[Foundation-l] Principle and pragmatism with nudity and sexual content

private musings thepmaccount at gmail.com
Mon Apr 20 05:19:07 UTC 2009

Hello all,

Those of you foolish enough to watchlist the english wikipedia's admin.s
noticeboard, or Jimmy's talk page, might have noticed a broo ha ha this last
weekend concerning nude pictures on userpages. Basically, a user has an
image of a shaven vagina on their userpage with the caption 'No more Bush,
phew!' - a witticism that's been floating around US political satire for a
few years.

An admin. asked Jimbo what he thought, and he responded quite strongly ("The
user page is unacceptable and should be speedy deleted, and the user blocked
if he insists on recreating it") - a discussion about whether or not to
delete the page resulted in an avalache of 'keep' opinions, and jimmy
continues to be rather strongly criticised on his talk page for expressing
his opinion.

Anywhoo.. this list not being a sort of round up / gossip column for
wiki-nonsense, I'll get to the substantive point - just wanted to give a bit
of context first :-)

The WMF has a large, and growing collection of material reasonably described
as pornography. Here's a few questions about the foundation's role in
ensuring the projects are responsible media hosts - Can the foundation play
a role in discussing and establishing things like what it means to be
'collegial' and 'collaborative' on the various projects? Can the foundation
offer guidance, and dare I say it 'rules' for the boundaries of behaviour?
Is there space, beyond limiting project activities to legality, to offer
firm leadership and direction in project governance?

I'm hoping the answer to all of the above is a careful 'yes'. - for example,
would our projects suffer if the foundation mandated that material loosely
definied as 'sexual content' was restricted from the social 'user' space?
(conversely, would there be any benefit to project health / reputation /
smooth running?) (that's a 'no' and a 'yes' from me :-)

Currently commons and the english wikipedia have very few restrictions
beyond limiting media to what volunteers hope is legal. Media which is
deleted as possibly illegal remains available to administrators, and no
effort beyond the assumption of good faith is possible to ascertain model
ages and release permissions - I neither hope nor believe this is

On a tangential note, I've also been looking at various governmental, and
NGO 'codes of conduct', some of which recommend things like accurate record
keeping on model information, ensuring users confirm that they wish to view
material reasonably defined as 'adult', etc. etc. - perhaps we could take
some pointers from some of these paths which are already well trodden.

It's also my view that, generally speaking, the level of conversation about
this is rubbish - please try to avoid pulling either the 'censorship' and
'prude' guns or the 'immoral' and 'depraved' guns out - they're just not

For more from me, read
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Sexual_content or



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