User:Kevin Gorman

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I'm Kevin Gorman. I'm a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in geography, although I'm currently living in SD as my doctors figure out the remnants of last year (in large part I've been here so long because when you need to see a particular specialist because no one else in the Western half of the country is familiar with the subject matter, waits are frequently several months. Until recently, I was an administrator until the Arbitration Committee stripped my sysop bit in what has to have been one of the more poorly executed cases in an arbcom tranche that was not known for good judgement.

I dislike systemic biases; both those caused by our gender, racial, and geographic biases, and those cause by no abstract available bias and it's kindred. One of my stronger interests on Wikipedia is making available online in a freely available format content that cannot be currently be found on the Wikimedia projects because of our systemic biases. I think that this is some of the most important work that can be done on Wikipedia at this time. While I was Wikipedian in Residence at UC Berkeley, my students wrote articles about topics of significance not present on the English Wikipedia (or at least lacking in quality,) - every year I was there, the number of reads my students' articles got exceeded the total number of visitors to UC Berkeley's library system - the goal of cultural institutions, at least in part, is to spread the knowledge they hold, and Wikipedia is one of (several, but an exceptional one) ways forward. If you are involved in a cultural instituion in Southern California and would like to chat about a collaboration, please drop me a note. Arbcom's exceptionally poor judgement means that there are certain types of collaboration I can no longer perform, but lots of awesome collaborations I can still

A lot of my writing that isn't related to the above is related to various personal interests - I'm an amateur mycologist, I just painstaking xeriscaped my yard, I'm fascinated with how conceptions of space and place have changed over time, etc. I'm also deeply concerned about Wikipedia's articles about living people, or that have the potential to harm real world people. I think we have an obligation to avoid this as best we can. I've been involved in a lot of real-world outreach about Wikipedia, especially as related to getting higher education involved, our demographic gaps, and the offline accessibility gap represented by galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. I haven't tried to make a list, but I've run quite a few editathons, generally themed around our content gaps I've also taken a stong interest in paid editing on Wikipedia. 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 (one of the larger groups we publicly damaged,a lthough they are still operating) 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. A lot of paid editing of this quality or worse slips under the radar in to the main encyclopedia.

I think much socialization between Wikipedians is good, and I wrote me an essay about it.


Conflict of interest statement

I've been involved in enough organizations that have interests at least tangentially related to Wikipedia that listing them all would be a fool's errand. I will generally avoid making CoI edits, and if I do happen to make one that strikes out to me, I'll note it. Probably a few of the most significant roles I've held that were closely related to Wikipedia; I was the Wikipedian in Residence for the University of California at Berkeley, and also the Regional Ambassador for California and Hawii before the WEF abolished such roles. I've also served as an unpaid, physically present intern directly for the Wikimedia Foundation, and later as a paid contractor.

Outreach work

Until early 2015 I was the Wikipedian in Residence for the American Cultures Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and until the WEP abolished such roles, I was also the Regional Ambassador for the US Education Program for California and Hawaii. I've been involved at classes at half a dozen other schools, and ran editathons at at least half a dozen cultural instituions.

This is a very outdated list of things had once intended to do, and probably will eventually

  • 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?

Other stuff

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

Articles I have been a substantial contributor to

In progress drafts

  • Carole Lee (probably holding on to this until her notability can be better established)
  • HyQvia
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.