[Foundation-l] Blog from Sue about censorship, editorial judgement, and image filters

Theo10011 de10011 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 2 11:24:47 UTC 2011

On Sun, Oct 2, 2011 at 4:27 PM, Tom Morris <tom at tommorris.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 18:24, Theo10011 <de10011 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Bishakha, call it editorial-content, call it censorship or any other
> > euphemism - at the heart of it, it is deciding what someone gets to see
> and
> > what not. It should not be our job to censor our own content. The
> strongest
> > argument I read against this has been - it is not something WMF and the
> > board should implement and develop, If there was a need to censor/cleanse
> > graphic content, there would a successful mirror or a fork of the project
> > already somewhere.
> That argument is all too convenient.
> The WMF shouldn't do X because nobody else has successfully done X.
> And the only reason nobody else has done X successfully is because
> they don't *really* want it.
> (Not because they actually do want it but don't have the resources.
> Not because it is hard for an external body to do but might be easier
> for the WMF to do. No, those aren't possible at all.)
> A slight reductio ad absurdum of the argument:
> In 2001, Jimmy and Larry and Ben Kovitz are sitting around deciding
> whether to install wiki software. One of them remarks "well, if
> someone really wanted a wiki-based encyclopedia, they would have done
> it already." Following this impeccable logic, they decide that it's
> probably not something anybody wants, and continue pressing on with
> Nupedia...
First, that is really not my argument. If anyone, I would attribute it to
MzMcbride on an earlier post titled 'Personal image filter: leave it to
third parties' [1]. I only subscribed to that outlook. There is also an
argument to be had based on, Necessity being the mother of Invention. The
fact is, a sanitized version of Wikipedia or in your analogy, X does exist
[2], it is not successful or in high demand. You are trying to make his
argument against innovation, I doubt that was the intention at all. I
believe MzMcbride's point was along the lines that, Wikimedia should remain
neutral in the matter. The content is available and could be filtered or
forked by other parties/free market but Wikimedia itself should focus on
gathering the sum of all human knowledge instead of the sum minus
controversial content.

In case we choose to call this filter 'editorial control' or 'editorial
judgement' who should have the responsibility to enact and run it? WMF's
long-standing position has been to only facilitate the community and not
take any editorial control over the projects. If WMF enables the
said-filter, the work done by the community before would be used to enact
and run the filter through categories or some similar structure, a decision
not agreed on by the community. Would it mean WMF will be taking an
editorial or an authoritative position when it comes to content?



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