Grants:IEG/Just For The Record network and materials
What is the problem you're trying to solve?
Despite the great promises of Wikipedia as a new tool to write and publish in a collaborative way that never happened before, and its predominant position as one of the most visited websites in the world, there is still a big lack of diversity, which was identified at the level of its contributors (a troubling small percentage of women, an average contributor of “31 years old, white, straight, single and has a degree in higher education”…) and at the level of the topics covered on the encyclopedia (as for instance seen in the Women In Red project).
We have identified a third problematic aspect in the diversity issue on Wikipedia, that is rarely addressed compared to “who writes” and “what is written” : “how we write”.
This is a big problem that goes beyond Wikipedia itself. A more concrete problem that we would like to tackle on Wikipedia is the lack of awareness of this bias among all the users of the encyclopedia.
To narrow down the proposal, we will focus on gender bias, but our project is related to wider issues of diversity and we will build on materials developed in other projects. We aim to make our material and methods re-usable in wider diversity gap and systemic bias projects on Wikipedia.
of the gender bias on Wikipedia
We have noticed that the existing projects on the gender gap often focus on specific target groups, to have more women contributing on Wikipedia for instance. They aim at touching a public interested in working specifically on the gender gap.
As we have witnessed in the events we have been organizing during the last year (Just For The Record), most people are unaware of the Gender Bias on Wikipedia, not only outside Wikipedia but also among Wikipedia’s experienced contributors.
In discussions on talk pages, we have experienced having to face contributors who seem unaware, or even reluctant to acknowledge the importance of the problem. This attitude can lead to biased deletions, long debates and even hateful comments. It can discourage experienced users into engaging in such discussions, and have first time users not want to come back. When a user faces this situation, s·he has to explain the issue from the beginning. We feel that it would be useful to have pages that users can link to, to save energy and show that this is crucial for the betterment of Wikipedia.
Even when people are aware of the problem and want to implement some changes don't necessarily know were to start, which articles to edit, and how to write in a gender neutral language. It seems that the problem of the Gender Bias on Wikipedia comes in part from lack of knowledge about the issues themselves and from a lack of support from the users forming the community, thus impeding necessary changes towards more equality on Wikipedia.
that everyone can link to, and use a reference when editing or in debates.
What is your solution?
In order to give more visibility to the Gender Bias, and address a wider public of users that are not necessarily already interested or informed about this issue, we would like to develop two types of materials:
- Creating more useful and educational article message banner templates that can be used to mark pages that are unbalanced, and contain links to pages with information and guidelines.
- improve the existing information and guidelines pages that banners and users can link to , or create new ones.
We propose to make the article message banner templates educational and easy to use by making them contain accessible knowledge of the problem in the form of links to writing guidelines regarding the problematics. We also aim to make them more inviting for the users and to develop and advertise these tools together with larger groups of people during our events.
These actions are based on what we learned from our own previous events and will be building on other projects’ experiences, like the Full Circle Gap Protocol project that pointed out that it is not easy to gain knowledge about how to confront the diversity that is missing. As they put it, we don't know what we don't know. The experiences led by the Art+Feminism project are also a very important source of information we would like to take inspiration from and extend.
We will need conduct in-depth research in the field as we think a qualitative approach is needed, as a complement to existing more quantitative projects (the Art+Feminism project has impressive numbers of attendance and articles created/edited).
We will not only focus on women, to avoid binary conceptions that ignore the many different ways of living gender, but also because we think everyone can work on bringing more diversity in Wikipedia, and more diversity not only in terms of gender but also sexuality, race and cultures 
Our previous experiences with Just For The Record have allowed us to start creating a network in which expertise on these questions is created and shared. We think that more awareness still needs to be raised about the lack of gender and intersectional diversity on Wikipedia, so we would like to expand and enrich the network that we have started building, in Belgium, where we are based, and in Europe, as we are an international team with contacts in different countries.
In order to make the banner templates inviting and resourceful, we will invite five resource persons from Gender Studies and organizations to give us inputs and review our work. They will also help us reviewing the existing material on gender-neutral writing and other guidelines around the gender gap, and help us enrich them/create new ones if necessary. We hope these persons will in turn advertise the use of our banner(s) and materials in their surroundings.
We are applying for two combined grants: this IEG grant, for the development of banners and informative materials, and a PEG grant which will cover operational costs (location and refreshments) for the 2016-2017 Just For The Record edit-a-thons and events.
