[Foundation-l] foundation-l Digest, Vol 61, Issue 44

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Wed Apr 29 19:25:35 UTC 2009

On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 3:17 PM, Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 1:58 PM, Durova <nadezhda.durova at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > > The Wikimedia Foundation takes this opportunity to reiterate some core
>> > > principles related to our shared vision, mission, and values. One of
>> > > these values which is common to all our projects is a commitment to
>> > > maintaining a neutral point of view.
>> >
>> > I find it a bit strange to talk of Wikimedia Commons as having a NPOV
>> > policy.
>> Should commons allow images which are biased?
>> More concretely, in terms of photography, should photographs adhere to the
>> standards of ethics adopted by photojournalists?
>> ++++
>> There are few suggestions more destructive than good ideas misapplied.
>> Let's look at a few featured pictures.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Racistcampaignposter1.jpg
>> Blatantly racist and disrespectful of basic human dignity.  Also historic
>> and very encyclopedic.  It illustrates the en:wiki article 'Racism', also
>> the article on 'Disfranchisement after Reconstruction era (United States)'
>> and the individual biographies of two politicians.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:J_accuse.jpg
>> Certainly not neutral: it accuses the president of France of gross
>> misconduct.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trumpetcallsa.jpg
>> Again, not neutral.  It's a war recruitment poster.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Napoleon's_exile_to_Elba3.jpg<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Napoleon%27s_exile_to_Elba3.jpg>
>> Blatant trolling.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iowa_and_Nebraska_lands10.jpg
>> Try viewing this from the perspective of the indigenous peoples whose
>> ancestral lands were being sold.
>> Those aren't photographs, you might say?  Apply the principle only to
>> photography?  Okay, neutralize this:
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Woody_Guthrie_2.jpg
>> And although this last one is not hosted on Commons and may never be (due
>> to
>> German law), think of the historic value here.
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vote_number_1b.jpg
> I'd say they all (at least at a glance) neutrally depict their subjects.
> Just as it's fine in Wikipedia to, for instance, quote a racist person,
> presenting a racist poster is perfectly fine in Commons.  Creating a racist
> poster for commons, on the other hand, wouldn't be, in my opinion.

For a more questionable image, I'd point to this one:

Was this staged?  What was the context?  I'm not sure I could say without a
doubt it is biased (and maybe that's a practical problem with a policy
against bias), but it does raise questions of bias in my opinion.

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