Bias / By Us / Buy Us
No doubt many of those who participate in wikipedia - even some of those in the control zone - are well-meaning indeed. However, ignorance and show-boating are bliss for those who practice them. The wikipedia page about countering systemic bias cited previously in Band Of Brothers, 'looks' good.
Why it matters and what to do
Many editors contribute to Wikipedia because they see Wikipedia as progressing towards, though never reaching, an ideal state as a repository of human knowledge. The more idealistic may see Wikipedia as a vast discussion on what is true and what is not from a "neutral point of view" or "God's Eye View". The idea of a systemic bias is thus far more troubling than even widespread intentional vandalism. Vandalism can be readily identified and corrected. The existence of systemic bias means that not only are large segments of the world not participating in the discussion, but that there is a deep-rooted problem in the relationship of Wikipedia, its contributors and the world at large.
Maybe you can figure out the point of this paragraph, but Y can't. Especially since my contribution was called inappropriate because it did not have a neutral point of view. Y was directed to this:
All Wikipedia articles must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), representing fairly and without bias all significant views that have been published by a reliable source. For guidance on how to make an article conform to the neutral point of view, see the NPOV tutorial. - And Y challenge anyone to show how the current patriarchy article conforms in any way to this criteria.
So, while my attempted edit fit in as a contribution to "a repository of human knowledge" and also as an idealistic "representation of the truth" it was disallowed. But since Y am not a vandal, guess Y fall into the vortex of permanent systemic bias deletion.
The systemic bias of the English Wikipedia is permanent.
...Emphasis: mine. Truth: theirs...As long as the demographic of English speaking Wikipedians is not exactly identical to the world demographic, the vision of the world presented on the English Wikipedia will always be askew. Thus the only way systemic bias would disappear would be if the population of the world all spoke English at the same level of fluency and had equal access and inclination to use the English Wikipedia. However, the effects of systemic bias may be mitigated through conscious effort. This is the goal of the Countering systemic bias project.
...conciousness and effort...good ideas, but is mitigation a good goal? No better goal is needed if you insist that bias is permanent. Maybe some kind of bias is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be white man bias, does it?
Above this quote is a giant list of things one could do to 'mitigate' the bias. This is the final suggestion:
Change the demographic of Wikipedia. Encourage friends and acquaintances that you know have interests that are not well-represented on Wikipedia to edit. If you are at a university, contact a professor in minority or women's studies, explain the problem, and ask if they would be willing to encourage students to write for Wikipedia. Contact minority or immigrant groups in your area to see if they would be interested in encouraging their members to contribute. The worst they could say is, "No". But keep in mind that immigrant groups often have a vastly different point of view than the majority of people in the countries they immigrated from, which introduces its own systemic bias.
For one thing, although white men with incomes and time and computers are the majority inside wikipedia, they certainly are not the majority On Earth. There are estimated to be 101 males to 100 females on earth at this time. Since not all of these males are white, white males do not make up the majority, even though they like to classify everyone else as a minority. Source: math and common sense.
For a second and more dangerous thing,
"But keep in mind that immigrant groups often have a vastly different point of view than the majority of people in the countries they immigrated from, which introduces its own systemic bias."
This sentence effectively negates all the 'good intentions' of the entire article because it is implicit permission to do nothing to mitigate the bias since when you do, you are only introducing a new bias. Plus, conveniently: It is the fault of immigrants. Lordy.
And, as a practical matter, if one were recruited in an attempt to change the demographics of the wikipedia community and then challenged the permanent white male bias of wikipedia by exposing relationships among patriarchy, sperm-worship, trusted sources and neutrality, one would be tag-teamed by the guardians of male supremecy. Source: Lesbesquet.