[Foundation-l] Is random article truly random

Andrew Garrett agarrett at wikimedia.org
Wed Oct 19 09:23:58 UTC 2011

On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 8:10 PM, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
<cimonavaro at gmail.com> wrote:
> I've said this before. I would like to not look at women with
> humongously oversize breasts (And yes, Dolly Parton, this means you
> too) or women with perfect teeth whitened to porcelain level shine,
> smiling with their teeth. If you must smile, do it with the lips, not
> the teeth. But am I going to get that from wikipedia. No chance.
> Should I get that from wikipedia. Emphatically no. As offensive as I
> find huge bazoomba-lollobrigidas, they should be served to me and to
> everyone else on wikipedia. Because we don't hide huge bosoms on
> wikipedia. Period.

Let's not pretend that there's no difference between this sort of
preference and a preference for not seeing medical things, or for not
seeing nudity, or for not seeing things that are religiously
offensive, or for not seeing PTSD triggers or whatever.

It's not a black and white issue, and we need to exercise some common
sense and praxis. You need to weigh the administrative burden of
maintaining categorisation (along with any other consequences of
offering personal opt-out to individual classes of images, such as
interface clutter and, yes, the potential for use by totalitarian
regimes) against the participatory benefits afforded by giving readers
more choice about what they see.

Because images are high impact, they are good candidates for personal,
opt-in content filtering. There are certain classes of image that
allow us to attack 90% of the problem – that is, nudity that causes
embarrassment at work and in public places, gore and bodily functions
that 90% of the general public are offended by, and triggers for
medical conditions such as PTSD or vasovagal conditions. I don't think
anybody is suggesting we run around and identify every last image that
could possibly offend anybody.

Sure, there's no *qualitative* difference between things that offend
90% of the general public and some arbitrary thing that you make up
that offends you. But there sure as hell is a quantitative difference,
and any nuanced perspective on this argument should have an
understanding of this. In my opinion it's worth giving a simple way
for people to avoid 90% of the things that they might be offended by.

Andrew Garrett
Wikimedia Foundation
agarrett at wikimedia.org

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