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Wikimedia needs your nipples

by Moxie

Background

.

A couple of years ago a bored teenager took a couple of photos of himself and posted them to Wikimedia Commons. The first photo was of his bare legs, the second photo was of his nipple. Then for some reason, probably because he’d grown up a bit, he wished that those images weren’t on online any more. At the beginning of January 2012 he made a formal request asking Wikipedia commons remove the photos for him. Simply enough, you may think, but this is Wikimedia Commons, and things are never simple there.

Deletion Requests

Within a twinkling of an eye it was declared that photos of teen boy nipples are highly educational – request denied. But not before another user “VolodyA! V Anarhist”, who in 2000 was convicted of child pornography offences, had told him that:

Without any other information apart from “please delete” i hope that admins will have common sense to close the request and keep the image.

The kid tried to make the same request twice more, until some nasty mean old administrator James L. Woodward came by to threaten him:

You have nominated File:Teen_boy’s_Nipple.jpg for deletion three times without a reason acceptable to Commons. If you nominate it again, or take any similar action, you will be blocked from editing on Commons. 

James L. Woodward has “more than 30 years of high technology management experience. Jim has raised over $15 million in venture capital and has been CFO of several public companies. He has been the founding CFO of a variety of successful companies” but apparently is unable to pass up an opportunity to post a threat.

Meanwhile the requests to have the photo deleted were denied, denied, and denied, “VolodyA! V Anarhist” being most insistent that they were to be kept. And the Administrators’ reasons for deciding to keep the image were:

  • You uploaded it several years ago, you can’t come along now and tell us it was done without your permission. Free licences cannot be revoked. –mattbuck
  • This isn’t a photosharing service, once you release images here you cannot say “oh no I didn’t mean that”, especially not three years after the fact. –mattbuck
  • kept – per comments above. —Denniss

Aftermath

So Wikimedia kept the photo of the kid’s tit, despite the kid begging for them to delete it, and despite the fact that after 42 months the image remained unused on Wikipedia. Kept it because they could, and kept it just for spite.

This contrasts with the experience of a then prominent Wikipedia administrator (and director of the WMF-UK charity).  This individual had uploaded a bondage photo of himself naked from the waist down. After he became a director of the charity and was part of a delegation to speak to a British Parliamentary Committee on privacy, he, like the kid earlier, decided that his bare arse photo was a bit of an embarrassment and a quiet word with one of his administrator friends resulted in the the photo being deleted, no fuss, no claims of educational value, just gone.

Two months later, Commons Administrator Alison deleted the image at 18:03, 5 April 2012 with the comment: Author requested deletion of page: Please show a little kindness here. A teenager uploaded it, then came to regret it. It’s unused and has remained so. Please let’s just do the right thing here.

 

Image credit: politicomafioso.blogspot.com, labeled for commercial use with modification

9 comments to Wikimedia needs your nipples

  • TungstenCarbide

    Meanwhile, if you’re one of wikipedia’s elite you get to live by different rules; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:VanTucky_and_hen.JPG

  • Malik Shabazz

    All of Wikipedia lives by different rules than Wikimedia Commons does.

    • lilburne

      Not true.

      Back in January 2013 a child (around twelve years old) having been told by his mentor that he could stipulate that the photo is only to be used on wikipedia, uploads a photo of a butterfly photo to Commons. In mid July he discovers that what he had been told is untrue and requests removal of the image.

      The request was denied in time honored Commons fashion, and others uploaded the photo to the photosharing site flickr. The child is then harangued on the wikipedia administrator notice board, when he when he appeals to Jimmy Wales where various charmers continue the bluster and bullying. Eventually the WMF lawyers are consulted, where the request to remove a photograph is turned into an existential proplem for wikipedia, the child banned from wikipedia, and the image removed after weeks of shouting and bullying by the wikipedia community.

      What we see in both of these stories is the gasping nature of the wikipedia communities, who in their conceit of being a sharing community think nothing of publicly bullying and threaten children in order to get their way.

      • Alison Cassidy

        The question needs to be asked; can a child release rights to / license a photograph in the first place? Because I’m pretty sure the answer is ‘no’. And when I look on Commons at their licensing documentation, I see no mention of children and licensing (unless I’m looking in the wrong place)

        https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Commons_licensing_help

        • Joe

          Maybe? A minor can enter into many forms of irreversible transactions (obviously, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to buy anything), and they can even enter into contracts. As long as they are not out of the ordinary (ie. something that can be shown that competent adult would enter into).

  • Wer900

    Wikipedia is built on bluster, and will fall apart any time soon. I hope to stop that from happening, but small incidents like this, every day, mean that the already-tenuous foundations are falling apart.

  • John Doe

    Welcome to internet of today. This is the ethics of the modern internet: if you are publishing copyrighted material, you are a disrespectful burden to society. So serious is it that we have governments to bring you down. However, if you publish a picture of someone’s nipples for no reason, despite the person’s continuous requests for its removal (which you may simply censor), the online community can allow you to remain a respectable inner member.

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