[Foundation-l] Letter to the community on Controversial Content

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 10 18:27:24 UTC 2011

From: Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org>
Yes, I hear you. The Board didn't specifically discuss yesterday what
to do if there is no acceptable solution. So I don't think they can
make a statement like this: it hasn't been discussed. I hear what
you're saying here, but my hope is that even in the absence of such a
statement, people will be willing to join with the Wikimedia
Foundation to engage seriously on the topic and figure out a solution
that works.

Quite. We have a responsibility to the thousands of people who voiced the opinion that it was important for Wikimedia to offer this function to readers, as well as a responsibility to those editors who are unhappy with the proposals so far put forward.

Two valid objections that have been brought forward to date and have stuck in my mind are (1) the
use any categories or tagging systems could be put to by censors wishing to block *all* access to media files within the scope of the filter, and (2) the amount of work involved. 

The first objection is something the Harris study actually addressed in its recommendations:
"10. That, by and large, Wikimedians make the decisions
about what is filterable or not on Wikimedia sites, and consequently, that
tagging regimes that would allow third-parties to filter Wikimedia content be
restricted in their use."

I suggest we could profitably give that matter some thought, and try to think of technical solutions that would address this specific concern.

The second objection, the amount of work involved, could also benefit from some thought. It should be possible to make the work easier by creating gadgets that automatically present likely, and as yet unassessed, candidates to an editor for assessment. 

I still feel that *readers* – i.e. the wider public – should be asked as well whether they would like to see a function like that implemented, or not. If it turns out that the population of readers differs in its views from the population of editors in statistically significant ways, that could lead to an interesting discussion. In general, I would like to see more reader surveys – giving readers an opportunity to tell us what they like and dislike about the projects we provide, so we have some feedback informing our internal discussions.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list