There's been some talk lately by some people that I should institute rules about avatars and so on so that we can “send a more palatable message to the mainstream” or encourage tattoo artists to join (right now many won't because they get freaked out by the content). Let's be real clear about my response: it's not going to happen. To institute such policies would effectively kill IAM.

Take a look at where IAM came from: the snowball effect that allowed IAM to happen in the first place was the inertia of bme/HARD and BME/extreme. That is, IAM was “founded” by the bloody shocking avatar crowd. Now, I do think that people should rate their avatars so that people can browse in work mode and avoid them if they want, but I'd never restrict them.

A number of years ago the tattoo community attempted to stop people from getting their faces tattooed by banning it from tattoo conventions. Now there's more facial tattooing than ever. The tattoo community also banned piercing from many tattoo conventions. It's not like that slowed down piercing either. The fact is that bme/HARD and BME/extreme are a significant percent of this community. bme/HARD usually makes up between 25% and 30% of the monthly submissions to BME, and BME/extreme just over 20%.

Anyone who tries to tell those people that they can't express their interests here publicly is fighting a losing battle — and is no better than the person who says you shouldn't show your tattoos in public because it would offend the mundanes. There are lots of body modification sites out there nowadays, most dedicated to either just tattooing or just piercing. BME is the only one that's really emphasized the importance of covering all body modification interests. So naturally, that is what its community site will embrace.

So don't ask me to make decisions in favor of one community over another. Don't try and convince yourself that your modification has “more class” than another because you find it more tasteful. Not everyone agrees, and not everyone should have to. If you don't like looking at heavy avatars, just click on “Settings” on the main page and browse in not-safe-for-work mode. Simple as that.

PS. That said, I do expect people to rate their avatars honestly. If you are using the work mode, and you see adult/non-work-safe avatars, just drop me and IM and I'll manually rate them.

In the news, the US has said that they're worried weapons inspectors are going to give Iraq a clean bill of health. They are worried that Iraq will be shown to have no WMDs, as they've been claiming. As such, the US wants to have the UN inspection team's leader replaced with one of their own operatives. Yeah, that sounds real fair. (more)

On a related note, North Korea has now announced that not only did it secretly develop nuclear weapons, it also has full biological weaponry and other WMDs. (more) The fact that this is being utterly ignored by the US (who have admitted they've known these facts for half a year) should make the Iraq motivations increasingly clear.

Then of course there's all the new terror warnings. Apparently it's going to be a “spectacular attack” on a target of “symbolic value” that will inflict “mass casualties, severe damage to the U.S. economy, and maximum psychological trauma”. (more) I was thinking of all the targets that could either be taken out or severely damaged using one or more shoulder mounted rockets (which aren't hard to get, hell, I can get them and I'm sure anyone hooked up with Class III culture in the US can too).

PS. Bin Laden? (more)

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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