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

David Levy lifeisunfair at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 15:48:46 UTC 2011

Andreas Kolbe wrote:

> If I search Commons for "electric toothbrushes", the second search result is
> an image of a woman masturbating with an electric toothbrush:
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&search=electric+toothbrushes&fulltext=Search&redirs=1&ns0=1&ns6=1&ns9=1&ns12=1&ns14=1&ns100=1&ns106=1
> If I search Commons for "pearl necklace", the first search result is an
> image of a woman with sperm on her throat:
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&search=pearl+necklace&fulltext=Search
> If I search Commons for "cucumber", the first page of search results shows a
> woman with a cucumber up her vagina:
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&search=cucumber&fulltext=Search
> Please accept that people who are looking for images of electric
> toothbrushes, cucumbers and pearl necklaces in Commons may be somewhat taken
> aback by this.

I agree that this is a problem.  I disagree that the proposed
image-tagging system is a viable solution.

Please answer the questions from my previous message.

> Surely your vision of neutrality does not include that we have to force
> people interested in personal hygiene, vegetables and fashion to look at
> graphic sex images?

I don't wish to force *any* off-topic images on people (including
those who haven't activated an optional feature intended to filter
"objectionable" ones).  Methods of preventing this should be pursued.

> There is theory and practice. Philosophically, I agree with you. But looking
> at the results of trying to find an image of a cucumber or pearl necklace in
> Commons is a pragmatic question. Users should be able to tailor their user
> experience to their needs.

I agree, provided that we seek to accommodate all users equally.
That's why I support the type of implementation discussed here:

David Levy

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