Once a year, Wikipedia’ arbitration committee invites the frat boyz of Wikipedia to think of new excuses to hurl degrading language at women. This year it’s the “Block of Eric Corbett” case, renamed “Use of external websites block/unblock of Eric Corbett”, renamed “Vested contributors”, renamed “Arbitration enforcement 2“. I think they have a winner in that last selection. It’s unlikely to attract more media attention than the case is going to get anyway, although I would dearly love to see them define a “vested contributor”, and spell out exactly how many edits–and on whose talk page–I would need in order to, say, drop the n-bomb, or indulge in a little climate change denial.
The case itself is not about the c-bomb, it is about Corbett’s constant whining about the gender gap, something like the gender equivalent of holocaust denial. But it will be interpreted as an explicit invitation to discuss, yet again, the “cultural” meaning of the c-word, the meaning of the meaning, and the meaning of the meaning of the meaning. And to deny that the word “cunt” has anything whatsoever to do with the female reproductive system, or is being used–intentionally– to drive women off Wikipedia.
So how are the frat boyz doing so far?
- The arbcom case has not even been open for 12 hours, but already it has collected 15 instances of the c-word.
- Wikipediocracy has generated 21 instances of the word in the last 3 hours alone. Hmm, maybe I should save that page.
- Even the normally staid Signpost is not immune. They have garnered six instances of the usage in the comment section of the latest editorial.
Even more disturbing is the discussion on Jimbo’s talk page where the lone woman arbitrator is goaded into posting a true confession listing all the ways in which she has been humiliated as a woman as a result of participating in Wikipedia. There are any number of people who want to see women who participate in public discussion be given a comeuppance. I’ll bet the people who provoked that one are lapping it up with a spoon. This sets a horrible precedent, that any woman participating in Wikipedia must now list her personal humiliations if she wants to assert that the gender gap really exists.
One of the more unexpected and disappointing statements was that made by New York Brad, who does not find anything inflammatory about claiming Wikipedia doesn’t have a gender problem. Would he find someone who continually whined about Jews or homophobia to be equally non-inflammatory? I don’t think we need anyone to tell us that those kinds of statements would be immediately suppressed. In case NYB needs some help figuring this out, these dismissive statements about gender are horribly divisive, and have split the Wikipedia community, as well as caused continuing negative publicity for the WMF. What part of “sexist bullshit” does Ira not understand? Ah, but who is Ira to listen to mere women, when he can figure it out all by himself, and mansplain it to the rest of us.
Gentlemen, start your zippers.