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

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 18 17:04:57 UTC 2011

From: Tobias Oelgarte <tobias.oelgarte at googlemail.com>
>Am 18.10.2011 11:43, schrieb Thomas Morton:
>> It is this fallacious logic that underpins our crazy politics of
>> "neutrality" which we attempt to enforce on people (when in practice we lack
>> neutrality almost as much as the next man!).
>... and that is exactly what makes me curious about this approach. You 
>assume that we aren't neutral and Sue described us in median a little 
>bit geeky, which goes in the same direction. But if we aren't neutral at 
>all, how can we even believe that an controversial-content-filter-system 
>based upon our views would be neutral in judgment or as proposed in the 
>referendum "cultural neutral". (Question: Is there even a thing as 
>cultural neutrality?)

Who said that the personal image filter function should be based on *our* judgment? It shouldn't. 

As Wikipedians, we are used to working from sources. In deciding what content to include, we look at high-quality, educational sources, and try to reflect them fairly. 

Now, given that we are a top-10 website, why should it not make sense to look at what other large websites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo allow the user to filter, and what media Flickr and YouTube require opt-ins for? Why should we not take our cues from them? The situation seems quite analogous.

As the only major website *not* to offer users a filter, we have more in common with 4chan than the mainstream. Any abstract discussion of neutrality that neglects to address this fundamental point misses the mark. Our present approach is not neutral by our own definition of neutrality; it owes more to Internet culture than to the sources we cite.

Another important point that Thomas made is that any filter set-up should use objective criteria, rather than criteria based on offensiveness. We should not make a value judgment, we should simply offer users the browsing choices they are used to in mainstream sites.  


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