Articles / Excessive code and excessiv…

Excessive code and excessive nudity. What gives?

I can imagine a lot of you looking at the title of this article and wondering what on earth you stumbled on. Before I go any further, I'll have to warn those under 18 or those with faint hearts (and those who despise any mention of nudity) to please hit the back button and search for some software. This is not for you.Ok, those of you still with me: Sit back, get yourself your favorite beverage, and keep reading. It's going to get interesting, I promise.

Back in the good old days (let's make it 1994, 1995 because I'm not that old yet), we had the lovely World Wide Web with all its newfound splendor. With it came a totally different world than most of you are used to. We're talking about what is by most people thought of as the smutty part of town, the "adult" side of the Internet.

*gasp* *shock* Yeah, this article is about that adult side of the 'net. I did warn you. But it's also about code, about society, and about people.

I'm a Perl programmer. Some of you might have seen some of my stuff on freshmeat. I'm not the best, but I'm no newbie either. Since I'm writing this article, you can probably deduce that, yes, all my code ends up being used on adult sites. I can just about see those people who downloaded my code hurriedly searching where they put it, and deleting it.

Why would I make such an assumption? That's easy. Here's where society steps in: Back in the old days (let's say 1996), I was just another Perl coder writing CGI scripts for a living. Well, pocket money's more like it, but okay. I wrote scripts for fun, I wrote them to make some cash, and I wrote them because I'm a geek and I love programming.

Then, one day, I got a phone call from this company. A friend of mine had referred them to me, and they wanted me to write a CGI script. The gentleman I spoke with was very well mannered, very well educated -- the typical likeable manager.

After some talking, he came to the point. The CGI script I was to create was supposed to take an archive of images and make them searchable by topic. In itself nothing amazing, but when I asked, out of curiosity, what kind of images we were talking about, I was surprised to find out it was porn. Yes, porn.

I accepted the job, and life changed dramatically. Instead of friends saying "cool" or some coders I knew saying "nice script", they shied away, refused to talk to me, refused to look at the script. For a long time, I wondered why.

This year, I went to a convention. I was just out there looking for new cool stuff, not much else. Everyone I talked to was friendly, and downright nice, right up until the point when I told them what I did for a living. Then they suddenly remembered they had something better to do.

And why? Does working on the adult part of the net mean I'm a scumbag? Does it mean I'm sleazy? Does it mean I'm untrustworthy? Does it mean my code is bad?

And by no means is this just about me. There are a lot of good programmers out there on that adult part of the net. Some brilliant people -- downright gifted -- and they are ignored. They are made fun of and they are treated like (pardon the language) shit.

Think about it for a minute before snickering and silently mumbling "what a bunch of bull" to yourself. The adult side of the net is a very odd place. What takes a "normal" company 2 frontend servers and at least 2 backend DB servers, a porn company can do with 1 frontend and 1 DB server. Take freshmeat for an example. Last I checked, it consisted of 3 load balanced frontends with 2 DB servers as the backend. There are sites out there that get the exact same volume of submissions that freshmeat gets (most likely more visitors a day) and they still do it with one good old server. Of course, freshmeat has a lot more capital backing it than ye 'ole average porn site, so it's not a totally fair comparison, but it does illustrate the point. Does it mean us porn coders are better? Maybe, but maybe we just work together a lot more.

Can you honestly say that you've called on your fellow coders to finish a project for a company you are working for? While they were not employed by the same company that employed you? Can you honestly say that you've helped people who are not employed by the company you're employed by, knowing that they would receive a nice paycheck for it and that you wouldn't see a dime from it?

Can you honestly say that you've traded the most secret of secrets, the best hacks you've ever done, the most optimized code you've produced, and the nicest libraries you've written with your fellow programmers?

I have. And trust me, it is a wonderful way to work and learn. Most porn coders do share code and ideas like this, often without receiving any compensation except the fact that they know they'll get some goodies in return.

What does this mean? It means that performance is the absolute king. To get performance, you need to know as much as possible. To know as much as possible, why work with one mind if you can tap into the knowledge of 10, 20, or 100 people?

Performance is the holy grail. When I code for an adult company, I try to eke every last drop of performance out of my code. I tune the servers, I tune the code, I tune everything that can be tuned, and then I do it again. Streaming video, image searching, search engines, link lists, gallery posts... all tuned until they can't be tuned any more. Then I share all my information with my coder friends, so that they can do it too. I work 7 days a week, 15 hours a day. So do most of my fellow porn coders. Some of them work even more than 15 hours a day. Strange, isn't it? I do it 50% because I like it, and 50% because of the damn good pay. Not a bad thing.

You might be wondering what the point of this article is. Sadly enough, this is a call for attention, because if people in general keep alienating those who work on the fringe of acceptable standards, soon there will be an uncrossable gap between those who are "normal" and those who are not. (Normal by society's standards, that is). It is also a gripe, a rant, and a complaint. For too long, I've seen good people being turned down for regular jobs. For too long, I've seen people being emotionally killed because of the way the 'regular' crowd treats them.

