When it comes to fact-finding and getting resources, Wikipedia is, hands down, one of the most popular and thorough places for such stuff. It offers great factual information about a ton of different topics, be it fashion, history, medicine, science and so on. Students and professionals use Wikipedia to use for their projects, and the best part about it is that all this information can be received with just a few clicks and no paid subscription is necessary gaining access to Wikipedia’s page. 2021 Wikimedia Foundationcohenwired.
In 2020, Wikipedia took a major step that banned all its pages from spreading any kind of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the American presidential election. This proved to be a vital asset for the brand. This contrasting behaviour, compared to other global social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, which were slow and mostly ineffective in responding to false political and scientific claims living on their servers, was quite sharp and noticeable. Wikipedia shutting down can be seen as great downfall for internet.
However, recently Wikipedia has been faced with some challenges that have burnished its reputation as a fact-based resourceful platform. It now faces some very thorny questions that have gone beyond accuracy, and that has managed to threaten its mission. Now the question arises – will the grand community of editors and administrators who are responsible for the collection and presentation of these facts, be as reliable as the facts they put on their page? It is being feared that unless Wikipedia brings forward a more diversified output to its editing ranks, it will not be able to produce the necessary context, fairness,proportionality and imagination to accurately showcase different important facts from around the world.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation that owns Wikipedia, runs more than 300 different versions of the “free encyclopaedia” and in 2021 they were planning to finalize a uniform code of conduct that details unacceptable behavior among editors assigned for their projects, which also include things like insults, sexual harassment, doxing, etc, and if found to be guilty of any such behaviour, corresponding punishments will be subjected to them.
This new system of conduct is being fashioned by consulting with the administrators and editors across the other variants of the encyclopedia, and this new system is going to differ significantly from the current disciplinary, which is rather decentralised. Apart from there being a uniform standard of conduct, it would also be easier to gain access towards protection of privacy of people who have complained of harassment.
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These changes are crucial for the organisation to create a stronger, more diverse community of editors. The current oppressive system places heavy burden on the marginalized groups most likely to be targetted, like women, people of color, and queer people, by often enforcing them to speak out publicly against their abusers, which also poses a risk of retaliation from those accused, and even to some extent, from the society. Once a complaint regarding any kind of harassment is made public, the person who is getting harrassed could also be pressured to accept minimal punishments against the abusers if they are popular in the community. This has quite often prevented them from getting justice, as a result of which the ones to deserve punishment don’t get to deal with the consequences of their actions.