Y is home from college for the rest of the summer and tells me he wants a job. So I tell him my server has 25 years of posts on it and I lost some, so I need him to go on the Wayback Machine and find them.
“What did you lose?”
“Hypertexts are stories that deconstruct patriarchal tropes of self-discovery and I’m famous for writing them.”
“If you were really famous, you’d have a much longer Wikipedia page.”
My brain explodes. “My Wikipedia page is constantly under siege. People have been trying to delete my page forever.”
Y won’t read my blog, but he loves reading the arguments for deleting my Wikipedia page. He agrees to take the job and starts studying the rules of linking.
After two days of his link studies I tell him, “No more reading. A real boss would fire you.”
“Wikipedia linking is an art form. You can’t rush it.” Then he says, “Wait. Someone is editing your page. Look: ‘The New York Times interviewed parenting experts who warned Trunk to stop blogging about her divorce. Trunk did not stop.'”
I kvell. “I wrote that,” I say. “Y, this is why I’m successful. Because I know when to cut corners. I’m just going to edit my own page.”
I start rectifying every problem I’ve ever had in life. I had the first blog-to-book in 2003. That’s UC Santa Cruz. Very trusted. When I go to edit the Wikipedia entry for blogging to make it point to the entry for me, the blogging entry is locked. And I notice Kathy Sierra gets a whole paragraph devoted to her quitting blogging because men harassed her online. WTF? I should be in that paragraph because I was there too, and I put up with all that crap for another 20 years.
I find a law review article about how women give up earning power if they stop blogging because men are jerks online.And guess who they cite? My blog post. So I put the this whole discussion in a new section that I add into my Wikipedia entry: Controversy. I’ve seen that on other peoples’ pages.
An hour later I notice I misspelled controversy, so I go back to edit and there’s a note saying it looks like I have an undisclosed financial stake in editing the page and I need to disclose who is paying me.
So I write back: “Hi. I’m Penelope and I wish I were getting paid because it’s taking me a really long time to fix my page, and I’m annoyed that Wikipedia keeps letting people delete my stuff.”
Then I get a reply that there’s an warning from someone who is “qualified to boldly revise the page”.
Y wakes up, sees that I’ve stayed up all night, and immediately checks my page: “Mom, you’re talking to a bot! What are you doing? Stop! You look insane.”
Whatever. I keep boldly revising the page myself. But when I look for a link to the project I did with Yoko Ono, I notice that half my page is gone. Not gone, actually. Just relegated to the boldly revised section. I take that as an invitation to try to make it more palatable to the bot in the Talk section.
But I notice someone deleted Trunk speaks publicly about her experience with gender conflict at work,  which they should have never deleted because one of my trusted sources  also included some very important information. Like:
· Wikipedia articles about topics of particular interest to female editors are significantly shorter than “male” articles.
· The articles women tend to edit are twice as likely to be about controversial or contentious topics.
· Female editors are significantly more likely to have their early contributions undone by their fellow editors, and are more likely to be indefinitely blocked by fellow editors.
The result of women not editing Wikipedia is that women don’t get written about, even though women and men use Wikipedia at the same rate. Also, when women do get written about the entries end up looking like mine: The topics the editors left were my miscarriage and my naked picture documenting domestic violence. And now, in the background, men are debating if those leftover topics are significant enough for me to have my own page.
It’s completely obvious why there are so many more men editing than women. Women do unpaid labor to be caretakers and men do unpaid labor to amass power and influence. We know this is not a result of social pressure because the more equal a society is, the more likely women are to choose to spend time on taking care of family rather than amassing power and influence.
I am citing Claudia Goldin’s Wikipedia page there. She is a Harvard economist who has established over decades that the choice of caretaking is not from social pressure. Goldin has done at least as much for society as Larry Summers, but her page is minuscule, compared to his, and his is littered with tech-bro-BS like the fact that the Winklevoss twins requested a meeting with him in 2004. Seriously. That piece of useless information has its own full section on Summers’ page.
You know how we got to equal pay between equally qualified men and women in the workplace? By placing them side by side and checking for parity. So how about doing a sex-based parity check on Wikipedia, like I just did? Find someone who is similar, but of the opposite sex, and make sure the pages are of similar length. If they are not, either delete the fluff from one or add substance to the other.
I have a candidate to manage this initiative. There’s a Wikipedia editor with high authority who has singlehandedly fought off calls to delete the Penelope Trunk Wikipedia entry for the last 10 years. So I want to say a big thank you to Agent 86, and I nominate them for the job. Also, can you please hire my son? I can’t manage him anymore.