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Orientations: categories and subcategories

Screengrab from 'Taking the Blame' starring Zoe Montana, Jimmy Holloway and Pandora Blake

I'm currently developing the website templates for the product pages (that is, the individual page for each spanking scene). There's lots of interesting geeky stuff going on behind the scenes, which I won't bore you with, but suffice to say that it feels great to finally be getting stuck into the gory technical part of the site build.

We've put an awful lot of thought into the information architecture of the site, with a constant goal of making the site as accessible and usable as possible, with a clear, navigable interface, and search tools that make it as easy as possible to find the scenes that will interest you. I'm taking risks with a broad, inclusive definition of spanking porn that bridges a number of common genres: it's surprisingly radical to put period spanking scenes next to modern ones, or scripted in-character stories next to unscripted personal interplay, let alone including bondage and spanking on one site, or sex and spanking, or male spankees and female spankees. Given that, I want to make it as easy as possible for you to streamline your browsing and only look at the scenes that interest you.

I've going to be doing some clever things with tagging to facilitate this, but the software D's written also supports categories for spanking scenes. A scene can be in more than one category, and you can have nested categories as well.

My current idea is to use categories to show the gender orientation of a spanking scene. So my four top-level categories would be (in alphabetical order): F/F, F/M, M/F and M/M. 

So far, so good. But here's where it gets a bit more complicated, and I wanted to ask your advice.

Question 1: Scenes with more than two people

Several of my scenes have more than two people. Here are some examples:

Caned in Jodhpurs: Thomas Cameron spanks Zille Defeu and me together. This could be described as M/F or M/FF.

Taking the Blame: Zoe Montana spanks Jimmy Holloway and me together. This is F/FM (or F/MF), but M/F and F/M also accurately describe it.

The Dinner Party: Hywel Phillips and Thomas Cameron spank Amelia Jane Rutherford and me together. So this could be described as M/F, or MM/FF.

The New Head Girl: Thomas Cameron and Adele Haze spank Caroline Grey; Tom also spanks Adele. This could be described as M/F, F/M, M/FF, MF/F or even M/F/F.

As soon as you introduce a character who switches into a multiperson scene, you can see how the categories quickly become more complicated.

So I have several options. I could keep it ultra-simple and only use the top four categories. But then people who are specifically looking for e.g. scenes where boys and girls are punished together won't be able to find those scenes as easily. Since this is a type of scene not many other producers are doing and which I believe there is a demand for, I don't want to hide them away.

Or I could create any number of sub-categories within each category. So within F/M, you might find F/MM, F/MF or even F/M/M or F/F/M. The possibilities are endless!

This allows me more accurate category descriptions, but it also runs into some issues. Taking the Blame, for example, is F/FM, but I could list that subcategory under either F/M or F/F. (Or both! Which would result in me having two F/FM categories: one as a subset of F/M and one as a subset of F/F - but then "F/FM" will be repeated in the list of categories for that scene, which would be clumsy.)

Doing it this way involves making some arbitrary decisions. I could list it under F/M, F/F and F/F > F/FM, but why put the latter under F/F and not F/M?

The other option is to create more than four top-level categories, and make F/FM a category in its own right. You'd then end up with a much higher number of potential top-level categories, but you'd still be able to put (say) MM/FF as a subcategory of M/F. Switch scenes are still tricky: The New Head Girl would have to belong to several top-level catogories - M/F, F/F, MF/F and possibly M/F/F - plus M/FF (which would be a subcategory of M/F).

Bwaaaah, so complicated!

So I don't know, really. What do you think? Which category structure seems the simplest and most intuitive?  

Question 2: Scenes with only one person

I don't currently have many solo videos, but I'd like to start experimenting with them. I do have several solo photosets. They aren't all of spankees either - in some of them the performer is presenting as a bottom role, in others as a switch, and in others as a top. So how do I categorise them? They'd need to be new top-level categories too, and you could write it with a slash and a single letter (/M, /F, F/ and M/), or with Xs (X/M, X/F, F/X and F/X) - although what about switches?

Using Xs might be easier to read, but it may also imply that the scene is two person and involves a genderqueer or cross-dressing person. Which opens a whole other box of frogs. Not all my performers are cisgendered, but so far they have all been comfortable playing a male or female role in the scenes. However, in the future I'd love to explore spanking scenes with characters who don't clearly fit into the gender binary. What happens to my nice neat gendered categories then?

So I think I'd prefer to not use Xs. Would you know what it meant if you saw "/F", or am I better off dumping the acronyms and calling these categories things like "solo female spankee"? 

It's a far more complex issue than I originally thought. Queer porn sites often don't have gender categories for scenes, precisely in order to avoid this sort of pigeonholing; but gender roles are a central component of many people's spanking fantasies. It's a genre that fetishes power inequalities, and gender is as crucial to that as social class. 

