Chelsea Manning name row: Wikipedia editors banned from trans pages
The most senior group of editors on the online encyclopaedia has been criticised for censuring both transphobic volunteers and those making accusations of transphobia
This undated photo courtesy of the US Army shows a photo of Chelsea Manning in wig and make-up. Photograph: HO/AFP/Getty Images
A long-running argument over whether the Wikileaks source should be called Bradley or Chelsea Manning in Wikipedia has caused a split among some of its most senior editors.
The arbitration committee – in effect the site’s supreme court – has banned a number of editors from working on articles related to transgender topics or individuals. But while some of those editors were banned for making transphobic comments about Manning, others were given the same punishment for pointing out the bigotry in the first place. As a result, the site been criticised by Trans Media Watch for implying that accusations of transphobia are as bad as actual incidents of transphobia. The online encyclopedia ultimately chose to use the name Chelsea.
The committee’s statements were sparked by a heated argument between editors on the site over whether the article for Chelsea Manning, the Wikileaks source, should exist under her preferred name or under “Bradley Manning”, the name she was using before she came out as transgender in August 2013.
The arbitration committee, a group of senior editors elected by and from Wikipedia’s pool of volunteers which acts as the community’s court of last resort, was called in to make the final decision on which name should be at the top of Manning’s page. It also ruled on the behaviour of several editors who had taken part in the debate.
Two were indefinitely banned from editing “all pages relating to any transgender topic or individual” over discriminatory speech. One, Hitmonchan, had written that “only when his testicles are ripped out of his scrotum … will I call Manning a 'she'”, and the second, IFreedom1212, wrote, among other comments, that “he is clearly mentally unstable and his … desire to be called Chelsea should not be regarded with any merit".
But other editors were also banned from editing trans-related articles after making accusations of transphobia. One of the banned editors, Josh Gorand, argued that Wikipedia’s requirement for consensus isn’t the only one on the site, and that the rules governing biographies of living persons, one of which is to use their preferred name, should also be taken into account. “Especially not a ‘consensus’ of virulently transphobic people who completely ignore Wikipedia policy. We don't move articles because some people hate transgendered people – it's that simple.”
That statement was one of four cited by the committee to demonstrate that Gorand was exhibiting a “battleground approach to the discussion” and to justify banning Gorand indefinitely from editing articles about any transgender topic or individual.
“We feel that Wikipedia's banning of certain editors for calling people transphobic reflects a wider cultural problem whereby identifying someone is prejudiced is seen as worse than being prejudiced,” said Trans Media Watch in response to the bans. “If the arbitration committee thinks that 'transphobe' is a slur, it might want to reflect on why that is.”
“We would like to see Wikipedia demonstrate more self-awareness in its approach to social issues and more consistency in its treatment of cases like this. There are hundreds of pages on Wikipedia about notable people known by names other than their first names, yet we don't see this kind of fuss made in relation to those about, say, George Osborne or Jodie Foster, or even other trans people like Chaz Bono, who was also well known to the public under a different name.”
Following Manning’s announcement, a heated argument broke out on the talk page of her article, where editors discuss potential changes. Wikipedia’s administrators, who are all elected from the general pool of editors on the site, decided that there wasn’t enough consensus for the page to be moved, and locked it under the name “Bradley Manning” pending a decision from the arbitration committee.
But the editor who initially moved the page to Chelsea Manning, Morwen, argues that Wikipedia needs editors to make quick unilateral changes if it is to effectively cover living people. “The ruling has weakened our 'biographies of living people' policy,” she says. “It will make editors more reluctant to take definitive action to remove libel, for example. This can't be a good thing. Personally, I don't think I'm going to be editing about trans stuff in the future.”
Author and Wikipedia editor Philip Sandifer, who was also involved in the argument, criticised the site’s rules for being “a techno-libertarian fantasy”. “The arbitration committee … looked at both sides of this debate and made the unequivocal decision that, in a debate between people trying to think seriously about the ethical considerations involved in being one of the largest websites in the world and a bunch of techno-libertarians playing WikiRules, the real problem was all the uppity trans activists,” Sandifer argued in an angry blog post.
