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Improving the image comments

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

This is a continuation of this thread; a thread reset is in order because that thread got out of hand. In particular, I want to address some points made by Tall1 in this comment and PineappleRag here, which were the two comments that actually had specific suggestions.

I agree that the image comments are often repetitive and sexually loaded, and generally speaking not what many women want to see on their pictures if they happen to visit the site. I am interested in ideas to improve this; the higher the impact to effort (on behalf of myself and the mods) ratio, the better.

That said, I think there's one underlying cause to the state of the image comments: The viewership of the site is made up (almost) entirely of people who enjoy looking at pictures of muscular women. This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but it is a fact. And some people in this group--it doesn't have to be a large percentage in order to result in hundreds of comments per day--leave these sorts of image comments.

If, hypothetically, the site viewership were instead 100% fitness enthusiasts and that were the thing that everyone in the userbase has in common, the comments would look very different and would have a better chance of passing the do-women-want-to-see-this test. Of course there is some overlap between the groups, but since being a fitness enthusiast is not required to enjoy the site, I doubt even a majority of visitors are such.

With that in mind, I disagree with this:

If you don't like the comments, then you have to stop them - - not necessarily by banning members, blocking members or deleting posts, but by defining the mission of the site and the expected nature of posts that YOU, as site owner, deem as appropriate. This can be done professionally and discretely by displaying expectations clearly on the image pages, again signed by you. People WILL comply over time because Admins have that kind of power over the content of their own sites and others will rally around them.

There is no magic incantation I can put anywhere on the site that changes the makeup of the userbase and short of that, people who are attracted to muscular women will continue to make comments indicative of this fact. I can put big warnings saying "COMMENTS MUST BE RESPECTFUL" in prominent places but I doubt the people posting "I would worship at her feet and serve her every need!" would suddenly stop because of this. What I could do is to keep the worst offenders and most fetishistic comments in check with... you guessed it, deletions and bannings, but then we're back to the black hole for mod effort I talked about here.

Depending out whether or not you're up for the programming effort, you can consider including THUMBS-UP and THUMBS-DOWN counters on individual posts and based on other user feedback enforce your stated mission by sending warnings and eventually blocking flagged user comments from the image pages.

I am not as optimistic about this being useful as you are. A while back, for many years, we had another image approval queue we called the voting queue, where uploaded images went before they appeared on the site. Instead of site staff doing the approvals, regular users could upvote or downvote the pictures, and ultimately each picture's approval depended on its vote count. The upload rules were clearly posted on the voting page, and users were supposed to vote based on whether the images met the rules or not. Instead, users just upvoted pics they liked and the end result had basically no bearing to the upload rules. The same thing would happen with comment voting: people would see a comment that says "Sexy!", agree with it, and upvote.

If you want to solve the problem of women requesting their profiles to be deleted, you have to transform this website into something they want to be apart of. Something they would be proud of, something they wouldn't mind employers, friends, family seeing. To accomplish that, I would suggest ... profiles are a record of their accomplishments, best lifts, contest placements, bio when possible, etc. In addition to the pictures. That along with removing comments would make the site more professional and significantly decrease the amount of women who don't want to be associated with it.

That sounds like a cool idea and short of a bio, I have considered it. It would probably have to be user-sourced though, in the same way that the names under images are user-sourced. I doubt anyone would want to write bios for the probably 25K+ women on the site, though.

Anyway... I am planning in the near future to make the comments be visible to logged in users only in the spirit of: If you can't fix the problem, at least make it somewhat less obvious (especially for new visitors).

As for actual improvements to the comments, I've had ideas like the following, but haven't thought about how specifically to implement them:

  • Some sort of minimum length requirement
  • Limit which comments bump a picture to the front page
    • (maybe conditional on the length?)
  • Remove the "recently commented" section on the front page, which should disincentivize low-effort comments that are made just to get a pic more attention

Note: I am planning to moderate this thread more strictly than the last one and the disrespect from that thread has no place here.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I agree with the removal of recently commented. For years it has been a mostly recycled group of images that get bumps from time to time if woman gets a new photo upload or someone looks through their favorites. i much prefer the hidden gems function if you're going to bring back blasts from the past.

if we are all being honest, yes, IMO this is a fetish site. I've been on here since inception (this is a fresh account i felt i needed to make, same moniker though) and there are the recognizable users who have been around for years and then the randoms you never hear from and everything in between. the line between fetish and appreciation can get blurred, but it's incumbent on the users to police their own comments. clearly this is not a thing anywhere on the internet, otherwise we wouldn't be having these discussions, and the sheer volume of photos + comments makes it difficult to police.

