What does Wikipedia mean to me?

On facebook I got triggered by a question of one of the many Wikigroups; What means Wikipedia to you? I tried to write an answer, but got lost in all the different pages so now I’ll put it into my first English written blogpost, since I’ve got many international jewellery- and Wikimediafriends.

Answering the question: in the beginning it was big fun and a great learning experience: editing on Dutch Wikipedia. I learned a lot about editing and expanded my knowledge about contemporary jewellery by writing new articles about (Dutch) artists, galleries and museums. After 1 1/2 year (and more than 100 new articles) though I quit editing because of lack of support in the community. Around the 8th of March this year most of my edits got reverted by a small group of misogyn editors (and the community told me that I’m not allowed to mention their usernames out in the open, which I think is absurd and since I feel I’ve got nothing to lose I’d love to mention them anew: Agora, EvilFred and Paul Brussel are my main bullies) who didn’t want to stop to accuse me of promotional writing, paid editing, namedropping, etc. Lists of exhibitions, (museum) collections and publications got constantly ánd instantly removed by this small group of editors -not revealing their identity or interest but having somehow a lot of influence- because the lists were irrelevant to them. I tried to convince them to preserve these lists, but my arguments were ridiculed or left unread.

As a result I recommend new editors to withdraw from telling who they are and who they are working for. I was open about it but I regret. I think that the two sentences written before this one are pretty perverse ones for an open source community like Wikimedia. What exactly means open source? Which sources have to be open? How come that everything is open and shareable but the identity and the intentions of editors? Who can confirm that my unidentified bullies aren’t politically driven for example to cut budgets for the arts? My joy in editing and sharing got seriously harmed and I decided to stop defending my edits on Wikipedia.

In live gatherings of the Wikimedia community I got a lot of attention and moral support but online nobody is motivated to help me but incidentally which is not enough. Life offers more attractive occupations than fighting against or argumenting with reactionary smug editors operating with nicknames like Evilfred. My life, fortunately, offers more attractive opportunities than fighting trolls on the net. I love to state therefor that Wikipedia content is mainly generated by dominant arrogant smug editors.

So, what does Wikipedia mean to me? It could be very nice and educative, but since I experienced that it is very male dominated (take a look for example at the shirtsponsors of FC Barcelona, very educative and not commercial at all) and after a lot of struggle I feel unable to defend the preservation of my contributions; I feel disappointed and rejected. And I am very sorry to give up struggling against these misogynists in this digital area.

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3 thoughts on “What does Wikipedia mean to me?

  1. Raul Veede schreef:

    Honestly, this sucks. 😦
    I’ve been a Wikipedian for more than 11 years now and I still have hard time resisting the urge to come back because I love the idea. I just can’t stand some people.
    I’d like to think I’m a tough one, and probably most trolls wouldn’t even dare to mess with me. I’m a wikievangelist, active on the international level, writing in media, a PR professional. I speak my mind and if someone doesn’t like it, too bad for them. I’m also an internationally recognized cynic.
    Still, I’m just too tired to keep fighting with people who contest my each move with no comprehension of the actual policies on Wikipedia, the concept of social responsibility, or encyclopedic style. There are many cool and smart people, yet sometimes I feel like a dragon amongst an army of tiny stupid goblins – it is easier to give up and fly away.

    Like

  2. connie schreef:

    Good article! My wikitroll is magere hein. He has an appetite for fresh blood!

    Like

  3. Wim de Natris schreef:

    Hi Esther,
    I read your article after reading your personal page. Sorry to hear about your experiences on Wikipedia. Your friend, who you brought on a registratorenborrel earlier this year, alleady warned me about this. As an active military historian I can imagine what kind of male culture you are put up with. At this moment I haven’t contributed to Wikipedia yet, but I plan to do so in the near future. Maybe I’ll contribute to Wikidata with one or more lists of military monuments, I have to admit. Nice to see with AIN in the IISH. Hope to see you soon in a future registratorenborrel.
    Kind regards,
    Wim

    Like

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