Monthly Archives: August 2011

How I Redefined “Man” For The World (Wikipedia’s Battle for Diversity – Part II)

Change the Ratio: Wikipedia (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

In my previous post, Cargo Cult Editing, I used the Wikipedia page for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and the skirmish that took place over it, as an example of how viewpoint and perspective can impact the content of Wikipedia.

Now I’ll share my own personal Wikipedia battle…that I like to build up as an epic clash, when in reality it was tantamount to a 2-second spitball fight.

For more than two years, if you visited the Man page in Wikipedia, you would have found the following section outlining (7) characteristics of masculinity:

  1. Physical — virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging;
  2. Functional — provider for family, defender of family from physical threat;
  3. Sexual — sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable;
  4. Emotional — unemotional, stoic, never crying;
  5. Intellectual — logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical;
  6. Interpersonal — leader, dominating; disciplinarian; independent, free, individualistic; demanding;
  7. Other Personal Characteristics — success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, proud, egotistical, moral, trustworthy; decisive, competitive, uninhibited, adventurous.

When I came across the page in May of 2010, I was a little surprised to read characteristics such as “unconcerned about appearance and aging” and “provider for family.”

In fact, almost all the qualities surprised me since they seemed so utterly out of date, and frankly, just not true. But then I looked at the source: 1974. 1974!

A lot had changed in the past 35 years, with tons of published evidence to refute almost every single one of the listed characteristics. And although we can have a great social discourse over what it means to be “masculine” – the debate belongs on the Masculinity page.

So I removed the section. And entered my first “edit war” in Wikipedia with a user by the name of Martin Hogbin who reverted my change within minutes.

Like any good Sun Tzu student, I was prepared for battle. Of course I could have gone a more diplomatic route by taking the disagreement to the discussion page, but in this case, the entry was just plain wrong. And I was willing to fight.

I had my arguments and sources ready and my backup Wikipedia editors (@robotchampion and @kirbstr) primed to to jump in on the discussion should I need them.

I reverted Martin’s reversion, waiting for a response. And then, just as fast as it had begun, it was over. My edit prevailed.

The point of this story is to show what happens, when a page as popular as the Man page (which receives ~30,000 views per month), has very little diversity in its editor base. What would a 16-year old girl think upon reading the above characteristics, or 16-year old boy? Do they equally apply to homosexual men, and men of various ethnicities, nationalities, ages, religions and vocations?

The answer is no. Is the Dalai Lama not “masculine” or any less of a “man” because he is not sexually aggressive or experienced?

Wikipedia needs more diversity, for the simple reasons of perspective and objectivity. When 1X57 did the Women Who Wiki workshop, I showed the attendees, mostly women with one male, the historical Man page with the above characteristics listed and asked them if they agreed with them. The answer was unilaterally no.

So did the thousands of viewers who visited the Man page not see what I saw? Or did they simply not know how to do anything about it?

Wikipedia is the #1 open knowledge resource and the 7th most popular website, in the world. It needs contributors of all genders, ages, and races to be the great public resource that it is.

In my next and final post, I’ll discuss how more people can get involved to improve diversity and become part of the great community that is Wikipedia.

TO BE CONTINUED…

How I Redefined "Man" For The World (Wikipedia's Battle for Diversity – Part II)

Change the Ratio: Wikipedia (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

In my previous post, Cargo Cult Editing, I used the Wikipedia page for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and the skirmish that took place over it, as an example of how viewpoint and perspective can impact the content of Wikipedia.

Now I’ll share my own personal Wikipedia battle…that I like to build up as an epic clash, when in reality it was tantamount to a 2-second spitball fight.

For more than two years, if you visited the Man page in Wikipedia, you would have found the following section outlining (7) characteristics of masculinity:

  1. Physical — virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging;
  2. Functional — provider for family, defender of family from physical threat;
  3. Sexual — sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable;
  4. Emotional — unemotional, stoic, never crying;
  5. Intellectual — logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical;
  6. Interpersonal — leader, dominating; disciplinarian; independent, free, individualistic; demanding;
  7. Other Personal Characteristics — success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, proud, egotistical, moral, trustworthy; decisive, competitive, uninhibited, adventurous.

