The Signpost

Andrew Lih at WikiConference USA
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I see you are persisting in repeating the false "cunt" accusation, Gamaliel. You are completely despicable. - Sitush (talk) 16:07, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Are we still insisting that wasn't directed at her? That's an excuse a grade schooler would use to get out of trouble. Gamaliel (talk) 16:10, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It's called wikilawyering, Gamaliel. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 16:23, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Oh, and your obsession with this gender gap thing, which seems to get a mention in most Signposts since you took over, is becoming boring. It is as if nothing else matters or happens, which may well indeed be the case in your warped world but certainly is not true more generally. - Sitush (talk) 16:08, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

You are so bored by it that your crowd can't stop talking about it every time it comes up. Gamaliel (talk) 16:11, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • You bold a statement which you say next should have been oversighted? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 16:19, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • It should have at the time. The cat is out of the bag now when it's been in The Atlantic. Gamaliel (talk) 16:36, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

This is a brave, intelligent, and insightful warning to Wikipedians, who should take its warning to heart -- especially to those who least want to hear its message. If Wikipedia does not end harassment, society will find ways to end Wikipedia. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:37, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

The story was an interesting read. It makes one wonder what Wikipedia's fate will be in the coming years. GoodDay (talk) 16:55, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

  • Thank you for writing this - and thank you to those commentators who have chosen to demonstrate, with their feedback, precisely why writeups like this are so necessary and justified. Ironholds (talk) 17:12, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Although we continue to get bad publicity, often promoted by Wikipedians, over the Lightbreather case, that fact remains that poorly researched articles, regardless of the quality of the journal they appear in, are still poorly researched, and still not compelling.
We are all aware that certain editors consider Eric Corbett persona non grata - even though from Jimbo Wales down they seem reluctant to mention his name. (Maybe repeating it three times will cause him to pop out of the nearest mirror?)
To suggest that one ill advised statement from Eric is going to doom the entire project to oblivion seems to be taking this personally. To further promote the statement, as a number of Wikipedians have, seems to be a desire to bring the project into disrepute at any cost.
This is doubly so when draft proposals of the Committee are touted as Wikipedia policy.
If you think Eric is a threat to Wikipedia you have many options open to you: AN, RFC, or Arbcom for starters. But for God's sake, have the decency to stand up and do it directly and publicly - rather than writing scapegoating doom-and-gloom leaders, using "code words" like "toxic" and "Manchester" (which is pretty toxic in itself) or spreading fear uncertainty and doubt through any means possible.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 17:20, 25 October 2015 (UTC).[reply]
Eric Corbett is not a threat to Wikipedia. This isn't about Eric Corbett, it's about the entire encyclopedia's failure to deal with these issues. Gamaliel (talk) 17:22, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
+1. Eric is a prominent symptom, not the overarching issue; the overarching issue is how Wikipedia is structured in favour of a status quo that makes aggressive and gendered discourse and attitudes acceptable and excusable, and away from a system that would allow us to deal with these problems. Ironholds (talk) 18:14, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, everybody knows that the place for aggressive and gendered discourse and attitudes is IRC, right? Carrite (talk) 18:55, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
See, here's the thing. You could've replied arguing that Eric is not part of the wider problem, or that the wider problem doesn't exist. You could've argued that the wider problem does exist and Eric is a part of it but it isn't fixable. Or that it is fixable but that it's not our responsibility to fix. But instead, the best you can do is "but you were an asshole years ago!"
When that's your go-to, you've either not actually got a strong opinion here and just wanted to snark - in which case, see "part of a wider problem" above - or you have lots of opinions but simply don't care enough to write out anything better. In which case your comment is clearly not intended to be productive, and you should probably find something better to do with your time. Or, you know: participate in discourse about the nature of online environments in a way intended to be useful. That would be good too. Ironholds (talk) 01:54, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I happen to believe in the wisdom of John 8:7 and here you are shamelessly trying to start a new career as a gravel salesman. Now that's offensive... You, Ironholds, have no right to rile up the mob on this issue, ever. Don't go all Strom Thurmond claiming "youthful indiscretions" of three or four years ago, whatever — instead show some moxy and redact your hypocritical blather and get your tail between your legs where it belongs... Carrite (talk) 11:34, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
If the lesson you took from the Bible was "anyone who screws up horribly is inherently beyond even trying to be a better person, and they can shut the hell up" you may have been reading a different book from me. Regardless, you've still got nothing to say about the actual issue except that you don't like the people participating on it - nothing to say about their opinions, just them. So, see my comment above re: if you're not trying to participate productively, find something else to do with your time. Ironholds (talk) 14:01, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Your lips are moving, but all I can hear is the sound of a cash register going cha-ching... Wow 500 edits since April... You really are in a position of moral authority to lecture us. Carrite (talk) 09:52, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I'm in it for the money - there's so much cash in doing something totally unrelated to my job, for free. And, yes, few edits - because the behaviour of people like you has made the prospect of devoting substantial time to our projects incredibly unattractive. Which is, of course, why this perpetuates; because the community is made up of people who revel in the nastiness, people who can tolerate the nastiness and don't mind it, and those who hate it and haven't quite lost all hope. So yeah, I only have 500 edits since April, because the behaviour you're so nicely demonstrating makes contributing unpleasant. You see the problem now? Ironholds (talk) 15:56, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for writing this. U are totally right. Any Wikipedian who doesn't see this... Well indeed, society will take care of it... —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 18:44, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I've seen plenty of talk pages on WP that aptly illustrate the issues raised in this article. The mansplaining seems to center around accusations of "taking things personal" when, in fact, personal comments were made and of "you need to toughen-up if you want to be on the interwebs" and variations thereof. I've seen WP guidelines and policies stretched to their irrational limits used as whipping posts to drown-out and suppress women's contributions. But I also see much the same on talk pages of articles about racism and bigotry (go figure). I usually chalk it up to the overwhelming presence of young, white male users who revel in their privilege and don't realize how bigoted they actually are. Meclee (talk) 18:48, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

This story was fed to The Atlantic by somebody from the Gender Gap Task Force/Gender Gap-list krewe. They don't pick up these stories from thin air. Interesting that Mark Bernstein is weighing in with power quotes — we saw the same dynamic with regards to his website during the most heated phase of GamerGate. It's all just a fucking game to some people, slay your enemies and who cares if Wikipedia's name gets dragged in the mud. Well I'm sick of it. I call bullshit on the backpatting yackers of GGTF/GG-l. The gender gap itself is part of the problem. Those people are the other. Carrite (talk) 18:50, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for expressing an opinion that seems to be held by a wide section of the community, that often remains silent so as not to solicit never ending harrassment. Sadads (talk) 19:22, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

  • Taken literally the comment wasn't aimed at Lightbreather, and Eric Corbett has confirmed that. However he did use the C word, and in a statement that was open to misinterpretation. I read it as an unnacceptably impolite way of saying "people who behave rudely will find others treat them rudely". Clearly others read that statement as the singular you rather than plural you and interpreted it as an attack on Lightbreather. If he hadn't used such an offensive word, and maybe even worded things so there was less risk of misinterpretation then perhaps we could have a rather less heated and more useful discussion. I disagree with Eric's position, I think that some of the abuse comes from people who we have stopped from using this site to do harm to others, but much of the misogyny that some female and gay editors encounter is simply because they are female or gay. If I look at the flak that has come my way, the nastiest stuff, including death and rape threats, I can usually link back to a specific action, usually an admin action, that I've done. But I'm aware of several editors who've had it far worse than me, and most of them are from those minorities amongst us who are not straight white males. ϢereSpielChequers 19:30, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It's pretty interesting to take a look at who's been doing most of the talking during this whole series of events. Let's see: on the talk page of Jimbo Wales (a man), Eric Corbett (a man) makes some comments judged block-worthy by Kirill Lokshin (a man). Corbett is then unblocked by Yngvadottir (a woman), who in turn is desysopped by Arbcom (thirteen men and two women; of those active and unrecused, ten men, of whom six voted in favor and four did not vote). A case request about the issue is filed by Black Kite (who I believe is a man, although I'm not sure). An editorial is written by Gamaliel (a man), in which three other people are quoted: MarkBernstein (a man), Rhododendrites (a man), and Andrew Lih (a man).* Back at Arbcom, 52 statements from people not originally listed as parties have been offered as of this writing (7 from people who I believe identify as women). Of those seven, to my reading 5.5 are critical of the decision to block. Meanwhile, all of this nonsense has somewhat distracted from the post on Jimbo's talk page by GorillaWarfare (a woman), who wrote at length about actual harassment.
So: for a bunch of people very interested in discussing this gender-gap phenomenon, nobody seems all that interested in listening to the women who are already here. Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:59, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
* I know you've been doing other good work on related matters, Gamaliel, but did you notice this? Other than Paling herself, the only woman whose thoughts you've mentioned in this editorial about the gender gap is your mother.
You make a good point, and one that I should have made more explicit in the editorial. When I wrote "In the face of all the evidence and all the accounts of harassment offered", I should have more clearly explained that I thought the problem was that these mansplainers were not listening to women's accounts. I considered mentioning some of them specifically, such as Gorilla Warfare's important post on User talk:Jimbo Wales, but I didn't feel right plastering other people's personal accounts across my own editorial like that without their consent, and I thought reducing the issue to one or two accounts would result in those accounts being picked apart and everyone once again ignoring the larger issue. (Such as when, in reaction to Gorilla Warfare's account, some speculated that it was in result of her prominence in the community and not her gender, despite the obvious gendered nature of the harassment and the fact that similar abuse has not been heaped on males who have shared the same roles or done the same things as her.) I firmly believe that the people we should be listening to on this issue first are women, but I also think, to express a similar sentiment to what Liz says below, that sometimes you need a man to mansplain things to stubborn men. Gamaliel (talk) 20:20, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, there was certainly a lot of mansplaining going on in the thread on Jimbo's talk page. And yes, the more diverse voices there are to point out the problem, the greater the chance that people will listen to one of them. So when individual men put themselves forward as advocates and allies, that's great. When collectively they dominate the conversation, that's not so great, and starts to turn into a variant of mansplaining in its own right. It's usually considered the responsibility of the relatively privileged to be self-aware enough to recognize when they are speaking over the less-privileged people they seek to help, but that's exactly the opposite of what's happened over the last few days - a woman who "spoke out of turn" was punished instead, for violating rules developed in and for a male-dominated culture - and exactly the opposite of how gender-gap conversations on Wikipedia usually unfold.
To go back to your editorial and unpack the argument a little further: with the help of Mark Bernstein's quote, you move directly from quoting Eric's "cunt" comment to discussing harassment and denialism of it to making a comparison to a well-known repeat sexual-harassment offender. But there are at least two significant issues elided there. To break down the types of hostilities women on Wikipedia are confronted with:
  • Harassment and trolling. Behavior along the lines of what GorillaWarfare illustrated has a critical place in gender-gap conversations, but when the gender gap is so commonly conflated with civility matters (as, e.g. Rhododendrites does below: address the gender gap (or civility generally)) it needs to be highlighted as a separate and distinct issue. It is not incivility, it is abuse. This is not the kind of thing that our "prominent content creators" are doing, they don't deserve to be lumped in with it, and treating their putative offenses as of a piece with unambiguous sexual harassment turns them off to the whole discussion.
  • Casual misogyny and microaggressions. This happens all over Wikipedia, almost always from people who'd deny any hint of misogyny if directly confronted, and is difficult to challenge because any individual isolated incident looks like a minor matter that the complainant is blowing out of proportion or exploiting for political purposes. It's also often not directed toward women editors, but contributes to a generally hostile environment - e.g. making inappropriate comments about the appearance of female BLP subjects, or using sexualized language. This is the kind of thing we might have some "prominent content creators" engaged in, but there is widespread disagreement over where exactly the boundaries are. Even if you take this category broadly, equating a few instances of debatably misogynist online comments to a) serious and threatening online harassment, or b) actual real-life exploitation of women, is not an improvement in the tone of the conversation.
I disagree with some of what Rhododendrites posted in the section below, but I think the conclusion is more or less right: the way people are talking about this issue at the moment is not persuasive. It's not really a dialogue with women, but nor is it a dialogue in which men try to meet other men where they are. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:12, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The first time I read the "cunt" comment, it was as clear to me as the nose on my face that it was directed at Jimbo Wales - he is even the subject of the previous sentence. And I fail to understand the quoting of MarkBernstein's comment: "Paling's argument remains devastating...": despite a bunch of horrendous, basic mistakes, including the "admin" stuff, and getting everything about the Lightbreather case wrong, mostly because that was her main source, and without it the story would collapse? Nobody does any favours to a worthy cause by getting the facts wrong: firstly, because it is dishonest, secondly because discrediting the story risks discrediting the cause itself. In the words of Marxist revolutionary Amilcar Cabral: "Tell no lies, claim no easy victories". Kingsindian  23:49, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]


A good summary and sensible exhortation. Writing like this is important, but what seems sorely needed is a persuasive essay more effectively addressing the motivations behind the objections held by those described here as being "in the way".

The complications arise from Wikipedia's dual identity as encyclopedia and community. (There are other ways of looking at its identity, yes, but bear with me). Our rules mostly address either one or the other: WP:V, WP:NPOV, WP:RS, etc. for the encyclopedia and WP:AGF, WP:CIVILITY, WP:BITE, etc. for the community. The two are intertwined, yes, but there are multiple perspectives as to the relationship between the two and the relative importance of each set of rules when it comes to the other domain (e.g. the importance of civility to the encyclopedia).

On one hand there are those who want to strengthen the community in order to produce a better encyclopedia. They believe that by sacrificing, in one form or another, active contributors for reasons such as civility, the editors who would leave or who would be deterred by that incivility will more than make up for the loss in content production. In other words, the community gains and the sacrifice to the encyclopedia is only temporary. On the other hand are those who are very skeptical of this proposed trade-off. They argue that if this one person is a FA wizard and has 50,000 very high quality edits to the mainspace, why would we want to lose that person based on unproven claims about attracting more participation -- and participation by people who, even if they do actually show up, are unlikely to collectively make as much of a contribution to the encyclopedia? Those who have this perspective still generally acknowledge the gender gap exists, think that harassment is bad, think that a civil community is good, and think Wikipedia would be better if more women edited. But they're unconvinced of the merit of proposed approaches and unimpressed by those that have already been implemented. It just costs too much and there's too much at stake to "get out of the way." I think most objections to addressing e.g. harassment aren't objections to addressing harassment per se, but objections to the implementation of community remedies that might lead to restrictions being placed on active contributors and/or look to come at the expense of the encyclopedia.

Unless we're willing to block everyone who thinks this way -- and I'm quite sure we're not -- one thing we could really use is more convincing argumentation about proposed measures to strengthen the community and the value of those actions to the encyclopedia. Promises of more contributors, more diverse contributors, and a happy, welcoming community for its own sake just aren't convincing enough. There are many people who have done this in a number of ways, I know, but it might help to collect into one place all the ways we can connect the activities we undertake to address the gender gap (or civility generally) and the front-facing encyclopedia. Are there ways we can measure the impact of community-based initiatives on the encyclopedia? (In the past, perhaps?) What are the kinds of studies we can pitch to social science researchers? It's a big project, of course. I think it can be done. I just think we need more variety in modes of engagement on the issue. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 19:25, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Excellent points, and I'd love to see more discussion of them, in the Signpost and elsewhere. I think the discussion of the merits of proposed solutions have been sidetracked by so much discussion and resistance about whether or not there's actually a problem in the first place, despite the ample evidence. Gamaliel (talk) 20:41, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
What proposed solutions? NE Ent 22:54, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Brilliant editorial, Gamaliel. Although I heard it at WikiConference USA 2015, this editorial made it clear to me: Just as I've often argued that Wikipedia is a "social encyclopedia," the Gender Gap can not be just about articles in the encyclopedia. The Gender Gap has to begin with the editors ourselves. Making all (or most) of us aware of these issues (which encompases civility and most of the other observed social ills) will be a first step to improving the encyclopedia. Conversely, ignoring them will be a leading cause of its demise. - kosboot (talk) 23:12, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
What we are speaking about is that subspecialty of social science called "government". What you speak to is essentially the fundamentals of public policy administration. You know, those articles that no one on this talk page edits or reads, that's what we're talking about here. Int21h (talk) 02:15, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Remaining Atlantic Errors

The Atlantic have now made three corrections to their article but at least one howler remains. If we are covering this in the signpost we should at least note the difference between the Arbcom judgement "The functionaries team reviewed evidence submitted about off-wiki sexual harassment of Lightbreather, but was unable to reach a consensus over whether or not it was sufficient to connect a Wikipedia editor to the harassment. The Wikimedia Foundation was kept fully informed throughout. The functionaries and the Arbitration Committee also reviewed evidence of a separate, apparently unrelated, pattern of off-wiki harassment. As there was conclusive evidence of the identity of the perpetrator of the second series of events, User:Two kinds of pork was blocked." as Arbcom didn't sanction the harasser because to do so would have outed him. To my mind this is a significant difference. ϢereSpielChequers 19:30, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

