Wow! Wikipedia=Edit This World

So Wikipedia has faced a lot of criticism lately (most of which is silly in my opinion as it presumes that readers ignore the page history in wikis) but continues to prove its worth in many ways.

But the point of this point is to reference a discussion going on elsewhere.

This is a long story to summarize, but I’m going to try:

Kick-ass anti-sexist technologist and blogger Shelley Powers was discussing with Rogers Cadenhead the fact that Wikipedia includes many biographical entries on male bloggers and other technologists, but far fewer women. (“Ladies, Wikipedia is Ours“)

In response, Cadenhead does something really cool (the original inspiration for this post, to be honest) and posts a biographical entry of Susan Mernit, super-technologist, member of the inspirational consulting firm 5iveMedia Group. You can see Mernit’s blog here.

Meanwhile Powers also requested in her original post that someone create a Wikipedia entry for her. Sure enough, Shelley Powers on Wikipedia got a “vote to delete” in a hurry. Within 2 fast days there was so much discussion (overwhelmingly supportive of her inclusion) that the “vote to delete page” on her entry was frozen and archived. That one’s for posterity, you’d better believe. Some people (very few) said Powers’ entry wasn’t of legitimate encyclopedic interest. But she, amongst other things, contributed to a book called Essential Blogging 3 years ago. And she’s still going nuts, blogging about a lot of things both technical and political at Burning Bird.

My take-aways:

  • Wikipedia is media that you can change, and if social justice is important to you – you can change it in ways that still meet the requirement of Neutral Point of View.
  • There’s not enough biographical entries about women in Wikipedia. Anyone can write more.
  • I’m going to make sure I’m subscribed to the feeds of all 3 of the bloggers discussed above.
  • I’m going to tag several of the pages above WebJustice2.0. (Check out that tagstream. Items submitted are slow and subscribers to the feed are way down this month. Is the idea not going to fly?)

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