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

David Levy lifeisunfair at gmail.com
Fri Oct 14 02:52:55 UTC 2011

I wrote:

> > In an earlier reply, I cited ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspapers and magazines
> > that refuse to publish photographs of women.  If this were a mainstream
> > policy, would that make it "neutral"?

Andreas Kolbe replied:

> NPOV policy as written would require us to do the same, yes.

The community obviously doesn't share your interpretation of said policy.

> In the same way, if no reliable sources were written about women, we would not
> be able to have articles on them.

The images in question depict subjects documented by reliable sources
(through which the images' accuracy and relevance are verifiable).

Essentially, you're arguing that we're required to present information
only in the *form* published by reliable sources.

> By following sources, and describing points of view with which you personally do
> not agree, you are not affirming the correctness of these views. You are simply
> writing neutrally.

Agreed.  And that's what we do.  We describe views.  We don't adopt
them as their own.

If reliable sources deem a word objectionable and routinely censor it
(e.g. when referring to the Twitter feed "Shit My Dad Says"), we don't
follow suit.

The same principle applies to imagery deemed objectionable.  We might
cover the controversy in our articles (depending on the context), but
we won't suppress such content on the basis that others do.

As previously discussed, this is one of many reasons why reliable
sources might decline to include images.  Fortunately, we needn't read
their minds.  As I noted, we *always* must evaluate our available
images (the pool of which differs substantially from those of most
publications) to gauge their illustrative value.  We simply apply the
same criteria (intended to be as objective as possible) across the

> Images are content too, just like text.

Precisely.  And unless an image introduces information that isn't
verifiable via our reliable sources' text, there's no material

David Levy

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