[Foundation-l] Sexual Content on Wikimedia

Andrew Whitworth wknight8111 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 30 14:20:05 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 8:41 AM, David Moran <fordmadoxfraud at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think perhaps then the most fundamental disagreement we have is the
> idea that sexual images equal "harm".

The two are not necessarily equal. There are plenty of people who,
upon finding a nude picture of themselves on Wikipedia, won't be too
offended or hurt by it. However, there is the potential for harm in
many other cases. Do a google search for "girlfriend revenge" (if you
are old enough to be looking at such stuff, NSFW) and you will see my
point: People post private nude images of other people on the internet
as an act of hate and revenge. It's also along the same lines as the
various celebrity sex tapes that get released: People take these
videos in private, they get stolen or released by vengeful ex-lovers,
and causes extreme embarrassment for some people.

Nude images do not necessarily equal "harm" by themselves, but they
have a higher potential to do so if the uploader is being abusive then
most other types of images. A picture of a nude 16 year-old and a
picture of a nude 18 year-old person may look very similar, although
the former would be considered child pornography and the later would
not be. An image intended for private viewing in a romantic couple may
appear to show a consenting model, but consenting only in the context
of that private relationship.

I'm certainly anti-censorship, so I don't advocate deleting all or any
nude photographs. However, asking uploaders a few basic questions
about their uploaded nudes (is the depicted model above the age of
consent? is the depicted model aware that this photograph was taken?
Is the depicted model aware that this photo is being uploaded here?)
could help a lot of people avoid a lot of problems. Remember, it's not
just the WMF who risks potential problems (and admittedly as an ISP
the WMF's risk is probably very low), it's the people who are being
depicted abusively that are going to have the biggest problems with
these images.

--Andrew Whitworth

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