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Submissions/White Bag Vulva. How the German community thought about forking.

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission
White Bag Vulva. How the German community thought about forking.

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Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Dirk Franke
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

In October 2011 German Wikipedians started a serious discussion about the possibilities of a national or regional Wikipedia fork. This discussion was started in the wake of the image filter controversies. It followed earlier discussions online and offline between the German community and the Wikimedia Foundation. In September 2001 356 editors, many of them long time Wikipedians, voted in a poll against an image filter, giving the image filter opponents a 85 percent majority.

This discussion focused on the German article Vulva, and its placement on the German main page as "article of the day", where it accompanied by an unambiguous picture. While this was conceived by some as a tasteless and offending joke by some editor boys in late puberty, for many Germans this picture in that place was necessary. It is not only possible to show this image, it is a moral obligation. Enlightenment means bringing light into dark places, and not to shy away from the shadows of traditional morale and taboo. A vulva is a vulva, like an arm is an arm, a rose is a rose, or a sheep is a sheep, and they all deserve the same rational, non-emotional, and non-point of view kind of treatment.

In November several hundred German Wikipedians put the picture of a White Bag on their profile page as a protest sign against any censorship. They wanted to protest the perceived attempts to impose American moral standards on a European website.

Finally, the wish to be a part of a worldwide movement prevailed against any thoughts of a fork; and there were a lot of practical considerations speaking against a fork as well. But still, this episode opened up a lot of questions still not answered. About cultural differences, and norms across projects. About cultural homogeneity and heterogeneity, consideration for cultural sensibilities, and the responsibility to educate. It raised questions the position of organized communities in the larger Wikimedia framework, and the representation of these groups in decision making ; and about the moral obligation to publicly display Vulva pictures for the betterment of humanity.

  • WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education

Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
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  1. Saper (talk) 21:21, 18 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Léna (talk) 00:27, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. DerHexer (talk) 17:24, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  4. --Poupou l'quourouce (talk) 18:38, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Zellfaze (talk) 20:01, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Sj (talk)
  7. Angelika Adam (WMDE) (talk) 13:59, 25 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Graham87 (talk) 13:41, 31 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  9. --Superbass (talk) 13:59, 3 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  10. --Gereon K. (talk) 20:24, 16 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  11. -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 18:42, 21 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  12. Nataev (talk) 14:39, 14 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
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