With this grant, and the combined PEG grant (edit-a-thons), we would like to:
- Put together experiences, analyze and write reports on specific pages, structures or situations that will help having a better understanding of the gender gap on Wikipedia, that we encounter(ed) during our events, in 2016 and onwards.
- Develop article message banner templates that can be used to mark pages that are unbalanced, and contain links to information and guidelines pages
- Gather existing references about gender-neutral and diversity-aware writing (on and off-wiki) and work on a set of materials (kit/guide) that can be used in any editing session on Wikipedia* and that promote diversity in the writing.
- promote the translation of the above-mentioned pages and references in other languages Wikimedia chapters, projects and off-wiki organizations. The materials, written in English, will contain both language-specific and non-language specific guidance, to make it possible for other projects to translate some parts easily and focus on adapting the rest to other languages specifics.
- communicate and collaborate with the projects in the Wikipedia* network already at work on similar issues.
- organize edit-a-thons, presentations and reading-groups that address specific topic related to these issues and look at how the topics are represented on Wikipedia*, and then work on it in an informed, collective and qualitative way. (see PEG grant)
- during the edit-a-thons we will invite the participants to use the banners and information/guidelines pages, and also to evaluate and contribute to them.
In order to:
- give more visibility to the gender gap on Wikipedia for all users (by highlighting it on top of the pages that are unbalanced)
- provide any user with easy to reach/understand/use materials about the three level of gender gap and about gender-neutral writing
- make it an issue that concerns every user on Wikipedia, and not only women for instance…
- make it possible for people to easily find the pages that are tagged with the unbalanced banner
Note: *We will mainly focus on the English Wikipedia, as a starting point but we will also highlight the different sisters projects as part of a wider ecosystem.
- Communicate to different projects working on similar questions, and start gathering as much information and inputs as we can.
- Contact the five resource persons who will help us writing the information/guidelines pages
- Research and analysis of specific Wikipedia pages, structures or situations
- Gathering materials about gender-neutral and diversity-aware writing (on and off-wiki) and review them
- Creation of the banners, tests
- Writing work on the information/guidelines pages
- Midpoint grant report
- Writing work on the information/guidelines pages
- Ongoing networking and communication
- Revise and finalize the information/guidelines pages
- Communication, promotion of the banners and all materials produced (reports, information/guidelines pages)
- Ongoing networking and communication
- Prepare grant report for WMF
Total amount requested
15,242.00 € = 17,017.97 USD
|Number||Category||Item description||Unit||Number of units||Cost per unit||Total cost||Currency||Notes|
|1||Project manager||Compensation for project management||Contract||1||440.00||440.00||€|
|2||Organizers labor||Compensation for organizer labor (includes organization, outreach, network and curriculum development, research and writing (creation of materials, kit/guide) and project management)
|3||Invited specialists contributions||Compensation for five invited specialists contributions, with a fee of €250.||Contract||5||1,250.00||1,250.00||€|
|4||Graphic designer||Graphic design of the banners, images & information materials.
We will start engaging the community since the beginning of the project, contacting and inviting different to participate to our research and giving feedback on our productions. We plan to build a wide community around these questions, linking the Wikipedia-active community to other not-yet-active communities. We will reach them through our presence on Wikipedia (talk pages, meetup and project pages), through our edit-a-thons and program of activities, our website and our mailing list.
We expect the community to go on engaging with bringing more diversity on Wikipedia. We also plan to create a sustainable documentation of our activities and publish materials that can be re-used, translated, scaled and adapted for other projects and by anyone.
Measures of success
We wonder if the existing measures of success on Wikipedia (metrics, and this kind of lists) are not too much focusing on quantity rather than quality, and it is part of the things we would like to question in our project. We are very positive about the massive impact that our action will have but giving numbers seems a bit arbitrary at that stage for this kind of project. In general, what we aim at is: as much as possible, as long as quality of information remains. Our measures of success are linked to the measures of the PEG grant. In addition to the measures listed there, we will consider the the IEG successful if:
- we have positive feedback on the materials, kits and guides we publish
- articles created and/or improved use more gender-neutral writing and highlight more diversity in their content
- we have surprising, innovative and inspiring outcomes
- we create a network of quality ambassadors (quantity aimed at: 20), who we will themselves generate awareness and new informed contributors
- Léonie Butler - Canadian artist based in Brussels, organizer of many Wikipedia edit-a-thons and presentations as part of the project Just For The Record.
