Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Wikipedia News

What Should We Do About Wikipedia's Porn Problem? 544

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-a-wiki-about-it dept.
Larry Sanger writes "In 2011, the Wikimedia Board committed to installing a 'controversial content' filter even weaker than Google's SafeSearch, as proposed by the '2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content.' Since then, after growing opposition by some Wikipedians, some board members have made it clear that they do not expect this filter to be finished and installed. Nevertheless, Wikipedia continues to host an enormous amount of extremely gross porn and other material most parents don't want their kids stumbling across. And this content is some of the website's most-accessed. Nevertheless, children remain some of Wikipedia's heaviest users. Jimmy Wales has recently reiterated his support for such a filter, but no work is being done on it, and the Foundation has not yet issued any statement about whether they intend to continue work on it." (In case it isn't obvious from the headline and summary, these articles discuss subject matter that may not be appropriate for workplace reading.)
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What Should We Do About Wikipedia's Porn Problem?

Comments Filter:
  • Not a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:22PM (#40186401) Journal

    I've never seen porn on Wikipedia, because I've never looked for it. The fact that the porn is more highly accessed than other types of content indicates that we're not talking about accidental encounters. I don't see what the problem is.

    • Re:Not a problem (Score:4, Informative)

      by Soilworker (795251) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:25PM (#40186455)

      Wow didnt know that Jesus loved anal sex with women...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anal_Intercourse_Artwork.jpg [wikipedia.org]

    • I've been using Wikipedia for years and I've never seen any porn. Can somebody help a brother out?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How many mass graves, lynchings, executions, etc., have you seen on Wikipedia? Porn has never hurt a single person, while the violent images on Wikipedia could actually cause psychological damage (and make you realize that humanity really fucking sucks).

        But we have to filter the pr0n! Think of the children!

      • Re:Not a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @12:43AM (#40191331)

        I've been using Wikipedia for years and I've never seen any porn. Can somebody help a brother out?

        I never have either, I mean there were some anatomy pictures when you look up topics of certain parts of the anatomy, but I expect those pictures to be there (and they were in my old fashioned dead tree encyclopedia as a kid). But if you know enough to look up "convent pornography" then you have obviously been exposed to what pornography is, and you're just fishing for material at this point (and boy, are you fishing in a really shallow, really murky pool).

        Anyway, I don't feel for Mr. Sanger's plight, and I'm a father of two. I think I can keep the kids out of the smut until they're 8 or 9, but I saw my first porno rag long before that (and long before the internet), and I lived through it, somehow.

    • Re:Not a problem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by YodasEvilTwin (2014446) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:27PM (#40186483) Homepage
      The higher rate implies the extra views are not due to accidents, but it says absolutely nothing about the actual number of accidental views. I'm sure kids stumble across stuff there. (And it's not like purposeful access is particularly good for kids either.) Part of the problem is that it is actually illegal in some areas for schools to allow access to Wikipedia. It's a useful educational resource and it would be sad to see it banned just because some Wikipedians don't understand the difference between censorship and a filtering setting that can be changed.
      • Re:Not a problem (Score:5, Informative)

        by YodasEvilTwin (2014446) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:31PM (#40186597) Homepage
        Sorry, that should be illegal to allow access to sites that don't filter porn, which currently includes Wikipedia.
      • Re:Not a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:35PM (#40186699) Journal

        And it's not like purposeful access is particularly good for kids either.

        What evidence is there that porn is bad for children?

        Part of the problem is that it is actually illegal in some areas for schools to allow access to Wikipedia.

        That's not Wikipedia's fault. Let the ignorant savages remain ignorant savages if that's what they want.

        some Wikipedians don't understand the difference between censorship and a filtering setting that can be changed.

        I don't understand the difference either. The mere existence of a filter has a chilling effect on certain kinds of content. That's censorship.

      • just because some Wikipedians don't understand the difference between censorship and a filtering setting that can be changed.

        No, if it was banned, it would be because of idiotic laws and policies, not Wikipedians.

      • Re:Not a problem (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:41PM (#40186823)

        Part of the problem is that it is actually illegal in some areas for schools to allow access to Wikipedia.

        That is indeed a problem. A problem we need to fix with our puritanical society.

        I'm sure kids stumble across stuff there.

        From what I've been able to tell, it's not exactly about "stumbling" as it is, "this is relevant to the topic of the page." If you're searching for topics on anatomy, for example, pictures are appropriate. The fact that a picture of say, an eye, is appropriate and pictures of genitals are not is a problem with our culture, not wikipedia. It's all just normal human anatomy.

