Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Would you...

have any ethical dilemmas working for a porno website.  By "working" I mean programming, and not the actual "modeling"...  ;)

Friday, January 9, 2004

Ethical considerations aside, wouldn't you be concerned about your employability for your next job hunt after having worked for  Somehow, it doesn't seem like a particularly appealing bullet point for your resume.

Matt Latourette
Friday, January 9, 2004

Then don't put it on your resume, just do it for the money.  And, no.

Andrew Burton
Friday, January 9, 2004

This is a hugely personal issue and the answers are going to be widely divergent.

I wouldn't because I have objections to porn. I want nothing to do with that industry.

Others are less bothered by it. Some would prefer to work in that industry.

To each his own....

Mark Hoffman
Friday, January 9, 2004

I was once enticed by that particular warm comforting maw and spent a hard couple of seconds going back and forth, back and forth on the issue.  After debating both sides, the latter and the fore, playing with each issue individually and together, I concluded that any expectoration would be satisfying in the short term but in the long, it would leave me, spent and alone.

Friday, January 9, 2004

Depends on the porn. 

With the power-play / humiliation undertones of some of the legal  porn out there I can say that even though I am quite liberal about pornography there are deffinately sites I would not be comfortable working with.

Friday, January 9, 2004

I would not do it because I believe that porn dehumanizes people, both men and women, reducing them to objects. And I'm entitled to my opinion so there.

Ed the Millwright
Friday, January 9, 2004

"...wouldn't you be concerned about your employability for your next job hunt after having worked for"

That might be the name of the web site you are asked to help create or maintain, however, that doesn't mean the owner of that particular porn site doesn't own a business and use a more benign business name such as Media Ventures, Inc.

Most business people only care about one thing which is can this person do the work that needs to be done.  HR drones tend to be a different story. Imo, employability only becomes an issue if you are applying for a full-time web programming position within a company that has a conservative work environment (i.e. Insurance, Financial, Manufacturing, etc.). My question is "How many of those type of companies actually hire web programmers?". I bet most of them primarily hire contractors on a per project basis or use an outside firm to create and maintain their websites.

One Programmer's Opinion
Friday, January 9, 2004

If I announced that I was going to work on a porn site, I would be single shortly thereafter.  Obviously not a consideration for you, since you didn't mention it...

...on the other hand, if you want ethical dilemmas, here's a little food for thought.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Saturday, January 10, 2004

Two plusses about having a porn site on your resume:
1) Heaviest trafficked sites on the internet. Purely objectively, you'll have some very real scalability experience to bring to the table.
2) For some interviewers, it would be a plus; esp. if it's a site they've heard of. And *very* especially if you maintain those contacts and talk about the office Christmas Party...

But again, the huge negative is it only takes one person in the hiring chain to have a moral objection and it's "No Hire" city...


Saturday, January 10, 2004

Some great replies here. 

Besides everything else, porn is a dead-ender.  What the heck do you program w/a porn site.  It's some javascript that you'd probably crank out with dreamweaver.

Theres some purely programming stuff you could do, but in that case, if you weren't morally opposed to it, you probably would have hung your own shingle (site) out their already.

Just say no! :-) 

Let's have some professional pride.  There's more than one way to make a dollar.

Brian R.
Saturday, January 10, 2004

" By "working" I mean programming, and not the actual "modeling"...  ;)"

I hear you, but would you really want to see that co. succeed, when you think about it?  I mean the co. itself, not the people that work there.

Brian R.
Saturday, January 10, 2004

I agree with what Philo said about it being a potential *plus* on your resume- definitely some of the most heavily-trafficked sites on the 'net, which is some pretty darn valuable experience.

Think about most sites you've worked on in your life.  They probably don't get enough traffic to keep a Pentium 133 warm.  99% of the sites out there probably get a couple hundred visits a day, or less. 

John Rose
Saturday, January 10, 2004

I think the same ethical question could extend to other fields: weapons development (especially the dumb bomb variety), casino gaming, unsolicited commercial emails, etc etc etc.

