Have you ever been disappointed by the way Wikipedia represents certain subjects? You’re not alone. Wikipedia has been criticized for its gender gap by many sources, including the Wikimedia foundation, Rhiannon Ruff and Claire Potter.
To address this, groups across the United States are meeting today from 11am-3pm EST for a feminist Wikipedia edit-a-thon titled #tooFEW. If you can’t find a way to physically get to one of the edit-a-thon parties, please consider jumping in virtually, editing entries and following the Twitter conversations using the hashtag: #tooFEW. Read our Tuesday post to see other ways you can participate.
- Wikipedia editors like citations–the kinds of citations that would be recognized in a scholarly paper, or in a well-written undergraduate academic paper. Such sources include peer-reviewed sources, reports by respected news organizations, or anything that has been fact-checked.
- When you write entries/additions, refer to an academic paper you’ve been working on. Don’t cite your unpublished paper, but use the citations from your paper’s bibliography to create a more robust entry. Also note that unlike most of the papers you are used to writing, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, or a tertiary resource. In other words, Wikipedia summarizes secondary sources and does not include any original research. One of the core statements of the site is ‘verifiability, not truth,’ meaning that its key objective is to find good sources for its statements.
- Try to reference as many Wikipedia pages as possible in your entry. Entries with many links to other Wikipedia pages cannot be easily deleted.
- Save multiple drafts of your edits and annotate what you’ve changed in each draft on the “Talk” page. Explain your edits on the “talk” page of the article so that the community understands what kind of material you are adding and why. This helps prevent a removal of a large chunk of your edits at once, as editors are able to look through your draft and decide which changes they want to delete/overwrite. If your edits are separated into multiple drafts, editors may just change one or a few of your edits rather than delete everything
- Make minor grammatical and word choice cleanup on non-controversial articles, as they help to establish that you’re a “good faith” member of the community. They also help your input be taken more seriously if you become embroiled in larger disputes later.
- Watch Adrianne Wadewitz’s extremely helpful video on how to edit Wikipedia here. (NB: It’s an hour long. Jacqueline Wernimont has some useful notes on the video here.)
Other useful sources:
- Wikipedia teahouse–a welcoming place where editors can ask all sorts of questions
- A basic tutorial on editing Wikipedia
On Women and Wikipedia
- The gender gap from the Wikimedia foundation, with links, ideas and a mailing list
- Wikimedia’s proposals for more female editors
General Material on How to Ensure Articles are Not Deleted/Nominated for Deletion
- How to save an article marked for deletion
- What to do if your article gets flagged for deletion
- The “Missing Manual” on Staving Off Proactive Deletion and Changes (huge but useful)
We look forward to seeing you on Wikipedia and the hashtag #tooFEW!
*Thank you to Roopika Risam for some comments on how to create entries that are less likely to be flagged for deletion.