Nice work, Wikipedia –
Guardian headline: Wikipedia bans five editors from gender-related articles.
Wikipedia’s arbitration committee, the highest user-run body on the site, has banned five editors from making corrections to articles about feminism, in an attempt to stop a long-running edit war over the entry on the “Gamergate controversy”.
The editors, who were all actively attempting to prevent the article from being rewritten with a pro-Gamergate slant, were sanctioned by “arbcom” in its preliminary decision. While that may change as it is finalised, the body, known as Wikipedia’s supreme court, rarely reverses its decisions.
Right, because articles about feminism have to be impartial, so they should be edited only by people who are opposed to feminism. That makes sense.
The sanction bars the five editors from having anything to do with any articles covering Gamergate, but also from any other article about “gender or sexuality, broadly construed”.
Editors who had been pushing for the Wikipedia article to be fairer to Gamergate have also been sanctioned by the committee, but one observer warns that those sanctions have only hit “throwaway” accounts.
“No sanctions at all were proposed against any of Gamergate’s warriors, save for a few disposable accounts created specifically for the purpose of being sanctioned,” said Mark Bernstein, a writer and Wikipedia editor.
In contrast, he says, “by my informal count, every feminist active in the area is to be sanctioned. This takes care of social justice warriors with a vengeance — not only do the Gamergaters get to rewrite their own page (and Zoe Quinn’s, Brianna Wu’s, Anita Sarkeesian’s, etc); feminists are to be purged en bloc from the encyclopedia.”
Will there be show trials?
The byzantine internal processes of Wikipedia are incomprehensible for many, but they serve to shape the content on the site, the seventh biggest on the internet. Its reportedly unpleasant internal culture and unwelcoming atmosphere for new editors has long been blamed for an overwhelmingly masculine make-up – just one in ten editors are thought to be female – which in turn contributes to which topics get featured on the site.
As the Wikipedia article on Wikipedia’s systemic bias explains, “research suggests that the gender gap has a detrimental effect on content coverage: articles with particular interest to women tend to be shorter, even when controlling for variables that affect article length. Women typically perceive Wikipedia to be of lower quality than men do.”
Oh well, it’s only Wikipedia…