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Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists 
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New York Times (op ed): Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
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I JUST noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too.

The intention appears to be to create a list of “American Novelists” on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men. The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men. The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of “American Novelists” is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible.

Too bad there isn’t a subcategory for “American Men Novelists.”


Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:26 pm
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At CfD.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:41 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
I am reminded of the time Guy Chapman declared that there were no significant female opera composers, by authority of none being in his personal collection. All while he was diddling the WP articles about "big bust" adult actresses and models.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:45 pm WWW
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Moonage Daydream wrote:
New York Times (op ed): Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Quote:
I JUST noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too.

The intention appears to be to create a list of “American Novelists” on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men. The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men. The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of “American Novelists” is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible.

Too bad there isn’t a subcategory for “American Men Novelists.”


The NYT people don't get it. Women writers, like Jews and homosexuals, are considered "special snowflakes" in Wikipedia's category culture; therefore they get their own subcategories in celebration of their specialness.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:22 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Also covered in:

The Guardian: Wikipedia bumps women from 'American novelists' category
The Daily Dot: Wikipedia's list of American novelists leaves women out to dry
Huffington Post: Women Novelists Wikipedia: Female Authors Absent From Site's 'American Novelists' Page?

Discussion on Jimbo's talk.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:24 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Mr. Wales was positively... astonished! How could this be happening in our special little loving and thoughtful community, he wailed.
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WTF?
This and this astonish me and my first instinct is that surely these stories are wrong in some important way. Can someone update me on where I can read the community conversation about this? Did it happen? How did it happen?--[[User:Jimbo Wales|Jimbo Wales]] ([[User talk:Jimbo Wales#top|talk]]) 17:13, 25 April 2013 (UTC)


Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:14 pm
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thekohser wrote:
I am reminded of the time Guy Chapman declared that there were no significant female opera composers, by authority of none being in his personal collection. All while he was diddling the WP articles about "big bust" adult actresses and models.

Yes, that was hilarious. It is the only time I can recall when they did the sensible thing and brought in experts to solve a dispute. Mind you, I don't think we know who they were, still less what qualifications they had.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Comment from Wikipedian Liz Henry at bookmaniac.org: Journalists don’t understand Wikipedia sometimes
Quote:
This morning I saw some pissed-off twitters that led me to articles about Wikipedia’s sexist bias. Always up for a little early morning smash-the-patriarchy outrage, and well aware of some of the clusterfucks that often play out in Wikipedia admin pages, I forged onwards and read the articles, flaring my nostrils in anticipation. In Wikpedia’s sexism towards female novelists Amanda Filippachi points out that many women tagged with Category: American women novelists aren’t tagged with Category: American novelists. She named several examples. Katie Mcdonough from Salon picked up on this, with Wikipedia moves women to American Women Novelists Category Leaves Men in American Novelists.

Even the most cursory googling shows that this is not a very accurate spin. [...]


She claims there was no systematic move to put women into a separate category. It looks like she is wrong though: in this discussion people are pointing out that a single editor, Johnpacklambert (T-C-L), made thousands of edits reclassifying biographies.
Quote:
It really does seem to have been an attempt at a systematic purge; see below about user Johnpacklambert. Here's an example from the history for Kay Boyle: "00:04, 12 April 2013‎ Johnpacklambert (talk | contribs)‎ . . (11,416 bytes) (+6)‎ . . (removed Category:American novelists; added Category:American women novelists using HotCat)". Note too that on the American women novelists page, there are a lot of authors listed with last names starting with A and B, but very few for most other letters; it appears that Johnpacklambert started going through alphabetically but didn't finish. --Elysdir (talk) 17:50, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

[...]

It's worth noting that a single user, Johnpacklambert is responsible for the vast majority of these edits. He has made thousands of edits, removing African Americans from the category "American Television Actors", and erroneously placing female authors of young adult fiction into the American Girl Authors category (intended for books in the American Girl series). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.9.227.42 (talk) 16:18, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

This is not a list, this is a category. Categories containt their sub-categories. Categories are not meant just to list things, but to group them in useable ways. It is unhelpful to put articles in too many categories, thus in general if we put articles in a gender-specific sub-category we do not in the main category. We do not put people in Category:American women writers in Category:American writers. The better solution to this issue is to put people in genre-specific sub-cats of Category:American novelists as well as in gender-specific sub-cats.John Pack Lambert (talk) 17:59, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Do you support gender-specific sub-cats for men and women writers, or just for women? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:02, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I have no problem with gender specific categories for men. I am the person who created Category:American male actors which has been fought against by some people who actually support Category:American actresses.John Pack Lambert (talk) 18:20, 25 April 2013 (UTC)


Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:36 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
Comment from Wikipedian Liz Henry at bookmaniac.org: Journalists don’t understand Wikipedia sometimes
Quote:
This morning I saw some pissed-off twitters that led me to articles about Wikipedia’s sexist bias. Always up for a little early morning smash-the-patriarchy outrage, and well aware of some of the clusterfucks that often play out in Wikipedia admin pages, I forged onwards and read the articles, flaring my nostrils in anticipation. In Wikpedia’s sexism towards female novelists Amanda Filippachi points out that many women tagged with Category: American women novelists aren’t tagged with Category: American novelists. She named several examples. Katie Mcdonough from Salon picked up on this, with Wikipedia moves women to American Women Novelists Category Leaves Men in American Novelists.

