Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

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Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

R M Harris



Hello. It’s Robert Harris once again. It’s been just over a
month since I began working on the study commissioned by the Wikimedia Board on
Potentially Objectionable Content on WMF projects. During that time, I’ve
spoken to many people inside and outside Wikimedia, but the time has come, I
think, to actively begin a discussion within the communities about some of the
questions which I've encountered, specifically around Commons and
images within Commons.  To that end,
I’ve posted a series of questions for discussion on the Meta page that hosts
the study (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:2010_Wikimedia_Study_of_Controversial_Content.) Please feel free to visit the page and contribute to the
discussion. And please post the link, if you might, anywhere within the
projects where you think it might be relevant.
I look forward to the comments of any of you who wish to join the discussion.  





     
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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

David Gerard-2
On 22 July 2010 12:59, R M Harris <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I’ve posted a series of questions for discussion on the Meta page that hosts
> the study (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:2010_Wikimedia_Study_of_Controversial_Content.) Please feel free to visit the page and contribute to the
> discussion.


Looking at the contributors so far, I'm not sure that discussion is
recoverable to any form of usefulness.


- d.

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Milos Rancic-2
On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Looking at the contributors so far, I'm not sure that discussion is
> recoverable to any form of usefulness.

1. Checked and agreed.
2. I am not going to discuss with well known censorship trolls.
3. If this would be the main path of discussion, fork of Commons will
be the option.

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Excirial
*Thoughts on this so far*
1) I have to admit that my first thought upon reading this is "Oh no, not
AGAIN", mainly due to the fact that this topic seems to be a never-ending
debate which keeps flaring up at times. This debate is not only present on
community-wide discussions, but also on deletion discussions of specific
images, the mailing list, other wiki's and so on and on. Be aware that it
may be difficult to motivate people for another debate.
2) This topic has been discussed so often on so many places that the
arguments are virtually always recycled from previous discussions. A lot of
information can be gleaned from past discussions. Its a data-goldmine :).
3) I got to agree with the previous two posters - The current discussion
seems hard to boil down to anything sensible. I would equally warn that the
page is currently just 52k long - if it is already hard to follow now it
will be even harder later on. For example, the deletion
discussion<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Files_for_deletion/2010_March_29&action=history>on
the English Wiki regarding the image on the Goatse article ended up
being
nearly 200k - and that discussion was just about a single image on a single
Wiki. If your going to tackle "Commons + controversial" the amount of
information may easily be several factors higher because of the larger
amount of images and the fact that it is cross-wiki.

*Possible error*
Besides this i noticed a possible errors in the questions , which i would
point out along with a few words of advice.
*1) "Q1:Wikipedia has put certain policies and procedures in place to deal
with special contentious categories of articles <Snip> see Wikipedia:
Controversial articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia%3AGFCA".*

There are two (possible) errors in this statement. First off, the article
linked is an essay <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Essay>, which is
not the same as a policy or
guideline<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Policies>.
An policy is a rule that everyone must follow, a guideline is a commonly
accepted best practice (Thus in practice it should be followed), but an
essay is the opinion of several editors. Some essays are widely followed,
but others are almost 1 person writeups. Hence, have a look at
WP:TTR<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DESiegel/Template_the_regulars>and
WP:DTTR <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:DTTR>. Those are both marked
as essays, but yet they are each others polar opposites.

The second thing i would point out is that this is an essay from the English
Wiki. Keep in mind that every Wiki may have its own, distinct set of rules.
For example, the Arabic Wiki forbids images of Muhammad while the English
Wiki allows them. Keep in mind that Commons is a cross-wiki project, which
means that it has to serve different projects with different rules. This is
not exactly an error, but rather a word of caution when considering commons.

*Some tips*
*Rethink the structuring of the page. I few pointers could be:*
 - Create a statement on top summarizing the context, boundries and reason
for the page itself. This will keep people on topic, and allows for late
joining of the discussion (People rarely join into a long discussion)
- Create a summary section which summarizes what has been discussed so far.
(See the History section on this
discussion<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/ace.wikipedia_and_Prophet_Muhammad_images>for
an example as to what i means). Long discussions are often only partly
read, which means that the same thing is often discussed multiple times. As
for another example: The "Goatse" discussion i linked above contains several
duplicate statements as to rule thisandthat with argument moreandmore, which
has already been discussed days ago resulting in a lot of duplicate work.
Besides, it is convenient to have a summary if your involved in a discussion
which you didn't read in a few days.
- Cluster the questions and move them up. Currently they are on the 17th
header of the talk page, which will scare off people (Do i have to read all
of that above?) or cause them to miss them. Also, clustering where possible
will reduce the amount of questions, and thus the area's of discussion (Thus
easier to overview - though some people would argue that a lot of questions
scares people off). For example, question two is simply a continuation of
question 1, so it might be better to create a subsection on question 1. (As
in: Question 1 <Question> A: <Subsequestion> B: <Subquestion>.
- Use subheaders! In the current situation everything is present under a
level two header, which makes things hard to read. A better structure would
be, for example:

