A Finding Aid to the Pornographic Imaginary: Implications of Amateur Classifications on/by reddit’s NSFW411


The goal of this article is to ‘bring’ reddit and its user communities into porn and information studies and to argue that its unique features offer insights and has implications for both fields. After an explanation of reddit, this paper extends the work of Keilty and Leazer, into a different erotic community: reddit’s /r/NSFW411. I argue the categories used on ‘traditional' pornographic ‘tube’ sites are potentially oppressive and limiting, and examine various aspects of an individually-created naïve pornographic taxonomy with folksonomic elements. Finally, I demonstrate how the interplay between reddit, NSFW411, and this system identifies ‘gaps’ between erotic representation and users’ desires, thereby encouraging the creation of a new erotic communities. While unending proliferation and chaotic tagging is often identified as a weakness of folksonomies, I conclude that in this case, it is a strength, as reddit’s ease of community-creation allows self-definition and community to marginalized sexual identities.

Porn Studies