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PERSPECTIVES

In the News: Wiki Porn Prohibition Ends

by WEDNESDAY LEE FRIDAY
Published: SEPTEMBER 24, 2013
Why do you go to Wikipedia? To look up historical figures? To settle arguments? Chances are, everyone reading this has been to a Wikimedia site at least once. After all, Wikipedia is the largest hub of information on the entire Internet. It has users all around the world, and contains information on pretty much anything and everything, in 287 languages. Not surprisingly, one of the things people like to know about is what other people look like naked. As such, Wikipedia contains nude images from movies, art, and what some would call pornography. And where there's porn, there's someone who wants to keep that porn away from others.

In 2010, Fox News ran what they called an "expose" on the "hidden" images on Wikipedia. By "expose" they meant, in case you've never been to the site; by "hidden," they meant you had to click on it. Fox viewers were shocked to learn that if a website deals with everything, that "everything" will include sex. There was a backlash, and Wikipedia flirted with the idea of a "personal image filter" that could keep the rising tide of potential wiki-nip-slips at bay. (Remember, it's OK for children see breasts while breast feeding, but once they're weaned, it's no more boobies until marriage ...) Anyway, Fox recently reported that despite consulting with more than 20,000 users, Wikipedia has not yet found a solution to the nudity "problem" on the site. For the most part, they seem to have abandoned any efforts to remove porn - at least for now.

But is there really a WikiNudity problem? Does a site like Wikipedia have an obligation to censor nudity, or to censor any truthful content at all? Who decides what is artful nudity, what is sexual education and what is pornographic? Is nudity actually harmful? Why? To whom?

Wikimedia spokesperson Jay Walsh said, "there's no consensus about the need [for a system to purge Wikipedia of all nudity]." It may be possible to delete all nudity and keep it from being restored, but to what end? Internet pornography is more popular than ever. And let's be honest here, the only real side effect we know of for sure is a whole lot of continuously cleared browser cache histories.

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Wednesday Lee Friday

Wednesday Lee Friday is an eclectic writer of fact and fiction. She has worked as a reptile wrangler, phone sex operator, radio personality, concierge, editor, fast food manager, horror novelist, and she owns a soap shop. She prefers jobs that let her sleep during the day. Everybody knows all the best art and literature happen at night!


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