Even the most cursory googling shows that this is not a very accurate spin. [...]


She claims there was no systematic move to put women into a separate category. It looks like she is wrong though: in this discussion people are pointing out that a single editor, Johnpacklambert (T-C-L), made thousands of edits reclassifying biographies.
Quote:
It really does seem to have been an attempt at a systematic purge; see below about user Johnpacklambert. Here's an example from the history for Kay Boyle: "00:04, 12 April 2013‎ Johnpacklambert (talk | contribs)‎ . . (11,416 bytes) (+6)‎ . . (removed Category:American novelists; added Category:American women novelists using HotCat)". Note too that on the American women novelists page, there are a lot of authors listed with last names starting with A and B, but very few for most other letters; it appears that Johnpacklambert started going through alphabetically but didn't finish. --Elysdir (talk) 17:50, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

[...]

It's worth noting that a single user, Johnpacklambert is responsible for the vast majority of these edits. He has made thousands of edits, removing African Americans from the category "American Television Actors", and erroneously placing female authors of young adult fiction into the American Girl Authors category (intended for books in the American Girl series). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.9.227.42 (talk) 16:18, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

This is not a list, this is a category. Categories containt their sub-categories. Categories are not meant just to list things, but to group them in useable ways. It is unhelpful to put articles in too many categories, thus in general if we put articles in a gender-specific sub-category we do not in the main category. We do not put people in Category:American women writers in Category:American writers. The better solution to this issue is to put people in genre-specific sub-cats of Category:American novelists as well as in gender-specific sub-cats.John Pack Lambert (talk) 17:59, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Do you support gender-specific sub-cats for men and women writers, or just for women? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:02, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I have no problem with gender specific categories for men. I am the person who created Category:American male actors which has been fought against by some people who actually support Category:American actresses.John Pack Lambert (talk) 18:20, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Johnpacklambert is likely to end up being the scapegoat for this, although he was just doing what is common practice on WP. The whole "subcategories are included in the main category" argument is nonsense. If a person is categorized as belonging to "women cyclists" their article doesn't show them as a "cyclist", it shows them as a "women cyclists".


Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:44 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Moonage Daydream wrote:
The whole "subcategories are included in the main category" argument is nonsense. If a person is categorized as belonging to "women cyclists" their article doesn't show them as a "cyclist", it shows them as a "women cyclists".

For that matter, using the category "American novelist" means that the article doesn't show them as a "Novelist". Are all subcategories wrong?

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:49 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
She claims there was no systematic move to put women into a separate category. It looks like she is wrong though: in this discussion people are pointing out that a single editor, Johnpacklambert (T-C-L), made thousands of edits reclassifying biographies.
Quote:
It really does seem to have been an attempt at a systematic purge; see below about user Johnpacklambert.


Ah yes, our resident category nerd. It's exceedingly obvious that he created this because Category:Women novelists by nationality (T-H-L) exists and therefore implies "diffusion" (i.e. moving out of main cat into the subcat) of female American novelists. The only solution that has a hope of making everybody happy that also follows the "not in both cat and subcat" rule is to get rid of the entire "female novelists by nationality" tree and keep the "women writers by nationality" tree.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:54 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Moonage Daydream wrote:
Johnpacklambert is likely to end up being the scapegoat for this, although he was just doing what is common practice on WP. The whole "subcategories are included in the main category" argument is nonsense. If a person is categorized as belonging to "women cyclists" their article doesn't show them as a "cyclist", it shows them as a "women cyclists".

Well, he has a journalist knocking on his door on his talk page. I agree that there is a risk that he will become the scapegoat – the kind of story we had a few months back, about the editor who kept mentions of global warming out of a hurricane article.

This would indeed be a disservice, as the problem is generic in Wikipedia's categorisation system, and he is just doing what the majority of editors are doing.

