Feature

Wikipedia's war on porn

Does founder Jimmy Wales' crusade to purge Wikipedia of sexually explicit images go too far — or not far enough?

A fight has broken out over sexually explicit content on Wikipedia, the world's largest open-source reference site. Jimmy Wales, who cofounded the site with Larry Sanger, deleted hundreds of nude photos after his estranged partner Sanger told the FBI that Wikipedia's parent company was "knowingly distributing child pornography." Some users are protesting Wales' "undemocratic" decision to yank material from the user-generated site — and Wales has responded by giving up some of his editing privileges. Has Wales done too much cleaning up — or not enough?

It was a feeble effort: Wales didn't begin to solve the problem, says Jana Winter at FoxNews.com. The images to which the FBI was alerted are still online, "along with an entire category called 'nude children' and other photos of naked children." "Despite content purge, pornographic images remain on Wikimedia"

Fox News is stirring up a phony controversy: The leading too-much-porn critics here — Fox News — are "complete dunderheads," says Nicholas Deleon in CrunchGear. The internet is overloaded with "explicit" porn sites. But about the raciest image you'll find on Wikipedia is a nude photo in the entry about human anatomy. Leave Jimmy alone!"Wikipedia finds out first-hand that, in America, the naked human body is a terribly sinful thing"

The battle is just beginning: This is war, says Ireland's TechCentral. Sanger insists there's child pornography on the sites, but Wikipedia's parent company says no illegal content is permitted. There's a "fine line" between "what is protected by free speech and what is just obscene for obscenity’s sake" — let's hope that defensibly educational materials won't be deleted. "Jimmy Wales wades into Wikipedia porn debate"

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