Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

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Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby kernelpanic » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:37 pm UTC

Link to the Message

Spoiler:
Lawrence M. Sanger, Ph.D. | http://www.larrysanger.org/ Editor-in-Chief, Citizendium | http://www.citizendium.org/ Executive Director, WatchKnow | http://www.watchknow.org/ sanger@citizendium.org


I really regret having to report this, but I feel I must. My name is Dr. Larry Sanger and I am widely known as co-founder of Wikipedia, the encyclopedia project. I have long since departed the organization, over disagreements about editorial and management policy. I have also since founded a more responsible project, Citizendium.org, and a teacher-edited non-profit directory of preK-12 educational videos, WatchKnow.org. Given my position of influence on matters related to Wikipedia, though I'm no longer associated with it, I feel I have a moral obligation to make the following report. The language of 18 USC §1466A makes it sound like I have a legal obligation as well, so here goes.

I believe Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/), owned and hosted by the California-based Wikimedia Foundation, may be knowingly distributing child pornography. The clearest instances I found (I did not want to look for long) are linked from [deleting link; it's a category about pedophilia] and [link deleted; it's a category about something called lolicon]. I don't know if there is any more, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is--the content on the various Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons and various others, are truly vast.

You can see on [the history of the category page] that the page has existed for three years. Considering that Eric Moeller, a high-level Wikipedia manager, is well known for his views in defense of pedophilia (http://mashable.com/2008/05/08/erik-moeller-pedophilia/), surely the existence of this page must have come to the attention of those with the legal responsibility for the Wikimedia projects.

In my non-lawyer's opinion, it looks like this violates 18 USC §1466A(2)(A). http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1466A.html Perhaps the defense of this will be that the depictions are exempted due to §1466A(2)(B), i.e., the Wikimedia Foundation may argue that the images have some artistic value. I guess that's for you and maybe the courts to decide.

There are probably many copies of such images online. If there is a reason to hold the Wikimedia Foundation [responsible], however, is that they purport to be a reliable source of information. Moreover, a recent discussion on EDTECH, the educational technologists' list, indicates that some school district filter managers are not filtering such smut from the view of teachers and students. See: http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse. ... month=1004 It was actually in response to comments on that discussion that I decided to look into this situation myself.

I don't envy the FBI the task of regulating the seedy underside of the Internet, and I doubt this is very high on your list of priorities. But I want to be on the record stating that this is wrong and should be investigated.


So there it is. I don't think that it will have much impact because the images are there for educational and informational purposes.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Hawknc » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:51 pm UTC

That seems kind of petty to me, especially since illustrated media isn't considered child pornography in the United States AFAIK. I'm not entirely sure this has legal grounds. Combine that with his very thinly veiled accusations against Moeller regarding pedophilia and CP and he comes across as extremely bitter.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

Wow, seriously? The images on wikipedia's lolicon page aren't even pornographic let alone child porn.


Ninjaed: Yeah, in US law as far as I am aware lolicon =/= CP, also it's not even explicit so even if explicit lolicon did = CP it still wouldn't be CP...
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:36 pm UTC

Guys. In the OP, there is a link. When you click on that link, it shows you the law in question.

18 USC §1466A wrote:Any person who, in a circumstance described in subsection (d), knowingly produces, distributes, receives, or possesses with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that—
(1)
(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and
(B) is obscene; or
(2)
(A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and
(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value;


So, the question becomes, "if it's on wikipedia, does a picture of loli stop being obscene or gain literary, artistic, political, or scientific value?" The answer seems to be a definite "no." Educational purposes are distinct from scientific purposes, and I can't see what good comes from "this is what loli looks like!" besides helping people figure out whether or not they like loli.

Personally, I think the child pornography law as written now is ridiculous; if the justification is "we don't want children abused in the making of child porn, and thus making and possessing child porn should be a crime" then why prohibit depictions made without abusing children? As far as I can tell, the actual justification is "if you have loli, you're a risk to children, and thus making and possessing loli should be a crime."

