[Foundation-l] An image filter proposal from German Wikipedia (opt-in version of this proposal)

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 15 22:55:07 UTC 2011

From: WereSpielChequers <werespielchequers at gmail.com>
>To: foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
>Sent: Saturday, 15 October 2011, 9:41
>Subject: [Foundation-l] An image filter proposal from German Wikipedia
>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.

Thanks for your comments. You're right, this is an opt-out filter; a point that has also been raised on de:WP. I've posted an opt-in version on Meta. This would change the proposal as follows:

All users would initially see all images. Images with the "hidden" attribute would have an additional caption though, saying "(You can opt out of viewing images like this. To do so click here.)"

After that, all images with the "hidden" attribute would be hidden, with a note saying, "(You can opt in to viewing images like this. To do so click here.)"

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.

Ironically, this is what editors (notably Carbidfischer) on de:WP *like* about this proposal, because it maintains their editorial autonomy. They, the community, can decide which images should offer this option. Editorial autonomy is something that is *really* important to them. 

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

Again, everybody sees the images by default to begin with. There is not that much of a pay-off in warring over something like this. We're in the same boat here as everyone – Google, Flickr, YouTube – who do not provide this level of filter customisation either, because it is simply to complicated. I don't think we have to be better than them in this respect. Sometimes, the perfect is the enemy of the good.

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.

I appreciate your concern, though I would add that again, this is one point that Carbidfisher described as a positive. (I invited him to participate here, but he declined.)

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.

That's okay. :) Your proposal is very clever; my main concerns are that it would be a lot of work for casual users to get it to work, and that it does not comply with the requirement, highlighted both in the board resolution and the referendum, that the filter should be available for both registered and unregistered users.


>> 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>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
>> 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?
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