For a full picture, you would need to add the Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Lightbreather/Proposed_decision#Inappropriate_off-wiki_conduct finding, which passed: "Lightbreather posted inappropriately to an off-wiki website apparently with the objective of having the participants identify a Wikipedia editor by name. (Private evidence)" and multiple references to attempted "outing" of her harasser in the endorsements of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Lightbreather/Proposed_decision#Lightbreather:_Site-ban. Lightbreather's attempt at identifying her off-wiki harasser off-wiki was a key factor in her site-ban, and that stinks to high heaven. Full marks to Courcelles and GorillaWarfare for opposing that finding, as well as the related site ban, which I believe most people outside Wikipedia would consider plain nuts, to the extent that it was based on that finding. In that sense, I don't find the Atlantic article strayed too far from the red line of fact, in its criticism of Wikipedia "culture"; it's a distinction without a material difference.
Besides that, kudos for your other post above, also dated 19:30, 25 October 2015 (UTC), which starts "Taken literally ...". I struggled to compose a similar argument and gave up; you've succeeded where I failed. Andreas JN466 21:59, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks Andreas, I'm struggling to get my head around the contrast between those two, and I doubt if anyone really could without access to the private info they allude to. Though I can see a hint of an explanation that includes Thrydulf's comment here. I haven't seen the evidence that did or did not link the pornographer to the wikipedian, and I don't want to, and not only because I'm not qualified for such Internet detective work. But I am concerned that we have such a variance of opinion about the evidence. Does Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Audit Subcommittee still exist (apparently the members all lapsed last month)? If so would that be the right body to look again at the evidence or should it be revived and maybe reinforced? On a broader note, and from my limited perspective, I think we've come a long way from the time when our former CEO defended a community liaison staffer for IRC comments that included threatening to rape a group of editors that included two women link to a not safe for work bit of Wikipedia. In that era Arbcom were the good guys in at least desysoping that editor, and Sue Gardner rather lost my respect. I'm hoping that Lila Tretikova has moved things forward, but it now seems to me that we have more will to address gender gap issues than agreement as to what changes we should make. To me the big lesson from the Lightbreather case is that there are bad sites out there which allow revenge porn and the like, and society in general needs to act against them. Sure there are also things we need to fix here on wiki, but what do we have to compare with that? OK maybe we need better tools and a revised privacy policy re dealing with off wiki harassment, also the "official" IRC channels need to either be brought into the WMF fold as regards conduct standards or be sloughed off by the movement. ϢereSpielChequers 14:20, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I would like to see a clear principle enshrined in policy establishing that if a woman editor is sexually harassed by another Wikipedian off-wiki, she is fully entitled to seek off-wiki assistance to establish the identity of said Wikipedian. Making such enquiries should in no way be held against her here on Wikipedia, and it certainly should not be a contributory factor to a site-ban. (I would rather like ArbCom, functionaries and the Wikimedia Foundation to assist her in such an endeavour in any way they can.)
That the majority of arbitrators presently appear to disagree with this point is a scandal. Pinging Courcelles DGG Doug Weller GorillaWarfare Guerillero LFaraone NativeForeigner Salvio giuliano Seraphimblade Thryduulf Yunshui AGK Euryalus Roger Davies DeltaQuad GeoffBrigham (WMF). Andreas JN466 14:49, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure why you are restricting this to women or just sexual harassment, but there are a couple of problems with this in any case. One is "by another Wikipedian". I'd need to know what quality of evidence that the harasser is another specific Wikipedian you would expect for this principle to be acceptable. Surely you'd expect some criteria? Would the level of harassment matter? Would it matter if in the course of this clearly innocent parties were smeared by such accusations - or are you saying that that would be impossible? Do you know that in the LB case there was assistance offered from the WMF? Several functionaries/arbs also tried to help - it's not that we didn't take this seriously. Suppose the next time it happens several editors are accused although only one person, maybe not an editor, could be responsible, and all are outed? I'm not convinced that it's acceptable to possibly ruin someone's life by making accusations that turn out to be false or not sufficient to prove a case. Perhaps you can convince me it is. Of course if you were to ask whether we should be developing new ways of helping in such situations, I'd say yes. Doug Weller (talk) 16:15, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Let's stick with the actual case at hand for now. This was a case in which a woman was subjected to sexual harassment off-site. The harassment was unquestionably vile; many of us saw it. It was a form of revenge porn. Isn't the desire to find out who is doing such a vile thing to you a profoundly human response?
Forget Wikipedia for a moment. If you surveyed the general public, how many people do you reckon would think that a woman's attempt to find out who is subjecting her to anonymous revenge porn is in some way worthy of punishment? By the same token, how many members of the general public do you think would consider it a monstrous miscarriage of justice to punish a victim of sexual harassment for attempting to find out the identity of her harasser?
One of the questions you posed above seems to me akin to someone arguing that investigations of wrongdoing should not be allowed, because the police have on occasion arrested the wrong person.
Some of you have – quite unwittingly, I suspect – set a precedent proclaiming to the public that a woman who, because of her Wikipedia editing, is subjected to outrageous sexual harassment, elsewhere on the internet, will be punished on Wikipedia if she makes enquiries, elsewhere on the internet, as to the identity of her harasser. This exposes the project to deserved criticism of the kind articulated in The Atlantic. I believe it is criticism that, if it were more widely publicized, most members of the general public – and women in particular – would get behind. It sends a very poor message to women experiencing sexual harassment here. It sends a very poor message about the amount of empathy women who are thinking about participating here might expect to receive.
The point of my post above was not to propose to restrict what I said "to women or just sexual harassment"; I was, in fact, arguing that cases like this one should be provided for in policy, as an absolute minimum. But even in present policy, you have WP:IAR. Arbitrators were free to vote as they saw fit. ArbCom has often chosen not to sanction people for off-wiki conduct, making arguments along the lines of "we can't police the entire internet". In this case, only two of you got it right, one of them your only female member at the time. That the others saw fit to punish this particular conduct by a woman subject to vile sexual harassment was a serious lapse in judgement that indicates how far Wikipedia's moral compass has come to be removed from that of ordinary people.
There is an urgent need for soul-searching and rethinking here. Wikipedia policies do not supersede fundamental human decency. The moment they do, this project is rightly imperilled. Andreas JN466 19:03, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
(EC)@Doug. While to be realistic such a process is more likely to be used by women than men, there is no need to restrict this to women only. The tricky thing as Doug has pointed out is how do we structure this so that innocent people don't get outed or incorrectly connected to stuff they wouldn't want to be associated with. I think that is soluble, but it would require stuff to be handled confidentially - I'd suggest much like the oversight team. ϢereSpielChequers 19:21, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

@WereSpielChequers: re AUSC, whether it exists or not at this point is unclear - there was no consensus for anything (including the status quo ante) among either the committee or those who responded to our request for comments. It would however not be the right body to investigate this as checkuser evidence was only a very small part of the total evidence considered (and there was a huge amount we did consider). Everything was investigated by the whole functionaries team, and there was no consensus that there was sufficient evidence to connect the harassment with Wikipedian alleged to be responsible (personally I felt that evidence that the alleged harasser was not responsible was about as strong as the evidence they were). The WMF investigated independently of the functionaries and also reached the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to act. It is not possible to make this evidence public without compromising the privacy of multiple individuals in violation of the WMF privacy policy (and common decency). Thryduulf (talk) 15:37, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

OK so how about reconstituting it for an investigation in this case? Perhaps with a gender balanced panel? ϢereSpielChequers 19:23, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

@Jayen466: I feel an official statement from arbcom is better than individual replies, given the seriousness of your allegation. I have started the process of getting this but it will obviously take a bit of time. Thryduulf (talk) 15:37, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Thryduulf, is the idea of an official ArbCom statement on this issue (i.e. the propriety of punishing a Wikipedia editor for making off-wiki inquiries into the identity of a Wikipedia editor engaged in off-wiki sexual harassment of her) going ahead? Andreas JN466 12:43, 29 October 2015 (UTC) On reflection, Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee seems a more appropriate place for further discussion of this, and I have posed the question there. Andreas JN466 13:01, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

@WereSpielChequers: asks, "what do we have to compare with that?" Well, for starters, we have that, in spades. Wikipedia is part of the world. Cabals of editors, seeking an advantage on-wiki, coordinate their actions on chat boards and use those boards, reddit, and Twitter to threaten and bully editors into submission or to drive them away from contentious pages. Meanwhile, the harassers rely on ArbCom support them and to punish any effort, on-wiki or off, to stop bullying, to retaliate, or to obtain the information necessary for prosecution. Meanwhile, commenters here are trying to relitigate 19th century feminism as if it were a new thing. Yes: as reflected in the Atlantic article and the ostrich-like response it has evoked here, most people outside Wikipedia would consider this plain nuts. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:53, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

WereSpielChequers, Andreas, Doug Weller, Thryduulf, MarkBernstein, appealing against that part of the decision (the failure to ban the harasser) is a good idea. The porn account was an old and active one. Had someone wanted to cause mischief, they could have set up a new account and made its details consistent with all kinds of other evidence on-wiki and elsewhere. But the porn account and some of the evidence linking it to an editor pre-dated the on-wiki dispute. The failure of some of the functionaries to connect the two has left people not knowing which functionaries to trust because we don't know who was involved. For example, how many of the functionaries who deemed the evidence not strong enough were women? I'll try to find time later today or tomorrow to go through the evidence again in search of holes, and if it's as solid as I recall I'll look into what the appeal options are. Sarah (talk) 16:40, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Which to trust? I think we all acted in good faith. There are a couple of variables here at least, the level of confidence an individual requires to find someone 'guilty' in a situation where threats had been made to someone's family and friends, and the subjective nature of some of the evidence, ie some people interpreted bits of the evidence differently. Who do you trust more, someone that needs to be 75% confident that the right person has been identified, or someone who wants to be more confident (this is just an example and doesn't reflect any actual discussion)? Doug Weller (talk) 17:14, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Given that the appeal would be heard by the same people who instructed victims of harassment to lower their profile and who apparently believe The Atlantic publishes articles at the behest of undergraduate CS majors, and given that the decision was claimed to be based on super-secret hush hush evidence, what is the point? Besides, we've just learned that ArbCom is going to be busy writing another press statement -- after all, the last press statement was such a success! -- and they will no doubt be too busy. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:14, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Doug Weller, I think we should be told which functionaries felt the evidence strong enough, and which not. That there was no consensus suggests that some did feel it was strong enough, and certainly the evidence I saw was strong. It has left me not knowing who among the functionaries can be trusted. There is another issue that I intended to bring to one of them, and now I have no idea who among them I might approach with it. So it has been damaging.
Had the porn thing been a one-off, posted on that site in a moment of frustration, I would not have expected a ban. I understand that people make mistakes in the heat of the moment. But there are several factors that made this more serious. It was part of a year-long campaign of harassment pursued by that person openly on Wikipedia, but often done in quite subtle ways (e.g. by being nice at times, so that insisting on "no contact" made Lightbreather appear irrational and graceless). Lightbreather repeatedly tried to get help from uninvolved admins and (as I recall) ArbCom. Those efforts were then used as evidence of her battleground mentality during the case; and she was banned, in part, for having taken those efforts to another site. That is manifestly unfair, when the editor who caused much of it faced no sanction.
We had a similar situation in the GGTF case, where a woman who was being pursued was banned and the men in pursuit were not. For all these reasons, the whole situation really ought to be re-examined by people not involved in the original decisions. Sarah (talk) 19:08, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Functionary discussions are generally not released publicly, for obvious privacy reasons, and I don't think there's any mechanism to release a voting record or anything in a case like this (particularly given that it wasn't a formal vote with a final tally; it was a discussion involving multiple people where the final result was "so we're definitely not going to agree, or even mostly agree, in either direction on this"). I can't release what anyone else thought/said in a confidential mailing list discussion, but I personally did find the evidence persuasive and I pushed for action. Unfortunately, I can no more herd cats functionaries than any other person can, and my push wasn't strong enough to convince the people who wanted a higher standard of evidence before acting. That all said, it is possible that in the time since that original thread, more evidence has been compiled than what the functionaries saw back then; if you or someone else feels they have a comprehensive case to present, it may not hurt to send it in (privately, I should stress) to the functionaries for re-evaluation. If it turns out that we did see all the evidence there is, seeing it all again might not change people's minds, but if what people have gathered now is more than we had then, it might equip the functionaries to re-evaluate the situation better armed. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 20:04, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) with my wife, clearly a conspiracy (I was pinged twice in this thread) ;) Not much I can add, other than I also found the evidence convincing, and that there was further discussion on the arbcom list. Courcelles (talk) 20:10, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Break 1

