Attack on women philosophers

Saint Sophia, or Σοφία, the female personification of wisdom

Really this stuff is getting old, and it’s so commonplace I hesitate to even write about it. But since Sashi gave me a shout-out over on Proboards, I will give it a shot.

Here is the usual situation. Someone starts an article about some woman at an editathon, and some patrollers, usually some kids who don’t know anything about writing articles, decide that women can’t possibly do anything “notable” and proceed to try to delete the article.

I wrote about one such situation here, where a group of amateur patrollers decided to target a March 8 International Women’s Day editing event just because it was for women. One typical deletion discussion was at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Risa Horowitz, which pretty much sums up the arguments.

A typical sentiment:

“I would like to point out how demoralizing nominations like there are to new editors and projects like Art+Feminism, and I wonder if deleting is really the best we can do. Is it really not possible to improve articles like these?”

art feminism delection thread

Several articles were deleted several times, mostly without discussion. But the end result was that out of some 26 articles created, 25 are still blue links.

Now, to Sashi’s link. Just for reference, the article is philoSOPHIA, and the issue has now been brought to the arbitration committee for clarification.

In this particular case, I would say that first, SV is a very experienced editor, and that I would hate to find myself on the opposite side from her on anything, no matter how trivial. Second, if she has had to invoke discretionary sanctions for this, she has already lost. Many women will not edit at all except at editathons, and in particular they see Wikipedia “governance” as being rigged against them and want nothing to do with it. That there is now a “clarification request” at WP:AE is not a good sign. It is also not a good sign that Manchester regular RexxS has shown up, as well as hardcore gamergator Masim, and perennial arbcom candidate Salvadrim, also associated with gamergate-friendly sites. If this was just some random inexperienced patrollers, it could have been handled on the talk page or at AfD, but the entry of these individuals raises the stakes, as it also raises questions.

The previous tactic was to try to delete as many articles about women as possible, and if they could not be deleted, at least attach some templates to the top of them, to make them look bogus, and discredit the subject.  But there have been some new patroller tools come down the pike as part of the anti-harassment grants, so does this represent a change in tactics against the GLAM crowd?  Are the usual harassers turning back to arbcom as their traditional power base, and testing its strength and loyalty?

The situation itself is clear cut. Two individuals are edit warring. They should be stopped, but as usual, no one will stop them, because gender. They have invented a policy out of whole cloth, and should be told to start an RfC if they want this as a policy, not to try to shortcut the consensus process through arbcom, but instead they being treated like royalty, like this is already a real policy. Because there are women involved, as well as academics (a newbie with a PhD in philosophy), this has become a culture war, and the haters will be given an opportunity to drive them off.

The actual RfD policy is at WP:BEFORE:

“If there are verifiability, notability or other sourcing concerns, take reasonable steps to search for reliable sources.
“The minimum search expected is a normal Google search, a Google Books search, a Google News search, and a Google News archive search; Google Scholar is suggested for academic subjects.”

A search of Google books for “philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism” turns up a good 10 pages of references. These dudes could have added some sources. Instead, they chose to disrupt the article.

Note: still waiting for the creation of Julkaisufoorumi or rather the translation from the Finnish, which Headbomb rather petulantly insisted remain a red link. The source was quietly removed by his editwar buddy Randykitty in this mass edit.




…I realized that the English language was in need of a new addition: the manologue.

lmao.gif~c200 lmao.gif~c200 lmao.gif~c200 lmao.gif~c200lmao.gif~c200

“The prevalence of the manologue is deeply rooted in the fact that men take, and are allocated, more time to talk in almost every professional setting. Women self-censor, edit, apologize for speaking. Men expound.”


Oh, goody, statistics:

“The fact that this tendency is masculine has been well established in social science. The larger the group, the more likely men are to speak (unless it is in a social setting like a lunch break). One study, conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University and Princeton, found that when women are outnumbered, they speak for between a quarter and a third less time than the men.”

This never ends well, does it.

“Having a seat at the table is very different than having a voice.”

Different than???!?  <sigh>

Go vote now

scalesIs there anyone in the known universe who does not understand what devastation the current Arbitration Committee has brought both to Wikipedia and to the public reputation of the Wikimedia Foundation?

If you do not do your part to vote them out, then YOU are part of the problem.

Vote HERE.

The main election page is here. Please note the voting requirements–basically 150 edits before the cutoff date–and most importantly the WAY the votes are counted. You can vote support, vote oppose, or vote neutral for each candidate. A neutral vote does nothing. In order to vote strategically, you must vote to OPPOSE the candidates you do not want. This actually subtracts votes from them and gives your own candidates a double advantage.

You can study the candidate statements yourself, or you can look at Smallbones’ voting guide, specifically tailored to gender issues, which in my pinion is the single crisis facing the WP right now. His Signpost op-ed  on bullying is here.   Fuzheado also has a good list, although a bit short. Two of the candidates, Keilana and Kevin Gorman, run the gender mailing list. Two candidates, Keilana and Kirill, have had the courage to block Eric Corbett, a difficult block indeed.