Deli nk (T-C-L) on Jimmy Wales's talk page has it right:
Quote:
Having a main category for an occupation and a subcategory for women with that occupation is the standard around here. It's everywhere in Category:People by occupation/Category:Women by occupation such as Category:Composers/Category:Women composers, Category:Scientists/Category:Women scientists to name just two. Deli nk (talk) 17:44, 25 April 2013 (UTC)


Same with race. Caucasians usually go into the default category, and everybody else into their subcategory. I used to argue about this on Wikipedia until I realised it was hopeless, and a waste of time.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:54 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
Moonage Daydream wrote:
Johnpacklambert is likely to end up being the scapegoat for this, although he was just doing what is common practice on WP. The whole "subcategories are included in the main category" argument is nonsense. If a person is categorized as belonging to "women cyclists" their article doesn't show them as a "cyclist", it shows them as a "women cyclists".

Well, he has a journalist knocking on his door on his talk page. I agree that there is a risk that he will become the scapegoat – the kind of story we had a few months back, about the editor who kept mentions of global warming out of a hurricane article.

This would indeed be a disservice, as the problem is generic in Wikipedia's categorisation system, and he is just doing what the majority of editors are doing.


if he actually did re-categorize thousands of women, he seems less like a scapegoat and more like the responsible party.

is there a good discussion on Wikipedia of why categories function this way? Right now, only the terminal subcategory is displayed on the bottom of any given Wikipedia page. If they are intended to function as Johnpacklambert seems to think, shouldn't all the inclusive categories be listed as well? Wouldn't this serve the readers? What exactly is the function of categories supposed to be, given that there are (often more-informative) "List" pages available for most of the items included in categories? If it's for some machine-processing purposes, why are the categories printed at the bottom of each page?


Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:13 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
dgolumbia wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
Moonage Daydream wrote:
Johnpacklambert is likely to end up being the scapegoat for this, although he was just doing what is common practice on WP. The whole "subcategories are included in the main category" argument is nonsense. If a person is categorized as belonging to "women cyclists" their article doesn't show them as a "cyclist", it shows them as a "women cyclists".

Well, he has a journalist knocking on his door on his talk page. I agree that there is a risk that he will become the scapegoat – the kind of story we had a few months back, about the editor who kept mentions of global warming out of a hurricane article.

This would indeed be a disservice, as the problem is generic in Wikipedia's categorisation system, and he is just doing what the majority of editors are doing.


if he actually did re-categorize thousands of women, he seems less like a scapegoat and more like the responsible party.

Check out this discussion about "Category:Female accountants" from a few years back.
Quote:
Nominators rationale this category seems to run afoul of WP:Cat/gender. There does not seem to be well established discussions of the roles of women in accounting.John Pack Lambert (talk) 03:59, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

That category was kept, despite JPL's rationale. Still want to blame him?


Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:27 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Categories can be used as a taxonomy. For example to organise species. In which case you'd probably want each article to appear in the leaf category and you wouldn't want ever species of Coleoptera to occur at the Coleoptera level of the taxonomy. That is one way to use categories, but it requires a lot of upfront decision making and development. Not something that wikipedia is any good at doing. Outside of some predetermined classifications the application of categories is haphazard.

What one can say though is that on wikipedia rules are rules, so if you have a rule that things should live in the leaf categories and not in the parent categories then that is where they live, and if some one creates a new leaf category then those items that were in the 'now-parent' category get shuffled out. Because rules are rules, and heaven forfend that anyone applies any logic to what they are doing. If one could find a six fingered, one eyed, lesbian, American author then that would also be the most appropriate ghetto category they should be placed in.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
The sane thing is to do away with all these "African-American writers", "Women writers" etc. categories whereby everyone who is not a Caucasian male ends up in some ghetto category.

Instead, categorise people as "Writers", "Men/Women", "African-Americans/Caucasians/..." and create a categorisation system that enables people to search for intersections of "writer" and "women" and "African-American" if they want to look up African-American women writers.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
DanMurphy wrote:
Mr. Wales was positively... astonished! How could this be happening in our special little loving and thoughtful community, he wailed.
Quote:
WTF? ... Can someone update me on where I can read the community conversation about this? Did it happen? How did it happen?--[[User:Jimbo Wales|Jimbo Wales]] ([[User talk:Jimbo Wales#top|talk]]) 17:13, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo, you're a lazy sack of shit. How fucking hard is it to dig through the history yourself.

Moonage Daydream wrote:
Johnpacklambert is likely to end up being the scapegoat for this, although he was just doing what is common practice on WP. The whole "subcategories are included in the main category" argument is nonsense. If a person is categorized as belonging to "women cyclists" their article doesn't show them as a "cyclist", it shows them as a "women cyclists".

Category churning is a time honored method of inflating editcounts. When Cyde's category bot broke a million edits, he made a press-release on some administrator's noticeboard somewhere.


Last edited by TungstenCarbide on Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:43 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Moonage Daydream wrote:
Quote:
Nominators rationale this category seems to run afoul of WP:Cat/gender. There does not seem to be well established discussions of the roles of women in accounting.John Pack Lambert (talk) 03:59, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

That category was kept, despite JPL's rationale. Still want to blame him?