Wikipedia has long been criticised for having an overwhelmingly homogeneous group of editors. In 2011, co-founder Jimmy Wales described the typical Wikipedia editor as a 26-year-old geeky male with a PhD; the site’s own research found that 90% of editors are male. A survey from 2011 found that fewer than 1% of editors self-identified as trans. The survey did not, however, offer editors the abilty to describe themselves as “trans” and “male” or “female” at the same time, which may have skewed the results.
female pioneers and inventive composers of electronic, electroacoustic, and tape/moog music have been a huge interest of mine for the past two months or so. the work and innovations these women made are incredible even when most of them weren’t afforded the same opportunities and advantages as their male peers (and still continue get less lip service for the most part.) listen, download.
¡¡Gracias a Lucy Sombra por hacernos llegar esta información!!
Ad series for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai
A series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, uses genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women. Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013 the ads expose negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping as well as outright denial of women’s rights.
“When we came across these searches, we were shocked by how negative they were and decided we had to do something with them,” says Christopher Hunt, Art Director of the creative team. The idea developed places the text of the Google searches over the mouths of women portraits, as if to silence their voices.
“The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far,” adds Kareem Shuhaibar, copy writer.
For UN Women, the searches confirm the urgent need to continue making the case for women’s rights, empowerment and equality, a cause the organization is pursuing around the world. UN Women is heartened by the initial strong reaction to the ads and hopes they will spark constructive dialogue globally.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag: #womenshould
Credit: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai
Credit: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai
Credit: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai
Credit: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai
Google's autocomplete spells out our darkest thoughts
A UN Women ad campaign is highlighting the discrimination found in Google search terms and its autocomplete algorithms
UN Women's ad featuring autocomplete suggestions of what women should do. Photograph: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai
It is a truth algorithmically acknowledged that a man needs to ejaculate and a woman needs to be put in her place.
Perturbed by the prejudice of the previous sentence? You should be. But don't shoot the messenger, particularly as that messenger is from the United Nations. An ad campaign developed for UN Women, reveals just how pervasive discrimination against women is through the use of genuine Google search suggestions. The campaign features close-ups of women's faces with autocomplete results for terms like "Women shouldn't…" and "Women need to…" placed over their mouths. These include gems such as "Women need to be disciplined" and "Women shouldn't have rights". The small print on each ad reads: "Actual Google search on 09/03/13."
While many of us interact with Google's autocomplete feature several times a day, we rarely consider the mechanics behind it. Autocomplete is the computational equivalent of the real-world smartarse who finishes other people's sentences for them. But while that smartarse may operate via hunches, autocomplete works via algorithms. Input just a few characters and the algorithm will mine through search data in order to anticipate what you're looking for, based on what other people have searched for in the past.
Autocomplete suggestions differ according to variables such as region and time, but there tends to be a degree of consistency across results. So when I replicated the UN Women campaign search terms from New York on Monday night, the top three suggestions for "Women need to…" were: "Women need to shut up," "Women need to grow up," and "Women need to know their place". Trying the term "Men need to …" generated "Men need to ejaculate", "Men need to feel needed". Oh and it seems "Men need to grow up" too. So there's one small win for gender equality.
Google has become something of the secular equivalent of a confessional box. Within the confines of a search bar you can ask questions or express opinions you would never admit to in public. Our most popular searches are, to some degree, an uncensored chronicle of what, as a society, we're thinking but not necessarily saying. What makes the UN Women campaign so powerful is that it pulls back the curtain of publicly acceptable rhetoric and lays bare just how widespread gender prejudices still are.
But a quick word of caution. While we shouldn't make light of the very real and vile opinions the UN Women ads draw attention to, it should also be noted that autocomplete isn't always an entirely accurate reflection of the collective psyche. Indeed, autocomplete suggestions can be so bizarre that they've spawned a Twitter account, @GooglePoetics, dedicated to the occasionally Dadaeseque outputs. A typical poem reads:
my God I'm a tomato
my God I'm delicious
my God I'm pregnant I wonder who did it
The world as seen through the lens of autocomplete is a weird and not always wonderful place. It's a place where David Cameron "is a lizard", Obama is "a Muslim", Putin is a "badass" and Miley Cyrus, predictably, is "still twerking". But despite the suggestions that have been skewed by a popular blogpost or meme and are clearly bonkers, there is still much to be gleaned from them about our deep-seated discriminations.
