Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias

WikiProject Countering systemic bias
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The Wikipedia project contains several types of WP:NPOV violations that arise from systemic bias in the demographics of the editor community.[1] Encyclopedic coverage is imbalanced and often omits points of view from under-represented demographic groups. Systemic bias on Wikipedia may take the form of gender, geographical, racial, ideological, and other forms of bias.

See § Further reading for studies, statistics, and more information that demonstrate contributor or subject imbalances.


  1. Reduce systemic bias on Wikipedia as much as possible, consciously focusing upon subjects and points of view neglected by the encyclopedia as a whole.
  2. Improve the editing community's understanding of the systemic bias in Wikipedia by reviewing existing scholarship and ensuring that recent studies about Wikipedia's systemic bias are included as sources, both in articles and discussions among editors. Ensure that sections about systemic bias in these articles are clear, complete, and concise.



The first goal is extremely broad, as under-represented POVs may affect almost any article. It may be advisable to focus on projects within the scope of the related WikiProjects listed below.

The second goal can be accomplished by WikiProject members sharing the latest research about Wikipedia's systemic bias on this WikiProject's talk page, as well as in articles about Wikipedia itself and in relevant content and policy discussions among editors.

Systemic bias in coverage and selection of articles


Research consistently finds systemic bias in Wikipedia's selection of articles in its various language editions.[1][2] This bias leads, without necessarily any conscious intention, to the propagation of various prejudices and omission of important information. Wikipedia's increasing influence on the way people comprehend the world makes this bias a potentially serious threat.

Selection based on gender bias


Wikipedia has a longstanding controversy concerning gender bias and sexism.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Wikipedia has been criticized[3] by some journalists and academics for lacking not only female contributors but also extensive and in-depth encyclopedic attention to many topics regarding gender. An article in The New York Times cites a Wikimedia Foundation study which found that fewer than 13% of contributors to Wikipedia were women. Sue Gardner, then the executive director of the foundation, said increasing diversity was about making the encyclopedia "as good as it could be". Factors the article cited as possibly discouraging women from editing included the "obsessive fact-loving realm", associations with the "hard-driving hacker crowd", and the necessity to be "open to very difficult, high-conflict people, even misogynists".[4]

Selection based on racial bias


A challenge for editors trying to add Black history articles to Wikipedia is the requirement that potential article topics, such as historical individuals or events, meet Wikipedia's "notability" criteria. Sara Boboltz of HuffPost wrote that the Wikipedia notability criteria "is a troubling problem for those fighting for more content about women and minorities", because "there's simply less [published] documentation on many accomplished women and minorities throughout history – they were often ignored, after all, or forced to make their contributions as someone else's assistant."[9]

Maher stated that one issue is that "content on Wikipedia has to be backed up by secondary sources, sources that she says throughout history have contained a bias toward white men;" "people of color have not been represented in mainstream knowledge creation or inclusion in that knowledge," as "encyclopedias of old were mostly written by European men."[10]

Although these assume bias, the presence of white nationalists and other far-right extremists on Wikipedia is an ongoing problem that is unlikely to go away in the near future given the rightward political shift in countries where the majority of the site’s users live." The SPLC cited the article Race and intelligence as an example of the alt-right influence on Wikipedia, stating that at that time the article presented a "false balance" between fringe racialist views and the "mainstream perspective in psychology."[11]

Selection based on ideological bias


Task forces


Some task forces that focus on particular aspects of systemic bias are linked below:

Defunct task forces


Talk pages for the following task forces have not been edited in over a year:


This gallery of images from education implies that Africans and Asians don't have advanced education system while Westerners do. A way to solve this disparity is to add images of university students in Africa and Asia.

There are many things you may do, listed roughly from least to most intensive:

  • Sign up as a participant and mention any interests you may have related to CSB. Watch the talk page, and participate in discussions there.
  • Read news articles and other sources from political view points you wouldn't normally read or in other languages. If you're multilingual, translate articles from other languages.
  • Consciously edit topics that are systemically under-represented, such as geographic places in Africa. Changing one out of every twenty of your edits to something outside your "comfort zone" would be substantial.
  • Create articles for underrepresented groups and topics. Women in Red keeps a list of potentially notable women that do not have articles on the English Wikipedia.
  • Be careful not to worsen the bias with your deletion nominations. If you are not familiar with a subject area, discuss your concerns on appropriate forums before making an AfD nomination.
  • Review articles being discussed for deletion. Advocate to keep suitable articles about under-represented topics. Improve articles that are being considered for deletion. For example, use WikiProject delete sorting to review deletion nominations of biographies about women WP:DS/WOMEN
  • Change the demographic of Wikipedia. Encourage friends and acquaintances that you know have interests that are not well-represented on Wikipedia to edit. If you are at high school or university, contact a professor in minority, women's, or critical studies, explain the problem, and ask if they would be willing to encourage students to write for Wikipedia.

There are several WikiProjects and regional notice boards that have potential to help out in our efforts. We may also eventually want to create new WikiProjects as part of this effort.


See also:



Latin America or the Caribbean


See also:






Other projects


The template {{globalize}} may be placed to produce

The template {{toofewopinions}} may be placed to produce

The template {{religion primary}} may be placed to produce

The template {{recentism}} may be placed to produce

When these templates are used they should be accompanied by a brief note on the talk page to outline what exactly you feel needs to be addressed.



Please add your name to the members page.

We of course encourage all members of WikiProject Countering systemic bias, to also promote their membership to other Wikipedians, by adding the Userbox template to their personal user page. This is fast and easy to do. You only need to add this line at your user page: {{User WikiProject Countering systemic bias}}, and then you will find this wonderful blue userbox displayed:

 This user is a participant in
WikiProject Countering systemic bias.

If you have specific interests relating to countering systemic bias, feel free to briefly describe them there or on this Wikiproject's talk page so we can get a sense of the strengths of the project.


  1. ^ a b Hube, Christoph (2017-04-03). "Bias in Wikipedia". Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on World Wide Web Companion. WWW '17 Companion. Republic and Canton of Geneva, CHE: International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee: 717–721. doi:10.1145/3041021.3053375. ISBN 978-1-4503-4914-7.
  2. ^ Livingstone, Randall M. (2010-11-23). "Let's Leave the Bias to the Mainstream Media: A Wikipedia Community Fighting for Information Neutrality". M/C Journal. 13 (6). doi:10.5204/mcj.315. ISSN 1441-2616.
  3. ^ a b Cassell, Justine (February 4, 2011). "Editing Wars Behind the Scenes". New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Noam Cohen, "Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia's Contributor List," The New York Times. Found at The New York Times, January 31, 2011.
  5. ^ "Wikipedia's Women Problem". 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  6. ^ Wikipedia's Sexism Toward Women Novelists
  7. ^ Dunn, Gaby (2013-05-01). "Does Sexism Lurk?". Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  8. ^ Zandt, Deanna. "Yes, Wikipedia is Sexist". Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  9. ^ Boboltz, Sara (April 15, 2015). "Editors Are Trying To Fix Wikipedia's Gender And Racial Bias Problem". HuffPost. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  10. ^ Lapowski, Issie (March 5, 2015). "Meet the Editors Fighting Racism and Sexism on Wikipedia". Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  11. ^ Ward, Justin (March 12, 2018). "Wikipedia wars: inside the fight against far-right editors, vandals and sock puppets". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved June 16, 2023.

See also


Further reading