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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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  • You have to wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:10AM (#32233932) Homepage
    ... if Sanger saw this sort of thing coming.

    It has long been known to anyone who ever tried to contribute to Wikipedia just how much off the books power Wales has. Those who spent a particularly long amount of time there might remember the whole birth date fiasco, which basically pinned Wales against himself, much to the confusion of his many disciples.

    Sanger has to know Wales even better. It wouldn't be much to assume that he might have expected this sort of reaction. Indeed, this situation really threatens Wikipedia's standing as non-bias (specifically, censorship-free) and open, at least among those who didn't already know better. Could this be the straw that breaks Wikipedia? Did Sanger expect this?
  • by NicenessHimself (619194) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:19AM (#32234006)
    Fox have successfully created a news story from nothing; the ringing up of donors is a classic. Whatever you think of Fox's agenda, they did what they do very well on this one!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:28AM (#32234050)

    Will we actually notice any changes?

    Quite possibly. There have been many instances when Wikipedia's "consensus" (explicitly not democratic) decision-making completely failed and Wales stepped in as "the king" to make the final decision.

  • Re:against cp (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:39AM (#32234390)

    Who are these "child pornographers" that you speak of? Those who have erotic thoughts involving children? Those who read erotic stories involving children? Those who watch erotic anime/read comics involving children? Those who watch erotic photos involving children? Or those who have erotic relations with children?

    And in each case, what is the degree of eroticism involved? The mere suggestion of sex? The suggestion of a naked child body? Or the explicit kind? Is the eroticism artsy or is it vulgar? If there is a child involved, is it willingly or not? Is the child happy or is it in pain? Is the child before or after puberty? How old? 12? 15? 17? And so on...

    You seem to forget that all those that you label "child pornographers" are people, like you and me, and deserve to be treated as such, and not to be put under a label. Even if they are different than the usual socially repressed representative, are you sure they deserve punishment for just the association with child porn? Don't group them together, treat each case individually and examine it without prejudice.

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:34AM (#32234636) Homepage

    You know... I went and read that link you posted about fictional writing, and with only a few small exceptions every single commenter was declaring that the punishment wasn't severe enough.
    How sad.

    Where would the law draw THAT line then ? Canada's law prohibits fictional writing about sex involving children... well I guess it's illegal to read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette in Canada then. Every single line in that play is a thinly veiled sexual refference, every single word they say is flirtatious and promising of sex. Juliette goes so far as to decry having to wait longer "to be enjoyed"... and according to the script... she is 12 years old.

    Times change. In the 1600's a 12 year old girl was considered a grown woman and the average age of marriage was between 12 and 15 (you know that whole wait-till-you-marry idea must have been a LOT easier when that meant 2 years after puberty rather than about 20 like now) - point is.
    By modern standards, Julliete was a child, way below the age of consent for just about any country. If we ban the stories this man had, we have to ban Shakespeare... well we wouldn't be first I guess.
    Hell old Bowdler actually deemed himself justified to have the audacity to rewrite Shakespeare and remove the sex...

    I didn't start my comment with "I hate childporn but..." - because it's a sign off the witch-hunt that everybody who shows a little reason in these matters feel the need to do that. Stallman spoke out against the witchhunt, and got a bunch of the Novellian New-breed OSS'ers calling him a paedohphile for it.
    It seems humanity will never learn, witch-hunts are never just -and whatever atrocity leads to a witch-hunt, the one thing you can be sure of is that the witch-hunt will do nothing to reduce it. All it will do - is remove justice and freedoms from a whole lot of innocent people. My claim that censorship is never a good thing rest firstly on the fact that no matter how noble it's cause, it's never effective in any positive way - but it always has many negative effects.

    Thank goodness I got to study Shakespeare BEFORE we Romeo and Juliette became illegal.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Monday May 17, 2010 @04:57AM (#32234966)

    The other "child porn" was woodcuts, drawings etc. of adolescents/children. None of it is particularly erotic, all of it was of historical interest. It's still there, in the Pedaphilia [wikimedia.org] category on Wikimedia Commons (the most NSFW bit is the "Pedaphilia" title and the URL).