@Courcelles: @Fluffernutter: @SlimVirgin: Is there any basis for us to distinguish the position of the functionaries and ArbCom in this matter, and in Gamergate and GenderGapTaskForce, from a simple refusal to take action against sexual harassment if any plausible excuse for not taking action exists? MarkBernstein (talk) 20:21, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
@MarkBernstein: That's a difficult question to answer, because you're asking it of the people who did want to take action, which means you're asking us to speak for our colleagues who disagreed with us, and while I don't know about anyone else, my psychic powers are sadly lacking. I can really only speak for myself in this. So, speaking for myself: I would say that your question actually misses the biggest sticking point in a case like this, because you're assuming that everyone sees "plausible" the same way. The problem in this case was exactly that everyone didn't draw the line of plausibility in the same place, and as a result while someone like me may have thought there was "no plausible" reason to not take action against a specific person, others may have thought that there were plenty of plausible reasons. So you're asking a question to which every one of us might well answer "of course that's not what we're saying", but which fails to get at why we could all truthfully say that and have still come to the (lack of) conclusion we did in this case. I think the more relevant questions to ask might be whether there is a unified definition for things like reasonable doubt and evidence standards in cases like this, and in which direction the community expects decisions to err in such a contested situation. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 21:12, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
@Fluffernutter: Again, is this operationally distinguishable from: "a bloc of arbitrators and functionaries will never sanction off-wiki harassment unless the harassers confess" or demand they be sanctioned? If that is so, as certainly appears to be the case, @SlimVirgin:'s appeal would be wasted effort. Extortionate and bullying behavior off-wiki and on is employed daily to secure advantage in content disputes; how is this to be opposed? MarkBernstein (talk) 21:25, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
@MarkBernstein: Yes, I think it's distinguishable. Functionaries regularly take action against users who haven't openly confessed to doing something (see, for example, nearly every SPI ever). It's not ground they're unfamiliar with, or typically avoidant of. Now, does that mean I think the bar for sanctioning necessarily ends up in the right place in cases like this, particularly with regard to harassment and the gendergap? No, definitely not; we all have a lot to learn, and it upsets me that I know that a new functionaries' discussion of this case may well go into the same black hole of indecision as the first one did. But you interpreting it as people actively choosing to do wrong (and/or to turn a blind eye to someone they know is doing wrong) does mean that you're missing an important piece of the puzzle: that no one reviewing a case like this is rubbing their hands together evilly and saying "mwahaha, I know they did it, but I am choosing not to act because I enjoy people suffering", and if you react to them as if they're doing that, they're a) going to be really confused about what you're talking about, and b) not going to get any useful take-away from what you're saying, as far as how to change their approach ("You clearly don't want to help, it's no use talking to you" vs "I think a better way to handle a case like this would be to..."). A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 22:13, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The gender imbalance among functionaries is similar to that within ArbCom, is it not? Now, history tells us that in the American South, for example, it used to be terribly difficult to convict a white person of a crime against a black person – a consequence of all-white juries. The jurors empathised a lot more with the white defendants than the black victims, giving white defendants a far greater benefit of the doubt than they would have accorded black defendants. Even within the more recent past, views on the outcome of the OJ Simpson trial differed statistically among blacks and whites (two decades on, that gap is apparently less pronounced than it was at the time). There might be similar, possibly quite unconscious, gender-related biases at work within the functionaries group. If that is conceivably a problem, it might be best to form gender-balanced subgroups for decisions where gender is an issue. --Andreas JN466 23:10, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
MarkBernstein, to answer your ping, this issue you raise is the one that needs to be resolved. Women on Wikipedia find it hard to get "justice" – whether from functionaries, Arbs or admins on noticeboards – because we have a disproportionate number of editors who don't like feminism, or don't like women who won't shut up, or have never thought about these issues and can't see the broader picture. In the real world it's 2015, but on Wikipedia it often feels like 1972.
As Andreas says, this leads to lowered empathy when the type of woman those people don't like is involved in dispute resolution. I've already proposed to the Foundation (pinging LilaTretikov (WMF), Siko (WMF), AWang (WMF)) that we train a number of admins in awareness of gender/diversity issues, then any woman can request that her case be dealt with by these trained people. Andreas's idea is similar: that we create gender-balanced subgroups of functionaries or Arbs when gender is an issue. But we can't keep throwing suggestions into a black hole. What do we have to do to get something like this set up? Sarah (talk) 23:44, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Hello everyone and thank you for your passionate response to this. This is the first step in change. I want to remind everyone that this problem is endemic on the internet and we should lead in making internet a better place by making this change here, in our home. But -- because we are a volunteer movement -- this change will take community leadership and participation. WMF has a responsibility towards this cause. Earlier this year -- and upon requests from Arbcom -- the WMF has established and staffed the function of "Trust & Safety" as the first step toward protecting our online contributors. We do not intend to stop there and we have a long road ahead of us. We are looking at funding training programs and some of our grantees (WMNE) are testing one this year. We need your support and your example of saying no to rudeness, disparagement and incivility when you come across it. Every culture is defined by the behavior it tolerates. We need you to unite in defense of our culture of collaboration. Without you WMF will not succeed. This is a critical time for public internet and with your support we can make it a better and more equitable place for all. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 14:35, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The allies skills workshop was piloted at Wikimania Mexico with 23 attendees based on your suggestion, Sarah. Here is the report back from that event. Those who attended did say they felt the training was valuable and expressed an interest in having more of them. I think we would be happy to support more trainings like this, potentially hosted either at different conferences or at local Wikimedia chapters, if there was interest, for functionaries or other community groups. It will be up to the community to decide whether/how you would like to change functionary processes to better incorporate such trainings or trained individuals into on-wiki processes though. Happy to keep thinking about how ally skills training might best support changes you're considering! Cheers, Siko (WMF) (talk) 17:30, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Lila and Siko, thank you for the responses. I'm very glad to hear that the Foundation is committed to this effort. It can't be done by volunteers alone. It is too time-consuming, we have no resources, we are criticized for becoming involved in it, and we burn out. I would love to see more interaction between the Foundation and editors to make sure the Foundation's efforts are as effective and targeted as possible. Sarah (talk) 01:56, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) When there is clear evidence that a Wikipedian is responsible for off-site harassment, sexual or otherwise, and that Wikipedian can be firmly identified, we (arbcom/functionaries depending who is investigating) take action. In the Lightbreather case, everyone did agree that the person or persons responsible would be banned if they could be identified with sufficient confidence. The person responsible for one set of sexual harassment of Lightbreather was identified as a Wikipedian and was banned. Tarc was banned for off-wiki harassment, when it would have been very easy to ignore it or sweep it under the rug. Thryduulf (talk) 21:00, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It was hardly easy to sweep Tarc under the rug, as Tarc did what he did openly, under his own name and in public. Tarc’s target in this isolated incident, moreover, was an powerful and well-connected male administrator. So, is the standard applied here that harassment will be sanctioned if the harasser publicly acknowledges responsibility? Is there any basis to distinguish this policy from a simple refusal to take action against sexual harassment if any plausible excuse for not taking action exists. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:17, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The policy is, as I said above, when there is clear evidence that a Wikipedian is responsible for off-site harassment, sexual or otherwise, and that Wikipedian can be firmly identified, we (arbcom/functionaries depending who is investigating) take action. If you prefer to believe conspiracy theories, then that is your choice but it does not make them correct. Thryduulf (talk) 22:05, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
we have been told there was a consensus amongst the fuctionaries that the link between the porn account and the wikipedian was not established, we know that some people dissent from that consensus. I for one would appreciate knowing whether those who dissented from the consensus accepted that there was some doubt and that they were on one side of a close call, or whether they can't understand why others couldn't see what was clear to them. ϢereSpielChequers 20:52, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
This is a tightrope to walk, as I can only talk in broad generalities. For me, it fell on the continuum from "preponderance of the evidence" to "beyond all reasonable doubt", closer to the latter. I could see the point from the other side, I just considered it mistaken. Courcelles (talk) 21:08, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Fluffernutter, Courcelles, Doug Weller, Andreas, WereSpielChequers, Thryduulf, MarkBernstein, I could not see the hole in the evidence. Had I seen a hole, I would have understood why some people wanted to err on the side of extreme caution, but I could not find one.
Something that concerned me is that Mike V, a functionary, proposed on the workshop on 25 May that LB be sanctioned (and initially he wanted her banned) for posting information about that person off-wiki, according to evidence he submitted privately to the committee. [1][2] But, apart from anything else, that person's real name was already known to people off-wiki. My memory is that LB requested off-wiki help in connecting the porn-site username to the Wikipedia username, because she wasn't getting help on Wikipedia.
Was MikeV one of the functionaries who evaluated the evidence? If so, was it appropriate that someone investigating qua functionary raised the issue publicly on the workshop qua ordinary editor and sought to have LB (but not the harasser) sanctioned? I tried to start a discussion about this, [3] but Mike didn't want to say more, [4] and Lightbreather asked me to drop it, [5][6] so I did. [7]
The worry is that some of those who examined the evidence didn't like Lightbreather because they don't like feminism. (In fairness, I have no idea whether that applies to Mike.) It means non-functionaries are left wondering whether the evidence was evaluated fairly. Can we find a way to have it re-examined by a different group? Sarah (talk) 23:12, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I did not opine on the initial evidence submitted by Lightbreather. There was separate evidence submitted by Lightbreather that I did evaluate. I investigated it and submitted my findings to the arbitration committee directly with my recommendation that an identifiable individual was engaging in harassment towards Lightbreather. As for Lightbreather, the evidence I submitted for the arbitration case contributed to this finding of fact. My view is that harassment is inappropriate, no matter who is engaging in it. FWIW, I do not consider myself to be someone who doesn't like feminism. Mike VTalk 01:03, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for the reply, Mike, particularly for addressing the last point. Can you clarify? You wrote: "I ... submitted my findings to the arbitration committee directly with my recommendation that an identifiable individual was engaging in harassment towards Lightbreather." Do you mean the porn-site editor? Or do you mean the other one who admitted he had been sending unpleasant emails? Sarah (talk) 01:57, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Arbitration/functionaries gender sub-group proposal

This section was broken off from above. The issue is whether to create gender-balanced subgroups of functionaries or Arbs when gender is an issue. It was first proposed by Andreas. Sarah (talk) 02:13, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

@Sarah: To reply to your above comment, what you would need to do is to make your proposal and gain consensus for it. The Committee can't do that, we're not GovCom. The WMF won't do it, and shouldn't, they don't handle internal site governance. If you think that's what should be done, propose it as policy, and if it gains consensus, that will be the way things are done. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:34, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Would you, as an individual, support or oppose such an effort, bearing in mind that this has been an issue now for over two years? Andreas JN466 02:55, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Once I see the specific proposal and all its details, I will decide my position on it. I can't and won't pretend to do that when it's just ideas thrown around. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:23, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Seraphimblade, I'd say this is exactly the kind of thing the Foundation should take on board, especially if it involves organizing or funding training, because the current situation is giving Wikipedia a horrible reputation. Sarah (talk) 04:18, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The Arbitration Committee has no budget of its own and no influence on the WMF's budget. If you want them to organise training then you need to make a proposal and gain community consensus for it. Maggie Dennis may be able to advise further. Thryduulf (talk) 09:19, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
@Sarah: The training portion would need to be funded by WMF, yes. But the first thing to do, since you're suggesting giving the trainees a special role and additional authority in certain cases, would be to be sure the community will accept that. That's the part the WMF doesn't control. If you get a consensus that we should do such a thing, and can approach the WMF and say "Hey, we've already decided we want to do this, and we just need you to write a check to make it happen", I suspect at that point you (or whoever does it) will have very little difficulty getting that check. Seraphimblade Talk to me 11:09, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
@Sarah:, @Andreas:, I share the abhorrence of harassment in all its forms, particularly identity based harassment (including gender based), and share the desire to address the issue in a meaningful & effective way. I would, however, likely find policies, processes, procedures or practices which explicitly depend on, or preference based on, gender, race and/or similar factors to be incredibly problematic; and suggest that other editors would find likewise. I do not believe that systemic bias is well addressed by the introduction of systematic bias. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 12:14, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thryduulf, Seraphimblade, Ryk72, Jayen466, there are several separate issues here:
  1. A training workshop has already been held, and we're hoping it will be expanded, but it's early days.
  2. We've already proposed the idea of specially trained moderators to help women who end up at AN/I etc.
  3. Another proposal is that we create an ArbCom sub-group to hear issues related to sexism or harassment.

The community has shown that it can't solve the problem of sexism on Wikipedia, and community consensus is not needed for the ArbCom to set up a specialist sub-committee. Sarah (talk) 02:09, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

My first reaction to the third proposal above is that, assuming it is a dispute resolution body, it will not work and/or not be materially different to how things are today unless (a) all the members of this sub-group have training related to dealing with harassment issues, (b) there is some filter in place so that this sub-group deals only with those cases where these are the major factors (otherwise what is the point of having a special sub-group?) - this may require some initial investigation to determine; (c) there is some way to prevent anyone claiming harassment and/or sexism was or was not involved just to get their case heard by whichever group they perceive will be more sympathetic to their side; (d) nobody is required to out themselves (or anyone else) to get their case heard by sexism/harassment body and a case being heard by that body doesn't mean someone is inadvertently outed; (e) other issues (e.g. racism) don't get sidelined as a result. It would be far simpler (although this does not necessarily mean better) just to train all arbitrators to deal with harassment etc issues - for practical purposes this may require a greater time period between arbcom elections and new arbitrators' terms starting.
If this is not a dispute resolution body, then it cannot be associated with arbcom without a major revision to arbitration policy.
Regarding proposal 2, you again need to be very careful about
  • outing issues;
  • not unintentionally making life harder for other vulnerable groups (a dispute between a cis-gender woman and a transgender man for example) and not automatically assumming (or giving the impression) that a woman is always going to be the wronged party.
  • the advocates not accidentally turning AN/I into a more legalistic environment.
My comments here have the potential to be misinterpreted and taken out of context, so I want to make it very clear that I'm not dismissing these out of hand - I'm just concerned about potential downfalls that need to be thought about. I want the community to deal better with harassment, and these may be one of the ways to do it (fixing the overall problem will require many different approaches), but without knowing a lot more detail than is presented, it is not possible to say for certain. This is the first I've heard of these proposals, I have no idea how much thinking has already gone into them, and what details exist or do not exist. It's probable that if any detailed thinking has been done that many (if not all) of these issues have been identified and worked through. Thryduulf (talk) 03:00, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thryduulf, thank you for the detailed response. The first two ideas above were based on my proposal to the Foundation in September 2014 (here on Meta). This was modified by others, and led to Valerie Aurora of the Ada Initiative holding an ally skills workshop at Wikimania this year for 23 people. It is too early to tell whether it was beneficial to the community, but I believe the intention is to hold more workshops and that, over time, the benefits will become apparent.
Separately from that, Andreas suggested creating gender-balanced subgroups to deal with dispute-resolution involving women and sexism. Because of the GGTF and Lightbreather cases, confidence in the ArbCom's ability to recognize sexism is low. In both cases, women were banned, but the men who had pursued them were not, except for one in the latter case, and only because he admitted having done it.
From the outside, it appears that there are members of the committee who have no background in these issues, and perhaps some who don't like feminism or have difficulty empathizing with certain types of women, and that this is leading to poor decisions – about which cases to accept, how to frame them, how to find evidence, how to recognize the sexism, and how to respond.
Training the whole committee is an excellent idea, but if some are resistant to it, it would be difficult to make a difference within the limits of any short course.
A more manageable proposal would be to create a sub-committee to deal with sexism and harassment cases. Applicants would be screened to make sure they were already aware of the issues, and would be trained if the Foundation were willing to finance it. Or if there is no money for it, perhaps the screening process would be enough. They could be chosen the way CUs are currently chosen. They would nominate themselves; would have to demonstrate familiarity with the problem (e.g. they might have a relevant academic qualification, completed an ally skills workshop, worked on sexism issues on Wikipedia); the community could comment on suitability; then the committee would appoint them. Pinging Siko (WMF) so that she's aware of this idea. Sarah (talk) 07:26, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Pinging PEarley (WMF) so he's aware of this idea as well. I could see WMF funding trainings as a possible option. Cheers, Siko (WMF) (talk) 23:45, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks Siko. Sarah, I feel that training like Ms. Aurora provides is excellent for providing perspective (from talking with her, I made progress on several important points that I had previously glossed over or seen as unimportant). I know that she would like to work more with our community. As Siko says, there is good potential there to extend this model, and I believe at least one other language community is in the planning stages for more training of leadership. But, as Seraphimblade points out above, we have to work in a support role with the community on this, and not unilaterally. I'm glad we're actually discussing concrete improvements though :) I'm working on various harassment-related projects, and am always available to chat/brainstorm on what needs to be done, or, at least, what needs to be tried. Patrick Earley (WMF) (talk) 23:21, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Picking up only on one small thing (as I'm not awake enough to comment on more), Training the whole committee is an excellent idea, but if some are resistant to it, it would be difficult to make a difference within the limits of any short course. this is true. However if you are prepared to work on a ~2 year timescale to achieve perfection, the community could decide that being prepared to attend (and passing, if it's a pass/fail thing?) such a training course is a requirement for all arbcom candidates. I don't think there is time to make it a formal requirement for the upcoming election, but you could ask questions about it and use the answer as part of your formal criteria and lobby others to use the same (if you write an election guide highlight it in that for example). Thryduulf (talk) 11:55, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thruduulf, the problem with trying to get community consensus for gender-related proposals is that certain editors will oppose for the same reasons we need the sub-committee in the first place. An ArbCom sub-committee might work because the committee itself can decide to set one up as an experiment. Is it something you would consider supporting in principle? Sarah (talk) 17:49, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Repinging with typo fixed: Thryduulf. Sarah (talk) 20:38, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I support the principle of improving the way harassment issues and gender issues are dealt with on Wikipedia. I'm not convinced though a sub-committee is the way to go, at least not without consideration for the detailed questions I posted earlier (particularly how it is planned for the selection to work, how the outing issues will be avoided and how to avoid making women (appear to be) more equal than others). If you or someone else wants to come up with a proposal for how such a committee could be implemented (or at the very least a more detailed framework) then I'll consider it with an open mind. However I am not at all comfortable with the idea of ignoring community consensus or of declaring consensus too difficult to even attempt. There is consensus (although sadly not unanimity) that the gender gap exists, and that it is a problem that needs fixing, but we must make sure that our attempts to fix that problem are thought through, that they don't accidentally make things worse or introduce other problems that can be avoided and above all are done with consensus where possible. Thryduulf (talk) 21:14, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I would be exceedingly surprised to see a proposal for a committee to tackle 'harassment issues and gender issues' that looked like a satire of Stalinist Russia, since that's not what anyone has proposed. The only people I can imagine actually interpreting such a committee as resembling an oppressive totalitarian dictatorship are people who believe that any action - beyond "oh let's hope it gets better" - is too much action. Ironholds (talk) 22:16, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
@Ironholds:, With respect, editors might reasonably be less than supportive of such a measure on the basis that it enshrines within policy a bias based on gender. Many people, including at least some Wikipedia editors, do not see that systematic bias is an answer to systemic bias. This does not mean that those editors are unconcerned by the gender gap, either content or contributor, or that they are passively supportive or condoning of gender based harassment; and they should not be seen or pilloried as though they were. They may be supportive of educational initiatives, or of non-gender based policy changes which remove systemic bias, or even of hearing a few good news stories from women who find Wikipedia rewarding. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 22:29, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
That's a fair point, well made - but one of the reasons we have a gender gap is that policy already enshrines a bias on gender; it's simply not explicit, in a subtler but similar manner to a policy that impacts people who are pregnant - sure, not all of them are women, but most are and the end outcome disproportionately impacts women. We're not talking about systemic bias, in the sense of creating a situation that overtly privileges particular groups. We're talking about a system that attempts to undo some of the implicit privilege groups already receive.
If there are people supportive of "non-gender based policy changes which remove systemic bias", let's hear them speak. What are those policy changes and when do we start an RfC? Ironholds (talk) 22:42, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
@Ironholds: I'm not saying that a subcommittee will have all these problems, I'm saying that a poorly designed or implemented subcommittee could cause more problems than it solves, so it is important to get the design and implementation right. I'm not going to endorse something when it is not even clear that the basics of how it will work have been thought about. If you have more than one committee then there needs to be a process to decide which committee hears which cases - and there is no detail in this proposal about who will decide and what criteria they will use to do so. Thryduulf (talk) 15:29, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
These are issues that would be worked out. What I'm proposing is the creation of one sub-committee as an experiment, with members chosen the way CUs and oversighters are – a dedicated committee consisting of members with a relevant education or background. Thryduulf, it currently feels that it's men who are more equal than women, so this suggestion aims to correct that perception a little. You need only look at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Lightbreather, where LB was the only party (apart from the filing party), and the men who had been harassing her for almost a year were not listed. (Who on the committee suggested that it be set up like that, by the way, and what was the reasoning?) Also, I didn't follow what your outing concerns were. Sarah (talk) 20:26, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I don't recall how the parties in the LB case were decided, but it's the drafters who have the final say over who is an who isn't a party.
Yes, if anyone is more equal currently it is men. The way to solve that is not to make, or appear to make, women more equal - particularly not more equal than other minority groups (as that would just set them back further). You don't fight discrimination with discrimination.
My outing concerns are that we must not set-up any committee where someone is required or encouraged (deliberately or otherwise) to out themselves to get their issues heard by the appropriate people, or to defend themselves against accusations. If (for example) the sub-committee hears all cases where allegations are made by women against men, then a woman may feel forced to out themselves as female to gain access to this - something that may be particularly problematic for transgender editors. Equally it might also lead to the assumption that everyone whose case is not heard by this sub-committee is male, which could cause issues for some editors.
I get that you are proposing this one committee as an experiment, but my point is that there is insufficient detail in the proposal to know whether this is an experiment that is worth running or not. Thryduulf (talk) 21:53, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you!

