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Censorship Wikipedia

Wikimedia Confusion Swirls In Wake of Porn Charges 267

Posted by kdawson
from the crisp-execution dept.
Contridictory stories are circulating after Fox News's pursuing of Wikimedia Foundation for hosting pornography reportedly resulted in Jimmy Wales personally removing some pornographic material from its servers, then giving up his special editing privileges under pressure. Fox News reported that Wikimedia is "in chaos"; this report was picked up by VentureBeat and others. Wales denies that there is any chaos (any more than usual, that is) at Wikimedia. The Fox News report apparently relied on a single unnamed source, and Wales said, "They don't even bother to contact me before publishing nonsense." The background: on April 27 Fox News published an exclusive report about porn on Wikimedia servers, then followed up by contacting organizations that had donated to Wikimedia to ask them what they thought about it. In the aftermath, Wales took a position in support of purging porn from Wikimedia Commons. This all started when estranged Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger contacted the FBI with an allegation of child porn on Wikipedia.
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Wikimedia Confusion Swirls In Wake of Porn Charges

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  • Re:Well, duh. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sznupi (719324) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:23AM (#32234028) Homepage

    How much of an "accident" this story could have been anyway, considering views [conservapedia.com] probably dear [conservapedia.com] to many FOX faithfull [conservapedia.com]? (just search for "porn" on those pages; too much to link to specifically or there are no article sublinks)

  • Re:Well, duh. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:16AM (#32234282)

    FOX is in the business of publishing nonsense.

    As much as I hate Fox News, Fox News really did nothing more than report what happened from the point of view of an outsider.

    -Sanger reported to the FBI, "Wikimedia hosts child pornography!"
    -Wikipedia freaks out and attempts to save itself when it realizes its own Co-Founder just hit the "Self-Destruct" button.
    -Rebellion breaks out among the administrators.
    -Fox News reports Wikipedia imploding as administrators fight whether or not to keep the "questionable" pictures.

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:23AM (#32234306) Homepage Journal
    Your memory must be very short. Wales usually gets involved in a small number of conflicts which become landmark cases that everyone has to adjust to. It was his votes that forced the removal of the autofellatio photos and decided that the vagina and clitoris photos were to sexual. Previously, he has even been involved in the Palestine conflict, pruning some articles he thought were "unbalanced." Plus, let's not forget the time he tried to purge the "co-founder of Wikipedia" status from Larry Sanger [wikipedia.org].
  • by Protoslo (752870) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:35AM (#32234366)
    That isn't the case in the United States, home of the Wikimedia foundation. Wikimedia's statement about this matter implies that there will be no policy (or content) change.

    On the topic of allegedly illegal materials on Wikipedia and our projects: The Wikimedia Foundation obeys the law. In the weeks since Sanger’s published allegations, the Wikimedia Foundation has not been contacted by the FBI or any other law-enforcement agency with regard to allegedly illegal content on any Wikimedia projects. Our community of volunteer editors takes action to remove illegal material when such material is brought to its attention. The Wikimedia Foundation is proud of the Wikimedia editors who zealously work to keep the projects free of illegal material. If and when we are informed by law enforcement agencies of illegal content that has not already been removed through self-policing, we will take quick action to delete it.

    Any other position would be giving in to Sanger's terrorism, so this is a relief.

  • exactly (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodoresloat (172735) * on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:53AM (#32234466)

    according to the article, the "pornography" at issue were all drawings, some under the "pedophilia" category and others under the "lolicon" category. All cartoon images, it seems, and all descriptive of the subject matter they're supposed to illustrate. It's an encyclopedia.

    The problem is that there's a guy in jail for lolicon in the US so Sanger figured he could get Wikipedia in trouble by calling the FBI about it. I mean, can you believe this guy? "I’m going to sound really old fashioned, but I felt that it was my duty." Yeah right.