[edit]I put thirty seconds into hunting down obscene pictures, and the wikimedia commons category:lolicon page is probably where he was talking about. There are a couple of pictures that are definitely skeevy, but it's a stretch to call them obscene and depicting a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Last edited by Vaniver on Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Diadem » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:17 pm UTC

Wow, this really comes across as extremely petty. Starting by mentioning your own competing projects, accuse one of the board members of pedofilia... yes... right.

But I'd have to see the images for myself to form an opinion. Which is somewhat problematic because if they are really childpornographic I'm neither allowed nor inclined to see them.

I'll leave it to the mods here to decide if links to the images in question are allowed :)
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Diadem » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:24 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
18 USC §1466A(2)(A) wrote:Any person who, in a circumstance described in subsection (d), knowingly produces, distributes, receives, or possesses with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that—
(1)
(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and
(B) is obscene; or
(2)
(A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and
(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value;

If I read this correctly than images depicting sex between intersex children are allowed. Awesome loophole. Also, if i start a political movement for the legalization of child pornography, I'm allowed to put explicit images in my leaflets.

Such delicious loopholes, it's almost a shame the subject matter is so abject.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:29 pm UTC

Hmm, I guess I was under the false impression that lolicon hentai was protected under the first amendment in the USA, I guess I was wrong. Is 4chan hosted in the US?

I'll have to check those category pages later (can't at the moment), but I'm pretty sure most if not all of them are not-explicit and thus not CP, the one at the top of Wikipedia's Lolicon page is definitely not CP.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:58 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:If I read this correctly than images depicting sex between intersex children are allowed. Awesome loophole. Also, if i start a political movement for the legalization of child pornography, I'm allowed to put explicit images in my leaflets.

Such delicious loopholes, it's almost a shame the subject matter is so abject.
First condition- if it's a sexually explicit situation and obscene, then it is disallowed. The exemptions in (2)(B) only apply to things that qualify under (2)(A), not (1).
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby MrGee » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:07 pm UTC

One day I will understand this world where sex is barely tolerated, but torture and murder can draw cheering crowds.

I think Sanger is justified in accusing Moller though; there is specific evidence of his views in the links.

And shame on everyone who thought drawing CP is legal.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:10 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:And shame on everyone who thought drawing CP is legal.
The current law was passed in 2009; I believe it was legal until then.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:11 pm UTC

@gelsamel: 1st ammendment covers political speech. Porn on your hard drive isn't political anything.

I do think there is a possibility that the images could claim a "political" exemption. The populous needs to be informed about stuff to have views on that stuff. Where else should the people look to for information than WP (lol)? Its tenuous, but its probably arguable.

Incredibly petty work from Sanger.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:Incredibly petty work from Sanger.
This is not the first time that Wikipedia has had to revise its practices to deal with pornography laws. Surprise: the sum total of human knowledge contains things which are obscene.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Hawknc » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:18 pm UTC

Consider me enlightened with regards to USC 1466A. At the same time, though, I saw none that could be considered either "engaging in sexually explicit conduct" or obscene...skeevy, as you say, and more than a little creepy, but it doesn't fit the definition of the statute.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby netcrusher88 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:39 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
MrGee wrote:And shame on everyone who thought drawing CP is legal.
The current law was passed in 2009; I believe it was legal until then.
I don't believe that law changed anything.

Since the 90s lolicon has been outlawed in various acts with "children", "online", and "protection" in the title. Every time it's been challenged that provision has been struck down by the courts. I've never heard of it being applied on its own though - there was one time that police/courts used a guy who was already under suspicion having lolicon shipped to him as probable cause to search his house for actual child porn I think, and then charges were added for the drawn porn, but I don't know if those were dropped or what. Just heard about the case once, didn't follow it. At any rate various chans and other sites - administered if not hosted in the US - are unconcerned.

