Potentially offensive images

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This page deals specifically with providing guidance on identifying "potentially offensive content" which would be used to implement a MediaWiki user-preference and a cookie with regard to end-user image suppression. For discussion of whether it would be desirable, see desirability of end-user image suppression.

The are generally four facets to this discussion:

  1. End-user image suppression: the technical implications of implemention
  2. Potentially offensive images: the identification of categories that would be included as part of implementation (this page)
  3. w:Wikipedia:Descriptive image tagging: the useful categorising of images
  4. Desirability of end-user image suppression: discussion about whether it's all desirable

Common attitudes[edit]

Major sources of offence[edit]

The major categories of images people seem to be concerned about appear to be

  • Sexuality
  • Nudity
  • Violence
  • Disease and deformity
  • Death
  • Profanity
  • Culturally taboo depictions of natural bodily functions such as childbirth and defecation

Choice before presentation[edit]

Some people are happy to have images available as links in an article which they can choose to view or not to view, which they would not be willing to have presented to them inline within the article text.

Artistic or instructional merit[edit]

Images with artistic or instructional purposes are often treated differently by many people: for example, medical photographs or illustrations, or artworks which pass the w:Miller test.

Fictional vs. real[edit]

Similarly, fictional and real depictions are usually treated differently; an image of a real person's decapitated head will horrify more people than a special-effects image from a horror movie, which is clearly not real.

Degree of stimulus[edit]

Many people who share a desire for content filtering may have different points along the same dimension where they want to apply filtering. For example, one person (who does not wish to see full-frontal nudity) may find a picture of a woman wearing a w:bikini or a man wearing only a pair of shorts quite innocuous, whereas another (from, for example Saudi Arabia) may regard both images as highly indecent.


Finally, presentational context is important: an image of a breast which might be generally considered in the w:Breast article would probably be generally considered inappropriate as part of the w:George W. Bush article.

Relevant links[edit]

See also[edit]