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Wikimedia needs your nipples

by Moxie

Background

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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

…continue reading Wikimedia needs your nipples

The tragedy of Wikipedia’s commons

By Gigs

This article appeared originally in the Wikipedia Signpost, June 12, 2013.

I’ve long thought that we should get rid of the Commons as we know it. Commons has evolved, through the actions of a tiny group of people, into a project with interests that compete with the needs of the various encyclopedias that are the primary users of Commons, and the reason it was created. It’s also understaffed, which results in poor curation, large administrative backlogs, and poor policy development.

First, some background information. Commons was primarily created so we could share media between various wikis, with a secondary goal of being a free media repository. When Erik Möller proposed the idea of Commons, he also proposed an inclusion criteria, “Material would be eligible for inclusion in the Commons if it is useful to at least ONE Wikimedia project [including potential future use].”

At no point during initial discussions was it proposed that the inclusion criteria basically be the mere fact that an image was free. There was an implicit assumption throughout that the files would be free, and also encyclopedic in some way.

From inception until 2008, the main inclusion criteria at commons was the media be “useful or potentially useful” to a Wikimedia project, reflecting Möller’s initial proposal comments. In 2008, a replacement policy was proposed and implemented by User:MichaelMaggs, with half a page of feedback from about six other editors. These six editors (some seemingly unwittingly) redefined the scope of Commons from a repository of files useful to Wikimedia project, to files “useful for an educational purpose”.

This unchallenged action by a tiny group of people changed the scope of the project such that any media file with a free license can be included, since it is extremely easy to argue that any media is

…continue reading The tragedy of Wikipedia’s commons

Child Pornography on Wikimedia Commons

by Delicious carbuncle

 

Let’s be very clear about this – in my experience, the Wikimedia Foundation (who own Wikipedia and the site’s image repository, Wikimedia Commons) takes the issue of child pornography very seriously. The WMF has no tolerance for explicit images of people who are underage. This may be simply because hosting child pornography is illegal in the jurisdictions where the Wikimedia servers are, but whatever the reason, my reporting of child pornography to WMF employees has always resulted in swift and decisive action. The trouble is that Wikimedia projects are not administrated by WMF employees, they are administrated by volunteers. And some of those volunteers do not share the WMF’s concerns about hosting child pornography.

Meet Matt Buck

Matt Buck is an admin on Wikimedia Commons, where he goes by the clever pseudonym Mattbuck. He’s not the Matt Buck who is a talented illustrator, or the Matt Buck who is a bodybuilder and fitness model. He’s this Matt Buck, who is a maths PhD student at the University of Nottingham.Mattbuck is very active on Commons and one of the more prominent admins there. When someone believes an image on Commons should be deleted for some reason, they start a deletion discussion. Commons editors will discuss the rationale for deleting or keeping the image and an admin will close the discussion (and delete the image if that is the decision reached). Mattbuck is one of a group of editors who tend to appear at deletion discussions about images relating to nudity or sexuality to offer reasons why the image should be kept. Since he is an admin, Mattbuck also closes a lot of these types of discussions. Mattbuck also keeps galleries of “sexuality” and “nudity” images in his userspace, presumably so that he can spot problem images. These

…continue reading Child Pornography on Wikimedia Commons