        Same goes for other topics that are not considered appropriate. If you're old enough to know to search for it, you're old enough to find out about it. If your parents didn't prepare you for it by the time that you're curious about it, they've fucked up. Talk to your kids early and often, or they're going to find the information before you've had a chance to give them your moral views on the topic at hand.

      • Re:Not a problem (Score:4, Insightful)

        by arth1 (260657) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:56PM (#40187103) Homepage Journal

        It's a useful educational resource and it would be sad to see it banned just because some Wikipedians don't understand the difference between censorship and a filtering setting that can be changed.

        I don't understand the difference either. If someone wants filtering, let them add it on their end, else it is censorship and bigotry too -- applying your own mores to change other people's experience. Flip the switch on your side of the connection.

        It's like ranting about a family restaurant listing beer and wine on their menu. You don't have to order it. The main difference is that unlike sex, alcohol has been shown to be harmful.

        If a kid hits puberty without knowing anything about sex but knows everything about murder, I'd say the parents belong in jail.

    • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:38PM (#40186745)

      Search for forefinger [wikipedia.org] (obviously NSFW) and find porn.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I second this. This is not like google where innocuous searches will lead to objectionable material because of the market driven nature of searches. Firms and google wants porn on search results as it will lead to click throughs and profits. Therefore the filter is necessary for googles survival.

      OTOH, Wikipedia has no such problem. Articles are not competing Against each other for clicks. Furthermore one thing that is superior to other ebncyclopedia is that controversial content can be hosted without c

  • What porn (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sperbels (1008585) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:23PM (#40186417)
    I've never seen any porn on wikipedia. I've seen some nudity before...but porn?
  • by s0lar (217978)

    So, do we have any good links?

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Suppose someone wrote a filter for porn; would his filter be deemed to have accessed the porn. As the alarm went off poooorn, the cops came in.

  • porn? where? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've been contributing to the Wikipedia for seven years.

    Not once - not ONCE - in that time have I seen porn on the Wikipedia.

    • by MPolo (129811)
      I have also not seen anything in this category. Certainly there are some articles that many parents might not like their children to see, but education and supervision is probably a better solution than any filter Wikipedia could manage to install. Of course, boys of a certain age are going to find it regardless of what the parents do.
    • I've been contributing for less than that and seen porn a few times. Anecdotes are meaningless.
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SarekOfVulcan (133772) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:25PM (#40186461)

    I wonder why Larry Sanger could possibly have an interest [citizendium.org] in making WP look problematic.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:29PM (#40186555) Homepage

    I followed a bunch of the links on Sanger's site just to see what he's talking about. Having a dozen or so videos of male ejaculation seems excessive. But a lot of the rest of it is 19th century French engravings, naughty postcards, and the like. Is that stuff appropriate for Wikipedia, even out of historical interest? I don't think that's for an automated filter to decide. Given that most home Internet connections don't have comprehensive content filters installed, I also think "the children" are about four clicks away from far raunchier material than that.

  • Doesn't the very concept of pornography go against the core reasons for Wikipedia's existence?
  • you know the rules
  • I don't think it's more of a problem on Wikipedia than anywhere else on the Internet. First, they should require that people sign in before editing. The problem with a filter is that it would be difficult to prevent kids from opting out. Even on YouTube, all you have to do is click a button agreeing that you're at least 18.
  • I have neer seen porn on Wikipedia, though truth to be told I have never searched for it. But if someone does it's reasonable to assume that they do want to see porn, isn't it?

  • If your kids look for porn, they're going to find it. Who cares if it's on Wikipedia especially? If it is, it's likely for informational purposes. I don't think Wikipedia was designed to be a porn site. If your kids want to look at porn, I suggest parental software and supervision. Take some responsibility for your kids. Reminds me of Kyle's mom on South Park going after Terrance and Philip. Anyway, who cares if your kids see sex? They're going to see it anyway. You might as well banalize it now.
    • It's obviously not perfect but it can be helpful to have SOMETHING between the kids and the pr0n. Policing your kids isn't bulletproof either, you simply can't do it all the time without chaining them in the basement. I don't see how a somewhat helpful optional filter is problematic given that it seems pretty easy to implement and there's probably people willing to donate to it if they went that route. If you had kids you would probably see the difference between "young kids seeing sex" and "young kids s
  • From the summary:

    And this content is some of the website's most-accessed.

    Because I have never run across porn there, I didn't even realize Wikipedia had a porn problem. That said, if pornographic content is really the most accessed content on Wikipedia, why not get a few paid/unpaid interns to review the top N accessed images on Wikipedia. I am sure there are people who would like to be paid to look at porn.