What's more, autocomplete also serves as a worrying indicator of how, in the interests of efficiency, we're gradually letting technology complete our thought processes for us. According to research conducted by, um, Google, 400 milliseconds – or the amount of time it takes to blink your eye – is now considered an unreasonable delay on the web. Technology has made us all incredibly impatient. As one Google "speed maestro" told the New York Times, "every millisecond matters".
Because every millisecond matters, Google's rationale behind the value of autocomplete is largely that it's efficient. According to the autocomplete FAQ page, the feature is helpful because it lets you "rest your fingers". But while autocomplete may let us rest our fingers, it also making us rest our brains. As a society, we need to break our speed addiction and slow down for a minute to think. And if you're wondering what autocomplete thinks about that, well, it thinks we need to talk about Kevin.
Ada Lovelace Day 2013 edit-a-thon, Brussels - Variable
(remote participants also welcome)
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is often referred to as the world's first computer programmer. Initiated five years ago, the Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories and raising the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Every year people organise their own events througout the world to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day around the 15th of October.
First time in Belgium, a special event is proposed to gather participants from Brussels region to update/improve/create Wikipedia entries on Women in Computing, Hacking, Electronic Literature, Digital Humanities & more !
- 1 Event details
- 2 Guest List
- 3 Suggested Topics
- 4 Resources
- 5 Results
- Date: Tuesday, October 22th, 5:00pm to 9:00pm. Can’t be there the whole time? No problem. Join us for as little or as long as you like.
- Venue: Variable, Rue Gallait 80, 1030 Schaerbeek.
- Cost: Free
- Co-leaders: Catherine Lenoble and Dimi_z
- Participants: The event is open to anyone who wishes to promote women’s achievements in STEM. No Wikipedia editing experience necessary ; the first hour will be devoted to the fundamentals of Wiki editing and tutoring will be provided for Wikipedia newcomers. Female editors are particularly encouraged to attend.
- Registration: To register, please add your Wikipedia username to the guest list below or send an email to catherinelenoble [at] gmail [dot] org
- What to Bring: Attendees should bring their own laptops. Refreshments will be provided, a soup offered and there will be time for informal exchanges afterwards.
- Twitter Hashtag: #ALD2013 #BXL
Confirmed Wikipedians attending
- -- Catherine Lenoble
- -- Dimi_z
- --Aktron (t|c) 13:01, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
- -- An Mertens
- -- Hannah Little
If you cannot make it in person but would still like to participate, you are more than welcome to do so remotely. So that we can count you as having taken part, please add your name to the participant list below and also add any and all contributions under the #Results section. Simply log in and log your contributions below to have them recorded. And be sure to use the Twitter hashtag #ALDBXL if you tweet about the event!
Come & edit entries on Women in Computing, Hacking, Electronic Literature, Digital Humanities & more ! The following is a sampling of articles to create or improve together. However, feel free to come up with your own ideas! Helpful updates could be as simple as: Making sure reference links are still appropriate and functional; Adding new inline citations/references; Adding a photo; Adding an infobox; Adding data to more fields in an existing infobox; Creating headings; Adding categories; etc.
