Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Fun and Wikipedia, Again

Things have been busy, so I've been less able to do blog writing during the past week.

However, some stuff I've read recently includes this article on the so-called decline of Wikipedia, which the Tom Simonite attributes to the male-dominated based of editors who "operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers."

I've long been interested in contributing to Wikipedia, myself, and have contributed to a few articles over the years.  However, I can relate to feeling as though the barriers to consistent writing at Wikipedia have seemed insurmountable to someone like me with both limited time to learn the rules upon rules upon rules of editing at the site and limited interest in getting into editor wars in a space where those running it are estimated to be about 90% male.

I've contributed to a few articles related to women in sports and remember one of my first contributions being deleted by a user who said that Wikipedia wasn't about "political correctness." His comment was a total non sequitur in the context of my edit, and really just a lazy way to say "I don't care about women's sports, therefore no one else in the world does either," but this guy had power in the forum so that was that. I walked away from the site thinking, fuck it, and lost interest in volunteering my time, energy, and writing skills to the site at all.

I say that absolutely believing that Wikipedia needs more female editors. And, I can appreciate that the site has rules about civility and contributions even as I think those rules in practice are unwieldy and a real barrier to making the site better in terms of breadth of subject matter beyond what its current editor base finds interesting and noteworthy.

Those who enforce the rules in any given forum decide everything, and when those enforcers replicate traditional power structures their editing of content can be a real problem when that forum is a purported encyclopedia.

Anyway - what have you all been reading?

1 comment:

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