Talk:Content-control software: Difference between revisions

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(History and citations: format reply - no strong feelings)
(History and citations: cite for Gskuse - I co-authored paper, so wary of adding it myself)
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::::Moved. [[User:Gskuse|Gskuse]] 20:34, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
::::Moved. [[User:Gskuse|Gskuse]] 20:34, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Gskuse, if you want a cite for the section "The companies' opponents argued, on the other hand, that performing the necessary checking would require resources greater than the companies possessed and that therefore their claims were not valid", you can use
for a government-site (for sourcing purposes on specific project, even though it's a .org). I've used the web archive for a stable URL, as I can't find it currently. The paper's also available at , but that might be viewed as not preferable to the National Academies. Since I'm a co-author of this paper, I'm wary of adding it to the article myself. -- [[User:Seth Finkelstein|Seth Finkelstein]] 11:54, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Revision as of 11:54, 25 February 2007

Won't somebody think of the children?

Would it be possible to add a rating system to Wikipedia. It has been mentioned before that Wikipedia is used in schools etc. There are a number of pages that may not be suitable for school use. Maybe a checkbox on the edit form could be used to generate a SurfSafe header ( or other PICS header. I would suggest keeping it simple and having just "suitable for all" or "suitable for adults". Some schools can only see suitably rated pages. I know that some people would say that children should be able to see all facts, but in practice a school is likely to have complaints from a number of parents if it turns out that the kids are looking up Handballing, Autoeroticism etc. -- Chris Q 06:13 Oct 16, 2002 (UTC)

<sarcasm>Oh oh, can we have special markup to save the children from dangerous political ideas and information about crime and violence, too?</sarcasm> --Brion 06:37 Oct 16, 2002 (UTC)
Hm. That sounds like both a feature request and a policy change. A much better venue for that is the Wikipedia mailing list. Any mention of SufeSafe or its ilk gives me the creeps and I'm not sure we should feed those demons (and if we get black listed by them then shame on them, not us). This is a Free as in Speech webstie. But go ahead and give it a whirl on the list. ---mav
This issue was a very divisive one at the Open Directory Project, where adult content was eventually cordoned off into a separate hierarchy that was labeled with PICS tags. This compromise did not please anyone, as coverage of legitimate topics was obscured from view and unabashedly blue content was still readily available to children.
No doubt there will be Wikipedia licensees who will filter and censor Wikipedia content to suit their needs and wants. However, our focus should be on generating Wikipedia content and making it freely available. -- NetEsq 07:49 Oct 16, 2002 (UTC)
OK, I can see that the concensus is against this. I guess NetEsq is right, anyone that wants to copy a subset of Wikipedia for open use will probably do so. -- Chris Q 08:07 Oct 16, 2002 (UTC)
I think that thay ar all educational so you shud be able to look up all uv them at the scool. This is a ensiclopedia -- 21:45, 17 Nov 2003 (UTC)
No lets not have this feature. Wikipedia wont be accomplishing it's mission of being a free encyclopedia if it starts censoring itself. Sure some things shouldn't be looked up at school but I don't trust censorware programs. --Arm
Yeah, you can't burn it since it's not a book, so censoring it is almost as good, right? Good idea. Brilliant. I think it's been tried before. Xinoph 19:30, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Content filtering software products

I'm planning on removing the section Content filtering software products. Any objections? Josh Parris 02:56, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Question: Why? --Aurochs
The list of products is transient and non encyclopedic. Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links, images, or media files. Surely there is a list of Content filtering software products already kicking around on the web somewhere. We could link to that instead. Josh Parris 01:32, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
*sigh* I'm opposed, but I have no argument to counter yours... If you can find a list, I'll change my mind. --Aurochs, May 30 2005
I can't find a list. Which I find very surprising, and indicative that I've done the search wrong. So, I'm holding off. Josh Parris 07:43, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I am removing the long list of product links to censorware companies. Please note that wikipedia is not a web directory. External links sections should provide links to a limited list of pages that further discuss, or provide references for, the issues in the text. Including stacks of links to Norton Utilities, and other commerical, shareware and freeware products is not wikipedia's job. When we discuss automobiles, we do not then go on to include a long list of direct links to the pages of autbomobile companies. Etc, etc. Sdedeo 04:46, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Err, okay, but why didn't you put that in the section above? --Aurochs


