[Foundation-l] Wikipedia is not the Karma Sutra, was Re: commons and freely licensed sexual imagery

Nikola Smolenski smolensk at eunet.yu
Fri May 15 06:30:13 UTC 2009

Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> Anyone who thinks Wikipedia isn't censored because it allows pictures
> of penises is fooling himself.  Wikipedia is absolutely censored from
> images its editors find disgusting.  Most of its editors find sexual
> images just fine, and a large percentage view their suppression as
> harmful, "sex-negative", based on obsolete religious practice,
> whatever, so they're allowed.  Look at David Goodman's message earlier
> for a good example of this.  Sexual images aren't allowed because
> Wikipedia isn't censored, they're allowed because the predominant view
> of sex among Wikipedians is that it's a recreation like any other.
> If you think Wikipedia's imagery is not censored, please explain why
> [[Goatse.cx]] does not have an image of its subject matter.  Such an
> image would clearly fall under our fair use criteria, wouldn't it?
> It's definitely essential for understanding of the material.  But how
> long do you think the image would last if someone added it?  I'd be
> surprised if no one tried to add it before, in fact.  I'd also be
> surprised if anyone could even upload the image without having it
> speedy deleted as vandalism and getting a warning that they'd be
> blocked if they did it again.
> [[Nick Berg]] is primarily known because of the beheading video
> released about him, but his article chooses for some reason to depict
> a still from the video where he's still alive, rather than depicting
> the act of beheading itself.  I would argue that the beheading part of
> the video is very educational.  Most people's ideas of what beheading
> is like come from the movies, and are terribly inaccurate.  Do you
> think anyone would object if I added a picture of the knife passing
> through his neck up at the top?  Somehow I think so.
> Can anyone name me even *one* article where a gruesomely gory
> photograph is prominently displayed, in fact?  There have been edit
> wars even on more moderately disgusting articles, like [[Human
> feces]], with no clear "Wikipedia is not censored!" resolution.  Why?
> Because people don't like looking at images that are disgusting.  Real
> surprise, huh?  But Wikipedia isn't censored, right?
> Sexual images are not kept because Wikipedia is not censored.  They're
> kept because the Wikipedia community thinks that people *shouldn't*
> find them disgusting.  This does not serve our readers well and is
> definitely not neutral.  We absolutely should accommodate readers who
> would be viscerally disgusted by images on the site.  There are people
> out there, probably a billion of them or more, whose reaction to an
> image of autofellatio would be comparable to their reaction to an
> image of a beheading or Goatse.  Saying "screw you" to all these
> people rather than attempting to improve the utility of Wikipedia for
> them is obnoxious, antisocial, and contrary to our mission.
> Anyone who claims that it's too hard to draw a line of what should be
> censored and what shouldn't is demonstrably wrong, because Wikipedia
> has done it for more than eight years, and no one seems to have even
> *noticed* that the line *exists*.  Trying to claim we can't censor
> sexual images because it's a slippery slope is not only bad logic, but
> grossly hypocritical.
> There is *no* loss in educational value if explicit sexual images are
> not displayed inline.  None.  Prominent links can be provided for
> readers who are interested.  On the other hand, there is a significant
> loss if parents want to stop their children from reading Wikipedia
> because it contains offensive imagery.  The way our mission points is
> therefore clear.  Are we going to try to be the best educational
> resource we can be, or impose a sexually liberal ideology on all our
> readers whether they like it or not?

Sorry for quoting in full, but I have to. This is the best overview of 
the situation I have ever read.

More information about the foundation-l mailing list