Oklahoma. This was a place where Kathryn’s workplace had a cussing jar, a quarter per swear, and the words written on it, “Let Go and Let God.” Here, Christianity was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and Oklahoma football was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and people could be decent and kind and judgmental, sometimes all at once, which was why, when Tracy told some Rotary Club friends that she and Kathryn were getting married, she kept her eyes planted above their heads so she wouldn’t have to look at their faces."I don’t want you to hate me, and I don’t want you to disown me. - Metafilter
For nearly as long as the antifeminist culture war known as Gamergate has raged across the internet, a microcosm of the battle has taken place on Wikipedia. Should Gamergate defined as a push for ethics in gaming journalism, or a paranoid campaign against women in gaming? This week, Wikipedia’s highest court made a major decision in favor of the former.
If the phrase “Wikipedia’s highest court” surprises you, you’re probably not alone. Theoretically, the free encyclopedia is a purely democratic operation—anyone can edit Wikipedia, after all—but there is a byzantine and largely unseen hierarchy that governs disputes among editors, culminating in a Supreme Court-style panel called the Arbitration Committee. The committee’s latest decision: to punish a group of five editors who fought to maintain a Gamergate page that presented the “controversy” largely as an assault on women—that is, who fought to present Gamergate as it actually is.
Mark Bernstein, a blogger and Wikipedia editor, notes that the so-called “Five Horsemen” were not only barred from contributing to Gamergate articles, but from any articles relating to “gender or sexuality, broadly constructed.” By contrast, the only pro-Gamergate users punished by the committee, Bernstein writes, were “disposable accounts created specifically for the purpose of being sanctioned.”
The episode punches a neat a whole in the idea that Wikipedia is a neutral and democratic platform. The Wikipedian community is something like 90 percent male, and if Bernstein’s numbers are correct, its highest ruling body has a similar demographic makeup. That the world’s seventh-most popular website would look at Gamergate and decide that what’s needed is a silencing of feminist perspectives is depressing, but it’s hardly surprising.
I think it’s time I stopped using Wikipedia, no matter how useful as quick research it may be. Who’s with me?
Wikipedia has always been pretty useless when it comes to politically charged subjects such as Gamergate because of crap like this. You can still use it for random bits of specific trivia, but not to get uniased information on a current topic that talk about oppression.
Photo By Richard Baxter
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