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

Risker risker.wp at gmail.com
Mon Oct 10 23:12:04 UTC 2011

On 10 October 2011 18:08, Kim Bruning <kim at bruning.xs4all.nl> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 04:52:48PM -0400, Risker wrote:
> >
> > Given the number of people who insist that any categorization system
> seems
> > to be vulnerable, I'd like to hear the reasons why the current system,
> which
> > is obviously necessary in order for people to find types of images, does
> not
> > have the same effect.  I'm not trying to be provocative here, but I am
> > rather concerned that this does not seem to have been discussed.
> Been discussed to death, raised from the dead, chopped up with a
> chainsaw,reresurrected, taken out
> with a sawn-off-shotgun, stood back up missing an arm...  "they just keep
> on coming!"
> The current category system is not as vulnerable to being abused because it
> is not a prejudicial labelling
> system.
> In straight english:
> Computers are sort of stupid. They can't infer intent.
> A. If we want a computer program to offer something to be blocked, it needs
> a label that essentially says "This Is
> Something People Might Want To Block"
> B. A computer program cannot really safely determine what to do with
> "licking" or "exposed breasts" (especially as
> are different norms on what is appropriate in different parts of the world)
> Our current category system conforms to B. We would need some sort of
> mapping to A to make a category based filter
> work.
> Social problem: Mapping B to A is evil, according to ALA. ;-)
> sincerely,
>        Kim Bruning
> Patient: "Doctor Doctor, it hurts when I map B to A!"
> Doctor: "So Don't Do That Then"

Oh please, Kim; this is nonsense.  Commercially available software is, even
right now, blocking certain content areas by category and/or keywords for
(at minimum) Commons and English Wikipedia; I've seen it in operation. So
there's no reason to believe that the current category system, which we use
legitimately for content-finding, is not amenable to use in exactly the same
way that an image-filter-specific category would be.


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