|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
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."
"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.
Some examples of debates, decisions and non-decisions
Some of the pages linked here may cause offense to some people. Hence the frequent debates.
- The anal stretching photograph associated with the Goatse.cx article was removed from Wikipedia, but external links to it were retained. The record of discussion is at Talk:Goatse.cx/Vote
- A proposal to delete a parallel page to Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse without photographs of torture, naked and dead bodies and technically kept with the same text as the original article did not reach a clear consensus so the parallel article remained; however, consensus was later achieved for its deletion. The last debate was held at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse (no pictures) and a recreation was quickly deleted: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse (image free).
- A proposal to remove certain photographs in the article Clitoris was defeated and the images have been retained without a disclaimer; a parallel page without the images was deleted; the debate on the images in that article has continued. Records of some of the discussions are at Talk:Clitoris/Archive4 and Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Clitoris (censored)
- In April 2006 An illustrative photograph associated with the Autofellatio article was removed from Wikipedia after several discussions. The record of the final discussion is at Image talk:Autofellatio.jpg/March 22 IfD. A subsequent illustrative photograph associated with the same article was not removed after a debate failed to reach a clear enough consensus, but the image was eventually deleted on grounds of being a copyright violation in 2008. The record of the discussion is at Wikipedia:Images and media for deletion/Autofellatio 2. The next photograph to be used in the article, Autofellatio6.jpg, though freely licensed, was also contentious for other reasons; although a deletion request for the photo on Commons in March 2016 failed, a further discussion there resulted in the production of a similarly-arranged black & white SVG diagram, Autofel.svg, which as of September 2016[update] had been adopted onto the Wikipedias of 18 different languages for the equivalent term, including the English Wikipedia.
- A collage of nude pictures of Charlotte Ross was removed from Wikipedia. The record of the discussion is at Wikipedia:Images and media for deletion/Charlotterossnypdblue.
- A discussion formerly at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Nudity in Wikipedia (now perhaps only in an old version of the page).
- The debate about Kate Winslet's breasts at Wikipedia:Images_and_media_for_deletion/KateWinsletTitanic while a different debate at Talk:Titanic (1997 movie) on use of the same image talked about a compromise
- History of erotic depictions was featured in November 2006. Despite some outcry about the risque topic, the overall response was positive. However, the Featured Article director has stated that featured article Jenna Jameson, about a pornographic performer, will likely not be placed on the Main Page due to the subject matter.
- The album cover image of the Scorpions' Virgin Killer was deleted twice and kept three times (see image talk for links). Later, in December 2008, it was flagged by the Internet Watch Foundation as "potentially illegal" under the UK's Protection of Children Act 1978. This led to ISP censorship of the image for many UK users, and disrupted access to Wikipedia from the UK and administrator supervision of IP editors. The UK removed the ISP censorship 3 days later.
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.
- Wikipedia:Bad image list
- Wikipedia:Hardcore pornography images, an essay that advocates the removal of pornographic images from articles about pornography
- Wikipedia:Hardcore pornography images/Rebuttal
- Wikipedia:Sexual content
- Reporting of child pornography images on Wikimedia Commons