Since its debut in 2001, the free-access and free-content online encyclopedia Wikipedia has become a huge cultural force, filled with millions of articles in 250 different languages. Accessed some 500 million times per moth, and boasting over 26 million registered “citizen editor,” Wikipedia would seem to be the ultimate in democratic knowledge-sharing.
That is, until you consider Wikipedia’s demographics. Almost exclusively white and male, Wikipedia editors play a large role in determining what is “notable” — which in turn can have a significant effect on the representation (or lack thereof) of the history and culture of people of color.
Enter Afrocrowd. Afrocrowd is an initiative aimed at increasing the number of people of African Descent who actively partake in the Wikimedia and free knowledge, culture and software movements. Working in partnership with organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Public Library, Afrocrowd organizes “edit-a-thons” to train volunteers to participate as Wikipedia editors.
In the video above, Afrocrowd founder Alice Backer and other participates explain why the initiative is so important.