They blocked me: I must be relevant!

So today I found out that, if you’re on TalkTalk in the UK then you can’t read this. Well, that’s not strictly true. AIUI the way it works is that the government pushed for “opt-out” filters at the ISP level on the internet (EDIT: turns out existing customers haven’t had to choose yet so the fact I can still get porn means nothing – tenses altered in remaining text to reflect this. Source XBIZ) but the point is that you had (or will have) to make a conscious decision to receive “adult-targeted” material:

The government is promoting filters to prevent children and young people from seeing content that is supposed to be for over 18s. This includes pornography and sites that talk about alcohol, smoking, anorexia and hate speech.

(From the blocked.org intro)

So someone who doesn’t opt out (maybe doesn’t realise they could safely, or imagines it would only block the really hard stuff) on TalkTalk, can’t see what I write here. (The Open Rights Group “Blocked!” page says they check for both opt-out and opt-in filters, so I don’t know for sure that TalkTalk do it the way the Govt. suggested.

One thing that puzzled me was that anyone would have noticed my blog enough to want to censor it at all. I don’t seem to get that many hits (unless I’ve had a successful post in e[Lust] the last month). I noticed was that on their “Unblock a site” page, ORG describe TalkTalk’s policy on filters:

TalkTalk say they will add websites to blocked categories if a customer asks them to – and if their “panel of online experts” agree. They don’t say whether this works the other way round too. Nor could we find any information on how a non-customer, such as a website owner, can complain about a wrongly-blocked site.

Wow. Um. Did I piss someone off so much they reported me to their ISP? That is so cool! What isn’t cool is that the ISP would respond to that.

I’m not sure if I want to try to get TalkTalk to remove me from their list. I aim to be open and more towards education that erotica with my sexual/kink blog posts, although there’s a significant overlap (I hope) in the way I write. I believe it’s okay for teens to explore and discover information about the sexual feelings they’re having (it’s how I ended up not hating myself, that I was able to), so I don’t mind if those under 18 find my blog and take value from it. Education is better than ignorance.

The content here focusses on:

politics (especially gender politics – think feminism, trans* issues etc), BDSM and real life (and a bit of hot fantasy as well if I’m in the mood), relationships (or my ongoing quest for one – currently “single and looking”), friendships, music, and a little bit of religion.

I’ve talked about BDSM/kink, LGBTQ+ issues, sex workers’ rights, and so on. I would argue that all of these are things that teens need to be able to discover (if teens learn to see sex workers as fully human with minds and wills of their own, then when those teens reach adulthood they will hopefully retain that understanding and regard sex workers’ rights as human rights and workers’ rights). But because I address these topics, sometimes openly and with unabashed language, it seems unlikely to me that, once blocked, I can persuade an ISP to unblock this site unless the law changes.

This is the risk, I suppose, of being integrated with my personal, sexual and political life such that sexuality is not seen as some alienated, separate part of my being but part and parcel of me and my life. If sexual, kink and so on feelings are no different from any other motivations then there is no impediment to writing about it. So I do.

And that means that people who do feel impediments about such things want to block me.

But hey: if they want to censor me, that means I’m relevant, right?

[EDIT TO ADD: It turns out, this is my 150th post. Nice way to mark the milestone, huh?]

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About ValeryNorth

I overthink everything.
This entry was posted in Politics, Writing about writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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