Sexism on Wikipedia Is Not the Work of 'a Single Misguided Editor'

1) Wiki editor: Magellan Maestro
-13 September, 2012 (Revision as of 14:44): Amy Tan removed from "American novelists" and put into subcategory "American novelists of Asian descent")
-23 March 2013 (Revision as of 23:33): She was added to "American women novelists" by IP address:

2) Wiki editor: Orlady
18 October 2012 (Revision as of 21:26): Donna Tartt. In addition, to being switched from "American Novelists" to "American Women Novelists" she was also switched on the same day from "Writers from Mississippi" to "Women writers from Mississippi"

3) Wiki editor: RL0919
-2 Jan 2013: did it to Ayn Rand

4) Wiki editor: And we drown
-3 February 2013: (Revision as of 18:54): did it to Anne Rice

5) Wiki editor: BizarreLoveTriangle
-21 February 2013: (Revision as of 21:16): did it to Harper Lee

6) Wiki editor: Midnightdreary
-24 March 2013: did it to Harriet Beecher Stowe

7) Wiki editor: Johnpacklambert:
-1 April: did it to Alice Adams. And then he did it to the others on my list. As you can see, among the women in my list he didn't even begin to do it to any of them until the six above editors had done it first.

In the last few days, some Wiki editors worked on fixing the problem, bringing women back into the main "American Novelists" category. But then other editors would come along and take them back out. The editor who went on his spree in early April (username Johnpacklambert) did something particularly interesting and annoying after I'd been put back in the "American Novelists" category. He took me out of it again and put me in a new category he had just created: "American Humor Novelists." He also added three men to it, probably to make it look ok. Another editor then came along and undid what he had done. In my first Op-Ed, I'd mentioned it was too bad there wasn't a subcategory called "American Men Novelists." Soon after, that category was created. According to a Wikipedia article entitled "List of Wikipedia Controversies," "When the 'American men novelists' category was first created, its only entries were Orson Scott Card and P. D. Cacek (who is female)." The last time I looked, it seems that several Wiki editors are trying to make sure women have been put back in the main category, and they've been reverting the changes of editors who try to take them out.

The debate I ignited is about whether Wikipedia is sexist or not toward women novelists. Since my original article appeared, certain Wikipedia editors have successfully distracted people from this larger debate by pushing the false idea of a "single rogue editor," and creating the impression—now being widely repeated and reported—this is some small, isolated problem. They've done this by spreading rumors that are demonstrably wrong, as can be proven by anyone willing to investigate the history buried in the Wikipedia pages of "American Women Novelists."

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Amanda Filipacchi is the author of the novels Nude Men, Vapor, and Love Creeps

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