Wikipedia Interventions for Feminist Dialogues on Technology

 Academics nationally and internationally are beginning to integrate work on Wikipedia into their courses; it is a great way to get students to think about public writing, the creation of knowledge, citation, and to hone a few digital authoring skills. Many of the faculty teaching  “Feminist Dialogues on Technology” – the FemTechNet Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC) that is running this year – are going to include Wikipedia assignments. Adrianne Wadewitz and I are leading this area of FemTechNet work and we’ve created this list as a way partially representing the ways one can participate in Wikipedia culture and knowledge production – while there is a lot there, it’s not exhaustive. As we continue working, I’ll be putting up additional resources, but it is worth checking out Adrianne’s extensive work in this area – including this: “How to Use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool” by Liz Losh (interviewing Adrianne).

There are some basic categories of work:

  • Adding information
  • Format/design of information
  • Participating in discussion
  • Policy

Which we can break out into work items:

Create new articles about

Work on existing articles by

  • adding sections,
  • adding information,
  • adding citations,
  • citing sources on feminist topics,
  • citing women’s work on any topic, or
  • citing feminist sources on non-overtly feminist topics (e.g. “history of the novel”).

Clean up existing articles by 

Below are more advanced work items – ones that can be undertaken once an editor has built up some authority and experience.

Adding Images (requires an understanding of copyright issues)

  • find new images to add to Wikimedia Commons – this is a challenging task, especially for historical women
  • find images on Commons to add to Wikipedia articles

Participating in conversations (after established oneself as a memeber)

  • about the structure of the site,
  • deletion discussions,
  • possible violations of the civil code and banning,
  • policy (see the notice boards on the policy items),
  • offering advice about sources etc,
  • or the various Wikiprojects.

Help create and sustain the community

  • welcome and work with new members (TeaHouse),
  • identify and address vandalism,
  • work to build consensus by participating in talk conversations,
  • vote for various high-level positions, or
  • serve on one of the various administrative committees.

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