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

David Levy lifeisunfair at gmail.com
Wed Oct 19 03:12:21 UTC 2011

Andreas Kolbe wrote:

> Satisfying most users is a laudable aim for any service provider, whether
> revenue is involved or not. Why should we not aim to satisfy most our users,
> or appeal to as many potential users as possible?

It depends on the context.  There's nothing inherently bad about
satisfying as many users as possible.  It's doing so in a
discriminatory, non-neutral manner that's problematic.

We probably could satisfy most users by detecting their locations and
displaying information intended to reflect the beliefs prevalent there
(e.g. by favoring the majority religions).  But that, like the
creation of special categories for images deemed "potentially
objectionable," is incompatible with most WMF projects' missions.

> We constantly discriminate.
> We say, This is unsourced; it may be true, but you can't have it in the
> article.
> We say, This is interesting, but it is synthesis, or original research, and
> you can't have it in the article.
> We say, This is a self-published source, it does not have an editorial staff,
> therefore it is not reliable.
> By doing so, we are constantly empowering the judgment of the professional,
> commercial outfits who produce what we term reliable sources.
> If this is unacceptable to you, do you also object to our sourcing policies
> and guidelines?

You're still conflating disparate concepts.  (I've elaborated on this
point several times.)

David Levy

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