Censorship, or Free Speech, It's up To You!

This page talks about using the "Possibly Offensive" self-censorship setting on the Sketchpad to enable to you maintain your privilege of 99%-free speech on DarkPoetry.

It's mostly about your poems, but it also applies to your profile picture and other information, which can't be set as "adult only" right now, so you should limit your more risque stuff to your works and keep your basic profile page fairly clean.

Why Self-Censor?

The short answer to that question is this: So we don't have to block all of your new works until approved before they are shown to others because of your bad track record.

Look at it this way: you don't fart while you're on a date with someone you really like, at least not if you plan to have a second date.

Likewise, a failure to mark the works you have which are "Possibly Offensive" with that label is simply rude.  Why be impolite by causing someone to read something that they wouldn't want to?

So why do we have to push this?  Now and then, DarkPoetry gets mislabeled in net filtering software, and hence blocked, and it's always because some member posted something that someone found offensive, and it caused the whole site to be blacklisted.

Remember that one person's art is another person's obscenity.  Marking a work as "Possibly Offensive" will prevent it from being shown to a tiny subset of DarkPoetry members only, the vast majority of members are perfectly fine with outrageous stuff.

You have the power to maintain civility here, so please don't make DarkPoetry take that power away from you.

When To Mark Works "Possibly Offensive"

We're not here to tell you what to write.  You can write or post almost anything you want. But consider others.  Here are some things that people frequently consider offensive:
  1. Using swear words
  2. Graphic descriptions of violence
  3. Writing explicitly about bodily functions
  4. Anything to do with sex, even just mentioning it is enough for some

Being "offensive" is your right - and it will always be your right on Darkpoetry, but since others have a right not to see what is likely to offend them, it will serve you well to put yourself in their prudish shoes for just a second before you post.

If in doubt, set "Possibly Offensive" to "yes."  The number of people who have the "Avoid Offensive Stuff" preference set on DarkPoetry is less than a tenth of a percent, but they too have a right to their preferences.  The under-18 members also have to have some content filtered for legal reasons!

Hate Speech

It is not permitted under any circumstances to post anything that violate US Federal Hate Speech laws.

Art vs Pornography

You've no doubt heard "I knows it when I sees it" used by a certain judicial authority to determine whether something is Art or Pornography.  The legal framework for what is considered "obscene" is shaky at best, and varies tremendously.

DarkPoetry doesn't exercise any editorial control over the selection process for new works on the site, so the members bear full responsibility for anything they post.

Any posting of material showing nude human figures, be it photography, sketches, or depictions of the human body at all should be done with care, because you're the one that may be legally held to account in the end if someone should decide to make a big stink about it.

Our policy is reactive: if you post something that is judged by DarkPoetry to be offensive or obscene, DarkPoetry reserves the right to remove it without discussion.

That said, here are some general guidelines for posting graphic work that may contain human figures in the nude.
  • The work must have some merit of artistry, something that makes it worth seeing for its creativeness.  Anything posted for the sole sake of exciting sexual responses is by definition pornography.  Needless to say, images of explicit sexual acts are forbidden.
  • Under no circumstances may a work with nudity be visible to non-members or members under 18.  These works must have the "Possibly Offensive" option set to "yes" no matter what.
  • Any human figures in the image must be at least 18 years old, and must appear to be that age to any viewer.  If a figure could be mistaken to be under 18, it may be removed.


Avoiding sanctions is easy, just read the previous sections, and if you're still in doubt, DPmail a council member to ask.

That said, violating the rules can result in serious sanctions.  Typically, a friendly reminder is given first in minor offenses, but future violations can result in any of the following depending on the severity of the offense:
  • The removal of a work from the site
  • Your account being flagged so that your new works no longer show up until approved by site staff.  (this also makes your works not show up under "new works" for any members, which sucks k!)
  • A temporary suspension of your account
  • A permanent suspension of your account, and eventual deletion
  • Outright banning from viewing DarkPoetry
We rarely have to resort to anything in the list, thanks to considerate members like you who help everyone out by playing it cool.

Thanks for being a considerate DarkPoet!

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