Category Archives: Toxic culture

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.