[Wikipedia-l] wikipedia in China

Erik Moeller erik_moeller at gmx.de
Fri Sep 24 01:18:00 UTC 2004

> In the US, for example, the press is not supposed to show grossly
> mutilated bodies. Also, they are not allowed to release the names of
> underage rape victims. Why is that? Because it endangers and upsets
> people.


Does this information endanger and upset people? Yes, it endangers the  
soldiers who committed abuse and their superiors who tolerated or ordered  
it, and it upsets those who strongly believe that US troops don't commit  
such acts of brutality.

Should it be removed? Of course not. It is education where it matters. It  
is education that can prevent suffering. Similar information, where it  
applies, should be published about the Chinese government, the Chinese  
troops, on the Chinese Wikipedia.

You may call that "activism", and you do have a point. If you know  
anything about the history of encyclopedias, you know that they were born  
out of enlightenment ideals (and not very NPOV!). People like Diderot  
deliberately tried to "upset" the status quo in many ways.

We are not like the original encyclopedias in that we don't deliberately  
promote specific agendas (at least we try not to). But certainly it would  
make us a parody of an encyclopedia if we went out of our way to prevent  
information from being distributed that could lead to social change -- it  
would be the exact opposite of what the original encyclopedists wanted.



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