[Foundation-l] Collapsed galleries for particularly explicit images

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 10 16:02:17 UTC 2010

There is currently a discussion at the en:WP content noticeboard whether we could or should

1. Use collapsed galleries for particularly graphic sexual images (requiring the reader to click "Show" to see the content)

2. Display them openly, as has been normal practice so far

3. Dispense with images and just add a link to a relevant Commons category.

I've come across examples of collapsed images in other language versions of Wikipedia recently, and it seems to me that is an option we could pursue in en:WP as well, in cases where the content is particularly graphic. If you have views on this, please contribute to the discussion.[1]

On a related point, I've seen people argue recently that we shouldn't be applying a double standard of explicitness to sexually explicit images and images of explicit violence, such as those displayed in the en:WP article on the My Lai massacre.[2]

The gist of the argument is that it reflects badly on us if we are fine with images of explicit violence but somehow cannot stand the sight of explicit images of sexuality, which is after all a normal and essential part of human existence.

I see some merit in that argument, as far as it goes, but it seems to me it misses a key difference in the social functions of images of sexuality vs. those of images of violence.

Images of violence like the ones in the My Lai article document human suffering. Such images have historically been shown to be key factors in mobilising public opinion and political action to reduce or end such suffering. There is a genuine, vital public interest at stake.

Sexually explicit images on the other hand, like those included in our en:WP articles on cock and ball torture[3] or hogtie bondage[4], illustrate practices that individuals engage in of their own free will, in their private leisure time.

So while both types of images are explicit (and I wouldn't completely rule out collapsing a particularly gruesome war image), I think the two cases, and the purposes explicitness serves in each case, have far more to set them apart than they have in common.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Content_noticeboard#Cock_and_ball_torture_.28NSFW.29
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cock_and_ball_torture_(sexual_practice)
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogtie_bondage


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