[Foundation-l] Sexual Content on Wikimedia

Phil Nash pn007a2145 at blueyonder.co.uk
Fri Jan 30 00:16:16 UTC 2009

private musings wrote:
>> G'day all,
>> This is a sort of 'essay spam' I guess, so for those aspects of this
>> post, I apologise! I've also been criticised on some Wikimedia
>> projects for proposing policy
>> <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Sexual_content>, flooding
>> and generally getting a bit boring about this issue, so I hope
>> you'll forgive me one post to this list, on this issue.
>> I believe Wikimedia is currently behaving rather irresponsibly in
>> this area, and believe that, for various reasons, a calm examination
>> of the issues is difficult. I have written a rather light-hearted,
>> though serious minded and 'not safe for work' essay about this on
>> the english wikipedia
>> here<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Privatemusings/Let%27s_talk_about_sex>-
>> but would like to specifically raise the following points which
>> represent
>> my perspective;
>>   - Wikimedia should not be censored at all - Legal images and media
>>   of all types should be freely available to use, and re-use.
>>   - In some contexts, such as sexual content, it is desirable to be
>>   rigourous in confirming factors such as the subject's age, and
>>   'release' or permission - it is this area which is lacking a bit
>> at the moment.
>> I'd like to illustrate by drawing your attention to two images
>> currently being discussed on the 'Commons' project;
>> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Topless_Barcelona.jpg and
>> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:That%27s_why_my_mom_always_told_me_to_cross_my_legs_when_I_wore_a_skirt.jpg
>> It's my belief that hosting these images without the subject's
>> permission shifts the balance of utility vs. potential for harm
>> towards recommending the images be deleted. I'd love to hear your
>> thoughts :-)
>> cheers,
>> Peter
>> PM.

Regardless of the permission of the subject (which, as far as UK law is 
concerned in relation to non-public figures, is extremely moot), I note that 
these images appear to be orphaned, and even if they were not, my test would 
be of "encyclopedic purpose".

There are plenty of topless images around, and also upshots. If any reader 
is really ignorant of either, I'm not sure Wikipedia shouold be filling that 
gap gratuitously. The text of relevant articles should be enough to turn the 
balance away from necessarily requiring an image. We don't exist to supplant 
the imagination, but to inform, in an academic style.

As for harm, I don't see it. The point should be whether the image does 
something that text can't. In the case of these images, and although I fully 
support images apposite to a topic under discussion, neither is harmful, nor 
particularly informative.

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