The Workshop on Search and Exploration of X-Rated Information (SEXI), organised by Vanessa Murdock, Charles Clarke, Jaap Kamps, and myself was presented for the first time on Februray 5, 2013, at the Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM) 2013 in Rome, Italy. It represents a first attempt to study adult content from the perspective of the research communities in Web Search and Data Mining. To this end, five short papers were presented covering different research questions in searching and evaluating adult content on the Web, with two invited talks from experts in adult content from the fields of evolutionary psychology and media studies. The day ended with a panel that included the two invited speakers, and an expert in human trafficking on the Web. When discussing this workshop we envisioned some skittishness on the part of the participants and their respective employers, but found that it was eminently possible to discuss this somewhat special subject with the seriousness it deserves.
The most interesting outcome from my point of view was the realisation, prompted by the paper by Sally Jo Cunningham and by the keynote given by Susanna Paasonen, that search for adult material frequently should be modelled not as a task to an end but as an activity with value in itself for the user. This has implications for the field at large: it suggests that enjoyment might be a fruitful primary principle for the design of access interfaces, instead of building systems solely for the purpose of fullling a topical need.
A brief report of the workshop is published in SIGIR Forum Vol 47.