This is a brilliant editorial, Gamaliel, thank you for authoring it. It's ironic, but these words are likely to have more impact coming from a male than coming from a female editor/admin who would just be judged as shrill and complaining. But the only way for Wikipedia to become a less abrasive and more welcoming environment is for male and female editors working together to make the necessary changes. It will take time but, I think you're correct, the perception by mainstream media that Wikipedia is a misogynistic environment will impact donations and any professional relationships WMF has with scholarly or other non-profit organizations. Liz Read! Talk! 19:34, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Gamaliel doesn't disclose their gender on the user page or this article. Do you really have to play the sexism card everywhere? --Pudeo' 03:41, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
{{gender|Gamaliel}} = he. Concern troll fail. Opabinia regalis (talk) 03:50, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Facepalm Facepalm. She's right, and you're embarrassing yourself. Gamaliel (talk) 04:14, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
No, I'm not. Gamaliel's gender is not apparent from anywhere the text or checking the user page, so why would it matter to the average reader? You expected everyone who read this to immediately enter {{gender|Gamaliel}} and think "Oh, he's a male, then I'm more inclined to agree with him." Ridiculous. That's just using sexism for trolling and victim complex purposes like CarolMooreDC. --Pudeo' 19:40, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Well, editors who have conversed with Gamaliel over issues on Wikipedia know he is male so it wasn't a random conclusion. We have been in touch a lot this past year about the Signpost so I have an idea of the gender of the staffers there. Liz Read! Talk! 20:04, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Many Wikipedians have a knack for assuming that male is normal and female is exceptional. Many Wikipedians have a knack for blaming everything on CarolMooreDC. So, like the man said, you contain multitudes! I disagree with @Liz: on the optics and think this would have been equally insightful whoever wrote it; moreover, it is clear from her own comments here, and from those by GorillaWarfare and others, that there's plenty more to say. (I'd love to hear from Lightbreather, for example, and TaraInDC.) MarkBernstein (talk) 19:50, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I doubt the findings

If you don't clean up this mess, the adults are going to come and take your toys away from you.Who are these adults? The money could dry up: donations could drop, grants could disappear, academic research involving Wikipedia could vanish.WMF has 60 million $, but the servers cost only 2 million $ per year

@Gamaliel: Probably this project will not fail because of gender issues. There's no alternative online encyclopedia. It doesn't matter what bullshit we do, the people have no choice and will continue to read & donate.

Imho Wikipedia could only fail because of too much content, which is out of date and out of scope.--Kopiersperre (talk) 20:27, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Fifteen years is a long time. Is anyone friends with Tom Anderson anymore? Gamaliel (talk) 20:31, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Nobody knows, how 2030 will look like. But who do you want to come and clean up the mess? I can't figure out, who do you mean.--Kopiersperre (talk) 20:40, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Kopiersperre, Tom Anderson was the founder of Myspace which was once the hottest and biggest social network that existed. It was sold to News Corp in 2005 for US$580 million. Now, it's a shell of its former self, eclipsed by Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter. There is a fascinating book about the rise and fall of MySpace by Angwin, Julia called Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America (2009). The book would have been very different if it had come out in 2010. Liz Read! Talk! 21:04, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Time to address the real problem

The vast majority of the world is still stuck in the past, whether because of tradition, religion, or conservatism. This means that the world is misogynist and antifeminist as a whole. Anyone who has studied the problem knows this is true. Western governments pay lip service to small pockets of feminism here and there so as to differentiate themselves from their opponents, but the fact remains that the financial engines of the West do business with the rest of the world, and reinforce the existing framework of misogyny in their blind worship of moloch. So let's stop beating around the bush and blaming a single Wikipedia editor for a problem larger than all of us and start naming names and placing the blame where it belongs. That editors bring their preconceived notions about women with them to this site is to be expected. And if you want to change their beliefs, you will first have to change their perception of their culture that raised them to this point. That's not going to be easy nor is it realistic for Wikipedia to tackle as an educational project. It's time to own up to the idea that the world is anti-woman, anti-feminist, and misogynist to its roots. Until you do, you're just wasting bandwidth. Viriditas (talk) 21:06, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Culture has universal elements but it is also local. Culture is the set of principles we agree to, explicitly or implicitly, let govern our social groups - and Wikipedia is a social group. Yes, the world is toxic and misogynistic - but that doesn't absolve us from fixing the issue. Wikipedia cannot tackle it for the world, much, but it can absolutely tackle it locally by setting local (i.e., specific-to-our-site) expectations for human behaviour. Suggesting it's beyond our control is to misunderstand the layered nature of cultural standards and expectations. Ironholds (talk) 03:06, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Fact: Wikipedia's leaders have admitted that their repeated attempts to address the gender gap have failed. Fact: past efforts have been led by students, professors, and other professionals who believe they understand the problem. Fact: experts often fail to get real world results when they test closed theoretical constructs against dynamic systems. Fact: the gender gap exists because Wikipedia is embedded in the misogynistic framework of the dominator culture. Fact: the concept of an encyclopedia, while noble and enlightened in principle, is rooted in male concepts of power, control, and competition. Fact: technology, while supposedly without gender, is also rooted in male, militaristic notions of command and control, domination and warfare. Fact: technology does not have to be used for this purpose, and could instead be used for cooperation, power sharing, personal defense and privacy, acquisition of knowledge instead of material resources, and peace rather than conflict. Fact: the purpose of technology in general, and Wikipedia in particular, is intentionally used to support, maintain, promote and defend the status quo, namely the masculine dominator culture that devalues the female and uplifts the patriarchal institutions that control culture in all forms, across the planet. Fact: to change this system, to eliminate the gender gap entirely, would entail creating an anti-encyclopedia that exists to subvert and destroy the dominator paradigm. Fact: to accomplish this task, one would have to replace the old processes with new ones based on the principles of partnership, cooperation, and true collaboration, not in name only, but in practice, and more importantly, as part of a new value system that embeds and enshrines feminine principles into the software itself. Viriditas (talk) 07:43, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
"Snips, and snails, and puppy dogs' tails." Oh my! It is difficult to subscribe to a world view which appears to have at the core of its philosophy a nursery rhyme. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 05:05, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I don't believe in worldviews, and it is probably dangerous for anyone to subscribe to one. Reality cannot be confined to a small box on your coffee table. In any case, it's obvious that your reading comprehension may need some work. What was offered was a model, not a worldview, that is based on the work of Riane Eisler, who challenges the fundamental assumptions of patriarchy and society that most people take for granted. I have posited that the reason that Wikipedia has repeatedly failed to solve the gender gap is because Wikipedia is embedded inside the patriarchal dominator culture. This has nothing to do with a "nursery rhyme" on any observable level. Viriditas (talk) 05:33, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Eisler's Partnership and domination models reduce to "Woman = Partnership = Good!" "Man = Domination = Bad!", which is indistinguishable from, as simplistic as, and as fundamentally unhelpful to the problem at hand as the rhyme linked. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 06:03, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Except for the fact that her model stresses the partnership of men and women, which contradicts your assertion. Look, I get it. You're the statistically predictable and omnipresent commenter that one finds in every discussion thread, the guy who argues, "I've never heard of that before, and I have no idea what you're taking about, but it's wrong." I'm glad you showed up. It's always nice chatting with a predictable discussion stereotype that emerges from random noise. Could you do me a favor and send the gamergate troll and the MRM shills in? I would not want them to miss their cue.... Viriditas (talk) 06:16, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I would not regard familiarity with Eisler's works as being a prerequisite to comment here. I read the collection assertions couched as Facts above, and found them wanting. Thought, to be fair, the first 3 seem to make a lot of sense.
I'll also go out on a limb & postulate that the above comment is a perfect example of the sneering, superior, casually aggressive rudeness that makes Wikipedia an unpleasant place for all editors, regardless of gender. Which, in turn, disproportionately affects the retention of women. But then, what would I know... maybe it's just indicative of the dominator culture. In either case, we should reject it. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 06:28, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
You would not regard "familiarity" (or understanding) of an idea under discussion as a prerequisite to comment? That's hilarious. Yes, by all means, let's talk about an idea you know nothing about and dismiss it as a "nursery rhyme". Did I dismiss you as a troll yet? No? You're a troll. There, I'm glad we got that out of the way. Is there anything else you know nothing about you would like to discuss? Viriditas (talk) 07:01, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
As above, I commented on the collection of assertions provided above. Regardless of their basis, they are deeply flawed, though, as above there is merit in the first 3, and in aspects of the final conclusion. If you mean to suggest that we should examine & rework our processes, procedures & customary practices such that they better promote partnership, then you will find no stronger supporter than I; and it is an endeavour in which I would be happy to partner with you. But if the basis is that masculine is bad, and that we need to create an anti-encyclopedia that exists to subvert and destroy that embeds and enshrines feminine principles into the software, then is all comes across a bit "Ring a ring o Rosie", t.b.h.
If you feel that my understanding of the material above is lacking, please look upon it as an opportunity to better explain, rather than dismiss. The likelihood is that other readers will have formed the same opinions as I, based on some of the rhetoric, which is, frankly, off-putting. Here is your chance to clear that misunderstanding; to evangelise the changes that you would see made. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 07:17, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Unlike you, I'm not here to evangelize or promote anything. Riane Eisler's partnership model speaks for itself and is more relevant to resolving the gender gap that you could possibly know or imagine. There's no reason to discuss anything with you. Viriditas (talk) 22:39, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed with all of those (although I haven't thought about the encyclopedia element, and would love to hear your thoughts on that - perhaps that's a discussion for another page though. Are you referring to the underlying epistemology being heavily weighted towards non-feminist methods?) - but I don't think it's impossible to replace those old processes and value systems. Just very hard. Ironholds (talk) 13:54, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Is there any country, society, religion or identifiable community outside of the darkest and nastiest corners of the internet where it would be considered acceptable to create attack porn or revenge porn? ϢereSpielChequers 21:01, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Considering the fact that armament production, arms sales, war, and deaths from war are the ultimate forms of attack and revenge porn (with the unjustified invasion of Iraq fitting that definition quite appropriately), I would answer yes, all of them. Religious adherents are at the top of the list for fighting wars on behalf of invisible men, followed by more mindless, invisible syncophantic bureaucrats who sit at their desks while managing assasination squads and raining death on to civilians from above, in an absolutely irrational attempt to stop violence (which has the exact opposite effect and in reality creates newly formed terrorists). You seem to see attack and revenge porn when it suits you and ignore it when it is a mainstream foreign policy. Viriditas (talk) 23:12, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The issue of "revenge porn" or "attack porn" is, ironically, a Nineteen eighty-four use of language as a limiting construct of thought. Of course every decent person would oppose such a construct. The battle would be over what constitutes "revenge porn" or "attack porn." There are current divisions in feminist theory as to whether pornography in general is liberating or denigrating. I daresay there are groups that would classify all pornography as "attack porn" for denigrating and objectifying women. I would be inclined to agree with them but I would have difficulty personally criticizing a woman for choosing that profession. Therefore the construct itself is troubling as it "weaponizes" the argument rather than being elucidating. A better argument would be boudaries of personal/private space in general. --DHeyward (talk) 15:05, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I think WereSpielChequers is also referring to the Lightbreather case, during which she was the unfortunate victim of ratfucking. According to her, somebody uploaded a pornographic image that claimed to be her, and she happened to run across it while searching for her name.[8] The strangest and most bizarre part about this, however, is that she is now using the image of a guy who was also apparently ratfucked, as her Twitter profile image.[9] This would be like the woman who had her image stolen using Lightbreather's name in her profile. It makes no sense, right? There's evidently a complete lack of self-awareness here, with Lightbreather incapable of understanding that the account picture she is using was likely stolen as a joe-job of the original account name that ratfucked her. Before Lightbreather was site banned, she had previously made the same errors of judgment in an SPI case when she tried to implicate an innocent person.[10]. Now she's doing it again with her Twitter profile pic. It's amazing to me that the community is allowing this nonsense to continue, this time with the Signpost, all in the name of addressing the gender gap. And just in case your irony meter hasn't exploded by now, Lightbreather's big beef in the SPI case was based on her paranoid allegations against a woman who she thought was pretending to be other men. Viriditas (talk) 22:34, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I hoped it was obvious, but yes of course the real problem in this saga is that someone created attack porn against Lightbreather. There are problems within Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement, those problems include disagreement as to whether we had sufficiently strong evidence to link a particular wikipedian account to the off wiki perpetrator of the attack porn. But for all our faults we are in a different league to those sites that host attack porn and or revenge porn. I think the Atlantic article would have been much stronger if as well as criticising wikipedia for the many problems that we still have to resolve, it had called for governments to deal with those sites that host attack porn and revenge porn and that shield those who post it. ϢereSpielChequers 10:24, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Already destroyed

Safe Space (South Park) already destroyed the nonsense (great timing for this editorial). Maybe Butters will filter Reality on wiki. --DHeyward (talk) 21:12, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

What a crock of shit. This isn't about safe spaces, it's about regular norms regarding human conduct and decency. I don't know where you work, but I doubt people get to call you the c word at your job or email you about your breast milk. Gamaliel (talk) 21:41, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
This is the internet, not my work which is a bastion of 1st world privilege. Nor have I used any of the epithets you mentioned either here or at work. You used to have "Don't be a dick" linked on your page if I recall. I doubt you would say that at work, either. Steve Jobs, however, was extremely blunt. In 25 years, I haven't had a job where a woman wasn't in the direct management chain. The world view isn't changing as it's been unacceptable to harass anyone at work for many decades. The internet, though, particularly twitter, has removed a filter enjoyed by privileged people. Civility is a 1st world privilege and exposure to incivility is a melting pot that's dissolving cultural distinctions. The world is uncouth. Here's the musical version. --DHeyward (talk) 22:02, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The fact that this website is on the internet does not mean it should escape the rules of basic human decency. Both 4Chan and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy are on the internet. We have a choice as to which one we should emulate. Gamaliel (talk) 22:06, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The point is that is all POV. Basic human decency is feeding the hungry. You're couching a "who you want to participate" as an argument of "how you want them to participate." We can have Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy but it would mean excluding people that don't hold SEoP POV. Should we allow residents of Qatar to express their views as they are reflected in their culture? So far, the only meaningful result of the Atlantic article has been the desysoping of a female admin. Do you applaud that action? --DHeyward (talk) 22:34, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
We choose what kind of culture we want to have on the encyclopedia. I would not choose the culture of Qatar, or the culture of first world asshole masculinity. Gamaliel (talk) 02:00, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
When people keep talking about what would be allowed "at work", they usually mean (American) white-collar office culture, which is masterful at passive-aggressiveness and political infighting and vicious "incivility" that never needs even a single four-letter word. I'm not sure it'd be an upgrade. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:17, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
"L'enfer c'est les autres civiles"? - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 04:41, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

The Atlantic is not "the world"? for sure it is controversial ...