Articles needing expansion and/or cleanup
Articles needing creation & translation
Women in STEM Resources
Note: Wikipedia pages that include lists of important women are all missing plenty of key people, so feel free to add to those lists
- List of female mathematicians
- List of women scientists
- Women in computing
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Women scientists
Editing Wikipedia Resources
- Beginners’ Guide to Wikipedia (account creation, article editing)
- Five Pillars of Wikipedia (philosophical guidelines and best practices for Wikipedia editing)
- How to Edit a Page
- Article Development
- Your First Article (using the Article Wizard if you wish)
- Manual of Style
- Citation templates
- Infobox templates
- Bookshelf (additional "getting started" resources)
Articles created or expanded:
New articles created
Articles expanded or improved
compañeras disculpen este OT pero queríamos invitarles por si les interesaba escuchar las actividades de Silvia Federichi en puebla
más información: https://diasp.org/posts/2378138
La trasmisión será por:
Los libros de Silvia están en:
Calibán y la bruja ha sido publicado por dos editoriales vinculadas a la cultura libre, por lo que sus textos están para libre descarga bajo licencias CC:
Traficantes de Sueños, de España:http://www.traficantes.net/libros/caliban-y-la-bruja
Tinta Alimón, de Argentina: http://tintalimon.com.ar/libro/CALIBN-Y-LA-BRUJA
Revolución en el punto 0
By Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph | Published: September 2, 2013
Thanks to everyone who contributed to our survey! We had a total of 110 responses, almost a quarter of whom had never heard of the project before filling out the survey.
We’re going to split up these results into 2 posts. In this one we’ll share the raw statistics and soon we hope to review and organize the written in responses to share in a second post soon.
Note: All questions were optional, which is why these numbers don’t all add up to 110
Discussion about these results and how they impact our goals during the next cycle will take place on the Ubuntu Women mailing list and at upcoming Ubuntu Women Meetings. Join us!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to our survey in August! We had a total of 110 responses, almost a quarter of whom had never heard of the project before filling out the survey.
We have split up these results into 2 posts. In the first we shared the raw statistics, you can visit that post here: Ubuntu Women Survey 2013 Results: Part 1. In this post we’re sharing a representative sampling of the key findings from the write-in responses.
If there is something you wish we were doing or doing more of, what would it be?
For this question the overwhelming response was that we need to do better, less passive outreach, a sampling of those responses:
- Target potential users in a better way.
- [I am a developer and] I’d like if there was more information on whom to contact to get more actively involved.
- I want to see/hear “Ubuntu wants you to contribute, and we [Ubuntu Women Project] will help you figure out how to do that!”
- More outreach and education to women with little/no programming experience
- Offer mentoring for contributing code to Ubuntu. I want to contribute code and want help.
- It’s often really hard to see where relative beginners would be able to jump in and contribute to the community
It was also great to see some concrete ideas come out of this:
- Create online projects for women they could work on maybe in teams online … These projects could include parts of Ubuntu (from easier like promoting Ubuntu to heavy like how to create first patch for Ubuntu – it could be kernel, it could be some package)
- Offer internships, ie participate in the GNOME Outreach Program for Women or Google Summer of Code
- Get some of the interviews published in a more widely read Linux magazine or popular website so a wider audience could read them
- Find more stories about kids and specifically girls who like playing with Raspberry Pi, Scratch or similar. It is easier to engage kids
- More marketing in localized regions and work to bring up a program for potential female leaders
- Making sure images of women were included (and not excluded) in any relevant media. e.g. http://community.ubuntu.com as having visuals of female role models can spur female involvement
We don’t currently have the resources to tackle all of this, but I’m really excited to see the feedback and have these ideas so we have something to discuss moving forward so we know the kind of talent we need to attract to our project.
Any other comments or feedback for the project
Many of the responses were very kind – thank you everyone!
Aside from that, the comments centered around us needing to be more visible, as 25% of respondents hadn’t heard of us before this survey, and having more a more succinct project description that makes it easy for new contributors to find our resources.
We’ll be referring back to these responses regularly as we move forward and craft our goals for the next cycle, which begins later this month. We’re also planning on doing more in-depth surveys about specific programs to get feedback from the community about how we’re doing.
The First Ubuntu Women Survey By Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph | Published: August 13, 2013
At the last virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit we decided to do survey of our community to learn what people expected from the Ubuntu Women project and how effective we were at providing what folks were looking for.
The survey is now online!
The anonymous results from the survey will be shared with the community and used to better determine how the team members spend their time and what projects we should promote and focus on as we move forward. All questions are optional, but filling them out helps us understand our demographic.
You can also fill out this form by going directly to this short URL: http://goo.gl/CXem63
The survey will be open through August 31st.