Are there any ways to flag certain strings like "step on me" or "she could lift me" or whatever to parse these things out with an automod? it would certainly make the mod's jobs easier if there was a filter to help remove those comments since we can't trust those users not to comment (not coincidentally they are the same troublemakers dming women on social media asking for the same garbage)

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

The site is fine as it is. Isn't it for open minded people who are free to make comments that they see fit, or is this site run from China where no one can say anything without getting the thought police bashing on their door? The only problem I have is derogatory comments about the women, comments that you would never say to their face. However that is a trolling problem that the whole internet and social media suffers from. There are just so many jerks out there hiding under rocks who want to vent their spleen, for some inexplicable reason.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I don't know anything about maintaining a website, so not sure on feasability. How about: - enabling people to ignore users so members can just flag users that post crappy comments and all other comments from that person arent visible to them. What is a bad comment is quite subjective so would be good if users can decide which comments they see or not (although I'm cringing a lot through 50% of the comments).

I do like the "recently commented" better then the hidden gems personally. On the other hand, the advanced search can also lead to the recently commented posts instead of having it on the front page.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I agree with most points here, sans a few. You are 100% right that the community is largely made up of people who like pictures of muscular women, and that inherently will lead to sexual comments.

A length requirement would probably only get people to make longer, similarly low quality comments.

I strongly disagree with removing the "recently commented" section alltogether. I have found many great images there that were not on "High Score Today", because people tend to only expend effort commenting on good images. It's similar to "hidden gems" but without obscurity being a requirement. Better yet if the image is both on hidden gems and recently commented - sometimes the thumbnail does the picture no justice. Mercedes Wyenberg got popular on this site recently exactly because of this.

A bio would be great. Maybe in a wiki-style format that's editable only by users with a certain upload score. User sourced collaborative articles do have a strong track record of success on the internet, despite how insane it sounds.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I was given to understand that it is not all that often that a woman requests her pics be removed the site, and when it does happen it may be due to a variety of factors, many of which have nothing to do with comments. So I am not sure why this is a sudden issue. There has been an element of condescending moral outrage from some individuals about what people find sexually attractive, and the whole thing seems a bit Puritan to me.

Personally I don't care if you remove picture comments. I can enjoy the pictures regardless.

Perhaps the comments should be transferred to a NSFW section on the discussion forum where people can comment and fetishize to their hearts content. Make it visible only to registered viewers, if you like. And other users who are disinterested or morally outraged about such things have the choice of simply not visiting that section.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

Honestly I think this is an incredibly unique website and policing the comments would open the door to all sorts of modifications and alterations that will lead to something unrecognizably different in the future.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I agree with mastercheif, if a modification is made out of violation of an individual's criterion (moral or otherwise) , this would only be the beginning of an indefinite line of suggestions and change requests... this can potentially then spill into the forums (the Story section would be an easy target based on this last issue).

while a thumbs up/down system would probably work, linking it to the "visible" attribute if a determined number of "thumbs down" score is reached could be a solution. A link would allow a user to manually override it and make it visible, if the user chooses to see what the comment was. I am however unfamiliar with how specifically the image comments are set up under the hood, and keeping score on all comments would probably create a massive cache of data, most of it, unnecessary.

A proposed solution (if one is implemented) has to be proportionate to an actual , facts based need .