"the world" in the title attracted me and i was a little disappointed that it is about something i never heard of, in a newspaper i never heard of. i admit somehow i admire and wonder how The Atlantic achieved i know it now and i am again part of the world with it. i found an article about The Atlantic's strategy called "Is the Atlantic making us stupid?" by pamela erens which helps to explain. to cite a couple of sentences "He (James Bennet) has turned The Atlantic from a money bleeder into a moneymaker, from a worthy but familiar cultural artifact into a brand chattered about by people who are not usually considered part of the chattering class. And what gets the most chatter of all are The Atlantic’s frequent, and frequently controversial, articles about gender issues." erens then gives quite a lot of examples of stories, from single women, breast feeding, oral sex, end of men, how to end your kid in therapy, up to "Daddy Issues, Why caring for my aging father has me wishing he would die". --ThurnerRupert (talk) 21:49, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

The Atlantic is a 157-year-old magazine, among the most famous and prestigious magazines currently being published. It is not, and never has been, a newspaper. If you have not heard of the magazine that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. founded, that published many of the most important British and American authors of the 19th century -- Emerson, Twain, Jack London, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Ida Tarbell -- the magazine that was the cauldron of abolition and the cradle of reform, your education might perhaps be slightly deficient. Nonetheless, I am confident that James Bennet and his editorial board await your wise advice and counsel on what they should publish, but this is not the place for such advice. The correct address is 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20037. MarkBernstein (talk) 23:01, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

@ThurnerRupert: Thank you for that instructive link on The Atlantic. Though it's goal, then and now, has been to "start a conversation", it's certainly a different animal from the days of Emerson, Tarbell, and Twain. Funny, I'm one of those old-school feminists who actually believes that irresponsible accounts like that given us by Emma Paling, who by design or laziness promoted Eric Corbett to administrative status—clearly to convey a false impression that c-word abuse is directed and condoned from the top of the Wikipedia hierarchy on down—actually does a disservice not just to women, but to all of us working for civility, accuracy, and justice in this world. But God forbid anyone imply that her motives were (perhaps) impure, that her broad-based, Luddite attack on this community was little more than an attempt discourage women from engaging and participating, or that sexist bias (dare I write it!) may have informed her faulty, sensationalized reporting. But who am I to say? I'm just an old dog who knows a dog whistle when I hear it Vesuvius Dogg (talk) 16:36, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

You're not the only one that hears a whistle. Emma Paling is clearly no Ralph Waldo Emerson and the article was a very shoddy piece of work. Possibly laziness and simply taking what she was fed. But I too think there's more to it than that. Labelling Corbett's comment as coming from an administrator was no accident and fits conveniently in with the pre-conceived narrative. Stating that the woman Wikipedian who had a grant from the WMF to increase women's participation didn't have her grant renewed likewise fit into the narrative. The clear implication that the WMF wasn't really interested in taking that initiative any further was no accident. The reason for her dismissal was quite different, of course, and corrected in a later version. Stating that "ArbCom declined to take on Lightbreather's case [of sexual harassment]", without mentioning the extensive investigation that was carried but not in public is no accident. And as for poor Clara H. Hasse. I was the one who rescued her [11]. At the time, I was utterly appalled that this edit-a-thon, allegedly supervised by experienced Wikipedians, did not tell the novice editors about the basic necessity of establishing notability and researching the topic. Frankly, I think it came as a complete surprise to them what Clara Hasse had actually done, since most of those Smithsonian women's articles were simply regurgitating this kind of stuff. So there you have it. Like all pieces of shoddy journalism, there are also many truths in Paling's article, but it has done women editors here a real, if temporary, disservice. Voceditenore (talk) 18:33, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
At risk of sounding extraordinarily condescending, thank you for the Clara Hasse rescue, and for being yet another "woman editor" (ugh, now that should be a banned phrase!) who pisses in the pot instead of just sitting on it. Sure, it bothers me that her article was flagged for speedy deletion (43 minutes after its modestly-sourced beginnings) and languished under that ignominious flag for a full 23 minutes before you (and others) hopped on the article-improvement bandwagon. To me, that shows how Wikipedia actually works to preserve and promote women's biographies. Anyway, Hasse's article has been here ever since, of course, for reporters like Emma Paling to read and learn from, or not bother to, given that she didn't care enough not to differentiate her from Nellie Brown. (One only wishes that The Atlantic employed fact-checkers... But wait... That would make it more like Wikipedia, wouldn't it? Except for the part about actually being paid to think women's history is valuable and important...) Vesuvius Dogg (talk) 19:44, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I believe you'll find that The Atlantic employs a substantial editorial staff. No doubt they are eager for your insights in how to better manage their publication, even though ut has somehow managed to soldier on for 150 years without you; you should offer your advice or apply for employment at their offices, not here.MarkBernstein (talk) 20:01, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Just the way they're eager to have people like you blindly screaming at anyone audacious enough to criticize them? They've also made it 150 years without your petulant shrieking. If you want to offer career advice I imagine Vesuvius Dogg's talkpage would be the best place for it, because the rest of us are sick of your patronizing tirades steadily degrading the discussion all the way down to your preferred level of pointless point-scoring and navel gazing. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 20:29, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
MarkBernstein may be insufferable at times, and he has a talent for pissing of Wikipedians, especially the STEMlords, but he's absolutely right. The editorial corps may think it has the measure of a 158-year-old institution based on a single internet article that reinforces their preconceived notions, but the rest of the world doesn't see it that way. The Atlantic is a major journalistic institution. Important people - not just dead ones - have written for them and important people read it. It has the ability to change the conversation on a national scale. If this were a cover story and not a short piece, it might have been a death blow to Wikipedia. Gamaliel (talk) 20:48, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I'm only marginally aware of these issues because I have things much closer to my heart which I pursue on Wikipedia. As such I suspect there are a lot more editors like myself who, to the extent they know about any of these issues, find it nothing more than an odd distraction, and I'm not sure there's a whole lot any person or organization will do to change that. I'll keep pushing along no matter what may be happening because I find some of my article work immeasurably satisfying, as Wikipedia is usually the only place where I can expound on many of the topics that interest me. (I have a BA in history, I work at a day program for disabled adults where I'm the only white male, and I'm happy to provide a list of my very out-of-the-way article work, so anyone looking to rage against "STEMlords" can rest assured that I'm not much of a target) The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:02, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Voceditenore, let us please get the history right. At the time Sarah Stierch's employment at the Wikimedia Foundation ceased in January 2014, she had been employed as a "Program Evaluation Community Coordinator". She had held that position since March 2013.
The end of her service as a Community Fellow focused on engaging more women to participate in Wikipedia occurred in January 2013. The Foundation's termination of her gender gap work was the Foundation's choice. It had absolutely nothing to do with the paid-editing issue of 2014, and preceded it by almost a year. Andreas JN466 20:02, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Andreas, tell the Atlantic to "let us please get the history right". This was the original wording in the article:
[She] spent a year on contract with the Wikimedia Foundation to make the site more friendly to women. During her tenure, she helped to create programs that would encourage women to participate, like the Teahouse, a space for new editors to ask questions and find mentors. In late 2014, she was told her contract would not be extended.

Yes the Atlantic got it wrong on multiple levels there (yet more evidence of the shoddy journalism) but given what Paling wrote, the intended implication was clear: By late 2014, the WMF was no longer interested in making the site more friendly to women. This is what they "corrected" it to:

[She] spent a year on contract with the Wikimedia Foundation to make the site more friendly to women. During her tenure, she helped to create programs that would encourage women to participate, like the Teahouse, a space for new editors to ask questions and find mentors. However, in 2014, she was dismissed from Wikipedia for allegedly editing articles on behalf of paying clients.

The new version is even worse. She was not dismissed from Wikipedia. She was dismissed from salaried employment with the WMF and the wording implies that she was dismissed from her work on the gender gap there, not from the new job they gave her. As for the original one-year contract, did the journalist make any effort to find out from the WMF why they decided not to renew it and instead gave her a new more permanent job as "Program Evaluation Community Coordinator"? Obviously not. Was the reason for her new job at the WMF because the WMF was no longer interested in "making the site more friendly to women"? Personally, I doubt that, although any other reason (e.g. they wanted to try a different approach to the problem) might not fit into the narrative. I suggest you take up what you consider the outstanding issues with the Atlantic. I happen to like the magazine myself, and have read it for years. It doesn't change the fact that on this occasion they published shoddy work from a freelance journalist who to my knowledge has never had a piece published in a major mainstream publication before and who made multiple errors (either from carelessness or deliberately) which bolstered a preconceived narrative. But hey, the Atlantic site is getting loads of hits, far more than if they had originally published a well-researched and nuanced (i.e. boring) article. Voceditenore (talk) 06:36, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, both the "before" and "after" versions miss the mark. I am not sure it is worth spending more effort on fine-tuning, and if it is, it can be done by those who communicated the earlier corrections. At any rate, subtle errors of fact are exceedingly common in mainstream press articles about Wikipedia. (Confusion between Wikimedia and Wikipedia is almost ubiquitous, for example, and as a wit once said, "Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge".) At the same time, Wikipedia is woefully undercovered in the press, compared to other top-10 websites, and that is to its detriment, because the project needs feedback. Rather than blasting journalists for minor errors of fact, I think we should patiently help them get things right, given that Wikipedia's inner workings are a closed book to most outsiders. Of course, the readiness to forgive errors depends on whether you think a story did a service or not. You've explained that you don't feel this was the case here. My feeling is different. I could rewrite Emma Paling's article with every remaining inaccuracy fixed, and the story would still be the same. It articulates a valid perspective – not the only one, but still. Regards, Andreas JN466 11:32, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Well, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree, Andreas. I don't consider the inaccuracies "minor errors of fact", especially in their cumulative effect. I deplore the fact that she made no effort to get all sides of the story (minimally from the WMF and ArbCom) or even to gain the slightest familiarity with what she was writing about. So yes, I do think the article did a disservice to both Wikipedia and to its women editors, and if you re-wrote the article fixing only the errors of fact but without presenting other perspectives on the events or taking a nuanced approach, so would you. But that's simply my opinion. Voceditenore (talk) 12:52, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Emma Paling did have a source of information about Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee, a source identified in the article. She doubtless has other sources for Wikipedia. If you believe you can write a superior article, one that presents broader perspectives or adopts a more nuanced approach, or one that does a greater service to Wikipedia and its women editors, then by all means you should do so. If The Atlantic does not prove receptive to your talents, you might inquire at Harpers; writers have been walking their manuscripts between The Atlantic and Harper’s since 1857. I have heard that the New Yorker is also quite good. The Nation and The New Republic might be interested. I imagine Wired might be persuaded to take a look. Caterwauling about the imagined editorial shortcomings of The Atlantic makes Wikipedia look ridiculous. That is redundant and unnecessary: the commenters here who are just discovering (and debating!) the rudiments of first-wave feminism have too great an advantage, so you might as well award them the victory. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:11, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

What a blatantly sexist essay

"Mansplaining"? Have we completely forgot that derogatory terms aimed at a particular group of people, in this case males, is classic discrimination? I'm not sure when sexism, in this case some feature beholden to men for whatever reason, became the standard on Signpost... Signpost admins need to realize that if such discriminatory and bigoted views are OK to air with such prominence, the genie is out of the bottle, and unfortunately, as we all can probably guess, it's not going to be men that bear the brunt of it in the end. I really don't give a shit about excuses, this sexist crap needs to stop. Int21h (talk) 22:19, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

It might be wiser, before mansplaining to us about the term “mansplaining”, to learn how to spell “discriminatory.“ You should also know that the author of this essay is the editor of The Signpost and a very prominent admin. Yours is an excellent illustration of one of the common Wikipedian pathologies discussed in the article. Speaking of admins, however, the phrase above about women bearing the bring of “it” -- whatever “it” is -- might constitute a threat. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:24, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I've fixed the spelling, thanks. But quit making idle threats; if you think I've violated a policy, take it to an admin. If you think someone deserves to be intimidated for their opinions, or that I would be, think again. Int21h (talk) 22:39, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I think someone deserves to be sanctioned for saying that "the genie is out of the bottle and, unfortunately, it’s not going to be men that bear the brunt of it in the end." I have brought this to the attention of those who care about WP:CIVILITY. Your response above is perhaps not overflowing with loving-kindness or respect, or contrition for that matter. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:53, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
OK, but we all know it is an empty complaint meant to harass, and I will take no small pleasure in chastizing anyone reckless enough to perpetuate the harassment, using civility or spelling or otherwise as a basis. Int21h (talk) 23:28, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The initial comment above doesn't seem to be any more of a threat than this comment. Certainly not justifying of the hue and cry. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 09:08, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I apologize to mansplainers for insulting their mansplaining. Gamaliel (talk) 02:01, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
While it certainly feels good to engage in tit for tat discourse like this, the mansplainers do have a point that this kind of rhetoric only serves to separate rather than unite us. And that is, of course, the goal of every antifeminist, so in many respects, a lot of the feminist rhetoric ends up falling into a trap laid by their oppressors. You see this a lot in many different social movements. Although it sounds somewhat non-intuitive, instead of going after men, feminists should try going after women. In the US, women actively fought against the Equal Rights Amendment and were responsible for its demise. In most of the world where feminism is considered a form of science fiction, women actively hold back other women just as the black Uncle Tom ("a person who betrays their own group by participating in its oppression") of the American South held back African-Americans. I think Aristophanes had it right two-thousand years ago. The power of women united is far greater than they know. Viriditas (talk) 02:18, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, but that's total hogwash. Men control the vast majority of the powerful positions and statuses within the world. Many societies are set up, implicitly or explicitly or both, to perpetuate this. Absobloodylutely men should be challenged here - while an entire oppressed group working in unity is, indeed, fairly powerful, it's not as useful as having the people doing the oppressing realise it's an assholish set of behaviours to perpetuate. The attitude that feminists should stop challenging men until they've got "their own house" in order is a pretty suspicious one given that as a, I'm sure, totally-coincidental side-effect, it absolves men from having to think about gender equality up until the point all women agree about everything, which just so happens to be some time after the heat-death of the universe.
As for coming into a conversation about mansplaining with a "well actually..." - eh. The joke writes itself. Ironholds (talk) 02:24, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I think that around the world, women actively hold other women back in terms of equal treatment under the law, and I think there's good evidence for it, such as the opposition to the ERA. Usually, the reasons are cultural, often traditional and religious. Far from being "hogwash", I think you'll find solid evidence for what I'm saying. That's why campaigns to fight female genital mutilation, for example, are often focused towards women. It's why activism on any subject related to women is best geared towards women, and this is a historical fact. You can blame the men until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, women have to reclaim their own power as a cohesive group and grab the brass ring for themselves. That's how social change works. Nobody will give you a right, you have to stand up and take it. Sorry to inject a little reality into your fantasy-based discourse. Viriditas (talk) 02:31, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
If you think it was the idea of not all women agreeing I considered hogwash, you didn't actually read my comment. 'women' are not a unified group, and neither are 'feminists', and decrying the idea that men - who, again, control most of the power in the world - should be involved until after every self-identified woman agrees the same things guarantees that it will never happen. From a male point of view that's self-serving enough to be deeply suspicious. It would, indeed, be great if all women agreed on exactly what feminism looked like, and agreed that what that should look like is something intersectional, and everyone was happy. But since that will never happen, and since that happening does nothing to solve for the actual problem, demanding it as a pre-requisite is ridiculous. Ironholds (talk) 02:38, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
You clearly haven't understood a word I've said, you've only refuted straw men you've created. I've written a lot about women, particularly female scientists and writers, and they always say the same thing: yes, men have discriminated against them, but worst of all, they were brainwashed by the dominator culture into discriminating against their fellow women without realizing they were doing it, in effect doing the job of the oppressor for them. This is a universal trope found in virtually all of women's literature, and more to the point, a standard flaw in virtually every social movement. It's time for you to study it. Viriditas (talk) 02:52, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It is, yes, and I am familiar with it - but that's not what you said. What you said was "Although it sounds somewhat non-intuitive, instead of going after men, feminists should try going after women."
Not as well as: instead of. That's what I'm responding to here; the idea that solving for divides within feminism, or within the beliefs of women overall around social justice and liberation from oppression, is a mandatory prerequisite or replacement for challenging men. It is not, and suggesting that it is - that the impossibility of uniformity is something you believe needs to be overcome before it's acceptable to challenge men to fix the broken system we benefit from - is to set an artificial and impossible bar, and demand that liberation happens on your terms. For liberation to be genuine, it will not happen on your terms, or on mine. Believing it should is a pretty good indicator for Not Really Getting It.
And: feminists do go after other women - a lot. Whether that's disagreements within feminism, such as pressuring trans-exclusionary radical feminists or people whose feminism is non-intersectional more broadly and fails to consider the role that race or class plays, or pushing women who have bought into the dominant narrative around gender equality, it happens a lot. You apparently have managed to miss all of it.
Yes, this pushing needs to continue. No, this pushing is not a prerequisite to pushing men, too. Suggesting that it is a prerequisite, or that people should ease back on challenging the people who have the majority of the power and authority (which, hey, happens to be part of the issue that needs to be fixed) is what I have a problem with. And that's not a strawman, it's what you wrote. Ironholds (talk) 03:03, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I simply don't have the free time to address all of your errors (which includes everything you've written up above), so I'll only address your largest mistake. Men only control most of the power, as you put it, because women allow them to do so. You may require several years to fully comprehend that idea, which encapsulates my entire argument. See you in 2018. Viriditas (talk) 05:21, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for making that statement; I had to spend a lot more words trying to explain why your argument was incredibly patronising and you managed to summarise it in a single sentence. It's clear from this that neither of us are gaining any particular value from this conversation, so I'm going to go do other things, but consider that for replies to be so full of "errors" you may not be explaining yourself in the best way. Ironholds (talk) 13:56, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Nah. Gamaliel, you should apologize for mansplaining the issues women on wikipedia face. After all, no woman would have been able to express such cogent thoughts or even know there was a problem until you mansplained it. Some female admins have even acknowledged their own shortcomings in expressing such issues to even appear believable. Certainly, without a man, no one would have ever considered this. Maybe the whole problem with the GGTF has been the lack your participation as their "mansplainer-in-chief" so the rest of the wiki could benefit from your male viewpoint. --DHeyward (talk) 06:23, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Stop embarrassing yourself. Gamaliel (talk) 18:43, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not the one who should be embarrassed. I'll give you credit that you quoted a number of people including one with very large quotes. Besides your mother, though, were there any women consulted prior to all the male input on the issues facing women and the gender gap? Hint: I am only familiar with gender gap in regards to STEM. As someone that has done a lot of hiring including drives to hire more (U.S.) minorities and women, the issue isn't at the end of the pipeline. I only hire M.S. or PH.D's out of college or established experienced technical people. The graduation ratio is what it is despite cries from Human Resources (today post graduate technical degrees are tilted male and non-American whence all the requests for H1 visas which usually result in green cards followed by citizenship). STEM issues for American minorities and women start late in grade school for girls and continue through college. The STEM issues itself represent a large part of Wikipedia's Gender Gap as Wikipedia has many technical articles and technical contributors and to a first order participation would match STEM graduates. If you really want to see behavioral or cultural issues affecting the gender gap, where STEM is not the driving force, it must first be deconvolved from that. After that, those two populations (STEM/non-STEM) need separate analysis to identify systemic biases in each. If I put on my guessing hat, I believe you will find that there are some STEM biases that are shared by both men and women as well biases expressed separately. They will also likely be different than the non-STEM systemic biases. Short essays, though, do a grave injustice to what is a much larger problem that Wikipedia. Treatment of women may indeed be a bias that needs addressing but it isn't anywhere near the elephant of STEM in the room and that's a pipelining issue (and I suggest there may be a barrier to contribution based complexity introduced by STEM - i.e. an editor based on vi or emacs is STEM friendly and even today I find commands that work in the browser that are specific to those editors). Case in point: Geoffrey Marcy's behavior has not been acceptable for more than 30 years. The resignation isn't as surprising as the number of post-graduate females that were involved in the program. How many women he drove from a STEM field is a much more meaningful account of his actions as that is the real change in 30 years, not his firing/resignation. That we are receiving press coverage would seem to be the result of a lot of pot stirring without a lot useful solutions. --DHeyward (talk) 21:48, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Oh, the irony of the people who oppose dealing with these sorts of issues at all complaining about the lack of "useful solutions". Gamaliel (talk) 01:38, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, the cause of the gender gap is definitely the existence of emacs virgins. Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:24, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Uh, no. I don't oppose dealing with these issues at all. I am highlighting that there are gender differences independant of wikipedia (i.e. the STEM pipeline) and it's foolish to attack it as a WP issue without first understanding the basic problem. The WYSIWYG editor was a very prescient tool for attracting non-STEM contributors. Gender is a secondary effect as I know plenty of women that are comfortable with vi or emacs. It's not 50/50 though, and if you want to close the gender gap there are two choices: A) eliminate gender STEM interest or B) eliminate STEM as a barrier to contribution. Either will work. It won't work if the barrier is STEM knowledge. That approach just reflects the STEM distribution which is very underrepresented. If you can't create a bot or a template, wikipedia is unforgiving. Until that changes, it will retain a STEM systemic bias. --DHeyward (talk) 03:56, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
"Mansplaining" is a loaded term that deliberately confuses the viewpoint and the sex of who holds it. Such ad hominem confusion, inviting sex-based evaluation of speakers rather than their words, is at the heart of sexism. Co-opting this practice for "the other side" does not cancel it out, but rather, makes it seem more legitimate. It is valid social criticism to bring up the concept as an undesirable tendency to be avoided, but it is not helpful to use it indiscriminately against people with honestly held views. Also, I feel like the way some here are using the word is veering away from what the article describes it as meaning. Wnt (talk) 12:08, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Amazing Comments Section