== Introduction ==
<Short introduction of the page>
=== Goals, context and content ===
<As mentioned above - why do we have this page, and what do we intend to do
with it?>
=== Summary  ===
<What we discussed so far>

== Questions ==
<Short introduction if required>
=== Question 1 ===
==== Reactions ====

=== Question 2 ===
==== Reactions ====

=== Question 3 ===
==== Reactions ====

==== Subquestion A====
==== Reactions ====

==== Subquestion B====
==== Reactions ====

== Discussion ==
<Free discussion area - Off topic statements, or statements that don't fit
in the above sections can be added here. Header 1 to 16 can also be added
here as level 3 headers.>

Note that this schematic is a rather basic and quickly-made example. There
are certainly means to improve or alter it so that it fits better. For
example, you might consider a "background" page that summarizes the events
before this discussion (Such as the controversies since 2006 which are
already listed). Some editors might be new, and therefor they might lack
some background information. Hence, some of the Wikipedia communities
Commons serves are less then a year old, so there may be editors who aren't
even aware that this is a long-standing issue.

*And finally*
Best of luck with this project! You will certainly have a field day working
on this one, since i'd say that this is the most discussed subject on
Wikipedia - Once the floodgates break open you will see a tsunami of
responses coming your way so be ready for a lot of reading. I hope the
suggestions above will prove to be helpfull,

Kind regards,
~Excirial

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:22 PM, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Looking at the contributors so far, I'm not sure that discussion is
> > recoverable to any form of usefulness.
>
> 1. Checked and agreed.
> 2. I am not going to discuss with well known censorship trolls.
> 3. If this would be the main path of discussion, fork of Commons will
> be the option.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

R M Harris

May I just reply to thank Excirial for the excellent suggestions re:formatting contained in his thoughtful reply (I'll look them over carefully) and just to note a couple of things. I'm well aware of the long-standing debates on these issues in the past, and I respect the fatigue with which many might approach yet another discussion of the question. As well, my point in raising the question of Controversial issues in English Wikipedia was not to misrepresent its status, but just to note that this form of categorization of content has been contemplated to be useful in some parts of the Wikimedia universe, a universe, which, while varied, does share certain common principles. And thanks for reminding me of the varied complexity of semi-autonomous principalities with the Wikimedia family.

> Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 16:28:23 +0200
> From: [hidden email]
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content
>
> *Thoughts on this so far*
> 1) I have to admit that my first thought upon reading this is "Oh no, not
> AGAIN", mainly due to the fact that this topic seems to be a never-ending
> debate which keeps flaring up at times. This debate is not only present on
> community-wide discussions, but also on deletion discussions of specific
> images, the mailing list, other wiki's and so on and on. Be aware that it
> may be difficult to motivate people for another debate.
> 2) This topic has been discussed so often on so many places that the
> arguments are virtually always recycled from previous discussions. A lot of
> information can be gleaned from past discussions. Its a data-goldmine :).
> 3) I got to agree with the previous two posters - The current discussion
> seems hard to boil down to anything sensible. I would equally warn that the
> page is currently just 52k long - if it is already hard to follow now it
> will be even harder later on. For example, the deletion
> discussion<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Files_for_deletion/2010_March_29&action=history>on
> the English Wiki regarding the image on the Goatse article ended up
> being
> nearly 200k - and that discussion was just about a single image on a single
> Wiki. If your going to tackle "Commons + controversial" the amount of
> information may easily be several factors higher because of the larger
> amount of images and the fact that it is cross-wiki.
>
> *Possible error*
> Besides this i noticed a possible errors in the questions , which i would
> point out along with a few words of advice.
> *1) "Q1:Wikipedia has put certain policies and procedures in place to deal
> with special contentious categories of articles <Snip> see Wikipedia:
> Controversial articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia%3AGFCA".*
>
> There are two (possible) errors in this statement. First off, the article
> linked is an essay <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Essay>, which is
> not the same as a policy or
> guideline<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Policies>.
> An policy is a rule that everyone must follow, a guideline is a commonly
> accepted best practice (Thus in practice it should be followed), but an
> essay is the opinion of several editors. Some essays are widely followed,
> but others are almost 1 person writeups. Hence, have a look at
> WP:TTR<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DESiegel/Template_the_regulars>and
> WP:DTTR <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:DTTR>. Those are both marked
> as essays, but yet they are each others polar opposites.
>
> The second thing i would point out is that this is an essay from the English
> Wiki. Keep in mind that every Wiki may have its own, distinct set of rules.
> For example, the Arabic Wiki forbids images of Muhammad while the English
> Wiki allows them. Keep in mind that Commons is a cross-wiki project, which
> means that it has to serve different projects with different rules. This is
> not exactly an error, but rather a word of caution when considering commons.
>
> *Some tips*
> *Rethink the structuring of the page. I few pointers could be:*
>  - Create a statement on top summarizing the context, boundries and reason
> for the page itself. This will keep people on topic, and allows for late
> joining of the discussion (People rarely join into a long discussion)
> - Create a summary section which summarizes what has been discussed so far.
> (See the History section on this
> discussion<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/ace.wikipedia_and_Prophet_Muhammad_images>for
> an example as to what i means). Long discussions are often only partly
> read, which means that the same thing is often discussed multiple times. As
> for another example: The "Goatse" discussion i linked above contains several
> duplicate statements as to rule thisandthat with argument moreandmore, which
> has already been discussed days ago resulting in a lot of duplicate work.
> Besides, it is convenient to have a summary if your involved in a discussion
> which you didn't read in a few days.
> - Cluster the questions and move them up. Currently they are on the 17th
> header of the talk page, which will scare off people (Do i have to read all
> of that above?) or cause them to miss them. Also, clustering where possible
> will reduce the amount of questions, and thus the area's of discussion (Thus
> easier to overview - though some people would argue that a lot of questions
> scares people off). For example, question two is simply a continuation of
> question 1, so it might be better to create a subsection on question 1. (As
> in: Question 1 <Question> A: <Subsequestion> B: <Subquestion>.
> - Use subheaders! In the current situation everything is present under a
> level two header, which makes things hard to read. A better structure would
> be, for example:
>
> == Introduction ==
> <Short introduction of the page>
> === Goals, context and content ===
> <As mentioned above - why do we have this page, and what do we intend to do
> with it?>
> === Summary  ===
> <What we discussed so far>
>
> == Questions ==
> <Short introduction if required>
> === Question 1 ===
> ==== Reactions ====
>
> === Question 2 ===
> ==== Reactions ====
>
> === Question 3 ===
> ==== Reactions ====
>
> ==== Subquestion A====
> ==== Reactions ====
>
> ==== Subquestion B====
> ==== Reactions ====
>
> == Discussion ==
> <Free discussion area - Off topic statements, or statements that don't fit
> in the above sections can be added here. Header 1 to 16 can also be added
> here as level 3 headers.>
>
> Note that this schematic is a rather basic and quickly-made example. There
> are certainly means to improve or alter it so that it fits better. For
> example, you might consider a "background" page that summarizes the events
> before this discussion (Such as the controversies since 2006 which are
> already listed). Some editors might be new, and therefor they might lack
> some background information. Hence, some of the Wikipedia communities
> Commons serves are less then a year old, so there may be editors who aren't
> even aware that this is a long-standing issue.
>
> *And finally*
> Best of luck with this project! You will certainly have a field day working
> on this one, since i'd say that this is the most discussed subject on
> Wikipedia - Once the floodgates break open you will see a tsunami of
> responses coming your way so be ready for a lot of reading. I hope the
> suggestions above will prove to be helpfull,
>
> Kind regards,
> ~Excirial
>
> On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:22 PM, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > > Looking at the contributors so far, I'm not sure that discussion is
> > > recoverable to any form of usefulness.
> >
> > 1. Checked and agreed.
> > 2. I am not going to discuss with well known censorship trolls.
> > 3. If this would be the main path of discussion, fork of Commons will
> > be the option.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
     
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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

David Gerard-2
On 22 July 2010 16:32, R M Harris <[hidden email]> wrote:

> May I just reply to thank Excirial for the excellent suggestions re:formatting contained in his thoughtful reply (I'll look them over carefully) and just to note a couple of things. I'm well aware of the long-standing debates on these issues in the past, and I respect the fatigue with which many might approach yet another discussion of the question. As well, my point in raising the question of Controversial issues in English Wikipedia was not to misrepresent its status, but just to note that this form of categorization of content has been contemplated to be useful in some parts of the Wikimedia universe, a universe, which, while varied, does share certain common principles. And thanks for reminding me of the varied complexity of semi-autonomous principalities with the Wikimedia family.


