News and notes
Explicit image featured on German Wikipedia's main page
Explicit image featured on Wikipedia's main page, despite request from Jimbo Wales
On 21 March, the German Wikipedia's home page featured the entry on Vulva as the "article of the day", including an explicit anatomical photo as part of the teaser. Unsurprisingly, this generated considerable controversy, with the discussion on the main page talk page alone surpassing 500 kB and at least 42 protest e-mails reaching the German OTRS team. Achim Raschka, describing himself as the main author of the article and a "40-year-old biologist with three children" justified the decision, mentioning the desire to demonstrate that it was possible to write "an objective, respectful, reference-based and adequate article" about such a topic, and defending his choice of the teaser image.
Alerted on his talk page on the English Wikipedia, Jimbo Wales commented "I'm astonished [the image] is there, and not in a good way" and shortly afterwards asked German Wikipedians to remove it:
I won't do anything directly here, but I beg you all to quickly remove this image from the home page and have a review of your processes to see how to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. This is not an issue of censorship, but as someone has said, a matter of the "Principle of Least Astonishment". This is my opinion, you may do with it as you wish.
However, the image was not removed, and Jimbo Wales later contented himself with announcing his intention to discuss the issue with members of the German community on an upcoming trip to Berlin, threatening to climb the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man.
Outside Wikipedia, the issue attracted the interest of many bloggers and generated hundreds of (mostly amused) tweets. However, media coverage remained limited to Telepolis and a short mention in Spiegel online.
(See earlier Signpost coverage related to explicit images on Wikipedia: January 2009, May 2008, August 2007, September 2006.)
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