Wikipedia to Sandifer: How Dare You Expose Our Bigotry
November 6, 2013 2:44 PM   Subscribe

There's been a nasty, but not shocking turn in the battle over Wikipedia's handling of Chelsea Manning's page on the encyclopedia website. (Previously) For the crime of revealing a disturbing pattern of behavior by Wikipedia and its Arbitration Committee to the world, that same Arbitration Committee has decided to remove Sandifer's privileges and ban him from the site.

Sandifer had previously written about the fact that Wikipedia's administrators were allowing an active duty member of the US Military to remove any and all references to Chelsea Manning, or her decision to come out as transgender, while consistently banning trans advocates and allies who attempted to counter-edit the page, claiming the edits represented a "conflict of interest."

Sandifer will be unable to appeal the ban through Wikipedia's internal processes for a year, but he has stated that he is reaching out to Jimmy Wales, who still sits as the chairman emeritus of the Wikimedia Foundation and the President of Wikia, inc.

"It is not the ban in particular that bothers me. I rarely edit Wikipedia anyway, have not used administrator powers in ages (though they were quite nice for finding well-written articles on fiction that got spuriously deleted on "notability" grounds). I knew there was a risk in criticizing the Arbitration Committee, and I took it because the consequence - banning - wasn't one that personally mattered to me much at all.

Nevertheless, the underlying issues are real. The Arbitration Committee has sanctioned people for complaining about transphobia while leaving transphobic commentary unsanctioned. It has further declared transgender topics to be subject to "discretionary sanctions," which mean that any editor who, in the judgment of an administrator, "fails to adhere to the purpose of Wikipedia, any expected standards of behavior, or any normal editorial process" can be banned after a single warning. The result of this is a clear precedent that complaining about transphobia can result in being banned. And now they have moved on to trumping up reasons to ban people who call them out on that. "
posted by BZArcher (6 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This sounds like a lot of Wikipedia dramaz on an extremely hot button topic which means this needs to be a different sort of post once it's at MetaFilter so it's not just "look at those assholes" and a rehash of old arguments. -- jessamyn

Pretty ballsy thing for a site that regularly puts up a big banner begging for donations to do.
posted by valrus at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2013

This is an interesting story, but the only link here besides the Previously is Sandifer's own page. Are there any other sources out there?
posted by JHarris at 2:53 PM on November 6, 2013

Serious black eye for Wikipedia, if true. Tough to unring that bell.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:56 PM on November 6, 2013

Are there any other sources out there?

Not anymore.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:57 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Christ, what a bunch of assholes.
posted by rtha at 3:01 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

It says a lot about Wikipedia's echelons that I have very little difficulty in believing this account transpired.
posted by lineofsight at 3:03 PM on November 6, 2013

« Older "it's like trying to sleep in a beehive"   |   A window for early intervention against autism? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments