Wikipedia and Feminism

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As of this past September, Wikipedia has been cited by U.S. courts almost 300 times,   according to Lee Peoples’ new article, The Citation of Wikipedia in American Judicial Opinions. It’s frightening to think that judges are according wikipedia so much authority, given how little oversight most entries get. Many entries on feminism have been written or edited by people who are actively hostile toward feminists, but they prevail because they seem to have a lot of free time and the few feminists who enter the wikifray seem to get driven out or edited into oblivion.   To take just one example, the entry about Melissa Farley has been heavily edited by a rabid pornography proponent who sometimes uses the pseudonym Iamcuriousblue. He also shows up numerous times in the edits to the Catharine MacKinnon entry and virtually every place feminism is mentioned. That any judge, or anyone generally, would think these accounts of feminism are unbiased or authoritative is truly scary.   See generally. (“If an admin has a political or personal agenda, he can do a fair amount of damage with the special editing tools available to him. The victim may not even find out that this is happening until it’s too late. From Wikipedia, the material is spread like a virus by search engines and other scrapers, and the damage is amplified by orders of magnitude. There is no recourse for the victim, and no one can be held accountable. Once it’s all over the web, no one has the power to put it back into the bottle.”)   Here’s another example.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to Wikipedia and Feminism

  1. phio gistic says:

    It must be frustrating for Dr. Farley to have an anti-feminist, pro-porn/prostitution fanatic on Wikipedia appoint himself gatekeeper of the page about her work.

    Most first-year college courses disallow Wikipedia as a reference, why is it used in courtrooms?

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    It’s not just Farley he wiki-stalks, it’s also MacKinnon, Dworkin, Linda Boreman, Robert Jensen, Sheila Jeffreys, Robin Morgan, the Redstockings, Ellen Willis, Susie Bright, Betty Dodson, almost anything or any person related to feminism. Even the entry on “feminism”!

    I think judges and their clerks get lazy and sloppy, that’s the best guess I have as to why they are citing wikipedia.

  3. Pingback: If it’s on the internet it must be true « Feminocracy

  4. phio gistic says:

    It seems like Wikipedia editing is a game of of obsession and endurance, with the winner being the person with the biggest axe to grind and the most time on his hands.