Difference between revisions of "2019/Grants/Trust and Safety in Farsi-language Wikipedia"

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Revision as of 23:10, 22 May 2020


Title:

Trust and Safety in Farsi-language Wikipedia

Name:

Roya Pakzad

Wikimedia username:

E-mail address:

rpakzad@taraazresearch.org

Resume:

https://www.royapakzad.co/cv/

Geographical impact:

Iran, Afghanistan

Type of project:

Research + Output

What is your idea?

A research project that seeks to address the following question: What are the main trust and safety issues that Farsi Wikipedians in Iran and Afghanistan or as diaspora members of those countries face with? And what can Wikimedia Foundation do to mitigate those issues?

Why is it important?

There are more than 100 million Farsi (including Iranian Persian, Dari, and Tajiki) speakers in the world, with the majority of population living in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Since its inception in 2003, Wikipedia Farsi has become a space for open knowledge sharing from Farsi-speakers across the world. There are currently more than 700,000 articles on Wikipedia Farsi. Despite the remarkable benefits of this resource, there have been recurring issues around safety and trust in Wikipedia Farsi.

The below list, although not comprehensive, highlights some of the known issues:

Accusations and trolling: Farsi Wikipedians face harassment and trolling by both pro- and anti-government groups. For instance, Iranian Wikipedians are sometimes harassed by pro-government groups for supposedly producing or promoting anti-regime propaganda. Conversely, anti-regime groups accuse Iranian Wikipedians for playing a role in the Iranian government’s information censorship campaigns. The result is that Farsi Wikipedians frequently face attacks from both sides.

Automated content governance: Despite major improvements in the use of automated decision making systems in governance of Wikipedia content, there are still concerns around how these technologies perform differently for different languages and based on different editing habits. Farsi is among several under-studied languages in the field of Natural Language Processing. Thus, over-reliance on these tools might result in limiting Farsi speakers' rights to freedom to expression and freedom of access to information.

Diversity of the content: Gender gap among Farsi Wikipedians and in articles, lack of diversity in topics especially around topics which might be perceived to be controversial from social, cultural, and political perspectives within Iran and Afghanistan is another concern in Farsi-language Wikipedia. There is a general lack of information on and acknowledgement of women leaders and other marginalized populations on Wikipedia, both in Farsi and in other languages.

URL Blocking: Earlier this month, Iran blocked access to Wikipedia temporarily. There have also been reports of targeted URL blocking on Wikipedia Farsi articles. It is important to understand and document these specific cases, in the events of a full and partial blockade, to map out strategies for how Wikipedians, readers, and Wikipedia itself can contribute to efforts to restore access.

Is your project already in progress?

No

How is it relevant to credibility and Wikipedia? (max 500 words)

Trust and safety lead to credibility of Farsi Wikipedia among readers.

What is the ultimate impact of this project?

To find ways to mitigate trust and safety issues that Wikipedians in Iran and Afghanistan face.

Could it scale?

Not Applicable

Why are you the people to do it?

All three members of the research team are native Farsi speakers with extensive experience in digital rights research and advocacy.

Farzaneh Badei: Farzaneh Badiei is the Director of Social Media Governance Initiative at Yale Law School. She leads the Justice Collaboratory’s research regarding the policy and governance mechanisms urgently needed by contemporary social media platforms. Prior to joining Yale, she was the Executive Director of Internet Governance Project at Georgia Institute of Technology. For nearly a decade, Farzaneh has been researching and directing projects related to the Internet and online platforms. She received her PhD in law from the University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics. Her dissertation focused on online private justice systems, institutional design, and online market intermediaries. Between 2011 and 2014, Farzaneh worked at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum Secretariat.

Bushra Ebadi: Bushra Ebadi is a social innovator focused on designing sustainable, innovative solutions to complex global challenges using her multidisciplinary background and skills in design and systems thinking, policy analysis and mixed methods research. She is a Youth Ambassador for North America and Europe for the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy and currently serves as an executive member and youth adviser for the Canadian Commission for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She recently supported the World Refugee Council in developing recommendations to transform the global refugee and internal displacement systems as a Global Security & Politics Program research associate with the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She holds a Joint Honours B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy, with minors in French Language and Management from McGill University and a Master of Global Affairs (MGA) from the University of Toronto.

Roya Pakzad: Roya Pakzad is the founder of Taraaz, a research and consultancy organization at the intersection of technology and human rights. She is also an affiliated scholar at UC Berkeley’s CITRIS Policy Lab. Previously, she served as a Research Associate and Project Leader in Technology and Human Rights at Stanford University’s Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPi). She also worked with Stanford’s program in Iranian Studies on the roles of information and communication technologies and human rights in Iran. In 2019 she was a resident fellow on Artificial Intelligence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. After three years working at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) as an electrical engineer, she decided to find a way to converge her interest in human rights with her expertise in STEM. She holds degrees from Shahid Beheshti University in Iran (B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering), the University of Southern California (M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering) and Columbia University (M.A. in Human Rights Studies). Roya was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA.

What is the impact of your idea on diversity and inclusiveness of the Wikimedia movement?

Diversity of the content: Gender gap among Farsi Wikipedians and in articles, lack of diversity in topics especially around topics which might be perceived to be controversial from social, cultural, and political perspectives within Iran and Afghanistan is another concern in Farsi-language Wikipedia. There is a general lack of information on and acknowledgement of women leaders and other marginalized populations on Wikipedia, both in Farsi and in other languages.

What are the challenges associated with this project and how you will overcome them?

--

How much money are you requesting?

$7500

How will you spend the money?

Three researchers salaries

How long will your project take?

4 months

Phase 1, Mapping: By running two sets of surveys, one for editors and volunteers of Wikipedia-Farsi and one for general Farsi users, we will map urgent issues around trust and safety in Wikipedia Farsi in both Iran and Afghanistan. We will also use the Twitter search API to collect information about #WikipediaFarsi and #ویکیپدیا to understand conversations happening on Twitter about Wikipedia Farsi. This mapping stage will help us to understand main issues which then can be used for the phase 2 of our project.

Phase 2, Qualitative Analysis: By conducting semi-structured interviews among Farsi Wikipedians (including editors, administrators, etc.) we will dig deeper into the issues those individuals in different levels of editing face with. A few potential questions could be: what are their approaches in keeping themselves safe and motivated despite ongoing attacks and harassment? What should Wikipedia do to keep its volunteers safer online? How do they assess the reliability and accuracy of the information in question?

Phase 3, Recommendations and Report: After conducting phase 1 and 2 of the project, the researchers will produce a report to inform Wikipedia about its strategies to restore safety and trust for Farsi Wikipedians and readers.

Have you worked on projects for previous grants before?