When I came across the page in May of 2010, I was a little surprised to read characteristics such as “unconcerned about appearance and aging” and “provider for family.”

In fact, almost all the qualities surprised me since they seemed so utterly out of date, and frankly, just not true. But then I looked at the source: 1974. 1974!

A lot had changed in the past 35 years, with tons of published evidence to refute almost every single one of the listed characteristics. And although we can have a great social discourse over what it means to be “masculine” – the debate belongs on the Masculinity page.

So I removed the section. And entered my first “edit war” in Wikipedia with a user by the name of Martin Hogbin who reverted my change within minutes.

Like any good Sun Tzu student, I was prepared for battle. Of course I could have gone a more diplomatic route by taking the disagreement to the discussion page, but in this case, the entry was just plain wrong. And I was willing to fight.

I had my arguments and sources ready and my backup Wikipedia editors (@robotchampion and @kirbstr) primed to to jump in on the discussion should I need them.

I reverted Martin’s reversion, waiting for a response. And then, just as fast as it had begun, it was over. My edit prevailed.

The point of this story is to show what happens, when a page as popular as the Man page (which receives ~30,000 views per month), has very little diversity in its editor base. What would a 16-year old girl think upon reading the above characteristics, or 16-year old boy? Do they equally apply to homosexual men, and men of various ethnicities, nationalities, ages, religions and vocations?

The answer is no. Is the Dalai Lama not “masculine” or any less of a “man” because he is not sexually aggressive or experienced?

Wikipedia needs more diversity, for the simple reasons of perspective and objectivity. When 1X57 did the Women Who Wiki workshop, I showed the attendees, mostly women with one male, the historical Man page with the above characteristics listed and asked them if they agreed with them. The answer was unilaterally no.

So did the thousands of viewers who visited the Man page not see what I saw? Or did they simply not know how to do anything about it?

Wikipedia is the #1 open knowledge resource and the 7th most popular website, in the world. It needs contributors of all genders, ages, and races to be the great public resource that it is.

In my next and final post, I’ll discuss how more people can get involved to improve diversity and become part of the great community that is Wikipedia.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Earthquakes caused by glaciers melting?

An acquaintance in Facebook recently posed the question:

Does global warming cause earthquakes?

After the Eastern Seaboard experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, it left many wondering, what the hell was that?

Before the recent disruption the largest earthquake on record in central Virginia was a magnitude 4.8 temblor that occurred in 1875.

Earthquakes are rare in the eastern U.S. because the region is farther from a fault line.

Andrew Hynes, a tectonics expert at McGill University, said the issue is not so much the load shift on the earth’s crust, but rather the increased fluid pressure in the fault that lubricates the rock, allowing the plate to slide.

 “All earthquakes except those produced by volcanic activity are essentially the unsticking of faults,” he said. In other words, if you pump fluid into a fault, it will reduce the friction and the rock can slide. (from AccuWeather)

Can the added melt from glaciers create stress on the earth’s upper crust, injecting more fluid into the rocks, thus creating earthquakes? The answer is yes, earthquakes at shalllow depths. Which is exactly what states like VA, MD, NY, and NC experienced.

Metereolists and geologists have long been warning of the consequences of “post glacial rebound” when the melting of glaciers causes an increase in global sea levels.

This increase in sea level means more pressure on the sea floor, which can effect everything from gravity fields to horizontal crustal motion. Of course, the recent earthquake on the East coast brings to mind the threat of shifting tectonic plates.

As the world’s glaciers perform an accelerated disappearing act, earthquakes just may be the first sign of how the warming will change the world.

Tim Cook: 5 things about Apple’s new CEO

From the Onion:

New Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I’m Thinking Printers’

Following the resignation of Apple founder Steve Jobs, incoming CEO Tim Cook called a meeting…to announce that he envisioned printers as the company’s future. “Laser, ink-jet, double-sided, color, black-and-white—the future of technology is in printers. I am absolutely convinced of that…

Cook concluded his remarks by assuring investors the release of upcoming Apple products such as the iPhone 5 would be postponed for at least four years so the company could throw all its time and resources into the creation of high-quality printers for the home and office.

lol

It certainly touches on the fears that every Apple fanboy (myself included) harbors. So I ask, who is this guy, what is he like, and how is he likely to run the company?

Here are 5 quick insights to answer those questions:

1. He’s single (aka gay). An insightful article from Felix Salmon talks about the spicy world of gay executives. How coming out can hurt the brand image while not doing so can get you into trouble. He still hasn’t come out yet and is officially listed as a lifelong bachelor, but there is a printing of him in Out magazine as the most powerful gay man in the world.

2. Jobsian Temperament. If there is anything you know Tim Cook for it is his famous rant on how Netbooks suck, back in 2009:

“When I look at netbooks, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens. It’s just not a good consumer experience and not something we would put the Mac brand on.”

To which Apple promptly released the 11-inch MacBook Air and then the iPad (definitely not Netbooks but directly competing with them).

It’s interesting to note that this comment occurred the last time Cook took over for Jobs as CEO.

A Forbes piece from 2008 discusses his personality, stating that his “default facial expression is a frown…his humor is of the dry variety…(and he) is cool, calm, and never, ever raises his voice”. Which would give you the idea that he is the opposite of Jobs until you read this:

“Cook can be brutal in meetings. “I’ve seen him shred people…He asks you the questions he knows you can’t answer, and he keeps going and going. It isn’t funny, and it’s not fun.”

If these remarks are true then it’s easy to see why Jobs named him sucessor. Another “smartest person in the room” who is not afraid to cut through the crap for success.

3. The operations to my design. Cook is generally considered an operations genius. He famously cornered the market on flash memory from 2005 to 2010. He revolutionized Apple’s supply chain, modernized the retail stores, and took over Mac and iPhone telecom operations.

Yeah, when it comes to running the business he is it. Filling in for Jobs greatest weakness, operations. The problem is that Cook’s own weakness’ are design and new products. One has to hope that he is aware of this and actively recruiting a snotty design genius to fill in his gaps.

4. Outside of work. He is the only Apple executive to sit on a board and he sits on Nike’s board of directors. Which means he wears Nike shoes to Jobs New Balance. He does sport jeans like Jobs but thankfully no turtleneck, just a spiffy dress shirt.

After a ridiculous misdiagnosis for Multiple Sclerosis he is a fitness nut, to include cycling and riding in fundraisers for MS. To replenish himself he eats energy bars, a lot of them. Nearly every article talks about how he downs them like candy.

5. Southern charm. Tim Cook grew up in Alabama and went to school in Alabama, at Auburn university. His office is said to be decorated with memorabilia from Tigers football (Auburn).

So you can see him live, here is a video of him giving the 2010 Commencement speech at Auburn.

Other. He is rich, really rich. Last year his salary was more than $50 million (including benefits and stock options). But, that doesn’t matter because he has acquired several hundred million dollars worth of Apple stock in his 13 years at Apple. In his new post as CEO, the Board voted to give him one million shares, but they have to vest. Half of them are his in 2016 and the other half in a decade.

 

Tim Cook: 5 things about Apple's new CEO

From the Onion:

New Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I’m Thinking Printers’

Following the resignation of Apple founder Steve Jobs, incoming CEO Tim Cook called a meeting…to announce that he envisioned printers as the company’s future. “Laser, ink-jet, double-sided, color, black-and-white—the future of technology is in printers. I am absolutely convinced of that…

Cook concluded his remarks by assuring investors the release of upcoming Apple products such as the iPhone 5 would be postponed for at least four years so the company could throw all its time and resources into the creation of high-quality printers for the home and office.

lol

It certainly touches on the fears that every Apple fanboy (myself included) harbors. So I ask, who is this guy, what is he like, and how is he likely to run the company?

Here are 5 quick insights to answer those questions:

1. He’s single (aka gay). An insightful article from Felix Salmon talks about the spicy world of gay executives. How coming out can hurt the brand image while not doing so can get you into trouble. He still hasn’t come out yet and is officially listed as a lifelong bachelor, but there is a printing of him in Out magazine as the most powerful gay man in the world.

2. Jobsian Temperament. If there is anything you know Tim Cook for it is his famous rant on how Netbooks suck, back in 2009:

“When I look at netbooks, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens. It’s just not a good consumer experience and not something we would put the Mac brand on.”

To which Apple promptly released the 11-inch MacBook Air and then the iPad (definitely not Netbooks but directly competing with them).

It’s interesting to note that this comment occurred the last time Cook took over for Jobs as CEO.

A Forbes piece from 2008 discusses his personality, stating that his “default facial expression is a frown…his humor is of the dry variety…(and he) is cool, calm, and never, ever raises his voice”. Which would give you the idea that he is the opposite of Jobs until you read this:

“Cook can be brutal in meetings. “I’ve seen him shred people…He asks you the questions he knows you can’t answer, and he keeps going and going. It isn’t funny, and it’s not fun.”

If these remarks are true then it’s easy to see why Jobs named him sucessor. Another “smartest person in the room” who is not afraid to cut through the crap for success.

3. The operations to my design. Cook is generally considered an operations genius. He famously cornered the market on flash memory from 2005 to 2010. He revolutionized Apple’s supply chain, modernized the retail stores, and took over Mac and iPhone telecom operations.

Yeah, when it comes to running the business he is it. Filling in for Jobs greatest weakness, operations. The problem is that Cook’s own weakness’ are design and new products. One has to hope that he is aware of this and actively recruiting a snotty design genius to fill in his gaps.

4. Outside of work. He is the only Apple executive to sit on a board and he sits on Nike’s board of directors. Which means he wears Nike shoes to Jobs New Balance. He does sport jeans like Jobs but thankfully no turtleneck, just a spiffy dress shirt.

After a ridiculous misdiagnosis for Multiple Sclerosis he is a fitness nut, to include cycling and riding in fundraisers for MS. To replenish himself he eats energy bars, a lot of them. Nearly every article talks about how he downs them like candy.

5. Southern charm. Tim Cook grew up in Alabama and went to school in Alabama, at Auburn university. His office is said to be decorated with memorabilia from Tigers football (Auburn).

So you can see him live, here is a video of him giving the 2010 Commencement speech at Auburn.

Other. He is rich, really rich. Last year his salary was more than $50 million (including benefits and stock options). But, that doesn’t matter because he has acquired several hundred million dollars worth of Apple stock in his 13 years at Apple. In his new post as CEO, the Board voted to give him one million shares, but they have to vest. Half of them are his in 2016 and the other half in a decade.

 

Huntington Beach Green Expo


The 4th annual Huntington Beach Green Expo arrives Saturday, September 17, and runs from 9am to 5pm. It will be located at the HB Pier Plaza on the corner of PCH and Main St.

The free event put on by the HB Chamber of Commerce is a vendor showcase of goods and services. A good place to learn a lot about the latest in green technology. An important element for anyone in California and especially those in Huntington Beach.

After all, the city is leading the country in environmental issues and sustainability.

There are coastal wetlands with miles of protected lands for birds, fish, and all the large mammals that feed on them (dolphins, seals).

There is the recycling rate that was best in the State at 71% up from 45% in 1995. The local waste company, Rainbow Recycling, will be at the Expo.

If you’ve been down to City Hall or Central Library then you’ve seen the solar panels in the parking lot. These panels are expected to turn 40% of building energy use to solar. Several solar companies will be at the event.

Finally, there is the contentious plastic bag ban on all single use bags. The city council is largely split on this issue and so are the residents, but it is likely to pass.

That is not to say that we don’t have our issues. In a recent post, I explored the surfboard industry and found out that surfboards are dirty. I mean super toxic and not at all recyclable; something Surf City can’t ignore.

Continue reading

Beach Volleyball at the Manhattan Beach Open

This weekend, Aug 26-28, kicks off the Manhattan Beach Open. The largest and most famous of all the beach volleyball tournaments which features 64 pro teams per gender, including top Olympic teams.

Often called the Masters or Wimbledon of beach volleyball. The players call it the holy grail due to its top prize money, massive media presence, and, most importantly, each winner gets enshrined in the “Volleyball Walk of Fame.”

This memorial features bronze statues that span the length of the Manhattan Beach Pier. It is definitely the “one tournament that all players want to play in”.

