Web

Wikipedia co-founder releases video of site’s ‘porn problem’

wikipedia co founder releases video of sites porn problemBack in 2010, Wikipedia went on what’s been called a “porn purge” after a Fox News report pointing out that the online crowd-sourced encyclopedia contained content that might not be suitable for innocent eyes. So, does that mean everything’s okay for kids searching the site now? Well, according to a new video released by the site’s co-founder, not so much.

Larry Sanger, who co-founded Wikipedia but left the project in 2002 and has since repeatedly criticized the site for its openness occasionally overruling the opinions of experts and ease of ability to create misinformation, started to level the pornography charges against Wikipedia late last month in a blog post that stated that “the real problem [is] when Wikipedia features some of the most disgusting sorts of porn you can imagine, while being heavily used by children.” He explained,

With so much adult content, so often accessed, you might think that Wikipedia is adults-only, and that children don’t use it. But of course, they do. We are told that today’s children are “Generation Z” who get much of their information online. Even pre-teen children are heavy users of Wikipedia, which is often ranked in the top five of all websites in terms of traffic. In fact, 25% of the contributors to Wikipedia are under the age of 18, according to a 2010 survey, and about 12% of both readers and contributors said they had only a primary education… This might look like a liberals vs. conservatives issue, at first glance; but I believe it is nonpartisan, more of an adolescent-minded-young-men vs. grownups-with-children issue.

To further illustrate his point, Sanger produced the following video on the topic:

There is, of course, one very clear flaw in Sanger’s logic as it appears in this video: Why would any child be searching for “fisting”?

I’m not sure if the argument “If kids look for porn, they’ll find porn” is quite as compelling as “Kids can find porn where you least expect it, like Wikipedia,” but at least Sanger gets to try out his young kid impression (You have to wonder quite how long it took Sanger to find all of the dubious search images in advance of this video, don’t you…?). Similarly, I’m unsure about whether or not kids would really search Wikipedia for images for school reports in the first place, but that may just be my natural suspicions coming to the fore.

Wikipedia has, as noted above, already removed a lot of adult content from its pages; it remains to be seen whether this complaint from a high profile former family member heralds any further edits…

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