FurAffinity (furry DeviantArt, for those unfamiliar - I know an artist who uses it) at least is far more concerned about unspecified changes to UK, Canadian, and Australian law. Up until they modified their AUP babyfur was something like the 4th most popular category. I don't know where it stands now, don't know how to get to the stats page that artist friend showed me.

But yeah. Breaking news: when you let people upload things, they will upload illegal things. Content providers are exempted as long as they delete it when notified of it.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby BlackSails » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:28 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:One day I will understand this world where sex is barely tolerated, but torture and murder can draw cheering crowds.


Sex != child porn. Regular porn is a huge business. Child porn is a crime because it involves the sexual abuse of children.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Diadem » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:12 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
MrGee wrote:One day I will understand this world where sex is barely tolerated, but torture and murder can draw cheering crowds.


Sex != child porn. Regular porn is a huge business. Child porn is a crime because it involves the sexual abuse of children.

Except that lolicon doesn't.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby TaintedDeity » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:16 pm UTC

It does promote and normalise it, however.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:20 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:[edit]I put thirty seconds into hunting down obscene pictures, and the wikimedia commons category:lolicon page is probably where he was talking about. There are a couple of pictures that are definitely skeevy, but it's a stretch to call them obscene and depicting a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

7 images there when I checked just now, none of them even close to being pornographic. (i.e. Not even any nudity.)

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And this law has been put into practice as well...

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Shivahn » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:26 pm UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:It does promote and normalise it, however.


I'm not convinced that lolicon promotes or normalizes sexual abuse of children any more than a violent anime normalizes murder.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Diadem » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

Well considering that rape porn is completely legal and almost mainstream, it's strange that child rape porn isn't.

But we're going off on a tangent I think.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Texas_Ben » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:25 am UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:It does promote and normalise it, however.

Cool thoughtcrime bro.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Vaniver » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:36 am UTC

Also, thinking about it more- wikipedia has a permadelete feature which they made and used to comply with a previous porn law (since normally, previous versions are saved, meaning it's still distributed). It could be we're looking at the clean uploads now that the obscene stuff is gone.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:24 am UTC

In which case there isn't a problem.

Anyway, I was looking up where certain sites were hosted. 4chan is hosted in the US, and lolicon/shotacon isn't deleted on the /b/ board as far as I can see in their rules (I don't really go there so I'm not amazingly familiar with the rules). Gelbooru.com hosts buttloads (720871 as I just checked then) images, most of which are pornographic and a whole bunch of which fit the lolicon/shotacon category and it is also hosted in the US. rule34.paheal.net is also hosted in the US and I think they recently deleted toddlercon images but kept lolicon images (I can't check NSFW sites atm). Same goes for thedoujin.com which also hosts a bunch of doujin comics with lolicon in them.

So, assuming that it is illegal to distribute or possess lolicon in the US... well, it seems very rarely enforced especially considering how big those sites are. Either that or we've misinterpreted the law in this thread and it actually isn't illegal...
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:13 am UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:@gelsamel: 1st ammendment covers political speech. Porn on your hard drive isn't political anything.

No, the first amendment covers speech, period.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

From the context, political speech may be the intent, but the letter of the amendment covers all speech. Supreme Court rulings have placed limits on certain types of speech (most famously, falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater), but also apply free speech protections to cover obscene material. According to Wikipedia:
Personal possession of obscene material in the home may not be prohibited by law. In writing for the Court in the case of Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557 (1969), Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote, "If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch." However, it is not unconstitutional for the government to prevent the mailing or sale of obscene items, though they may be viewed only in private. Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002), further upheld these rights by invalidating the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, holding that, because the act "[p]rohibit[ed] child pornography that does not depict an actual child..." it was overly broad and unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote: "First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought."
The last half of the paragraph casts serious doubt on whether laws banning "lolicon" manga (assuming those laws apply as people in this thread are reading them) would be constitutional.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby BlackSails » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:27 am UTC

Posessing things on your computer is not really a form of speech.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby phillipsjk » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:51 am UTC

Posessing things on your computer can be a form of speech if you use the information to write a letter or produce a video.