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I disagree with the rationale behind "if the comments were made by 100 percent fitness participants, the comments would look entirely different". A male or female BB or strength athlete, can and have many times left the following, "BOING,🍌 or other suggestive comments. People come to this site because they find muscular women exciting, sexy, beautiful or whatever complimentary term you wish to use. A male bodybuilder or FBB, can get just as blown away by these incredible women as an average guy or girl and in turn leave suggestive comments. People don't come here to gather workout tips. I see comments deleted all the time, so if we place a comment deemed as "going too far", I'm ok with it being deleted. Also, I assume every moderater as a different level of tolerance.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I would be happy with having all comments removed as they are rarely beneficial, +1 is enough. Comments and discussion can then happen in the forum.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

how about upvotes/downvotes downvoted comments get hidden

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

how about upvotes/downvotes downvoted comments get hidden

That will just lead to drama from people getting down voted, who will be asking both the mods and the community why they are getting down voted. Happens on reddit all the time.

Mar 15, 2021 - edited Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

I also kind of disagree with the sentiment of “if comments were made by 100 percent fitness participants, the comments would look entirely different.” While you would probably see an uptick of comments like “Good form on that lift!” Or “wow, looks like her prep paid off!,” there are still a lot of dudes who are into fitness who still leave creepy comments. As a fitness enthusiast who trains 6 days a week and personally knows quite a few fit women, I have a lot of stories from creepy dudes in the strength training community who harass female athletes, and many of them do it quite aggressively.

Make no mistake, this is definitely a fetish site. There are no training tips, nutritional tips, recovery/mobility suggestions or the like It’s pure admiration for strong, buff women, and that’s not a bad thing. Sexuality, along with sexual preferences, are perfectly normal aspects of human behavior, but that doesn’t mean we should be gross in a public forum (I.e., the dumb comments like “BOING” or “omg I want to lick your armpits.”) I really think the best solution is to remove picture comments.In my view, they really don’t add much to the site, and while I’m sure the ladies who find their pictures here have no disillusions of what we do while looking at those pictures, they don’t need to publicly see that via lewd comments.

Please keep in mind that what I am saying comes from a perspective of being around a lot of woman strength athletes who deal with this shit at a sadly regular basis. As a man, I have never had anyone leave me lewd, annoying or even threatening comments, nor have I received unsolicited form checks on lifting videos I have posted or critiques of my physique. To put the double standard in perspective, take two super-heavyweight Olympic weightlifters: Sarah Robles and Lasha Talakhadze. Both are big athletes, and very strong and skilled, but while Sarah gets a crap ton of comments about how she’s fat and obese and she should look after her health, Lasha never gets those kinds of comments.

This is a tough situation and I’m not even sure there’s a best answer on how to deal with “creeps,” but I do think that removing the image comments will help.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

How about if you don't like comments, or they annoy you, don't read them. After all you do have to scroll down the page to get to them. We already have a way to report rude, and abusive comments and the moderaters seem to do a good job policing them without going overboard dictatorship. Lastly, it's sounds like a real good idea to only have comments be visible to members. Other than that, IMO, nothing needs fixing.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

How about if you don't like comments, or they annoy you, don't read them. After all you do have to scroll down the page to get to them. We already have a way to report rude, and abusive comments and the moderaters seem to do a good job policing them without going overboard dictatorship. Lastly, it's sounds like a real good idea to only have comments be visible to members. Other than that, IMO, nothing needs fixing.

@muscleflexin... couldn't have said it better myself.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

Agree that comments should not be visible to non-members.

Disagree about length requirements on comments.

Agree on up-voting/down-voting comments, and I don't think it's analogous to the voting to allow/disallow uploads. That was problematic because it was slow and people suck. Comment voting has no real consequence, so it doesn't matter if people suck. The best comments should regularly float to the top, which can spur engagement. If poop floats and dumb comments rise, then so what? Nobody has to read them anyway.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

This website has become so strange. In general I am in the "don't look at the comments if they bother you" camp. The sensitivity here is specifically how the models perceive comments. For example, I love big roided muscles and fake looking implants and comment accordingly. Compliments are the intent, and many models love the way they look. Perhaps "too much ink" and "grow bigger arms and traps" are received as derogatory comments. And almost certainly most models don't give any shits about what people type on the internet anyway. Those who do have requested their photos removed, done deal. Carry on.

Mar 15, 2021 - edited Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

First, Chainer-- I appreciate your patience and demonstrated desire to deeply consider the effects that decisions on site moderation might have (more on that later). I also appreciate this site in general because it is overall a very positive place (unlike many corners of the Internet).

