Whose Knowledge?/Resources/Intro to Wikipedia
Welcome! This is a set of curated resources to help you understand, practice, critique, and teach with Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is one of the world’s most powerful and accessible information sources. Though it purports to be “the encyclopedia anyone can edit,” its policies, practices, and norms often confuse newcomers. Additionally, researchers have found Wikipedia's environment can be "resistant to female participation"  and that "Wikipedia’s infrastructure produces hidden layers of gendering at the levels of code, policy and logics" . This phenomenon is known as the "gender gap."
However, beyond gender disparities in participation, researchers have also noted disparities in the kinds of knowledge Wikipedia reproduces. In response, two former Wikimedia Foundation employees have started Whose Knowledge? with the goal of correcting skewed representations of knowledge on Wikimedia projects as well as the wider internet.
The curated list of resources below is intended to introduce newcomers to Wikipedia--whether their goal is to read, edit, teach with, learn about, or critique. While the resources listed below are imperfect (most are written in English, often based on experience in the United States), they offer advice on editing Wikipedia and outline ways of making the largest online encyclopedia in the world more diverse in contributors and content.
As you read and use these resources, we would also love to hear back from you: what helped you, what didn't, and what we should improve!
- Brochure explaining the basics of Wikipedia (November 2014)
- Useful for: Understanding the basic principles of contributing to Wikipedia
- Brochure explaining the basics of Wikimedia Commons, an online repository of images and other media files available under free license (November 2014)
- Useful for: Learning how upload photographs and other audio/visual media for use in Wikipedia articles
- Chapter from a book on Wikipedia written by English Wikipedians (2008)
- Useful for: Understanding how the community-driven process and communications work on English Wikipedia, from the perspective of long-time community members
- Webinar course on contributing to Wikipedia, produced by groups in Mexico to support women’s participation on Spanish Wikipedia (July 2015)
- Useful for: Audiovisual learners to understand the basic principles of editing Spanish Wikipedia
- Game-style tutorial on contributing to Wikipedia. Also offers a brief overview of the larger structure of Wikimedia projects and community interactions (November 2015)
- Useful for: Learning the basic principles of editing English Wikipedia in about an hour via a playful interactive format.
- What it is: Question and Answer forum on English Wikipedia for new contributors
- Useful for: Asking specific questions once you’ve made your first few edits to English Wikipedia. Experienced users there have made a commitment to offer friendly responses.
- Video tutorials for beginning, intermediate and advanced Wikipedia editors.
- Useful (especially) for: Feminists learning how to edit Wikipedia.
- Video tutorials for beginning Wikipedia editors.
- Useful (especially) for: People from Africa or of African descent, learning how to edit Wikipedia.
- A feminist analysis of Wikipedia’s five pillars by Wikipedian and feminist academic Adrianne Wadewitz. (August 2013)
- Useful for: Feminist academics looking to understand how to approach writing on Wikipedia.
- Presentation by a trans Wikipedian on trans and non-binary representation on Wikipedia (October 2016)
- Useful for: Understanding how trans and non-binary people’s knowledge is (and often is not) represented on Wikipedia
- Interview with Whose Knowledge? about Wikipedia’s gender gap, and missing diversity and pluralism on the internet. (December 2016)
- Useful for: Finding tools and practices for making sure marginalised knowledges can be used and referenced better on Wikipedia.
- Article describing the challenges of making Wikipedia’s editorial pool more diverse and inclusive. (December 2016)
- Useful for: Recognising that Wikipedia needs more pluralism in identity, issue and approach, because who edits what still defines its current breadth and reach.
Teach (and Learn!)
- An analysis from four U.S. professors on how Wikipedia offers different ways of thinking about knowledge production. (July 2015)
- Useful for: Academic recognition that there is no one ‘authoritative’ voice of knowledge; all knowledge is constructed through multiple perspectives.
- Information for college and university instructors in the US and Canada looking to use Wikipedia in the classroom
- Useful for: Exploring options for creating Wikipedia assignments for college-level students. Includes links to tutorials for instructors.
- Tutorials for students to learn about how to use and contribute to Wikipedia in their classroom assignments.
- Useful for: Students of an instructor using Wikipedia assignments in their classroom.
- Collection of materials for organizing Wikipedia editing events.
- Useful for: Organizers who want to run an editing event focused on marginalized knowledge.
Some entry points for thinking about the gaps and margins in Wikipedia and other repositories of knowledge online:
- What and whose knowledge should be online that isn’t yet? What do you look for and not find?
- Where does this knowledge live? In what forms?
- What and whose knowledge should not be online and why?
- Morgan, J. T., Bouterse, S., Walls, H., & Stierch, S. (2013, February). Tea and sympathy: crafting positive new user experiences on wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 839-848). ACM.
- Lam, S. T. K., Uduwage, A., Dong, Z., Sen, S., Musicant, D. R., Terveen, L., & Riedl, J. (2011, October). WP: clubhouse?: an exploration of Wikipedia's gender imbalance. In Proceedings of the 7th international symposium on Wikis and open collaboration (pp. 1-10). ACM.
- Ford, H., & Wajcman, J. (2016). ‘Anyone can edit’, not everyone does: Wikipedia and the gender gap. Social Studies of Science.
- Van der Velden, M. (2013). Decentering design: Wikipedia and indigenous knowledge. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 29(4), 308-316.