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  1. #1
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Big Wikipedia Shakeup - What's Your Opinion?
    I don't know if you have been following the Wikipedia/porn story going on over the last 3 - 4 weeks, but it appears it has come to a head. Apparently there are thousands of pornographic pages on Wikipedia and the big problem is that school kids have access to it.

    Many schools encourage students to use Wikipedia for research, without the knowledge that all the porn, including pictures that seemingly romance pedophilia, can be viewed. Fox News blew the whistle about 3 weeks ago and now the entire management structure at Wikipedia seems to be in shambles.

    "After much pressure from within the Wikipedia community, co-founder Jimmy Wales has relinquished his top-level control over the encyclopedia's content, as well as all of its parent company's projects."

    This all happened because he started deleting hundreds of the porn pages and his editors had a fit. Now there is total chaos as editors, board members and others associated w/ Wikipedia try to sort things out.

    The big debate is that one person should not have control over what is and what isn't on Wikipedia. Wales was concerned about the foundation and those who contributed to it, so rather than do nothing, he took it upon himself to purge the site of porn.

    Now he it out and people are scrambling and everything he deleted is back up.

    I have to agree with Wales' actions, although he could have made it a collective effort, but by the time he got everyone to agree on the proper action to be taken, the Wikipedia Foundation could have been facing major backlash for doing nothing.

    What's your opinion? Did Wales’ "actions betray the essence of the open user-generated online encyclopedia" or was he acting responsibly?

    (Full story -- http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/...porn-pressure/)
    Last edited by leeann; May 14th, 2010 at 09:52 PM.
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  2. #2
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Tough call, but it just matters what the goals and intentions of the company and leadership are.

    A similar thing happened at Ning. They provide a platform for building social networks. At first a lot of adult related social networks were created, but then Ning decided they didn't want to have adult networks on their platform so they kicked them all off. The primary reason for kicking these sites off of Ning was because they wanted to run AdSense ads on all of the pages. This caused a big debate because the owners of the adult social networks had put a lot of effort into their networks.

    I would imagine the editors felt the same way if they had put a lot of work into the pages. I'm sure other editors were upset because it showed how the top management has the power to come in and wipe something out with no consultation with the editors.

    Can't say I have ever seen an adult related Wikipedia page. I'm going to look for some now.... for research purposes of course : )
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  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OICUAM2 View Post
    Can't say I have ever seen an adult related Wikipedia page. I'm going to look for some now.... for research purposes of course : )
    First, we lose regular people here...

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  4. #4
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    The moral of the story is don't trust others to watch out for your most precious possession, your kids. Don't rely on a school, a website, or even a filter when it comes to kids on the internet - the only sure fire solution is to allow whitelisted sites only and supervise use.
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    The Encyclopedia Britannica didn't have porn pages, I see no reason why Wikipedia should, either. As for the editors who think they should be left up - fire them. There are millions of places to find porn online, any kid with half a brain can find it in a heartbeat - there's no valid reason to have it on Wikipedia.
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  6. #6
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesehead View Post
    the only sure fire solution is to allow whitelisted sites only and supervise use.
    I agree, but I always thought Wikipedia would be considered, whitelisted? Guess not.
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  7. #7
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    It is what it is.

    If teachers/schools have a problem with it, then it's up to them to decide not to steer their students that way. Granted, it's a great resource for students, but it is not up to wikipedia to have to cater to the interests of one particular group of people; after all, their goal is to be somewhat of an "all things for all people", is it not?
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  8. #8
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel M. Clark View Post
    As for the editors who think they should be left up - fire them.
    It must not be as simple as that, because somehow he got ousted. I don't know the dynamics behind Wikipedia other than it's open source, but you would think he could have just fired those who opposed him. Instead he got tossed.
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  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Good point, I was being overly simplistic in my assertion. I still think the sentiment is sound, though... if there's a shakeup going on, I would personally rather see the fallout settle on the side of Wales' point of view.

    I mentioned this to my wife a little while ago, and she was surprised that they would use photographs. Illustrations, on the other hand... we agree that those would be entirely appropriate. There's no reason to take down the entire article for "group sex" perhaps, but if the article uses an illustration or an example of classical art rather than a still frame from a porno, that would be more acceptable. I'm not so prudish that I would want all mentions of sexual acts removed, but I think there are tasteful (for lack of a better word) ways to present them.
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  10. #10
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Yikes - this is certainly a tough choice for Wiki.