Now I am going to wax a bit philosophical, and elaborate on the very relevant points made by cryphius, mastercheif, and ed_pty71 above.

What we have here is a form of community. Especially noteworthy— it’s not here to try and pull money out of our wallets. This community is composed of folks who have an overlapping interest in fit, muscular, and athletic women. Some people have very specific tastes and intentions when they visit this site, and others do not. Additionally, like all communities, this one allows various forms of conversation and discourse. Many images on this site are available elsewhere… it’s worthwhile to evaluate what makes GWM better. I believe, the “secret sauce” is the sense of community that places like Instagram, TikTok, and FaceBook do not provide. Those other platforms exist primarily to advertise oneself and compare oneself to others. GWM is different, and we should be cautious when it comes to making wholesale changes.

The undercurrent of grievances that have animated the preceding comments and conversation have essentially singled out particular kinds of users and comments. There has also been a push to create artificially binary discourse; for example, the site is either a "fetish" site or it isn't. This attempted argument is facile at best and disingenuous at worst. Lets get real: for some users it is a fetish destination, for some users it isn't; for some users it is sometimes, and sometimes it isn't. (Another adjacent reality: by the very definition of fetish, any web site can be a fetish site. Just see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_34)

Making the argument revolve around "fetish or "not fetish" is a false and misleading dichotomy, which is a veiled attempt by some users to apply moralistic labels to behavior they don't agree with, and some even going so far as to insult the intelligence of those who disagree with their whole premise. In short: there's been much (veiled) debate over the quality and desirability of some discourse in this community, particularly in the image comments— all to try and manipulate community discourse! Basically, “if it weren’t for all those other bothersome users, this would be a great site.” That logic is wrong to me, since that’s not how productive community discourse works in real life. I suspect this sentiment is fueled by curated social media feeds that only expose people to what they want, thus leaving them without the skills to negotiate online communities where they might see content that they don’t 100% agree with.

That said, on to the main thrust:

Image comments actually have value. I’m concerned that the desirable effects of image comments are being crowded out by the vocal objections to the supposed “undesirable” ones. Have we thought about how image comments contribute to the sense of community here? Three main points:

  1. Let’s look at real life gathering spaces as an analogy. Imagine we are all at a restaurant, sitting at a table together. Although we are a varied bunch, we all pretty much like fit and muscular women. Imagine further, that a couple of physique competitors came in through the front entrance. What do you think some people at our table would say? What would you say? I think for some, the comments are an attempt to mimic the delight, pleasure, admiration, and desirability of the woman in a given image. But, instead of hanging out in a bar or restaurant, we are all here together. There will always be the person who might say something that you would not. That’s how communities function. In our GWM community, if someone is completely out of bounds, there is even a “report” button. For all the people complaining about image comments, how often have you pushed that report button?

  2. Let’s look at everyday gatherings/conversation. We have all been a part of group where someone feels the need to talk too much or make a comment that was best left unsaid. That’s life! You have the extreme option of leaving the group, speaking up to the person you don’t agree with, or remaining with the group and tolerating the bits you don’t completely like. The same options are present here. However, has it occurred to some of the complainers, that perhaps you are sometimes the person no one else wants to listen to? Maybe others are thinking, “Oh no, here comes that same old shit again.” Once more, that’s life—we all take turns exercising our voice, and in doing so, we rely on being tolerated by others.

  3. Let’s recognize that image comments are a topic intensifier. In social groups, we tend to talk about the thing that other people are pointing out or talking about. Comments can serve that function, and the “Recently Commented” section shows what is getting current attention. Sometimes that attention happens simply because of previous attention. What’s wrong with that? That’s how groups of people socialize. “Recently Commented” provides an added dimension of what is happening, and can sometimes renew attention to certain images beyond the capability of “Hidden Gems.”

  4. Additional related thoughts to consider about so-called “low effort” image comments and the like: perhaps the commenter is not a native English speaker, but still wants to participate in the community. Perhaps a commenter is very young, and lacks certain social experience. Finally, perhaps some comments are useful to locate images. For example, there is not a tag for “Wonder Woman.” But, if someone has added that text to image comments, we can easily find women dressed as Wonder Woman. That said, I have a suspicion that certain repetitive comments might be a backdoor method for some users to query for images they like and enjoy. (Example: https://www.girlswithmuscle.com/images/2/?co...). Basically, as a form of queryable data, the image comments can provide further value to many users.

