Wikimedia U.K. chairman resigns amid pornography controversy


Van Haeften had been accused of harassing users who’d questioned the role of explicit material on Wikipedia

The chairman of the Wikimedia U.K. board, Ashley Van Haeften, who was banned from the English portion of the free encyclopedia last week, resigned Thursday, citing concerns that the ongoing controversy could prove divisive to the community.

Wikipedia’s arbitration committee, ArbCom, booted Van Haeften last week, finding that he’d harassed users who’d questioned the role of explicit material on Wikipedia, including Haeften’s own submissions. For his part, Haeftan claimed that he was defending himself from a year-long, homophobic harassment campaign, which began when some users discovered images of bondage porn he’d posted to Wikimedia Commons.

The news drew a fair bit of publicity, including pieces from this website, The Telegraph, and Gizmodo. More importantly, it proved a hot item of debate within Wikipedia, where arguments over the proper role of explicit material have been raging for years.

“He is keen that there should be no division in the Wikimedia UK community over his role as Chair, especially at a time when so many great things are being achieved,” Jon Davies told The Telegaph. “He has therefore resigned as Chair.”

Photo by banspy

Kevin Morris

Kevin Morris

Kevin Morris is a veteran web reporter and editor who specializes in longform journalism. He led the Daily Dot’s esports vertical and, following its acquisition by GAMURS in late 2016, launched Dot Esports, where he serves as the site’s editor-in-chief.