That makes me want to blame him more. I think he has a bug up his butt. We may be coming at this from different political vantage points.

lilburne wrote:
Categories can be used as a taxonomy. For example to organise species. In which case you'd probably want each article to appear in the leaf category and you wouldn't want ever species of Coleoptera to occur at the Coleoptera level of the taxonomy. That is one way to use categories, but it requires a lot of upfront decision making and development. Not something that wikipedia is any good at doing. Outside of some predetermined classifications the application of categories is haphazard.

What one can say though is that on wikipedia rules are rules, so if you have a rule that things should live in the leaf categories and not in the parent categories then that is where they live, and if some one creates a new leaf category then those items that were in the 'now-parent' category get shuffled out. Because rules are rules, and heaven forfend that anyone applies any logic to what they are doing. If one could find a six fingered, one eyed, lesbian, American author then that would also be the most appropriate ghetto category they should be placed in.


Actually, to answer my own question, I started perusing the relevant pages, esp this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Categorization

It's a guideline, not a rule, and as we all know that's an important distinction.

If I understand the logic of subcategorization being applied, US Women Novelists are in US Novelists. The question that remains may be one of display: why don't subcategorized elements show up on the main category pages, and why don't top-level categories show up in page footers. That is, John Pack Lambert was actually not taking women out of "US Novelists," but because of display issues it appeared that he was doing so.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:44 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
The sane thing is to do away with all these "African-American writers", "Women writers" etc. categories whereby everyone who is not a Caucasian male ends up in some ghetto category.


Well, that's exactly the thing: all this categorization exists because writing or doing science or accountancy or whatever is special when members of these special subgroups do it. You can look at the various attempts to get rid of them (which always fail) and see that the thinking is that it's boring when straight white men do something, and worthy of note when women or gays or whatever do it. They don't think of these categories as ghettos; they think of them as elite subgroups.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:59 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
You'll find that editors on wikipedia have great difficulty distinguishing guidelines from rules 'that must be obeyed'. The issue may be one of display but equally it could be that the gender categorisation is being made at two high a level as there is no binomial split of authors based on gender at the American level. But the same occurs at all these categorisations, the dominate group gets left at the top and the minorities get split off into their appropriate ghettos. Usually by a member of the minority themselves.

That wikipedia is half crazed in terms of its editors, its rules/guidelines, its display, and everything else about it is probably, to we connoisseurs of the absurd, its main charm.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:04 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
The root of the problem is actually software. It would make more sense to organize the categories as a sort of attribute system, so that a lesbian novelist from Baltimore would get tagged under "lesbian", "novelist", and "Baltimore", and there would be a roll-up system that could figure that Baltimore is in Maryland and thus in the USA, that lesbians are female, and that novelists are writers. I think you could probably get that roll-up out of the attributes themselves. Then you could present a category by looking for matching tags and moving up and down the roll-up hierarchy. As it is we have the "triple intersection" rule to keep people from multiplying categories "too much".

I also have to say that the politics of special snowflakedom get on my nerves. The people who are complaining about this segregation really also probably think that women writers are special people.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:16 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Readers new to this site please note that there is more on Wikipedia's inherent sexism in the following blog posts on our main page:

* Wikipedia: Men and Children First
* A feminist's Wikipedia biography


Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:21 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
The sane thing is to do away with all these "African-American writers", "Women writers" etc. categories whereby everyone who is not a Caucasian male ends up in some ghetto category.

Instead, categorise people as "Writers", "Men/Women", "African-Americans/Caucasians/..." and create a categorisation system that enables people to search for intersections of "writer" and "women" and "African-American" if they want to look up African-American women writers.


That was the vision of Semantic Mediawiki -- to apply the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to wikis. Jimbo pretty much shit-canned that idea, although he now lies to deny that.

Does this sound like a guy who would support Semantic Mediawiki?
Quote:
So for a long time I used to say about semantic web that it sounded neat, but I don’t understand it. And to go a little deeper than that, what I’ve found is every time I would start trying to learn something about the semantic web, I would end up reading these sort of very long, dry, abstract, theoretical policy documents that I felt were unrealistic and didn’t tell me what I’m supposed to do.

...I’m a little skeptical of a lot of things in this area. I know there’re a lot of people who’re working on natural language processing, and semantic search. And for right now, I haven’t seen anything particularly useful about that. ...keyword-based searching where the machine doesn’t even attempt to understand what the document is about, actually works pretty well. And it, you know, having the ability for a machine to read a document and understand it in some vague sense doesn’t seem to be particularly helpful for most of the real problems that we face in search. So at least for right now, given that the technology’s very limited in scope, I just don’t see it.


Why does he have to constantly lie about everything?

Not enough evidence for you? Try this:
Quote:
For starters, finding content on Wikipedia is quite easy, he said. "I find that search at Wikipedia works perfectly fine." Plus, indexing Wikipedia content doesn't pose a major challenge, Wales said.

