Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship

Wikimedia Censors Wikinews 180

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wikileaks has revealed that the Wikimedia Foundation Board (which controls Wikipedia and Wikinews) has killed off a Wikinews report into the Barbara Bauer vs. Wikimedia Foundation lawsuit. Wikinews is a collaborative news site and is meant to be editorially independent from the WMF. The WMF office also suppressed a Wikinews investigation into child and other pornography on Wikipedia, which was independently covered by ValleyWag and other outlets this week. The US Communications Deceny Act section 230 grants providers of internet services (such as the Wikipedia and Wikinews) immunity from legal action related to their user-generated content provided they do not exercise pre-publication control. In deleting articles critical of the WMF prior to publication, Wikileaks says the Wikimedia Foundation may have set a dangerous precedent that could remove all of its CDA section 230 immunity (at least for Wikinews, where the control was exercised)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wikimedia Censors Wikinews

Comments Filter:
  • I'm just guessing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But is this due to a gag order? It seems likely.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:20PM (#23446526)
    To cover news on WikiNews without censorship?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Do we need a WikiNewsNews To cover news on WikiNews without censorship?"

      No, but we need to find out the background of who done this censorship, to find out if someone if trying to game the legal system, to open up Wikimedia Foundation Board to easier and more legal action.

      • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:09PM (#23446830)
        I wonder how much of this is just a thoughtless mistake. Wikipedia itself has a quote in (at least) one of it's help sections (pertaining to article editing):
        "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." And let's face it, the top management at Wikipedia (and many other organizations) often do a lot a stupid things despite themselves.

        Also talk about FUD; the "child pornography" they were talking about is of album art from a famous heavy metal rock band:

        The cover is from a 1976 album of the Scorpions titled 'Virgin Killer' and has the image of an underage girl, posing nude, with an crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. The girl appears to be around 10-years-old.
        - Ref. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikinews_suppressed_Wikipedia_pornography_investigation [wikileaks.org]
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:24PM (#23447248)
          There's a reason why nothing is "blocking out her breasts": because she doesn't have breasts. And breasts are visible in just about every soap ad in Europe, plus half of Renaissance nude paintings and sculptures depict "underage" (meaning under-18) models, so what is the big deal? The girl in the CD cover has already said she's perfectly fine with it. Maybe she needs a good dose of therapy to convince her that she's been abused.

          Seriously, this article talks abous censorship but it looks like this "investigation" is the one trying to apply warped USA "morals" to what the (worldwide) users of Wikipedia can and cannot see or include in the articles.

          Maybe you should set up a firewall like China so you're not exposed to "dangerous" ideas, such as the fact that women have breasts?

          Australia got the convicts, the USA got the puritans. It's pretty obvious who drew the short straw.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2008 @12:13AM (#23450422)
            Interesting tangent, because I just got back from watching "Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian". (Verdict: Moderately ok. Better than the first movie.)

            In the movie they have centaurs, real actors/actress from the navel up, CGI'd on to horse bodies. The women centaurs have bikini tops on, but the children didn't have any covering. They all had long hair, as well, so in many quick shots I couldn't tell whether I was looking at a pre-teen centaur male or female.

            Now, I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't have put a naked ten year old girl on screen... but the fact that I couldn't even tell the difference was interesting to me, as I ruminated on censorship. If they had shown a young girl, it would have not looked different in any significant way. It would probably take a freeze-frame and keen eye to tell whether that was a boy or a girl... but still, the director would have been crucified.

            Or what if it was a young, bare-chested boy actor, but the character was a young female centaur? Child Porn? Best jail everyone involved, just to be sure we're safe. Ok, I've talked myself into posting this as an anonymous coward.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Dilaudid (574715)
            This comment rocks. Britain had the same problems in 2001 - amusingly satirised in the Brass Eye Paedo special: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_Eye#2001_paedophilia_special [wikipedia.org]
        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:41PM (#23447346) Journal
          Which just goes to show everyone how freaking insane this "pedo" witch hunt is getting: It is a freaking Scorpions album cover people!!!! What is next, are they going to lock up everyone who has the original Blind Faith album, since it has a topless 14 year old holding an airplane? It isn't like we all don't know what real kiddie porn is, and IMHO it is truly the height of insanity to compare a 70's album cover to horribly abused children. But that is my 02c,YMMV.
          • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:55PM (#23447432)
            Your reply and the previous anon reply are very appreciated. Your perceptions are accurate but in the minority (and so are especially appreciated). When I read your post I was thinking of the Rudyard Kipling poem If:

            If you can keep your head when all about you
            Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
            If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
            But make allowance for their doubting too,
            If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
            Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
            Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
            And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: ...
            ... Slashdotters can Google for the rest.

