[Commons-l] Fwd: [Gendergap] Photo of the Day on Wikimedia Commons

Chris McKenna cmckenna at sucs.org
Tue May 17 12:32:18 UTC 2011

I've been trying to stay out of this today, following yesterday's clear 
demonstration that some people are prepared to sacrifice the neutrality 
and uncensored nature of Commons in favour of not offending some people.

However, I see yet again calls for the application of "common sense" and 
adherhance to cultural norms without recognition that these are not 
universal standards.

What a "common sense" judgement tells me about the suitability of an image 
for any particular audience is entirely based on my knowledge and, 
posisbly more importantly, lack of knowledge about that audience. Few 
people on this list who are not Danish would have predicted that cartoons 
published in a national newspaper would lead to rioting on the streets of 
Copenhagen. It is surely common sense that satirical cartoons are going to 
be uncontroversial in a liberal western democracy?

How many people here can be confident that we can identify every image 
that will be inapropriate to view in every school or office around the 

Is http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parliament_Yerevan_building.jpg 
safe for work? In the United Kingdom almost certianly so. In Azerbijan, 
possibly not (in 2009 people were arrested on the accusation of voting for 
Armenia in that year's Eurovision Song Contest 

In the absence of this required knowledge, we will have to choose one of 
the following options:
1. Choose not to censor or filter anything
2. Choose to censor and filter for the sensibilities of some people and 
not for others.

It will not surprise those of you who read this list yesterday to learn 
that I firmly hold one the belief that only one of these is acceptable for 
a project that claims to be neutral and uncensored.

Chris McKenna

cmckenna at sucs.org

The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes,
but with the heart

Antoine de Saint Exupery

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