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

Thomas Morton morton.thomas at googlemail.com
Tue Oct 18 20:37:07 UTC 2011

> This is only no problem, as long we don't represent default settings, aka
categories, which introduce our judgment to the readership. Only the
> fact that our judgment is visible, is already enough to manipulate the
> reader in what to see as objectionable or not. This scenario is very
> much comparable to the unknown man that sits behind you, looking
> randomly onto your screen, while you want to inform yourself. Just the
> thought that someone else could be upset is already an issue. Having us
> to directly show/indicate what we think of as objectionable "by others"
> is even the stronger.

I guess we just sit at opposites sides on this point; I think that a broad
but clear categorisation with a slider control to figure out how much or
little you wished to see is perfectly fine.

It is uncontroversial that people find nudity inconvenient or objectional. I
see no issue in considering that a filter area.

This would imply that we, the ones that are unable to neutrally handle
> content, would be perfect in categorizing images after a fine degree of
> nudity.

> But even having multiple steps would not be a satisfying
> solution. There are many cultural regions which differentiate strongly
> between man an woman.

By using broad strokes that disregard gender we address this concern - sure
it may be somewhat imperfect for people who specifically don't want to see
bare armed women because it would end up blocking similarly attired men. But
it is better than the situation we have.

> We can't meet everyones taste like no book can meet everyones taste.

True; but we can try to improve things.

> While Harry Potter seams to be fine in many cultures, in some there
> might be parts that are seen as offensive. Would you hide/rewrite parts
> from Harry Potter to make them all happy, or would you go after the
> majority of the market and ignore the rest?

I'm not sure of the relevance; HP is a commercial product with a distinctly
different aim or market to ourselves. They go after the core market because
it makes commercial sense, we are not limited in this way.

> There is one simple way to deal with it. If someone does not like our
> content, then he don't need to use it. If someone does not like the
> content of a book he does not need to buy it.

I find this a non-optimal and very bad solution.

> > I suggested a way in which we could cover a broad spectrum of views on
> one
> > key subject without setting discrete categories of visibility.
> As explained above, this will be a very very hard job to do. Even in the
> most simple subject "sexuality" you will need more then one scale to
> measure content against. Other topics, like the religious or cultural
> topics, will be even a much harder job.

Not really; one scale would do nicely and cover most of the use cases.

> That is kind of another "drawing the line" case. To be neutral we should
> represent both (or more) point of views.

No; this is not neutrality (this is my bug bear because it is the underlying
reason we are not neutral, and have trouble apprising neutrality in

> But showing the reader only
> that what he want's to read is not real knowledge.

This really comes back to my argument of our views and biases. If you read a
topic you obviously want to know the view of it by people you agree with.

Now I agree that throwing differing views into the mix can be useful, of
give you another viewpoint. But you are still predominantly interested in a
view point that you consider accurate and compelling.

*There is nothing wrong with this.*

Presenting two parallel views with the aim of bouncing them off each other
to impart the knowledge is also not neutral.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list