[Foundation-l] An image filter proposal from German Wikipedia

WereSpielChequers werespielchequers at gmail.com
Sat Oct 15 08:41:31 UTC 2011

> Message: 4
> Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2011 00:40:28 +0100 (BST)
> From: Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [Foundation-l] An image filter proposal from German Wikipedia
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Message-ID:
>        <1318635628.69020.YahooMailNeo at web29616.mail.ird.yahoo.com>
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> An editor on the German Wikipedia has proposed an alternative approach to
> the personal image filter -- I provided a translation here?
> http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Diskussion:Kurier#.C3.9Cbersetzung
> ---o0o---
> 1. There is?no?central
> categorisation of all images in different filter categories.
> 2. Instead, a new "hidden" attribute is
> introduced in Mediawiki when adding an image. "hidden" has the
> following effects:
> ? ?- Unregistered users see the image
> "hidden", meaning it is not visible.
> ? ?- One click on a show/hide button displays the
> image, another click renders it invisible again.
> 3. For registered users, there is a new option for
> "hidden images" in the user preferences: a) invisible, b) visible.
> 4. There are?no?separate
> categories.
> 5. One and the same image can be "hidden"
> in one article, and "not hidden" in another (principle of least
> surprise).
> 6. The same image can be "hidden" in an
> article in one language version (e.g. Arabic Wikipedia) and "not
> hidden" in an article in another language version (e.g. French Wikipedia).
> Each language version has its own community and can determine the use of
> the
> attribute according to its own guidelines and policies. Cultural aspects
> can
> thus be given due consideration. This is exactly analogous to the current
> principles informing article illustration.
> 7. This solution would leave it to the individual
> wikis to decide which images are encyclopaedically relevant (informative,
> illustrative) ? but still "critical/controversial" ? in which
> articles. Images of spiders could be handled in the same way as images of
> Muhammad, sex or violence.
> 8. The presentation of images outside of the article
> context ? e.g. in galleries for Commons categories or Commons search
> results ?
> would require a separate solution, perhaps to be implemented in a
> subsequent
> phase.
> ?
> ---o0o---
> What I like about this proposal is its simplicity and elegance.?It has the
> great benefit of leaving the communities and content writers in charge of
> where and to what extent they use the filter, and it also includes
> non-logged-in users.?
> Andreas?
Hi Andreas, that's certainly an interesting proposal, but I'm not sure it
meets our needs as a community.

Firstly this would censor images for all logged in users whether they want
this or not. If we need a filter it must be one that individuals can opt in
to, but which does not impose one person's filter on another.
Secondly it would involve all editors in decisions as to which images should
be hidden - this puts the burden of censor on us all, even those who don't
want to be censors. We need a system that has no impact on those who do not
choose to participate in it.
Thirdly by working at the level of an image in an article we are
collectively making a decision for everyone, and rarer phobias or more
extreme positions will not be catered for - each project would in effect
have to decide where to draw lines. If one person is not bothered about
seeing penises, another is OK providing they are flaccid and a third does
not want to see penises then in this system only one can get the result they
Fourthly we are asking people to make their private concerns public, and
some people may be uncomfortable with that. If someone has a fear of heights
and wants to filter out aerial photographs, views down from the tops of
cliffs, towers or minarets then this system would firstly require them to
disclose that phobia, and secondly to convince other editors that it was
sufficiently serious and widespread that an image should be hidden. Even
when they've done that, if their's is a rare phobia they would have that
argument on each image they wanted to hide.  Whereas we could give them a
system where they could choose to default image to hidden, unhide or confirm
their decision when they read the description or alt text and if others
share their phobia the system would eventually pickup on that and hide or
display images according to the filter choices of others who make the same
choices on images.

My belief is that many of us would be OK with a filtering system for use by
people with an aversion to images of spiders, penises, gore or whatever
their phobia or cultural aversion is; Provided they don't impose their
concerns on others, or create undue work for others. I think this fails both
tests. Though as the author of a rival option at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:WereSpielChequers/filter I may be a
little biased.


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