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Much ado about censorship

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By Sven Manguard

Proposal to block out the Wikipedia logo in protest of proposed U.S. censorship laws

Discussions that are
Happening now
Unless otherwise mentioned, all discussions profiled in the report remain open as of November 21, 2011.

On November 15, a proposal was put forth at the Village pump asking the Wikimedia Foundation to place a black bar over the Wikipedia logo on November 16, site wide, in protest of two laws moving through the United States Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The proposal garnered more opposition than it did support, and the 16th came and went without a change to the logo.

The Wikimedia Foundation blog placed the bar over its own logo, and released a statement endorsing American Censorship Day, the name adopted by the websites that have altered their logos. In the post, Head of Communications Jay Walsh made the argument that the proposed laws would threaten Wikipedia, saying "In short, our users and all of our projects, would be forced to operate in an untenable legislative environment, putting Wikipedia at the beck and call of the rights owners as opposed to the distribution of free knowledge."

Proposal to integrate a user status display

MediaWiki developer Petrb put forward a proposal that the OnlineStatusBar extension be integrated into Wikipedia as an opt-in feature for registered users. The extension checks when a user last viewed a Wikipedia page while logged-in, and uses that information to display a message in the top right corner of an opted-in user's talk page indicating whether or not that user is online at the moment (example). According to the developer, a key advantage that this system has over the existing Qui and StatusTemplate scripts is that OnlineStatusBar does not require the user to make an edit to update the bar.

The proposal initially met with a large amount of opposition, centered mainly around the social networking aspects of such a tool, as well as potential privacy concerns. Support for the proposal came strongly in the days after the proposal was made, however, and at the time of writing the proposal has been archived without being closed, with a 5:1 ratio in support for the implementation.

Multiple discussions over Occupy Wall Street

An RfC has been opened to discuss whether or not this image can be used in the article Occupy Wall Street.

A Request for Comment was started on November 8 to decide whether or not the article Occupy Wall Street should mention that the movement has been endorsed by the American Nazi Party and the American Communist Party, as well as to determine if anti-Semitism expressed by some of the protesters warranted inclusion. Consensus against covering either point has emerged since the RfC began.

A second RfC, this one regarding the usability of a specific image, was initiated on November 11. The image in question, taken by David Shankbone and displayed to the right, is alleged to be unusable because of the logos on the flag and on the poster that the protester is holding. While large in size, the discussion has attracted only a few editors. The matter has since been brought to Media copyright questions, where an editor judged that the image was allowable under the principle of de minimis. The RfC was closed on November 16, with instructions that further concerns should be raised at Wikimedia Commons, where the image is hosted.

Finally, the lead section of the article is also in dispute, with several editors each submitting their own proposed leads for consideration. Thus far none of the suggestions have gained any significant amount of support, and a formal Request for Comment has not been filed on the matter.

RfC on NOTCENSORED and "incidental material"

A Request for Comment was opened on November 4 asking the community to decide whether or not NOTCENSORED protects "incidental material" from being removed from articles. The RfC mentioned a number of articles in which disputes over images have erupted, including Pregnancy and Muhammad, but did not actually define what the author meant by "incidental material". A number of threads were subsequently opened below the RfC in attempts to resolve that question. With the discussion largely ground to a halt, the view that NOTCENSORED does protect material from being removed has more support than the alternative by a 3:2 margin.

In brief

Chzz referenced this xkcd webcomic in his opposition to the proposal to reword the citation needed template.
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File nominated for deletion on commons

The file c:File:Day 12 Occupy Wall Street September 28 2011 Shankbone 31.JPG used in this article has been nominated for deletion but was kept

Message automatically deposited by a robot - -Harideepan (talk) 08:01, 23 March 2018 (UTC).[reply]


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