  • What should we do about Wikipedia's porn problem? Recognize that there is no "problem"---that this is no more a "problem" than any other content on Wikipedia that some people don't like---and move on to something that's actually important?

  • by fsmunoz (267297) <fsmunoz.member@fsf@org> on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:49PM (#40186981) Homepage

    extremely gross porn

    I remember voting against a filter some time ago. One of the reasons was that "extremely gross porn" is not something consensual. A picture of a naked women having a baby, is it "gross porn"? Many would actively deem it so. Which is why this whole thing sounds to much like a first step towards self-censorship in the name of cultural relativism. Who will define what is porn and what is relevant?

    Mind you, this different approach is valid between Europeans and North-Americans, let alone when talking about... others. Why not also consider additional content as "extremely gross"? Once it is done for "porn", whatever that means, the door is opened for everything else.

    My position is not that porn should be in wikipedia. But images that are relevant to an article should be maintained if there is an agreement that they add value to it. Porn is but a red herring used to get the foot in the door.

  • Slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rhysweatherley (193588) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:52PM (#40187021)
    Porn problem? What about Wikipedia's bomb problem? Enough information about chemistry and physics to build your own homemade bomb. Depending upon your budget, everything from firecrackers and pipe bombs to nuclear weapons. What about Wikipedia's computer security problem? Blow by blow descriptions of common computer vulnerabilities and how they can be exploited.

    And so on.

    We've been down this road before with the debates over the Anarchist's Cookbook and hacking manuals. Banning, or labelling, or whatever serves no purpose except to enable government censors to make up excuses to block other information. And look - you gave them a nice little filtering system to help them do exactly that!

    Of course Wikipedia needs to tread softly - they are the repository of the world's knowledge and anything that reduces access to knowledge is against its charter. Make the descriptions of various porn acts more clinical and less explicit, perhaps. But that won't stop the "think of the children!" crowd.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:18PM (#40187541) Homepage

    There is an easy reliable technological solution to this that has been around for 10 years, but no one uses it. There is a W3C standard for labeling pages [fosi.org] as containing porn, violence, etc. Internet Explorer had support for blocking pages based on this as far back as IE5. But no one put the meta tags in and so the filters never worked. All Wikipedia should do is have contributors properly label the media, and allow the browsers to handle it based on the user's preferences.

  • by miltonw (892065) on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:21PM (#40187587)
    Got kids?
    Got Internet?
    Do what you should do to protect your kids online.
    Don't blame Wikipedia, Google or whoever if you fail as a parent.
  • by PyroMosh (287149) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:02PM (#40188071) Homepage

    What should we do about Slashdot's Larry Sanger problem?

    In 2012, someone submitted an article to Slashdot whining of an imagined problem on the website Wikipedia. Citing the 'controversial content', he whined about the lack of a filter even weaker than Google's SafeSearch.

    Since then, after growing calls to "show us the porn" by some Slashdot users, some users have made it clear that they do not expect this to be able to filter Larry Sanger. Nevertheless, Slashdot continues to host an enormous amount of extremely gross whining and other complaining that most users don't want clogging up the front page. And this content is some of the website's most-accessed. Nevertheless, Sanger remain one of Slashdot's most self-righteous users. Slashdot founder CmdrTaco (blessings and peace be upon him) has recently reiterated his support for a Larry Sanger filter, but no work is being done on it, and the editors have not yet issued any statement about whether they intend to work on it.

  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Friday June 01, 2012 @09:15PM (#40189723)

    Last week at my local library, some kids were checking Kama Sutra books. When I was a kid, we would play with the TV fine tuning just to get a glimpse of adult encrypted channels.

    Besides, if it wasn't for sex, the human race would have become extinct aeons ago...

  • by Tom (822) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:09PM (#40195579) Homepage Journal

    If I had kids, there would be a lot of stuff I'd be more worried about than porn. There is violence and other graphic images on the Internet that I find a lot more disgusting than all but the most extreme porn. And that will almost certainly have a much worse effect on children than watching someone naked doing strange stuff they don't understand.

    But then again, that's America for you, a culture where half the population believes in creationism and shooting someone's brains out on afternoon TV is fine while a quarter-second glance at half of a breast nipple is a national scandal.

    There's worse than porn on the Internet, and if you want to play the "for the chiiiiildren" card, then I'd like to see some evidence that porn actual does any damage to children first. You assumptions and gut feelings, see creationism, are not reliable and not evidence.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

Working...