[Foundation-l] Image filtering without undermining the category system

WereSpielChequers werespielchequers at gmail.com
Thu Oct 13 19:44:24 UTC 2011

> ------------------------------
> Message: 7
> Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 11:07:54 -0300
> From: Andrew Crawford <acrawford at laetabilis.com>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Image filtering without undermining the
>        category        system
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
>        <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Message-ID:
>        <CAE0LbZ5M_iN2CiTaObubtWC8Zd3rAf4NDH+Y5+kX+0d=NYgqgw at mail.gmail.com
> >
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> In general I think this is the best and most practical proposal so far.

Hi Andrew,

Thanks I appreciate that.

> Having filter users do the classifying is the only practical option. In my
> opinion, it is unfortunately still problematic.
> 1. It is quite complicated from the user's point of view. Not only do they
> have to register an account, but they have to find and understand these
> options. For the casual reader who just doesn't want to see any more
> penises, or pictures of Mohammed, that is quite a lot to ask. The effort it
> would take to implement a system like this might outweigh the benefit to
> the
> small number of readers who would actually go through this process.

Yes my wording of the options is not ideal, and I'm hoping we can make it
more user friendly. But the process isn't very complex. If we create

It need be no more complex than

I'm pretty sure we can make it simpler than buying some censorship software
with a credit card and then installing it on your PC.

> 2. It is obviously subject to gaming. How long would it take 4chan to
> figure
> out they can create new accounts, and start thumbs-upping newly-uploaded
> pictures of penises while mass thumbs-downing depictions of Mohammed?

Subject to gaming, well it's bound to be. But vulnerable to gaming,
hopefully not.  Fans of penises are welcome to add their preferences. That's
why I didn't include the option "Hide all images except those that a fellow
filterer has whitelisted".

If some people find naked bodies wholesome but crucifixes troubling, and
others the reverse, then the filter will pick up on that as an easy
scenario, and once you've  indicated that you are happy to see one or the
other it will start giving a high score to things that have been deemed
objectionable to people who've made similar choices to you, or things that
were deemed wholesome by people whose tastes run counter to yours.
Conversely it will give low scores to images cleared by people whose tastes
are highly similar to yours or to images objected to by people whose tastes
are the reverse of yours.

> 3. How can we prevent the use of this data for censorship purposes?

We prevent the use of this data for censorship by not releasing the
knowledge base, only showing logged in users  the results that are relevant
to them, and not saying how we've come up with a score. If we only had a
small number of images and a limited set of reasons why people could object
to them then it would be simple to impute the data in our knowledge base,
but we have a large and complex system, and some aspects would be inherently
difficult to hack by automated weapons. An experienced human looking at an
image with a filter score would sometimes be able to guess what common
reasons had caused a filterer or filterers not to want to see it again, but
a computer would struggle and often anyone but the filterer who'd applied
that score would be baffled. If you had access to that individuals filter
list it might be obvious that they were blocking images that triggered their
vertigo, depicted people associated with a particular sports team or train
engines that lacked a boiler. But without the context of knowing which
filter lists an image was on it would be difficult to get meaningful
information out of the system.

Would we
> keep the reputation information of each image secret? I imagine many
> Wikipedians would want to access that data for legitimate editorial
> reasons.
> Well of course any of the editors could themselves have the filter set on
and would know what the score was relative to their preferences. But
otherwise the information would be secret. I don't see how we could give
editors access to the reputation information without it leaking to censors,
or indeed divulging it generally. Remember the person with vertigo might not
want that publicly known, the pyromaniac who blocked images that might
trigger their pyromania would almost certainly not want their filter to be
public. As for "legitimate editorial reasons", I think it would be quite
contentious if anyone started making editorial decisions based on the filter
results, so best not to enable that - but I'll clarify that in the proposal

Thanks for your feedback


> Andrew (Thparkth)
> On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 5:55 PM, WereSpielChequers <
> werespielchequers at gmail.com> wrote:
> > OK in a spirit of compromise I have designed an Image filter which should
> > meet most of the needs that people have expressed and resolve most of the
> > objections that I'm aware of. Just as importantly it should actually
> work.
> > http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:WereSpielChequers/filter
> >
> > WereSpielChequers
> > _______________________
> Thanks for that and for your comments on

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