuff that 8 year olds could probably hack out, just as well, during a lunch break.

Second, there's this little matter of this guy talking about the contents of the site, as though that mattered. GOOD coders write re-usable stuff. Who ends up using it is none of their business, and not their problem. It's the POOR programmers who believe that the employer is worth a damn. The employer is simply the provider of the medium.

Lastly, there's guilt by association. Prawn sites are notorious for spam, illegal material, hijacking web pages, hijacking browsers, using mis-spelt names to trap the unwary, credit card fraud, phone line fraud, etc. Rightly or wrongly, to work for such an industry implicitly places the person in that bracket.

Put bluntly, I feel sorry for the author of the editorial. He's likely to be seen as "tainted", and every bit of bad press that the prawn industry gets -will- find its way to him. Paper trails are every bit as nasty as a ball & chain... ...except chains can be cut. Paper trails are forever.

In short, he may be on Freshmeat, but as far as the industry as a whole is concerned, he's dead meat. Associating with an industry that has one of the worst images imaginable will make him about as popular with any future (non-prawn) Employer as the bubonic plague, REGARDLESS of whether he's actually done anything illegal/semi-legal or not. The taint is there, and it doesn't wash off.

I'm not saying that this is right, wrong or indifferent. It's simply the way the world works. And he knew that, before he joined up. He knew the consequences. It's not like they're a deep, dark secret. To then, personally, add to people's prejudices and attitudes, with an attitude of his own... Hey. Ever heard of the term "pouring oil onto the fire"?

In short, my sympathy is limited. Yes, prejudice is an evil, in and of itself, and society would be the richer if it didn't exist. However, taking other people's prejudices about an industry and making them personal isn't going to help matters. He's stepping in front of a machine-gun, and complains he's getting shot. Sorry, but self-inflicted injuries aren't worth anyone's time to get worked up about.

To wrap up, I'll say one last thing. Prawn sites are numerous and able to survive, despite the horrendous level of corruption, because their income is growing exponentially. As soon as you cap that, through any process, then those sites will suffer their equivalent of oxygen starvation, and die.

The Internet's capacity isn't even growing linearly, over time or over the number of people connected to it. Sooner or later, any exponentially-growing system on the Internet will collapse. It can't survive.

This is not a judgement call on the industry (though, personally, I will say that I believe prawn to be the most dangerously addictive substance and the most commonly abused, over and above any drug, including Heroin). What it is, is a prediction that the industry cannot survive, as-is. As it stands, it's days are numbered, not because of any hostility towards it, but that the Internet won't be large enough to contain it =and= the money needed to support it.

Anyone who works for an industry who's sole purpose in life is to destroy itself needs to take a second look at whether it's worth it. Anyone can jump ship, at any time. But, as those on the Titanic found, it can still drag you with it.

Top 10 list of underappreciated coding specialties (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by marlowe on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 02:16:54 PM EST

10. Coder for porn site
9. Virus developer
8. Author of spamming software
7. Developer of auto-dial system for telemarketing
6. Maintainer of computerized junk mail mailing list
5. Whoever coded the boo.com website
4. The guy who wrote the Microsoft Office Assistant
3. Translator for Zero Wing
2. Anyone who worked on Microsoft Bob in any capacity
1. Those people who messed up InfoWorld's forums



-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
Excessive code and excessive nudity. What gives? | 19 comments (18 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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