[Foundation-l] News from Germany: White Bags and thinking about a fork

Nikola Smolenski smolensk at eunet.rs
Sun Oct 23 15:19:08 UTC 2011

On Sun, 2011-10-23 at 10:31 +0200, Tobias Oelgarte wrote:
> Am 23.10.2011 08:49, schrieb Nikola Smolenski:
> > On Sat, 2011-10-22 at 23:35 +0200, Tobias Oelgarte wrote:
> >> Why? Because it is against the basic rules of the project. It is
> >> intended to discriminate content. To judge about it and to represent you
> > No, it is intended to let people discriminate content themselves if they
> > want, which is a huge difference.
> >
> > If I feel that this judgment is inadequate, I will turn the filter off.
> > Either way, it is My Problem. Not Your Problem.
> It is not the user of the filter that decides *what* is hidden or not. 
> That isn't his decision. If it is the case that the filter does not meet 
> his expectations and he does not use it, then we gained nothing, despite 
> the massive effort taken by us to flag all the images. You should know 

Who is this "we" you are talking about? No one is going to force anyone
to categorize images. If some people want to categorize images, and if
their effort turns out to be in vain, again that is Their Problem and
not Your Problem.

> >> easily exploited by your local provider to hide labeled content, so that
> >> you don't have any way to view it, even if you want to.
> > Depending on the way it is implemented, it may be somewhat difficult for
> > a provider to do that. Such systems probably already exist on some
> > websites, and I am not aware of my provider using them to hide labelled
> > content. And even if my provider would start doing that, I could simply
> > use Wikipedia over https.
> If your provider is a bit clever he would block https and filter the 
> rest. An relatively easy job to do. Additionally most people would not 
> know the difference between https and http, using the default http version.

If my provider ever blocks https, I am changing my provider. If in some
country all providers block https, these people have bigger problems
than images on Wikipedia (that would likely be forbidden anyway).

> > And if providers across the world start abusing the filter, perhaps then
> > the filter could be turned off. I just don't see this as a reasonable
> > possibility.
> Well, we don't have to agree on this point. I think that this is 
> possible with very little effort. Especially since images aren't 
> provided inside the same document and are not served using https.

Images should be served using https anyway.

> >> If you want a filter so badly, then install parental software, close
> > It is my understanding that parental software is often too overarching
> > or otherwise inadequate.
> Same would go for a category/preset based filter. You and I mentioned it 
> above, that it isn't necessary better from the perspective of the user, 
> leading to few users, but wasting our time over it.

I believe a filter that is adjusted specifically to Wikimedia projects
would work much better than parental software that has to work across
the entire Internet. Anyway, I don't see why would anyone have to waste
time over it.

> >> your eyes or don't visit the page. That is up to you. That is your
> > If I close my eyes or don't visit the page, I won't be able to read the
> > content of the page.
> That is the point where a hide all/nothing filter would jump in. He 
> would let you read the page without any worries. No faulty categorized 
> image would show up and you still would have the option to show images 
> in which you are interested.

If I would use a hide all/nothing filter, I wouldn't be able to see
non-offensive relevant images by default. No one is going to use that.

> >> But feel free to read the arguments:
> >> http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meinungsbilder/Einf%C3%BChrung_pers%C3%B6nlicher_Bildfilter/en#Arguments_for_the_proposal
> > It seems to me that the arguments are mostly about a filter that would
> > be turned on by default. Most of them seem to evaporate when applied to
> > an opt-in filter.
> >
> None of the arguments is based on a filter that would be enabled as 
> default. It is particularly about any filter that uses categorization to 
> distinguish the good from evil. It's about the damage such an approach 
> would do the project and even to users that doesn't want or need the 
> feature.

That is absolutely not true. For example, the first argument:

"The Wikipedia was not founded in order to hide information but to make
it accessible. Hiding files may reduce important information that is
presented in a Wikipedia article. This could limit any kind of
enlightenment and perception of context. Examples: articles about
artists, artworks and medical issues may intentionally or without
intention of the reader lose substantial parts of their information. The
aim to present a topic neutral and in its entirety would be jeopardized
by this."

This is mostly true, but completely irrelevant for an opt-in filter.

> The German poll made clear, that not any category based filter will be 
> allowed, since category based filtering is unavoidably non-neutral and a 
> censorship tool.

Who the hell are you to forbid me or allow me to use a piece of
software? I want to use this category based filter, even if it is
unavoidably non-neutral and a censorship tool. And now what?

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