hmm. another controversy it would seem, and much vehemence and anger.. and ironically, i seem to be the cause of it, not wikipedia! life is certainly unpredictable :) well, ive heard what youve all had to say.
there has been much talk about whether wikipedia is biased, whether the management is concerned about their being biased, and so forth. whether you choose to heed it or not, wikipedia says “we have a duty to write our articles from a frank and unbiased perspective” (will someone pass me a paper bag please? I think im going to be very sick!)
calling a woman a member of the "weaker sex" is biased.
"Sexism is the foundation on which all tyranny is built. Every social form of hierarchy and abuse is modeled on male-over-female domination." - Andrea Dworkin
calling her a cunt or whore is just purely offensive and hostile no matter where you stand in the spectrum of gender politics.
so while i dont expect wikipedia to be able to control "bias" (despite their assertion) i would - and do - expect them to treat people with respect. maybe it is difficult for them to keep track of their data updation - that doesnt speak too highly for their quality control process, and frankly, im not bleeding sympathy.
to each man who magnanimously overlooks the insult and agrees that it is all for the Glory of (Totally Dubious) Knowledge – not so fast batman: you didn’t lose anything, and weren’t affected by that statement. the privilege of granting forgiveness or ignoring the injury is not yours.
"Women are repeatedly accused of taking things personally. I cannot see any other honest way of taking them." - Marya Mannes
the idea of a body of knowledge, freely available to everyone is indisputably a fantastic one. it may also be only that: an idea, with very real implementation glitches. as a concerned individual i wrote wiki a polite mail showing them the article.
I wrote about it here, when by the way, the same old boring tactic of suppression by trying to be demeaning – “you’re raving”, “you’re ranting” - was tried. if we speak we rave, if we don’t – well, the women aren’t saying anything, so its no big shit, right? ho hum.
you saw the mail I received from them. to still support the use of obscene language employed for no convceivable purpose is discriminatory, sexist behaviour. it says nothing for the encyclopaedia’s professionalism, ethics or integrity. the article does no justice to women, or to the concept of wikipedia.
merely changing one article doesn’t change anything. what could possibly make a difference would be making a vehement enough objection to such sexism, that wikipedia actually bothers to check what its putting up. it has to be a policy level decision. the people behind the show have to make a serious effort. otherwise, you and I can take turns changing and rewriting articles every second day until our senescence – it doesn’t matter a damn.
I understand there are several people out there who seem to think challenging wikipedia amounts to challenging open source, something that shouldn’t (according to them) be allowed at any cost. one, it isn’t about “wikipedia versus feminism” or “wikipedia the last stand of free source”. nobody can force that kind of trade off, and even if they do, as much as I support free source, damned if ill continue to do so when the project abuses me.
and as a parting shot – how would a man like to be defined as a “dickhead” in a free, open source of “knowledge” ?
nothing condones vicious sexism, least of all the cause of spreading awareness.