I'm a porn coder, and I'm damn proud of it. If you want to hate me for it, you can, but you show that during your life you never learned to stray away from the path laid down for you by your parents and their parents before them. If you want to cheer me on, feel free, but remember that when you do, you'll have a big chance of finding out why I wrote this.

I always figured my fellow coders to be more open minded than the average sales droid, and sadly I found out that, more often than not, that is not the case. I ask you to think about it. Think about the fact that you could possibly learn something from a coder on the adult end of the 'net, and accept that even though coders work for an adult company, it doesn't mean they're sleazy and it doesn't mean they're scumbags. It just means that they have a hunger for performance, a hunger for appreciation.

Appreciation? Yes, appreciation. Most adult companies know how to treat their programmers. They know that without us they wouldn't be able to do business. Hence, most of us enjoy a rather nice life with a nice paycheck coming in and nice fringe benefits. (I can ensure you that attending a convention and talking to Jenna Jameson for a while can be a very interesting experience.) Can you say that you've done that in the last year you had your job?

My apologies for the rather incoherent structure of this little writing, but such is life.

*steps off the soapbox*

Anyone got some Jolt?

Recent comments

03 Oct 2007 08:48 Avatar kturner99

Re: The hypocracy is almost blinding.

> [...]

> see two people making love.

> [...]

I have yet to see any porn where people are "making love." You do know the difference, right?

18 Apr 2004 14:53 Avatar monde

Choice is paramount. I made the right one.
You write:

> Or, as anther example, if you were a chemist working for an illicit drug concern, (again) I doubt
%you would be as confused regarding the reaction of your peers to your vocation.

That should depend on the drug. It confuses the issue to talk of all recreational substances under one umbrella term "drugs", implying that all drugs harm those who consume them. Some do, some don't, some both harm and also benefit, depending on circumstance. To assume all drugs harm equally gives credence to those who want to make self-determination of their own brain states more and more prohibited, which makes for more harm in the long run.

%Yes, porn happens to be legal, but then so is the manufacture of cigarettes.

And yet marijuana, a much less dangerous, less-addictive drug than cigarettes or alcohol, one that is becoming known to have some anti-cancerous capabilities, and one which has been enjoyed all over the planet for tens of thousands of ILLEGAL. Because it cannot be patented by the pharmocorp cabals, most likely. And also, because it is associated with sexuality. The earliest campaigns against marijuana suggested that it would make Black and Mexican men libidinous beyond control and cause them to rape white men's daughters and wives. Now porn has been accused of virtually the same thing.

Does it always come back to sex? To the bewildering need some have to prevent sexual enjoyment?

> it is precisely because of the structure of today's society were profit provides moral support for activity
> that the social pressures outside of the control of the 'machine' are of even greater importance than in the 'old days'

This is not a good direction to take a society, for it only leads to it becoming an unfree, undemocratic one if these "social pressures" become so strong that they become prohibitive to those trying to make a living.


Those who don't want to smoke cigarettes, read porn and take drugs don't have to do these things.

People who do not like these things for any reason should not spend so much time and effort thinking about them, and exposing themselves to them as part of their massive effort to make other peoplenot do these things!

They seem to insist that it is morally proper to prevent another from experiencing something she wishes to because THEY think it's harmful for her. Why doesn't she get to decide that?

This is not right. If they are over the age of eighteen they are adults - that need to be regarded as such, and not treated as children. Under that age, a child is responsible to follow the decrees of his or her parents. But no one should act in loco parentis after they become legal adults.

> Anyone here sick and tired of getting an unsolicited pile of porn spam everyday?

{holds up hand high} We ALL hate spam.

> Who wrote these scripts?

Probably not SeekingSin. Tech geeks tend to hate spam even more than the average email user. I'm sure he would like to throttle the guy who wrote that script, or at least the one who SOLD it to the SPAMMER jerks, just as much as all of us would.

See, porn SPAMS are a cross-over. They are forced into our email boxes without being asked for. This is different, it IS harmful, it steals bandwidth, causes social embarrassments when people who don't understand that EVERYONE gets these spams sees one of them, and it is also annoying the hell out of me! But only because it broke my choice barrier.

> No, I would not. Because by doing so, I would be contributing my resources to an industry that I know (personally) to be

> of harm to its consumers, and employees.

Can you elabourate? What are you claiming is the "harm"? I mean, show concrete examples, please, not abstractions about "decency".

I continue to contend that I have been only enriched and never harmed by my involvement in this industry. And I SHOULD know best about this one matter, at least.

%take a look at the faces of porn star from her debut to her final exit. The damage done is clearly
> visible on these faces. Porn damages (almost) everyone involved in it.