Does any wikipedia guru know how to create a "category"? That would be the best way to organize all the wikipedia articles on the various software; instead of compiling an incomplete list within the article itself, we could just link to the category page. Sdedeo 02:52, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Start it like you would start a normal page, but put it in the Category namespace. MediaWiki will take care of the rest. --Aurochs
What about products with nonexisting article? There is a lingering class of existing objects that should be at least mentioned by name. When listed, whether in this article or in a separate "List of...", these appear as a red link. I, for one, welcomed that list. It can be worked around by creating a short stub for each of them, but then they will get listed as AfDs and we're back at square 1. --Shaddack 19:52, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
Hi Shaddack -- please restore the list if you want. I felt it was kind of silly: it's an invitation for everyone to list every single censorware in existence. In the same way we don't list all the titles of every mystery book ever published, we probably shouldn't do it for censorware software? My feeling is that unless a particular piece of software is famous enough to be created without a tantalizing redlink, it shouldn't be created at all. Anyway, YMMV. Yours, Sdedeo 21:59, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Strong anti-censorware bias

Is the opening phrase 'The term "censorware" is valuative [sic]" thereby intended to justify what follows as a strongly anti-censorware article? Is this within the limits of objectivity which Wikipedia strives for? (Note that "internet filter" redirects immediately to "censorware")

Any mention of a positive view on censorware is immediately followed with a counter-argument, whereas anti-censorware views are left to stand. The picture showing blockage of by one filter seems designed to show that censorware is ridiculous. The section on bypassing filters seems inappropriate to include in such an article, and perhaps should go elsewhere. The final section "Opinions for and Against Censorware" seems like a joke, given that the whole article seems to be an argument against censorware, and the inclusion of one link to a few articles showing the pro-censorware point of view seems like a scant offering.

I'm not some kind of pro-censorware activist or software manufacturer. I'm just an average guy who looked up "internet filtering" for some *information* and instead what I got was *indoctrination*.

The usual line of "You don't like it? Then edit it!" isn't much encouragement, since it seems the whole article (and whoever's committed to maintaining it) is entirely and adamantly supportive of only one view of the subject.

Really? I haven't done much on the article myself (a link or sentence tweak, one of which got reverted). But maybe in terms of where one stands depends on where one sits, my perceptions are certainly affected by my own views. Don't you think sentences such as (again, not mine) "Choosing an internet service provider (ISP) that blocks objectionable material before it enters the home over software run on their own computer can help parents who worry about their children viewing objectionable content." are fair to the pro-censorware viewpoint?
I would strongly argue that "censorware" is the correct term and base article, since "filter" can mean anti-spam program or mail-sorting program. So "censorware" is more precise (which helps the goal of an encyclopedia). Blocking whitehouse.COM is not ridiculous, it's not whitehouse.GOV. It used to be a porn site (whitehouse.COM, not whitehouse.GOV). So I don't think there was untoward intent in that screenshot - Seth Finkelstein 12:49, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

As always, fix what you feel is wrong! I haven't looked at this for awhile, but please do your best to soften or remove "editorial" content -- I don't see why that's an impossible task. Looking over the article briefly, it does cover criticisms more than "positives", but the fact is that there are numerous downsides to using a piece of software to decide what people should see -- a task more suited to another human being -- and the article reports them: false positives, questions of censorship, restrictions regardless of age or maturity, first amendment questions, court challenges, etc. etc.. Sdedeo (tips) 14:26, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

You mention that there are numerous downsides to using a piece of software to decide what people should see - and then you say that it is a "task more suited to another human being". Which makes me wonder - if another human being decides to install a piece of software to aid in the task of deciding what people should see, where are the downsides?

