Tag Archives: wikipedia

Magical linkspam sparkles (26th May, 2011)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious, freelish.us or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Wikipedia and non-mainstream views

I was cynical about Wikipedia’s openness to minority views in the comments of a previous post, I’m a woman, and I’ve edited Wikipedia. Based on past experience as a former, obsessive Wikipedia editor several years ago, I felt that Wikipedia’s notability guidelines amplified mainstream views while suppressing non-mainstream views. This works for dealing with quackery, but it also frames white, male worldviews as objective and universal.

However, it’s not all hopeless.

David Sindel has edited the Wikipedia article on Rape culture (trigger warning) by including prominent examples of rape culture: people defending Roman Polanski, Julian Assange, and Penny Arcade because they are famous. I thought that the protests of feminist and survivor bloggers (and microbloggers) would be considered non-notable, but his edits remain.

(David Sindel had e-mailed me to ask about other examples of rape culture criticisms that have received press coverage. Do you know of others?)

I also checked out the unfortunate Nice Guy Wikipedia article just now, and it now includes a criticism of “nice guy” from Heartless Bitches International (HBI)*. Things are getting better, even if there was a notability fight.

It is possible to edit Wikipedia with non-mainstream views and not have your edits reverted. The Geek Feminism Wiki also works as an alternative to Wikipedia for some topics.

* Fun fact: Heartless Bitches International was started in 1996 by a Canadian, female software developer named “Natalie P”, and “It was one of the earlier websites catering specifically towards women at a time when the World Wide Web was largely a male domain.”

I’m a woman, and I’ve edited Wikipedia

Spacefem is an electrical engineer who has a little extra time to run a feminist forum, write php scripts, and fly small airplanes.

The New York Times has an article about how only about 13% of Wikipedia contributors are female.

That’s a little concerning, considering the fact that Wikipedia is supposed to be the “sum of all human knowledge”. The article has several examples of articles where women might have more knowledge about the topics, they’re important topics, but the articles are lacking in substance and content.

I actually ran into a discussion about this on the user talk page for Jimbo Wales a few weeks ago, if you can believe it. There was a big debate about it, with all the things you might see… people asking why it mattered if women were contributing or not, people suggesting that Wikipedia needs an easier user interface so it’s not so intimidating for new people.

General note: I do not think Wikipedia needs an easier user interface. From the Geocities pages of old to MySpace pages and blogs of the modern age, plenty of women have proven that we can learn markup tags.

In my experience though, people tend to do things their friends are doing. Women tend to get into things they see other women doing… in fact we tend to dominate social networks. So maybe women just don’t see their girlfriends on Wikipedia enough? Or maybe no one’s invited us to the projects, so we get that sense that we’re not islands, we’re contributing to something big?

Once I got started on Wikipedia I really liked editing. I found it easiest to get involved in local stuff… articles about my state, city, neighborhood. Those are topics I’m familiar with, but they’re not all that fleshed out yet.

I also just liked reading up on topics I enjoyed, and filling in red links. It was easy to create new pages once I had my feet wet editing paragraphs on bigger articles.

Are my contributions perfect, with rock-solid references and links to every possible related page? No. Do I contribute every day, or every month? No. But it’s not about that, I see Wikipedia as a “beating the curve” sort of thing. Write articles that are better than other articles. Make improvements, even if they’re small. Do something small. It’s so much easier than running a blog or web page, where you have do make consistent good updates all the time… it’s low-maintenance. It’s great.

I don’t have a magic answer for the Wikimedia Foundation on how to get more women to contribute. But I can say to anyone reading this that it’s a good thing to do… and most people who read my blog are women. So readers, bring your “crumb to the table”. When you post an update to twitter or your blog or a forum, you’re contributing. A piece of yourself and your words are out there for someone else to learn from. Wikipedia is the same idea, only I’d say it’s even more important because it’s Wikipedia. Go for it, ladies. Be bold.

Spacefem (talk) 19:52, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Linkspam outside alone after dark (5th February, 2010)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Why subscribe to their feeds when you can get the linkspam for free? (21st November, 2010)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Death by a thousand links (20th April, 2010)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

Ceci n’est pas une linkspam (4th October, 2009)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention.

iLinkSpam 2.0 (29th September, 2009)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, of if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention.

The link roundup will not be televised (September 3rd, 2009)