This question is being posted largely in response to this answer describing the "Adult Lens and Porn Scope" and how to install it.

As Roland Taylor and I commented on the answer, we have concerns over whether this material should be posted at Ask Ubuntu. Besides the fact that someone under legal age could easily install and use the lens by following the posted instructions, some of us also have concerns that it is indecent and inappropriate to even mention on the site.

It was pointed out in the reason for my rejected flag that a chat discussion over the answer eventually decided that it was on-topic and therefore stay. It was also noted, however, that a Meta question would be the proper way to handle this issue, and so here it is.

So, in summary: should we not allow questions or answers which discuss the usage of software intended for use with adult materials?

4 Answers 4


Yes, they must be allowed

We don't even have a choice in the matter, because we're unable to form any policy that would be fair and respectful to the vast majority of users if we start deleting any content on moral grounds.

  • We don't make the moral rules.

    And if anybody is offended by any kind of content, that's not nice. But the alternative, imposing our own morals on the community, is far worse.

  • The case against pornographic material, at this level of abstraction, is weak at best.

    If someone posts outright adult content, it will be deleted - of course - because it has no place on a site like Ask Ubuntu. The post in question is legal, and decent enough such that "being offended" is not a good enough argument against it.

  • Consider other types of content that will offend people:

    • Political content (e.g. right wing news lens for unity)
    • Lèse-majesté / dissent (e.g. proxy software to circumvent government censorship)
    • Religious content (e.g. Bible/Koran/Torah software)
    • LGBT content (e.g. gay-friendly genealogy software)[1]
    • Online gambling (e.g. hosting your own gambling site with ubuntu/foss)
    • Free expression (e.g. the political cartoon of the day desktop widget)

    Pornography firmly belong on that list.

The values of Ubuntu include freedom. A discussion about the morals of any kind of behaviour belongs into politics, not software. Which means:

  • if you are offended by anything, it's no excuse to exclude people from the Ubuntu community.

  • Being respectful demands that we not judge people by arbitrary standards.

    Concretely, the only valid reason for an Ask Ubuntu moderator to judge someone is the law, which is - I think - pretty clear: Mentioning the existence of pornography is not illegal, requires no age limit[2].

If I delete any content on moral grounds, one of two conditions are met:

  1. It's illegal (e.g. hate speech)[3]
  2. It doesn't belong on Ask Ubuntu (e.g. "what's a good porn site?")

Okay. Sorry about babbling on for so long. (:

[1]: For instance, GRAMPS. Which also allows for children born out of wedlock, I'm told.
[2]: I am not a lawyer of course, but I think it's fairly clear that preventing "dissemination of pornography to minors" is YouPorn's job, not Ask Ubuntu's. In a similar fashion, Google doesn't need to block it from search results.
[3]: We've actually had a case of that here. Needless to say, it was deleted instantly.


We allow it...

The context here that started all this is an answer which describes an addon that allows somebody to search for porn. The answer itself is not pornographic.

If somebody is offended by porn they don't look at it. That's usually fairly simple. If somebody looked at this answer, they would not see porn so nobody has been harmed.

If somebody has a child or employee who they don't want to view porn, they need a solution, but not one that involved us self-censoring. There are technological and educational steps to reduce the problem, and if they want to ask about them here, that's great but we're not here to hold a curtain around certain subjects unless they're off-topic, unhelpful or illegal.

...within reason

If somebody posts actual pornographic material to the site, it's hard to imagine how that would be required to answer a question and we would delete or edit it accordingly.

That's nothing new, it's just as we would (and do) delete hate speech, rants, trolls and most other sorts of unneccessary, unhelpful posts.


It is not the responsibility of Ask Ubuntu or OMG! Ubuntu! to educate and protect minors. It is their parents' job.

What was described in that answer was a technical interface. If it would be like that we shouldn't allow any question or answer related to browsers because people may browse for pornography with their browser.

It is totally on topic and should not be removed just because some people don't like it.


No, they should not be allowed

There are many of us who would strongly object to this. It could create serious problems with underage readers, and could also be seen as indecent, inappropriate, offensive and/or unprofessional. I for one would not want to ever see this material come up in my browser even inadvertently (note that the provided answer appears on a question not even asking for that type of lens), or want those looking at our community to believe we condone this sort of behavior.

Decency may be largely a cultural thing, but it doesn't change the fact that a significant portion of the community would still likely find this makes visiting Ask Ubuntu a very uncomfortable experience, to say the least. The Ask Ubuntu FAQ encourages readers to flag anything they find to be inappropriate, which is what my position asserts it is.

  • 1
    I disagree, but this is a valid reply. You had a down-vote, so I up-voted it. Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 2:33
  • 6
    @ThomasBoxley Typically Meta answer upvotes are supposed to show you agree with and support that particular answer, just in case you didn't know. As of right now this answer actually has 5 votes for and 5 votes against (they cancel each other out), so support for it is much more divided than the alternative responses above. Thanks, anyway. Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 8:06
  • 1
    I is now at -7. I'm sad that such a good answer got downvoted.
    – Ufoguy
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 8:24

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