Submissions:2018/Implicit Bias on Wikipedia: The damage report

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2018.

Implicit Bias on Wikipedia: The damage report
Theme (optional)
Inclusion & Diversity, Harassment, Civility, & Safety
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Jackie Koerner, PhD
E-mail address
Wikimedia username
Affiliation(s) (optional)

Wikipedia has a problem and it is unconscious. Implicit bias is unconscious bias that affects our actions, behaviors, and understanding without us even being aware of it. Implicit bias is learned through socialization beginning in childhood. It is reinforced through social interactions with like-minded individuals and through messages in social media, literature, and other cultural and environmental methods. Without challenging our biases and reflecting on how they impact our behavior, our biases can become problematic. They already have become problematic for Wikipedia.

Come learn about preliminary findings from this lighter version of the proposed, community-supported, yet unfunded in-depth investigation of implicit bias’ impact on English Wikipedia. The data from this lighter project will help the community to better understand the problem implicit bias poses for Wikipedia and what can be done about it.

For this examination, I reviewed relevant literature regarding bias, Wikipedia, and related topics. To understand how bias functions live on English Wikipedia, I observed the creation and editing of article pages regarding current events. This study is not all encompassing as Wikipedia is vast, but substantial in depth in order to develop generalizable solutions from observations. For observations, I used the page content, the edit history, the talk pages, and discussions about the page or the subject of the page on other parts of Wikimedia. I will present the ways in which bias appears on English Wikipedia and recommended ways to counteract that expression of bias in yourself and in others.

Length of presentation
45 min.
Special requests
projector, computer and sound not needed
Preferred room size
Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?
Yes, WikiConference North America 2017, Wikimania 2017, and Wikipedia Day 2018 with Wikimedia NYC
If you will be incorporating a slidedeck during your presentation, do you agree to upload it to Commons before your session, with a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license, including suitable attribution in the slidedeck for any images used?
Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?

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  1. Slowking3 (talk)
  2. RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 18:10, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
  3. Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 14:44, 20 August 2018 (UTC)
  4. Mozucat (talk) 01:33, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
  5. Airplaneman (talk) 06:13, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
  6. Norwegianblue (talk) 20:35, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
  7. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 21:56, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
  8. Ragesoss (talk) 19:02, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
  9. Bawolff (talk) 17:09, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
  10. Granato31415 (talk) 13:29, 21 October 2018 (EDT)
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