            Yes if you can "keep your head" in a time of moral frenzy then you are indeed wise.

            Thanks for your comment,

            UTW
          • Don't forget Nevermind by Nirvana.

            He [wikipedia.org] seems to have turned out okay (although I imagine that it could make dating somewhat awkward)
        • by slarrg (931336) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @04:21PM (#23447572)

          To which I've always said: "Just because someone appears to be stupid does not mean they're not malevolent."

          In fact, pretending to be ignorant is usually one of the primary defenses used by those who cause the most harm. From the common proclamations: "I never went to their house and I don't know how he fell three times onto a knife with my fingerprints" to the common practice of creating "plausible deniability" to protect corporate or governmental leaders before illegal activity takes place. I'm not saying I know the solution, just that looking the other way because someone might be stupid is not it.

          As for the whole child-porn motive that's bandied about so much lately, it's a very effective tool used by politicians to get any disgusting regulations passed in congress. No one wants to look like they are pro-child porn and will always vote to pass any bill that clams it's needed to combat child porn. Thus politicians need to keep a healthy fear that child porn is everywhere in the public eye so that people demand that something be done.

          • There's a lot I could say about your comment(s), but to put it simply; things are always more complex than they appear. People like to pigeonhole things, and so it goes...

            "Ignorance is not an excuse" is obviously an effective methodology when used by politicians (and the Powerful, who have professionals vetting them). Ignorance is of course a reality, especially considering that laws and regulations are becoming more plentiful. Today (it seems) even the average person needs a lawyer to know and understand i
            • by slarrg (931336)

              I would agree completely with what you've posted. I'm not certain how your comments relate to mine though.

              Someone quoted: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

              To which I responded: ""Just because someone appears to be stupid does not mean they're not malevolent.""

              I'm not sure how you interpreted my comments as a call for more laws nor do I know how it became intertwined with the court system in any case. We were discussing the possibe motives of WikiNews. To

              • I'm not sure how you interpreted my comments as a call for more laws nor do I know how it became intertwined with the court system in any case.
                My reply; never assume. Just take the comments as-is. I never interpreted your comments as a call for more laws (read more carefully please). I do agree with your comments but was just adding a supplement.

                Best regards,

                UTW
                • by slarrg (931336)
                  Well, now that we've settled this, maybe we can just agree to agree? ;)
                  • Well, now that we've settled this, maybe we can just agree to agree? ;)

                    Haha. That would be against my nature. I'm being serious however; it does seem to be my nature to find faults in other people (and in myself BTW, to be fair), but I think that is mainly because I see so much hypocrisy and self-contradictions. With myself I try to limit (or eliminate) the contradictions (i.e. ideals versus actual behavior), and so when I am dealing with people I try to be idealistic (as opposed to realistic). Hence I have VERY few friends (one could say none), but on Slashdot at least I hav

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Just because someone appears to be stupid does not mean they're not malevolent.

            You're right, of course, but if you go read the linked article about the supposed "Child Porn on Wikipedia" you'll find that the person who wrote it may well be a bit of both.

            I have no problem with wiki-anything spiking stupidity. They're just saving the world some time. If we're talking about trying to help eliminate a little bit of the ignorance in the world, there are more important things to worry about than whether or not

  • OK... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hankapobe (1290722) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:24PM (#23446542)
    Let me get this straight. WikiLeaks is reporting that Wikinews suppressed an article on Wikipeida about WikiPorn? Now, the WikiInvestigators are ....I've gone cross eyed...
    • Re:OK... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:37PM (#23446968)
      You actually missed one of the wiki* in this conflict. In particular, Wikileaks [wikileaks.org] is reporting that the Wikimedia Foundation [wikimedia.org] is suppressing a news item on Wikinews [wikinews.org] about Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

      It's also worth noting that all of the above sites are managed using the MediaWiki [mediawiki.org] software.
      • by ozbird (127571)
        It's also worth noting that all of the above sites are managed using the MediaWiki software.

        Um, why? Does it have built-in backdoors for the Wiki cabal to censor your documents?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr6 (824590)

      Let me get this straight. WikiLeaks is reporting that Wikinews suppressed an article on Wikipeida about WikiPorn? Now, the WikiInvestigators are ....I've gone cross eyed...

