How to help fix the “American novelists” problem on Wikipedia
The “American novelists” category on Wikipedia is apparently theoretically supposed to be just a list of subcategories, but it currently also contains a large number of individual authors.
And unfortunately, a lot of female authors have recently been removed from that category in favor of putting them in the “American women novelists” category. For more on this, see Amanda Filipacchi's New York Times op-ed piece Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists.
There's nothing wrong with female authors being listed in both categories, but there's a lot wrong with removing only the women from the main category.
So here's how to help fix the problem:
- Log in to your Wikipedia account.
- Go to a female American novelist's Wikipedia page. You may want to start from the American women novelists category page and click through to individual authors.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the + at the end of the author's category list.
- Type in American novelists in the box that appears.
- Click the OK button.
I encourage y'all to do this for your favorite female American novelists!
It's possible that Wikipedia will soon decide on some other approach, such as merging the “American female novelists” category into the “American novelists” category. But that may or may not happen anytime soon, so in the meantime, we may as well fix the current problem.
A better programmer than I could probably write code to fix this in a few minutes. But there are only a couple hundred authors affected, so it seemed simpler to just crowdsource the fix.
I do have subtext here: part of my point is to remind people that Wikipedia is editable, and that we can all contribute to making it a better place.
Note, however, that longtime Wikipedia editors sometimes get a little impatient with people who appear to be there only to do one specific thing. If you create an account for the first time in order to work on this, you may unfortunately encounter some resistance. I'd like to encourage people to sign up and stick around and become part of the community, but I know it can be hard to persevere in the face of what appears to be old-timers trying to push new people away.