Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

A rant

Would someone kindly explain to me why BDSM groups and vendors have some of the worst web design in the modern world? I just saw frames and background graphics for the first time in, oh I don’t know, five years at least. I don’t get it. Half the kinky people I know are programmers for crying out loud!

Written by kinkinexile

December 15, 2009 at 1:11 am

Posted in the web

4 Responses

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  1. Hi K,

    I know what you mean.

    I don’t cruise a lot of BDSM sites but when I’m assessing sites I’ll often check the copyright date in the footer to see if its current and if not whether still before or after 2004. (Surprising how many are before.)

    Sometimes, though, its the investment in current infrastructure and really high barriers to migrating. A (trendy, high-end luxury-goods) designer and importer I know still uses… some kind of ancient accounting package based on an old DOS version of, I think, RBase. And much as her support people would like for her to upgrade, and much as she sometimes (reluctantly) agrees, there are a number of problems.

    First, she’s dead familiar with the system and wants whatever she upgrades to to have the same interface (keystrokes, fieldnames, tables, output.) Next, she’s got almost 20 years of records in the fool thing and since the datafiles are encrypted, and closed-standard anyway, there’s no easy way to export it short of printing it all and re-scanning it. Next, she paid good money for it (in, like, 1989) and “it still works just fine.” Or would if modern computers still simulated the DOS environment her software thinks it has to have. At this point it would cost her an arm and a leg to upgrade. And finally there’s the retraining system — she’d have to learn something new and (she thinks) she’d have to pay to train her staff too.

    So I’m guessing there’s something like that going on with the sites you’re looking at: some commercial sites get invested a.k.a. trapped into legacy systems — and catalog systems are pretty notorious. As are a lot of old BBS/forum systems which can have decades of archives. And often they see migrating as expensive boat-rocking.

    The point being that, I’ve learned for the general case, a lot of the time the issues behind archaic sites are social, not technical.



    December 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm

  2. I am more pissed off that the BDSM and related sexuality web sites I know about actually portray a homogenized and mainstream view of sexuality. I couldn’t care less what technology they if they’re still only going to advertise women’s bodies as sexualized and contribute to the very repressive culture they claim to be rebelling against.



    December 16, 2009 at 8:08 pm

  3. Hi Figleaf,

    Hmm, I guess I’m just more used to seeing this issue with back end systems like the accounting package you mentioned. A friend of mine works for a major NY firm that uses a database package so old the company that provides training on it only has one person on staff left who knows how to use it. That said, I feel like the front end of a website has such a huge impact on image, new membership, and retention that an upgrade is well worth the cost. But then again, I spend half my life (and recently it seems like more) dealing with site usability so maybe other people just don’t care. (Gee I hope that’s not the case or I’ll be out of a job soon.)


    December 16, 2009 at 9:52 pm

  4. Maymay,I don’t know what to tell you. I think we’ve had some of these conversations in person. I can see your point in some instances, but I think you’re carrying a self-imposed burden at the moment. I agree that there seems to be a discrepancy between submissive men and dominant women, but I don’t think the world is out to get submissive men in the same way I don’t think the world is out to get anyone in particular. I can’t begin to count the number of times a man looked right at me and informed me of his plight and the dearth of dominant women in the world. I’d say it happens just a little more often than people telling me that I’m not poly and or bi, just confused, and about as frequently as I complain to a masochist that I can’t find anyone to beat on.


    December 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm

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