Contrary to popular belief, computers don't magically change how the law is interpreted. (unless you are talking about copyright or patent law.) Computers sort of "bend" the laws a physics by doing everything in the mathematical domain.

Not sure if I have a point. Some anti-child porn laws are starting to look as silly as anti drug laws.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Woopate » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:13 am UTC

Speech is often defined as information transfer. What is on your computer, is, most definitely, information.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:55 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:@gelsamel: 1st ammendment covers political speech. Porn on your hard drive isn't political anything.

No, the first amendment covers speech, period.


From my reading of this page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of ... ted_States

I take it that political speech is most protected, but you do appear to be right that it is speech in general that is protected, with certain restrictions (obscenity, fighting words, prior restraint, free speech zones etc) curtailing that freedom.

Perhaps most relevant here is that is legal to restrict obscenity. From my reading of the paragraph you quote, I take it that it was the lack of specificity that led to the law being struck down, not the fact that speech was being curtailed.

I also find it more than a little comical that the justice says that "speech is the beginning of thought". I would have hoped that it was the other way around.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Malice » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:39 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:Perhaps most relevant here is that is legal to restrict obscenity. From my reading of the paragraph you quote, I take it that it was the lack of specificity that led to the law being struck down, not the fact that speech was being curtailed.


Actually, the objection was that the law outlawed porn that didn't actually feature a real child (drawn child porn); the issue was that, to curtail the right to free speech, you have to have a damn good reason, and "protecting a child from sexual exploitation" is a good enough reason, while "protecting an imaginary child from being drawn in a picture" is not.

--

BlackSails wrote:Posessing things on your computer is not really a form of speech.


Creating and distributing them is; and if people cannot read or view your work, that effectively silences you. It's the pornographer's right to free speech that is being defended, not the end user's.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:00 pm UTC

Malice wrote:Creating and distributing them is; and if people cannot read or view your work, that effectively silences you. It's the pornographer's right to free speech that is being defended, not the end user's.


To view it from the other side. The freedom of speech is also the freedom of the listener to choose what they listen to. So in that sense the idea behind the freedom of speech also defends the citizen's ability to freely access any information they are offered. Both side of this coin are equally important.

If you're allowed to say what ever you want, but the government denies the rights of the listener then that speech is being abridged.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:18 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:Perhaps most relevant here is that is legal to restrict obscenity. From my reading of the paragraph you quote, I take it that it was the lack of specificity that led to the law being struck down, not the fact that speech was being curtailed.

No. The language "overbroad" doesn't necessarily mean that the law lacked specificity. It means, rather, that in addition to restricting types of speech that the government has a right to restrict (child pornography involving actual children) it also restricted types of speech that the court found that the government has no right to restrict (child pornography that does not depict an actual child), and therefore is unconstitutional.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby MrGee » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:11 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:Perhaps most relevant here is that is legal to restrict obscenity. From my reading of the paragraph you quote, I take it that it was the lack of specificity that led to the law being struck down, not the fact that speech was being curtailed.

No. The language "overbroad" doesn't necessarily mean that the law lacked specificity. It means, rather, that in addition to restricting types of speech that the government has a right to restrict (child pornography involving actual children) it also restricted types of speech that the court found that the government has no right to restrict (child pornography that does not depict an actual child), and therefore is unconstitutional.


Yeah, let's talk about overbroad statements. The idea that you can infer an entire body of law from 14 words written 230 years ago is ludicrous. The constitution does not protect speech "...unless it's hurting children." And if you argue that that part is implied, then it is constitutional to prohibit any political speech that might lead to violence.

So let's talk about what YOU think, not what the 14 words think.