When Powerset unveiled a test version of its much-awaited semantic search engine last month, Wikipedia played a major role in the marketing push as one of only two Web sites included in the index.

While acknowledging that the scope of its index was extremely limited, Powerset executives said that the engine's ability to -- in their view -- improve Wikipedia search reflects what it will do later for Web search in general.

Wales isn't convinced.

"It's really hard to judge right now [the quality of Powerset's engine] because searching Wikipedia is a pretty easy thing to do. It doesn't present much of a challenge. Wikipedia isn't a very large data set and it's a pretty simple thing to do, to index Wikipedia," Wales said. "So whether their approach is going to be useful on a bigger data set [is hard to tell]."

It will be interesting to see how Powerset's technology evolves, said Wales, but he added that he isn't sold on semantic search technology in general. "I haven't been very persuaded so far by what I've seen about the semantic approach. At least so far, I'm not that interested in it," he said.


Once again, Jimbo. You are a perpetual lying machine.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Ming wrote:
The root of the problem is actually software. It would make more sense to organize the categories as a sort of attribute system, so that a lesbian novelist from Baltimore would get tagged under "lesbian", "novelist", and "Baltimore", and there would be a roll-up system that could figure that Baltimore is in Maryland and thus in the USA, that lesbians are female, and that novelists are writers. I think you could probably get that roll-up out of the attributes themselves. Then you could present a category by looking for matching tags and moving up and down the roll-up hierarchy. As it is we have the "triple intersection" rule to keep people from multiplying categories "too much".

Attributing this to software is missing the point. Categories have always worked like this and always been deficient in the same way. The fact is, the culture of WP is such that it has never been a problem that you have these situations. It has never been a problem that someone has a category "female accountants" and not "accountants" even though that's what a man's article would have. In fact moving things into subcategories is a time honored activity. The culture of WP is messed up, not the software.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
The sane thing is to do away with all these "African-American writers", "Women writers" etc. categories whereby everyone who is not a Caucasian male ends up in some ghetto category.

Instead, categorise people as "Writers", "Men/Women", "African-Americans/Caucasians/..." and create a categorisation system that enables people to search for intersections of "writer" and "women" and "African-American" if they want to look up African-American women writers.


There are European-American categories of varying purposes and many Male x categories. It is not as simplistic as you or those media reports suggest.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
You folks haven't been watching the Mormon article disputes. Lambert is usually in the middle of them, fighting with people over bios of obscure
Mormon personalities he created (see his talkpage for some examples that were deleted) and fighting over the absurd, usually-incoherent
First Vision (T-H-L) pile of crap. He has a classic, 19th century Mormon view of women's roles in society. One could probably make a
good case that he is acting on behalf of the LDS church, since they are institutionally sexist, not to mention homophobic. (I'll let you find his
editing in that area.)

And of course, because Wikipedia cannot decide on rules for categories, Lambert had an opportunity, and took it. You will also note that Lambert
is keeping a low profile in the midst of all this squawking, except for some half-hearted objections on the CFD.
He's done a LOT of category grinding like this.
Quote:
Comment Are John Pack Lambert's personal Mormon beliefs getting in the way of his gender neutrality? Looking at his edits, he seems to be a repeat offender when it comes to ghettoizing women into secondary, separate, and implied-to-be-lesser categories. Editors must be impartial and this is disturbing.Claudelemonde (talk) 23:07, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

I suspect the insider class will throw him to the media wolves, and pretend none of it was their fault.

I'm adding this to our Misogyny article, which is ever-growing.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
When I saw he was Mormon I figured it was only a matter of time before accusations of sexist bigotry gave way to acts of religious bigotry. Looking at his talk page did show that he has created many categories grouping men by occupation as well. As was noted above, he has also opposed female splits on the basis of the difference in gender not being significant. Doesn't seem "sexist" to me.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Ming wrote:
Moonage Daydream wrote:
New York Times (op ed): Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Quote:
I JUST noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too.

The intention appears to be to create a list of “American Novelists” on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men. The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men. The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of “American Novelists” is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible.

Too bad there isn’t a subcategory for “American Men Novelists.”


The NYT people don't get it. Women writers, like Jews and homosexuals, are considered "special snowflakes" in Wikipedia's category culture; therefore they get their own subcategories in celebration of their specialness.


Ever hear of "Women's Studies," "Jewish Studies," "Gender Studies," "African-American Studies," "Ethnic Studies," etc.??? These are legitimate academically-driven parsings of larger universal sets. There is absolutely not a single fucking thing wrong about sub-dividing subjects along parallel lines, so long as inclusion in the smaller specialist list Group A does not rule out inclusion in the larger universal set Group B.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Did no one else see the massive bruhaha over the 'female actresses' catagories and their deletion/recreation/deletion etc? (I have lost track of the current situation)


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Randy from Boise wrote:
Ever hear of "Women's Studies," "Jewish Studies," "Gender Studies," "African-American Studies," "Ethnic Studies," etc.??? These are legitimate academically-driven parsings of larger universal sets. There is absolutely not a single fucking thing wrong about sub-dividing subjects along parallel lines, so long as inclusion in the smaller specialist list Group A does not rule out inclusion in the larger universal set Group B.

