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

Fred Bauder fredbaud at fairpoint.net
Tue May 17 13:54:37 UTC 2011

> I'm going to add my voice to the "yeah, that wasn't cool".  To give a bit
> of
> an anecdote, John Vandenberg and I were doing a demonstration of Commons
> to
> some librarians and cultural curators yesterday, and it was a bit of a
> rude
> shock seeing that particular image on the frontpage.  One of the more
> elderly contributors remarked on it to me privately in a negative sense
> afterwards, all I could do was look embarassed and say "Yes, it's a bit
> of a
> racy image, isn't it.  Can't imagine how anyone thought that would be a
> good
> idea".  That's probably one contributor who won't be beating a path to
> our
> door in the future.
> And, at the risk of editorialising here, those who are responding to this
> criticism by claiming that we're asking for "censorship" or that the
> freedom
> to plaster graphic images over the Commons frontpage is a battle for
> liberty
> along the lines of the fight against slavery or for universal suffrage...
> need to take an aspirin and have a good lie down.  Nobody is claiming
> that
> such images are not within Commons' scope; they quite clearly are, just
> like
> pictures of penises, medical procedures, and other images that people
> might
> find unpleasant are.  Should they be in scope for the main page though?
> I
> don't think so, the same as a picture of a genital piercing, Osama bin
> Laden's bloodied corpse, or other pictures that could possibly cause
> innocent people to get in trouble should be out of main page scope.  As a
> community, I think most of us are mature enough to apply a common sense
> test
> to these things, and common sense would indicate that that image was
> likely
> to be one that would cause needless offense to people and hurt the
> project.
> Cheers,
> Craig

Librarians have a strong professional ethos which rejects censorship.
They understand the issue. And when they are in the news, its often some
High Noon confrontation over removing material such as Huck Finn from the
shelves. Our anime allegory of Liberty is not nearly as objectionable, or
dangerous, as Huck Finn.

Librarians understand and are strongly committed to minimizing censorship
and boards of approval.


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