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

Tobias Oelgarte tobias.oelgarte at googlemail.com
Tue Oct 18 22:10:49 UTC 2011

Am 18.10.2011 23:20, schrieb Andreas K.:
> On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 8:09 PM, Tobias Oelgarte<
> tobias.oelgarte at googlemail.com>  wrote:
>> You said that we should learn from Google and other top websites, but at
>> the same time you want to introduce objective criteria, which neither of
>> this websites did?
> What I mean is that we should not classify media as offensive, but in terms
> such as "photographic depictions of real-life sex and masturbation", "images
> of Muhammad". If someone feels strongly that they do not want to see these
> by default, they should not have to. In terms of what areas to cover, we can
> look at what people like Google do (e.g. by comparing "moderate safe search"
> and "safe search off" results), and at what our readers request.
The problem is, that we never asked our readers, before the whole thing 
was running wild already. It would be really the time to question the 
feelings of the readers. That would mean to ask the readers in very 
different regions to get an good overview about this topic. What Google 
and other commercial groups do shouldn't be a reference to us. They 
serve their core audience and ignore the rest, since their aim is 
profit, and only profit, no matter what "good reasons" they represent. 
We are quite an exception from them. Not in popularity, but in concept. 
If we put to the example of "futanari", then we surely agree that there 
could be quite a lot of people that would be surprised. Especially if 
"safe-search" is on. But now we have to ask why it is that way? Why does 
it work so well for other, more common terms in a western audience?
>> You also compare Wikipedia with an image board like
>> 4chan? You want the readers to define what they want see. That means
>> they should play the judge and that majority will win. But this in
>> contrast to the proposal that the filter should work with objective
>> criteria.
> I do not see this as the majority winning, and a minority losing. I see it
> as everyone winning -- those who do not want to be confronted with whatever
> media don't have to be, and those who want to see them can.
I guess you missed the point that a minority of offended people would 
just be ignored. Looking at the goal and Tings examples, then we would 
just strengthen the current position (western majority and point of 
view) but doing little to nothing in the areas that where the main 
concern, or at least the strong argument to start the progress. If it 
really comes down to the point that a majority does not find Muhammad 
caricatures offensive and it "wins", then we have no solution.
>> Could you please crosscheck your own comment and tell me what kind of
>> solution is up on your mind? Currently it is mix of very different
>> approaches, that don't fit together.
> My mind is not made up; we are still in a brainstorming phase. Of the
> alternatives presented so far, I like the opt-in version of Neitram's
> proposal best:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Controversial_content/Brainstorming#thumb.2Fhidden
> If something better were proposed, my views might change.
> Best,
> Andreas
I read this proposal and can't see a real difference in a second 
thought. At first it is good that the decision stays related to the 
topic and is not separated as in the first proposals. But it also has a 
bad taste in itself. We directly deliver the tags needed to remove 
content by third parties (SPI, Local Network, Institutions), no matter 
if the reader chooses to view the image or not, and we are still in 
charge to declare what might be or is offensive to others, forcing our 
judgment onto the users of the feature.

Overall it follows a good intention, but I'm very concerned about the 
side effects, which just let me say "no way" to this proposal as it is.


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