Friday, May 28, 2010

Censoring #Wikipedia

The notion that Wikipedia is not censored is an illusion. The worst part is that it comes in different shapes, is practised by several different groups and, it is hard to observe. It may be found in how admins censure editors that write "problematic" texts. It may be that people representing one culture are refused their point of view because "everyone" knows that ... It may even be the difference in appreciating editorial control versus censorship.

Censorship is very much the kind of accusation that halts any further useful talk. The arguments for or against restrictions are often a fine line with important consequences in either direction. I was asked to write about possible censorship on the fa.wikipedia but all I can do is write that I was asked. I know all to well that the Wikimedia domain is blocked while all Wikipedias are still freely available in Iran.

The worst thing that can happen to our projects is when they are blocked. This defeats utterly what we aim to achieve; providing educational content. For me it is frustrating not to know that we have a good understanding of all the cases of censorship imposed by governments. When this is what motivates the restriction of the number of sexually specific images, I find the argument compelling.
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