Sunday, 8 November 2009

Shame on Wikipedia!!!!! Yes it is SEXIST

After having found that all my entries for female journalists and artists I knew were deleted in Wikipedia several years back I came to the opinion that the Wikipedia admins were a bunch of sexist geeks.  Sadly I have to say they were far worse than I imagine.  Type in to Wikipedia the name of anything that even sounds like a porn star and you will see that almost every woman working in the porn industry today has a Wikipedia page with picture.  The same can not be said for journalists, painters, writers, or even political activists.

Recently I was a bit alarmed to find that Nina Hartley source code in Wikipedia has almost 58,000 charcters, while Georgia O'Keeffe (who lived a lot longer) has 64,000 charcters. So on the surface it looks like one of the most accomplished female painters in history is just a bit more important than a currently popular porn star. But saddly Traci Lords has about 73,000 characters.

So the most significant thing a woman can do in Wikipedia is have sex on camera. But there is not just that, a woman can also look pretty in movies. For example the source code on Scarlett Johansson 280,000 for being a movie star in her 20s, Margaret Thatcher has 500,000.

Its odd to think that Thacher rule in the UK during a major privatization of the housing market, deregulation of financial markets, 2 major wars and countless other events which have shapped the lives of ever human alive today. Scarlett Johansson has been in some movies.

When you look at O'Keeffe's numbers it depressing to see that Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Marie Alba both have more characters than the artists. Though Thatcher still has about 10% more charcters than Madonna, but the Modonna count is hard to come by because there are so many pages on all her albums and videos.

Perhaps the most telling numbers are Modonna the pop star character count vs. Madonna the mother of Jesus. Like a Virgin Madonna about 455,000 characters in her profile where as the orginal Virgin Madonna has 201,000. But this is wikipedia, and the Virgin Madonna by definition never had sex in public and therefore does not qualify as a significant woman.
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  1. Word/character count is a rather awful way to measure supposed importance, but that doesn't really matter, because you're just scapegoating Wikipedia. The sad fact is that actresses & so forth do have a disproportionate amount of attention lavished on them: it IS unfair. That is not a problem with Wikipedia, though, it's a problem with society. Wikipedia is written by volunteers on their whims; no one can force people to edit particular articles, and so popular culture gets overrepresented. Look for the root of the problem before you cry foul.

  2. 1. Total character count is an the best possible way to measure total information contained between Wikipedia pages. There is no other rational way. I could potentially also count discussion page or edits, but I am looking at the size of the pages.

    2. The root of the problem are the Wikipedia editors, who delete pages of professionals, especially in my experience professional women, like mad and yet are happy with porn.

    Of course society is going to be more interested in sex than say NPR, but Wikipedia has an entire class of editors who have inserted themselves between the public and the site and now there are strong limits on living bio edits. I have seen a great deal of work I have done on female artists and journalists deleted.

    Wiki admins show a rather odd set of priorities on deletion. When I was trying to write about arts collectives in Chicago I gave up because of the deletes. Also they have something against World War II. The only thing I have been able to edit freely has been on Microsoft SharePoint. But that is technology is it not.