- Lfurter - Swiss graphic designer, organised the Brussels node of the international Art+Feminism edit-a-thon on the 7-8th of March 2015 and worked during one year as the coordinator of a book-related event in Brussels (Prix Fernand Baudin Prijs), has skills in collaborative publishing (bookprints, participative editing and experimental approaches), in graphic design (initial background and education) and tools development, organizer of many Wikipedia edit-a-thons and presentations as part of the project Just For The Record.
- MMelvaer - Norwegian artist based in Brussels, organizer of many Wikipedia edit-a-thons and presentations as part of the project Just For The Record.
- Sarah magnan - French graphic designer working with the Brussels based collective OSP (Open Source Publishing), organised several workshops and events around Free and Open Source software, organizer of many Wikipedia edit-a-thons and presentations as part of the project Just For The Record.
Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?
- Just For The Record
- WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Gender gap task force
- WikiProject Feminism
- Women in Red
- WikiProject Women artists
- WikiProject Women's History
- Wikimedia LGBT
- Wikimedia Belgium
Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the talk page of this proposal).
- I wholeheartedly endorse Just For the Record. I’ve attended most of the JFtR events and I find the setup really refreshing. I’ve been to similar events that focused only on Wikipedia editing without providing context or discussion. I’ve also been to plenty a presentation, panel discussion or group discussion on the subject of gender representation, where there was no clear route to action. The events of Just For the Record provide a superb mix of theory and practice. The result is feeling quite empowered on dealing with complex issues of gender representation in a very hands on way.
The introductions from the team and invited experts create a context where it becomes easier to choose a page or subject in the hands-on editing sessions. The theoretical frame also helps to better structure the discussions on the talk pages. Finally, because of the intense dialogue surrounding the editing, it is easy to exchange view-points with the other attendees and strong links are created. JFtR attracting a demographic wholly different from any tech event I’ve visited, I feel like it is the beginning of a strong network of people working on the intersection of gender and technology, specifically on Wikipedia. Betekenis (talk) 12:52, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
- I full endorse this project. The past Wikipedia sessions were with a high quality, had great results, participants were enthusiastic. Let's do this more! Romaine (talk) 13:06, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
- Nice project to work in a practical and creative manner to tackle and complement the man-oriented environment of Wikipedia and related projects. We should also have more attention to other continents and languages. Geertivp (talk) 18:21, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
- WMBE endorses this project DerekvG (talk) 20:39, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
- We think that For The Record is doing wonderful, very necessary work and we think that it is worthy of support by the Wikimedia Foundation. On behalf of Art+Feminism, Failedprojects (talk) 00:56, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
- I fully endorse a second round of the JFTR project. I attended the first edit-a-thon Art+feminism in Brussels in 2015 which was a great success in terms of participation & diversity of profiles leading to a quality of discussion. This event has encouraged the JFTR team to build up a series of events in time not to disrupt the discussion and facilitate an inclusive approach. This project deserves a second phase to develop research, pedagogical material & networking. Cathsign (talk) 13:08, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
- In name of the entire team and network of Constant, the artist-run organisation for art and media in Brussels, I fully endorse this application. The four members of JFTR have put in place a professional project that is highly necessary, not only for the many writers and users of Wikipedia, but for an entire digital landscape. As Wikipedia - and by extend Wikidata - is the only freely available multilingual knowledge resource used by AI-researchers and developers all over the planet for the engineering of actual and future applications in fields that touch upon daily life, education, culture, politics and other, the leading work of JFTR cannot be underestimated. If we want our children to grow up in a culturally rich biotope, we'll need to go beyond the profile of the main Wikipedia-contributor of today. JFTR's idea to share their experiences by creating a guide that can be used by anyone, is therefore an initiative we truly support. anamertens (talk) 18:08, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
- WikiProject Countering systemic bias, https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Diversity, Wikimedia Diversity Conference, Diversity Campaign
- The Gender gap task force, the Art+Feminism project, Ateliers Femmes et Féminisme, …
- or improving the existing ones, like the Template:Unbalanced
- Examples of existing materials on Wikipedia:
- en:Grants:IdeaLab/Full_Circle_Gap_Protocol:_Addressing_the_‘Unknown_Unknowns’ and en:Grants:IEG/Full_Circle_Gap_Protocol:_Addressing_the_‘Unknown_Unknowns’/Final
- Examples of existing materials on Wikipedia: