No joke; from Feb 2013:
In case you weren’t already aware, Fetlife has announced that to maintain their relationship with their credit card processor, they have to delete quite a bit of content. I hate that credit card companies get to police what we can talk about, but I can understand why the Fetlife team decided to keep the site running over fighting the good fight, losing the ability to take credit card payments, and not being able to process enough payments to keep the power on.
Because people are (rightfully) worried their pictures/writings/comments/etc will be deleted, they’ve been using the hell out of maymay’s exporter tool, which is really driving up his costs. He could use some help keeping that tool running if you’re inclined to donate.
…but click through to the cited website and you will read:
This tool is currently disabled. (Why? No, wait, What do you mean disabled? Learn more about FetLife’s troublesome behavior. Please ask FetLife to stop blocking this tool, and please do CC me. Thanks! You can stilldownload and install this tool on your website, or you can download the exporter itself and run it from your personal computer.
Update, please read:
On the night of February 14, FetLife.com blocked this server’s IP address, functionally preventing anyone from managing their own archive, including taking away the ability of users to delete archives themselves. This is…somewhat stupid and rather counter-productive, especially because FetLife’s new community manager, Susan Wright, has apparently been sending vaguely threatening emails to individuals telling them to delete their archive. I’m not sure why FetLife would ask their users to do something that they then prevent them from doing, but that’s FetLife for you. 🙂
I am not interested in fetish stuff but I have a bunch of friends who are, so I’ll appeal to them here for a grassroots user-opinion before bouncing the matter off the Open Rights Group to see what they say; I suspect that on general principles the answer will be that people should have rights over their own data, and the freedom to export it.
That said, I am not really certain that the exporter tool works in a way with which I would be entirely happy – if I read the linked document right, it appears to spider the user content and put it up on the web with no protection at all? If so, that’s rather unfortunate, even if it may be consensual. Also, if so, this “lock in” may actually be a positive protection measure.
I’d also be interested to know precisely what FetLife are having to take down in order to satisfy payment card regulation; the explanation is behind a paywall…