Essay:Wikipedia's child protection policy

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The English Wikipedia's child protection policy states, "Wikipedia regards the safety of children using the site as a key issue. Editors who attempt to use Wikipedia to pursue or facilitate inappropriate adult–child relationships, who advocate inappropriate adult–child relationships on- or off-wiki (e.g. by expressing the view that inappropriate relationships are not harmful to children), or who identify themselves as pedophiles, will be blocked indefinitely." On 4 April 2013, Alison added the language stating that off-wiki advocacy would merit an indefinite block.[1][2] It would seem that the impetus for this change was the thread at Project:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive791#Unblock_the_blocked_user.


One of the goals of this policy is to get rid of so-called pedophile advocacy, which might lead to articles biased in favor of pedosexual relationships. However, it also makes it so that the articles become too unbalanced in the other direction. Normally, Wikipedia is populated by advocates of opposing ideologies, and each side attempts to keep the others in check. The result is that the most glaring factual errors get eliminated, and notable minority or fringe viewpoints are represented, receiving the amount of due weight that is consistent with policy.

A number of users accused of being pedophile activists have been banned from Wikipedia, usually pursuant to secretive ArbCom deliberations. The result is that alarmists on the other side of the issue are free to insert dubious information into articles, because there is no opposing side to keep them in check. The people who feel strongly about an issue are the ones who have the greatest incentive to become well-informed about that issue, or who may become well-informed in the course of their activism or other work concerning that issue. The case of adult-child relationships is no exception; the partisans on the side that has been suppressed by Wikipedia have amassed large information resources outside of Wikipedia, which are mostly unknown to the general public. Therefore, the general public is not in as good a position to correct errors as those partisans are.

Those who passionately adhere to an anti-pedo viewpoint, on the other hand, may be aware of the facts and logic used in opposition to their views, but have little incentive to insert those arguments into articles, or to correct the excesses their fellow anti-pedo partisans run to. For one thing, if they did so, they might be accused of pro-pedo activism, when all they were trying to do was make sure the article was correct and balanced to the extent required by Wikipedia guidelines and policies.

An example of a situation in which the absence of the pro-pedo side has resulted in a misleading article would be 2013 International child pornography investigation. The article clearly takes the side of the government without mentioning any of the criticism of what the government did. There is, for example, no discussion of the criminal defense firm's side of the story.[3][4] There's probably more that the pro-pedo side could and would dig up and post to Wikipedia, if they had access.

Wording and wikilink problems[edit]

It's also dumb that the policy links to Age disparity in sexual relationships (with "inappropriate adult–child relationships" after the pipe), since that article encompasses relationships that are not generally considered inappropriate, and are not between adults and children. It's also strange that the policy would prohibit advocacy of "inappropriate adult–child relationships" rather than "inappropriate adult–child sexual relationships" specifically; what other types of inappropriate relationships might they be thinking of, aside from the sexual ones?

Also, the policy inexplicably does not cover inappropriate adult-child activity that might occur outside of a relationship. E.g., a person could advocate raping children one randomly meets on the street, and this would not violate the policy since the rape would not occur in the context of a relationship.

Also, if a person were to say "I'd have sex with anything that walks, of whatever age," that would be okay with policy, since a person who feels that way is closer to the definition of pansexual than pedosexual. As long as he hasn't acted on those urges, and the sexual urges or fantasies do not cause marked distress or impersonal difficulty, he falls outside the pedophilia criteria.[5]

Everyone knows the policy doesn't actually keep pedophiles and pedophile sympathizers away, except for the self-identified ones[edit]

It's understood by all that every publicly accessible website will have some pedophiles as users. There is no way to prevent this, because the technology for reading people's minds does not exist. Wikipedia users are not even required to submit to genital plethysmography and similar tests before creating a new account.

All this policy does is make it so that users can't openly proclaim "I'm a pedophile" or say "It's okay to engage in [inappropriate adult-child relationships]" (whatever those might be). The policy does not even ban those who are known to have been convicted of child sexual assault, since they may well object, "I'm not a pedophile, and I think inappropriate adult-child relationships are harmful to children," which would put them in compliance with the policy. (Not everyone who sex with children is considered a pedophile; see, e.g., Harper v. Wallingford, in which it was noted that "although it was not clear that the plaintiff is a pedophile, the fact that he is an anti-social personality and he has sodomized a child in the past make it more likely that he will commit such an act in the future.")[6]

There could also be some pedophiles who have never touched children sexually, have no intention of touching children sexually, and don't condone touching children sexually, but nonetheless would be banned for, e.g., posting a userbox identifying themselves as members of Virtuous Pedophiles.


External links[edit]