Wikipedia, Patriarchy, Proof and Pudding

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bias / By Us / Buy Us

Or, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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.


7 Comments:

Anonymous Rintrah said...

Hi.

I have to admit, I don't mind reading your blog, even though half of it is clearly nonsense.

You did stumble upon a valid criticism of one policy page: that extract you quoted which baffled you is platitudinous verbiage; it's an embaressment. I don't know what use it is.

Your criticism of the Patriarchy page is valid, but the inference that your additions were warranted is a non-sequittur. You do not show how your additions improved the article or satisfied the non-point-of-view criteria either.

The bias section says that white males are the dominant group; but it does not imply that every article is written with an inexorable, white-male bias. This is your inference.

Your criticism of the immigrant paragraph is warranted. I hope someone takes care of it. (You know, if you want to constructively contribute, you could point out that criticism.)

"[if one resorts to] exposing relationships among patriarchy, sperm-worship, trusted sources and neutrality, one would be tag-teamed by the guardians of male supremecy."

This is the axiom of your philosophical system. There is no need for proof: just assume it and tell everyone who disagrees with you to go to hell - or do I mistake you?

Monday, December 04, 2006  
Anonymous contraculture said...

Oh shi- Wikipedia? BIASED?! IMPOSSIBLE! lolz

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.

Hahahaha... Wikipedia has bias, its editors even admit as much. It has errors, and again, its editors admit as much. But "sperm-worship"? Hardly! rintrah's got it spot on.

I took the liberty of reading your blog here. Did you know there's not a single post doing anything but bitching about men? It seems apparent to me that you willingly give them dominion over your mind. You let them rape your peace of mind and defile your self-identity.

Want some real peace? Find a man worth bothering with (few are, thanks to the pussification (as that kuro5hin article so eloquently puts it) that your beloved feminism has wrought on most men), and attach yourself to him. If you let him use your cunt, he might actually even stick around. Submit to the cock and you might yet be able to get it off your mind.

You dykes are fucking hilarious.

-=contraculture=-

Monday, December 04, 2006  
Blogger Lesbesquet said...

Y make it a point not to assume because to assume makes an ass out of u and me.

There is no neutrality. Sorry, guys, can't view anything without a point of view. But then again, maybe you two can prove the existence of neutrality by using trusted sources.

How would one show you that one's addition or edit improved an article? Any article, not just mine.

Y don't "stumble upon" anything. My actions are quite purposeful.

Did Y infer that EVERY article is soiled by white male bias? Don't think so. Y do recall inferring that certain articles which challenge the patriarchal status quo mode of analysis are haunted by watchdogs.

Rintrah, Y am glad to hear you don't mind...and you do stimulate my synapses. Y find this invigorating, so thanks. But don't expect me to tell you to go to hell as hell has no place in my reality. Y will tell you again to go read Dworkin. Or if you are dead set against her, try Mary Daly. IF you think you can handle it, Gynecology is my favorite.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006  
Blogger Lesbesquet said...

Oh, yeah, contraculture, Y already heard that thing about how we hilarious dykes just need a good man to set us straight about 500 times already.

Don't know what article you are talking about. Could you give out the link, please?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006  
Anonymous contraculture said...

Here of course, as is referenced here. Or wait, is this some subtle, covert troll attempt on your part? I do so love a good troll...

Anyways, enjoy your violated, persecuted state of mind. Sorry if you can't get over my incredulity at the level of detachment from reality feminists seem to display. I do actually make real arguments from time to time, regardless of how I respond to certain bizarre points of view.

Really, the Wikipedia situation is so simple even my cat could understand it. You're attempting to inject original material from a highly PoV perspective. They're going to reject it, like they reject all similar edits. Want them to take you seriously? Cite sources. Cite cite cite cite cite. Cite beyond cite with the Sword of Omens. That's what it takes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006  
Anonymous Rintrah said...

"There is no neutrality. Sorry, guys, can't view anything without a point of view. But then again, maybe you two can prove the existence of neutrality by using trusted sources."

There is none? So "Newton was a physicist." is not any more neutral than "Newton loved harlots and was hideously ugly. He was a so-called physcist."? Each is just a point of view? That argument is impossible to sustain. Yes, we do look at objective statements from a point of view, but they do not cease to be objective because of how we look at them. I can prove the existence of neutral statements from a trusted source - rational thinking. This contention is actually a philosophical idea; validating it with a reference is superfluous. What it actually requires is an argument. It is not the same as using a source to verify which year the United States Declaration of Independence occured. I cannot vouch for Contraculture. Can he prove neutrality's existence? I suppose he can; I would be doing him a disservice if I presumed he could not. The existence of neutrality is assured by the validity of realism and objectivity. I will assume you can work this out, so I will not extend my argument for now - I really do not wish to revisit philosophy, especially since the debate is clear-cut.

