[Foundation-l] Introducing a new mailing list

Lars Aronsson lars at aronsson.se
Tue Dec 5 00:17:24 UTC 2006

Ilario Valdelli wrote:

> I don't understand the problem...

This is a large part of the problem, isn't it?  To take just one 
example, white Americans feel equal and democratic, and pride 
themselves of this, but black Americans still feel oppressed.  
Very few whites understand the problem in full but even fewer 
blacks understand how little the white understand.  How many white 
men know what it is like to grow up where none of the presidents 
in the history book has your skin color?  How many black know what 
it is like, never to have asked that question?  It is so easy to 
shun the difference and so hopeless to try to make a change. 
Women, of course, are not a "minority" in real numbers, but often 
in perceived power.

All of us wikipedians are also a minority of this kind, underdogs 
under the vast dominance of traditional printed, commercial 
encyclopedias.  Perhaps Britannica, Larousse and Brockhaus feel 
that it was sad and unnecessary to take the disruptive step of 
setting up Wikipedia, instead of building on their existing base.  
They were willing to listen to the young generation, weren't they? 
Their experience in quality control and profitmaking should have 
been useful, so why on earth didn't the wikipedians apply for jobs 
there instead of being unpaid for reverting edit wars?  From their 
perspective, our obsession must be plain incomprehensible.  And 
yet there is nothing wrong with us, only with their perspective.

Self-identified subgroups will find ways to communicate, whether 
it is women, skin colour, or operating system preference, and this 
is nothing we should try to stop.  Now the women have formed their 
own subgroup within the Wikimedia Foundation.  Hey, that means we 
have women here!  Compared to Linux kernel hackers, that's great 
progress.  And unlike the United States, the Wikimedia Foundation 
does have a female president.  How long will we have to wait 
before the black people form a subgroup?  Did they have a meetup 
at Wikimania?  (I guess not.  I heard it was an almost exclusively 
white event.)  And will we one day see a special interest group 
for black female Linux kernel hackers?

Funny, perspective is what Wikipedia is all about, the NPOV.  We 
pride ourselves of being able to see beyond our own perspective.

  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se

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