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This page is about the Wikipedia community's discussions on pornography. For the notability guideline, see Wikipedia:Notability_(people)#Pornographic_actors. For the WikiProject, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Pornography.

This page documents some of the discussions the Wikipedia community have had regarding matters related to pornography. While there is no formal policy, the Wikipedia:Profanity guideline has the advice:

  • "Words and images that would be considered offensive, profane, or obscene by typical Wikipedia readers should be used if and only if their omission would cause the article to be less informative, relevant, or accurate, and no equally suitable alternatives are available. Including information about offensive material is part of Wikipedia's encyclopedic mission; being offensive is not."

Existing policy[edit]

"Wikipedia is not censored" is a policy: some articles may include objectionable text, images, or links as explained in the disclaimer. The policy had previously been "Wikipedia is not censored for the protection of minors" but this was changed by 9 votes to 5. Attempts to define what censorship means were rejected.

Despite this, many images have been added to a blacklist that prevents them from being displayed. Several images have also been proposed for deletion on the grounds of being "unencyclopedic", because those proposing deletion feel either that they add nothing to the article in question or that they damage Wikipedia's reputation as a credible encyclopedia; similar points are made more generally every day at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion and Wikipedia:Images and media for deletion. One concern expressed is that although Wikipedia is not censored internally, it may be censored externally by others limiting access, and that a balance needs to be struck. In many cases other issues are also included in the debate, such as copyright issues. Those wishing to retain images usually put forward two arguments: first that any censorship is in principle unacceptable, and second that the particular image in question adds information to an article.

Jimbo Wales on obscenity[edit]

While Jimbo's formal role has shrunk over the years, he is granted a tremendous amount of respect for his role in forming Wikipedia, putting it under a free license and guiding its formation. His opinion thus has much informal authority, and he occasionally acts as an appeal of last resort. Jimbo in general endorses displaying topical images, even if some consider them obscene, but there are limits:

  • A photo used to illustrate Creampie (sexual act) was deleted by Jimbo with the edit summary, "Image would trigger 2257 record keeping requirements." This refers to the enforcement guidelines for the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act, which require the "publisher" of sexually explicit material, Wikipedia in this case, to obtain and maintain records proving that the model is of legal age.
  • An extensive debate filling six pages of archives at Talk:Lolicon regarding a drawing of a seminude seven-year-old girl with a dildo and a teddy bear in S&M regalia was resolved by an out-of-process deletion of the image by an admin, who was congratulated by Jimbo.
  • In June 2007, several lolicon versions of Wikipe-tan were uploaded. In the midst of the deletion debate, Jimbo deleted the images, noting, "pedophilic sexualization of a community mascot? No. - email me if you have questions."

Some examples of debates, decisions and non-decisions[edit]

Some of the pages linked here may cause offense to some people. Hence the frequent debates.


In the early days of the site, the "You have new messages" notice that appeared when there was a change to a user's discussion page was a simple link. Vandals found that by turning these talk pages into redirects to explicit images, they could force unsuspecting users to go to view them. This was considered so egregious a form of vandalism that the system message was changed to forbid redirecting from a new messages notice, as well as to add a "diff" that allows users to see what is changed.

See also[edit]