These social justice bloggers need to calm the fuck down," said the young white male blogger, bewildered and angered by the idea that anyone could take issue with a world that suits him so perfectly.
The sixth most widely used website in the world is not run anything like the others in the top 10. It is not operated by a sophisticated corporation but by a leaderless collection of volunteers who generally work under pseudonyms and habitually bicker with each other. It rarely tries new things in the hope of luring visitors; in fact, it has changed little in a decade. And yet every month 10 billion pages are viewed on the English version of Wikipedia alone. When a major news event takes place, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, complex, widely sourced entries spring up within hours and evolve by the minute. Because there is no other free information source like it, many online services rely on Wikipedia. Look something up on Google or ask Siri a question on your iPhone, and you’ll often get back tidbits of information pulled from the encyclopedia and delivered as straight-up facts.
Yet Wikipedia and its stated ambition to “compile the sum of all human knowledge” are in trouble. The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia—and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation—has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking. Those participants left seem incapable of fixing the flaws that keep Wikipedia from becoming a high-quality encyclopedia by any standard, including the project’s own. Among the significant problems that aren’t getting resolved is the site’s skewed coverage: its entries on Pokemon and female porn stars are comprehensive, but its pages on female novelists or places in sub-Saharan Africa are sketchy. Authoritative entries remain elusive. Of the 1,000 articles that the project’s own volunteers have tagged as forming the core of a good encyclopedia, most don’t earn even Wikipedia’s own middle-ranking quality scores.
The main source of those problems is not mysterious. The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage.
I was reading this article, scrolling down, wondering when or if it’d bring up the culture. And then it gets one line, to one paragraph and no in-depth into anything ABOUT that culture.
I don’t think updating the interface is going to change ‘the culture’.
My personal example with wikipedia? Was starting a page on something I utterly loved, only to be shouted down over my oft times British spelling, over US spelling; my writing style, how I phrased things, how I organized things, etc…
I went scouring the net to find links and info and at one point the highlight of it all was someone officially related to the thing, leaving me a note and answering questions, having found it and appreciated it.
And then not being able to go back for a month, only to check in and see EVERYTHING changed when I wasn’t there to fight every day; by someone who obviously was not involved ‘in the thing’, but claimed to be better at writing about it, and obviously ‘more dedicated than I was about Wikipedia itself’.
So I just stopped.
My love for the thing, could not compete with having to continually prove myself for every line I wrote. And I couldn’t bear anymore seeing someone write who didn’t know - but who was ‘in’ so them putting in their ‘interpretations’ rather than the facts of the thing, was fine.
I use wikipedia now to dual check as a dictionary, and to scroll down to the source links. Cause I’m always aware it’s possible the person who hunted down those links or started the article, may not be the people currently maintaining it and who knows which way the bias flows.
Heck, Chelsea Manning’s talk and contributions and feedback page is a damn war zone of misogyny and transmisogny and transphobia.
I’d heard about the Chelsea Manning “turf war” and found it too strange to dwell on long. Thanks for the personal experience here, it definitely fleshes out the way the site works a little more.
Fuck that. White colonialism created the culinary rifts in the first place. They’re in no position to restore or renew it.
What would be “authentic” would be acknowledging what white people have done and still do.
girl are you a bank loan? cause you got my interest