Surprised I didn't expect this comments section to be this heated as it is now. If heated is the right word in this case. What an issue. GamerPro64 22:48, 25 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

What to say

Every time I start to feel like coming out of my isolation on Wikipedia, I see things like this. As an American, in real life I have to hear the vacuous cant of "privileged white male", which to me is a clear signal that my experiences somehow... are not diverse? are not worth hearing? lower my standing in some way? I've grown somewhat used to people using the word "diversity" to mean "you're part of a monolithic group and therefore can't possibly add anything" and, while it certainly isn't always used in that sense, it happens whether or not anyone who's not a white male wants to accept that. Every once in a while I'd like not to have to mention that I'm on the autism spectrum to get people to even consider that I just might have a perspective to offer or something useful for them. On Wikipedia, this manifests itself when I try to beat some sense into India topics and inevitably face relentless accusations of colonialism or being some sort of white supremacist gandoo chodha boy (look it up yourself if you really want to know...).

I bring all this up because I walk both worlds in a way and that, as far as I can see, no one who declares themselves on one side of the issue is listening very well to those they perceive to be on other side. A lot of editors feel as if the people trying to get more women to edit are trying to do so at the expense of both them and Wikipedia's content, and people trying to recruit women feel as if those disagreeing with them are actively attempting to push women away. In either case I, an existing editor who is a known quantity here on Wikipedia, end up as essentially a pariah. Since I'm more or less the same in real life it doesn't mean I'll leave, all I want is for everyone here to think about what they're sounding like to people outside of this dispute. Were I unfamiliar with Wikipedia I'd conclude that one group wants me gone because I'm a white man, ergo my writing inherently has less value and makes me part of a vast hive mind trying to force every other demographic out (and relating some of the harassment I've dealt with makes me a misogynist), and that another wants me gone because I haven't joined the fight in the name of content creation. Even though I know that's not what anybody wants, it's the way it comes off. Simply listening a bit better to the other side, responding to them knowing that you essentially have the same goals, and leaving the anger and invective out of it would do everyone in this fight a world of good. Instead of fighting with each other, how about fighting together to add to Wikipedia? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:58, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Blade, the world is a complex place and sometimes we mirror that. I've collaborated with quite a few feminists here in the last couple of years and not yet encountered one who didn't want to keep the existing editors, or at least the vast majority of them, so please don't consider yourself a pariah. There is plenty of room here to add thousands of women editors without losing men. As for other forms of diversity, I can think of several where I'm in a minority here, and sometimes that's a refreshing, even positive situation to be in, and only very occasionally it is disconcerting. There is a lot of passion in this debate and not as much practical problem solving as I'd like, but I'm not getting hostility when I try to build bridges. By the way if you've got the time I think your perspective would be really appreciated in this FAC. Cheers and happy editing. ϢereSpielChequers 21:29, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
As mentioned above, I do enjoy Wikipedia and have no intentions of going anywhere; I just figured I could provide an outside angle on this dispute. And I think I will have a look at that FAC. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:52, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
This is a problem whenever people talk about privilege, whether it is white privilege, male privilege or Western privilege. This discussion is about systemic privilege that some groups within the population receive by virtue of their birth, it is not about individuals, it is not about intention, it is not something that anyone has any control over. People mistakenly take this critique personally, as if it is an accusation against them. It is not about you (or anyone) feeling guilty, it is about awareness.
I'll use myself as an example. I'm a white woman. And I'm sure that in stores or if a policeman stops me, I'm given allowances that a woman of color might not be given, there wouldn't be any questions if I was a local living in this town or I was where I should be (I should mention that my town is pretty white). That is an advantage that I can't control because it is cultural, it is systemic. But it's important for me to remember and be aware that others do not receive the same treatment that I do. It isn't an even playing field and that is true of all societies.
On the other hand, I graduated with a BA in Economics in the 1980s. When I went to companies in the financial district of my local urban city, I was considered for positions as an administrative assistant, not a broker-in-training or junior financial analyst but, basically, a secretary. I don't think that male graduates from this very top program I attended were funneled to become administrative assistants. That doesn't mean that the men involved were individually sexist, at that time, in that corporate environment, they didn't view women as candidates in climbing the corporate ladder. A forward-thinking man or woman with hiring power could act in opposition to the social mores of the times, but cultural change takes time.
And I've discovered the biggest unasked-for advantage that most of us receive that we are not aware of is that most people are able-bodied. This was pointed out to me by a friend of mine with very bad vision, that much of her waking hours revolved around making sure she could get where she needed to go, that she had a special computer so she could read emails that would cause no problems for ordinary people. She spent hours of time navigating around a world that is designed for sighted people. Does this mean that people are treating her poorly and are unsympathetic? It depends on the person. But all temporarily able people have a huge advantage functioning in society. And we will all become more and more aware of the advantage that able-bodied, healthy people have as we all get older and find ourselves more confronted by our bodily limits. Liz Read! Talk! 22:21, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Brilliant comment, Liz. I had this exact discussion with a young and very wealthy software engineer last week. He insisted that the reason men like him got ahead is because they worked harder than women, putting in more hours and avoiding sick time, vacation, days off, etc. At least, that's how he explained his success in relation to his female competitors, whom he claimed were always coming into work late, taking days off, and unwilling to sacrifice their time with their family. Viriditas (talk) 00:02, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
My distaste for it all stems from having heard the reverse, essentially that I don't deserve whatever it is I have (which isn't very much and likely never will be) because I'm a well educated white man from an upper middle class background and therefore "didn't earn it" or some such. Speaking as I do, in a fairly similar manner to my writing, is a fairly large stigma when almost everyone around you speaks AAVE or similar, and if you don't believe me read Benedict Mady Copeland sounds in conversations with Portia and Willie in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The way this shows up on Wikipedia is that there's comparatively little interest in keeping people like me around, although WSC's comment above is a good reminder that it is there, and it seems like people who don't want to make this their Number One Priority on Wikipedia get accusations of being a traitor from everyone most invested in this issue. I have enough people singularly fixated on race/class/gender in my real life (as in people who've openly expressed support for Malik Zulu Shabazz and the Nation of Islam), Wikipedia is one of the only places where it's not at the forefront of my mind and I rather prefer it that way. I'll go so far as to say that it'd be that way to me no matter what the demographics were because I can always retreat to work (mostly) alone on an article. But that's just me. (And if you see me I barely resemble my demographic, which is largely by design) The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 00:37, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
"Working harder" is a poor argument. "Getting more work done" is a more meaningful metric within a defined group. That's not gender specific but it is a metric that favors both voluntary and involuntary choices and some have involuntary consequences. Some have social pressures. Some have job protection (but not promotion or raise protection). I don't get paid by the hour and I compete with all sorts diverse employees for promotions and performance based compensation. It then becomes a balance of quality of life. Privilege as viewed outside my industry would seem very large. Against a very diverse set of peers, though, privilege is very circumstantial and not as easily defined - there are very gifted people that excel through random variation of which they have no control. Watch any college calculus class and you will find a certain group that will never grasp it while others grasp it intuitively. Controlling for every single environmental factor will not change it. The half-joking line is that people will be promoted to their level of incompetence as they will no longer stand out among their peers. An interesting observation is the semi-fictional play/movie "Amadeus" pitting an unknowing genius like Mozart against a contemporary Salieri. Privilege, "working harder" and results are very well played. The work time Salieri takes to compose a court march that Mozart memorizes, repeats and improves in only moments show his privilege within the composer community but both composers were much more privileged than those not endowed with rich benefactors that paid them to be composers. Salieri resents Mozart despite both their privileged status. The question is whether such things are "fair" at many levels. I don't think many would argue that Mozart should have been held back. There are two roads to Harvard. --DHeyward (talk) 01:11, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The Blade of the Northern Lights, I'm not sure how attention paid to people who are not us means that the encyclopedia doesn't have an interest in keeping us around. There's a problem that needs to be addressed, and it's a problem that affects everyone, even if they think it doesn't. It affects content and policy and behavior. If you aren't interested in dealing with these issues, that's fine, I have no problem with that and I'm sure others do not. There are lots of issues affecting the encyclopedia but no one person can be interested in dealing with all of them. For example, I think that Wikiproject Medicine does amazing work, but I have no interest in participating in it or, honestly, even hearing about it. But I don't see how their work threatens my presence in the encyclopedia, and I see gender gap/bias issues the same way. As a man, they aren't threatening to me. Nobody feels the need to show up to derail discussions about Wikiproject Medicine, so nobody should feel the same need to derail gender gap/bias discussions. Gamaliel (talk) 01:37, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree and fully appreciate your and everyone else's frustration on the matter. I saw enough as one of Liz's conominators at her RfA to know there's a real problem, I did what I could there. What makes it hard for me, anyways, is that it feels like I'm just as under the gun for either 1. being a male and therefore part of some problem by that alone or 2. not taking a direct role in trying to attack this problem because I'm leery of doing so after hearing 1. It also gets brought up in places where there's simply no connection to sexism (much like, in real life, the occasional idiocy when someone can't be bothered to consult a dictionary before getting huffy about the word niggardly), and even though it's relatively infrequent it contributes to cries of "playing the sexism card" and makes the issue that much harder to untangle. The end result is the horrifically toxic environment which everyone on all sides has created, and it's hard for me to watch because there are a lot of users here that I really care about burning themselves out and looking absolutely miserable. It's entirely possible I'm misreading signals, goodness knows I'm prone to it for fairly obvious reasons, so it's probably just as well. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:30, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

In response to @The Blade of the Northern Lights:'s original post, I'm another straight white male editor who primarily contributes content rather than getting involved in political spats, drama, or politicking, and I also feel more and more unwelcome here because none of my demographic backgrounds can contribute to the Foundation's PC "street cred". Nothing else really to add, I just hope to encourage other editors who feel alienated by the Foundation's increasingly identity-based valuation of its volunteers to open up. Abyssal (talk) 03:08, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Straight? OK, that changes everything. Tony (talk) 03:28, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Not everything, but there are clear patterns in the harassment I've seen on this site. Straight white males like Abyssal and I are much less likely to be targeted by trolls. There are misogynists, racists and homophobes out there on the internet and wikipedian is a big target for their trolling. This page is primarily about misogyny and the gendergap, but we shouldn't forget that we need to keep the banhammer ready to splat racists and homophobes as well. ϢereSpielChequers 09:36, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The Blade of the Northern Lights, we need everyone to help with this – men and women who understand and oppose sexism. We're all raised with it and we all absorb it. It can be as hard for women to shake it off as it is for men. I've said many times that what we need on ArbCom are not necessarily more women, but more people who know how to spot sexism and understand the effect it can have. Sarah (talk) 03:50, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
You don't have to reveal anything about yourself Online, much less on Wikipedia where you can just be an IP and still help "building an encyclopedia" if you have good arguments (at least that's how it's supposed to work). Somehow I doubt this is about what you say it is, rather than being about scoring political points and being able to remove people who's opinions you don't like. (talk) 13:03, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
You don't, no - but there are advantages in doing so. Humanising your pseudonym - being able to represent yourself as an actual human being - carries empathetic advantages. It lets you form tighter bonds with the community of people you're interacting with. It lets your pseudonym be a part of you, rather than a theoretically-abstract self-contained identity (emphasis on 'theoretically'). More importantly: it's impossible for who we are on Wikipedia to not represent who we are in real life. That's not how brains work. Even if you're entirely pseudonymous or anonymous, you can't just portion off a big chunk of your brain when you're editing the wikis: who you are and the life experiences you've had is reflected in what you choose to contribute, how you choose to contribute, what you respond to, how you respond to it, what you find problematic and not problematic. Who we are in the real world has a big impact in who we are here, and genuine bonds are a pain in the arse to form without some actual humanising, so your argument - that not revealing anything about who you are has no impact on your ability to participate here - is simply wrong. Ironholds (talk) 14:34, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Criticism of Wikipedia

I tried to add mention of this story to the Criticism of Wikipedia article, but have faced unexpected opposition. Everyone is welcome to join the discussion here. Cla68 (talk) 10:11, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Is this about treating women fairly, or somebody's political battle?

Those who read that conversation at Jimbo Wales should focus more on User:GorillaWarfare's comments, where she goes through a long list of little ways that she has been mistreated that had to do with her sex. These are things that clearly women shouldn't have to put up with to contribute here, though it may not be easy to stop them. Meanwhile, despite the incessant harping on Corbett's one comment - made after he was roundly criticized for abusing Jimbo Wales with the now-infamous epithet - he is not the face or standard-bearer of Wikipedia sexism as The Atlantic and The Signpost might have you believe. There seems to be far too much interest in winning political advantage here, rather than genuine reform. Wnt (talk) 23:49, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Ah, you figured it out. See wedge issue and collect your prize. Divide et impera. Someone has clearly put some thought into this. Viriditas (talk) 23:54, 26 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Funny how the House POV anti-Gamergate people are migrating to this topic. It's a new game for them to play, in the final analysis. I'm sick of it... This article was planted in The Atlantic as a PR mechanism. It doesn't matter who gets squashed or whether WP's name gets dragged in the mud... It's all about "winning" a game by dominating "reliable sources" with a certain narrative. It's not about solving the actual underlying problems of editorial gender disparity, content disparity, or targeted gender-based harassment at all... Carrite (talk) 10:18, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
If you think undergraduate CS majors "plant stories" in The Atlantic, I've got a nice bridge to sell you MarkBernstein (talk) 10:29, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
For introspection on ending misogyny and sexism on Wikipedia, take a look at a couple 30 year-old events: Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill and Bill Clinton and Paula Jones. I would find it troubling if the pitchforks and torches were being carried by persons that internally view them as complete opposites. No one should have to tolerate the abuse GorillaWarfare has outlined. I fear a place, though, where it is acceptable to mistreat and abuse editors with the "wrong" view. --DHeyward (talk) 15:27, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Is the Woe is Womyn Narrative Cracking?