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, January 10, 2004

I would LOVE to.

Porn is cutting edge. They try every new technology, every new schema. All cool shit is tried out there first. Just think of any single advertizing or ecommerce schema in today's web: it started on porn web sites.

Porn is challenging. Think scalability, security, interoperability.

Porn is morally right. I am living in an police state, in a surveillance country regulated by old decripts with rules made for me that they don't obey. I am working in a sexually frustrated industry, surrounded by prude concitizens. Anything I do that can disrupt that is good. Anything I do that breaks the convention, that is frowned upon, that pisses them off - I will.

And instead I am making developer's tools... :-( But I have this AWESOME idea for a porn startup. If only my current startup makes enough money, in a few years I will be the porn KING!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Considering how much more harm and degradation religion has caused than pornography how many of you would have ethical dilemmas working on a church site.

(And let's not even start taliking about a politicians website).

Stephen Jones
Saturday, January 10, 2004

I personally would not want to work for most porn-sites. I don't think porn is unethical (quite the contrary). But most porn is disgusting, and I'm not sure I like the concept of the industrial porn qua porn. If a site contains some porn and is otherwise of good quality and value, I wouldn't mind.

Other things I wouldn't do is work for cigarettes makers or alochol vendors, or things that are worse than that. Probably not for most religious institutes and political parties, as well. I think they are all perfectly legitimate and legal but still quite harmful.

That put aside, even though I maintain some web sites on my free time, I hope to find a job in something more serious than web publishing. If it involves some webmastering, it would be nice, but other areas appeal to me much more.

Shlomi Fish
Saturday, January 10, 2004

What do you think the effects of offshoring will be on the porno website business? Will american perverts be put out of jobs? Is actually produced in uh...sweat shops in asia? On that token, there seem to be many more "hot american teens getting dirty" sites than there are sites about "hot indian teens getting dirty." - and there are certainly more indian teens than there are american teens?
Maybe indian teens aren't as hot or perhaps they don't get dirty as well as american teens?  Should hot american teens form porno ..uh...unions now, to prevent the inevitable loss of jobs to india? This question of porno outsourcing would seem to combine the main interests of most mid-level geeks (we could also get into what architecture is better for pornography: unix or NT), so everyone, please post your thoughts.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Indian teens are perfectly capable of getting as hot and nasty as American teens. The only thing is that when you outsource, if you want to be successful you have to actually write a full detailed script with stage directions and storyboards as opposed to just jotting down an outline and making changes as you go.
So you have to have a more up-front design instead of using XP (Extreme Porn). Of course, there are some parts of XP you can still use; for example, PP (pair porn) is obviously a requirement...

I'll stop now.
Saturday, January 10, 2004

Wouldn'r that be XXXP ? :)

Saturday, January 10, 2004

I'm working on a book that explores some of these issues. Out of curiousity, how would you characterize the difference between having sex with someone for money and dedicating 15+ years of your life to schooling, and another 30+ to corporate life.

Is it the nature of the work that offends you, and if so... What about the work you do doesn't offend you?

Full name:
Saturday, January 10, 2004

Well, in one you prostitute yourself and your body to fulfilling someone else's pleasure so they can get rich off your exploitation while throwing you a few dollars so you can barely survive.

While in porn you get to have sex for money!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Outstanding, LOL

Saturday, January 10, 2004

A concern may be when an HR person asks for the urls of the last 5 websites you developed. If you are in that business long enough your only recent reference will be an illicit site. Now I know where I work if you look at porn at work you get a write up, not something I would want if I was looking to hire someone.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

If HR asks tell him, and say that if he wishes for more details you can arrange for a full dossier of your projects for him on DVD.

If the job's really worth getting then volunteer to give him the phone number of some of the "content creators" for a reference.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 11, 2004

CV considerations != Ethical considerations. Ethical considerations are the OP's question

For some reason that I ignore, 'Good Will Hunting' came back to my mind. You know, the place where Matt Damon's character explains why he wouldn't work for NSA.

