The Wikimedia Foundation, which you will most likely know as being the folks responsible for Wikipedia (and a whole host of other projects), has a bit of a problem on their hands. Specifically, I’m talking about their recent hire in the Deputy Director position, Erik Moller. More specifically, it seems that has a rather … deep interest in child sexuality, and some “interesting” positions on it to boot.
I’m not the first to pick up on this, either. Valleywag quotes Erik as saying “What is my position on pedophilia, then? It’s really simple. If the child doesn’t want it, is neutral or ambiguous, it’s inappropriate.” Obviously, that’s leaving something important unsaid — namely, are children really mature enough to decide if they do want sex; and if they say they do, does that make it appropriate? And then there are his rather interesting essays on the subject.
But there are some other things that haven’t come to light yet. I’ll just list them off and let his words speak for themselves.
Erik created the Wikipedia article on Child sexuality in 2003, and it was definitely not a stub article (Wikipedia’s parlance for short, introductory articles intended to be expanded upon by others).
He inserted the following text into the article on Human sexual behavior:
It is generally acknowledged that children are capable of feeling sexual pleasure, even if they are not yet able to engage in sexual intercourse with each other, and/or are not yet biologically able to reproduce.
In the article on Homosexuality and morality, he writes:
“A small minority believes that children are capable of consenting to homosexual acts with older men, but all major pro-homosexual groups have rejected that view.”
Again, someone who sexually abuses a minor is not necessarily a pedophile (”exclusively” ”attracted” to ”preadolescents” — emphasis on every word), but may simply be acting out of opportunity. The title “pedophiles and pederasts” is redundant — pedophilia ”includes” pederasty. This does not in any way mitigate the definitional problems of this article.
So, why am I bringing this all up? I don’t think Erik is a pedophile, but he has some very wrong and dangerous views on the subject that cannot bear to be left unopposed. There is no room for sophomore philosophizing and moralizing on such a damaging subject, nor should we allow the subject to be normalized by turning a blind eye to such outrageous claims as those made by Erik. Erik embodies one of the main problems with Wikipedia: it allows people with no real training or knowledge in a subject area to nevertheless insert their own personal views into the encyclopedia by sheer force of being a prolific Wikipedian. It’s bad enough when such a person is writing the articles, but it’s terrible when they’re #2 in the line of people running the whole place!
Erik needs to speedily retract and denounce his earlier comments on the subject, not defend them. They are indefensible. If this keeps going the way it is, it puts the Wikimedia Foundation on a collision path with a huge PR nightmare that we really do not want to face; after all, can you really think of a subject that plays more badly in the media and in the general public than pedophilia? Erik needs to get apologetic or he needs to get out, and if he does not make that decision soon, it needs to be made for him.