I’ll skip all the colorful story stuff and get right to the meat of this – there’s two very easy ways to bypass Tumblr’s adult content policy for some pages and discussions. This won’t work for everything, but a quick test of it showed it works fine for the web comic I was trying to read, and a few other pages.
Method 1: Copy & Wayback & Paste
When you run into a page with the content block, copy the URL from the URL bar.
- Go to the Wayback Machine ( https://web.archive.org )
- Paste the URL in the box that says “Enter a URL” and hit return
- Select any version of the page older than December 1st, 2018 (the content policy went into effect Dec 17th, 2018, but some pages were affected before that)
If it’s got an archive of the page, it even includes links to the notes, etc., so you don’t have to miss out on the discussion part.
Sometimes you’ll end up with broken images that weren’t archived – pick another date (before Dec 1) and you’ll probably find the images, too.
Method 2: The Plugin
If you’re using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, use the Wayback Machine plugin – it’s faster than the copy / paste method. Once in installed, just click on the Wayback plugin when you run into a page that’s been affected. Select “First Version”, and BOOM! You’ve got a copy of the old page in a new tab. You can also look for other archived version of the page.
I don’t know of a plugin for Edge, though – if someone finds one, link it in the comments.
Same rules apply as above – sometimes you’ll see a broken image, or sometimes you want to see the notes. Pick another date in the timeline viewer that appears when you view an archived page.
If you use this technique, be sure to contribute a couple of bucks to Archive.org, the Wayback Machine’s home. It’s an online library of all the stuff we’ve already forgotten online – old pages, content that’s been removed, etc. It’s a good tool.
Only Past Stuff
This doesn’t let you post new stuff that’s not part of their content guidelines. You can’t discuss it, and you can’t reblog it onto Tumblr. This only goes so far. BUT – you can share the Wayback Machine version of it (by copying the URL in the URL bar) on Facebook, Twitter, etc. – basically, anywhere but Tumblr.
Why This Whole Thing is Stupid
Look, I don’t don’t care that much if some new social platform comes up, and blocks “adult content” on their platform. That’s part of their content policy, and their corporate concept. Big deal.
But, in the case of Tumblr, it’s problematic in so many ways. I ended up writing this because I was reading a strangle little webcomic, Rosianna Rabbit. While it has it’s own domain name, it’s really just another Tumblr. I’m flipping through this while eating lunch, and suddenly I hit the content warning. Ok, this is a quirky webcomic – somehow I doubt there’s anything too bad on there. So, I fired up the Wayback machine to see if there was an old copy – there was. Problem solved.
But, I realize no everyone knows the Wayback machine exists (it’s a great tool – I used it considerably writing my 20 Years of Midnight Ryder Technologies post). While the webcomic was a cute use of the technology, one of the outcries that went up after the policy was the wholesale deletion of content pertaining to communities such as LGBT and healthcare awareness communities. Yes, Tumblr had porn on it, too, but the loss of that isn’t as great as the impact on communities. I posted this for the sake of the folks that really needed it, not so much for the geek that couldn’t see a webcomic.
Also, add to that the Rosianna Rabbit example – they’re losing content, despite having their own independent domain name outside of Tumblr’s brand. At this point, anyone who’s content is on Tumblr is at risk, which is a hell of a thing when you’re a content creator. Eventually I’m going to sit down and write up a quick guide on how to leverage the Wayback Machine to restore all your old content, and post it into your own blog where you’re not nearly as at risk.
There’s two funny bits here – when I uncovered the offending Rabbit post, it ended up being one frame of the webcomic had an elf with his shirt off. Apparently male, shirtless elves are a problem. What wasn’t a problem was one of the earlier comics had an enormous penis on a male model (cartoon drawing, not photo). That, somehow, didn’t trigger Tumblr’s content system.
The other bit is that just for S&G’s, I remembered the name of an old page from Tumblr, so I googled it – Kitties and Titties (a weird concept, which is why it stuck in my mind). Somehow, naked boobs didn’t trigger the content system, either. Go fig.