  • Fox 'News' (Score:5, Informative)

    by unity100 (970058) on Monday May 17, 2010 @05:18AM (#32234836) Homepage Journal
    rupert murdoch's shit. the channel which defended itself with not being a news channel, but 'opinionated entertainment' in court when sued for FALSIFIED news and lies.

    really, such a channel which itself says we are not a news channel, but keeps on spewing falsifications and lies can stay open only in america, and through the power of money.
  • Re:Internet Wars (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:52AM (#32235856)

    Of course, if you start emacs like most people do, by clicking on a text file or typing 'emacs filename' then you have an editor open that will allow you to edit exactly as you would expect, without knowing that you need the magic key before you can start editing.

  • by edremy (36408) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:11AM (#32236028) Journal
    Saw it coming? He's doing everything he can to make it happen.

    Larry's been sending a bunch of emails to at least one mailing list I subscribe to (EDTECH) breathlessly discussing the legion of kiddie porn images on Wikipedia and how teachers need to ban all access to Wikipedia.

    The actual teachers, on the other hand, are mostly telling him to go away- they're already used to handling porn and other "forbidden" stuff in the classroom and it's simply not a big deal.

    I don't know if he's really, genuinely worried or if this is just a lever to hurt Wales, but frankly it's kind of annoying. (I'm not a big fan of Wales either, but Larry's so obviously grinding his axe here he's not converting me at least)

  • Re: Well, duh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:23AM (#32236154)

    Is conservapedia a joke site serious or a bit of both?

    The Schafly geniuses are deeply involved, so at least some of them think it's serious.

    I'd be surprised if there weren't plenty of trolls too, unless editing privileges are restricted to insiders.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:56PM (#32239582) Homepage

    On the English Wikipedia, this was an issue, and it was dealt with through Wikipedia's usual mechanisms. Someone ran a program to make a list of images actually used in Wikipedia. Others went down that list, and put most of those images through "deletion review". Each one was voted on; most of them were restored. Images that nobody asked to have restored remain deleted. Essentially all the historical images were restored. Some of the junkier stuff was voted off the island. That all took place within a few days, and wasn't particularly contentious. On Wikipedia, this is now a closed issue. On Commons, which is administered by different people, there's still a discussion [wikimedia.org] going on.

    Understand that you can upload images separately to Wikipedia or to the Wikimedia Commons. If you upload an image to Wikipedia, and it's not currently used in an article, it will be automatically deleted after a few weeks. So if others delete the image link in the article, and it stays deleted, after a while, the image file is deleted too. Commons, though, has a policy that "by custom the uploading of small numbers of images for use on a personal Commons user page is allowed." Some people try to use Commons as if it were Flickr, and if they don't overdo it, that's tolerated. A few people uploaded their porn collection. That seems to be the cause of the difficulty.

    Complicating this is a system which automatically moves images that have been on the English Wikipedia for a while to Commons, changes the links to point to the copy on Commons, and deletes the copy on Wikipedia. This is intended to make images available to all the other language versions of Wikipedia, rather than having a separate copy for each language version. The assumption has been that nothing that went through that move would ever be deleted from Commons. When some images moved via that process were deleted, many Wikipedia editors were very bothered. Automatic movement of images to Commons was shut down for a while. There isn't a way to determine if an image on Commons is used on any wiki (there's a way for each wiki, but no global backlink search.). So automatically separating single-user personal stuff from images used in real articles is not currently implemented. I suspect that will be fixed.

    On the governance side, it was pointed out that Wales isn't the head of the Wikimedia foundation any more. He's just a member of the board of directors. If he wanted to do this through the board, he can call a board meeting and try to get them to pass a resolution to change policy. He didn't take that route. As others pointed out, if anybody else did what Wales did, they'd be blocked. The general consensus is that Wales was out of line. Wales gave up some privileges, and the issue isn't even active in the dispute resolution system.

    All in all, this was well handled. Wikipedia has had far worse disputes.

  • by FrankHS (835148) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:08PM (#32241042)

    Fox is not a news station but more like a tabloid with a little news thrown in for cover. I don't take what they say seriously.

    I use wikipedia often and find it to be a very useful resource. On the whole, wikipedia does a much better job of being "Fair and balanced" that Fox news ever did.

    Someone said "I may not be able to define porn but I know it when I see it". I do too and wikipedia isn't porn. It is much farther from porn than the typical TV commercial.

"Love may fail, but courtesy will previal." -- A Kurt Vonnegut fan

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