31.7.12

Chairman of Wikipedia charity banned after pornography row

"... he is now banned indefinitely from contributing to Wikipedia because of “numerous violations of Wikipedia's norms and policies”.

... Mr van Haeften mounted personal attacks on people with concerns about explicit material on Wikipedia, including material he posted. He was criticised for including a “highly inappropriate” link to pornography in the biography of a living person, one of the most contentious classes of Wikipedia page.
... Mr van Haeften told ArbCom he had been the target of a campaign of homophobic harassment by people who discovered bondage images he uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, a repository of photographs and videos used on Wikipedia. ...

... But the incident will fuel debate over Wikipedia’s permissive policy on pornography. Fundraising materials boast that Wikipedia “is a safe and trustworthy website for children to do their research”, yet Wikimedia Commons makes massive volumes of pornography freely available to any Wikipedia visitor.
Mr van Haeften was not banned for posting explicit material, but for where he posted it, his reaction to criticism for doing so and violations of editing rules.

Larry Sanger, who co-founded Wikipedia with Mr Wales in 2001, has highlighted the issue in a YouTube video showing how easy it is for anyone to access pornography on Wikipedia, including via its “schools gateway”. Even searching for benign terms can throw up explicit material by accident.

Mr Sanger said attempts to introduce filtering or age controls had been rebuffed by a “dominant” section of Wikipedia contributors who take and “extreme” view on free speech.

“But some things are worth going to the mat over and this is one of them,” he said. “It goes to the sense of seriousness of the whole project. Wikipedia can’t command respect if it regards itself as above the norms of wider society.”

Jimmy Wales, who retains influence over Wikipedia but does not control it, said he “strongly support[ed] the creation of a personal image filter” earlier this month, but turned against the idea after an outcry among contributors. His 2010 purge of pornography on Wikimedia Commons prompted a similar backlash and calls for his special editing privileges as co-founder to be revoked.

“I think Jimmy Wales has probably spoken out on this as much as he feels he can,” said Mr Sanger.
Mr Wales did not respond to requests for comment. Wikimedia UK said it did not have an official view on pornography on Wikipedia."

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