Richi Jennings

FOX News' cunning Wikipedia child porn agenda

May 17, 2010 5:53 AM EDT
By Richi Jennings. May 17, 2010.

Wikipedia is back in the news over child porn. This time, Fox News is exercising its freedom of the press to promote what looks like an anti-Wikimedia agenda. It's goaded Jimmy Wales into executive action to censor Wikipedia, stirring up dissent in the editorial ranks. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers tote the pitchforks and light the flaming torches.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention How refrigerators work...
Here's Jana Winter's breathless faux-exclusive:
After much pressure from within the Wikipedia community, ... Jimmy Wales has relinquished his top-level control over the encyclopedia's content. ... When asked who was in charge now, [my] source said, “No one. It’s chaos.”
Wikimedia editors have rebelled in the last week against Wales' attempts to remove ... thousands of images ... that could be considered child pornography ... all of which can be viewed by children at most public schools.more

Jimmy Wales lays it on the line:
Fox News is off their rocker. ... Publishing nonsense. ... I've not resigned, nothing is in chaos. ... Fox News is bonkers. ... The opposite of honest journalism.
I am actively editing every single day. ... [It's] a purely technical matter. I am not stepping down or pulling back from anything.more

Paul Boutin is more nuanced:
Fox’s reporting is factually spotty ... [and I] acknowledge Fox has an agenda ... but the gist of the story ... [is] factual. ... [As] a result of other editors’ complaints, Wales has since relinquished some special rights he had to edit the site.
Wales has a history of using his status at Wikipedia to resolve content disputes on the site, especially pages about people. ... Now, if he can’t make authoritative changes to settle controversies ... it’s unclear if Wales still wields any real power over his creation.more

Robert Scoble twadds his support:
Go get Fox News @jimmy_wales -- the tech world needs real journalism, not people who make **** up just to get a story.more

Evelyn Rusli
An interesting story -- except it’s not true according to Jimmy. ... Wales says everything is fine.
Well, relatively speaking, Wikipedia is still on the defense after Fox News ... accused the site of knowingly distributing child pornography. ... Wikipedia responded with a statement, defending its editors and its commitment to actively patrol the site.more

And Peter Damian injects thoughtfulness:
The problem is that Wikipedia is not a real community. It is simply a collection of individuals drawn in by certain special interests. In my case, medieval philosophy and logic, in other cases Star Trek episodes, lolimanga, railway stations ... whatever. It does not represent the community at large.
By contrast Fox news, the UK Daily Telegraph, ... the BBC do represent a much wider and more genuine community. Potential donors to this project come from this wider community. That is Wales' concern, and it is a valid one. This 'community' has to stop being insular, and recognise there is a world out there.more

Meanwhile, the 'other' Wikipedia founder, Larry Sanger, wades in:
Statute ... 18 U.S.C. 1466A, ... "Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children" ... states: "Any person who ... knowingly ... distributes ... a visual depiction of any kind" ... That's drawings, cartoons, sculptures, and paintings. ... Many people who criticized [me] ... really seem to have a problem with the law.
I am broadly a libertarian, but I am also a sincere moralist. ... The statute ... required me to make the report if I thought the statute applied. ... I think that this sort of thing ... should not be allowed in a civilized society. Call this censorship if you like, but ... you [don't] have a constitutional right to publish and consume realistic drawings of child rape.more

And Finally...
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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher   Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.