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Wikipedia Is a Trusted Source

Over break I saw a piece on 60 Minutes about Wikipedia and one of the creators of Wikipedia. At one moment they began to discuss the growing field of computers and basically anything digital. Again, men were dominating this field. I can not remember the name of the woman they interviewed (although I know she was very fluent in the digital realm), but she said in response to the above fact, that when we think of computer nerds, we imagine greasy guys in their basements that do not get sunlight (or something to that effect) and we could never imagine that a woman do the same thing. We just aren’t able to fit our perception of what a woman is into that computer nerd mold. And so this perpetuates the discrimination placed against women in technology based careers along with discouraging girls/women to pursue a career in said field.

The other interesting point of that segment was when one of the creators of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, discussed the diversity of topics on Wikipedia. He described an instance when a user created a page about Cate Middleton’s wedding dress and many people wanted it taken down because they viewed it as being un-imortnant and trivial compared to all of the other pages on the site. Wales recounted that there are hundreds of pages on computer chips, but what makes them any more important or relevant that this page about a wedding dress? And he makes a great point. He decided not to delete the page because it meant something to someone and Wikipedia is not one to discriminate against that. I kinda of see this as akin to my gender hack: a male centered arena being infiltrated by a stereotypically female subject and the results that come out of that infiltration. This is the response I expected to see. The interests of woman are trivial compared to the interests of men. Why would anyone want to read about a wedding dress when they can see a ranking of the heights of the American Presidents?

1 thought on “Wikipedia Is a Trusted Source

  1. It’s also a little frightening to think about how because a majority of men dominate the Wikipedia editors, this may lead to entries that either take for granted given privileges as well as frame them within a masculine narrative. From my understanding, there are groups out there that edit these pages to ensure their accuracy and their objectivity, but at the same time, these groups are dominated by men, and I can’t help but think that what that group may see as a given may actually be exclusionary to other peoples.

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