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

David Levy lifeisunfair at gmail.com
Fri Oct 21 11:46:18 UTC 2011

I wrote:

> > I believe that we should focus on the criteria behind reliable sources'
> > illustrative decisions, *not* the decisions themselves.

Andreas Kolbe replied:

> Ah well, that *is* second-guessing the source, because unless the author
> tells you, you have no way of knowing *why* they didn't include a particular
> type of image.

I've repeatedly addressed this point and explained why I regard it as
moot.  You needn't agree with me, but it's frustrating when you
seemingly disregard what I've written.

You actually quoted the relevant text later in your message:

> > We needn't know why a particular illustration was omitted.  If we apply
> > similar criteria, we'll arrive at similar decisions, excepting instances
> > in which considerations applicable to reliable sources (e.g. those based on
> > images' "upsetting"/"offensive" nature) are inapplicable to Wikipedia ...

I used the phrase "why a particular illustration was omitted," which
is remarkably similar to "why they didn't include a particular type of
image."  I've made such statements (sometimes with further
elaboration) in several replies.

Again, I don't demand that you agree with me, but I humbly request
that you acknowledge my position.

> If we did that for text, we'd be guessing why an author might not have
> mentioned such and such a thing, and applying our "correction".

Again, the images in question don't introduce information inconsistent
with that published by reliable sources; they merely illustrate the
things that said sources tell us.

And again, we haven't pulled our image evaluation criteria out of thin
air.  They reflect those employed by the very same publications.

Our application of these criteria entails no such "guessing."  You
seem to envision a scenario in which we seek to determine whether a
particular illustration was omitted for a reason inapplicable to
Wikipedia.  In actuality, we simply set aside such considerations (but
we retain the others, so if an illustration was omitted for a reason
applicable to Wikipedia, we're likely to arrive at the same decision).

.> I don't subscribe to the notion that Wikipedia should go out of its way (=
> depart from reliable sources' standards) to upset or offend readers where
> reliable sources don't.

Do you honestly believe that this is our motive?

David Levy

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