Too Many Inkblots?

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In the last few months, Wikipedia has been in debate with psychologists who are upset that Rorschach inkblot plates can be easily found online.

Because the Rorschach tests are displayed with common responses to the open-ended questions doctors pose while using the plates, several psychologists have voiced concerns that the materials are being undermined. Psychologists such as Steve J. Breckler, director for science at the American Psychological Association, are also worried about the tests getting into the hands of amateurs who have not been trained to administer them.

These worried shrinks are at odds with Wikipedia’s mission statement. Wikimedia (“the foundation that runs the Wikipedia sites”) believes that the tests should be published as they are not under copyright protection in the United States and the organization shows no signs of concern about the legal action being pursued by Hogrefe & Huber Publishing (the company that bought an early publisher of Hermann Rorschach’s book).

While the argument about the Rorschach plates is not the only ongoing dispute about what information should be freely accessible online and what should not, it is a fascinating one and you can read more about it thanks to The New York Times here.

Other Wikipedia disputes have included a ban on the image of a nude girl on the cover of heavy-metal group the Scorpions 1976 album “Virgin Killer,” a British art gallery fighting over the use of 3,000 of its images on Wikipedia, German lawmaker Lutz Heilmann taking legal steps in objection to his profile, and Rick Warren’s opposition to gay marriage provoking a temporary shut-down on editorial access to his Wikipedia profile.


Nina Moog is a writer and director of photography based in Germany. She holds an MA from the University of St. Andrews and an MSc from the University of Oxford, where her thesis focused on photographic representations of prisons. More from this author →