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Editorial judgment

Noto Emoji Pie 1f4c4.svg This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Wikimedians have difficulty exercising editorial judgment.

English Wikipedia main pageEdit

The English Wikipedia rotates through featured articles daily on the main page. Each day, a particular featured article is showcased.

Sometimes graphic, violent, sexual, or otherwise objectionable material is shown on the main page.

There's a widespread view that due to a strict adherence to taking a neutral point of view toward subjects, exercising judgment in selecting which articles are featured on the main page is simply impossible. After all, someone could take a offense to anything.

The English Wikipedia's Featured Article Director, who has held that role since around 2003/2004 and chooses "today's featured article" based on submissions, has stated that on the main page, "we can exercise a difference standard of judgement in what to put there compared to the rest of Wikipedia", and that he might exclude "articles I think are going to cause an unacceptably large 'fallout' for myself/the other admins/Wikipedia", although as of 2011 that list included only the article Jenna Jameson.

German Wikipedia main pageEdit

A similar problem exists on the German Wikipedia, where, in 2010, the main page has displayed an image illustrating the featured article about the human vulva. (Though considerable editorial judgement was applied to said question, the decision generated a huge controversy among the German Wikipedia community. Still, a quick poll found a narrow 30 to 29 majority for keeping the photo on the main page.)

Controversial contentEdit

In order for nearly any conceivable controversial content system to be implemented, it would require identifying and tagging particular types of images based on the image content. This type of tagging is seen by some to be inherently non-neutral. There's a view that exercising editorial judgment in this context is simply unacceptable on educational projects like Wikimedia Commons, particularly as exercising the judgment might lead to censorship.

Further readingEdit