Dear Valued Pigtails Readers,
When Pip and I met, we quickly learned that we were of one mind about how to handle the sensitive subject of what I now call, “The Cult of the Girl Child”. The intent was never to have a long-term site but we both began to realize it filled a need in public education. Every time some crisis shut us down, our consolation was that we already accomplished a lot given the political and moral climate of the time. If something like this were to continue to operate, our motivations had to be above reproach but not appear to censor in the conventional sense just to “fit in”. When Pip needed to move on to pursue other interests, it was easy for him to pass the reins to me. Although I am pleased with the contacts that I have nurtured, I had not found someone who fully understood the long-term vision of this site and could be trusted to run it in its entirety.
I am by nature a Renaissance Man and so my interests inevitably pulled me away from the girl child and the peripheral and frank subject of child sexuality. The reason I stayed with it for so long is that I felt a strong moral obligation to keep things going as a resource. That is why, even though I have not personally been very active lately, I kept it as a platform for commentary and contributions of others who had knowledge of the subject.
This latest interruption was pretty much caused the same way as the rest: zealous opponents putting pressure on our internet service chain until it was not worth the trouble to keep us as a customer. Predictably, the excuse was that our site hosted child pornography even though several organizations tasked with monitoring issues of child welfare have found nothing to take action on (apart from C3P’s recent efforts which were simply reports generated by a poorly-designed AI visual subroutine). These are unmitigated acts of cowardice and at no time did we receive direct warning from law enforcement or a court order that we had better desist (sometimes there were complaints about a specific item). Our attackers know they have a weak case legally and so have had to resort to these back alley tactics.
I have hung on this long because I feel it would be wrong to give in to the ignorance of moral panic and the subject of the girl child legitimately needs some debate and academic study beyond the mere appreciation of physical beauty. I have thought long about many aspects of the this subject and realize there has been only the most superficial coverage of this subject so far. It is one entangled not only in human nature, but the ways technologies have distorted a healthy balance including instant communication, digital photography, the law and the nature of civilization itself.
However, I would be remiss not to pursue some of my latest interests. I am a human being and have to do work I find fulfilling. There really won’t be that much of a change from my recent activity but I have decided to post an abridged version of the site to minimize the amount of fodder that can be used against us and to plan a more secure way to keep the site up and running. I am proud that Pigtails in Paint has operated for over 10 years with a few interruptions here or there and it is important that we maintain a presence on the internet until such point as the general public acknowledge us as a respected permanent fixture on the web.
My idea—and that may change at any time—is to maintain an summary version of the site for a while. The latest three months of posts will be publicly available as well as any important cross-reference libraries. Posts that are no longer visible will be indexed in the ‘Artists by Name’ and ‘Thematic Posts’ pages. I will try to accomplish this during the coming summer when I have more time on my hands. After discussing it with technical support, I realize we can implement a suggestion made by others in the past. Some of you may want to be registered viewers and can be given access to the entire site on a case by case basis. The only inconvenience is that you would have to sign in but you could still maintain your anonymity. All decisions about who gets access will be made by me, the Editor-in-Chief. We have nothing really to hide, but we are going to try this to see if we still get the same amount of heat about our site with this smaller public profile. It is hoped that we can relaunch the full site when we are confident that our continued operation cannot be interfered with by vigilantes. Since Pigtails has been the main focus of attackers, it has lamentably caused disruptions on Agapeta, the Graham Ovenden and Garage Press sites. We will also continue to work on getting the Sam Gates website re-established and, if at all possible, the launch of the Novel Activist website as an archive. Pigtails will keep its domain name and we are contemplating the idea of a backup domain so readers will know where to go if we are interfered with again.
The contact form and Pigtails email will also be maintained so readers can always contact me and lend their support, ideas, submit articles and the like. In the mean time, we will be researching ways to maintain our own servers and access to the internet that is not controlled by private companies who can shut us down on a whim. We are also seeking academic institutions who would be interested in preserving an archive on the subject so that key materials might be available to future researchers and not interfered with by short-sighted legal authorities.
Any thought to hosting the site in Amsterdam or the Czech Republic? I believe these two locations are a little more open to this type of material.
It’s not the location of the hosting that is the problem. Any website is vulnerable at many levels we cannot control. We are strategizing right now. And it would be more helpful if you were to suggest specific companies. Thank you, -Ron
To me, the technically easiest solution would be to have two sites:
– a public site containing only a small selection of articles, say, those beyond controversy;
– a full site accessible only to subscribers.
In order to avoid spies, trolls and provocateurs, to subscribe, one must be known to someone inside, say a reputable artist, or someone sponsored by a trusted subscriber.
I do not think that that would be a good idea. I would assume that many people here do not personally know any artists, and do not know each other.
I want to see if making things less openly visible. We’ll see how much trouble people try to make. Sure, our subject matter may make people suspicious but I think the shock value of seeing certain images up front may account for most of the problem because it falls to some manager at a data center who makes the final call. -Ron