Mindful of the anonymous user's criticisms, I've modified the text that's with the DansGuardian image to explain why was being blocked, and changed "censored" to "blocked". It felt more NPOV to me. 18:37, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I checked the site -- [] seems to be a political site -- risque yes, but not actually plain porn. Sdedeo (tips) 19:20, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Now, it's risque politics. It used to be outright porn, it was changed a while back [1]
Anyway, that's a good edit. My point was the anonymous user's criticism was misinformed in seeing any anti-censorware bias in using it as an example. In fact, back when it was a porn site, it was something of a poster-child for a site that should be on a censorware blacklist, due to the potential name confusion. -- Seth Finkelstein 22:39, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Page title move

Following up on the anon -- it is possible we could move the page to "content-filtering software"? The redirect from "censorware" would still remain, but I am more and more uncomfortable with using the term, which does have a POV tilt in as much as it describes something as censorship when it is really not technically censorship in all cases. I don't know -- any thoughts? Sdedeo (tips) 16:55, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Per above, I would claim that "censorware" is *accurate*, and "filtering" is not. Indeed, I would say "filtering" also has a POV tilt - there's uncounted times I've heard a little song-and-dance about "We all need *filters*, *filters* are necessary ...".
I would most strongly, emphatically, dispute the idea that "filtering" is NPOV.
Between two such choices, I assert one should take the less confusing one. Regarding censorSHIP, I'd say "censorware" is a derived coinage, in the same way we talk about "a taxing task" (even though that doesn't involve paying money to the government), or "policing the language" (even though that doesn't involved men in blue uniforms from the government). -- Seth Finkelstein 22:23, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
What about "Content Control" instead? That gives the most NPOV, in my opinion - it's more accurate of what the application actually does (allows people to control content - whether they do it for "Censorship" or "Filtering" purposes is irrelevant.)

"Censorware" I do think is problematic. For example, we do not refer to the MPAA ratings as "censorship" -- but one of the uses of these kinds of software is to achieve similar things. "Tax" is a very old word, lost in the midsts of time, but "censorware" is a very recent coinage of "censor"+"ware" used only by people who criticize it -- while the IRS does indeed use the word "tax"!

Can you come up with something that is neutral? "Content filtering" seems pretty neutral IMO, but perhaps there is another term. I mean, it's pretty clear that only one side uses "censorware" as a term, and that makes it as problematic as "internet safety tool" or whatever the companies are calling it. Sdedeo (tips) 02:22, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, but my point is that "taxing" and "policing" are used in metaphorical, non-governmental contexts. Note for a close example, that spyware sure isn't the term used by the makers of those programs either. Again, "filtering" is confusing, because while I've never heard "We all need censorware", there's many times I've seen someone say "We need filtering because ...". So it's most assuredly not a neutral term. -- Seth Finkelstein 18:41, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
(What you mean is that "filtering" is not confusing, but rather non-neutral -- in the same fashion that censorware, I believe, is. Sdedeo (tips) 21:32, 8 April 2006 (UTC))
No, I have two different, though related arguments: 1) "filtering" is non-neutral. 2) It is non-neutral in a confusing way.
The censorware companies themselves use this term extensively, so I'd say since they want the word associated with them, that's strong evidence of non-neutral implications. -- Seth Finkelstein 22:55, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

What does, say, the New York Times use to refer to these programs? Or, let's say, Wired? These are generally neutral places to look (if anything, slanted anti-censorware.) Sdedeo (tips) 21:26, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Hmm -- OK, the New York Times uses the word "filter":

This year one of the three winners was Seth Finkelstein, an activist who decrypts filtering programs, the software used by private companies, libraries and schools to block out undesirable sites. [2]

Hey, wait, that's you!

A plaintiff in a case uses the term "filtering":

Library Grapples With Internet Freedom (Oct. 15) mentioned the Loudoun County library filtering litigation. That case, in which I am a plaintiff, argues that filtering software is overbroad, blocks numerous innocent and socially valuable sites and cannot pass the strict tests imposed by the First Amendment. [3]

Nearly all the opponents use the term "censorware".

I have a strong feeling that court documents involving these things will use the term "filtering". My feeling is that WP:NPOV means we should be using something similar to "content-filtering", which I believe is the most neutral description.

