Wikipedia:Censorship (2006 proposal)

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This is a rejected policy proposal about censorship. You might be looking for Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not censored.

Proposed Policy in a nutshell[edit]

No censorship. What is "offensive" or "immoral" varies between people in areas such as sex, religion, politics, and violence. Wikipedia disregards these labels as valid grounds for the removal of information, whether in text or image form. Information will only be removed for editorial reasons or to comply with applicable laws.

Why is this needed?[edit]

All world cultures have certain taboos regarding certain subject matter, and how those subjects may be portrayed (if at all). However, views and feelings on these matters vary so widely from culture to culture, within each culture, and from period to period, that there is no universal agreement as to what is "offensive". There is also no agreement or substantive evidence as to what information may cause concrete, objective harm to society or individuals, nor any agreement as to what is age-appropriate for people to read or see. Many cultures have attempted to shield certain information from access by children, from women, from certain races or social classes, or from all of those groups at various times in history.

Wikipedia's mission to provide a neutral and comprehensive resource of information requires that it discuss, describe, and illustrate matters that have been, are, or will be considered offensive by certain groups. Because one of Wikipedia's most fundamental policies is to maintain a neutral point of view, and because there is no objective basis for imposing one cultural preference upon Wikipedia articles over another, it must disregard "offensive" as a basis for removing information. Wikipedia contributors must attempt to step outside of culturally contingent perspectives to document and illustrate even the most controversial topics in a thorough, factual manner, to the fullest extent possible under relevant law.

Prior to the adoption of this policy, there have been ongoing arguments on the talk pages of some articles containing "offensive" images, (example Lolicon), while they have been solved on others (Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy). Limiting discussion about these images to the article’s talk pages has created different standards for different articles. It could allow for forms of censorship being applied to some images (Image:Hikari Hayashibara Manga.jpg), and not to others (Image:Jyllands-Posten Muhammad drawings.jpg). This will give the impression to readers of Wikipedia that some images are more "offensive" than others.

Forms of censorship[edit]

What censorship is[edit]

For the purposes of this policy, censorship is any change to any article, image or media file on the grounds that you find it "offensive" or believe others may find it "offensive".

Changes include but are not limited to:

Moving
Moving disputed sections to other pages where they will be in turn further whittled down in due time.
Deleting
Deleting or removing items from an article.
Listing 
Listing images on MediaWiki:Bad image list.
Replacing
Replacing photographs with drawings, replacing literal description with euphemism or metaphor, or using other similar means to minimize the information provided in text or image form.
Resizing
Making images smaller.
Hiding
Using panels or having the same background and text color.
Blockading
Getting "alliances" of like minded editors to block encyclopedic and legitimate insertions into articles.

What censorship is not[edit]

  • Doing any of the above for reasons other than censorship including relevance, verifiability, copyright.
  • Allowing users to use their own css files to hide content.
  • Deleting it because its use on Wikipedia is illegal in the State where particular servers are hosted.
  • Deleting it because of legitimate editorial concerns, such as irrelevance, lack of information content, or redundancy.

What this policy is[edit]

  • Do not remove, relocate or replace text or images in articles because you find them "offensive" or believe that others may find them "offensive".
  • Do not argue for or against the removal or replacement of text or images simply on the grounds that you find them "offensive" or believe that others may find them "offensive".
  • Do not use any means to hide text or images that will affect other users.

What this policy is not[edit]

This is not an excuse to deliberately contribute content to offend members of a race, nation, gender or religion intentionally. All content should be judged according to the neutral editorial standards that govern Wikipedia article writing generally. This policy does not give you the right to make personal attacks or violate Wikiquette.

See also[edit]