RfB



This isn't an X studies thing. Its a fucked up wikipedia thing. There is nothing wrong with subdividing the categories any competent system would do that, but they would do it from the get-go, or move everything into the split cats in parallel. But that isn't how WP works you have 1 of the tribe move a section into a cat leaving the rest in place. This, combined with the screwed up software handling cats, ghettoises a section of general group leaving the rest in place. In this instance the sub-categorisation split of American authors based on gender, doesn't help me search for female crime writers for example. In order to do that you'd need to split by genre and then sub split by gender and now what is lost is the general categorisation, one cannot easily get the list of female authors. Gender isn't a category its some other piece of meta data that can be applied to an individual, we don't sub-divide plant genres into male and female.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
A proper search would fix most of the issues. Being able to select (even if just tickbox) 'Catagory female' 'author' 'crime' would work.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
thekohser wrote:
That was the vision of Semantic Mediawiki -- to apply the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to wikis. Jimbo pretty much shit-canned that idea, although he now lies to deny that.

Which made me intensely sad, because the Semantic Web and RDF is my interest area. It's exactly what the project needs. Our category tree is a joke, because you can't force all of existence into a tree structure.

To take an example from the current discussion:

American women novelists < Women writers by nationality < Literature by nationality < Humanities < Academic disciplines < Academia < Knowledge < Thought < Mental processes < Cognitive sciences < Scientific disciplines < Science.

So American women novelists are forms of literature, humanities, mental processes and scientific disciplines. Not to mention the fact that Science itself is categorized as Academic disciplines, so we hit a category loop. And that's just one path I picked at random.

In case anyone here isn't familiar with the idea behind the Semantic Web, it's that you define the meaning of things in terms of their properties. The ontologies (Ontology (information science) (T-H-L)) that you write to define these properties, all interlock and provide logical rule sets for software agents to internalize when processing data.

The Resource Description Framework (T-H-L) lets you define information in "triples", which is to say subject-predicate-object. Importantly, as well as indicating set membership - essentially the only available predicate in Wikipedia's antiquated category system (invented by Stan Silver on WikiWikiWeb in 1997) - RDF allows you to specify, among many other things, disjointness. A "writer" is a subclass of "human being", which is a subclass of "spatial things"; an "academic discipline" is a subclass of "non-spatial things"; and never the twain shall meet, because in the ontology that defines "things", while both spatial and non-spatial things are subclasses of the generic ultimate "thing", they're defined as being disjunct from each other. You can define any kind of relationships you want, going forwards and backwards. WasWrittenBy could be a rule for a Book; a Book could have multiple WasWrittenBys; the object of a WasWrittenBy could be restricted to an Author, which is a type of Person, etc. While ultimately understanding the meaning of the relationships is something that only humans can do, the rules you write for them mean that software can produce a network of knowledge, which allows you to perform complex queries upon it.

Unless Wikipedia takes this route, the category system will never be anything more than a weak system of signposts for casual browsers and maintenance robots.

</rant>

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:34 am WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
thekohser wrote:
Quote:
It will be interesting to see how Powerset's technology evolves, said Wales, but he added that he isn't sold on semantic search technology in general. "I haven't been very persuaded so far by what I've seen about the semantic approach. At least so far, I'm not that interested in it," he said.


Once again, Jimbo. You are a perpetual lying machine.

That article continues "...Wales this week unveiled the latest version of Wikia Search..." - little surprise that Jimbo wasn't "persuaded" when he had a commercial interest in a competing technology (although describing Wikia Search as a "technology" is generous in the extreme). Perhaps now that's been dead and buried for a long time he'll start singing a different tune?

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:53 am WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Hex wrote:
thekohser wrote:
Quote:
It will be interesting to see how Powerset's technology evolves, said Wales, but he added that he isn't sold on semantic search technology in general. "I haven't been very persuaded so far by what I've seen about the semantic approach. At least so far, I'm not that interested in it," he said.


Once again, Jimbo. You are a perpetual lying machine.

That article continues "...Wales this week unveiled the latest version of Wikia Search..." - little surprise that Jimbo wasn't "persuaded" when he had a commercial interest in a competing technology (although describing Wikia Search as a "technology" is generous in the extreme). Perhaps now that's been dead and buried for a long time he'll start singing a different tune?

I think you mean the same tune, since Jimbo obviously supported the semantic web from the beginning after thinking thoughtfully about it.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Hex wrote:
thekohser wrote:
That was the vision of Semantic Mediawiki -- to apply the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to wikis. Jimbo pretty much shit-canned that idea, although he now lies to deny that.

Which made me intensely sad, because the Semantic Web and RDF is my interest area. It's exactly what the project needs. Our category tree is a joke, because you can't force all of existence into a tree structure.

To take an example from the current discussion:

American women novelists < Women writers by nationality < Literature by nationality < Humanities < Academic disciplines < Academia < Knowledge < Thought < Mental processes < Cognitive sciences < Scientific disciplines < Science.

So American women novelists are forms of literature, humanities, mental processes and scientific disciplines. Not to mention the fact that Science itself is categorized as Academic disciplines, so we hit a category loop. And that's just one path I picked at random.
The category tree is a haphazardly constructed, and constantly shifting, mess. John Pack Lambert told me today that an author classified under "American women novelists" should not be in "American novelists" because she was already categorised among "American romantic fiction writers", which, like "American women novelists", is (presently) a subcategory of "American novelists". So, being in the subcategory, she should not also be in the top category.

But how is that transparent to readers, who see a label "American women novelists" but no label "American novelists"? That's what happens when your odd-shaped castle in the sky becomes more real to you than the real world out there, when the piecemeal pursuit of logic becomes pure masturbation, given that the category system as a whole is devoid of consistent logic.

Maya Angelou (T-H-L) is surely an American poet. Yet in Wikipedia's featured article on her, she is categorised among "American women poets" and "African-American women poets" (the latter of course a subcategory of "American women poets" ...). According to the logic espoused by John Pack Lambert, she should only be in "African-American women poets", i.e. a double ghetto twice removed from the main category, "American poets", populated by such luminaries as Walt Whitman (T-H-L).

The whole thing is such a mess. Always edit-warred over by gnomes who undo each other's categorisations all the time and love nothing more than messing about with the mess, recategorising categories and adding and deleting categories to articles. The whole thing should be scrapped.

Attributes should not be combined in category definitions. Applicable attributes should be applied singly. Combining them should be done by the search function, according to the user's query definition, e.g. "African-American" + "Women" + "Poets".


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
lilburne wrote:
You'll find that editors on wikipedia have great difficulty distinguishing guidelines from rules 'that must be obeyed'.

Very true, and probably worth a separate discussion sometime. Sometimes you even see people violating WP:NOR in the interests of following a guideline.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Anroth wrote:
A proper search would fix most of the issues. Being able to select (even if just tickbox) 'Catagory female' 'author' 'crime' would work.



Quite possibly but note that one has separate category trees here.

o - Gender
o - Occupation
o - Genre

And then an intersection of the three sets to give you the set (Female, Author, Crime) which has to be a more robust grouping then any category 'authors-by-gender-by-genre' would ever be.

At the root of this is the fact that encyclopaedic categorisation is a job for experts, not something that a bunch of yahoos of the street can cobble together (is it any wonder the twats put taxonomy up for deletion), but that is what happens with WP.

As a side issue what is all this fucking about with renaming categories where the bloody fools are deleting one category from an article and replacing it with a similarly named one? Surely this should be a one hit database update not 1000s of individual edits undertaken by drones.

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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
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At the root of this is the fact that encyclopaedic categorisation is a job for experts, not something that a bunch of yahoos of the street can cobble together (is it any wonder the twats put taxonomy up for deletion), but that is what happens with WP.


Dingdingdingdingding!

Quote:
As a side issue what is all this fucking about with renaming categories where the bloody fools are deleting one category from an article and replacing it with a similarly named one? Surely this should be a one hit database update not 1000s of individual edits undertaken by drones.


A high number of semi-automated and entirely useless edits is how individual players level up and how Wikipedia retains the attention of the OCD component of its "editing pool." (I know you probably know this).

I suspect if someone came up with a technical solution that would do away with all or most of the make-work on Wikipedia, the foundation and the high level players would kill it since it would trash what's left of their active editor statistics.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
DanMurphy wrote:
I suspect if someone came up with a technical solution that would do away with all or most of the make-work on Wikipedia, the foundation and the high level players would kill it since it would trash what's left of their active editor statistics.
:D Someone argued the other day that Wikipedia is fixing typos too quickly these days, and that this lowers the numbers of incoming editors. And it is true that many editors began editing by fixing typos.

So the logical conclusion is: fill Wikipedia with easily fixable typos, and participation will be up.


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
So the logical conclusion is: fill Wikipedia with easily fixable typos, and participation will be up.

This is a degraded version of an old idea of Larry Sanger's.

