I’m really sorry for how poorly I handled this. Last night, an email circulated at Tumblr that incorrectly implied we were enforcing a new policy on “reblogging-blogs”. Our community director accordingly suspended several accounts that had recently received numerous complaints.
This was brought to my attention late last night, and after deliberation with the team, we decided the most responsible steps would be to explain our decision, update our policy publicly, and apologize for the content being removed prematurely.
The harassing behavior we’re specifically looking to protect against is accounts who’s “sole or primary purpose” involves negatively targeting “specific members or groups within the Tumblr community”. That is, “reblogging-david”, etc. These were targeted for two reasons:
- They seriously discourage the expression we’re building Tumblr to enable, and we know they can make Tumblr a shitty place for the people targeted.
- We view them as an exploitation of our reblogging system which places accountably on the identity of the poster. The thought being that responses get to live on your site, not mine. So people are significantly more considerate of what they post.
That said, the timing was a mistake. We accidently rushed into enforcing this policy which was, in fact, on hold as we’ve been evaluating a new blocking feature as a programmatic alternative.
We have absolutely no interest in censoring users, though we will continue to police spam and illegal content. We’ll spend this week closely evaluating our policy changes and looking for a programmatic solution.
This policy decision had nothing to do with any personal relationships.
And to Owen’s point about us announcing “a new revenue-generating feature on Monday”: This was in reference to the Valentine feature, which proudly earned Tumblr its first revenue last weekend.