    To me, Wiki is "open source" and should remain what it was created to be. Maybe start filtering the inclusions instead of deleting them entirely. As DavidH said:

    "it is not up to wikipedia to have to cater to the interests of one particular group of people; after all, their goal is to be somewhat of an "all things for all people", is it not? "

    Exactly!

    Trying to please everyone will always backfire. If Wiki wants to set up a "school version" great, omit all reference to porn and hey, while they're at it, omit all reference to anything questionable. And who's gonna make that call? What I might find *questionable* might not be questionable for someone else and the other way around.
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  11. #11
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne View Post
    And who's gonna make that call? What I might find *questionable* might not be questionable for someone else and the other way around.
    Good point. Take for example Daniel's comparison of photographic porn compared to sketches or what might be considered art. It's a tough call. But for sure sometimes it comes down to... in the eye of the beholder.

    One time when working in retail we were changing a female mannequin in the store window. A man came in screaming, calling us pornographic. It never crossed my mind that people would get offended by seeing an undressed mannequin that was solid white plastic. :/ It was one of those, go figure, moments.

    It does seem like Wikipedia could have put porn into some kind of protected area like the porn sites pretend to do. If you are going to offer adult content, have an adult area...imho
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  12. #12
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    But then there is also the responsibility that you have to those who have contributed money to the Wiki foundation with the assumption (I would guess) that it would never support porn and had they been aware they wouldn't want to be associated with it and would not have made the contributions. I think it was mentioned that this was of major concern to Wales. I wonder if his phone was ringing off the hook from some of the contributors.
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  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Rexanne, I get where you're coming from, and I agree with the philosophy, generally speaking - but from a practical standpoint, there are lines. I wouldn't expect Wikipedia to have articles detailing the methods used to create black tar heroin with names and locations of where to get the ingredients. I wouldn't expect them to have articles all about child porn, complete with examples and web addresses where more can be found. I wouldn't expect them to have articles that demonstrate how to create weapons that can be sneaked past airport security.

    Being everything to everyone isn't what Wikipedia is about, otherwise, any kid of illegal activity or content would be allowed with zero restrictions. To me, that's not realistic. Besides, as leeann said, there are contributors and partners to consider. If they don't want to be associated with porn, then they'll pull their funding, and all the self-righteous editors will be out of a job when the foundation collapses.
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  14. #14
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Interesting I didn't know that schools were dumb enough to recomend Wikipedia as a source of information.

    My nephews school sent home a note at the start of the school year last year telling parents not to let their kids use it.

  15. #15
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel M. Clark View Post

    Being everything to everyone isn't what Wikipedia is about, otherwise, any kid of illegal activity or content would be allowed with zero restrictions. To me, that's not realistic. Besides, as leeann said, there are contributors and partners to consider. If they don't want to be associated with porn, then they'll pull their funding, and all the self-righteous editors will be out of a job when the foundation collapses.
    Ok this makes more sense. You're right. But I still think pulling content because one special interest group doesn't like it can be problematic.

    So Wiki needs to now define who they are and what they plan on being. Glad I don't have to make that decision.

    I think when we create a web presence, Wiki or otherwise, we need to define our intent and know who our audience is, or at least hope it will be. Then there's no surprises down the line like this one for Wiki.
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  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    I assume .. not sure that Schools have some special program that filtes out sites based on tags , meta tag .. and some other server responce thingy ..

    All they have to do with the wiki issue is Add these tags to the porn / none school pages so they get blocked .. case closed ..
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  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    Could you rate the incoming pages like movies? Not a perfect solution, but I stumble into "adult filters" on all kinds of sites - yesterday it was FineArtAmerica and I never did figure out why that particular image might have been caught in the filter...

  18. #18
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I'd never even considered that Wikipedia would cover the type of content being discussed, but a couple of quick searches and I see where people are taking issue. Is it a source of information or titilation?

    It's a very wide spectrum and every publication has to decide where it chooses to stand. National Geographic has depicted its share of topless women and men wearing nothing but long gourds pointed skyward when covering aboriginal tribes, but I can't remember any depictions of sex (missionary, group, oral or otherwise), and I've had a subscription for some 30+ years.

    It sounds like Wikipedia didn't have a clear idea of where they stood, and that maybe there was a knee jerk reaction by Wales, but better to pull the content in question IMO, and solidify where you stand and what to do next. Leaving it out there pending ongoing debate would only add fuel to the flames.

