[WikiEN-l] Can we think about trying the "show" solution?

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 18:47:04 UTC 2008

On 22/02/2008, cohesion <cohesion at sleepyhead.org> wrote:

> I think a lot of people are losing sight of a very real issue. It is
> offensive to many to have to placate religious views they don't agree
> with.

Conversely, it is deeply offensive to me that we are pandering to
people who feel "fuck 'em, free speech" is a valid standpoint to hold
in a project founded on *neutrality* and *editorial consensus* - we
are in danger of just placating the kneejerk political views of a
subset of our editors, I guess.

[No, really, it is, this isn't just me pretending to make a point. I
am not religious and I don't give a damn about the issue, but some of
the contempt which has been shown for the 'outside' viewpoint is more
infuriating to me than the petition... I may be a militant atheist,
but I also value politeness and a willingness to know when it's not
worth arguing the toss with someone who does feel strongly]

> I don't want to add show/hide tags to images of Muhammad any
> more than I want to ensure that nothing negative is said about
> scientology, or that [[Creationism]] is portrayed as a scientifically
> valid alternative to evolution. I am not Muslim, and I am not a
> Scientologist, and I am not a Creationist.

I honestly don't see how you can compare these cases. One is an
editorial decision of no real significance which we can compromise on
to be polite with no net cost to the quality of the finished product;
the others are major editorial decisions which would be fundamentally
incompatible with a neutral and encyclopedic article...

> We shouldn't rush to
> placate a group of people that are peripheral to the project, while
> deeply offending our core editors, and our own values.

Here's an interesting question: why *should* the personal viewpoints
of our editors get privileged, in determining what constitutes
neutrality, over the personal viewpoints of external readers who
happen not to be involved with the project? I mean, it happens, and I
tend to find it quite useful in keeping out crap, but I'm not sure how
we reconcile it with NPOV on a more, aha, theological level.

(Would we be having this debate *at all* if a third of our editors were Muslim?)

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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