I want to start off with expressing my sincere gratitude towards the anonymous source who sent me the Link that got me interested in this matter.; and to Hannah Wallen who helped me out to a great extent in researching this topic. Without her I would probably still be stuck trawling through these pages.
The Link I was sent was to the homepage of an event called “Art plus Feminism“ which turns out to be a so called “edit-a-thon“ – an event during which people around the world gather together to collectively edit existing Wikipedia entries and add new ones.
In it`s description, the organisers of this event outline their ideological motivations by declaring that to combat Wikipedia’s gender gap, they intend to raise the number of female editors and “editors of all genders“; in essence imposing a forced diversity on wikipedia rather than increasing the number of editors on the basis of merit in editing and research.
These events have highly partisan motivations as their operational basis. The outright ideological approach has to be the single most disturbing thing about this entire move. Imagine if a conservative think-tank were to launch a massive editing campaign on wikipedia; the outcry would be enormous. But in this instance, when a 3rd wave feminist social justice movement engages in such behaviour from their safe spaces, nobody seems to bother. This has been going on for at least three years, on a wide array of political subjects:
Women in History, Women in Music, Women in Religion, Women in Science, Women in Architecture, Women in Jazz, Black Womens history, Black Lives matter 2015, Black Lives matter 2016, Black Lives Matter, Art and feminism, Editathon at white house, Women of African Diaspora
Events often take place once a month, with hundreds of new articles being added and probably even more being edited. The Art plus Feminism page also proudly lists it`s organisers including the museum of modern art, Tekserve, the Wikimedia foundation and various ‘social justice’ sponsors, each overtly professing their political motivations.
The stand-out organiser in this highly politicised event is Wikimedia NYC.
Wikipedia has been clear about it`s stance on maintaining a ‘neutral point of view’. As such, the presence of such organised ideological editathons within Wikipedia is highly suspicious. Wikipedia clearly states on it`s site concerning “Neutral Point of View” that:
“All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic.”
One would expect such organisations to play more of an oversight role so that sources can be open to scrutiny from all sides of the partisan spectrum.
Several Wikipedians were listed in the “Regional Ambassadors“ section of the site, but no names were given as to who within Wikimedia NYC was coordinating these events. Hannah and I therefore decided to search for people within wikipedia who may represent Wikimedia NYC, thereby providing a stamp of approval from this organisation. We started off by searching through the WikiProject Feminism – a Wikipedia group of feminist editors.
Within the members of this group, we found active Wikipedia members who listed these events in their profiles as things that they took part in. In addition to the numerous editathons, we also found educational events organised by feminists and other social justice activists to tutor people on (ideological) Wikipedia editing: Collaborations in feminism and technology, Art and Feminism lectures on editing articles.
We noticed that many of the events seem to be organised around New York City and many of the events outside New York with other participating universities and private participants seem to work in coordination with New York. The key organiser there appeared to be GLAM/METRO which stands for Metropolitan New York Library Council, a collective of various libraries, working together throughout New York. That reminded us that one of the organisers of these events, Siân Evans claimed on her homepage to be a librarian. We also came across Dorothy Howard’s news bulletin on the New York Library Association’s website about Wikipedia Institutional Partnerships in New York City in which she explains how METRO and Wikipedians in New York are building a cooperation with New York libraries and educational facilities to edit and expand on Wikipedia’s content. In fact, Dorothy Howard keeps appearing in connection with all the other activists such as Sian Evans, Jaquelin Mabey, Michael Mandiberg, Richard Knipe and Laurel Ptak but what Hannah found that separates her from all the others is that she is a resident Wikipedian.
Or at least used to be, because according to her Linked in profile and an article on the METRO homepage: http://metro.org/articles/a-letter-from-metros-wikipedianinresidence/ she left in 2015, yet she is still listed as a resident Wikipedian. In her LinkedIn profile she also lists the initiation and organisation of the Wikipedia edit-a-thons as one of her projects that she facilitated.
It appears Dorothy Howard (Hexatekin) represents Wikimedia in this entire organisation, thereby giving these events an official Wikipedia stamp of approval. Or at least used to represent Wikipedia in these matters, and now the partnership in these programs which she helped organise continue to provide an officilal Wikipedia stamp on these events. Interestingly, she has recently proposed a Grant in the Wikipedia IdeaLab for community discussion on harassment reporting, with a goal to better understand how the grants process can be used to support tools and solutions for lessening harassment in the Wikipedia community (definitions of harassment include ‘silencing – [“not all men”], condescension, [‘splaining’], slut shaming, sexualized harassment and toxic masculinity).
You will notice many other factors showing her biases on her Tumblr, LinkedIn, WordPress and her homepage.