    I saw a similar woodcut in a history textbook at school when I was 14. I can remember the teacher reading out the associated court transcript, including the statement from a young girl who'd been raped by the owner of the factory she worked at. It was significant because it was around the time children's rights were improving in the industrial revolution.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Monday May 17, 2010 @05:06AM (#32235004)

    Wikipedia against "child" (by USA standards, and the more recent British standards) porn

    The Sun and other British tabloids have also provoked controversy by featuring girls as young as 16 as topless models. Samantha Fox, Maria Whittaker, Debee Ashby, and many others began their topless modelling careers in The Sun at that age, while the Daily Sport was even known to count down the days until it could feature a teenage girl topless on her 16th birthday, as it did with Linsey Dawn McKenzie in 1994, among others. Although such photographs were legally permissible in the United Kingdom under the Protection of Children Act 1978, critics noted the irony of Murdoch's Sun and News of the World newspapers calling for stricter laws on the sexual abuse of minors, including the public identification of released pedophiles, while publishing topless photographs of girls whom many other jurisdictions would legally classify as underage minors.[8] Controversy over these young models ended when the Sexual Offences Act 2003 raised the minimum age for topless modelling to 18.

    (From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org])

  • by 3seas (184403) on Monday May 17, 2010 @05:47AM (#32235180) Journal

    As Wikipedia is a "Hear-Say" Site, any porn must have been posted or found elsewhere and under a compatible license. Otherwise those posting are violating Wikipedia rules.

    Don't nobody claim its not a hear-say site, because by its own rules that is exactly what it is.

    With this in mind, Wikipedia may be guilty, and even guilty of biased and unfair articles, but they are not the originating source.
    In fact there is a trace as to who or what IP posted such.

    What this means is that if Wikipedia is busted and charged with crime then it means anyone who wants to do you harm all they habe to do is get "illegal conmtent" on your personal system and then call the authorities.

    Being setup and entrapped is dangerous game, where the authorities acting on such enough or in a big way (as can happen here) can really undermine such authority in the public's eyes.

    And who has motive to do something like this?

  • Serious FUD by OP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RichiH (749257) on Monday May 17, 2010 @06:15AM (#32235306) Homepage

    Jimmy Wales personally removing some pornographic material from its servers

    Did OP see the images? I looked at every single one directly after Sanger went to Faux News and while _some_ of them were definitely sexual in content and _some_ of them depicted adults forcing themselves onto children, they were not pornographic. We are talking age-old black-and-white prints. The best approximation I could come up with is http://www.gedichte-lyrik-poesie.de/Busch_Das_Bad_am_Samstagabend/Wilhelm_Busch_Bad_am_Samstagabend.gif [gedichte-lyrik-poesie.de] (I forgot the name of the artist who did the images in question). Linked pic actually shows bare skin and is a _lot_ more detailed and refined than the works in question, though. Go figure.

    then giving up his special editing privileges under pressure

    Wrong again. Wales removed some special rights from the Founder group which he has anyway by means of being a Steward. The Founder group has one member and was created after Wales left the board proper. Go figure.

    So yah, the "Wikimedia Confusion" does exist, at least in the mind of OP. Instead of posting, he should have read up on the matter, though. And please stop calling those images porn. They are not. And by talking about 'porn' unopposed, Sanger, Faux and the other people with a personal agenda win by default.

    PS: Even though the Wikimedia Foundation is based in the USA, the world is not and can not be bound by US conservative morals. Laws yes, morals no.

    PPS: I hope they move to Iceland.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:13AM (#32236048)

    Neither is pornography evil nor is everything involving bare primary or secondary sexual features pornography. Man I wish the United States would just hit puberty already and get over their paralyzing fear of sex.

    They did... long time ago, during 1960-es (just rent the "Hair" movie).

    But... well.. d'you know the difference between a little boy and an old man? The former thinks his willy's just for peeing, the later is damn'd sure about. I reckon after a certain age he's so sure that he'd happily preach his truth quite aggressively.

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