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Wikimedia Censors Wikinews 180

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)."
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Wikimedia Censors Wikinews

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  • 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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:36PM (#23446624)
    "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.

  • 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.

  • Naval Gazing (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:41PM (#23446670)
    These are naval gazing articles. A fraud artist sues Wikipedia. They deleted the he said she said article about her while the litigation goes on. In fact, it looks like this went to deletion review and everyone agreed to get rid of it.

    How is this a bad thing? How is this an expose. My god, if this is wikinews and all they talk about is bogus wiki issues, save us all.

    Or that a user uploaded a bogus image, which was then deleted? How is that a bad thing.
  • 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: []

    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.
  • by rundgren ( 550942 ) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:55PM (#23447096) Homepage

    You should probably look at the album cover and decide for yourself whether it's child pornography or not. Here it is.

    It is a naked child in a sexually suggestive position. That makes it child porn by definition, no matter what American "free speech" cultists say.

    I disagree. This does not fit the definition of pornography (from the American Heritage Dictionary, and others): "Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal." The primary purpose of this picture is clearly not "to cause sexual arousal," but to illustrate the lyrics of the album's title song, and of course to get attention (which would make the purpose "marketing.")
  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:56PM (#23447108)
    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 some of the cultural sensitivities of the audience, that's all. Wikipedia would be in no way diminished if those images were not displayed. It took me all of 5 seconds to find the picture elsewhere on the net.

    Regarding autofellatio, exactly why is it necessary to show a photo AND an illustration of the act? (sigh, yes, I went to the Wikipedia site to see for myself) Is the English language insufficient to describe it accurately?

    Honestly, I'd guess that most of this stuff is just flamebait at its finest. Getting others riled up is a common Internet past-time, but I guess I'd just rather not see Wikipedia used as the medium for this purpose.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:04PM (#23447160)
    no we were just less puritanical uptight prudes back then, and covering the models genitals was enough, it was still racy, but not illegal (then anyway). you'll also notice theres two version of that cover, the import from japan had her nipples whited out so there was no detail there. (German version didn't bother to do that)

    You know, assuming they used a real model (looks like they did), shes got to be about 40 by now, wonder what she thinks off all this crap :D
  • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:23PM (#23447244)

    How was this ever allowed on an album cover?
    It was made in 1976. Pedophilia was quite in fashion back then.
    That's in fact sort of true. The truth is that public perception of what's acceptable has been completely distorted in the past 15-20 years or so -- exclusively in English speaking countries -- and mostly by News Corps International media - Fox News, The Sun, etc, etc.

    Take, for example, the movie "Pretty Baby". A 1978 movie, nominated for an Oscar and directed by the celebrated Louis Malle. It has scenes of a naked then 12 year old Brook Shields. I assume the movie is now banned and you'll never get to see it, but at the time it was considered art, and was not especially controversial. (Note also that the 70's were an age where people were more politicized, and human rights and the errors of the past were in the forefront -- and yet, few people had a problem with this movie at the time.)

    Bear in mind also if you are an American you age of consent is waay higher than most other countries. Don't get me wrong, I'm in NO WAY advocating exploitation or child porn, but you do need to realise that society has been completely manipulated by the media in this respect. And, importantly, those views have changed beyond all recognition in a short space of time.

    And bringing this back on topic, the one vestige of the media that SHOULD be free, and trustworthy -- namely the "wiki-branded" sites -- sadly, are actually some of the least trustworthy and most unreliable sources of information. Not because of "vandalism" or amateur users, but wholly because of deliberate manipulation by cabals and wikiadmins. The buck stops in each and every case with Jimbo Wales, and his reputation and (lack of) integrity has been well discussed here. This article is just one more example of why "wiki" anything must NEVER be trusted, it's just as biased and manipulated as News Corps International media.
  • 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,

  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @04:06PM (#23447490)
    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
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @04:46PM (#23447700)
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @05:13PM (#23447852)
    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.
  • by SYSS Mouse ( 694626 ) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:07PM (#23448162) Homepage
    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @09:16PM (#23449486)
    Britannica has deleted mention of any of the steps to make explosives even blackpowder.

  • 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.
  • by Dilaudid ( 574715 ) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @03:40AM (#23451238)
    This comment rocks. Britain had the same problems in 2001 - amusingly satirised in the Brass Eye Paedo special: []
  • by hab136 ( 30884 ) on Sunday May 18, 2008 @04:58AM (#23451506) Journal

    I have no problems with naked children running around the beach like is common in Europe. There is nothing sexual there, and the paranoia about that in north america is ridiculous.

    This cover is not innocent nakedness. It's obviously meant to be a suggestive pose, and I don't think that's ok.

    It's a child swimming. That's how they swim. At the beach, even. It's not "obviously meant to be a suggestive pose" since it's not, in fact, obvious.

    If it's suggestive of anything, it's of flying. That's what I thought of when I first saw it - a flying toddler chasing a buck, which is a wonderful metaphor for the ridiculousness of life.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"