Wikipedia: Defining Our Experience

We've got a number of issues with Wikipedia, the free, user-written and edited online "encyclopedia."

We recently discovered that (perhaps unsurprisingly), it has been suggested that the definition of "street harassment" be merged with "objectification". Because the majority of Wikipedia contributors/editors (80%) are men, this is hardly shocking that two distinct concepts would be confused and possibly welded - for their convenience, assumedly. Wouldn't want to make too much of these issues. Wouldn't want to make it too complicated. Certainly wouldn't want to clog up a wiki with battling definitions. It's not like the guys do that.

According to the same rationale, should "rape" be merged with "violence"? Or, would it make more sense and be more convenient if "rape" were merged with "sex"? Should we merge the terms "race" with "bigotry" ?!! And then not expect that language and its associations have any particular play or animating effect on our continual perception of others?

The site contains at least as many errors as regular encyclopedias. As a source of reference, Wikipedia is run like a collective blog. Maybe it is, at the very least, pointing out to all of us just how biased print encyclopedias have been, and continue to be in the parallel online universe. A woman named Maia wrote a helpful response in her blog, Free? to a similar Wikipedia scandal about the sexist handling of the term, "Woman," that also got tagged by sites such as Feministe and scribblepad. Maia suggests that the free space of the blogosphere will replicate sexist patterns, as well as all other power structures, that exist in mainstream society unless we, as contributors, consciously do something to change that. Right on. So, in other words, holla back!

You can add to the discussion of this post and define the kind of world you want to live in by clicking here.

Source: Know It All, The New Yorker

Written by: Brittany Shoot and Michelle Riblett. Protected by Creative Commons License 2.5. Any copying, redistribution, or replication in any form of this work is prohibited unless permission is obtained from the author.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home