I'm Kevin Gorman. I'm a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in geography. I'm a Wikipedian (and as of late, somehow also an administrator.) I don't like systemic bias. I also think no abstract available bias is really frightening. My strongest interest on Wikipedia is making available content that cannot currently be found on Wikipedia in areas that suffer due to our systemic biases. I think that this is some of the most important work that can be done on the encyclopedia at this time. A lot of my other editing is related to personal interests - I'm an amateur mycologist, I'm fascinated with how conceptions of space and place have changed over time, etc. I also spend a lot of time working on articles about living people. Wikipedia has the potential to do a lot of real-world harm if we mess up the biography of a living person, and I think we have an obligation to avoid this as best we can.
Besides for direct content creation, I do a lot of real-world outreach about Wikipedia. I started off focusing on higher education and gendergap related outreach, but have become active in the GLAM sector as well. I'm also one of the moderators of Gendergap-l, the Wikimedia Foundation's listserv aimed at dealing with issues related to our gendergap (although lately the list has been rather moribund.) I've also taken a strong interest in unethical paid editing on Wikipedia, because I think that it too has the potential to do great harm to the encyclopedia. I think paid editing can have a place on Wikipedia, potentially at least, but also think that pretty much everyone currently doing it is damaging Wikipedia. I've put together a few example pieces from the Wiki-PR case in my userspace here, so that people who didn't see the work when it was live can get an idea of the quality of their writing.
If you have a question about an administrative (or for that matter, a non-administrative) action that I've taken, please feel free to ask about it on my talk page.
Please note that health and realworld committments have kept me away from Wikipedia - and from email - for several weeks. If you emailed me or otherwise pinged me and I haven't answered, go ahead and ping me again please.
Conflict of interest statement
I'm currently employed by the University of California at Berkeley, have previously been a contractor for the Wikimedia Foundation, and am likely to develop a COI with regards to the Wiki Education Foundation in the near future. I will not be editing the main space of the encyclopedia directly about these topics generally speaking, except to address blatant vandalism. Since my contract with the WMF was in the past, I feel like my conflict of interest with regards to the WMF is significantly lower than with UCB or the WEF, and upon rare occasion may make noncontroversial edits related to the WMF. I may engage in mainspace edits about historically significant collections held by Berkeley or about historically/culturally significant local events or places related to Berkeley, but will avoid making any edits that could be viewed as promotional. In other words, I might write about the problems that invasive crawfish pose for Strawberry Creek even though part of it runs through Berkeley's campus, or expand the article about the Berkeley Historical Society, but I won't be editing touting our admissions statistics in the article about UC Berkeley, or removing negative information about the University from any article. I may touch upon certain events of historical importance that directly involve Berkeley such as the Free Speech Movement or People's Park, but will be doing so in the interests of improving the encyclopedia, not improving Berkeley's image (I doubt that adding more information about an event where UCB students were killed during a protest related to UCB property could possibly improve Berkeley's image.)
I will likely be uploading media that may be related to Berkeley in one way or another, such as previously unreleased photographs of events during the Free Speech Movement or the anti-Apartheid protests that occurred on campus, but won't be sticking these in articles myself 99.99% of the time - just leaving talk page pointers to them so that uninvolved people can decide whether or not they are worth including. I will be attempting to adhere more or less to Dominic's guidelines for involved editors, which I think are pretty fabulously written. If you believe I've stepped over the line w/r/t any of my edits and this statement, please point it out to me. I can't guarantee I won't make an occasional error, but if I do, I would like to rectify it promptly. As my relationships with these organizations evolve, and as I put more thought in to it, I will likely make occasional edits to this statement; please point out any that you disagree with.
I'm currently both the Wikipedian in Residence for the American Cultures Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and also the Regional Ambassador for the US Education Program for California and Hawaii. As Wikipedian in Residence at UCB, one of my main roles will be interfacing closely with American Cultures courses participating in the US Education Program to ensure that they flow smoothly, and result in net positives for Wikipedia, the students involved, and the instructors involved.) American Cultures at Berkeley is a program centered on the study of race, ethnicity, and culture in the United States - areas that we currently lack solid coverage of, partly due to the demographic biases of Wikipedia's editors. I'll be supervising students on-wiki closely, and I will also be interacting with them in person on a much more regular and intensive basis than is normally done in the USEP. The number of classes participating in the progrma at Berkeley will be limited by my time; I will not accept courses I don't have the capability to provide quality support to. The details of my position are not yet finalized, but besides for USEP support, I'll also be looking to arrange media donations to commons, host editathons, and look for novel ways that Wikipedia can collaborate with the academy.