Now go get three of your friends to vote.


So how’s that Gender Gap ArbCom case working out for ya?

So ArbCom fixed the woman problem on Wikipedia, right? Some men disrupted the women’s project page, so they topic banned the disruptors from the page, right?

Nope. They got rid of the ones who were complaining.

So that worked, right? No more complaints?

Unfortunately, no, because Eric Corbett.

So at least Eric Corbett is fixed?


 Attempts to get admins to actually enforce the sanctions against Eric Corbett

Three separate requests for enforcement resulted in only one 48-hour block, which did nothing to stop the disruptions that promoted the next two requests for enforcement.  The details:

Arbitration Request, January 25, 2015: request for enforcement submitted by Lightbreather, Corbett blocked for 48 hours

  • For Corbett: NE Ent, Chillum, Short Brigade Harvester Boris, Sitush, Go Phightins!, Buster Seven, Drmies, John Carter. Admins: Bishonen, HJ Mitchell
  • Against Corbett: Kudpung กุดผึ้ง. admins: NW (but phrased as a question about the topic ban), Guettarda
  • Neutral: Go Phightins! (changed statement), Delibzr, Hafspajen,

AE request, 27 January 2015, submitted by Rationalobserver, request declined.

  • For Corbett: DeCausa, MONGO, No such user, Sitush, Two kinds of pork, Montanabw, Giano, Ritchie333, EChastain, Hafspajen, Knowledgekid87, Davey2010
  • Against Corbet: Lightbreather
  • Neutral comment: Cas Liber, NE Ent, Georgewilliamherbert, GoodDay

And a nasty exchange on Corbett’s talk page

AE request, 7 February 2015: submitted by Gamaliel. Closed as stale. (diff from Feb 1 — “nearly a week”)

  • For Corbett: MONGO, Giano, admins: Chillum, DDStretch
  • Against Corbett: ChrisGualtieri (changed vote), Ironholds,
  • Neutral: admin: HJ Mitchell

Retribution attempt against Lightbreather

But the Arbcom had their chance to get back at the one user who was successful in getting Corbett’s topic ban enforced, when Lightbreather requested an interaction ban with Hell in a Bucket, and the Arbcom proposed to ban her instead. Talk about shooting the messenger, and blaming the victim.

White knight Guerillero

The money quote here is from the new kid on the block, arbitrator Guerillero:

white knight chess pieceI am strongly opposed to any restriction of LB’s ability to use the DR routes because of a flawed narrative that does not follow the presented evidence at all. Compared to EVERY OTHER PERSON we deal with at arbcom, LB has been a saint; sure she made newbie mistakes, but lets give her some credit. All of her forays into DR have been for two things. (1) To get HiaB away from her because she sees his actions as harassment. (2) Trying to get admins to actually enforce the sanctions against Eric Corbett. I find both to be noble goals. Since the motion seems to eliminate 2, the removal of her from DR pretty much allows Eric to do what he pleases; no one else seems to want to report the infringement of his topic ban to AE. By passing this, we are continuing the saddening trend of removing women from wikipedia who buck the status quo while patting men on the head who do the same thing. I don’t like this and consider it sexist. –Guerillero | My Talk 05:43, 9 February 2015 (UTC) (bolding mine)

Giano slimes

The nasty remark of the week, reverted several times, was by Giano to the new Signpost editor-in-chief, Gamaliel:

gollumNo, Gamaliel, I know exactly and precisely what vindictive means, for some reason (I don’t even want to ponder why) you are envious and resentful of Eric Corbett and want him finished here. Now that your fellow admins see what a nasty piece of work you are, they hurriedly close this ridiculous thread. Consequently, I hope you feel a compete fool because that is exactly what you are. Giano 20:53, 7 February 2015

Ironholds resurrected

The surprise of the week was the resurrection of Ironholds, who has a somewhat checkered past when it comes to gender issues, but who redeems himself a thousand-fold with several good rants on Roger Davies’ talk page:

resurrectionBut I’d ask you to look at the dispute in detail and ask yourself whether the escalation is because LB brought a meritless enforcement request, or because any enforcement request against this particular individual consistently, regardless of the person bringing it, leads to a tremendous backlash. I’m certain it’s the latter. I’d also ask whether restricting the ability of people to bring such requests is actually the solution; it’s a solution, certainly, but only in a very short-sighted way. Do the community and the committee a favour: look at Giano’s reaction on Gamaliel’s talkpage, and ask yourself three questions; is that reaction something that’s a surprise, with a sanction request against Eric? Is it something specific to the person who brought it, or the person who is a subject? Oliver KeyesAnd, as a corollary to that second question, is restricting people who bring requests really the equitable solution, here? Because to me it looks like the better approach is a motion to restrict the ability of those who consistently, inappropriately respond to sanction requests to do so. Ironholds (talk) 15:27, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

For anyone who is interested in the paper Ironholds recommends, “Towards a Feminist HCI Methodology: Social Science, Feminism, and HCI”, there is a free download here.