Is this comments section a sign of the end times: a return to normality; or is these merely a false down where we return to the 'Gender Project Task Force's' ritualistic and cultish gender purification project? (talk) 05:43, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Instead of trolling the wimmin and rewriting herstory, you could be improving man cave and helping to get it featured. Viriditas (talk) 05:53, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
...............Aaaaaaand here come the anonymous pro-Gamergate trolls. Game on, right? Carrite (talk) 10:20, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
One IP address means Pro-GG trolls incoming. Suuuuuuuuuuure. GamerPro64 13:40, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Dance, puppets, dance![12] Viriditas (talk) 21:09, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

HBO's "Doll and Em" on 'the C word'

Emily Mortimer seems quite proud of this episode of Doll and Em, which includes "[a] long scene featuring extensive use of the word 'cunt'" and notes cultural differences that may be considered relevant here. A snippet from that scene:

[redacted for copyright reasons]

(Submitted without comment) ♀ petrarchan47คุ 22:47, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

This is an example of how welcoming and open our community is? MarkBernstein (talk) 23:07, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Mark, sometimes we are divided by a common language, and it truly doesn't help these matters. Here is another example that people crossing the Atlantic, whether in meatspace or online, might want to bear in mind: [13]. Both the meaning and the register (UK offensive vs. US old-fashioned informal) are quite different on each side of the pond. Andreas JN466 23:18, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
QED.MarkBernstein (talk) 23:24, 27 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It's easy to forget that we interact with many types of editors—women/men, native/non-native speakers, teenagers/adults, people coming from US/UK variants, and seasoned editors/newbies. One behaviour we can all slip into, me included, is to silently assume that we're communicating with Someone Like Us, especially if we're in a majority category. It's like hearing WP talkpage text in our own accent: we all do it. Using sexualised expressions and aggressive language can have unintended effects on recipients and onlookers. More caution is needed, and patterns of heavy usage need to be constrained, whether by the individual themselves or by the judicial structure. Tony (talk) 12:26, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Identity politics and fellow-travellers

Judging from the comments, it's clear that identity politics is a harmful and divisive path for this community. And that is bizarre, given that Wikipedians edit anonymously and no one knows what you look like or who you are unless you choose to disclose it. The start of identity politics is really the same in most communities: people come in to say that "we" have a problem with diversity/harassment and you have to do as they say to fix it. It's a mix of political organizing, the perks of being a spokesperson for the cause (such as being featured in the media or even paid positions) or even as straightforwardly as Gamaliel puts it, to get old community members "out of the way" and replace them with fellow-travellers. Of course, the feminist gender gap agenda goes in hand with other progressive poltiical goals (the whole Gamergate can be described as left-wing vs. right-wing issue as well). I'm surprised the RFA process is yet not as politicized as it could be, given how much power certain admin cliques yield in some contested topics. But to avoid biased and negative media coverage and strife amongst our own, should others simply stay silent on the identity politics? No. If the political organizers are given full air superiority, there will be larger repercussions on how our community processes work, how much influence the admin cliques have and how Wikimedia uses it's funds. --Pudeo' 03:20, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

You come from a socialist culture yet rant endlessly about conservative values. In a way, ychaucou are the one engaging in identity politics, by continuing to post reactionary rhetoric as a projection of your own psychological protest against Nordic values. Do you realize this? Viriditas (talk) 05:59, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I do not endorse the comments made by Pudeo, but there are indeed leftists who consider identity politics to be reactionary or neoliberal. Especially "diversity" politics. See Walter Benn Michaels here and Adolph Reed here. Kingsindian  06:07, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Left, right, Marxism, capitalism -- it's time to admit that all ideology is a dead end and it's time to move forward without it. People who talk about left and right as if they actually mean something are the equivalent of drug addicts. All of these ideas are played out. They don't work and they never will work. Viriditas (talk) 06:13, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
That may or may not be right. But you were talking about "socialist culture" and "conservative values". I was just pointing out that things were not that simple. As to ideology, Keynes' comment seems appropriate here: "Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist". Anyway, this was just an parenthetical comment, not meant as anything too profound. Kingsindian  06:28, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
And, economics is essentially pseudoscience and magical thinking. Anyway, "identity politics" is really just another word for human rights, which world governing bodies have had consensus on for almost 70 years but fail to enforce in their home countries due to the influence of cultural tradition, religion, and conservatism. We're actually talking about gender issues in 2015? This is pathetic. Idiocracy is looking more like a documentary every day. Viriditas (talk) 07:15, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
No, "identity politics" is where cult-like sheep engage in tribal thinking that ignores or censors reasoned arguments because their positions are baseless or they are too stupid to rationally advocate for their position. Quite simply identity politics is the last bastion for the moron seeking to enter discourse that is beyond their abilities. They try to mask their mentally inferiority by inventing their own vocabulary like "sea lioning" which is typical of any cult. (talk) 17:12, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Sir, you are daft. "Sea lioning" is the best anti-Gamergate meme of 2014, and I love it dearly. One of the reasons nobody likes you guys is because Gamergaters have no sense of humor. Lighten up, Francis. Viriditas (talk) 22:05, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Anyone seriously using terms like "mansplaining" and "concern troll" is straight out of the social justice warrior cesspool that is Tumblr. They have nothing of intellectual substance to add and should simply be banned before they stir up more shit with their constant whining and power grabs. (unsigned comment by
I agree (as do others here) that there are fundamental problems with the word "mansplaining". Can you imagine the outcry if someone used "womansplaining"? Men around the world would be confined to their man cave for a week. BTW, there's no such thing as a "social justice warrior"; that's just another nonsense phrase created by GG. Unfortunately, it's now infected this encyclopedia, and after an AfD, it was erroneously merged into social justice. It should be deleted and salted post haste. Viriditas (talk) 22:16, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I imagine the outcry would probably be because the common societal trope of men assuming a woman in their environment knows less than them doesn't work in the inverse. So yes, 'womansplaining' makes no sense. Ironholds (talk) 03:26, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Exactly. Mansplaining doesn't mean, as some people on this page seem to think, "it's bad when all men talk, ever". Mansplaining is a specific phenomenon that exists in the world. Look, we have an article about it, complaining editors. Go read it. Womansplaining is something made up because some people think saying the opposite thing is actually an argument. Gamaliel (talk) 03:46, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
What in the world are you talking about? This kind of poor reasoning is something I would expect from a VW software engineer. Please read what editors have said on this issue instead of engaging in IDHT. Just because a word exists isn't justification for its use. Multiple editors have taken serious offense and have objected to your use of mansplaining, regardless of the existence of the word. I find merit in their argument. That you continue to ignore them says a great deal about the issue here. Feminists have repeatedly observed an empathy problem in their movement, a tendency for women to dismiss and delegitimize other women, which tends to oppress other feminists with the battleaxe of the dominator. You're doing the same thing here. Viriditas (talk) 05:57, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I see a lot of talk from you about "feminists see..", "feminists observe..." that always seems to boil down to "and that's why my way of thinking about things is obviously right". It's a pity you couldn't take your own advice, here - and even more of a pity that you can't see the cognitive dissonance in complaining that people are offended by a term in the same message in which you comment "This kind of poor reasoning is something I would expect from a VW software engineer".
The thing in the world I was talking about was your hypothetical about the term 'womansplaining'. There is no such term. Even if there was such a term, the justification usually given for the term 'mansplaining' - that it is a term used to refer to a very real social phenomenon, originating in and primarily used by an oppressed group against their oppressor - does not hold water, unless you think that men are subject to some kind of organised, societal misandry. Despite it being "poor reasoning", you are the only person here confused by what is going on. Ironholds (talk) 06:21, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Is that Rod Serling standing in the corner smoking? I think it is, because the thread indentation shows me responding not to Ironholds, but to Gamaliel. Your literal interpretation of the argument as to why people object to mansplaining is both unhelpful and distracting. The lack of empathy towards the men who have objected to the use of the term is noted. I also note that this is the same problem feminists complain about when other feminists dismiss their concerns. This is not my opinion as you wrongly claim, this is a known, unsolved problem in feminism. There are many feminists to quote on this problem.[14] You are ignoring valid concerns and making antifeminist arguments to support your claims. You don't even know you are doing it and you seem to lack the basic self-consciousness needed to address the problem. Men in this discussion have objected to the word "mansplaining". What you're supposed to do is acknowledge their objection and stop using the word. At least, that's what a feminist would do. Viriditas (talk) 06:49, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Empathy? You're joking right? The crowd that wants to abandon civility, use highly offensive terms with impunity, and minimizes vicious harassment wants empathy now because their feelings were hurt by an accurate, non-offensive term that describes a specific phenomenon? Gamaliel (talk) 13:43, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
their feelings were hurt by an accurate, non-offensive term that describes a specific phenomenon? Interesting juxtaposition that exactly mirrors the explained use of the "C" word in non-American English. Would you like to enlighten us on other words that you think are okay or not okay because...reasons? Maybe you think "fanny" is okay but "fag" is not? It's election season so maybe we can bring back your support of the use of "Santorum (noun)?" Very sophisticated. --DHeyward (talk) 21:42, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Are you truly unable to distinguish between the two yourself? Wikipedia:Competence is required. Gamaliel (talk) 22:13, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) I’m afraid people are going to have a very tough row to hoe, if they want to convince the community that Rebecca Solnit’s term “mansplaining” is as offensive calling someone a "fag". I understand that term, of course, refers to the boarding school practice of requiring younger boys to gather and carry one’s kindling, and perhaps to submit to other indignities as well. I myself have never heard anyone called a "fanny", either in the US or the UK. I’ve certainly heard people called a schmuck, and certainly I have been accused of putzing around on Wikipedia, but I’ve never heard anyone called a tochus, either. But none of this rises to the level of attack or even mild discomfort, as the C word might. Rebecca Solnit is a contributing editor to Harpers, author of more than a dozen books and recipient of a Guggenheim; not the credentials one typically associates with coining intolerable terms. Different people do find different things intolerable or insulting; Nina Auerbach wrote that “I learned to love vampires long before I learned to hate Republicans." One problem with declaring that common terms like "mansplaining" or "Gamergate supporter" are intolerably uncivil is that civility then becomes completely political; we'd all suddenly take umbrage at some word or other -- I call dibs on “condiment!” -- and there would be no end of trouble and strife. I'd propose that in the future, when comparing editors to anatomical parts, British usage be honored provided that it's limited to rhyming slang and costermonger’s back slang. Ko? MarkBernstein (talk) 22:44, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Misogyny and misandry are both antediluvian. No exceptions. What you've authored is an apologia for allowing prejudice against men. It's not acceptable, and your arguments from authority hold zero weight. It's pretty simple: if you want to be treated with respect, treat others with respect. What part of the golden rule aren't you getting? Viriditas (talk) 23:01, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I am quite able to understand that people take offense at just about anything. The "C" word perhaps means "Chaucer" or "Canterbury Tales" while "fag" simply means cigarette until someone takes offense. "fanny" though might be confused with "twat" (though not "twit"). The lesson being that tone deafness to offense is not the excuse to continue it. A person has expressed discomfort with "mansplaining" should be sufficient to stop polite company from using it. --DHeyward (talk) 23:04, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I suspect Chaucer and the Bard himself have more gravitas than Ms. Solnit. As expressed quite vulgarly by the young Hamlet divided by a common language while toying with Ophelia within the meaning of vulgar language Do you think I meant country matters?. Still, even with the Bard's blessing, the term should not be used precisely for the same reason other dehumanizing and objectifying words should not be used. --DHeyward (talk) 01:39, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
As perhaps the only person in this conversation who has taught these authors in the classroom, I should point out that to most adults there is a clear difference between using these terms in a work of literature, classic or modern, and students calling each other that. The fact that grown men cannot refrain from behavior that young students manage to avoid successfully is the reason we have a crisis on Wikipedia. Gamaliel (talk) 03:10, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, no. Hell no. I'm very skeptical of anyone who uses the word "crisis", or creates policy under duress of a crisis, which is usually manufactured to push through changes nobody wants. I'm about as far from being a conservative as one can be, yet this discussion makes me sympathetic towards my conservative brothers and sisters when I hear them warn of the tendency of progressives to become authoritarian when given the chance. I'm seeing the people involved in this discussion using Lightbreather's manufactured media "crisis" to put forward policy changes on the Village Pump that would be one of the first in a series of steps down the long, slippery slope of limiting the freedom of speech. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I for one am not willing to take that path under any circumstances. I repeat, the gender gap exists independently of Wikipedia, and there is no reason to curtail the freedom of speech or expression as a response to a problem that is greater than this site. Viriditas (talk) 03:52, 31 October 2015 (UTC)\[reply]
I will stack my free speech bona fides against anyone's. I've vocally opposed all kinds of government restrictions - laws against flag burning, pornography witchhunts, music labeling, bans on video games - over the years and I'm a lifelong supporter of the ACLU. I will defend your right to say whatever you want, but Wikipedia is not obligated to provide you with a platform to do so. This is an encyclopedia, and we've long recognized that people don't get to use it as a forum. If I posted my personal opinions about each US presidential candidate on the talk pages of their articles, they would be instantly removed under WP:NOTAFORUM and no one would disagree. But when someone speaks out against harassment and misogyny, all of a sudden the men rush forth to cry "slippery slope! free speech!" Free speech has never meant that you get to use someone else's platform as your personal soapbox. Every modern workplace and school understands this, and yet its 2015 and the futurists on Wikipedia don't. Gamaliel (talk) 22:02, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
You are spouting pure nonsense now. I've spent years writing about women, defending female editors, and collaborating with other women. I haven't harassed any woman here or anywhere else for that matter. There is no "crisis", and the reasons why women don't use Wikipedia is covered by Viola Bernacchi's study "Gender Imbalance and Wikipedia", which shows that harassment and misogyny are not the primary reasons for the gender gap, so your failed attempt to paint all men as the problem is refuted by the research itself. Lightbreather's campaign against Wikipedia is generally recognized by most reasonable people as misguided and wrong. I don't believe there is a crisis of any kind, just the usual authoritarians attempting to use a wedge issue to divide the community and restrict their freedom. You're not the first to try this nor the last. Conservatives have a point when they rightly observe the threat of progressive movements to individual liberty, and that's what's going on here. The research shows that women have to solve the gender gap on their own terms because they feel alienated from the technological structure of the site (which is fundamentally masculine in origin) and the lack of social networks and support from other women. Stop blaming and victimizing other people. Viriditas (talk) 22:44, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
What is nonsense is you pretending this is something I made up and not what large numbers of editors, especially women, have been telling us for a long time. You can't dismiss their voices because one report allegedly told you what you wanted to hear. Gamaliel (talk) 23:55, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Gamaliel, I don't disagree with the difference. The question posed is whether your use of the word is "literature" or whether it is more akin to an impromptu "barricades" speech of Les Miserable. I don't dismiss your passion, just that it has been identified as divisive. Others chiming in on the credentials of the terms origination is an ad hominem argument easily refuted by other ad hominem arguments. "Mansplain" and its inference feeds the fervor of a single point of view and adds heat more than light just as the C word does. It's pointless to argue about the C word or mansplain. It is rather obvious that Wikipedia has a gender gap. Its reasons, however, are not simply boiled down into "mansplaining" nor is it simply "misogyny." Those are easy rallying cries but not solutions. Seriously, if Wikipedia really wants to attack the gender gap, college kids are WAY too late. For example, Wikipedia is not accessible on school computers for a lot of public school districts in the U.S. It's "hostile" to children and they use really old versions of Encarta or other sites. WP hasn't solved "not censored" and "civility" which creates battlefields of editors that jockey for position over which is more important and it's very topic dependant, often political. Virtually all BLP arguments are really "not censored" vs "civility." Really, Wikipedia will solve its gender gap and editor retention when a 5th grader is able to use it at school without fear of parents/guardians/teachers/librarians seeing material inappropriate for them. Fifth graders are able to daydream about being Astronauts or Police Officers or Doctors or Teachers or Soldiers but the battles that happen here and the content we host prevents them from being inspired by Wikipedia and understanding our shared goal of creating a repository of knowledge and not a battleground of political ideology. I remember reading Encyclopedia Britannica as a kid as well as National Geographic and it was inspiring. Inspiring enough that finding Wikipedia as an adult made it a noble endeavor to contribute. But its battles make it a place I wouldn't recommend for non-adults and that's the real gap. I can take 5th graders to the local museum, science center and theater and there will be kids that are inspired to become those things presented there. Close the gap for 10 year olds that allow them to explore the world without either jaded or explicit material and it will inspire a lifetime of learning and contributing. --DHeyward (talk) 05:24, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
There is no one explanation for the gender gap, but that is not an excuse to avoid working on the causes individually. If you sincerely want solutions and it's not a rhetorical dodge, then listen to the people offering them and stop showing up in the comments section to shout them down. I'm not opposed to someone coming up with a school safe Wikipedia - not by neutering this one, but maybe something like the filters that editors can set up to hide pictures of Muhammad, or some other means - but that's not a solution to the gender gap either. If you oppose any potential solution to the misogyny and civility issues, I don't know how you expect more fifth graders to show up here. Gamaliel (talk) 22:02, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

This article just reads like a sophisticated troll, but I suppose I'm mansplaining now. Meh, I don't care. Praemonitus (talk) 19:54, 30 October 2015 (UTC) 18[reply]

