The notion of NSFW posts on Oppositelock has always been a contentious one, and remains so today.
When Oppositelock was first created, it, and its equivalent forums on other Gawker sites, were intended as off-topic playgrounds where commenters could discuss whatever the hell they wanted, as long as they kept such off-topic posts off the Jalopnik front page. To a certain extent, it remains so. There are things that will not be tolerated here on Oppositelock, such as personal attacks and other forms of poor behavior. For a more detailed explanation, please see the link below to Gamecat235's guidebook to Oppositelock.
Seriously, read that right now.
We, as moderators tend to take a very hands-off approach. Our goal is not censorship or micro-management. Rather, our goal is to create a positive environment for anyone and everyone that wants to be here. As a rule, we do that not by policing the hell out of everyone's posts/comments, but rather by leading through the example we set. In other words, the way that we post and interact is the way that we want Oppositelock to be: courteous, fun, intelligent, helpful, and above all, welcoming. Follow the posts and comments of those such as Gamecat235, Dusty Ventures, Brian, the Life of, and you'll understand what I mean. All of the above are not only stellar commenters, but also moderators.
With that concept in mind, it's time to talk about something that genuinely does have an effect on our ability to draw in and welcome new members to the Oppositelock community: NSFW posts.
It's true that we allow NSFW posts, provided that a few basic rules are followed, as explained below:
NSFW must be announced in the title of your post and be hidden behind a safe lead image. If NSFW content is the first piece of media (picture or video) regardless of where it is in the post, Kinja will display it on the Oppo frontpage. (If you have doubts whether it's NSFW, it is. This includes nudity, real or implied, gore or anything else that might get someone in trouble if their boss caught them reading it at work, assuming that you are allowed to browse the internet at work. Additionally, let's keep this stuff to "R" rated material, we're not a porn site, the internet is full of porn, we don't need more here).
So, yes, such posts are technically allowed. Violate the above rules, however, and I promise you you'll never get the chance to violate that rule again. Your authorship will be removed. If that sounds a little harsh... it should. It's a sensitive topic. Even though the majority of commenters here are male and between the ages of 20-30, they are far from the only commenters here. There are actually underage kids that comment here, as well as women. That means that NSFW posts are by their very nature problematic. Kids should not be coming to Oppositelock to see NSFW pictures. There are plenty of other places that they can see that if they really want to (and usually do). This should be a place where they are given the opportunity to partake in a community, and understand what it means to be a constructive member of a community. NSFW posts do nothing to help that.
As for the women that participate here, or might be interested in participating here, NSFW posts can be downright insulting. There's really nothing quite like going to a place that's supposed to have an emphasis on cars, only to see pictures and comments that encourage the objectification and/or trivialization of your entire gender. They experience enough of that on a daily basis. Let's not add to it. There are few faster ways to drive away women that would otherwise enjoy contributing to the community here.
Oppositelock is supposed to be a place where gender and/or age is entirely irrelevant; all that should matter is the interest in cars and automotive culture. It should be a community that grows exponentially every single day. And yet, it isn't. A significant part of that has to do with the fact that the community itself drives away new members with things like NSFW posts.
In case you're not following so far, let me put to you in simple terms: NSFW posts offend and drive away people that would otherwise like to participate and contribute to Oppositelock.
Want proof? Here you go, a quote from a potential contributor that was turned away by such posts:
I tried to get into Oppo, but it, quite frankly, seemed like a boys club full of NSFW posts filled with naked women. So I didn't try to hard to check it out and get active.
And she's far from the only one.
Not cool, kids. Not. Cool. She shares our interest in cars and automotive culture. She should feel as welcome here as anyone else. And yet, she doesn't.
That, ladies and gentlemen (but primarily "gentlemen"), represents a failure of our community. We actually drove someone off. Whether it has happened once or many times, the principle of the matter is disturbing. That just shouldn't happen here.
What, then, can we do to fix that? Here are a couple of things to consider:
1) Don't post NSFW pics in the first place - Just don't. If you have a whole bunch of them on your computer for your own reasons, good for you. Keep them to yourself. Anyone else in the community that shares an interest in such pics likely already has a stash of their own for their own reasons. None of them are lacking, so you're not doing them any favors.
2) Discourage NSFW posts when you see them - This can be done both actively and passively. On the passive front, simply don't click on them when you see them. By refusing to give them page views, you take away the reason for posting them. On the active side, if someone makes such a post in an attempt to call out your attention in a friendly manner, express to them that there are other ways of doing so that you think are better
3) Avoid making NSFW comments in non-NSFW posts - In otherwords, if the post is not titled as NSFW, don't make the comments NSFW. It just ruins it for everyone.
At the end of the day, there is still not an outright ban on NSFW posts, so long as the rules posted above are followed. With that being said, every time you make a post, you should be asking yourself what that post is contributing to the community. You should always be trying to contribute to the community. NSFW posts don't contribute anything. Quite the opposite, they detract from the community.
We will always be on the lookout, but we can't see everything, and nor do we have any interest in such levels of micro-management.
But while there is no ban on them per se, they are still looked down upon because of the negative impact they often have on the community here. As a rule, if viewing and sharing NSFW pics is your thing, there are more appropriate venues, and we encourage you to take advantage of them.
If you are going to post them, make sure you follow the rules for them, and be aware that as mods, that is one of the few things we keep very careful track of. Keep it to a minimum, follow the rules, and think about the community as a whole.
Help us to make Oppositelock a place that is friendly, welcoming, and inclusive of everyone who shares our interest in cars and automotive culture.