I may also note that it will be absolutely impossible for you not to
be called a Nazi or worse over this, *no matter what you say or do*.
I'd be hard put to come up with a more poisoned chalice ...

Furthermore, whatever you say will be taken as a justification to do
whatever the person wanted to be done already. (e.g. if a report says
"the best thing to do is to put a Goatse in the site notice" someone
*will* say "and that is why we must behead anyone putting up a picture
of Muhammad.")

I don't envy your task in any way whatsoever. You have my sympathy :-)


- d.

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Teun Spaans
You have my sympathy to - no matter what the outcome is, some if not
many people will label it censorship, directly or indirectly. "We dont
censor" has been an standard argument so far in any attempt to
regulate upload of images or discussion of features that some people
obviously want.

kind regards
Teun Spaans

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Excirial
*You have my sympathy to - no matter what the outcome is, some if not many
people will label it censorship, directly or indirectly. "We dont censor"
has been an standard argument so far in any attempt to
regulate upload of images or discussion of features that some people
obviously want.*

Come come, be fair here, this is a two-side issue. What you say is
absolutely correct - but the other side of the coin are the editors who have
screamed ""Intentionally offensive!", "Biased!" and "Morality and
responsibility" as a response to any image kept, with equal attempts to hide
the fact that they simply dislike a single image (but cannot say that). Both
sides are to blame for the current situation we have, and the problem is
that it is nearly impossible to compromise on this issue since there is no
middle ground where each side gives in a bit (Its either everything or
nothing).

I'm strongly supporting the "No censorship" camp, and as of such i am
against any wiki-wide measures that would make content unavailable, with the
argument that people can choose whether or not to look at offensive content,
but people cannot choose to look at content that others deem offensive if it
isn't included. I would, however, strongly support a system that gives users
a choice to censor if they wish. It should be possible to categorize commons
in such a way that certain images can be blocked. For example, a user might
choose to block "images of Muhammad", while allowing surgery related images
(Others might swap there if they wish).

The advantage would be that each user can decide for himself if he doesn't
want to see something, rather then being forced to change this wiki-wide. It
may be difficult to implement such a system for IP users, but it should be
possible to accomplish. It should solve the issue where people don't want to
see something. Of course we still have the issue where people don't want
others to see certain content, but well - save for removing everything that
group can never be appeased anyway (And same for people who would argue that
even offering the option to filter is inherently bad).

~Excirial


On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 8:31 PM, teun spaans <[hidden email]> wrote:

> You have my sympathy to - no matter what the outcome is, some if not
> many people will label it censorship, directly or indirectly. "We dont
> censor" has been an standard argument so far in any attempt to
> regulate upload of images or discussion of features that some people
> obviously want.
>
> kind regards
> Teun Spaans
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

David Gerard-2
On 22 July 2010 20:10, Excirial <[hidden email]> wrote:

>  I would, however, strongly support a system that gives users
> a choice to censor if they wish. It should be possible to categorize commons
> in such a way that certain images can be blocked. For example, a user might
> choose to block "images of Muhammad", while allowing surgery related images
> (Others might swap there if they wish).


This is a perennial proposal. It's an idea I like, as it puts control
in the hands of the viewer rather than third parties. All it requires
is someone to code something that passes muster as being unlikely to
melt the servers.

cc to wikitech-l - how feasible is something that allows users to stop
display of arbitrary image categories and/or subcategories?


- d.

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Teun Spaans
In reply to this post by Excirial
Hi Excirial,

I think I am completely factual. After I wrote this, I went to the
questionlist and found the cry "we dont censor" in one of the
reactions. Which proves my point, I think. You yourself use that term
in your email.
Personally i find labeling your opponents view as "censorship " a way
of calling names, as one associates your opponents view as something
no one wants to be associated with.