Schedule

  • Friday, Aug. 26, 8am – 7pm (16 courts)
  • Saturday, Aug. 27, 8:30am – 7:15pm (16 courts)
  • Sunday, Aug. 28, 9:15am – 5:30pm (4 courts)
    • Women’s final at 2:15pm
    • Men’s final (televised live on Versus) at 4pm

The total prize money is $200,000 and the event has a rich history dating all the way back to 1960. “The Manhattan Open was the precursor to everything that has developed in beach volleyball including the Olympics.”

This year, the 51st one, features a three-day, double-elimination tournament. Admission is free and the location is the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Just to get you excited, check out this trailer for the classic beach volleyball movie featuring C. Thomas Howell -

Side Out

More Details

Facebook Event

IMG Announcing the Open

Registration Information

NBA-er Kevin Love to participate

USA Volleyball Announcement

Jose Cuervo Poster (sponsor)

Killing It in Prime Time: An Interview With Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda as Barbarella

You can call Jane Fonda many things, but boring, she is not.

From her role as sci-fi sex goddess, Barbarella (which I’ve never seen, but only know about through photos) in the 1960s, to the controversial Vietnam political advocate in the 1970s, to the queen of workout video in the 80s (my mom had these – as a little kid, I loved dressing up in the leotards, sweatbands and leg-warmers and dancing along) to the consummate companion of Ted Turner in the 90s – her life has been one of constant evolution.

Now as author and spokesperson for people living out the “third acts” of their lives (which she calls “Prime Time“), it was inspiring to watch her recently on Charlie Rose, talking about life as a stair-cased ascension, instead of a curved archway that peaks at middle-age, then declines. In our youth-obsessed culture, she is an example that life doesn’t end at 40. In fact, she says she really didn’t start to ‘get life’ until she hit 59 (she’s 73), which for her has meant battling depression, becoming present in her children’s lives, and creating an intimate relationship with a man (which she never achieved in her previous 3 marriages), to name a few.

Her ability to find closure in areas of her life that have plagued her seems especially key to the constant elevation and improvement she describes. When discussing her relationship with her father, she articulated what so many people fear:

“Watching him die taught me that I wasn’t afraid of death. What I’m really scared of is getting to the end of life with a lot of regrets when it’s too late to do anything about it.”

And it reminded me of the Dylan Thomas poem that is a call to arms for individuals of any age:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, 

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Is Craigslist is done for? (nope)

This is part 2 and it messes everything up.

Part 1 was incredibly convincing and most of us bought the argument, hook-line and sinker.

We were ready to write-off Craigslist.

Now, I present the counter-argument. This piece will completely change your mind. It will challenge you to re-think everything and in my case, put Craigslist back on the map for good.

Enjoy.

PS – It works better if you read the original piece first: Is Craigslist done for? (yep)

From Quora

Josh Hannah argues that the premise of this question is false and that Craigslist “has been disrupted.” He mistakenly confuses “competition” with “disruption.”

Craigslist has not been disrupted.

Disruption means to “drastically alter or destroy the structure of (something).” By definition this means that disruption is easy to spot. Something new comes along and crushes an existing business model or technology or product.

Here are a few examples:

Business model disruption:

  • Craigslist disrupted classified advertising
  • CPA disrupted CPM
  • Free has disrupted numerous other industries (telecom, media, etc)

Technology disruption:

  • Cars disrupted horses
  • Downloadable media disrupted CD’s & DVD’s
  • Digital photography disrupted film

Product disruption:

  • Facebook disrupted MySpace
  • Google disrupted AltaVista & co

In every case:

  • The disruption happened suddenly (within a few years)
  • The disruptor’s value proposition was unambiguous
  • Usually a single replacement (business model, tech, product) filled the void

This is what disruption looks like with websites:

This is what disruption looks with offline businesses:

This is not disruption:

…Nor is this:

Josh argues that:

“Bad sites with network effects show much slower decay in use than they should based on their absolute quality. (think eBay.) Bad sites who price most of their product at free show incredibly slow decay in use. (think Craigslist).”

All of this is true, but this is precisely why Craigslist is not being disrupted: It already benefits from enormous network effects, which aren’t being replicated by its myriad competitors. Even if all the sites below shared the same audience as Craigslist (they’re not even close), these users would be split across 30 different sites:


Yes, plenty of people are picking apart categories and trying to improve upon the product, the UI, or the way the information is presented. This has been happening for years and many of these companies have gone under. If you think about it, these companies aren’t really competing directly with Craigslist because Craigslist–unlike every site above–is free.

