Raising awareness for diversity issues of Wikipedia authors: Exchange experiences and develop ideas (Workshop)
In the last years several initiatives have tried to counter diversity gaps and bias in Wikipedia, most notably the WikiProject Women in Red. Thereby, the spotlight was mostly on gender. Other dimensions of diversity (LGBT, race, North/South, class, health/body, age, education) were targeted less. The initiatives focused primarily on creating new biographical articles for women. The systemic bias (diversity bias called in the following) in the articles was rarely a topic. One exception is the essay Writing about women in English Wikipedia which describes sexist language and stereotypes about women to avoid when writing a Wikipedia article.
In general, the assumption behind the present initiatives is roughly that by increasing the diversity of the authorship the diversity of the articles will be improved and the negative stereotypes about people not white, straight, healthy, young, male, educated, living in the “North” lessened. However, this burdens the already disadvantaged with “fixing” Wikipedia and neglects that these persons often have internalized the systemic bias themselves. It also does not take advantage of that a significant part of Wikipedia authors who are privileged (or less disadvantaged) are open to learn and ready to contribute. Thereby, intersectionality also plays a role. Many of us are in a mixed situation with respect to privilege/disadvantage if one takes various diversity dimensions into account.
In this workshop we want to put together what initiatives have been taken to address diversity bias. How have they worked? Are there any new ideas? At last, how can we work together across Wikipedias to lessen diversity bias?
We hope that the discussion gives the opportunity to create and improve a network across Wikipedias of people interested in this issue.
This session will address the conference theme — Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals — in the following manner:
The workshop addresses the sustainable development goals Diversity, Reduced inequalities, and Partnership for the goals.
At the end of the session, the following will have been achieved:
- Overview of existing initiatives to decrease diversity bias
- Network of people interested in the issue diversity bias and initiatives against it
- List of ideas to counter diversity bias
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
- Workshop to identify and try to solve problem
If other than 20 minutes, specify how long
We got 45 minutes
The session will work best with these conditions:
at best designed for “Design thinking”, i.e. flexible sitting opportunities, moderation walls, flipcharts, opportunity to split into groups
Active or potential Wikipedians interested in forwarding diversity in the various Wikipedias
This is the documentation of the workshop done during Wikimania 2019 (there is no etherpad or live stream).
In total 15 persons participated in the workshop. After a short introduction we made a round of collecting existing initiatives which directly or indirectly raised awareness of Wikipedia authors on gender bias. We shortly described these initiatives using idea napkins:
<photos of napkins to come>
In the second round we used the method Brainwriting to generate new ideas for this. These are the results:
Sharing experiences of marginalized people
Diversity ambassador training
An all female non-binary Wikimania
An edit-a-thon during Pride week
Experienced editor groups for diversity topics
Diversity dedicated portals on Wikimedian projects
Gender diverse language documentation