A new program developed by FemTechNet and titled “Storming Wikipedia” will apparently hit fifteen universities, including Yale, Brown, and Penn State, beginning this year. The program gives students college credit for writing “feminist thinking” into Wikipedia entries. There are 300 students registered for the course, according to course facilitator Alexandra Juhasz, professor of media studies at California’s Pitzer College. Juhasz explained, “A woman’s point of view or feminist point of view is not yet expressed in relationship to women in technology in Wikipedia. We hope that people engage in this project in respect to other themes as well.”
It’s an audacious idea, focusing on the fact that most of the Wikipedia page edits are made by men – a full 85 percent, by some counts. The goal: “to advance feminist principles of social justice in creating educational models and pedagogies for the future.”
Conservatives ought to take a page from the feminist movement here. Wikipedia has become a political football, with leftists routinely invading the space to propagandize on behalf of their viewpoints. According to an Oxford University study, the single most-edited page on Wikipedia for English speakers was that of George W. Bush. There’s a reason for that: leftists spammed Bush’s pages, Bush fans fought back, and leftists spammed the page again.
This is what conservatives must understand: the left is interested solely and completely in manipulation of the truth. Leftists will use whatever outlets and tools are most readily available. And the open-sourcing of Wikipedia meets those ends. Because Wikipedia is so high-traffic – it is ranked among the top ten sites in the world – that means that a huge number of Americans get their information on specific political issues and figures from random leftists who spend time editing Wikipedia for free.
Conservatives ought to begin their own effort to impact Wikipedia. It is a powerful tool, and a medium in which conservative have been extraordinarily successful. It is also an area in which conservatives are wildly underrepresented – posts trend heavily to the left on Wikipedia. Perhaps Wikipedia’s approved editors will censor conservatives. If so, that’s a fact that Americans ought to know, too.
Instead of complaining about FemTechNet and company, conservatives ought to do something about it. The truth is just a few keystrokes away.
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