Most of the classes I've been involved in as an RA have been confined to the San Francisco Bay Area, although I'd love to branch out as time permits. Besides for my roles as an ambassador and as a WiR, I've also been a participant in several USEP classes in the past, and have taught two. Having participated in the program as a student, instructor, and ambassador, I strongly believe that the program has a huge potential for good. I also realize that it can be catastrophically disruptive, and recognize that for the good of both Wikipedia and the students involved, the program must be managed carefully. Please feel free to reach out to me with USEP related questions or concerns, even if you're outside of my ostensible geographical area.
Besides for my higher education involvement, I give presentations on issues such as our gendergap when I am invited to. I'm also talking with the Internet Archive about accepting a Wikipedian in Residence position there that would deal with many things, but perhaps most important would literally mean no more dead links on Wikipedia (although the fruition of that project is at least a couple of months away.)
Online work, and a bit of a to-do list
- Some time ago I started to revamp the article on Temescal, a neighborhood in Northern Oakland. I'd like to finish up my revamp, and also work quite a bit towards getting more bay area local history on Wikipedia. I'm hoping to cooperate with the Oakland LocalWiki project on this where I can - they have a lot of excellent content, but it's often not cited in a way that can be directly ported here.
- I relatively recently wrote an article about Lead contamination in Oakland. I'd like to flesh it out a bit more, specifically by adding information about the effects of Oakland's lead on urban gardening. Lead contamination in Oakland is a big big thing, and I really think it deserves a solid Wikipedia article.
- I'd like to write (or improve) an article about every mushroom I collect. Unfortunately, since the Bay Area is having an incredibly dry year, this may not mean very much for a while!
- I'm a bit disturbed that Reproductive ethics is a redlink and intend to write it sooner or later.
And, for the big one:
Women in philosophy
I'm preparing to launch a Wikiproject aimed at improving the coverage of women in philosophy on Wikipedia. It'll likely be modeled in large part on User:Keilana's Wikiproject Women Scientists. Our coverage of women philosophers is currently beyond abysmal. We are missing a huge number of biographies of very prominent women philosophers. Until I get the full Wikiproject up (which should be soon!) you can take a look at subpage - it features some of my thoughts, some useful sources, and a list of notable women philosophers who currently don't have articles. Please feel free to edit that page, and I would be ecstatic if anyone would step up and write some of the missing biographies or improve the ones I have already written.
As you can see looking at my articles created list, I've written quite a few myself recently. One biography stood out to me in particular as an egregious omission - that of Alison Jaggar. Alison Jaggar wrote a book that has been cited more than 2,000 times - a colossal number, especially for a philosopher's book. She's also generally credited with teaching the first class about feminist philosophy ever to have been taught, and was involved with the founding of the first women studies department in the world. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article about feminist ethics literally states that "Alison Jaggar's summary of the fourfold function of feminist ethics cannot be improved upon in any significant way." That is a huge claim in any field, and I don't think I've ever seen a single remotely comparable claim in philosophy.
I'm not going to ask why we didn't have an article about Alison Jaggar. I understand that well enough. 90% of Wikipedia editors are men, and most are not philosophers. Philosophy as a field has a significant gender skew itself. It makes total sense that these demographic biases multiply in a way that means we end up without articles about people like Alison Jaggar. The fact that there's a reasonable explanation for it does not in any way make it okay. Instead of asking we the article was missing, I would like to pose a different question: Given that we're the #1 source of information in the world, how is it morally conscionable that because of our systemic biases we are missing articles about people like Alison Jaggar?
My first real username on wikipedia was kgorman-ucb, because I first started editing Wikipedia seriously in relation to my coursework (I have an old username from 2005 that had maybe two dozen edits - Special:Contributions/Czaemon. Boy were sourcing standards different back then.) Once my courses finished, I went ahead and got my account renamed, because I did not want to falsely imply an institutional affiliation. I have a second user account, User:Kevin (WMF), that I initially created while I was a communications intern at the Wikimedia Foundation, and later used when I had a contract with the Foundation to produce a retrospective report on the operation of the first few years of the m:Grants:Grants Program. You can see a copy of that report here. I'll only be using this account again if I have an affiliation with the Foundation in the future.
Articles I have created
- Agaricus cupreobrunneus
- Agaricus californicus
- Lawson Adit (was on DYK on November 17th, 2011)
- Occupy the Farm (was on DYK on May 9th, 2012... way out of date)
- Dopo / Adesso
- Ruth Chang
- Margaret Llewelyn Davies
- Virginia Held
- Seana Shiffrin
- Peggy DesAutels
- Susan Brison
- Lead contamination in Oakland (still under construction, but it seemed like a pretty big article to be missing!)
