Wikiproject decency vfd

WikiProject VfD spurs controversy, record vote count

A VfD filed against Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedians for Decency received over 200 votes, a deluge of comments, personal attacks, accusations of sockpuppetry, and threats of requests for comment. As of press time, the vote was approximately 60% in favor of deletion, with 40% voting keep.

Nominated for vfd

The WikiProject was created by Agriculture on 16 August. 24 hours later, it was nominated for deletion by Zscout370. Zscout370 reasoned that the case was similar to a deleted WikiProject that dealt with Jewish bias, and the project would likely cause problems. Right away, a series of discussions erupted, including questions over whether certain images such as Image:Autofellatio 2.jpg violated Florida law, and whether the VfD nomination was in good faith and in concordance with Wikipedia policies on WikiProjects.

Record turnout

With over 200 votes, as well as a barrage of comments on many of the votes, votes were split up into 4-hour sections based on time of vote for the first day of voting, an unprecedented move in an attempt to get better control on voting and any possible sockpuppeting. Including all votes and comments, the VfD was approximately 218kb in size as of press time, and had been edited over 850 times. FCYTravis remarked, "I never thought it would blow up into what is probably the largest and most contentious VfD debate in Wikipedia history... even more so than GNAA."

Bad-faith membership?

Immediately after the VfD started, many users opposed to the ideas of the WikiProject nevertheless signed their name on the membership roster. Most of these new members joined either to make a point about what they believed as the group's double standards regarding censorship, or in some cases to attempt to tone down the group's point of view by swinging consensus to a more moderate perspective. MONGO complained that the users were acting in bad-faith, were hurting their reputation, and violating WP:POINT by joining. FCYTravis, who was one of those who joined, and attempted to change the group's point of view, noted in his defense, "I initially saw the VfD as almost a formality... but as it disintegrated into threats, attacks and vitriol... I ended up wishing it had never happened ... I think that if we (as Wikipedians) had simply joined the project in sufficient numbers to ensure it never would be capable of accomplishing its alleged goals of censorship, its proponents would realize they were fighting a war they couldn't possibly hope to win."

Jimbo Wales speaks out

On 18 August, Jimbo Wales voted "Weak Keep and Rename" on the issue, noting that the idea itself is not bad, but the group's name is decidedly pointed, and was a point of controversy during debate. Later that day, Ryan Delaney posted a message that Jimbo had made on the mailing list, that outlined Wales' belief that most of Wikipedia's nude images pose no legal problems under Florida law.

Not anti-nudity...anti-pornography

Many on both sides of the issue agreed that some sort of a consensus must be formed. Most members of the WikiProject clarified that they are not anti-nudity, simply anti-pornography, in the sense that unneeded, and often overtly sexual pictures should never be kept on Wikipedia, while tasteful nudity often has its place. User:JIP, who voted to delete the project, says that a distinction must be made between pictures like those on Pandora Peaks and the autofellatio image, which "is nothing but pornography for its own sake. It has no place in Wikipedia and must be deleted."

Civility by most, anarchy by few

Despite personal attacks, accusations of sockpuppets on both sides of the issue, and the creator of the WikiProject writing an angry message on his user page before supposedly leaving Wikipedia, some involved believe that most users conducted themselves in a fair and civil manner. MONGO, while lamenting the tactics of a few users, said that "the vast majority of the voters were civil and discussion ensued by many relating to potential legal issues and to where this project's true direction should be. Perhaps something can be salvaged from this exercise."

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Admission of potential bias

This reporter voted on the vfd in question. His vote was "Delete without prejudice. How many times does it have to be said? Wikipedia is NOT CENSORED for the protection of minors." He also is a member of Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedians against censorship. However, this reporter views that his personal opinions do not have any bearing on his ability to write a balanced article, reflecting the views of all involved. Any complaints should be filed on this talk page. ral315 18:39, August 22, 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a democracy?

Excuse me, but what are you doing posting percentages to keep vs. delete in this article, when I tried to do the exact same thing with my Template:Vote bar but got shouted down for doing it? Is there some sort of "double standard" at work here?  Denelson83  15:49, 23 August 2005 (UTC)[reply]

See your talk page. I have restored the percentages, please do not remove them again. ral315 05:09, August 26, 2005 (UTC)


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