Dorothy has received Wikimedia Foundation grants to pursue independent projects. She has used such grants to travel to Wikipedia conferences in Berlin and the Netherlands. This indicates that people further up in the Wikipedia food chain approved of her activities, with or without knowledge of her activism and biases. Money donated to wikipedia funds these activities.
From her Tumblr blog:
FREE SPEECH AND THE PROTESTANT ETHIC Free speech as a sediment of what Weber’s analysis points to in the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, where the “legal” or institutional protection of speaking freely was attached to the idea of repentance / penance, a space of speaking freely before god, after the fall of Christianity in the West, was held onto as a sort of necessary / sacrosanct space that gets transformed into a productive process under capitalism.
FREE SPEECH AND CAPITAL Forced to its scary extremes free speech becomes a productive process for commodities (mass media, esp. mass political media) to flow, then also entering markets which might otherwise assist the proletariat in understanding and acting upon the oppressive conditions which they are forced to act.
Yes. She believes that Free Speech is merely a cultural side-effect of protestant christianity, and since the decline of Christianity free speech has been used as a mechanism of capitalism to cause oppression; because everyone can say what they want and not just talk about the things that (in her mind) matter to the proletariat. Everyone can consume and say what they want and because of that, their rights are being trampled on; the big capitalists are using free speech to push what capitalism thinks is good for them, onto them. Free Speech… according to her…. causes oppression…. so evidently she would prefer if big feminists used ‘free speech’ to push what feminism thinks is good for us? Let that sink in, whilst keeping in mind that she organises massive wikipedia editing events.
What kind of precedent is being set here? We have a massive activism-based community of editors that in numbers would outweigh non-biased editors or editors with opposing views.
“Never mind that massive feminist death star I have built above your planet! We don’t intend to use it!”
If ideologically driven groups can edit wikipedia, the number one source for information regarding specific subjects on the internet, then what is to prevent (for example) political campaigns from setting up editing workshops to manage the content available on candidates? What is to prevent the government, or corporate lobby groups from setting up specific Wikipedia editing workshops?
I have a hard time believing that any of this somehow keeps bias out of the editing process. The fact that the Christina Hoff Sommers article is listed on the Feminist Wikipedia Group as an article that has been edited 60 times over a course of 2 days speaks volumes – Christina Hoff Sommers, an ardent critic of 2nd and 3rd wave feminism, also known as The Factual Feminist has been a thorn in feminism’s side for over two decades.
The fact that wikipedia conferences have safe spaces also speaks volumes over what kind of culture is being established here and it reeks of what happens in the run up and aftermath of Gamergate.
I have the feeling that there is more than meets the eye here and I am very much looking forward to what we will find as we continue digging. I will make another video on this subject, I sincerely hope that you also get involved in looking up what is going on here. And please go and read Hannah’s blog entry on the matter in which she will share her research in the matter. And dont forget to give her a huge thank you if you enjoyed this, since without her I would still be looking through that can of worms.
List of Links:
Art plus Feminism homepage: http://art.plusfeminism.org/about/
Art Plus Feminism Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Women_in_Red/8
Women in Music Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Women_in_Red/6
Women in ReligionEdit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Women_in_Red/5
Women in Science Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Women_in_Red/4
Women in Jazz Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/WomenOfJazz
Black Womens History Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Women_in_Red/7
Women in tech Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/FemTechNet/Barnard
Black Lives Matter Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/Black_Life_Matters_Editathon
Black Lives matter Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/AfroCrowd
Art Plus Feminism Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/ArtAndFeminism_ProjectContinua_2015
Edit-a-thon at the White house: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/24/today-join-us-our-first-stem-heroes-edit-thon
Women African Dispora Edit-a-thon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Hunter_College/Women_of_African-Disapora
Museum of Modern Art: http://www.moma.org/
Wikimedia NYC: https://nyc.wikimedia.org/wiki/Home
Wikipedia Neutral Point of View rules: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view
Wikipedia Veryfiability rules: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability
Wiki Project Feminism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Feminism
Wikipedia Feminist Article editing training: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/ArtAndFeminism_2016_Training_1
Sian Evans Homepage: http://www.siankevans.com/
Dorothy Howard Wikipedia Profile: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Hexatekin
Dorothy Howards Grant for Harassment discussion: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Community_discussion_on_harassment_reporting
Dorothy Howards tumblr: http://dorothyhoward.tumblr.com/
Dorothy Howards LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dhoward91
Dorothy Howards Blog: https://bibliodot.wordpress.com/
Dorothy Howards Homepage: http://www.dorothyhoward.com/
Wikipedia Conference Safe Space Policy: https://wikiconferenceusa.org/wiki/2015/Safe_Space_Policy
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