[Wikimedia-l] Diversity in Wikimedia

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[Wikimedia-l] Diversity in Wikimedia

Romaine Wiki-2
I made a mistake, a very personal mistake. Not realising that I made this
mistake at that time, but ever since I kept an unpleasant feeling about it.
I signed up for attending the Diversity Conference later this year, and
with that there were a lot of personal questions asked on the field of
diversity. I think it is very good to have attention for diversity is my
opinion, as Wikipedia (etc) should cover the whole of the diversity of
mankind in knowledge. I stayed vague in the application about my personal
way of diversity, but even with doing that I disclosed too much of my
personal "diversity" feelings, and that is my mistake. Any more deeper
explaing on this I do not want, that is too personal.

But why do I write about it here? Because in the rejection of the
application I was triggerd by something what concerns me. In the message it
said:
"Many strong applications were submitted [...]"
To me this reeds as that if someone does not want to open up their feelings
regarding personal diversity, while trying to influence the movement with
more diversity, this can't ever lead to a strong application.

In this world there are many people that express themselves strongly in
their diversity, but that is only half of the people with the diversity.
The other half keeps it indoors, mostly hidden for the outside world of
anonymous people.

It can be a choice of organisers to select only those applications that
have a strong story in the field of diversity (like for example because WMF
funds only a meager conference). But then I think half of the diversity is
missing. That is my concern.

In many conferences it is natural that if someone has a strong application,
that person gets granted to come to the conference. With a Diversity
Conference I think it should work the other way round: the stronger the
story, and thus the stronger the application, the less it is needed to
attend. The weaker the application, as result of a weaker story, the more
that person can benefit from a conference on Diversity. I think we should
be aware of this, otherwise we miss the big gaps in diversity, big gaps
that are not addressed, aren't seen.


To say it otherwise:
What are the topics in Wikipedia with the loudest form of expression in the
world? football, disasters, politics, religion, ...
What are the topics with the softest form of expression in the world? ...
I think those are not in Wikipedia.


Romaine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Diversity in Wikimedia

Cristian Consonni-3
Hi Romaine,

thanks for your e-mail.

On 07/09/2017 05:19, Romaine Wiki wrote:
> But why do I write about it here? Because in the rejection of the
> application I was triggerd by something what concerns me. In the message it
> said:
> "Many strong applications were submitted [...]"
> To me this reeds as that if someone does not want to open up their feelings
> regarding personal diversity, while trying to influence the movement with
> more diversity, this can't ever lead to a strong application.

> In this world there are many people that express themselves strongly in
> their diversity, but that is only half of the people with the diversity.
> The other half keeps it indoors, mostly hidden for the outside world of
> anonymous people.

I understand the point you raise. This is, in general, something that
happens in many contexts within the Wikimedia movement and other
collaborative projects, i. e. you may have some very active people who
are less vocal or less prompt in sharing their opinion. On the other
hand, other people occupy a lot of the bandwidth of the communication.
This is problematic as we lose many opinions and point of views from our
discussions and what we get is a biased representation of the ideas of
the community (see the "readers vs editors" debate, for example).

However, to be fair, "Many strong applications were submitted [...]" is
a set phrase that is used when dealing with any selection process (from
research grants, to scholarships, to scholarly articles, etc.). In
practice, it is used anytime a merit ranking as to be made.

> It can be a choice of organisers to select only those applications that
> have a strong story in the field of diversity (like for example because WMF
> funds only a meager conference). But then I think half of the diversity is
> missing. That is my concern.

It is a valid concern, and a solution could implemented by choosing
seemingly "counterproductive" criteria or quotas when giving
scholarships to participants to conferences.

For example, in WM-IT we have scholarships for Wikimania
and every year we usually give one or two (over ~10) scholarship to
people who have an interesting background with respect to the "open"
world (be it involvement or projects regarding open data, open access,
etc) but no experience on Wikipedia. This strategy brought has the
biggest returns so far with at least two people that eventually
becomevery active members of WM-IT and even served in the board.

Hope this helps.
Ciao,

C

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