      I think, and this is just my personal musing, the wikipedia has become devalued as a source for unbiased information because of all the 'goings on' there. Yes, I still use it, but find myself checking other online resources more, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica. If WP wants to regain any of it's reputation it needs, basically, to clean up it's act.

      • Re:OK... (Score:4, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @05:44PM (#23448024) Homepage Journal

        I think, and this is just my personal musing, the wikipedia has become devalued as a source for unbiased information because of all the 'goings on' there.
        Really? I hear the personal typewriter has all but been replaced by the personal computer, too!

        What's next, telephones you can put in your pocket??
        • by dAzED1 (33635)
          did you miss the "devalued" part? Which would mean "losing value it once had?"

          We're not talking about rejecting some new-fangled shiny toy or something, dolt. We're talking about something that once had value (if even just from its ideals) which no longer does.
      • by dAzED1 (33635)
        we all have high ideals when we're children. WMF is becoming a teen now (developmentally), and is putting a lot of those ideals to the side...for some of the same reasons regular people do in their teens.

        The questions then are:
        1) can WMF regain those ideals?
        2) were the lost ideals crucial to WMF's survivability?
  • Incidentally... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MessedRocker (1273148) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:27PM (#23446558)
    Wikinews used to have its own embargo on reporting about Wikipedia, because they were giving disproportionate weight to Wikipedia in the news. In fact, it even led to -- I think it was the Washington Post -- referring to Wikinews as "the news website about Wikipedia". We Wikinewsies collectively ground our teeth when we heard the fruit of our labors described like that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      While they do still carry disproportionate amounts of wikipedia news, its no worse than any other internet based news, its not that bad any more. In fact i've started to quite like wikinews as its editors are free of delitionist scum it feels like wikipedia used to, free, open & willing to take contributions. Wikimedia tightening the reins is a real shame as i suspect it will end up like wikipedia, good but irritating in that it could be so much better
  • Wikiwars 2008. Let the trolls and slander begin.
  • by tmk (712144) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:30PM (#23446580)
    Where can you see that the articles were actually deleted by the Wikimedia Foundation and not by the Wikinews community?
    • by tmk (712144) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:49PM (#23446732)
      I had a look in the in the deletion log [wikinews.org].

      # 22:51, 9 May 2008 Brianmc (Talk | contribs) deleted "Child pornography scandal erupts on Wikipedia; FBI to investigate" (content was: '#REDIRECT Wikinews:Story preparation/Child pornography scandal erupts on Wikipedia; FBI to investigate' (and the only contributor was 'DragonFire1024'))
      # 22:33, 9 May 2008 Brianmc (Talk | contribs) deleted "Wikinews:Story preparation/Child pornography scandal erupts on Wikipedia; FBI to investigate" (Factually incorrect, Valleywag is not credible)
      So it seems the article was not deleted by the Wikimedia Foundation but by an Wikinews admin.
  • Hmm... what to do... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dutch Gun (899105) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:38PM (#23446644)
    I obviously can see the censorship issues in the first article. We're talking about an individual trying to use the legal system to squelch her deservedly bad reputation in business dealings. Welcome to the information age, lady. News of bad deals travels fast now.

    On the other hand, I can't say I disapprove of the deletion of nude underage children in sexual contexts on Wikipedia, or of the decisions of moderators to override group votes on such manners. (Note the "group vote" was likely by music fans in regard to a specific album cover. What do you *think* their vote would be? Duh.) I'm not a prude or anything, but there's no real need to show some of the images they discussed. If you want those images, they're likely just a few clicks away elsewhere on the net anyhow. It seems that Wikipedia should cater to a wide audience, with content appropriate for all ages. Even the most adult of subjects can be handled in a way that makes it appropriate for all ages of the audience without diminishing its usefulness as a research tool.

    • by xaxa (988988) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:17PM (#23446880)
      You should probably look at the album cover and decide for yourself whether it's child pornography or not. Here it is [wikipedia.org].