As to your second question, "how would one show one's addition or edit improves an article?", I am pleased you asked this because it is easy to answer. Most talk pages are dedicated to precisely that question: whether the additions or edits are warranted and improve articles. Additions and edits improve articles if they conform to standards (these are what the policy pages delineate), are written well enough, and are accurate. The first criterion you ignore or try to override by saying the standards are wrong or patriarchal. The second is not satisfied because it is not written in an encyclopedic style. The third you peremptorily assume, but declare there is no need for argument or verification.

I took rhetorical licence with "Stumble upon". I meant that you had not found many valid criticisms of wikipedia, but you eventually did find one. As for the inference that "all articles are soiled by white male bias" (can you not use scatological references in future?), I did not mean that explicitly; but rather that the tone of your writing seems to imply white male bias predominates wikipedia like some network of KGB agents. In fact, such a statement would not seem out of place in one of your entries.

You are right: articles are haunted by watchdogs. I am such a one. Woof woof. They are also haunted by ghosts and apparitions. Watchdogs are useful - even the cute puppies - because they ensure articles conform to standards, are well-written, are accurate, and are grammatical. That watchdogs target certain additions which seem to challenge the "patriarchal status quo" is incidental. The above criteria are what they monitor, and they will remove anything, I mean anything, including material which seems to challenge the "patriarchal status quo", if it they are not satisfied; or they will appropriately amend the offending material.

But you overestimate their influence; and incorrectly assume they are omnipresent and omniscient. The indulgent writing on wikipedia could fill many libraries. Many feminist articles, including Patriarchy, the centre of our discussion, violate these criteria. The bias on those articles is more likely to be feminist than "patriarchal", even if they fail to satisfy you.

For the sake of argument, let us say everything you inserted into the Patriarchy article is true. Even then, additions are not warranted merely because they are true; for instance, the statement "Xenu is a stupid fabrication of Scientology", while true, is not fit for an encyclopedia. Also, if an idea is highly contentious, you cannot just assume it is true and then impose it on the article in question. It is neither objective nor neutral to do so. There are exceptions to this rule, like statements about evolution which are disputed by a small vocal group of creationists. In this case, couching the statements with such qualifications as "it is believed that" or "the theory of evolution asserts that" is unnecessary; for, as one person eloquently expressed it, from a scientific point of view, "evolution is solidly, absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt proven, and that anyone who doesn't think so must be a cheese-head" (Bugeyedmonster).

I am not sure what you mean by the patriarchal status quo mode of analysis. If you mean logic, it should be desired. It is what holds arguments together like "1+1=2; 2+1=3; therefore, 1+1+1=3", or "person 2 is taller than person 1; person 3 is taller than person 2; therefore, person 3 is taller than person 1." Everyone relies upon it, but certain radical ideologies negate it when it suits them. It would be quite silly to discount or deprecate such a fundamental mode of thinking.

You stimulate my synapses too; for the sense data which is inputted into my cerebrum via optic nerves triggers neural synapses in connection with cognition. The result of which is motor output which correlates to certain cognitive modes engendered by the synaptic patterns.

"But don't expect me to tell you to go to hell as hell has no place in my reality."

I am confused. Is the double negative supposed to be literal - i.e., "is not not" = "is" - or rhetorical? If you presume the existence of hell in your reality, does it resemble Milton's, Dante's, or a hell I have not read about? The sentence seems phenonemonological with "place in reality", but I do not think you were alluding to philosophy. Anyway, on my tour trip, I want to go to the hell in Paradise Lost; then Inferno; and then Dis. I do not know where I can get tickets though.

Sorry but my reading list is too large already, and I do not give anyone precedence to myself. I more often hand out reading lists than receive them - for which gesture, I am too proud to suffer. In fact, I should probably be reading stuff instead of writing stuff.

In the time you have complained about the patriarchy page, you could have: gone to the library, borrowed books on feminist theories (or found research papers online), researched the subject of the patriarchy, written an entry on the patriarchy, submitted it, discussed it, and made it conform to encyclopedic standards. If you had gone about that suggestion seriously, you probably would not have had your additions deleted.

By the way, do you realise you are debating someone less than half your age? I just thought I would let you know.

Anyway, Contraculture, what is the Sword of Omens? I want one. Is it something like The Oath of Horatii (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:David_-_Oath_of_the_Horatii.JPG)?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006  
Blogger Lesbesquet said...

R: Sorry but my reading list is too large already, and I do not give anyone precedence to myself. I more often hand out reading lists than receive them - for which gesture, I am too proud to suffer. In fact, I should probably be reading stuff instead of writing stuff.

Ok. Bye bye.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006  

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