Wikipedia’s American Women Novelists: Why You Should Join #GWWI Tomorrow


Join the Wikipedia Women Novelist Category!

By Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam

Yesterday, New York Times blogger Amanda Filipacchi noted that Wikipedia editors have begun the strange process of moving women writers from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. She notes:

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.

As such, the discussion page for “American Women Novelists” on Wikipedia reveals a troubling, on-going trend: the presumption that category divisions or decisions made to make Wikipedia’s structures navigable are neutral and value-free. Think that stinks? Does this show you, once again, that the Internet is hardly value-free? Upset about the implicit values inherent within these data organization decisions?

Fight back with us tomorrow during the Global Women Write-In on Wikipedia  (#GWWI). We will be working together to write entries about women from around the world into Wikipedia and to improve existing entries on these topics. The event will take place virtually between 1-3pm EST and at physical events at UCLA, HASTAC, Foothill College, and the Sanger Papers. If you are unavailable during these times, we encourage you to organize your own event at a time that suits or work at your leisure in solidarity with us. Don’t forget to share the results of your work with us on Twitter using the hashtag #GWWI.

We’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Read Filipacchi’s full article here.

Find out more about #GWWI here.

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