Sdedeo (tips) 21:43, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Yup, that's me. Guilty :-). But I didn't write the article :-)
In my view, over the years, censorware proponents have waged a PR campaign to say that use of the word "censorware" is partisan, while "filter" is proper. They've been very successful at it. However, that does not make them right - or NPOV, In fact, I think that campaign is evidence of the opposite. Since one of the major censorware programs is called "SmartFILTER" (my caps), that shows it's hardly a *neutral* term.
Regarding court documents, in fact, I got deposed on this very point in expert witness testimony, with a government lawyer questioning me on the linguistic implications of my terminology, trying to cast doubt on my testimony. But again, I'd say that shows the PR campaign, and my reply to the lawyer was that I felt I was being accurate.
I hardly deny that words have connotations. I'm saying, given a choice, pick the word that leads to less confusion in discussion. When we talk of "censorware", it's obvious what it means. "Filtering" has too many meanings. -- Seth Finkelstein 22:55, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

I believe "internet content filtering" is pretty unambiguous -- I don't think that's a problem.

Really, Seth, my googling has not convinced me that "censorware" is anything close to a neutral term. The only uses of the term censorware I have seen have been by partisans in the fight, while "filter" and various cognates are used by all sides. It is true that companies prefer filter, but when the New York Times explicity avoids using the term "censorware" in favor of filter in articles on the subject, I think that what WP:NPOV requires here is pretty clear.

Can you provide neutral sources -- e.g., a major newspaper -- using the word "censorware" that are not in the form of editorials? Sdedeo (tips) 23:56, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Also, whatever we decide, I will probably write a short thing about terminology for the article: can you provide (does there exist) a link to your testimony you mention? Sdedeo (tips) 00:02, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Quote WP:NPOV : "It is not asserted that the most popular view or some sort of intermediate view among the different views is the correct one". Again, I cannot see how one can maintain that a term favored by a major product (SmartFILTER, my caps) is a neutral term. All you are measuring is that their PR campaign has been successful, in contrast to e.g. the makers of Spyware. Successful PR is hardly the same as neutrality. I'm arguing that censorware is the *best* term overall, given the various trade-offs which must be made.
I don't think my deposition is on-line - it was supposed to be, but last I checked, it hadn't been processed. If you want a citation, perhaps my testimony to the Library Of Congress would serve. I have a copy on my site, but since you asked, I'll assume it's not self-promotion for me to reply:

DMCA Exemption Censorware Hearing 2003

"Now you'll note throughout the entire proceedings I have talked of censorware, not filtering software. That is not merely partisan politics. That is a very important difference in how I think about this issue. When somebody talks of a filter, that conjures up the image of this ugly, yucky, horrible, toxic stuff that you're taking away and leaving a clean and purified result, like a coffee filter or a dirt filter. You just want to throw the ugly stuff away.

But that's not what these products do. What these products do is they control what people are allowed to read, and that's a profoundly different issue. Because when you try to control what people are allowed to read, and you try to put them in a blinder box, you can't ever let them out."

-- Seth Finkelstein 00:44, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the reference, I think that explains the position very well. Can you provide any example of a newspaper using the term censorware outside of the editorial page? It may be the case that "censorware" is the truly neutral term, and the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other publications have been tricked, but that's not for wikipedia to assert.

If you have any other good references about the terminology, please let me know.

We are going in circles a bit, and I don't think we're going to come to consensus on a page name change (so until others join in, I'm happy to leave it as it), but this discussion has been valuable in any case. Sdedeo (tips) 00:48, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

I thing that "content control" would be a most neutral term - especially given your quote "What these products do is they CONTROL what people are allowed to read" (my caps). "Censor" *is* felt by some as a negative word - I don't know that people feel the same way about "Control". And in reality, that is what all these programs are doing - they are controlling what people see, not censoring what people see. 13:22, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I worry that coining a new phrase violates WP:NOR; unfortunately, I can only find "filter" and "censorware" used out there in the literature. Can you provide an example of a newspaper or journal using "content control"? Sdedeo (tips) 20:29, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that I can - I was coining a new phrase, mainly just from reading the above comments. From what I've found on a search for "content control", I get hits for controlling (a la filtering/censoring) television and for internal network content controls (not allowing employees to view material that they shouldn't have access to on the Intranet). A search on (not news) yields a few hits for companies that provide filtering/censoring products - but that's about it. If coining a new term violates WP:NOR, then so be it. I'm not emotionally tied to it in any way. 04:07, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you that "censor" is a negative word, and I like "content control" -- if only we could find a reference to it in the newspapers that we could cite! Sdedeo (tips) 21:18, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I found a couple on - one about the rejection of the .xxx domain ( - "ICANN first tabled its bid in 2000 out of fear it would be getting into content control." That quote is actually in quite a few newspapers that I was able to find. Another one is This one is especially pertinent because it is about "censorship" in China.

