[Foundation-l] category free image filtering

WereSpielChequers werespielchequers at gmail.com
Sun Oct 23 13:46:08 UTC 2011


> Message: 3
> Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2011 02:57:51 +0200
> From: Tobias Oelgarte <tobias.oelgarte at googlemail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] category free image filtering
> To: foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> Message-ID: <4EA3668F.5010004 at googlemail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> Am 23.10.2011 01:49, schrieb WereSpielChequers:
> > Hi Tobias,
> >
> > Do youhave any problems with this category free proposal
> > http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:WereSpielChequers/filter
> >
> > WereSpelChequers
> The idea isn't bad. But it is based on the premise that there are enough
> users of the filter to build such correlations. It requires enough input
> to work properly and therefore enough users of the feature, that have
> longer lists. But how often does an average logged in user find such an
> image and handle accordingly? That would be relatively seldom, resulting
> in a very short own list, by relatively few users, which makes it hard
> to start the system (warm up time).
> Since i love to find ways on how to exploit systems there is one simple
> thing on my mind. Just login to put a picture of penis/bondage/... on
> the list and than add another one of the football team you don't like.
> Repeat this step often enough and the system will believe that all users
> that don't like to see a penis would also not like to see images of that
> football team.
> Another way would be: "I find everything offensive." This would hurt the
> system, since correlations would be much harder to find.
> If we assume good faith, then it would probably work. But as soon we
> have spammers of this kind, it will lay in ruins, considering the amount
> of users and corresponding relatively short lists (in average).
> Just my thoughts on this idea.
> Greetings
> nya~

Hi Tobias,

Yes if it turned out that almost no-one used this then only the "Hide all
image - recommended for users with slow internet connections" and the "Never
show me this image again" options would be effective. My suspicion is that
even if globally there were only a few thousand users then it would start to
be effective on the most contentious images in popular articles in the most
widely read versions of wikipedia (and I suspect that many of the same image
will be used on other language versions). The more people using it the more
effective it would be, and the more varied phobias and cultural taboos it
could cater for.  We have hundreds of millions of readers, if we offer them
a free image filter then I suspect that lots will signup, but in a sense it
doesn't matter how many do so - one of the advantages to this system is that
when people complain about images they find offensive we will simply be able
to respond with instructions as to how they can enable the image filter on
their account.

I'm pretty confident that huge numbers, perhaps millions with slow internet
connections would use the hide all images option, and that enabling them to
do so would be an uncontentious way to further our mission by making our
various products much more available in certain parts of the global south.
As far as I'm concerned this is by far the most important part of the
feature and the one that I'm most confident will be used, though it may
cease to be of use in the future when and if the rest of the world has North
American Internet speeds.

I'm not sure how spammers would try to use this,  but I accept that vandals
will try various techniques from liking penises to finding pigs and
particular politicians equally objectionable. Those who simply use this to
"like" picture of Mohammed would not be a problem, the system should easily
be able to work out that things they liked would be disliked by another
group of users. The much more clever approach of disliking both a particular
type of porn and members of a particular football team is harder to cater
for, but I'm hoping that it could be coded to recognise not just where
preferences were completely unrelated, as in the people with either
arachnaphobia  or vertigo, or partially related as in one person having both
arachnaphobia and vertigo. Those who find everything objectionable and tag
thousands of images as such would easily be identified as having dissimilar
preferences to others, as their preferences would be no more relevant to
another filterer as those of an Arachnaphobe would be to a sufferer of

Of course it's possible that there are people out there who are keen to tag
images for others not to see. In this system there is room for them, if your
preferences are similar to some such users then the system would pick that
up. If your preferences are dissimilar or you don't opt in to the filter
then they would have no effect on you. The system would work without such
self appointed censors, but why not make use of them? I used to live with an
Arachnaphobe, if I was still doing so I'd have no problem creating an
account and tagging a few hundred images of spiders so that they and other
Arachnaphobes would easily be able to use the image filter and the system
would be able to identify those who had a similar preference to that

I was tempted to augment the design by giving filterers the option of having
multiple filter lists with their own private user filter labels. This would
complicate the user experience, but if a user had two lists, one that
triggered their vertigo and the other their arachnaphobia it would then be
much easier for the system to match them with others who shared either of
their phobias. It would also be easier for the system to use either of their
lists to assist the filters of others who shared that preference. However it
would also give anyone who hacked into the filter database a handy key to
the meaning of the various preferences, and it would put us at the top of a
slippery slope - if the data existed then sooner or later someone would
suggest looking at the user filter labels and the images that came up in
them. So I thought it safest to omit that feature.



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