- Helen Beebee
- Laurie Shrage
- Alison Jaggar
- Jenann Ismael
- Naomi Scheman
- Margaret Urban Walker
- Carla Fehr
- Georgia Warnke
- Kathryn Gines
- Chris Cuomo
- Sally Scholz
- Anita Superson
- Charlotte Witt
- Kathryn Norlock
- Nancy Snow
- Miriam Solomon
- Edward Strong
- Juliet Floyd
- Jamila Bey
- Jennifer Whiting
- Susanna Schellenberg
- Carrie Figdor
- Teresa Blankmeyer Burke
- Ann Garry
- Joan Callahan
- Nancy Sherman
- Frances Egan
- Valerie Tiberius
- Amy Allen (Philosopher)
- Susanne Sreedhar
- Alia Al-Saji
- Mary Kate McGowan
- The FracTracker Alliance
- Elisabeth Camp
- Noëlle McAfee
- Sharon Lloyd
- Ewa Ziarek
- Peg O'Connor
- Lynne Tirrell
- Nomy Arpaly
- Ann Cudd
- Colin Bailey
- Peg Birmingham
- Alison McIntyre
- Naomi Zack
- Eva Kittay
- Marcia Baron
- Penelope Deutscher
- Mary Louise Gill
- Jessica Wilson
Articles I have been a substantial contributor to
- Psilocybe cyanescens (Article existed before I edited it, but I rewrote it and greatly expanded it. After my rewrites, the article appeared on DYK on September 1st, 2011.)
- Men's rights movement (I was responsible for a good chunk of it's cleanup from a much worse state to how it currently stands. It still has a long way to go before it's an awesome article, but it's at least better than it was. Due to current real life circumstances, I've stepped back from this editing area.)
- Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (I rewrote a significant part of the article as part of a classroom assignment)
- Universal v. Reimerdes (I rewrote a significant part of the article as part of a classroom assignment)
- Maria Badia i Cutchet (expanded content, sourced article)
- Pleurocybella porrigens (expanded the content currently in this article while the genus was still monotypic at Pleurocybella, later moved to this name.)
- Louisiana Science Education Act (I have rewritten part of the article so far, and intend to revamp the entire thing.)
- Death during consensual sex (one of the first tangible results of GLAM Bootcamp 2013...)
- Ofelia Schutte
- Lydia Goehr
- Louise Antony
- Rae Helen Langton
- Susanna Siegel
- Patricia Greenspan
- Béatrice Longuenesse
In progress drafts
- Carole Lee (probably holding on to this until her notability can be better established)
|My position on paid editing|
My position on paid editing
I don't believe that paid editing is inherently evil. I think that paid editing that is done in an ethical and transparent manner can be an actively good thing for Wikipedia as long as those editing understand and follow our rules. I think this is especially true if paid editors are creating content that our volunteer corps would be unlikely to create by themselves. More than that, I think that paid editing is inevitable. Wikipedia tops most search engine results and has an obscene reach; we can either have transparent and functional paid editing policies that allow communications staff to contribute productively, or we will be stuck with an ever-growing series of covert paid editing operations.
I think that most currently active paid editors are bad for Wikipedia. Where I have the chance to do so, I am more than happy to not only stop their actions, but remove their content where appropriate, and publicly embarass them if neessary. If a paid editing group is using hundreds or thousands of accounts and breaking Wikipedia's terms of service in every way imaginable, I don't think they deserve any respect. If you currently work for one of those groups and have stumbled across this pseudo-essay and are curious how you can improve, please reach out to me through the 'Email this User' function - my email is turned on. I'd love to talk with you, and hopefully help you understand the problems with your actions.
I am more than willing to actively assist paid editors who have a demonstrated track record of contributing in good faith, and who consistently demonstrate a solid understanding of our rules and purpose. If these editors happen to have shared values with me - e.g., the creation of neutral encyclopedic content, especially neutral encyclopedic content about topics that our systemic biases mean volunteer editors are unlikely to create on their own, I'll be especially eager to help where required. I'm less willing to actively help paid editors who do not share our core values, but if they aren't engaging in massive subversion of the encyclopedia, and they write reasonable articles, I don't think we need to necessarily aggressively get rid of them.
I think that in the coming weeks and months, we will need to drastically revamp the approach we take to paid editing, parlty to address the concerns of the PR/business community. Until there is a way for paid editors to contribute openly (which is critical so that their contributions can be addressed and bad ones removed,) we will continue to see large-scale paid editing occurring in dark shadow, featuring thousands of sockpuppets, and doing harm to the encyclopedia that will be hard to repair - or even to detect.
Nothing in this section is intended to apply to Wikipedian in Residence-type programs, and similar collaborations between Wikipedia and cultural and educational institutions. I think that our missions match up with cultural institutions quite well, and I think that collaborations between us and them are likely to be quite fruitful.