There are also people from both sides of the issue who use the term. Playboy (anti-censorware) uses the term "Content-control" in this article: Websense and Micrsoft (pro-censorware) uses the term in this article:

A review on a book by the New York Times uses the term

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle (the link on their site is dead - this is the google cache of it) quotes a Harvard Law School "expert" using the term to describe the filtering/censorship that Spain, Saudi Arabia and China use. That article is interesting in the fact that it shows the term was in use nearly 4 years ago (the article is from October 2002.)

Actually, during the effort that I have spent looking up references, it seems that it's not a new term - and that it is quite a neutral one as well. I would strongly suggest using it. 14:46, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Awesome work. I'll fiddle with the article later this weekend. Sdedeo (tips) 16:01, 3 June 2006 (UTC)


Hi, can someone add in the site into an appropriate section (means of bypassing or external links)? Thanks, Draculix 18:19, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Another request. Seth Finkelstein made useful edits today, but one phrase is troubling. He says the US v. ALA case "made the legal debate extremely complicated." That is not encyclopedic. Further, it is wrong.
Seth, please explain exactly how the case "made the legal debate extremely complicated." Even your addition talked about "as-applied" challenges. While no such challenges have yet been made, to my knowledge, "as-applied" challenges as necessarily factual in nature, not legal in nature. So, while it may be true that the Court left potential factual circumstances unexplained, the Court clarified the issues based on law, leaving issues of fact for the future. Therefore, I say the phrase "made the legal debate extremely complicated" is incorrect.
Legally, it is now clear thanks to US v. ALA that 1) filters do not violate the law, 2) filters are not facially unconstitutional (they may be as-applied unconstitutional but that remains to be seen), it is "legitimate, and even compelling" to keep minors from inappropriate material. We also know legally that public libraries are not traditional public fora, and we know other things legally. So I'll make some kind of change in accordance with my comments here.
Now people have been after me not to make certain edits because of my possible bias or soapbox. In this case, I think your edit, only as to the 6-word phrase in question -- not in its entirety -- is your bias and/or soapbox. Why? In making it appear that "the legal debate [is] extremely complicated," that may cause people to steer away from the case precisely because it is so "legally complicated." And that has been your goal from your so-called "Censorware" work, your amicus curi (or whatever) briefs to the Court, etc., etc. Your side literally benefits if people think US v. ALA is "extremely complicated" and can't or shouldn't be followed. If you have a side, of course. You will likely argue you don't have a side. I guess I can't blame you. I likely make the same arguments. That's the problem with bias. So understand that I think the phrase "made the legal debate extremely complicated" is not encyclopedic and is not even correct and may be based on your bias. So please don't take this personally. Thank you. --SafeLibraries 01:17, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm trying to accurately describe the state of the law and the meaning of the CIPA decision. While I fully acknowledge the defeat of the facial challenge, I would contend your description overstated the facial challenge as the whole of the law. To quote Souter's dissent: "If the Solicitor General's representation turns out to be honored in the breach by local libraries, it goes without saying that our decision today would not foreclose an as-applied challenge. See also ante, at 5­6 (BREYER, J., concurring in judgment); ante, at 1 (KENNEDY, J., concurring in judgment).". This is what I'm trying to sum up as "extremely complicated". It means, colloquially, that it's not over, and an as-applied challenge (which is also a legal challenge) could someday be before the Supreme Court. Of course I'm on one side of the issue, as you're on the other. But nonetheless, I also think I am more often correcting public misconceptions at variance with the facts, as free-speech activists labor under huge publicity disadvantages.
The CIPA decision is predicated, per above, on certain representations by the government, and depending on how the situation evolves, the issue could be legally revisited. That's not my opinion, it's the Justices' opinion. -- Seth Finkelstein 03:34, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Okay, Seth, I see what you mean. I was looking at it more narrowly. You were saying "legal debate" as any law suit, while I was comparing "legal debate" to "factual debate" since the legal/factual distinction was laid bare by the dissent and by your edit. And that quote is exactly what I had in mind. So I agree that future factual debate will be extremely complicated, but it is, after all, in the future. This page is about the now, and the now in the case is clear as to the law. I see now that you and I agree on this. (I see that my saying filters are "perfectly legal" did not account for the future "As Applied" cases. Perhaps CIPA-compliant filters are perfectly legal would have been better, but your edit looks better anyway.)
By the way, I have not seen any "as applied" cases yet, have you? I think there might be one on the horizon. In Texas or Louisiana or elsewhere, a certain group was labeled as a "hate group" although they say they are not but the filters filtered out hate groups. I think they are suing over this. This could be a future As Applied case. If I recall it, I'll post it here. --SafeLibraries 04:15, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Proposed Wording Changes

