CCCC 2018: Writing Wikipedia in Public

Conference on Composition and Communication (CCCC)
Kansas City, Missouri

March 15, 2018


Writing Wikipedia in Public:

A Critical Assessment of the Educational and Political Value and Utility of Edit-a-Thons


Wikipedia’s race and gender gaps are well-known. The dominance of white male editors correlates with a severe lack of participation and coverage about people representing historically disadvantaged groups, especially women of all races and ethnicities (Bear and Collier; Edwards; Gruwell; Hill and Shaw; Stoeffel; Wadewitz; Wagner et al; Wales; Wilson). On the other hand, Wikipedia’s content gaps offer marginalized users unique opportunities for community engagement, especially during black and women’s history months. For example, “Black Power” and Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thons attract hundreds of diverse editors all over the world during February and March (Boboltz; Evans, Mabel, and Mandiberg, Gruwell; Kessenides and Chafkin; Ridge; Smith). My talk critically evaluates the rich educational and political value of “Wikipedia Edit-a-thons.” She reflects on her own experience organizing her college’s first-ever Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at a small HBCU for women where Wikipedia’s content gaps inspired widespread community participation. Situating this experience within the context of the Wiki Ed study, she analyzes how the study ought to consider demographics in its assessment of student’s motivation for editing Wikipedia. Some of her recommendations for intersectional Wikipedia research includes adding questions about the content gaps, and Wikipedia editing as activism (Brandt; Higgins, Long, and Flower; Lucky, Bruce, and Raymond; Krause, Rosenzweig, and Victor).

Link to Presentation (Individual Visual Deck)

Link to Presentation (With all panel members)

Link to Bibliography (coming soon)


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