Btw, you might want to read my reaction on the questions, I dont think
are proposed ideas very far apart. Or did you read my remarks there
already and made them part of your ideas?

kind regards,
Teun Spaans


On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:10 PM, Excirial <[hidden email]> wrote:

> *You have my sympathy to - no matter what the outcome is, some if not many
> people will label it censorship, directly or indirectly. "We dont censor"
> has been an standard argument so far in any attempt to
> regulate upload of images or discussion of features that some people
> obviously want.*
>
> Come come, be fair here, this is a two-side issue. What you say is
> absolutely correct - but the other side of the coin are the editors who have
> screamed ""Intentionally offensive!", "Biased!" and "Morality and
> responsibility" as a response to any image kept, with equal attempts to hide
> the fact that they simply dislike a single image (but cannot say that). Both
> sides are to blame for the current situation we have, and the problem is
> that it is nearly impossible to compromise on this issue since there is no
> middle ground where each side gives in a bit (Its either everything or
> nothing).
>
> I'm strongly supporting the "No censorship" camp, and as of such i am
> against any wiki-wide measures that would make content unavailable, with the
> argument that people can choose whether or not to look at offensive content,
> but people cannot choose to look at content that others deem offensive if it
> isn't included. I would, however, strongly support a system that gives users
> a choice to censor if they wish. It should be possible to categorize commons
> in such a way that certain images can be blocked. For example, a user might
> choose to block "images of Muhammad", while allowing surgery related images
> (Others might swap there if they wish).
>
> The advantage would be that each user can decide for himself if he doesn't
> want to see something, rather then being forced to change this wiki-wide. It
> may be difficult to implement such a system for IP users, but it should be
> possible to accomplish. It should solve the issue where people don't want to
> see something. Of course we still have the issue where people don't want
> others to see certain content, but well - save for removing everything that
> group can never be appeased anyway (And same for people who would argue that
> even offering the option to filter is inherently bad).
>
> ~Excirial
>
>
> On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 8:31 PM, teun spaans <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> You have my sympathy to - no matter what the outcome is, some if not
>> many people will label it censorship, directly or indirectly. "We dont
>> censor" has been an standard argument so far in any attempt to
>> regulate upload of images or discussion of features that some people
>> obviously want.
>>
>> kind regards
>> Teun Spaans
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

David Gerard-2
On 22 July 2010 21:01, teun spaans <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think I am completely factual. After I wrote this, I went to the
> questionlist and found the cry "we dont censor" in one of the
> reactions. Which proves my point, I think. You yourself use that term
> in your email.


Well, we don't. You appear to be claiming that making this factually
obvious statement somehow negates an argument. It doesn't.

Our mission - Wikimedia's bias - is that more information is better
than less information.

And "filtering" when applied by a third party is what censorship is.

Claiming that factual statements are logical fallacies is unconvincing
and will do you no good.


- d.

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Seth Finkelstein
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
> R M Harris
> .. but the time has come, I think, to actively begin a discussion
> within the communities about some of the questions which I've
> encountered, specifically around Commons and images within Commons. ...
> I look forward to the comments of any of you who wish to join the
> discussion.

[Delurking briefly]

        Me n'th, endorsing the idea expressed by many others, that
another generic public discussion of these issues will be of dubious
utility. At some point, it's all been said, and as the saying goes,
it's "pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement, where used to lie the
carcass of a dead horse."

        The various factions are known. I suppose you have to do this
in order to say you've consulted with the community. But for heaven's
sake, can it at least be done at a level better than yet another rehash?

[Relurking]

--
Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  http://sethf.com
Infothought blog - http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/
Interview: http://sethf.com/essays/major/greplaw-interview.php

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

???
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:
> On 22 July 2010 16:32, R M Harris <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> May I just reply to thank Excirial for the excellent suggestions re:formatting contained in his thoughtful reply (I'll look them over carefully) and just to note a couple of things. I'm well aware of the long-standing debates on these issues in the past, and I respect the fatigue with which many might approach yet another discussion of the question. As well, my point in raising the question of Controversial issues in English Wikipedia was not to misrepresent its status, but just to note that this form of categorization of content has been contemplated to be useful in some parts of the Wikimedia universe, a universe, which, while varied, does share certain common principles. And thanks for reminding me of the varied complexity of semi-autonomous principalities with the Wikimedia family.
>
>
> I may also note that it will be absolutely impossible for you not to
> be called a Nazi or worse over this, *no matter what you say or do*.
> I'd be hard put to come up with a more poisoned chalice ...


It doesn't need to be like that. However, you cannot sort this out by
compromise. The fundamental problem is that people will always want to
shift the lines either towards greater laxity or more restrictions. The
arguments will never end and you will continue to have rows one way or
another.

How you can fix this is to have very a few, and I mean a few, broad
categories. If you have too many categories or you have detailed
descriptions of what constitutes one category and what constitutes
another category, you'll have people game the system and endless arguments.