      The Bible-bashers should punish their kids. It's not Wikipedia's problem if their kids are looking up autofellatio on Wikipedia (one of their other complaints).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dutch Gun (899105)
        I think you misunderstand my intention and objection. It's not from a moralistic standpoint, simply an issue of standards. I couldn't care less whether someone does or doesn't think this is a good or bad thing - that's obviously culturally dependent. In countries with more open nudity, this would not be a big deal. However, this is the English wikipedia we're talking about, which indicate a largely American audience (among many others of course). I think an encyclopedia can inform while adhering to som
      • by LordKaT (619540) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:55PM (#23447436) Homepage Journal
        If kids are at the point where they're looking up "autofellatio" on the Internet, then it's time for their parents to have a little chat with them about eggs, sperm, and how you shouldn't masturbate in your grandmothers hair.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ozbird (127571)
        This cover [wikipedia.org], caused a bit of a stir too - talk about a storm in a tea cup.
    • I'm not a prude or anything
      As most hypocrites do; you are trying to prop up your self image by using words to displace your ideology. Yes of course you are a prude, you are not only condoning censorship, but you are condoning censorship of art. Your obvious dismissal of people opposing your views (in this instance) as being "music fans" (or more specifically Heavy Metal fans) speaks volumes.

      Long live MotorHead!!
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheRealFixer (552803) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:38PM (#23446648)
    So, are we in the midst of a Wikiwar?
    • No, the war in Iraq is going very slowly, not wiki at all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by noidentity (188756)
      I can't decide whether I'm more disgusted by blog* terms or wiki* terms, and why the format of the web page is important enough to be a part of any term discussing its content.
  • I thought ValleyWag was an online tabloid. No better than the stuff you see in the supermarket. Why should I care what they say?
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:03PM (#23446790) Homepage

    Ars Technica had this story weeks ago. [arstechnica.com] EFF has filed a motion to quash [eff.org] (EFF site currently overloaded), and they'll probably win.

    As Ars Technica points out, the effect of this lawsuit is to widely disseminate the information that this little-known literary agency is a dud.

  • by mgoren (73073) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:05PM (#23446804)
    Could someone please point me to where the info comes from that pre-publication editing broadly affects CDA 230 immunity? I know that significant pre-publication editing of specific user-generated comments / submissions could affect immunity related to those comments / submissions. But I was not under the impression that it affects immunity as it relates to the rest of the site. Generally CDA 230 immunity is quite broad, unlike the DMCA safe harbor which relies on lack of knowledge.

    in part:

    CDA 230(c)(2) Civil liability
    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of--
    (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected;
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wkcole (644783)

      Could someone please point me to where the info comes from that pre-publication editing broadly affects CDA 230 immunity?

      The hallucinations of the article author?

      Prior to CDA, US case law was converging on a problematic standard. It was looking like providers at all layers would be held legally responsible for defamatory or otherwise illegal content carried on their facilities if they practiced any prior restraint at all or if they engaged in ex post facto removal of content that was less than perfect, with a lot of fuzziness in how strong an editorial approach would trigger liability. Exercising editorial control of a

  • Wikileaks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _KiTA_ (241027) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:08PM (#23446820) Homepage
    Interesting, my workplace uses the Smartfilter censorship software to keep us from, you know, doing our jobs, and just noticed this gem:

    You cannot access the following Web address:
    http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikinews_suppressed_Wikipedia_pornography_investigation [wikileaks.org]

    The site you requested is blocked under the following categories: Hate Speech, Historical Revisionism, Extreme

    You can:
            Use your browser's Back button or enter a different Web address to continue.


    The powers of be must HATE that site. I don't think the Historial Revisionism thing even exists on Smartfilter's official list of categories to censor.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      I will disclaim beforehand; I realize that you are (probably) being sarcastic. In case you are not being sarcastic then I will tell you that the site was likely censored because of unmitigated use of keyword flagging. I deduce that the references to "child pornography" likely flagged this Web site.

      I can't even access my own ISP home page through these Parental-type filters. I believe in this case it is because there is a reference to "P2P" and "file sharing" buried deep within the site. Yep censorship is ba
      • by _KiTA_ (241027)

        I will disclaim beforehand; I realize that you are (probably) being sarcastic. In case you are not being sarcastic then I will tell you that the site was likely censored because of unmitigated use of keyword flagging. I deduce that the references to "child pornography" likely flagged this Web site.

        Funny story, actually, DailyKOS was actually blocked by the same censorship software for a while. [dailykos.com] This was right before the November elections, and although I risk being labeled a tinfoil hat wearer for saying this, I don't think it was accidental.