Rules to consider wrote:
Always leave something undone. Whenever you write a page, never finish it. Always leave something obvious to do: an uncompleted sentence, a question in the text (with a not-too-obscure answer someone can supply), wikied links that are of interest, requests for help from specific other Wikipedians, the beginning of a provocative argument that someone simply must fill in, etc. The purpose of this rule is to encourage others to keep working on the wiki.

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:19 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
lilburne wrote:
At the root of this is the fact that encyclopaedic categorisation is a job for experts, not something that a bunch of yahoos of the street can cobble together (is it any wonder the twats put taxonomy up for deletion), but that is what happens with WP.


Nonsense. It's just the consequence of early design decisions in the software.


Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:43 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Now they've created Category:American men novelists (T-H-L) and at least one editor is diligently populating it. Where will they put Deirdre McCloskey (T-H-L) and other trannies when they get around to doing the parent Category:American writers (T-H-L)?


Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:30 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
HRIP7 wrote:
DanMurphy wrote:
I suspect if someone came up with a technical solution that would do away with all or most of the make-work on Wikipedia, the foundation and the high level players would kill it since it would trash what's left of their active editor statistics.
:D Someone argued the other day that Wikipedia is fixing typos too quickly these days, and that this lowers the numbers of incoming editors. And it is true that many editors began editing by fixing typos.

So the logical conclusion is: fill Wikipedia with easily fixable typos, and participation will be up.

Like the Easter Egg hunt of the damned.


Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:31 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Ming wrote:
lilburne wrote:
At the root of this is the fact that encyclopaedic categorisation is a job for experts, not something that a bunch of yahoos of the street can cobble together (is it any wonder the twats put taxonomy up for deletion), but that is what happens with WP.


Nonsense. It's just the consequence of early design decisions in the software.


Even supposing that it is the consequence of early design decisions in the software, those decisions were made by people who don't understand categorization, which, as lilburne notes, is a job for experts. Those design decisions wouldn't have been made by people who understand encyclopedic categorization?


Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:34 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Vigilant wrote:
HRIP7 wrote:
DanMurphy wrote:
I suspect if someone came up with a technical solution that would do away with all or most of the make-work on Wikipedia, the foundation and the high level players would kill it since it would trash what's left of their active editor statistics.
:D Someone argued the other day that Wikipedia is fixing typos too quickly these days, and that this lowers the numbers of incoming editors. And it is true that many editors began editing by fixing typos.

So the logical conclusion is: fill Wikipedia with easily fixable typos, and participation will be up.

Like the Easter Egg hunt of the damned.

:D


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
lilburne wrote:
Randy from Boise wrote:
Ever hear of "Women's Studies," "Jewish Studies," "Gender Studies," "African-American Studies," "Ethnic Studies," etc.??? These are legitimate academically-driven parsings of larger universal sets. There is absolutely not a single fucking thing wrong about sub-dividing subjects along parallel lines, so long as inclusion in the smaller specialist list Group A does not rule out inclusion in the larger universal set Group B.

RfB



This isn't an X studies thing. Its a fucked up wikipedia thing. There is nothing wrong with subdividing the categories any competent system would do that, but they would do it from the get-go, or move everything into the split cats in parallel. But that isn't how WP works you have 1 of the tribe move a section into a cat leaving the rest in place. This, combined with the screwed up software handling cats, ghettoises a section of general group leaving the rest in place. In this instance the sub-categorisation split of American authors based on gender, doesn't help me search for female crime writers for example. In order to do that you'd need to split by genre and then sub split by gender and now what is lost is the general categorisation, one cannot easily get the list of female authors. Gender isn't a category its some other piece of meta data that can be applied to an individual, we don't sub-divide plant genres into male and female.


Like I said at Jimbotalk: "If it's a software problem, fix it; if the problem is editorial volition, stop it."

I think it's probably a little of both in this case.

RfB


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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Sweet Revenge wrote:
Now they've created Category:American men novelists (T-H-L) and at least one editor is diligently populating it. Where will they put Deirdre McCloskey (T-H-L) and other trannies when they get around to doing the parent Category:American writers (T-H-L)?

Just so you know, the word "trannies" isn't cool. Use the term trans people.

I'm not being politically correct, it's like calling a gay person a faggot. So please don't.

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:10 pm WWW
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Hex wrote:
Sweet Revenge wrote:
Now they've created Category:American men novelists (T-H-L) and at least one editor is diligently populating it. Where will they put Deirdre McCloskey (T-H-L) and other trannies when they get around to doing the parent Category:American writers (T-H-L)?

Just so you know, the word "trannies" isn't cool. Use the term trans people.

I'm not being politically correct, it's like calling a gay person a faggot. So please don't.

You may think that, but RuPaul doesn't. Anyway, no offense intended.


Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:13 pm
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Unread post Re: Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists
Sweet Revenge wrote:
Anyway, no offense intended.

Yeah, didn't think so at all, just wanted to point it out. I didn't know that myself until quite recently.

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:19 pm WWW
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