All of the talk about last week's BlogHer conference reminded me of an effort I began last December to add overlooked female technologists to Wikipedia. In a discussion with Shelley Powers, I said that the encyclopedia is one area where gender disparity is easy to rectify. Someone just has to take the time to write comprehensive, neutral biographies that will pass muster with the site's editors. A person's presence in Wikipedia tends to attract new bios for people of similar background and relative fame, as you ... read more

Two of the best-known Daily Kos diarists, Redacted and Expunged, are uncomfortable with people knowing their real names. Redacted discourages the press from identifying him, as he told the Philadelphia Inquirer: ... the 47-year-old blogger who goes by the pen name [Redacted] gave an interview on the condition that I not write what I know about him, because the publicity could hurt his blogging or his job. Let's leave it at this: he works in corporate marketing in the Philadelphia area. He's also an ex-financial ... read more

I fleshed out a placeholder entry on Wikipedia this morning, giving the Richardson, Texas, high school where "Jeremy spoke in class today" enough substance to inspire future editors to work on it. I've made around 150 edits to Wikipedia in the past year, most extensively on new bios and the unspeakably hideous "alcopop" drink Zima. Starting new subjects is a lot more fun than defending existing ones from vandalism. My Drudge Retort coconspirator Jonathan Bourne and I worked on the Zima entry as a form of ... read more

The controversy over the publication of editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad is playing out on Wikipedia, where an image of a newspaper page containing the cartoons has been removed eight times within the past week alone. An internal poll of Wikipedia editors strongly favored the publication of the image, which puts the online encyclopedia in the same position as media organizations that have taken criticism for reprinting them. "Making and also looking the figures of Mohammed is forbidden," wrote one ... read more

Shelley Powers believes that well-known female technologists are less likely to find themselves in Wikipedia than their male counterparts: Why are there significantly fewer women? I think one reason is that we women are taught not to put ourselves forward. Men are complimented for tooting their own horn; making known their wishes; noting their own accomplishments. Women, however, are expected to be sweet, demure, and most of all, stay ever so slightly in the shadow. My take on her observation is that men are more ... read more

Whenever a new biography is added to Wikipedia, an "articles for deletion" debate is likely to happen on whether the subject is notable enough to merit inclusion. If the subject's a computer book author, you invariably get a comment from a Wikipedia editor like the one that was just made about best-selling O'Reilly author Shelley Powers: I really don't believe that authoring a how-to technology book makes one a notable author. We might as well have articles for writers of toaster manuals. He has a good point. I'm ... read more

In an interview with Wired News, Wikipedia leader Jimmy Wales renewed his objection to the statement that Bomis Babes was pornographic: If R-rated movies are soft porn, it was porn. In other words, no, it was not. That description is inaccurate. If you're not exceptionally proud of the erotic web site you ran before the dot-com bust, a defense that hinges on the definition of soft pornography probably won't help matters. As someone who grew up after cable television and before the web, I thought "soft porn" ... read more