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50 shades of Wikipedia? UK head banned after bondage porn ties

  • wikiporn00

     (FoxNews.com)

  • Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia

    June 29, 2007: Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, answers a question during an interview in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Wikipedia Logo

     (Wikipedia)

The chairman of Wikipedia’s U.K. fund-raising arm was banned from the service “for numerous violations of Wikipedia’s norms and policies,” after reports linked him to kinky bondage pornography and inappropriate editing.

Ashley Van Haeften -- the head of the independent Wikimedia U.K. group -- was banned by an arbitration board on July 20, according to a story on The Daily Telegraph. The action was taken following a series of clashes over pornography on the popular online encyclopedia, and a series of edits to that material in violation of policy.

“Ashley Van Haeften, user name Fae … has been banned from editing the English language Wikipedia for at least the next six months, after which he can appeal the ban,” explained Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK on July 31.

The decision was made by Arbcom, a committee of senior administrators who resolve contributor disputes. The group found that Van Haeften mounted personal attacks on people with concerns about explicit material, including material he uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons site that was readily accessible by any visitor until it was removed.

Summary

Two years after FoxNews.com highlighted the problem of pornography, Wikipedia is no closer to resolving the issue.

April 27, 2010: Co-founder Larry Sanger says Wikipedia is knowingly distributing child porn. He implores the FBI to investigate.

May 10, 2010: Wikimedia Foundation begins purging explicit images, prepares new policy on sexual content. 

May 14, 2010: Shake up at the top levels over the growing controversy. 

June 25, 2010: A worldwide network of pedophiles is uncovered lurking on Wikipedia.

Feb. 24, 2012: Two years later, Wikimedia Commons is still littered with graphic pornography.

June 05, 2012: Nearly all of the most frequently viewed media files are sexually explicit.

Full coverage

“He was criticized for including a ‘highly inappropriate’ link to pornography in the biography of a living person, one of the most contentious classes of Wikipedia page,” the Telegraph wrote.

The issue of pornography on Wikipedia has been a central concern for the site, following a series of articles on FoxNews.com and elsewhere online.

Haften defended himself at the board meeting, arguing he was the target of a homophobic harassment campaign, but appears to have acknowledged that he had posted bondage photographs and videos to the service.

Larry Sanger, the co-founder of the Wikipedia service, has long-railed against the presence of pornography on the site. He noted that Van Haeften, who uses the alias Fae on the Wikipedia, received an upvote of support from the board on July 26, which unanimously voted to allow him to continue on as its head.

“The board that manages a £1 million budget, devoted to promoting Wikipedia, supports its chair even if the chair has been banned from editing Wikipedia itself,” Sanger wrote on his website.

“One has to wonder: how can the Wikimedia UK Board pretend that Van Haeften can continue to be a credible chair of a well-funded Wikipedia charity if the judicial body of Wikipedia has deliberately excluded him from the website for violating Wikipedia’s own policies?”

Wikimedia UK chief executive Davies defended the foundation on July 31, writing that meeting to ban Van Haeften was far from secret, as the Telegraph described it, and labelling the ban a sanction at one point.

“The editing issues were fully public before, and during, the recent elections to the board, and were openly and publicly discussed. He continues to have the full support of the Board.”