To me it reads as if Gamaliel is establishing his gender gap bona fides in preparation for an arbitration nomination. Time will tell. (talk) 20:41, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It does not strike me as a particularly savvy political move to piss so many people off on the eve of an election. Gamaliel (talk) 22:11, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Folks: I'm sure it's tons of fun to rehash century-old political posturing, and that this costume-drama rehearsal of the run-up to the Civil Rights Movement (and, before that, the 19th century debates over Emancipation of Catholics and Jews) is, I'm sure, very exciting for you. But outsiders might not understand and think you actually mean what you're saying, and that could be embarrassing to the project. It's hard to see how this benefits the encyclopedia, either. Why don't you stage a different play in a more appropriate theater? .MarkBernstein (talk) 17:54, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Why don't you read WP:SPA and consider whether writing doomsday essays on your userpage and commenting what happens to be the issue of the day on Talk:Gamergate controversy constitutes contributing to Wikipedia? The only reason why you are not currently blocked is because Gamaliel was symphatetic to you and unblocked you, and if not before, with this article it's finally clear Gamaliel is pretty partial. You're not exactly the best person to lecture on appropriate theatres. --Pudeo' 19:58, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
There are thousands of admins who can block Mark Bernstein, and I can't do anything to stop them. If none of them are acting, you can get their attention at WP:AE. This isn't the forum for these kinds of complaints. I'm going to remove any further comments from you that consist of you making shit up. Gamaliel (talk) 20:19, 28 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • This is a brave confrontation of issues that concern women. I work with many women who want to contribute but --for the reasons discussed in this article-- they run away or drift away. The tone of many of the belittling comments that try to laugh away the concerns are the reason women don't stay as editors. Thank you for addressing this topic.Kmccook (talk) 00:20, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • This infantalising of women is one of the reasons I don't edit Wikipedia anymore. I'll take a hundred "mansplainers" over anyone who thinks words will break my bones. EA Swyer Talk Contributions 01:33, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • I agree with your sentiments, and this forms the backbone of my argument that women, if they choose, can take care of themselves. At the end of the day, women have the power to change things for themselves, just like every other group in every social movement in history. This idea that we must treat women as helpless babies who can't think for themselves is undermining feminism and is using the language of their own oppressors. If women want to lead, the men will follow. As we saw in the United States in the 1970s, women chose not to lead, and actively undermined and fought against the Equal Rights Amendment. Men had nothing to do with its defeat. Until women all over the world can agree that freedom and equality is in their own best interest, then we will keep dealing with this issue. I categorically deny the claims of others on this page that women cannot agree on simple issues and form a consensus for themselves. The fact is that there are large numbers of women who play the role of the Uncle Tom, and actively undermine the interests of their own gender in favor of misogynistic policies and practices. Feminism is a human right, but until all women can get on board, no amount of male bashing and men blaming will change the situation. Viriditas (talk) 01:49, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
      • ...what? I agree with the first half of what you wrote. But I'm not oppressed. The "language of my oppressors" is my own language. And I'm not a feminist because modern feminism is repugnant to me. Where do I get my Uncle Tom badge? EA Swyer Talk Contributions 02:03, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
        • I never said you were oppressed. Did you misread something? I said that the infantalising of women is the language of oppression that some feminists use. They are arguing against their own interests. I've expanded on this elsewhere on this page so I won't go into it anymore than that. Viriditas (talk) 02:09, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • Dealing with civility and harassment is not "infantalising" to anyone, it benefits both men and women, and is what every other modern school, workplace, and institution is already doing. Gamaliel (talk) 13:43, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The 10-15% of editors who are women who "can take care of themselves"..good for them. The missing women may feel otherwise and you will never know because they left. And I am sure you will say good riddance.Kmccook (talk) 02:29, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • Ah, the argument from ignorance. I'm surprised it didn't show up sooner. You're running a bit late. I'm now an antifeminist, is that it? Simply because I've questioned the motives and methods of the repeated failure to address the gender gap? If anyone is looking to hire a tinpot dictator. I'll be sure to give them your name. Viriditas (talk) 02:37, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
      • "I'm now an antifeminist...simply because I've questioned the motives and methods of [addressing] the gender gap" well, taking issue with methodology and intent are pretty much the core of setting out an ideological position. It's not my call as to whether you're an anti-feminist, but it's not "addressing the gender gap" you've taken issue with here - the methods and motives we're talking about are hardly unique to Wikipedia. As to the failure of the gendergap-fixing: maybe one of the reasons things haven't worked is that it's five years after we begun discussing this problem and, as this talkpage demonstrates, the community in this community-driven environment can't even agree if it's a thing, let alone how to fix it. Blaming the implementation for not working would make more sense if we'd ever actually implemented it. Ironholds (talk) 03:23, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
        • Sorry, what? There is clear consensus on this page and any other page for that matter, indicating that the Wikipedia community is in agreement that it's a "thing". I'm quite surprised that you would even question that. The way you fix it is by first recognizing that the problem did not originate here. The second step involves looking at how techonolgy is used to perpetuate the gender gap and understanding how it works. The third step is to organize women to address and tackle the problem on their own terms. As for continuing to harp on the missing women, the ones who run or drift away as another said up above, stop playing the victim card and acknowledge that if women want to build the encyclopedia, they have to take a stand and not run away, and they have to build it on their terms. Stop treating women like they can't take care of themselves and empower them to handle any problem that comes their way. If I was the least bit conspiratorial, I would almost think this has less to do with solving the gender gap and more to do with fundraising. Don't prove me right. Viriditas (talk) 06:23, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
          • That's simply not true; I've heard everything from "there's no gender gap, the surveys are bullshit!" to "the gender gap isn't our fault it's wider society, we can't do anything at all!". It's not as common now, I'll agree, but it's hardly uniform.
          • I'm not "playing the victim card". I don't think women "can't take care of themselves". I think womena re individuals with different tolerances for bullshit and aggression and testosterone. I think that the attitude of "they should just grit their teath and deal with it" is one of the most cowardly, patronising, contemptible approaches it's possible to take to this issue. The implication that the responsibility is on women - just on women - and they should try harder. The implication that yes, the system is toxic, but really if you can't take that toxicity the fault is on you and you just weren't committed enough to solving the problem. The implication that hey, just so coincidentally as a side-effect of this approach, men don't have to do anything, isn't that a weird coinkydink?
          • You talk a lot about what feminism means or what it does. You talk a lot about the wider societal context in which we operate. The feminism I am learning (I don't think anyone fully 'knows' feminism and gendered discrimination, least of all people who haven't lived as women) says that we should listen to what the solution is, not constantly talk. The wider societal context in which we operate is full of lessons and ideas and guides from a variety of brilliant thinkers of all stripes on what can solve this problem and what the dynamics look like - people who are actually impacted by it. How about we listen to them; to people like SlimVirgin and Ashe Dryden and Shanley Kane and Cameron G.. To the problems they see with dialogues like this.
          • In the meantime, I'm done with this thread, and I'm done with you. Every response you have is centred around insults, and holier-than-thou "I know better than everyone else". To match that tone: if I was the least bit conspiratorial, I would almost think this has less to do with solving the gender gap and more to do with a mixture of laziness, privilege and arrogance that comes out as demanding we accede to the view that none of the solutions to this problem involve you doing a damn lick of work. Ironholds (talk) 06:49, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
            • Except, in this little thing called "reality", I've been actively creating, writing, and improving articles about women -- for a decade. Viriditas (talk) 06:53, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Viriditas, one thing I find helpful in discussions is to swap women for black people, and the sexist language for racist language. It makes it easier to see the structure of the argument. Sarah (talk) 19:33, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Please. The "structure" of the argument is that Ironholds talks nonsense and accuses me of doing nothing to address the gender gap, when in fact, I've been actively addressing it for years by creating, writing, and improving articles about women. And as for black women, I created Gabrielle Goodman, but it's been edited more recently by others and needs work. Viriditas (talk) 20:04, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
This construction is classic Wikipedia echo chamber. I know you didn't intend it the way you wrote it, but I'm pretty sure Gabrielle Goodman is rather indifferent to your "creation" let alone claims of God-like abilities. Wikipedia as a virtual world with lots of "creators" resembling an intellectual version of World of Warcraft where the "world" is crafted by a small set of people interested in their self-defined goal. Don't confuse it with the real world though. What nobody has been able to do is link "treatment of women" and "the gender gap." Both are things Wikipedia can improve but it is a fallacy to imply causality because of observation of both. It's like observing recent stories of NFL players mistreating women and concluding that's the reason there aren't any female NFL players and a gender gap. The issues that lead to a gender gap on wikipedia don't seem to be any different than the issues that lead to a gender gap in other high tech areas. Even in companies like Facebook where their users are very diverse, are the contributors to its development as diverse as their consumers? The modern smartphone that merged audio, video, social media, cameras and lots of other technology were specifically aimed at a female demographic but there wasn't a broad change in the demographic of designers. I find that the argument that essentially boils down to "If the Arbitration Committee weren't so misogynistic, CarolMooreDC and Lightbreather would be contributing to wikipedia today" to be lacking. Lastly, a difference I see regarding the wikipedia gender gap and other social injustice is the lack of a large contingent of the disaffected class protesting and demanding to be let in. There's lots of vocal Wikipedia contributors on the inside that are speaking but I don't see anyone pounding at the doors demanding to be allowed to contribute. Is there a level of interest that I am missing? That's not to say civility can't improve but just that it may not change the gender gap. There are reasons to keep these two thing separate because it appears that linking them derails attempts to solve either. --DHeyward (talk) 03:57, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Nope. The "gender gap" is not some monolithic entity composed of one thing. It is multifaceted, and a lot of time and resources have been spent addressing the content gender gap, which involves writing and improving articles about women, like Gabrielle Goodman. Interestingly, by improving coverage of women on Wikipedia this also attracts other women to the site in various ways. And by involving men in the process, it allows them to function as gender autodidacts, which is the highest goal imaginable. When men can learn about women by doing, the goal of education is realized. Content comes first, and that's where the power and the simplicity of the site resides. Sorry, but you haven't thought this through. Viriditas (talk) 05:17, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
What is nonsense is you pretending this is something I made up and not what large numbers of editors, especially women, have been telling us for a long time.

What do you mean? Sure she can. You do it all the time, and you know you do. Why can't she? --BenMcLean (talk) 16:12, 2 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

looking to hire a tinpot dictator

  • This comment by Viriditas--" If anyone is looking to hire a tinpot dictator. I'll be sure to give them your name." Viriditas (talk) 02:37, 29 October 2015 (UTC)--I am not sure what it is supposed to mean? How is it helpful to this discussion?Kmccook (talk) 20:50, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • It's about as helpful as you telling me "I am sure you will say good riddance" to the women who have left the project, and blaming me for the gender gap. Viriditas (talk) 21:00, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
      • But this is what you are saying when you respond the way you do and toss out phrases "Ah, the argument from ignorance." What did that do to help? Why can't you understand that the women who try to edit here don't want to fight with you. We want to do work in a place that is not hostile. There would be more women. There should be 50%. Can't you accept that there is something amiss? Can't you try to be more kind instead of making it more sad?Kmccook (talk) 21:16, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
        • Sorry, you can't use the gender gap as an excuse to post whatever you want and say whatever you want without question or any challenge. The fact that you are doing this is extremely disturbing. Viriditas (talk) 21:18, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
          • What is disturbing about hoping for kindness?Kmccook (talk) 21:25, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
            • When you wrote, "The 10-15% of editors who are women who "can take care of themselves"..good for them. The missing women may feel otherwise and you will never know because they left. And I am sure you will say good riddance", you were not "kind" in any sense of the word. Oh, and my comment about the fallaciousness of your statement came after you made it, not before as you implied. The majority of editors involved in this discussion, whatever side they are on, are concerned about the gender gap and the treatment of women. Yet, you would dismiss their concerns by telling us we are happy with this situation. This is exactly what I'm talking about when feminists delegitimatize and attack other feminists. You're not interested in setting up a unified front of men and women to address this problem, you're only interested in attacking and shaming people who think differently about the problem. Viriditas (talk) 21:33, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
              • I am writing from a human POV, not a feminist POV. I want more women to feel able to participate. What is disturbing about hoping for kindness?Kmccook (talk) 21:48, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
                • Now you've taken everything out of context. If you want kindness, then be kind. You clearly were not when you blamed me (and others) for the gender gap, a problem that 1) exists outside this website as a cultural issue, 2) is embedded in the software itself, and 3) cannot be solved by attacking men on Wikipedia. Lightbreather was banned from Wikipedia, not because of the gender gap or because of how men treated her, but because of her problematic behavior. So this whole slew of articles attacking Wikipedia is based on a lie. Viriditas (talk) 21:53, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
                  • Oh, please. Even if we accepted that interpretation that many are pushing about that one particular incident, there are plenty more examples of terrible misogynistic behavior to choose from. Take your pick. Gamaliel (talk) 22:16, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
                    • GorillaWarfare is doing a great job educating people about the real problem. Since she's young, educated, and in arbcom (in the sense that she's highly experienced here), she seems to be a good choice to lead any discussion as to what needs to be done. Viriditas (talk) 22:24, 29 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Maybe a Banner Warning of Bullying Would Help

  • I am hoping there will be a change of heart in the way the Wikipedia community treats women.. I encourage young women to edit Wikipedia. When confronted by meanness they ask me why there is no warning? why there is no place that explains the talk page belittling, the harshness? Young women tell me they can do the work and that they like the work...the editing, the adding references, but they didn't to sign up to be bullied by anonymous people. So, they leave. Women want to do Wikipedia editing, but to do this they have to negotiate a lot of contextual noise that drives them away. The women always tell me it must be is their fault. I say it isn't. I say that there are some people who edit Wikipedia who seem to look for opportunities to be mean. But the meanness is persistent. Does this behavior continue because of the anonymity? Why do some people in this forum feel is it a prerequisite for a woman editing to be tough enough to absorb the harassment of anonymous strangers? ? This isn't Ranger School, nor should it be.

Could there be a banner at the pages with tutorials that says something like " Welcome to Wikipedia. There are many wonderful people here. There are a few people who will anonymously be nasty, mean, and bullying but they are the minority. If you feel harassed go HERE for advice." We warn people on highways that there are dangerous curves ahead. We warn people at beaches that there are riptides. We warn people at zoos not to put hands in animal cages. New editors to Wikipedia can feel marginalized, belittled, attacked and sad. If we want more women it is time to realize that the bullying culture that exists by some at Wikipedia needs to be confronted in a way that allows women to recognize UP FRONT that they are not alone.Then these behaviors will be seen for what they would be seen in a world where people have names and faces--anti-social behavior that need not be tolerated.Kmccook (talk) 15:37, 30 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

  • Kmccook, I agree that this is worth exploring. See Talk:Main Page#Gender bias on main page content, where a new woman editor recently suggested that our policies on notability/sourcing could be tweaked to encourage diversity. Responses included that someone's back yard is under-represented as are left-handed pharmacists. Sarah (talk) 00:24, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • I just want to say that I fully support User:MurielMary. Her concerns about diversity on the main page have been everpresent for years and nobody has done a damn thing about it. I'm especially concerned about the undue focus on warfare and video games, which is over represented on the main page to an extent that it feels like Wikipedia is run by the Pentagon and gamers. I'm really sick of it. Viriditas (talk) 01:16, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for this essay

Just had to say thanks for this. I'm a male editor, but easily recognise the problems identified here. They're not unique to Wikipedia and exist in many other parts of the Internet, but what's frustrating is much of the community's continued refusal to recognise them. I would hope this editorial would knock some sense into people's heads, but it probably won't. Far more likely is that the community will remain as it is, and its attitudes will continue to drive much-needed users away, or deter them from joining in the first place.

Personally, I've long since given up on the community and just make mostly minor edits to articles and talk pages these days. This was the first time I've stepped back into WP-space in months. But good luck to those of you still fighting the good fight.

Regarding the 'cunt' comment mentioned in the article, it may not have been an instance of direct misogynist abuse, but certainly comments like that contribute to an unfriendly environment for women (and arguably, everyone), and I remain flabbergasted that the user who made it wasn't sanctioned for it. As I recall, that's about when I gave up on the Wikipedia community: a forum where calling people cunts is OK is not one I want to take part in. I hope one day people here will recognise the damage that toxic users and rampant hostility cause to the site. Robofish (talk) 01:28, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, thanks Gamaliel. What a shame we have to endure the primordial moaning of these buffoons above. Look at them all crawling briefly out blinking into society to dicksplain how being grossly offensive is just fine. Really. Sad. Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 09:04, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I am going to provide this page to women who cannot understand why Wikipedia is like 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman. This page could become an article called Editing Wikipedia as a Women. Then those who work with women can reference it to show that there are many at Wikipedia that would like it to be a harassment free place to work. Thank you Gamaliel. Kmccook (talk) 10:42, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Before you do, you may want to review false analogy. Just because your comments are challenged or questioned doesn't mean you are being harassed, and comparing the questioning of your comments to "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman" has no relevance or similarity. Frankly, crying wolf like this weakens the environment for women who really are being harassed, so you should know better. Yelling "harassment" when someone disagrees with you is terrible. Finally, I suggest you read Viola Bernacchi's study "Gender Imbalance and Wikipedia" to find out why women don't particpiate on Wikipedia. On page 18, Bernacchi lists nine major reasons, none of which support your claims here. Viriditas (talk) 11:01, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
quod erat demonstrandum Kmccook (talk) 11:12, 31 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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