You may have heard me on the radio last week. Not my semi-regular appearance on KIDO 580 AM on Wednesday mornings but on KBOI 670 AM on Thursday. We received a call in the office from a KBOI reporter inquiring about porn on Boise Weekly's Web site. Seeing as how I seem to be the only staff member in the office who regularly visits our Web site (I am the webmaster after all, so it is my responsibility) they forwarded the inquiry to me.
I was bewildered. We do not have a policy of posting porn, porn links, porn images, porn stories, porn fries or porn anything on www.boiseweekly.com. For the record, that does not mean no nudity as nudity and porn are two different things--although you'd be hard pressed to find any nudity on our site either. I inquired of our regular BWFORUM members where such porn may be found on our site. I did not find any porn links or mentions in the discussion board so I was confused. A helpful BWFORUM member pointed me to the membership roster accessible by clicking a small link. Lo and behold, there they were. Non-named members (which float to the top of an alphabetical list) had used our open membership policy to promote their outlandish porn sites like sexymilkmaids.com. Since discovering the links I have turned them off this URL display option in the membership roster.
We at Boise Weekly support all forms of free speech and are not attempting to determine what is and what is not porn. However, BWFORUM was not set up to be a commercial spam site, no matter if the plug is for shoes, breasts or enlargement services. The forum was set up to be an open discussion where members must be polite and what is said there could be said in any public forum. In other words, if people misbehave I ban them.
What disturbs me even more is that the person who discovered and was upset about the porn-link loophole did not inform us. Instead, they reported it to a radio news station that caters to the conservative listeners in our region. Had we received the complaint directly we could have fixed the matter. But, no. They wanted to make a big issue of it and wanted to make us look bad. What is funny about the whole situation is that while I fixed the porn-link loophole immediately after I was interviewed for the radio news story, we continued to get an increase in traffic to our Web site for days afterward. Build a Web site (with rumored porn links) and they will come.