Wikipedia addressing sexism within its editorial elite

Not only is the site facing gender diversity issues, it has also taken disciplinary action over some top editors’ approach to transgender people.


Two Wikipedia-related stories point to turmoil among the site’s editorial team. Start with the fact that an estimated 90 percent of its top editors are male, according to The Atlantic. There’s also a lack of diversity among those editors, according to the article. The Wikimedia Foundation is trying to rectify this. Jimmy Wales, the site’s founder, tells the MIT Technology Review:

“The biggest issue is editor diversity,” says Wales. He hopes to “grow the number of editors in topics that need work.”

The Guardian details another problem the site is having, stemming from edits to the page of Chelsea Manning—formerly Bradley Manning—the imprisoned Wikileaks source. It was decided that the name reflected on Wikipedia should be Chelsea Manning, but that decision didn’t come without controversy or inflammatory comments. The Wikipedia arbitration committee had to step in after one volunteer editor wrote, “only when his testicles are ripped out of his scrotum … will I call Manning a ‘she.'” Another user wrote that “he is clearly mentally unstable and his … desire to be called Chelsea should not be regarded with any merit.” You can read the committee’s rulings on the Manning article here. The editors in question have been barred from editing transgender-related articles.

You can read the full Guardian report of the saga here. Wikipedia has long been criticized for its lack of editorial integrity and accuracy. If incidents like these continue to occur—and if more diversity isn’t introduced into the mix—it could further damage public opinion about the site. (Image via)

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