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April 11th, 2019

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If you enjoy this article, see the other most popular articles

If you enjoy this article, see the other most popular articles

Abuse on Wikipedia

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


In countries where it is more dangerous for L.G.B.T. individuals to be open about their identities, harassment on Wikipedia can be particularly virulent. Once, an administrator on a Wikipedia page blocked an editor simply because that person’s username suggested that the editor could be gay, said Rachel Wexelbaum, a Wikipedian who works to improve L.G.B.T. content on the website. Eventually, she said, Wikimedia’s Trust and Safety Team got involved, and the administrator was blocked for those actions.

In some spaces, the environment for L.G.B.T. users has improved. Amir Sarabadani, a 25-year-old Iranian software developer with Wikimedia Foundation’s chapter in Germany, said that in his 12 years of editing Persian-language Wikipedia, users were often hostile while editing articles related to homosexuality.

About six years ago, Mr. Sarabadani started talking openly about being gay in conversations with other Wikipedians. He said other editors often accused him of having a “homosexual agenda,” and anonymous users posted lewd images of male genitals on his userpage.

But Mr. Sarabadani, who left Tehran for Berlin two years ago, said he thought his work as an administrator on Persian-language Wikipedia had made the community of editors there less tolerant of abuse.


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"I wish I could go back," said Anna. "I guess I thought it would always be there, and I could go back and learn more when I was older. But now I'm older and it's gone."

"All the great art scenes are like that," said Mariah. "Renoir's career was half over before the term Impressionism caught on. And Fitzgerald and Hemingway had given up on the Left Bank long before the place was overrun by talentless hacks who wanted to imitate the Lost Generation lifestyle. And the Beats had mostly left San Francisco before busloads of visitors started to do tours of the Haight-Ashbury. When Johnny Rotten couldn't work with the Sex Pistols anymore, he left and the London punk scene began to die. Later on, he said he regretted his decision to leave. Everyone thinks they can go away and come back later, but they never can. When Joan Didion and her husband left New York, she quipped that some other couples were staying too late at the party, but that gets it all backward. The party ends whether you want it to or not, and it takes an unusual arrogance to celebrate the end of an era that some people will remember as the best years of their life. Hemingway lived in Paris during his twenties, but he didn't write about his experience in Paris until he was in his sixties. No one ever knows they're part of an art movement; it's something you only see afterward."

"But if we only see it in retrospect, then how can we find the next great art scene?" asked Anna. "What do I look for?"

Also read this true story about a startup I worked at in 2015:



April 11, 2019
4:30 pm

By Just An Observer

In a similar vein, yesterday a woman scientist wrote about how Wikipedia articles about woman scientists are often removed, or have lists of awards and articles removed.

Link is lost to the Twitter deluge of posts, sad to say.

April 14, 2019
12:28 pm

By Just An Observer

Well, wouldn’t you know, the slagging of Katy Bouman who is the algorithm designer for the black hole image is a perfect and extreme example of what I was talking about.

April 14, 2019
4:34 pm

By lawrence

Just An Observer, please post the link if you find it.

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