How gender-neutral is Wikipedia? Does the most successful knowledge platform reflect the perspectives of all? In a conversation with Prof. Dr. Eva Gredel, Dr. Maja Linthe and Prof. Dr. Angelika Storrer, the predominantly masculine representation of knowledge is questioned.
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the oldest and most successful projects on the social web. Founded in 2001, the German version captures world knowledge in more than 2.6 million encyclopedic articles created by a volunteer community. The collection is constantly updated and expanded; anyone interested can participate in the project. However, the vast majority of those actively involved in the project are male; accordingly, powerful roles in the community, such as those of administrators, are also more often assumed by men. These majority and power relationships have an impact on the project, for example, in discussions about encyclopedic relevance or gender-appropriate language. There is a risk that the diversity of socially relevant topics is not adequately represented in the encyclopedia and that knowledge is primarily presented from a male perspective. Our project uses case studies to investigate whether and how the gender gap in the community leads to a »gender bias« in the encyclopedia. In our research, we use methods from discourse linguistics and corpus linguistics to work on data from the German Wikipedia. In courses, we cooperate with the German Wikipedia community to edit or create Wikipedia articles on women's biographies together with students.
The event is part of the #meetdigilog series of talks around the thematic block »Wikilog@bw – Quality, credibility and neutrality of information on digital platforms using the example of Wikipedia«.
Exciting articles as well as further expert chats can also be found in our blog on digilog@bw.
Prof. Dr. Eva Gredel is Junior Professor (with tenure track) of German Linguistics with a focus on »Digital Communication in Contexts of Mediation« at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In her habilitation thesis at the University of Mannheim, she analyzed digital discourses in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. She was a co-applicant for the research network Digilog@bw and is still involved in the research of the subproject Wikilog@bw as an associate member after her appointment at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Dr. Maja Linthe received her PhD from Freie Universität Berlin and then worked as a freelance author and journalist. Since 2018, she has been a research associate in the Department of German Linguistics at the University of Mannheim. In her research, she is primarily concerned with the multimodality, interaction, and authenticity of texts in social media. In her teaching projects, she brings university knowledge into Wikipedia and Wikipedia know-how into the university by involving students in the collaborative production of Wikipedia articles.
Prof. Dr. Angelika Storrer has been Professor of German Linguistics at the University of Mannheim since 2014. During and after her doctorate at the University of Heidelberg, she was a research fellow at the IBM Scientific Center. She then worked as a research assistant at the University of Tübingen and later at the Leibniz Institute for the German Language in Mannheim. In 2002, she accepted a call to the TU Dortmund University, where she worked as a professor of German language and language didactics until her move to the University of Mannheim. Since the 1990s, she has been conducting research on hypertext and Internet-based communication, focusing on chat communication and the analysis of language and interaction in Wikipedia. She is co-editor of the 2012 anthology »Wikis in Schule und Hochschule« (Wikis in Schools and Universities) and has published relevant articles in handbooks and journals.
Moderator: Sabina Zweil is a research associate in the Knowledge Department at ZKM | Karlsruhe. Her focus is on the research field of artificial intelligence. She is currently working for the research project »Digitalization in Dialogue – digilog@bw«.
- Organization / Institution
- ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe