Home » Wikipedia-harassment-wikimedia-foundation


4/8/2019 Wikipedia Isn’t Officially a Social Network. But the Harassment Can Get Ugly. – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/us/wikipedia-harassment-wikimedia-foundation.html 1/5
By Julia Jacobs
April 8, 2019
In Wikipedia’s 18 years of existence, it has become a fixture in our lives: It ascends to the top of
Google’s search results and provides answers to the questions we ask Alexa and Siri.
For Wikipedia’s editing community, the website is even more. It is a kind of social network where
users debate the minutiae of history and modern life, climb the editorial hierarchy and even meet
friends and romantic partners.
It is also a place where editors can experience relentless harassment. In 2016, Pax Ahimsa
Gethen, a trans male Wikipedian, was persistently hit with personal attacks over several months.
Mx. Gethen, 49, who uses the pronouns “they” and “them,” said the anonymous harasser posted
that they were “insufferable” and “unloved,” that they belonged in an internment camp and that
they should kill themself.
Mx. Gethen said the user also publicly posted their deadname, the name they used before
“It was devastating to me because of the personal nature of it,” Mx. Gethen said.
Unlike at social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, the people who handle reports of
harassment on Wikipedia are largely unpaid volunteers.
In response to complaints about pervasive harassment, the Wikimedia Foundation, the San
Francisco‑based nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and supports its community of volunteers, has
promised new strategies to curb abuse. In recent months, the foundation has rolled out a more
sophisticated blocking tool that it hopes can better control the harassment plaguing some users.
Sydney Poore, a community health strategist with the foundation, said that when the free
encyclopedia was established in 2001, it initially attracted lots of editors who were “tech‑oriented”
men. That led to a culture that was not always accepting of outside opinions, said Ms. Poore, who
has edited Wikipedia for 13 years.
“We’re making strong efforts to reverse that,” she said, “but it doesn’t happen overnight.”
Wikipedia Isn’t Officially a
Social Network. But the
Harassment Can Get Ugly.
4/8/2019 Wikipedia Isn’t Officially a Social Network. But the Harassment Can Get Ugly. – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/us/wikipedia-harassment-wikimedia-foundation.html 2/5
A ‘barrier’ to gender equity
A few informed clicks on any Wikipedia article can reveal the lengthy discussions that shape a
published narrative. According to interviews with Wikipedians around the world, those digital
back rooms are where harassment often begins. A spirited debate over a detail in an article can
spiral into one user spewing personal attacks against another.
“If you out yourself as a feminist or L.G.B.T., you will tend to be more targeted,” said Natacha
Rault, a Wikipedia editor who lives in Geneva and founded a project that aims to reduce the
gender gap on the website.
On French‑language Wikipedia, where Ms. Rault does much of her editing, discussions about
gender can often spark vitriol. Ms. Rault said there were six months of heated debate about
whether to label the article on Britain’s leader, Theresa May, with the feminine version of “prime
minister” (première ministre), rather than the masculine one (premier ministre).
Another controversy has been simmering over the article “femme,” the French word for woman,
Ms. Rault said. At issue is whether the first paragraph should refer to gender in addition to
biological sex, and whether transgender women should be included in the definition of woman.
This debate devolved into an “edit war,” a heated back‑and‑forth in which Wikipedians
continuously edit an article to overwrite the other side’s changes and reflect the language they
“Sometimes it can be so aggressive that you give up and run away from the article,” she said.
The idea that cisgender women and transgender editors could be repelled from Wikipedia by
online abuse is of serious concern to the Wikimedia Foundation.
On its website, the foundation lists pervasive harassment as a barrier to gender equity.
Sometimes, the harassment is explicitly sexual: According to anonymous interviews described by
the foundation, users have had pornography posted on their personal Wikipedia userpage and
emailed to them. Camelia Boban, an editor on Italian‑language Wikipedia, said another user once
publicly used language to suggest she was a prostitute.
Studies on Wikipedia’s contributor base from several years ago estimated that fewer than 20
percent of editors were women. This research backed up an existing awareness in the Wikipedia
community that female editors were seriously underrepresented, galvanizing activists who set
out to recruit more women to write and edit articles.
4/8/2019 Wikipedia Isn’t Officially a Social Network. But the Harassment Can Get Ugly. – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/us/wikipedia-harassment-wikimedia-foundation.html 3/5
Groups like Art+Feminism were established to increase the representation of women and
nonbinary individuals on Wikipedia. Its organizers held sessions in which experienced editors
taught aspiring ones the ways of Wikipedia, explaining how to navigate a website where editors
sometimes appear to be communicating in code.
Wikipedians also began to discuss the “content gender gap,” which includes an imbalance in the
gender distribution of biographies on the site. The latest analysis, released this month, said about
18 percent of 1.6 million biographies on the English‑language Wikipedia were of women. That is up
from about 15 percent in 2014, partially because of activists trying to move the needle.
The perils for L.G.B.T. editors
Claudia Lo, a foundation researcher on a team that is building anti‑harassment tools, said there
was a pattern of harassment on Wikipedia stemming from debates over L.G.B.T. issues. When a
celebrity comes out as transgender — notably, Chelsea Manning in 2013 and Caitlyn Jenner in
2015 — Wikipedians have extensively debated whether the individual’s self‑declared pronouns
should be used.
Articles about transgender or nonbinary individuals are often subject to vandals who revert their
pronouns back to their gender assigned at birth. But Wikipedia’s guidelines make clear that
editors should use the gender that the subject of the article most recently stated in a dependable
Based on the latest analysis, released this month, about 18 percent of 1.6 million
biographies on the English‑language Wikipedia were of women.
Danielle Scruggs for The New York Times
4/8/2019 Wikipedia Isn’t Officially a Social Network. But the Harassment Can Get Ugly. – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/us/wikipedia-harassment-wikimedia-foundation.html 4/5
In countries where it is more dangerous for L.G.B.T. individuals to be open about their identities,
harassment on Wikipedia can be particularly virulent. Once, an administrator on a Wikipedia
page blocked an editor simply because their username suggested that the editor could be gay,
said Rachel Wexelbaum, a Wikipedian who works to improve L.G.B.T. content on the website.
Eventually, she said, Wikimedia’s Trust and Safety Team got involved, and the administrator was
blocked for those actions.
In some spaces, the environment for L.G.B.T. users has improved. Amir Sarabadani, a 25‑year‑old
Iranian software developer with Wikimedia Foundation’s chapter in Germany, said that in his 12
years of editing Persian‑language Wikipedia, users were often hostile while editing articles
related to homosexuality.
About six years ago, Mr. Sarabadani started talking openly about being gay in conversations with
other Wikipedians. He said other editors often accused him of having a “homosexual agenda,” and
anonymous users posted lewd images of male genitals on his userpage.
But Mr. Sarabadani, who left Tehran for Berlin two years ago, said he thinks his work as an
administrator on Persian‑language Wikipedia has made the community of editors there less
tolerant of abuse.
“It was easy to say things and get away with that,” he said. “Now if someone says something
homophobic, they’ll get blocked for several months.”
Identifying and punishing harassers
On English‑language Wikipedia, one of roughly 300 languages with its own site, users are asked
to report conflicts with one another on online notice boards, where they are expected to post links
to abuse so an administrator can decide whether to take action.
That method problematically forces complaints into the public sphere, said Ms. Lo, the foundation
“If you’re being harassed,” Ms. Lo said, “the last thing you want to do is tell your harasser that
you’re about to tell on them.”
In some cases, situations are dealt with by Wikimedia Foundation staffers or via private emails
with volunteer administrators, she said.
If a volunteer administrator finds the allegations of abuse credible, the user can be banned from
editing anywhere on the site. Administrators for some Wikipedias, such as the English‑language
site, can also declare a “topic ban,” a socially enforced tool in which other editors are responsible
for making sure the guilty user is not involved in editing articles that mention prohibited subjects.
Violating a topic ban can result in a sitewide ban.
4/8/2019 Wikipedia Isn’t Officially a Social Network. But the Harassment Can Get Ugly. – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/08/us/wikipedia-harassment-wikimedia-foundation.html 5/5
The new tool, which the foundation calls “partial blocks,” allows administrators to restrict users
from editing particular pages on which they have proved to be a problem. Those developing the
tool hope it will be used more liberally to block editors from specific topics without entirely
banning users who are productive in other areas of the site.
“The idea is to provide volunteer administrators with a more targeted, more nuanced ability to
respond to conflicts,” Ms. Lo said.
Partial blocks are active on five Wikipedias, including those in Italian and Arabic, and foundation
staffers expect it to be introduced to English‑language Wikipedia this year. The foundation is also
in the early stages of a private reporting system where users could report harassment, Ms. Lo
But there are limits to how effective institutional change can be in curbing harassment on
Wikipedia. In the case of Mx. Gethen, their harasser kept posting from different IP addresses,
making it difficult for a blocking tool to be effective.
Although the abuser no longer haunts their internet presence, Mx. Gethen said the sometimes
hostile culture on Wikipedia has reduced their editing on the site.
“I’m not getting paid for this,” they said. “Why should I volunteer my time to be abused?”
Follow Julia Jacobs on Twitter: @juliarebeccaj.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Just from $9/Page
Order Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment Help Service Works

1. Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2. Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3. Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4. Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essay GET A PERFECT SCORE!!! smile and order essay Buy Custom Essay

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Need assignment help? You can contact our live agent via WhatsApp using +1 718 717 2861

Feel free to ask questions, clarifications, or discounts available when placing an order.
  +1 718 717 2861           + 44 161 818 7126           [email protected]
  +1 718 717 2861         [email protected]