Morale and ethics are definetely difficult matters...

Serge Wautier
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Google and the Internet truly are amazing ! :-)

Here's what Will Hunting said about NSA :

Serge Wautier
Sunday, January 11, 2004

"Considering how much more harm and degradation religion has caused than pornography how many of you would have ethical dilemmas working on a church site."

what an ass

Sunday, January 11, 2004

>>Considering how much more harm and degradation religion has caused than pornography how many of you would have ethical dilemmas working on a church site.<<

I'd decide to work on a porn-related project on a case by case basis - I'd need information before deciding whether or not I could work with them, whether I'd enjoy working with them - just a special case of the normal procedure of determining whether I'm right for the job ;)

If it's a religious site of any kind, then I *already* know that I cannot work with them.  I wouldn't work on a religious project even if welfare was the only alternative.

Not that I'd get past the interview ;)

Mediocre ASP Monkey
Sunday, January 11, 2004

> what an ass

Hmm, not really an appropriate thing to say on a thread about working on porn sites:-)

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Consider no media technology seems to have taken off without being commercially "legitimized" by porn first.
Wether you want to work on that side of the curb is a personal choice. Wether it will hurt your resume or be a great reference will depend on the particuliarities of the future potential employer. The only sure thing seems to be that that it will be more of a potential polarizer since it will be something that is "noticed": puts you in the spotlight (good) but some might object (bad).

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, January 12, 2004

"Considering how much more harm and degradation religion has caused than pornography how many of you would have ethical dilemmas working on a church site.

(And let's not even start taliking about a politicians website)."

Well bloody said Stephen

Monday, January 12, 2004

"I would not do it because I believe that porn dehumanizes people, both men and women, reducing them to *objects* "

Nothing wrong with that, from a programmers point of view :)

Monday, January 12, 2004

i would, but my girlfriend would kill me :(

Monday, January 12, 2004

Providing that
a) They don't spam
b) Don't install stupid diallers/trojans
c) Don't have affiliates than can blamed for a or b
then ethically I'd have no problem.
However you may wish to worry about your resume in the future, however if the company you work for is called MegaCorp Ent. Inc. then why worry.

Peter Ibbotson
Monday, January 12, 2004

Okay, how about this, would you hire someone who worked on a porn site, why and why not.

Full name:
Monday, January 12, 2004

I would not judge him any different than say a guy who had worked on a sports site.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, January 12, 2004

Peter Ibsen said it.

Yup, no ethical problems. If they want me to take pictures of me nekid, they can't afford the price, but there's no ethical/moral problem either.

Monday, January 12, 2004

is it a black and white issue?  would you hire someone who worked on ? what about ?

Monday, January 12, 2004

---"is it a black and white issue"----

My experience of porn sites suggests it is about 15% of the time. 10% black on white, and 55 white on black.

And isn't a porn site. It's a health fad.

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 12, 2004

Some people when they're looking for new job would stick to the same industry. For instance, if you spent 5 years coding for MFG/Pro you will have highest chance of getting MFG/Pro job again.

Incomewise working for industry, which doesn't attract many talants for subjective reasons, but is otherwise profitable can be very very rewarding. Good specialist, who knows specifics can be in very high demand. Probably, a line in your CV prooving exsessive expirience in chosen field would only help you.

As to the actual job - it might well be very nice. I doubt you will have to deal with content itself, probably you'll be replacing it "in dev" by Mickey Mouse pictures... Or whatever pictures are most fun for you.

Just make sure you not breaking the law and do not be arrogant, as this market is in huge demand (that's why it exists).

I've never worked for such organizations, but can imagine that it takes to be very open minded and take things easy. I would take it as a nice opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people (I don't mean low-end, but high-end market) and earn more cash.

My girlfriend wouldn't mind me working for the industry too. But it takes bright personality.

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home