Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedians against censorship

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WikiProject Wikipedians against censorship was started on August 20, 2005, to coordinate efforts to oppose censorship on Wikipedia. It was started as a response to WikiProject Wikipedians for Decency (now WikiProject Wikipedians for encyclopedic merit and apparently inactive), which aimed to remove images and text on Wikipedia which its members considered "indecent". This WikiProject addresses censorship of materials which some may deem indecent or offensive, but which are nonetheless encyclopedic and appropriate in the context of Wikipedia. It also addresses political and religious censorship.

Anyone who is interested in contributing, please sign up on the members page and post any ideas or suggestions on the Talk page. Also, feel free to edit this page and add any articles that need attention to the sections below.

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Important note about scope: This project is primarily focused on applying our policy of no censorship in the realm of article space, and occasionally in the project space. Any content, such as userboxes, in user space is considered outside the scope of this project and should not be included on the notice board.

Members[edit]

The membership list has been moved to its own page. Please sign up there if you are interested in contributing to this project. Feel free to add the freespeech template, {{User:Feureau/UserBox/freespeech}}, to your user page once you have become a member:

Blue ribbon.svg This user is a member of Wikipedians against censorship.


Notice board[edit]

This notice board is intended to inform project members of current Wikipedia events related to censorship. Please list articles in need of attention, votes for deletion, votes for policy change, or other current and ongoing events which warrant the attention of the member base of this WikiProject. Once votes are closed or the event is no longer current, please move notices to the notice board archive.

Note: Personal attacks are not allowed on this notice board. Any notices not conforming to Wikipedia policies may be edited or removed. Discussions should be held on the relevant talk pages, not on the notice board.

Open tasks[edit]

Defend policies against modifications that encourage censorship[edit]

Current policies:

Educate those who want to censor Wikipedia[edit]

Many new Wikipedia users are unaware of the policies and guidelines concerning what types of content are appropriate for Wikipedia. Before engaging in lengthy debate with users who are attempting to censor content, it is always a good idea to first point them in the direction of the appropriate policies. Some users, however, may object to these policies. Here are some common objections, and appropriate responses:

Statement: Wikipedia must be censored to conform to laws against obscenity; in particular, laws of the United States, or of the state of Florida where Wikipedia's servers reside.

Responses:

  • In the United States, obscenity is defined under the Miller test, which states that a work cannot be considered obscene if, taken as a whole, it has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Since Wikipedia has literary, artistic, political, and scientific value it would be very difficult to charge it with obscenity, no matter how graphic a particular piece of it was. According to Jimbo Wales, Wikipedia could display full-blown pornography on the main page 24/7 and still not be in violation of U.S. obscenity laws. As far as state and local laws in the U.S. are concerned, if they do not conform to the Miller test, they are unconstitutional. The oft-quoted Florida Obscenity Law has the Miller test explicitly written into it in order to avoid being overturned as unconstitutional.

Statement: If Wikipedia is not censored, then schoolchildren will be forbidden from using it in research, for instance by school policies, or by content-control software programs blocking the site because of "pornographic" or "adult" (e.g., sexual) content.

Responses:

  • There have been no documented cases of school policies forbidding the use of Wikipedia because of sexual content.
  • There have been no documented cases of censorware programs used by schools blocking the entire site, as opposed to merely blocking specific articles or images.
  • Censorware programs do not target only sexual content, but also (e.g.) "cult", "extremist", and "violence" content. They also target not only images, but also words and textual content. A desire to avoid being blocked by censorware would exclude Wikipedia from covering new religious movements; terrorist organizations and extremist political movements; wars, weapons, and incidents of violent crime such as mass murders; and other topics of encyclopedic importance.
  • Schools are free to configure Wikipedia to hide the most controversial images.

Statement: Your article about X is sick and disgusting. Wikipedia should not promote X.

Responses:

  • Wikipedia does not promote X, it simply reports the existence of X.
  • Wikpedia's manual of style encourages a dispassionate treatment of any subject. We do not write in a moralising tone. Wikipedia should not state whether something is moral or immoral - this judgement is left to the reader. Wikipedia should only care whether something is verifiable.