Note: This foundation-l post is cross-posted to commons-l, since this discussion may be of interest there as well.

> From: Tobias Oelgarte <>

> It is a in house made problem, as i explained at brainstorming [1].
> To put it short: It is a self made problem, based on the fact that this 
> images got more attention then others. Thanks to failed deletion 
> requests they had many people caring about them. This results in more 
> exact descriptions and file naming then in average images. Thats what 
> search engines prefer; and now we have them at a top spot. Thanks for 
> caring so much about this images and not treating them like anything else.

I don't think that is the case, actually. Brandon described how the search function works here:

To take an example, the file 

(a prominent search result in searches for "shower") has never had its name or description changed since it was uploaded from Flickr. My impression is that refinement of file names and descriptions following discussions has little to do with sexual or pornography-related media appearing prominently in search listings. The material is simply there, and the search function finds it, as it is designed to do.

> Andreas, you currently represent exactly that kind of argumentation that 
> leads into anything, but not to a solution. I described it already in 
> the post "Controversial Content vs Only-Image-Filter" [2], that single 
> examples don't represent the overall thematic. It also isn't an addition 
> to the discussion as an argument. It would be an argument if we would 
> know the effects that occur. We have to clear the question:

It is hard to say how else to provide evidence of a problem, other than by giving multiple (not single) examples of it.

You could also search for blond, blonde, red hair, strawberry, or peach ...

What is striking is the crass sexism of some of the filenames and image descriptions: "blonde bombshell", "Blonde teenie sucking", "so, so sexy", "These two had a blast showing off" etc.

One of the images shows a young woman in the bathroom, urinating:

Her face is fully shown, and the image, displayed in the Czech Wikipedia, carries no personality rights warning, nor is there evidence that she has consented to or is even aware of the upload.

And I am surprised how often images of porn actresses are found in search results, even for searches like "Barbie". Commons has 917 files in Category:Unidentified porn actresses alone. There is no corresponding Category:Unidentified porn actors (although there is of course a wealth of categories and media for gay porn actors).

> * Is it a problem that the search function displays sexual content? (A 
> search should find anything related, by definition.)

I think the search function works as designed, looking for matches in file names and descriptions. 

> * Is sexual content is overrepresented by the search?

I don't think so. The search function simply shows what is there. However, the sexual content that comes up for innocuous searches sometimes violates the principle of least astonishment, and thus may turn some users off using, contributing to, or recommending Commons as an educational resource.

> * If that is the case. Why is it that way?
> * Can we do something about it, without drastic changes, like 
> blocking/excluding categories?

One thing that might help would be for the search function to privilege files that are shown in top-level categories containing the search term: e.g. for "cucumber", first display all files that are in category "cucumber", rather than those contained in subcategories, like "sexual penetrative use of cucumbers", regardless of the file name (which may not have the English word "cucumber" in it).

A second step would be to make sure that sexual content is not housed in the top categories, but in appropriately named subcategories. This is generally already established practice. Doing both would reduce the problem somewhat, at least in cases where there is a category that matches the search term.



Am 17.10.2011 02:56, schrieb Andreas Kolbe:
> Personality conflicts aside, we're noting that non-sexual search terms in Commons can prominently return sexual images of varying explicitness, from mild nudity to hardcore, and that this is different from entering a sexual search term and finding that Google fails to filter some results.
> I posted some more Commons search terms where this happens on Meta; they include
> Black, Caucasian, Asian;
> Male, Female, Teenage, Woman, Man;
> Vegetables;
> Drawing, Drawing style;
> Barbie, Doll;
> Demonstration, Slideshow;
> Drinking, Custard, Tan;
> Hand, Forefinger, Backhand, Hair;
> Bell tolling, Shower, Furniture, Crate, Scaffold;
> Galipette – French for "somersault"; this leads to a collection of 1920s pornographic films which are undoubtedly of significant historical interest, but are also pretty much as explicit as any modern representative of the genre.
> Andreas