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

FT2 ft2.wiki at gmail.com
Sat Oct 29 11:31:05 UTC 2011

Having checked the original blog
I think it's either a rare exception of poorly chosen wording, or shows a
judgment within WMF that I can't agree with.

I remember when the director of featured articles on enwiki scrupulously
treated all topics equal - whether shocking, controversial, mundane, or
taboo -- because the job of the front page of an *encyclopedia* is to
showcase high quality knowledge, not present value judgments on it.

Value judgments on topics are the role of members of the public and end
users, who legitimately hold views that they like math and hate politics,
love politics but hate pornography, love porn but oppose images of religious
figures, as they individually choose.  The job of *encyclopedists* however
is to treat these all as knowledge and not to color or pre-filter them by
considering some topics more "worthy" than others or less "suitable" to be
included as knowledge or showcased as high quality writing.

Does that include front page exposure? In the view of the previous en:wp
Director of Featured Articles, definitely yes. His rationale at the time
this came up on en:wp was that to do otherwise is to be ashamed apologists
of content that our community has created.  He also observed that making the
point publicly of our utter neutrality had value in itself.  If de:wiki (or
any project) put [[vulva]] on its front page, and the article was of high
enough quality to do so - and it would have been heavily scrutinized before
as a controversial topic - then at that point it's a topic like any other
and it goes there on its own merits.

*It is core to our ethos* that we are neutral in our views on topics,
whether mundane, obscure or emotive to some people. We could not honestly
claim neutrality if we signal via our content nomination process that some
topics are not as "valid" as others or are more "shameful" or less
"acceptable" to learn about, or to be made visible.

In this case, [[vulva]] is of more than academic interest to 1/2 the human
race as a normal lifelong body part --- one that is often strikingly lacking
in information (cultural taboos on women's education and sexual knowledge
are still very common globally and cause untold harm!)

Should this be outweighed in the balance by the fact that the other (usually
male!) half of humanity sees in it a source of purile humor or an "ONOES!
THE CHILDREN"..... especially when fully half of those under-16 children
have one of the said body parts and have as much right to it being treated
as valid knowledge as they would treat an eyeball, an arm, a cancer or a
method of DNA sequencing... and without us signalling it as "shameful" to
learn about by virtue of exclusion from equal handling.

I know which of these stances I respect more.


On Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 12:02 PM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:

> The Foundation considers de:wp's careful and thoughtful decision to
> put [[:de:vulva]] on the front page of de:wp with a picture was a
> clear failure of community judgement sufficient to justify the
> imposition of a filter from outside.

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