According to insider sources and publicly available internal listserve discussions, Wikimedia editors have rebelled in the last week against Wales' attempts to remove pornographic images from the nonprofit's websites. Those images have been the subject of heated discussion within the community since their existence was revealed exclusively by FoxNews.com on April 27.
On May 7, FoxNews.com reported exclusively that Wales had personally deleted many of the images from Wikimedia's servers, and that he'd ordered that thousands more be purged. Now many of those images have been restored to their original web pages.
Hundreds of listserve discussions among Wikimedia board members, administrators and editors reveal the eruption of a heated and chaotic debate over whether to delete the images, which legal analysts say may violate pornography and obscenity laws.
The debate heated up when FoxNews.com began contacting high profile corporations and foundations that have donated to the Wikimedia Foundation for comment — including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Best Buy, USA Networks, Craigslist, Ford Foundation and Open Society Institute.
Several of those donors contacted the foundation to inquire about the thousands of images on Wikimedia’s servers that could be considered child pornography. There also are graphic photo images of male and female genitalia, men and women or groups of people involved in sexual acts, images of masturbation and other pornographic material — all of which can be viewed by children at most public schools, where students are encouraged to use Wikipedia as a source encyclopedia.
When the donors started calling, Wales immediately called on the sites’ editors to quickly purge any possibly obscene or pornographic content from the sites.
This led to outrage among the sites' many volunteer editors and administrators, who charged that Wales’ actions betrayed the essence of the open user-generated online encyclopedia.
2) Israeli-Palestinian conflict rages on Wikipedia:
The international campaign to erode Israel’s legitimacy is slowly expanding its reach into the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, according to Israeli sources familiar with the Web site’s operations.
The collaborative reader-edited encyclopedia is the Internet’s sixth-most popular Web site, making it a central clearinghouse for knowledge and opinion worldwide. Since it is written by the public, it tends to deal in greater detail with issues in the media spotlight.
No wonder, then, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is covered from countless angles across a spectrum of articles.
Yet, according to Israeli editors of the encyclopedia who asked to remain anonymous so as not to damage their editing rights on the Web site, these articles are slowly being taken over by pro-Palestinian campaigners in an effort to tilt the encyclopedia’s narrative of the conflict and its history to reflect their position.
These activists also use teams of like-minded editors working together to sustain debates about new edits ad infinitum, thus improving the chances that their changes will be accepted and preventing the removal of any claims they have added.
One of the most important recent debates that showcased this ability concerned the technical definition of Mandatory Palestine as a state. Pro-Palestinian advocates have brought pro-Palestinian Western academics, along with selected quotations from British, Ottoman and UN sources, to argue that Palestine has always had the legal status of statehood, whether under Ottoman, British or Israeli occupation.
The purpose of the campaign is simple. If Palestine has always been a state, it has the legal right to turn to international tribunals to sue Israel for war crimes, a move that is difficult for non-state actors under the rules governing the International Criminal Court and other bodies.
This argument is a central plank in the pro-Palestinian campaign that seeks to find new ways to attack Israel’s legitimacy in the international arena. It is put forth in the article “State of Palestine,” which exists independently of the geography-focused “Palestine,” or other related articles such as “The Palestinian territories” and “Proposals for a Palestinian state.”
According to an editor, “We face what can only be described as an organized campaign that brings to bear a huge number of sources, even if most of them are problematic and polemical, and is willing and able to debate without end and not to allow changes to articles until the debate is concluded.”
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