    If I were Wales, I'd walk away with my head held high and let the editors burn it to the ground.
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  19. #19
    Banned Snowfinch's Avatar
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    Knowledge is neither good or evil. Only the use of knowledge can be good or evil.

    Being a strong advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I would have to say Wales "actions betray the essence of the open user-generated online encyclopedia".

    Only through the sharing of information can we progress. And, when it comes to information, sometimes the good of the many outweighs the good of the few. While at other times, the good of the few outweighs the good of the many.

    One man's trash is another man's treasure.

    "Porn" is a fact of life. It exist. To suppress information about it is to suppress knowledge.

    Gasoline exist. It is common knowledge that it is flammable. Every now and then, someone throws gasoline on a person or animal and sets them on fire. So, do we remove the "fact" that gasoline is flammable from Wikipedia in an attempt to prevent these immoral and illegal acts? Or, do we remove "gasoline" from Wikipedia all together?

    No matter what. At the end of the day. The truth will still be the truth.

    Let's take the earthquake in Haiti for example. What would do more good in the end? Providing them with the information on how to build stronger structures that are more capable of withstanding an earthquake or simply providing them with supplies to rebuild?

    What information do they remove from Wikipedia? Then, if information is censored, when and where does the censorship stop?

    Some of the greatest works of art from the Greek and Roman Empire would be considered "porn" today. Do we remove that? The art will still exist. Yet, knowledge about it will be suppressed.

    Debate is good for the soul. The spreading of ideas in good for mind. The sharing of information is good for society.

  20. #20
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    I agree, but I always thought Wikipedia would be considered, whitelisted? Guess not.
    That is where the "supervise use" part comes in.
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  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfinch View Post
    Knowledge is neither good or evil. Only the use of knowledge can be good or evil.
    So, you support the idea that child pornography should be readily available at a resource that children use to look up facts about the Civil War, the physics of rubber and the quadratic equation.

    Because that's exactly what you're implying, whether you mean to or not. This idea that everything should always be available to everyone is ridiculous.

    You know who also doesn't make porn available to kids? Walmart. Will you protest them for not carrying Hustler? After all - the magazine isn't good or evil, only the use of the magazine is good or evil.

    There are lines. Porn on Wikipedia crosses a line. You can keep the articles - that is the information that should be preserved - but the images that go along with that information often cross the line.

    Let's talk about drugs. Do you honestly think that Wikipedia should carry recipes for heroin with instructions for getting the ingredients? After all, that's just knowledge, right?

    Maybe Wikipedia should stop banning spammers and let everyone edit the pages with whatever information they want (regardless of accuracy or truth) - after all, it's all just information. It should be up to the users.

    If Wikipedia were owned by the government, you could make a censorship claim. Since it isn't, "CENSORSHIP!!!11" is just a false rallying cry that people try to make when they're told they can't run wild over whatever property isn't theirs.

    Wikipedia has the right and the obligation to determine what content is available on their servers.
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  22. #22
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel M. Clark View Post
    Wikipedia has the right and the obligation to determine what content is available on their servers.
    I am not a fan of censorship, esp. Internet censorship, but I do believe people should be responsible about the content they publish. Since Wiki represents itself as an encyclopedia, that indicates by name alone that it is a resource for children to use for learning.

    I agree w/ Daniel that they do have an obligation to determine the type of content they publish and if they do think there is some kind of intellectual benefit in publishing porn, than at least set it up under some kind of parental/adult control.

    Now that all this has gotten out into the news, I doubt Wiki will be available to students any longer. I know if I had a classroom of kids, I'd avoid mentioning Wiki like I would any other porn site kids could access, until the foundation acted with some kind of responsibility and locked up the content.
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    and if they do think there is some kind of intellectual benefit in publishing porn, than at least set it up under some kind of parental/adult control.
    Agreed. Barnes & Noble carries Playboy and Penthouse, but they put it on the highest shelf and the covers aren't visible, only the titles. That, to me, is being responsible and addressing the needs of everyone. They get to carry it, and they keep it away from the kids.
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  24. #24
    Banned Snowfinch's Avatar
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    Daniel M Clark. Let me touch on a few things.

    And who should decide that line? You? Me?

    Wal*Mart doesn't make "porn" available to kids?

    WRONG! Wal*Mart doesn't make what you consider "porn" available to kids.

    I consider most of magazines at the counter "porn". You know, the ones that degrade women down to sex objects with covers of women dressed like a $10 prostitute. Ever visit the DVD section. Lots of movies available for kids to buy that I and many others consider "porn".