Folks, I'd like your thoughts on changing the following:

Content-control software, also censorware and web filtering, is a term for content-filtering software, especially when it is used to filter content delivered over the Web. Content-control software determines what content will be available on a particular machine or network; the motive is often to prevent persons from viewing content which the computer's owner(s) or other authorities may consider objectionable. Common use cases of such software, at least in the United States, include parents who wish to limit what sites their children may view from home computers, schools performing the same function with regard to computers found at school, and employers restricting what content may be viewed by employees while on the job.

That's how it exists now. Let me save this then say what might needed in my next edit. --SafeLibraries 00:10, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

The above strikes me as somewhat muddy, though it hasn't been worth my time ot try to hash out something else. -- Seth Finkelstein 01:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

1) Use of the word "web" and "Web" might be short for the Internet or the World Wide Web. As a shortened word it might not be encyclopedic. It's sort of a collocialism? What do you all say? --SafeLibraries 00:12, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

2) "Content-control software determines what content will be available...." Not exactly. People use it in that fashion. People can make it tighter or looser. People control this, not the software. My opinion, of course. Wording could be changed to something like "Administrators use content-control software to determine...." --SafeLibraries 00:15, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Guns don't kill people, people kill people? :-) -- Seth Finkelstein 01:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

3) "[T]he motive is often to prevent persons from viewing content which the computer's owner(s) or other authorities may consider objectionable." Is motive ever not POV? Can motive be proven? Is it encyclopedic? Besides, the motive is often something else as well that is more citable, such as compliance with laws, community standards, whatever. Maybe the a librar already has a policy restricting inappropriate material and the motive of using the filter is to enforce existing policy on the Internet. I think the choice of motive given about people finding things objectionable is somewhat argumentative and POV. What do you all think of that? At least the sentive could say something like "motives often claimed include preventing persons from viewing content which the computer's owner(s) or other authorities may consider objectionable, compliance with existing laws or regulations, or enforcement of existing library book collection policies on the Internet." --SafeLibraries 00:22, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I'd say describing a common motive is NPOV here - it's simple fact of the world, and it's qualified as "often". Your rewrite strikes me as a bit soapboxy. -- Seth Finkelstein 01:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

