pornography on the computers

doc josh at
Mon Jan 31 16:31:49 EST 1994

Karen Kroslowitz <kroz at> writes:

[snip, snip]
>Why can't a resolution simply be "no pornography or sex-related pictures,
>newsgroups, or other media is to be allowed on the computers"?
>Just because one person has done something wrong or morally incorrect, it
>does not mean the entire community must be punished for it.

This is the approach of the Computer Science department here at UW,
or so my wife tells me (she's a student over there). No pornographic
images allowed on their equipment, period. This applies to students,
grad students, staff, and faculty, equally.

Moreover, the newsgroup from which the vast majority of these images
are obtained ( no longer exists on
our news server; the putative reason is to save disk space, but I
am told by Those Who Know that the administration heaved a collective
sigh of relief when they found this good excuse.

So, the problem goes away. Other newsgroups, of course, still exist,
and people are certainly allowed to read them. This includes some
that many readers of THIS newsgroup would find offensive, probably;
there are still groups devoted to written pornography, for instance.
But I think there's a qualitative difference between being confronted
by a photographic image and a screen full of text. Maybe some people
would disagree.

My suggestions are, then, two-fold:

1) First, the person who has, in your judgement, "done something
wrong or morally incorrect", should be told that. By YOU. He has
the option, then, of feeling abashed enough to cease. This seems
to me to be the optimal solution, if it works.

2) If it doesn't, if after your complaint he continues doing this
wrong/morally incorrect thing, ask your computer manager to issue
a policy like the above: remove the group from the server, and
inform all users that anyone using the equipment to view pornographic
images will have his or her computer privileges revoked, be thrown
out of the project, whatever punishment seems appropriate. That way,
if he looks at images again, it'll be the last time. This is a pretty
coercive solution, but sometimes you gotta hit people over the head
with a two by four to get their attention.

Just my opinion. The latter option is what has been done here (of
course, with a zillion undergraduates using the computers, it
pretty much was the ONLY possible solution), and it seems to have
eliminated the problem.


Josh Hayes
     Josh Hayes		josh at
     	      Tongith I am coking squid.

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