I am definitely against actual child porn, and for legalization of lolicon. Anime doesn't normalize child abuse any more than GTA normalizes stealing cars. The difficult question in my mind is whether child nudity necessarily constitutes abuse. I think, given the way our culture currently responds to nudity, that it would be too dangerous to allow parents to waive that right of their child.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:37 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:Yeah, let's talk about overbroad statements. The idea that you can infer an entire body of law from 14 words written 230 years ago is ludicrous. The constitution does not protect speech "...unless it's hurting children." And if you argue that that part is implied, then it is constitutional to prohibit any political speech that might lead to violence.

So let's talk about what YOU think, not what the 14 words think.

No, let's talk about what the supreme court and other case law has decided those 14 words mean, since that's how US constitutional law actually works.

...oh wait, that's what I was doing.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Vaniver » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:48 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:To view it from the other side. The freedom of speech is also the freedom of the listener to choose what they listen to. So in that sense the idea behind the freedom of speech also defends the citizen's ability to freely access any information they are offered. Both side of this coin are equally important.
That argument isn't really right, and is very easy to misinterpret. Consider what happens when you want to choose to not listen to a particular kind of speech.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby skeptical scientist » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:27 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:To view it from the other side. The freedom of speech is also the freedom of the listener to choose what they listen to. So in that sense the idea behind the freedom of speech also defends the citizen's ability to freely access any information they are offered. Both side of this coin are equally important.
That argument isn't really right, and is very easy to misinterpret. Consider what happens when you want to choose to not listen to a particular kind of speech.

I don't see how that in any way invalidates Gelsamel's point, which is that making it illegal to hear certain types of speech (and by extension, to read written material, or view other types of media) is just as much an abridgment of freedom of speech as would be making the speech illegal in the first place.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Vaniver » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:24 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:I don't see how that in any way invalidates Gelsamel's point, which is that making it illegal to hear certain types of speech (and by extension, to read written material, or view other types of media) is just as much an abridgment of freedom of speech as would be making the speech illegal in the first place.
In that a restriction on listening is a restriction on speech, I agree with the argument- but the problem I have with structuring the argument that way it it's very easy to misapply it.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby skeptical scientist » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:32 am UTC

Give me a for instance? And are you saying it's being misapplied here?
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:25 am UTC

I think perhaps your objection might be alleviated if I emphasise that I'm talking about the freedom from legislation against listening/speaking. If someone chooses, themselves, not to listen then that is just someone exercising their freedom to listen (or rather, exercising their freedom to waive their ability to listen). There is no government body who holds power of the populace stopping the listening or speaking (although I think you might be able to generalise this to any group which holds a higher power over an individual, though that's just my opinion).

Someone has the freedom to speak, and they have the freedom to waive that right and choose not to voice their opinion. Though to a certain extent, in an ideal world I think one would be obligated to share your thoughts with people.
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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby Malice » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:28 am UTC

I think Van's problem is specifically with saying, "The listener has the right to choose what to listen to," because that doesn't actually work unless you restrict the right of speakers to, say, stand on a street corner and talk at people, or broadcast a radio message or whatever. The listener should have the freedom to choose to listen to something, not the freedom to choose what they are listening to. It's a subtle distinction in language with a large effect.

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Re: Wikipedia Accused by Larry Sanger of Hosting Child Porn

Postby skeptical scientist » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:31 am UTC

Malice wrote:I think Van's problem is specifically with saying, "The listener has the right to choose what to listen to," because that doesn't actually work unless you restrict the right of speakers to, say, stand on a street corner and talk at people, or broadcast a radio message or whatever. The listener should have the freedom to choose to listen to something, not the freedom to choose what they are listening to. It's a subtle distinction in language with a large effect.

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Ah, now I think I see what the problem is. I agree, the populace at large doesn't have the right to avoid being confronted with ideas they find distasteful when such ideas are being expressed in a public forum. However, I think the key issue for this debate - that a law preventing a speaker's ability to be heard is in effect abridging his right to speak - is unaffected by such concerns.
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