How do you add a NSFW filter to a website with 200,000 photos?

Alternate title: Won’t somebody please think of the children?

Since 2001, Photocase has been a German company primarily visited by German or other European customers. The land of FKK (FreiKörperKultur, or Free Body Culture) keeps a very open mind about nudity (although Sunday shopping remains a no-no) so there was never any need to censor anything. But now that Photocase is gaining some traction in the more inhibited areas of the world, people have started to ask “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!” which we take to mean that we should offer a work-safe version of Photocase for everyone who will get fired or burst into flames (or both) if they happen to come across a boob or wang while using their computer.

FKK Strand, a photo by medienpunk

FKK Strand, a photo by medienpunk

First we thought we’d just search for “nude” and then mark all those photos as NSFW, but we realized that might not cover all the photos and then we’d feel somewhat responsible if we said that Photocase was “Now Work Safe!” but then a bum photo slipped through the crack and ended causing a stink or – even worse – getting someone fired. So I spent some time surfing the internet and not thinking about how to solve our little problem until inspiration came from a story about a guy who trains cats to hunt mice in a rice warehouse in China. Liu Jianguo uses the power of nature, primal instincts in fact, to solve a problem he has. He had mice, cats hunt mice, so he got cats. So why couldn’t we do that too?

Photo © Xinhua/Yao Jianfeng www.xinhuanet.com/english2010/

Photo © Xinhua/Yao Jianfeng www.xinhuanet.com/english2010/

But what organism has a biological predisposition to hunt for naked photos? Single men! So we hired a single guy we know in Canada and now he’s hunting for all the naked photos on our site and marking them as NSFW. We calculated that he should be done by early 2011 and we will be able to launch our new Photocase Safe For Work filter shortly thereafter. Our new nudie-hunter assures us it’d be done faster if it wasn’t hockey season.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. @tim: Yes, there really are trained cats patrolling a Chinese rice warehouse.

    @micjan: Of course! You’ll be able to turn it on or off, whatever your heart desires.

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