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Larry (and some of this is relevant to what Nancy had to say, but I think her post is going to take a longer response, which I might not have time for)-- No, I am not playing gotcha. I am trying to get information about how prevalent Wikipedia is in use in school districts. If you give this information confidentially, I will keep it confidential. I certainly am not trying to get anybody into trouble. Of course kids can find porn if they want to and they are not carefully controlled. I work online; did you really think I didn't know that? But why don't you stop to consider a few things yourself. Difficult-to-enforce boundaries do have some effect. A lot of kids respect the wishes of their parents and teachers, for the most part. In general, at least in my experience, a lackadaisical attitude of those in authority toward what society considers "forbidden fruit" tends to increase desire and consumption of it. Moreover, many parents monitor their children's use of the Internet closely, installing filters on home computers and putting the computers in a central room; they expect schools to be partners with them. When you deliberately open up the filters to student consumption of pornography--which is what you do when you give them access to Wikipedia--you give students a permission that many parents would not approve of, especially if they knew what we all now know about what Wikipedia contains. As far as I can tell, anyone who opens up Wikipedia to viewing by school children has to be comfortable with giving them implicit permission to look at the porn that's there. It's not unlike putting a whole bunch of books on a bookshelf, from classics to popular fiction to the best nonfiction to comic books, to porn--then inviting kids to use it. You say, "The books here are generally fine, and we want you to learn all you can from them, but there are some books here that we don't want you to look at, even though they *are* here on this shelf." You might as well be winking to them; that's how many of them will perceive it. This little analogy is very limited, of course. One problem with it is that we're talking about Wikipedia, which would be like a giant encyclopedia with lots of porn sticking out in convenient places for those who want to "accidentally" flip to it. Wikipedia is very useful and, admittedly, getting rid of it makes a certain kind of research harder for kids to do. You could supply access to Britannica to them, but it doesn't have as much content. Now, what is really missing from this analogy is the fact that you--education technologists--can put pressure on Wikipedia to make it possible for you to display a properly edited (porn-free) version of Wikipedia. If they *really* had the best interests of children and education at heart, as some in the Wikipedia organization have said they do, then they would help out in this way. I think that the education community should get together and speak with one voice--as much as possible, anyway--saying that you want a version of Wikipedia that is appropriate for children. The best way to do this, I think, is to employ some people to tag certain inappropriate images and other contents as being "adult," and make it impossible for the tag to be removed by anonymous, untrusted Wikipedia "editors." Then it would be easy for Wikipedia itself, or some other service, to post a version that omitted all that content. Then school districts could in good conscience whitelist that site. Larry Phillips, anyone who wants to can look me up online. I'm an open book. They can immediately find that, after starting Wikipedia, I found that I had to distance myself from the project; then, after a few years, I started an alternative. But I still feel responsible for this first project, and I still take an interest in it. I make no money whatsoever from Citizendium.org and indeed all of my projects have been non-profit. I have been quite consistent in my Internet career: my main concern is to increase the amount of reliable information available for free, for educational and reference purposes. In general, I'm a libertarian. I support Wikipedia's right to host porn if they wish (I think it's a horrible idea, but their right I do support), and I support the right of teachers to have unfiltered access to the Internet. But I also support the right of parents to determine the direction of their children's education and moral development (so, for example, we've been home schooling our preschooler, and will continue through school age). Also, as to religion, I am an agnostic (I don't believe in God) and I don't go to church. In the interest of full disclosure, I have been known to look at dirty pictures from time to time, which I say only to establish that I am not really a prude. When starting Wikipedia, my checks were paid by Bomis, Inc., which among other things published dirty pictures online; I was *not* involved in that side of the business, but I was friends with people who were; we talked more about philosophy, not so much about the pictures of nekkid ladies on the site. Despite knowing all this, I didn't quit. But I am also a moralist. I think some things are right and others are wrong, and I'm not afraid to say so. Like a good many professional philosophers, I am openly contemptuous of moral relativism. Generally, I think it's damaging for children to view porn, I think child pornography is not just wrong but evil whether in photographic or drawn form, and whether it was made yesterday or a hundred years ago. I also believe the many studies which indicate that it's very damaging for adults to view too much porn. It is, in short, a terrible habit we should be free to indulge, like drinking or smoking, and one that we should be discouraging in children--and, frankly, in ourselves as well. I think that about covers it. Now, Larry Phillips, it's your turn. I invite you to get up the courage to admit openly your own biases and interests, as I have. Everyone has some. Go ahead. BTW I just want to thank Nancy for being so forthcoming. --Larry --- Edtech Archives, posting guidelines and other information are at: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb Please include your name, email address, and school or professional affiliation in each posting. 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