Resolution: Controversial content

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This resolution regarding curation and controversial content on the Projects was approved unanimously on 29 May 2011.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board affirms that:

  • Wikimedia projects are not censored. Some kinds of content, particularly that of a sexual, violent or religious nature, may be offensive to some viewers; and some viewers may feel such content is disrespectful or inappropriate for themselves, their families or their students, while others may find it acceptable. "Controversial content" includes all of these categories. We recognize that we serve a global and diverse (in age, background and values) audience, and we support access to information for all.
  • Wikimedia projects are curated and edited collections, according to certain principles: namely, we host only content that is both free and educational in nature.
  • We support the principle of user choice; readers should have control over their experience on the projects.
  • We support the principle of least astonishment: content on Wikimedia projects should be presented to readers in such a way as to respect their expectations of what any page or feature might contain.

In light of the recommendations from the 2010 Wikimedia study of controversial content, ongoing community discussion, and the above principles:

  • We urge the Commons community to continue to practice rigorous active curation of content, including applying appropriate categorization, removing media that does not meet existing policies and guidelines for inclusion, and actively commissioning media that is deemed needed but missing. We urge the community to pay particular attention to curating all kinds of potentially controversial content, including determining whether it has a realistic educational use and applying the principle of least astonishment in categorization and placement.
  • We ask the Executive Director, in consultation with the community, to develop and implement a personal image hiding feature that will enable readers to easily hide images hosted on the projects that they do not wish to view, either when first viewing the image or ahead of time through preference settings. We affirm that no image should be permanently removed because of this feature, only hidden; that the language used in the interface and development of this feature be as neutral and inclusive as possible; that the principle of least astonishment for the reader is applied; and that the feature be visible, clear and usable on all Wikimedia projects for both logged-in and logged-out readers.
  • We urge the Wikimedia Foundation and community to work together in developing and implementing further new tools for using and curating Commons, to make the tasks of reviewing, deleting, categorizing, uploading and using images easier.


  • Passed: 10-0