Proposal:Provide services to facilitate "child-safe" and selective mirror sites

From Strategic Planning
Status (see valid statuses)

The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

This proposal is associated with the bolded strategic priorities below.

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership.
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


The availability of sexual content on Wikipedia has recently entered broader discussion and news coverage. It is impossible and highly undesirable to make a working user-generated encyclopedia "child-safe". But Wikimedia could provide resources to outreach to groups that wish to create selective mirror sites, greatly reducing the bandwidth, disk space, and technical expertise they would need to accomplish such a project. This proposal is meant to substitute for censorship, content rating, or child-class accounts on Wikimedia projects.


The problems with trying to remove content from Wikipedia itself are addressed at w:Wikipedia:Sexual content/FAQ. But mirror sites are encouraged to reuse Wikipedia content, and perhaps Wikimedia can help them. The characteristics of the mirror sites (not Wikipedia!) should be as follows:

  • The tools suggested assume that a selective mirror site has a base Wiki software and appearance.
  • Permission should not be granted to use Wikimedia logos, to avoid confusion in either direction and especially to allow adults to tell whether the child has gotten onto the live Wikipedia instead. The group making the content decisions should be encouraged to create a distinctive logo and a name that is not found in web searches prior to launch.
  • The goal of the mirror site is to allow it to select specific historical versions of Wikipedia to serve up as its article on a subject. These versions will match their specific notions - for example, to create a "child safe" site, or to create a site on which teachers can certify specific revisions as factually accurate and use them in instruction.
  • The key feature for Wikimedia to enable such mirrors is that a historical version of an article from the Wikipedia database should be served up from the mirror site. The goal is that Wikimedia can serve up the selected page directly to the user's browser, without requiring the "mirror site" to actually host the full content. Its appearance should be as follows:
  • It should look like the current version - no next edit/previous edit, etc.
  • It should be displayed within the mirror frame's site layout (for example as a browser frame, but perhaps something more sophisticated).
  • It should not link back to Wikipedia, since the children are being kept away from Wikipedia.
  • It should provide attribution including the Wikipedia general disclaimer.
  • From within the mirror's Wiki source, the desired Wikipedia history frame should be easily specified. For example, the mirror source could use something akin to #REDIRECT. For example, for the mirror site to specify the stripped-down article content frame corresponding to [1], it might have an article page consisting solely of "#INCLUDE en.w 360550819 Viz."
  • In this way the mirror's article space need be nothing more than a list of article names and revisions.
  • Wikipedia can also help, to a very limited degree, in facilitating the creation of the mirror site's approved versions as follows:
  • Any editing of articles to generate a preferred reliable child-safe version could be done on Wikipedia to create a history revision, then reverted if it is unsuitable for Wikipedia readers.
  • It is desirable to create a "self-undoing revision" option on Wikipedia itself so that people working on the project can submit such edits into the history without raising tension with other editors. The effect should be that the edit is made, then immediately "undone", and perhaps combined into one entry in the article's edit history. Such self-undoing revisions should not trigger an edit conflict.
  • Note that it should be possible for the mirror site to simply copy the entire article over to its own site and work it down extensively, and this should be preferred for any large edits.
  • The mirror site should limit editing in article space and in some talk forums limited to a special "adult" or "teacher" account. Those seeking such accounts may be subjected to some sort of certification or screening.
  • Accounts for children should not allow IP editing due to potential privacy risks.
  • Accounts for children should be open for all to sign up. I don't know whether applying this proposal to a site with paid registration would be appropriate for WMF or not.
  • The mirror wiki should still be functional for creating new pages (such as navigation pages among a subset of certified articles for textbook use).
  • The most problematic area for the mirror involves the modification of internal and external links. External references are desirable but pose a risk in terms of child safety.
  • Usually the mirror would focus on the article namespace and leave out major Wikipedia namespaces like Talk: and Wikipedia:.
  • Some links, such as to project and help pages, may not be included in the mirror.
  • The mirror will probably handle Talk very differently than Wikipedia. Its purpose is not the improvement of the article, but some other educational function. The creation of Talk forums would be very limited - only those which can actually be monitored by an adult, such as topics currently under study in a class or general forums for questions. For child-safe Wikis these must be moderated in advance or at least very quickly at any time of day or night. Some forums would be reserved for adults running the mirror site.
  • History, Move, and Watch would generally be reserved for adults. The article needs to be attributed to Wikipedia, but without offering children a direct link and without displaying previous edit summaries.
  • A similar scheme would be needed to deal with images stored at Wikimedia Commons, so that the mirror site can link reliably to a historical version and display it within an article, without fear that it will be replaced with some new version.

Accounts for children should be open for all to sign up.then there should be in your account registration date of birth, so we know whether he was a child or an adult, but it would be nice if adult content abolished. Because, despite being an adult, the adult content that will have a bad impact on society if misused


  1. To allow those who might not otherwise allow children onto Wikipedia to create a walled garden with content they believe to be acceptable.
  2. To allow parents a site with enhanced safety, where conversations between children and adults or adults posing as children is very closely watched.

Key Questions

This is a very technical proposal and someone needs to be enlisted with the knowledge and desire to actually do the work. Such a new program interface would be worth a considerable amount if copyrighted, and will require commensurate effort.

Potential Costs

The use of developer time would be all but intolerable; however, many organizations exist which express great interest in child safety. It is possible that they could provide much of the financial or personal resources for development.

The ongoing use of bandwidth from Wikimedia to support such mirrors is not, strictly speaking, a loss, since Wikimedia would still be doing what it would otherwise, namely serving the content. How the user chooses to display this content (or has it chosen for him) is not strictly our concern.


The Wikipedia CD selection for schools does this more or less - a CD and a web site with a selection of wikipedia pages that have all been checked for accuracy and suitability for use in schools.

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Provide services to facilitate "child-safe" and selective mirror sites.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. .. Sign your name here!