To argue the image above is indicative of disruption is to misunderstand why Craigslist is successful. How many companies compete with Google in search, advertising, social, apps, mobile? Sheer volume of competition does not signal disruption.As I wrote previously, Craigslist benefits from a killer product/business model combo that protects it from the effects of these startups:

Craigslist = Simple + Free + Network effects + Anonymous

It’s very, very hard to compete with something that gets the job done well enough and is free.

People can criticize the product/UI/search all day long, but minor tweaking is not going to disrupt Craigslist–particularly if it happens across 30+ fragmented sites. Most people have a status quo bias…they must see substantial and compelling benefits to changing their behavior. They won’t learn about all the sites listed above just so they can get a slight UI improvement when they want to unload their couch or casually rent a hooker. (Frequent escort renters might disagree with me :).

Even if someone rolled all 30 of these sites into one competitor with better features, UI, search, etc it’s still unlikely to succeed because of the power of network effects. Craigslist has them. The other guy don’t. And no one can afford to buy these network effects unless they plan to charge for their services. And if they plan to charge then they’re back to square one.

In summary (and forgive me for mashing these answers together):

This is a winner take all business that’s supported by incredible network effects, great brand equity, a degree of trust and familiarity. No upstart is going to unseat Craigslist without a huge & foolish capital investment. The only way Craigslist will be disrupted is if consumer behavior shifts radically away from free, online, and anonymous.

Cargo Cult Editing: The Battle for Diversity in Wikipedia (Part I)

Change the Ratio: Wikipedia (by JESS3 + 1X57)

It was the wedding of the decade. Catherine (Kate) Middleton marrying Prince William, becoming one of the most watched couples in the world.

As is the case for any celebrity wedding, the biggest question being asked leading up to the big day became, What will the bride wear?

So it was only fitting that the dress receiving so much global speculation and attention would get a page of its own in Wikipedia, right? After all, it fit the criteria for notability, receiving significant coverage from gads of reliable sources, independent of the subject. And yet within minutes of the page being created, the page was marked for speedy deletion.

The discussion page makes the deletionists’ views clear:

  • This is frankly trivial, and surely isn’t notable enough to be on wikipedia. Request deletion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.177.63 (talk) 16:19, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I strongly agree! The sheer presence of this article is one of the lowest points ever reached by Wikipedia! What amazes me is that there’s acculturatede people (since the article was well written) who has such interests, and free time to lose to devoted themselves for such totally irrelevant arguments. –”’Attilios”’ (talk) 16:59, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

And yet the above editors ignored the key guidelines of Wikipedia. So what gives?

For one, Wikipedia is suffering from a subject-object problem (in short, it’s tough for contributors not to impose their beliefs and biases on whatever topic they’re editing).

No matter how neutral Wikipedia strives to be, the Gestault sum of its articles is influenced by its contributors, which in Wikipedia’s case is a “geeky male in his late 20s” (see Wikipedia’s 2011 editors survey for full results).  And this is what results in a cargo-cult editing environment, where the rules and guidelines are often ignored in favor of a particular editor’s bias.

In the case of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress page in Wikipedia, the deletionists lacked editing integrity, instead relying upon their own inherent biases as argumentative evidence.

Jimmy Wales recently stated his brainchild is losing editors, and while it hasn’t reached crisis-level, it is a point concern. The fact is, the group that has built up the world’s #1 open knowledge resource is turning away and losing editors, of varyings ages, backgrounds, genders, and most importantly, viewpoints, at the cost of Wikipedia’s long-term growth and viability.

Wikipedia is working hard to address the problem, but a solution will only come about if more people understand why having a diverse group of editors is critical. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All history becomes subjective.” In Wikipedia’s case, “All of Wikipedia becomes subjective.” While I’m sure a lot of folks have little to no interest in the wedding gown of a powerless figurehead (myself included), you have to imagine what the content looks like of more controversial topics like birth control, religion, racial and ethnic history, etc, when only a small demographic is editing and policing them.

I’ll be exploring this point in my next post detailing my experience editing Wikipedia’s “Man” page and the edit war that broke out as a result.

TO BE CONTINUED…