A lot of my scenes play with class inequality and gender inequality, and explore some of the traditional power dynamics which have been abused in our history. As fantasy, that sort of scenario is smoking hot. As an example, the fact that it's a male guardian thrashing the rebellious suffragette is completely key to that fantasy. If you're a woman who enjoys oppressed suffragette spanking fantasies, you might want to be certain that this was a M/F scene rather than an F/F one before knowing whether you wanted to see more. And many people only enjoy watching one or two specific orientations, and aren't interested in the others - which is a completely valid personal taste, and I would be sorry to alienate those viewers by making it hard to cherry pick the scenes that will appeal.

So it's definitely information I need to communicate. If you have any thoughts about how to structure the information as simply and clearly as possible, I'd be very interested in hearing them!

Comments

Why not, in date ordered sequence, a brief description, a picture or two, list of characters, who gets it and who gives it, with a button that goes to the video. You might have a model index so one could see all (brief descriptions of) videos with that model. As you pointed out getting too fine turns into alphabet soup. But if you wanted to do that I would just stick to the gender (not the number) of the characters. For example, M/f would hit on all videos where a man spanks a women, one man or several, one woman or several. Or MF/mf for both on both ends. If Adele both gives and gets it would be MF/f

Okay, thought about it some more.

In table format, Headings: Model name, all, gives, gets, both,with male , with female, both.

all: total number of videos this model is in
gives: total number of videos where this model gives a spanking

Etc.

Table would have model name, followed by check boxes under each heading. User could select any or all boxes that interest them. There would be a box showing number of videos that fit that description. When the user has checked all that they want they press a button that shows a list of appilcable videos\

This is hard with out whiteboarding it. If it's not clear I apoligize. Ask any questions you want.

I used to design software, in C and Intel Assembly. I'm still muddled up.

Catalogue

I would keep it as simple as possible. When I catalogue stuff I do it by activity first and then M/F etc.

By activity I mean bondage, falaka, suspension, caning etc. Maybe with more detailed categories for areas where I'm more interested, e.g. CP.

Within category I split m/f, f/m, f/f & m/m in the order top/bottom. I don't worry about the number of participants or whether they switch - it's a broad description.

I do have a bit of a dilema when it comes to models of particular interest, so I have a Dom and A Sub category sub-divided into models and all their stuff goes in there regardless.

When looking for material online the most useful thing is a set of thumbnails for each video rather than just one preview picture. I like to see how the whole scene will pan out before committing to it.

Not sure if this helps at all but good luck with the site.

Samples and examples

Thanks for this - it's always useful to know how various people categorise stuff themselves.

You'll be pleased to hear that a 'storyboard' of thumbnails is definitely part of the plan. :-)

*nods* Thanks for this input. I think you're right that keeping the gender categories fairly broad is fine as long as there's fine-tuning with other aspects of the scene - and my tags will include genre, mood, details, performers and all sorts of other tidbits essential to the sort of kinkster who is particular in their tastes. Which, let's face it, is most of us!

At-a-glance thumbnails taken from throughout the scene are definitely part of the plan - a single thumbnail is never enough to give you a sense of it before you buy, in my opinion.

Browse vs. search

Hi Eric,

I think you're thinking about how to lay out the content for a reader who is browsing it all, whereas Pandora is thinking about how to help people search for specific types of content. As she adds new content each week, there will quickly be more than people can take in 'at a glance' no matter how well the page is laid out. The tags and categories will enable people to home in on the kind of content they want to look at rather than having to dig through it all.

As you rightly point out, getting too fine-grained leads to a messy complexity - but not getting fine-grained enough risks the system not being useful for people who want to fine-tune their browsing. It's a bit of a balancing act, which will probably require some tweaking after the site launches and starts to build up both content and readership.

Regards,
D.

Yeah, there's going to be all sorts of details once you're browsing for scenes, and certainly a model index. In terms of the gender categories, I think you're right to keep it as simple as possible. MF/F is probably the best way of describing the scene with Adele, Tom and Caroline, and to keep it simple I think I'll make that a separate top level category rather than a subset of M/F and/or F/F; so the scene would be listed under all three top level categories. Thanks for the feedback!

Solo categories

I'd go for 'Solo-F' and 'Solo-M' (and 'Solo-T' or 'Solo-X' or whatever) for your solo items. Still fairly short, and completely clear.

And not distinguish between the power role the performer is presenting? I feel like that aspect of things is kind of important, but then, as other commenters have pointed out, information is going to be communicated to browsers in lots of other ways - visually through thumbnail images, through the title and description. I guess it'll be fairly easy to tell at a glance the difference between a spankee's solo set and a spanker's one from the body language in the photos.

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