I would advise you to look at ANY photographs of ANY human being at the ages of 18, 25, 30, 35 and 40. You will see the same progression there. It's called "aging" - and everyone gets to do it...some faster, some slower. That's genetics.
Some are able to fool the camera a little with little cosmetic improvements, and many are the photographers who have created illusions with the camera that turn a young woman old, an old woman young. A porn star who is also taking heroin and smoking crack may show a marked decline, and I think you may be basing your claim around one of these "then and now" series collections.

There is a certain phase of life - when I had no love interests or schoolwork - in which direct involvement in the sex industry (work as a call girl) was emotionally right for me. It would not have been right for me if it had been done at the wrong point in my life or for longer than the length of time I should havet, which was about three years. Now I work on the periphery of it, making web designs and graphics used on sites. It's good money and I am qualified to do the work. I can think of a great many other jobs which would have me all wrinkled and flabby-faced in about three months from the boredom and the stress. Come to think of it, people have been telling me this year that I'm looking better than I had before I started doing this work.

Please don't judge all adult websites from the torrent of spam. My clients' sites never spam and never will as long as I am working on them! Our perl coder sees to it that those who spam US lose their accounts for it...FAST.

18 Apr 2004 13:27 Avatar monde

Adult web maven has much different reactions, better experiences
I make web projects for a few different clients, all of which have involved "prurient matter" to some degree. My latest project has involved a lot of gay porn from the sixties and seventies, meaning that the models actually look attractive to me; usually they don't.

I am experiencing no repulsion from anyone at all! Even my mother at the age of 74 thinks it's a gas and loves it. I get to spend my days at work looking at naked pictures of attractive long-haired boys and men. Anyone would want a job that involves doing something they'd do on their time off! Indeed the reactions I have received from others has been of curiosity...

"What an interesting job!"

"They looking for anyone else to work?"

"You ever get photographed?"

I halfdisappoint them there... but my mate, who also works with this client and does the perl writing part of these projects, has put up a site with pictures of both of us. We have fun.

I couldn't ask for a better job, really, when you get right down to it.

So why no repulsion when I tell people my job? Maybe it is just that my circles tend to be less "straight" and more "underground" , so don't have the automatic sexual embarrassment that the subject of porno can cause in some people.

Maybe, though, it's just because I'm a woman. (But for me, woman-ness is just on the outside, like clothing. My gender is actually sort of a nullvoid.) But I guess people look at me and see a girl who works in gay porn...and thus makes the instant assumption that I'm obviously not being "exploited".

People on the outside view this industry only through the filters of the mass media lens: a lens which only aims itself at events which can be filtered as scandalous exploitation tales that the media peddles as infotainment. A great many people in the sex industry, though, find their work to be an enjoyable thing and also find it gives them empowerment.

I knew a prostitute very closely a long while back, who got a power rush from working lying on her back for 15-20 minutes, while a client projected his personal fantasy film loop onto her. She would just zone out on drugs or her own daydreams. Blissfully unaware. She'd make hundreds at a time like this...

When I make a web page that presents the client's photos well, I feel that ordinary pride in a job well done. I suppose that the satisfaction shows. And thus there's no repulsion.


21 Nov 2001 11:54 Avatar 287

i have noticed
i have been sitting here reading all these comments.. and have to now put my 2 cents worth in..(late as it may be)..i see people talking about porn webhiting.. i have actually been webhited by more so called "normal" websites then porn ones.."buy this camera..declear bankruptsy here.. come here to gamble"..i can actually turn on my computer and not do anything and these sites will still popup trying to get me to go there true some porn sites do webhit..but for that to happen you have to first go there...I seen alot of talk about porn sites and rape..and women.. check your police can also be rapped..and on the same coin..does the mean if i watch bugs bunny drop a anvil on elmers head.. that is going to make me want to go out and do that...i think not..i read how porn sites degrade one FORCED these women to pose for these sites..(and bet they got paid well for doing it to)..alittle something god built into us call... "free will of choice"..i also read how it is not moral..and bad for kids and families.. well another point for free will of choice.. there are enough programs out there now that partents can put on their systems to keep their kids out of these sites..and alittle parenting would not hurt either...i have 3 kids and do monitor what and where they go on the computer..

25 Apr 2001 00:54 Avatar fireboy1919

Re: Conformity

> You're not doing anything
> illegal, and quite arguably not even
> harmful.

But, you are doing something which is quite arguably harmful, just as you are with the sale of drugs and kiddie Pr0n. This argument is perhaps one for another debate, but it is enough to easily express that those who defend freedom of expression and inalienable rights while limiting what they deem immoral are not hypocrites.

If these things are harmful, then they do or might hurt the pursuit of happiness or life and therefore might or should not be allowed. In essense, the belief is that freedom is HARMED by allowing these things, since it potentially limits pursuit of happiness or life.

You're right in saying that some freedoms are being limited...but these freedoms are never defended by your "hypocrites." Freedom to harm yourself is always opposed. So they're not really hypocrites...just those who see their own viewpoint a little clearer than you do.


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