4) And the Common Use examples are again POV, again pointing out only certain examples that are more controversial than other examples that are left out like I mentioned in the paragraph above. --SafeLibraries 00:24, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I think you're embedding some assumptions into descriptions, especially with phrases like "enforcement of existing library book collection policies on the Internet" -- Seth Finkelstein 01:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Seth, I'm happy you responded. Regarding your guns statement, I was thinking the same thing! Regarding your last statement about "embedding some assumptions," I thought you would especially go for that since it is not an assumption. It is sourceable to, well, there's so much stuff packed in ours heads I'm sure this slipped your mind, but the source is the US Supreme Court case of US v. ALA, 2003. I hope that refreshes your recollection or I'll go and get the exact quote. Did you submit an Amicus Brief in that case? I can think of no better source, except maybe if it was in the Constitution itself (courtesy Marbury v. Madison).
Seth, I know you really protect this article, but it does have an overall tone of someone biased against filtering software. Let's be honest. And I'm not going to crash your party. I'm here to build consensus that the article needs the Seth glasses taken off and the Wikipedia ones put on.
Everyone else, I ask you to consider what I have said and respond without being swayed by Seth's comments. What do you think on your own? Seth, and we all love him, regards himself as a great expert over this Wikipedia page, yet his comment that I was "embedding an assumption" when indeed I had in mind the words of the US Supreme Court which is where I got the idea in the first place shows that he is not infallible. And I really say this very respectfully; pobody's nerfect. So please, let's all hear what you think about improving the wikiworthiness of this article without being swayed by Seth's protectiveness. Might you have other suggestions as well? --SafeLibraries 04:38, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
"The District Court disagreed because, whereas a library reviews and affirmatively chooses to acquire every book in its collection, it does not review every Web site that it makes available. 201 F. Supp. 2d, at 462-463. Based on this distinction, the court reasoned that a public library enjoys less discretion in deciding which Internet materials to make available than in making book selections. Ibid. We do not find this distinction constitutionally relevant. A library's failure to make quality-based judgments about all the material it furnishes from the Web does not somehow taint the judgments it does make. A library's need to exercise judgment in making collection decisions depends on its traditional role in identifying suitable and worthwhile material; it is no less entitled to play that role when it collects material from the Internet than when it collects material from any other source. Most libraries already exclude pornography from their print collections because they deem it inappropriate for inclusion. We do not subject these decisions to heightened scrutiny; it would make little sense to treat libraries' judgments to block online pornography any differently, when these judgments are made for just the same reason."
"Moreover, because of the vast quantity of material on the Internet and the rapid pace at which it changes, libraries cannot possibly segregate, item by item, all the Internet material that is appropriate for inclusion from all that is not. While a library could limit its Internet collection to just those sites it found worthwhile, it could do so only at the cost of excluding an enormous amount of valuable information that it lacks the capacity to review. Given that tradeoff, it is entirely reasonable for public libraries to reject that approach and instead exclude certain categories of content, without making individualized judgments that everything they do make available has requisite and appropriate quality."
"The same is true here. The E-rate and LSTA programs were intended to help public libraries fulfill their traditional role of obtaining material of requisite and appropriate quality for educational and informational purposes.5 Congress may certainly insist that these "public funds be spent for the purposes for which they were authorized." Ibid. Especially because public libraries have traditionally excluded pornographic material from their other collections, Congress could reasonably impose a parallel limitation on its Internet assistance programs. As the use of filtering software helps to carry out these programs, it is a permissible condition under Rust."
US v. ALA. Shows filters are used for more lofty reasons than the POV reasons currently appearing in this wiki page. Shows my claims were accurate and Seth's protestations were inaccurate. Lends support that my observation of this page not being totally wikiworthy may be accurate and based on impeccable sources. --SafeLibraries 04:54, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
WP:SOAPBOX - "Wikipedia is not a soapbox or a vehicle for propaganda and advertising.". Note Justice Rehnquist, who you are quoting above, is not exactly a neutral viewpoint either. He was an extremely conservative moralist. To correct some of what you write above, while I do watch this article, and have made some contributions from time to time, it's hardly all my work, and there's several aspects of it which I believe could use improvement. Though we are obviously on opposing sides of the topic, it is factually incorrect to make the current state of the article a personal issue -- Seth Finkelstein 12:16, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm so sorry if I implied that. So to all I'll be clear that per policy no wiki page (except a very select few I guess) is anyone's personal issue. The point is, of course, a collaborative effort. And also to be clear, Seth is a major contributor who has added a lot of significant content here and on other pages. Indeed he has significant subject matter experience as well. To that end I appreciate his input and even thanked him for it, and this is collaborative as demonstrated by my request for others besides just me and Seth to make comments about my concerns that the page could be better reworded. Even Seth said it was "muddy."
I try very hard to follow Wiki policy. Sometimes, however, my jaw drops in amazement as people use any excuse possible to excuse efforts to prevent my input on wiki page. Case in point is right here. I said filters may be used to enforce existing library policy and that language could be added to the page as the page seemed one sided. Seth responded that I was "embedding an assumption." I responded that the idea came from my reading of US v. ALA. To be clear, I then quoted US v. ALA. Then, and here's the jaw dropper, Seth implied I was on my "soapbox" again because "Justice Rehnquist, who you are quoting above, is not exactly a neutral viewpoint either. He was an extremely conservative moralist." To Seth, the holding in US v. ALA is "not exactly a neutral viewpoint"!
If the US Supreme Court is not exactly neutral, is anything? If my use of the US Supreme Court to support statements is a "soapbox," is anything I can ever say or cite not a soapbox? Am I missing anything here about excuses being used to curtail certain efforts to edit wiki pages or to maintain existing Points Of Views? --SafeLibraries 13:48, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, I respect your willingness to discuss these issues. Justice Rehnquist was not writing for an encyclopedia. His statements are of course relevant to the US v. ALA decision, as representative of the winning side. But they do not take on neutrality when describing policy.I don't regard that distinction as partisan, it's just keeping contexts properly separate. -- Seth Finkelstein 14:24, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Is this "brief reply" as noted in the history an "Amicus Brief" reply? ;-) --SafeLibraries 14:30, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I editting the page again, and, while Justice Rehnquist's statements "do not take on neutrality," according to Seth, there does, however, appear a quote by Seth in the article and a citation to his own personal web site! The only conclusion we are led to reach is that Seth is neutral and wikiworthy while the US Supreme Court is not neutral and not wikiworthy. --SafeLibraries 15:29, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