        Quite a few poor people (logging on through libraries -- as required by that nice new law Bush requiring libraries to install filters) and students have to go through this censorship software, and those demographics typically vote heavily Democratic. Having a p

    • At my job, any URL with the string "porn" in it is automatically filtered. Given my love of tech, you have no idea how many times I've hit our blockpage when trying to access a story about unpacking a new piece of tech, generically referred to as "unboxing porn."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Hate Speech, Historical Revisionism, Extreme
      Let's add /. to the filter: Twelve years ago, the green bastards - those damn aliens from the disgusting, putrid planet Zytox - enslaved humanity to mine gold for their intergalactic empire.
  • by Dan East (318230) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:14PM (#23446856) Homepage Journal
    If I see the word "wiki" one more time I'm going to hurl.
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:43PM (#23447004) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    It is believed the article was deleted because it did not promote Wikimedia, although the excuse used to do so, by Wikimedia counsel Michael Godwin was that it might be defamatory.
    So not only are we getting overloaded with wiki terminology, this case is also going to fall under Godwin's law!?
  • Wikipedia is notoriously unreliable (though not as actually unreliable as either its reputation states, or probably as its corporate mass media competition). But at least its accuracy benefits from the long time in which people have to verify its content and correct it later. Most of Wikipedia's facts are about events that happened quite a while ago, so there's more time for both editing review and for other corroborative (or conflicting) sources to publish and get used in the process.

    Wikinews suffers from
  • by ericgoldman (1250206) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @04:00PM (#23447452) Homepage
    The post says "The US Communications Deceny Act section 230 grants providers of internet services (such as the Wikipedia and Wikinews) immunity from legal action related to their user-generated content provided they do not exercise pre-publication control." But this is factually inaccurate. 230 applies even if a website exercises editorial control prior to publication. See, e.g., Blumenthal v. Drudge. Eric.
  • Please ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @04:00PM (#23447454)
    I know it's very popular these days, but can we try to go a little easy on the Big Wikimedia Conspiracy for World Domination for once, and look at facts instead?

    A publishing agency (and not some poor innocent lady named Barbara Bauer) with known questionable reputation and practices has pressed charges against Wikimedia Foundation for reporting on these practices.

    The plaintiff call Wikipedia's reports "libel". The judge might call them "the truth about Barbara Bauer". Noone really knows before the case is settled.

    Then, Wikinews is reporting on this case. And due to the way the editing process that define Wikinews works, the reports on the case was most likely written by a unrelated volunteer contributor somewhere and not approved by the lawyers of Electronic Frontier Foundation's, who handles the case for Wikinews. The reports might even have quoted the supposed libelous statements.

    Now, Wikinews is owned by Wikimedia Foundation. Legally, Wikinews and its articles is the Wikimedia Foundation. In other words, the Wikipedia Foundation may (involuntarily) be publicly repeating the reports a questionable publishing agency have pressed charged over.

    How will the judge respond when he or she sees the Wikimedia Foundation repeating what might be offense under investigation, after the lawsuit was filed?

    Is it really wrong of Wikimedia Foundation to reverse reports they have been sued over, while the case is still pending?

    I don't know the details; if any has anything to add to the above assessment, please, fill us in.
  • Personally I see nothing wrong with the CD cover but I can see how some people might be offended due to the age of the girl involved. For Wikileaks to claim that there is some big scandal going on here involving "child pornography" is just plain stupid and nothing but over-blown junior highscool drama.

  • by Frater 219 (1455) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @04:06PM (#23447486) Journal

    Of course, the Wikinews article was not deleted prior to publication. All Wikinews articles, even ones in development, are accessible by the public, and are therefore "published" in the sense of the law. Articles in development are simply not placed in as prominent of positions on the site as those which are considered to be finished.

    The claim that the Wikimedia Foundation exerts pre-publication control over Wikinews articles is therefore false. Merely because the Wikinews site may refer to some publicly-accessible articles as "published" and other publicly-accessible articles as "in development" does not change the fact that both classes of articles are, for legal purposes, published: that is, intentionally placed in the public view.

  • The only thing you have going for you is your user generated content. Start limiting that and you may as well become another Fox news, or other corporate lameness with no value that nobody will visit.

    You're only hurting yourself, wiki.
  • IANAL, but

    remember that the lawsuit against Wikimedia Foundaion is about libel and HAS ENTERED INTO TRIAL, of which a statement or article, even posted on Wikinews, AND REGARDLESS OF WHO WROTE THAT, could be constituted as a official response about the lawsuit and could very be held against Wikimedia Foundation.

    Section 230 does not apply in this case.

  • ... apparently, news does not. It would appear that the objective perspective is ultimately swallowed by self-interest.

    It's not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it's part of human nature. The problem is that we keep trying to see news outlets as objective, when they most very clearly cannot be neutral.

Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have. -- Ernest Haskins

Working...