There are bad actors, creepers, and users who blatantly submit comments because of social ignorance or out of a desire to cause trouble. Based on my observations, I propose the following (in order of effects/level of effort):

  1. Retain the “Report” button for image comments. It requires the reporter to submit details. This particular function should have a minimum length requirement to minimize capricious reporting.

  2. Allow only registered users to make and see comments. This ensures familiarity with the contexts of the GWM site.

  3. For consideration: require registered users to pass a certain quality threshold before being able to post image comments. For example, has the newly registered user liked a certain number of images? Have they added tags or names? Or more simply, have they visited the site a certain number of times after registering? This can prevent registering for the purpose of trolling. Also, users who decide to troll can have their quality thresholds reset as a form of probation.

  4. For consideration, another alternative: a simple pop-up confirmation when posting an image comment, such as: “Your comment is as follows (comment text). Is your comment relevant and respectful? (buttons: cancel comment, modify comment, post comment).

  5. For consideration: a delay on comments, perhaps 30 minutes? For example, if I post a comment, it enters a queue for 15 to 30 minutes, during which time I can modify or delete it. After 30 minutes or so, it posts to the image comments. This can shift a user’s perception that the comment is more of a permanent remark as opposed to an off-the-cuff comment. It has potential to cut down on flame wars that can sometimes erupt in image comments.

That concludes my thoughts. Thanks again for a unique and positive community on the internet.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

asianfitnessfan had an excellent post overall, but I want to single out this line:

What we have here is a form of community.

Even if a given site started out as fetish destination by design, it can evolve into something more. A church could be created to worship God, but it takes on other social functions entirely apart from that theology. A restaurant could be created to make money, but then evolves into a vital part of a community.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

To me, all of these things seem like a solution in search of a problem. I roll my eyes as often as anyone else at some of the comments here, but what actual harm are they doing? You take the good with the bad in anything. Trying to police the comments seems like a lot of work for very little pay off. You already have a Report button. If someone is saying something insulting, use it. If not, be an adult about it and move on.

My thought about comments, good or bad, is they have the potential to bring a pic that I might have missed to the front page at any given time. I see that as their value, and whatever else comes with it is something I can easily live with.

There's way too much of this way of thinking that because you don't like something, somebody has done something "wrong" and must be punished. There are some fools here. Deal with it.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

A few mods dedicated to moderating the comment section would be a start. The lack of decorum on the site can be astounding.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

A few mods dedicated to moderating the comment section would be a start. The lack of decorum on the site can be astounding.

Oh my, failure22 actually made a constructive, non-troll/bait/snark comment for once. That said I don't see how this addresses the poor scalability of manual moderation as pointed out by Chainer. Making comments visible only to logged in users is such a simple, yet effective solution.

I do feel that it's at least somewhat underpoliced and a little more enforcement would help. Right now, the comments read only somewhat better than on a porn site, but worse than sites like Reddit.

Mar 15, 2021 - permalink

Making comments only available to members would probably satisfy the people here worrying about the woman getting freaked out or offended. Muscular women who would actually join a site like this would hardly get offended by most of the comments. For those in here who don't like the comments for whatever reason? Don't read them if you don't like them. If the comments are truly abusive, a mod will delete it. Part of the pleasure in sites like these are conversing with others, sharing comments.

Mar 16, 2021 - permalink

So this is a brand new profile for me, but I've been on the site for decades with another name. Certain people in my life discovered the account and disproved, so here I am anew.

What if in addition to making comments only visible once signed in, the entire front page besides the gallery were only visible to signed in members. That way only people who know to look for recently commented, hidden gems, maybe even the forum, see them, but the general population only sees the image gallery. Reduces likelihood of inadvertent "I'd do her"-type scare-offs, keeps the parts that at least most users like, but keeps the bread-and-butter public.

Mar 16, 2021 - permalink

If a woman leaves because of comments, it's probably not going to be the ones under their pics. It's going to be creepy or pestering DM's. That's not what we're talking about here.

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