History and citations

"Gskuse" added "cite needed" tags to the history. I could supply the cites. But, to be immodest, I *MADE* a great deal of the history, so I'm wary of a WP:COI charge. That section has always bothered me a little, since there are some flaws, but I've never wanted to go through hassle to rewrite it. I worry about the minefield it can become. -- Seth Finkelstein 07:38, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

My "cite needed" tags were mainly appied to areas where, I assume, some written account of the arguments must exist online (preferably without too much commentary). If they exist, I'd say link to them. If you feel that they may violate COI or NPOV, then perhaps link to them on the Discussion page so that others can validate. The article indirectly quotes the EFF, accuses the Censorware Project of copyright violations and, later, indirectly quotes "the content-control software companies" - let's make sure it's accurate. Please note: I'm not suggesting that the history section is incorrect, only that it may be lacking in detail (ie: which software companies?). Thanks, -- Gskuse 17:18, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, written accounts exist - many of them archived on my website :-). The EFF history is very, very real, but we tend not to talk about it nowadays vis-a-vis EFF since they had a management change in 2000 where the people responsible for the censorware touting left the organization, and much better people took over. But ... it did happen. Part of my story was flat-out being told I wouldn't get legal help, and it got worse from there.
The copyright violation part really should be better phrased as something like "although facing a potential lawsuit from ...". One would hope to ultimate prevail in court, but it should be inarguable that there's an enormous legal risk involved. The key legal case (so far?) is Microsystems v Scandinavia Online. More later. -- Seth Finkelstein 18:26, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Hi Seth- I've been to your site. It's very informative. It's probably not a good idea to link wikipedia to the arguments presented there unless the opposing view can be represented (via some other site). Perhaps links to some of the ".gov" articles linked from could be used as citations?
As the numbers of citations in the article grows, it might be good to migrate to the newer citation format (with "References" at the bottom) - this would give us a better indication as to the quality of the references. Thoughts? Gskuse 20:32, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Regarding citations, I find the detail needed for the "cite web" format to be burdensome - or am I misunderstanding? I have no strong feelings if someone wants to reformat the existing citations, but I don't have the time to do the conversion myself. -- Seth Finkelstein 06:12, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Shouldn't new edits be added to the bottom? --LegitimateAndEvenCompelling 18:38, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Moved. Gskuse 20:34, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Gskuse, if you want a cite for the section "The companies' opponents argued, on the other hand, that performing the necessary checking would require resources greater than the companies possessed and that therefore their claims were not valid", you can use for a government-site (for sourcing purposes on specific project, even though it's a .org). I've used the web archive for a stable URL, as I can't find it currently. The paper's also available at , but that might be viewed as not preferable to the National Academies. Since I'm a co-author of this paper, I'm wary of adding it to the article myself. -- Seth Finkelstein 11:54, 25 February 2007 (UTC)