Sandstein proves his worth

Even the notoriously unimaginative  Sandstein was in fine form, in resisting Roger Davies’ cowardly “de minimis non curat lex” (not all rules need to be enforcedUneven_scales) theory:

Thanks for your advice concerning a ”de minimis” rule. If it is indeed the view of the Committee that violations of ArbCom decisions that are considered less severe according to some standard should ”not” result in enforcement action, then the Committee should articulate this standard explicitly. I currently work on the assumption that if you topic-ban somebody from “X, broadly construed”, this means that you expect this editor to be blocked in each and every case in which they make a X-related edit outside of the [[WP:BANEX|policy exceptions]], no matter what the circumstances may be. If that is not so, then you should tell admins which criteria they should use to decide whether or not to take action. I caution, though, that this (and any added consensus requirements) may have the effect that your sanctions against popular and well-networked users may be enforced much less effectively, if at all, than your sanctions against other editors.

Summary of arb voting

  • Support interaction ban: Gorilla Warfare, Guerillero, Courcelles
  • Proposing bans against Lightbreather: Salvio giuliano, bringing  Roger Davies and LFaraone with him against Lightbreather, then Thryduulf , who calls Lightbreather “vexatious”.
  • Adding bans against Hell in a Bucket: Courcelles, DGG
  • Other votes.  Refer back to community: Dougweller (this motion passed).  Reiterating their support for interaction ban: Thryduulf, GorillaWarfare, DGG .  Raw topic ban: Guerillero.  Something “in a package”: NativeForeigner, who voted last on everything.


So the villaindarth in this story, as well as the fly in the ointment, is Salvio–no surprise there–as well as the uncharacteristically incautious Roger Davies, who seems to have brought LFarone, Thryduulf, and probably NativeForeigner along with him, to block the i-ban proposal.  But in the end it is Davies who drags the rest of the committee back from the brink, while TParis tries to rescue Hell in a Bucket on HIAB’s talk page (his final “gift” to Wikipedia before resigning as an admin), to close the proposal with no action taken.

Arbcom and hostile work environment

[Note: this is from the anonymous letter posted at the current Arbcom gender case. The letter contains a wealth of interesting links.  One of the most interesting is the last one, on Bullying in the Workplace.]

Text of letter:

To [the] point about “hostile work environment”, the Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to building an encyclopedia. They work with other organizations and commercial services in distributing their product,[126] an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. People who build the content are volunteers, and while they may leave at any time,[127] there have been a few court rulings in the USA, whom have legal jurisdiction over the Florida incorporated Wikimedia Foundation, that explicitly demonstrate that volunteers have the same “employment” rights to be free of a hostile work environment that their paid employees have a right to.[128][129] The right to be free of a hostile work environment extends beyond the person being subjected directly to the behavior. [130] As Wikimedia has become more professionalized with students completing coursework, semi-professional editors working on community and content development as part of their employment, grants from the Wikimedia Foundation supporting work that leads to content development and community growth aimed at new content development,[131] open tolerance of harassment of women (and other groups such as people with different sexual orientations, of different nationalities, people with disabilities, etc.) is just that with increasing potential to demonstrate real damages.[132]

Beyond that, the tolerance for such behavior sends a clear and overriding message to women that they are not wanted[133] and the current advice to women of ignore has proven largely ineffective. Openly encouraging such behavior as that status quo and providing zero resource to fix it other than escalating the situation through non-functional dispute resolution processes makes Wikipedia prime for its own version of GamerGate.[134][135][136] At some point, the Wikimedia Foundation may very well find itself having to do what Adobe did.[137][138] The only reason that has not happened to date is because many of the women who have dealt with sexually based harassment, have had their employment targeted because they are female, have had their academic work targeted because they are and dealt with gender specific crap have either lacked the media resources to put the story out there, cannot take the professional risk of exposing the systemic problem or at their hearts of hearts believe so much in the movement (where editors seek to actively destroy them because they are women) that they have not willingly thrown the Wikimedia Foundation under the bus. The last part is probably the most important reason. <names redacted> are prime examples.

The tactics being employed in general on English Wikipedia towards women as a form of harassment include: Sabotaging a person’s contribution, Post complaint retaliation, name calling, threatening punishment, Interfering with employment, Boasting of own success and proficiency with the intention of using this success as a weapon. For all of these, the research has shown that males are much more likely to engaged in these forms of harassment.[139] The type of harassment given to males is markedly different, and the type of harassment women are more likely to engage in compared to males is markedly different. English Wikipedia provides a format where male specific harassment techniques are much easier to do, and do effectively. Given the already large male participation numbers in pure percentages, … Go back to hostile work environment.