Grants:IdeaLab/A Consciousness Raising Repository
What is the problem you're trying to solve?
The fact that English Wikipedia is largely white, male, young, and single has been argued to correspond to the widespread marginalization of traditionally marginalized groups like women. This project seeks to offer a supportive process and repository for collecting stories of marginalization in order to strengthen the community and provide a basis for sound, quantitative research on patterns of marginalization on Wikipedia. This addresses two separate issues.
First, traditionally marginalized groups face further marginalization when attempting to articulate and communicate their experiences of marginalization. Historically, this has been addressed through the formation of safe spaces, consciousness-raising groups, and herstories wherein people experiencing marginalization can share their stories without fear of retaliation or intimidation. With institutional support for these practices, stories of marginalization can broaden our understanding of how marginalization is occuring and can be mitigated.
Second, and related to this, the lack of a broad body of stories of marginalization mean that large-scale quantitative studies examining patterns of intimidation are under-motivated. For example, research on the gender gap in Wikipedia has shown that the use of gendered language to intimidate editors, a higher propensity to revert the edits of women, and the increased controversiality for articles on topics of interest to women all suppress the contribution of women to Wikipedia. However, these are far from the only forms of marginalization and only partially reflect the stories female editors have told. In order to build a better science around marginalization and therefore a more inclusive Wikipedia, a repository of cases of marginalization should be created and curated as the starting point for broad-based research.
What is your solution?
The action proposed here is to create a public repository of stories from members of the Wikipedia community who experience marginalization. Stories will be solicited from the Wikipedia community through specific listservs among administrators, editors, the gender gap listserv, and others. Users will submit these stories anonymously and will not be allowed to identify the individuals involved to prevent claims of libel or defamation and to safeguard the author from retribution. A library of tags will be developed to enable researchers and admins to sift through stories for patterns, including tags for the identity being marginalized (such as gender, race, religion, and so on) and areas on which marginalization occurred (user talk pages, specific articles, administrative review processes, etc.).
To facilitate this, a diverse group of administrators will be formed to maintain the repository and recruit authors. The administrators will formulate procedures for story recruitment, submission, acceptance, publishing, and curation. Finally, the administrators will also help authors write their stories in a way that protects the identity of all involved and builds trust in the repository and consciousness-raising process.
- Recruit administrative team to maintain repository.
- Develop principles for inclusion and guidelines for story submission.
- Create section on Wikimedia devoted to stories.
- Recruit members to share their stories.
- Excellent idea, well grounded in historical practice among marginalised communities. Would be a useful companion to the quantitive surveys we already have or will do in future. Skud (WMF) (talk) 00:34, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
- While I have a few questions re: execution (noted on the Discussion page), I very much like and support this idea. --Mssemantics (talk) 20:57, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
- Might well get more people to come forward. --Djembayz (talk) 00:40, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
- Sounds like a great idea: its too easy for the discussions around the gender gap and other issues to descend into questions of whether these issues exist (even though almost everyone I know who has done outreach has received undocumented stories on how the community responds to minority experiences). Sadads (talk) 15:49, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
- We need more thorough documentation of the abuse of women on Wikimedia and especially Wikipedia projects. There was a Wikimedia essay quoting women with issues that was poo-pooed by detractors. More recent WMF surveys have dealt with but not focused on the issue. Until hundreds of horror stories are listed, it will remain difficult to convince less sexist editors that they must stop giving any credibility to those guys (and editors alleging they are women) who keep screaming "there's no evidence women are abused more than males." A title something like 1000 examples of abuse of women on Wikipedia projects" might make even those trolls think twice about screaming "no evidence." Carolmooredc (talk) 19:09, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
- More visibility for a problem can help create momentum to fix it. Superm401 | Talk 02:27, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
- I endorse. I am not sure about why this has to be a funded project and what the website noted below will be used for . . . ?? Perhaps those questions could be answered in the proposal below. Sincerely, BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 12:29, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
- This would be awesome and i hope it gets publicity in signpost or some other significant venue in wikiland. Frederika Eilers (talk) 00:22, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Expand your idea
Do you want to submit your idea for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation?
The first steps will be to recruit a diverse working group of people interested in the issue and interested in seeing this get off the ground. This group will help recruit the first formal members of the board overseeing the repository and formulate the initial procedures, guidelines, and strategies for the group. As such, many of the longer-term plans are subject to change through procedural review.
Once constituted, the board will collect and edit stories in three ways. First it will seek to collect stories that already exist online. Such stories may include personal stories on member pages, stories from existing research, stories shared in the media, or Arbitration cases. The second type of story collection process will be to handle stories that are submitted when they happen. This mode acts like a complaint box, capturing stories from people who want to share them when they happen. These stories will go through the same vetting and editing process. The third type of story collection process will be recruiting stories from users who otherwise would not be telling them or who may not realize they can tell them. This third type is a form of active outreach whereby the board specifically targets certain groups or communication channels trying to elicit stories from known marginalized groups.
Finally, the board will continue to review and revise its procedures, guidelines, and technical infrastructure. They will also recruit a second cohort of board members at the end of year one to begin the overlapping tenures of board members, ensuring the transfer of knowledge and continuity from cohort to cohort.
- Board Member Honoraria ($100/month per person, 10 board members): $12,000
- Web Development and Maintenance ($15/hour for 1,000 hours): $15,000
- Outreach (Online Advertising budget): $2,000
Recruiting the initial working group and board members will involve making it possible for anyone to participate in the formation of the group. We will specifically reach out to diverse populations to recruit a diverse working group and board. The three different processes of story recruitment will be followed by periods of review by the board and an open call for feedback from storytellers and the broader Wikipedia community, especially through communication channels used by traditionally marginalized Wikipedians and Wikimedians
After the grant period here ends, three options are possible. The board can seek continued funding for future years, whether perpetual funding through the foundation or another grant to continue developing the resource. Second, the board could continue to work without honoraria. Third, the board could transition the repository to a static archive which persists as accessible to the public and disband itself and end its work. Finally, the archive could be transitioned into a self-publishing platform where anyone can post their experiences with marginalization. No matter what, the results of these three years of funding will be an extensive collection of stories which members of the community and public can use to understand how marginalization occurs on Wikipedia and use the data a source for future work to understand or mitigate marginalization.
Measures of success
The primary measure of success for this project will be the number of stories collected and the public’s ability to find stories relevant to them. The majority of these stories will likely be collected by the summer of 2016 when the board identifies and adds existing stories to the repository and makes its first call. However, the number of stories will continue to grow with each new round of calls and an unpredictable number of stories will come in unsolicited regularly from users experiencing marginalization.
A secondary measure of success will be the legacy of the project, whether as an ongoing process moderated by a board, as a self-sustaining repository, or as an archive maintained in perpetuity. This success will only be determinable once the process has been put into place and the sources of funding, strategies for finding and publishing stories, and maintaining the repository are figured out.
Radfordj: I am a Ph.D. student performing research on organizations and gender. I am currently the manager of a research project (VolunteerScience.com) overseeing four employees and coordinating with seven research teams. I know how to network and recruit people to volunteer and coordinate a team of volunteers to formulate and reach collective goals.
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