Take as an example the flickr system of categorizing nudity, they have
three groupings, safe, moderate, and restricted. The official guidelines
are vague and cutesy, but are something like boobs and butts moderate,
genitalia or the pubic region, and  sexual acts restricted. Something
that you'd let your kid take to show and tell safe. Most adults can set
their viewing filter to unrestricted and see more porn than you can
shake a stick at. Those that set the viewing filter to restricted see
almost none. The system allows the user to determine what they are
prepared to see. If they turn on unrestricted and then get offended tough.

Any flagging needs to be policed and you need to have a specified number
of people that can make a decision on the borderline cases. The criteria
should be that if in doubt make the viewing more restricted as people
can always choice to see it if the want. A page that has an image
outside of a viewers safety level should have a marker where the image
would normally be. Users should be able to reveal an individual image or
a whole page, if they so desire.

You do not want to get into a classification based in educational value
or worthiness just as flickr won't be drawn into a debate on whether an
image is art or porn. One needs to classify based solely on what is
shown. So if you have a category of 'religious figures' then its a
simply yes/no. Whether it was drawn by a famous artist or caused great
offense is besides the point.


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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

???
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:
> On 22 July 2010 21:01, teun spaans <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> I think I am completely factual. After I wrote this, I went to the
>> questionlist and found the cry "we dont censor" in one of the
>> reactions. Which proves my point, I think. You yourself use that term
>> in your email.
>
>
> Well, we don't.

But you do.

> Our mission - Wikimedia's bias - is that more information is better
> than less information.


If I were to make an account with the user name CumInYourCornflakes or
HitlerMyHero there'd be someone all over the account within minutes,
blocking banning, and deleting.


> And "filtering" when applied by a third party is what censorship is.

No it is NOT. It is not censorship if I choose not to see X, that is my
choice. So long as YOU have the choice to see X if you want to then we
can both live in harmony. The conflict arises when you say that I must
see X, or if I say you must not see X. Where X is some broadly
recognized category of offensive material.



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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Excirial
 *If I were to make an account with the user name CumInYourCornflakes or
HitlerMyHero there'd be someone all over the account within minutes,
blocking banning, and deleting.*

Hem, is that "information"? I would have trouble calling that "Raw data",
let alone information. Keep in mind that there are other rules as well -
wp:notcensored is not the only reason why certain actions are taken :).

*No it is NOT. It is not censorship if I choose not to see X, that is my
choice. So long as YOU have the choice to see X if you want to then we can
both live in harmony. The conflict arises when you say that I must see X, or
if I say you must not see X. Where X is some broadly recognized category of
offensive material.*

Agreed. As our own "Censorship" article states "*Censorship* is the suppression
of speech <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech> or deletion of
communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful,
sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as
determined by a censor.". if someone simply doesn't wish to see content it
is not censorship, since it affects only them. The difficulty doesn't arise
unless ones actions make content available, or remove the availability of
content, for other people. The entire issue we have is "What takes
precedence? The right to view, or the right to not view content".

~Excirial



On Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 12:01 AM, <[hidden email]> wrote:

> David Gerard wrote:
> > On 22 July 2010 21:01, teun spaans <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> I think I am completely factual. After I wrote this, I went to the
> >> questionlist and found the cry "we dont censor" in one of the
> >> reactions. Which proves my point, I think. You yourself use that term
> >> in your email.
> >
> >
> > Well, we don't.
>
> But you do.
>
> > Our mission - Wikimedia's bias - is that more information is better
> > than less information.
>
>
> If I were to make an account with the user name CumInYourCornflakes or
> HitlerMyHero there'd be someone all over the account within minutes,
> blocking banning, and deleting.
>
>
> > And "filtering" when applied by a third party is what censorship is.
>
> No it is NOT. It is not censorship if I choose not to see X, that is my
> choice. So long as YOU have the choice to see X if you want to then we
> can both live in harmony. The conflict arises when you say that I must
> see X, or if I say you must not see X. Where X is some broadly
> recognized category of offensive material.
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Discussion Questions forPotentially-Objectionable Content

Ryan Kaldari-2
In reply to this post by Seth Finkelstein
Actually I think there is one issue that has still not been well
discussed, and which I think it should be possible to build consensus
around (but maybe I'm naive): The issue of context for controversial
images. For example, although it may be perfectly fine to include an
image of nude bondage in the "BDSM" article, you probably wouldn't want
it included in the "Rope" article, and almost certainly not in the "Play
(activity)" article. Similarly, you probably wouldn't want to feature an
image of Osama Bin Laden on the en.wiki Main Page on 9/11. Right now, we
rely solely on the discretion of our editors to make sure images are
used in appropriate contexts. It would be useful if we actually had a
policy we could point to if an editor happened to have a catastrophic
loss of discretion. Something simple like: "Potentially objectionable
images should only be used in contexts for which they are directly
relevant and appropriate. In addition, the use of potentially
objectionable images in contexts such as Picture of the Day, Random
Picture of the Day, Today's featured picture, etc. should be avoided as
these uses generally do not provide adequate context for such images."

Ryan Kaldari

On 7/22/10 1:57 PM, Seth Finkelstein wrote:

>> R M Harris
>> .. but the time has come, I think, to actively begin a discussion
>> within the communities about some of the questions which I've
>> encountered, specifically around Commons and images within Commons. ...
>> I look forward to the comments of any of you who wish to join the
>> discussion.
>>      
> [Delurking briefly]
>
> Me n'th, endorsing the idea expressed by many others, that
> another generic public discussion of these issues will be of dubious
> utility. At some point, it's all been said, and as the saying goes,
> it's "pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement, where used to lie the
> carcass of a dead horse."
>
> The various factions are known. I suppose you have to do this
> in order to say you've consulted with the community. But for heaven's
> sake, can it at least be done at a level better than yet another rehash?
>
> [Relurking]
>
>    
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Re: Discussion Questions forPotentially-Objectionable Content

David Gerard-2
On 23 July 2010 00:06, Ryan Kaldari <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Actually I think there is one issue that has still not been well
> discussed, and which I think it should be possible to build consensus
> around (but maybe I'm naive): The issue of context for controversial
> images. For example, although it may be perfectly fine to include an
> image of nude bondage in the "BDSM" article, you probably wouldn't want
> it included in the "Rope" article, and almost certainly not in the "Play
> (activity)" article. Similarly, you probably wouldn't want to feature an
> image of Osama Bin Laden on the en.wiki Main Page on 9/11. Right now, we
> rely solely on the discretion of our editors to make sure images are
> used in appropriate contexts.


And so far, it's worked. Your words appear to presume people have
somehow failed to actually think about this stuff over the past ten
years.


> It would be useful if we actually had a
> policy we could point to if an editor happened to have a catastrophic
> loss of discretion. Something simple like: "Potentially objectionable
> images should only be used in contexts for which they are directly
> relevant and appropriate. In addition, the use of potentially
> objectionable images in contexts such as Picture of the Day, Random
> Picture of the Day, Today's featured picture, etc. should be avoided as
> these uses generally do not provide adequate context for such images."


Rules saying "don't be stupid" don't work and encourage less
cluefulness, not more cluefulness.


- d.

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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

???
In reply to this post by Excirial
Excirial wrote:
>  *If I were to make an account with the user name CumInYourCornflakes or
> HitlerMyHero there'd be someone all over the account within minutes,
> blocking banning, and deleting.*
>
> Hem, is that "information"? I would have trouble calling that "Raw data",
> let alone information. Keep in mind that there are other rules as well -
> wp:notcensored is not the only reason why certain actions are taken :).
>

Are there? The stated reason is " ... that offend other contributors,
making harmonious editing difficult or impossible." If one objects to
images of of some prophet how can one participate in editing an article
on the subject if one has to see the images in order to do so?

I suspect that if I made a username "TheProphetMohammed" it would get
kicked, if I posted a picture of myself labeled "TheProphetMohammed" it
wouldn't.


> *No it is NOT. It is not censorship if I choose not to see X, that is my
> choice. So long as YOU have the choice to see X if you want to then we can
> both live in harmony. The conflict arises when you say that I must see X, or
> if I say you must not see X. Where X is some broadly recognized category of
> offensive material.*
>
> Agreed. As our own "Censorship" article states "*Censorship* is the suppression
> of speech <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech> or deletion of
> communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful,
> sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as
> determined by a censor.". if someone simply doesn't wish to see content it
> is not censorship, since it affects only them. The difficulty doesn't arise
> unless ones actions make content available, or remove the availability of
> content, for other people. The entire issue we have is "What takes
> precedence? The right to view, or the right to not view content".
>

Neither takes precedence only the right to chose what to see. I may want
to read about the Rwandan genocide, it doesn't naturally follow that I
also want to see images of mutilated bodies at the same time. I may be
reading about BDSM doesn't mean I want to see someone's cock nailed to
the table. Reading about the Jyllands-Posten cartoons doesn't imply that
I also want to see the cartoons. With traditional media the decision to
publish or not to publish, has to be made by someone else, but there is
absolutely no reason why that has to be the case with online media. It
ought to be possible to have the choice page by page, situation by
situation. Forcing it to be all or nothing seems to be rather a Luddite
approach.


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Re: Discussion Questions forPotentially-Objectionable Content

Ryan Kaldari-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 7/22/10 4:17 PM, David Gerard wrote:
> And so far, it's worked. Your words appear to presume people have
> somehow failed to actually think about this stuff over the past ten
> years.
>    
So far it's worked because we've been lucky. Here's an example of a bad
situation just waiting to happen: Every once in while someone nominates
an obviously provocative image to be featured on Commons. So far they
have all failed on purely technical grounds (unless you count the couple
of "softcore" nude images that have passed). Commons' featured picture
criteria includes nothing about appropriateness for the Main Page.
Indeed, the Featured Picture people maintain that they have no control
over what gets put on the Main Page and it isn't their problem. The
Picture of the Day people (who actually choose what goes on the Main
Page) also disavow any responsibility as they say they have no control
over what images get Featured Status and all Featured pictures are fair
game for the Main Page. Thus if someone were to nominate a hardcore
pornographic image that was technically superb for featured status on
Commons, it would probably pass. The POTD people would then say it is
fair game and put it on the Main Page of Commons. If you think this
isn't possible, you haven't hung out on Commons long enough. At least on
en.wiki we have a psuedo-gatekeeper ( Raul654).
> Rules saying "don't be stupid" don't work and encourage less
> cluefulness, not more cluefulness.
>    
I'm not saying "don't be stupid". I'm suggesting some specific (but
flexible) guidelines we can point to for those editors who have
demonstrated a lack of cluefulness.

Ryan Kaldari
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Re: Discussion Questions for Potentially-Objectionable Content

Ting Chen-2
In reply to this post by Excirial
  Hello,

(all below are my private opinion.)

> I'm strongly supporting the "No censorship" camp, and as of such i am
> against any wiki-wide measures that would make content unavailable, with the
> argument that people can choose whether or not to look at offensive content,
> but people cannot choose to look at content that others deem offensive if it
> isn't included. I would, however, strongly support a system that gives users
> a choice to censor if they wish. It should be possible to categorize commons
> in such a way that certain images can be blocked. For example, a user might
> choose to block "images of Muhammad", while allowing surgery related images
> (Others might swap there if they wish).

For me the merit of such a system is that we treat the user as somebody
who takes responsibility for himself, who makes decision for himself.

What I find not convincing is the slogan "No censorship". I think this
is a bad argument.

First of all it is not true. In every language version of every
Wikimedia project, there are rules that can be considered as
"censorship". The definition of censorship itself is difficult. Reading
through all language versions in Wikipedia that I can understand, I
found no definition of censorship that is really satisfying. Let me take
some example. Ar-wp decides per community concensus not to use Mohammed
images. Seen in the light of en-wp rules, this is a censorship. If we
maintain "no censorship" then ar-wp must remove that concensus. If not,
we cannot maintain the "no censorship" slogan. En-wp has the "null
tolerance to pedophilia" policy. For centain activist this is certainly
a censorship. If I draw a detailed educational sketch about how to build
a mail bomb, put it under CC-BY-SA 3.0 and upload it on Commons, it
would certainly quite quickly be "censored" away.

Beside of this, there is a second reason why this is not a good
argument. "No censorship" is an overkill argument. Either you are "for"
censorship, or you are "not for" censorship. It is quite digital, black
or white. Searching for a community concensus cannot work in such black
and white manner. The result of a community discussion and concensus
searching is mostly something between black and white. The "no
censorship" argument put every discussion to an end. It ignores every
nuance that is possible between the arguments. Maybe a user is against
every political censorship but is uncomfortable about having religious
insulting images. Is he "for" or "not for" censorship?

I think everyone of us has a different opinion about what is
educational, or appropriate and what is no more educational or no more
appropriate. Let us don't talk about if someone is "for" or "not for"
censoring, let us talk about what we can find together guidelines for
what we think should be ok for our projects and what not.

What also made me very sad in this thread is to see that some community
members obviously had taken a very foundamentalistic position. Either
you agree with me, otherwise I will quit and fork. What difference is
this agree-with-me-or-I-will-boykott-you position to the ace-wp template
of boykotting Wikipedia because it contains Mohammed image? Refusing
every discussion, no compromise at all, I find this a very strange
stance for a Wikimedian.

Greetings

--
Ting

Ting's Blog: http://wingphilopp.blogspot.com/


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