Even after 18 months, I still get plenty of comments from editors from Rational Wiki and Wikipediocracy that what happened to me on Wikipedia I deserved because I was pushing ‘pseudoscience’. A number of comments seem to suggest that the treatment I encountered was justified or it should not be considered relevant since it was ‘fringe’.
I find this particular critique difficult to understand. For the first part, it’s inaccurate. The article in question on Wikipedia I was editing is a biography of a notable living person, not a ‘fringe’ topic, but rather about a person who researches fringe topics.
Secondly – Wikipedia we have a problem is a detail of the abuses on Wikipedia, and how they happen, not what kind of content they happen over. I could care less about parapsychology.
So while their claim is untrue – what bothers me is that it’s still a problem even if it was. If I did actually believe in ‘pseudoscience’, astrology, Reiki etc does that make it okay to use abusive tactics on the platform against me? Judging from some of the reactions so far they seem to suggest that because the article I was working on contains references to ‘fringe’ subject matter – the treatment that I encountered should have been expected.
To me, this sounds like a subtle rephrasing of the common heard derogatory response to claims of female harassment by men. “That woman deserves to be harassed by men because she is dressed for it” is the type of abuser logic that often fails to be self reflected upon. It’s not the type of harassment or abuse I am comparing, it’s the logic used to justify it that I am.
Let’s say that I believe it’s true that there is scientific evidence for telepathy or things like cold fusion are real or that there is evidence for Chinese medicine or even Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Would I deserve to be harassed for those beliefs on Wikipedia? Would that be reason to defame me, out me, and hound me away from editing on Wikipedia, even if I worked towards a neutral point of view?
Apparently – that’s the draconian thinking behind a few of the comments I have read online so far. If you have a belief or a reference or a source that may fall outside of a accepted mainstream point of view – you should expect this sort of harassment. Even worse, you probably deserve it.