Wikipedia is the world’s largest and most visited reference site, but underrepresented people and businesses are often overlooked in the Wikipedia community.
One such person who was eligible for a Wikipedia article but hadn’t yet been included on the site is best-selling author Julie Lythcott-Haims. Julie contacted To the Point Collaborative in 2021, asking if she was eligible for an article on Wikipedia.
Notable Enough for Wikipedia
After conducting a Notability Assessment, To the Point determined that she was indeed eligible. Major media sources like NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other well-known outlets have written about Julie’s career and accomplishments over the years.
Julie was certainly qualified enough to be on Wikipedia, but she hadn’t yet appeared on any volunteer editor’s radar. Julie identifies as a Black and biracial woman, and the typical Wikipedia volunteer editor doesn’t often work on articles about living people from historically underrepresented groups.
Julie took matters into her own hands and reached out to To the Point. We wrote a draft article about her and submitted it to Wikipedia’s “Articles for Creation” (AfC) Project for review. Less than a week later, the article went live.
Helping Raise Awareness
There are numerous individuals out there right now who qualify for a Wikipedia article, just like Julie, but haven’t yet been discovered.
Jessica Wade, Ph.D., an award-winning physicist from Imperial College London, learned several years ago that less than 18% of biographies on Wikipedia are about women. She was inspired and determined to do something about it.
To raise the profile of female scientists and other underrepresented groups in science, she wrote some 1,750 articles about such persons for Wikipedia, helping to shift the imbalance of the male-dominated platform.
Few have the passion, time and resources to equal Jessica’s crusade. But others have begun to address the white male-created gap on Wikipedia. Colleges and universities are hosting edit-a-thons (Wikipedia group-editing sessions facilitated by veteran editors) dedicated to writing articles about underrepresented individuals (usually women) for Wikipedia.
The typical white male Wikipedia editor shows little interest in the arts – which includes music, theater, dance and visual arts – and even less in artists of color, artists who are female, or artists who identify as LGBTQ+ or transgender.
Taking up the Fight
While we wait for the Wikimedia Foundation – the funder and brand manager of Wikipedia – to come up with a strategy to address this gap, those of us who value Wikipedia can play a role. What is that role? Identifying “notable” artists, authors, creatives and other individuals from underrepresented communities, and advocating for their inclusion in Wikipedia.
At To the Point Collaborative, our mission is to ensure underrepresented groups flourish and are given the opportunity to enhance their online reputation with a Wikipedia entry. We are working to create a better balance of representation on Wikipedia and in the world.
Contact us today and let us help you be included.