    A 12 year old boy died the other day "playing" the "choking game". That is where a person chokes them self to cut off blood flow to the brain to get a quick "buzz".

    So, wanna ban hands? Wanna ban information on hands?

    Maybe parents should stop trying to be their children's best friend and start being parents. Wikipedia shouldn't have to babysit people's children for them.

    Let's get real here. Porn is available from one end of the Internet to the other. A kid wants to find porn... They can find it.

    Wanna ban porn? Cool. Wanna to ban what you consider porn or what I consider porn? Who decides?

    I'll tell you who decides. WIKIPEDIA. It is their site. They can do what they want with it. If folks don't like it, don't go to it.

    This WORLD WIDE WEB stuff was suppose to change our life for the better. Connect people as never before for the betterment of society. The INTERNET. A place to spread ideas, information and share knowledge.

    LOL! The WORLD WIDE WEB has become a porno ring. The INTERNET has become an electronic shopping mall.

    PORNO and SHOPPING. That is what this instrument to spread ideas, information and share knowledge has become.

    Then, Wikipedia comes along and tries to help society and civilization by spreading ideas, information and sharing knowledge like no other site on the Internet.

    Let's silence them. Knowledge must cease. Information must be suppressed. Ideas must be censored. Progress must come to a stop now.

    NO WAY!

    Wikipedia does not have porno. Wikipedia has some people's definition of porn.

    Wikipedia has information. Ideas. Knowledge.

    I dump merchants all the time for degrading women down to the status of "sex symbols". Porno in my opinion.

    So, let's start banning underwear sections on merchant sites that children can access.

    I repeat myself...

    Knowledge is neither good or evil. Only the use of knowledge can be good or evil.

    If Wikipedia wants to carry the recipe for the production of heroin, they should. I won't be using it when I prepare Sunday Dinner. Neither will any other decent person. However, having the information out there for those who are interested is vital for the survival of the species. Say a College Student is doing a paper on heroin. They will probably want to put that information in their paper. Say someone is suspicious that a neighbor may be involved in criminal activity. They saw some weird stuff laying around when they went over to borrow a cup of sugar. They may want to look up one of the items they saw. They go to Wikipedia and find out the item is used in the production of heroin. They then click the link to heroin and discover that every weird item they saw is part of the heroin recipe. They notify law enforcement. A week later, one of the biggest producer of heroin in the country, which the FBI has been looking for for years, is captured.

    Many in affiliate marketing use Wikipedia for articles. Who am I or you to decide what Wikipedia can or can not offer them?

    Wikipedia isn't the one's acting irresponsible.

    Wanna put one of those little warnings up that says something like "I PROMISE I AM 18 YEAR OF AGE OR OLDER".

    WOW! Bet ya no one under 18 has ever click one of those buttons before and lied. LOL!

    Wikipedia can't be censored simply because a child may or may not see or read something their parent doesn't want them to.

    There are people who do not believe Christmas should be celebrated. They do not believe their children should be taught about Santa Claus. So, let's just remove that from Wikipedia too. Let's just take everything someone disagrees with off of there and have a nice blank page, cause that is what they would end up with.

    You and I and every other poster on this thread is spreading knowledge, information and ideas. Some will not agree with it. What do we do? Just not talk about it? Everyone is offended by something.

    And... Knowledge will be used for good by some. For evil by others. And put to no use at all by many.

    After we are through destroying Wikipedia, let's take down YouTube. Then, let's get rid of MTV, one of the biggest supplies of porn to children. But, they provide what I consider porn. You probably don't consider it porn.

    Come let us reason together. How can we reason least we first disagree? How can those who disagree reason? Through friendly debate.

    Thus, we spread knowledge. It is up to the audience to decide how they want to use that knowledge.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I see I have to repeat myself, because your response talks around my point without addressing it:

    So, you support the idea that child pornography should be readily available at a resource that children use to look up facts about the Civil War, the physics of rubber and the quadratic equation.
    Yes or no?

    Incidentally - don't try to define what I consider porn. You don't know me. It's pretty clear what you consider porn though, based on what you just wrote, and it baffles me how you can want porn on Wikipedia yet you have a problem with the covers of Cosmo and its ilk ("I consider most of magazines at the counter "porn". You know, the ones that degrade women down to sex objects with covers of women dressed like a $10 prostitute.")

    But then you agree with my entire premise when you say that Wikipedia should be deciding what is allowed on their servers?
    Daniel M. Clark
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