[Foundation-l] Sexual harassment in Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales jwales at wikia.com
Fri Nov 10 04:32:30 UTC 2006

Ray Saintonge wrote:
> Titoxd at Wikimedia wrote:
>> I'm not entirely sure that a random user of an online site qualifies as an
>> employee of any site, so I don't think that *workplace* sexual harassment
>> laws have anything to do with this case. After all the commotion lately with
>> MySpace, it seems quite real that these situations do have some sort of
>> legal backing under some sort of sexual harassment statute, although IANAL.
>> In many of these cases, it is just safer to report the case, and if the
>> police asks for anything, just provide them access to the Apache and Recent
>> Changes logs.
> Providing this data should only be done in response to a court order.  
> Mere police investigation is not enough.  There are many more situations 
> where a person has legitimate reasons for remaining anonymous.  This 
> might seem like very obvious circumstances for providing information, 
> but there are other activities where we diverge significantly about the 
> legality of the activity, and it is not our place to start making 
> judgements about legality.  Civil rights and free speech are important, 
> and if it means having to tolerate occasional idiotic speech that's a 
> very small price to pay.

In some cases I would agree, but when there is a clear threat of 
physical violence (rape), that's a simple boundary line for me.

Two examples: (1) a vandal posts "Principal Skinner is a poopy head", we 
do not notify the school or authorities, because it is just a stupid 
childish comment and who cares.  (2) a vandal posts a physical threat of 
violence against Principal Skinner... we forward it to the school and/or 
appropriate authorities, and cough up the ip address if we have it and 
there is a police request.

Is the second also just a stupid childish comment?  Yes, in many cases, 
but I am personally not comfortable making that judgment.  Tolerating 
the occassional idiotic speech really is a small price to pay, as you 
say.  Tolerating threats of violence is just a bad idea.


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