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kottke.org posts about John Herrman

Lessening the burden on Wikipedia

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 21, 2018

In a recent interview at SXSW, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company planned to use information from Wikipedia to counter misinformation in YouTube’s videos. In the NY Times, John Herrman wrote about the potential burden of a massive company like Google leaning so heavily on a relatively small non-profit organization like Wikipedia.

Then there’s the issue of money. As important as Wikipedia may be to some of the richest companies in the world, it is, in financial terms, comparatively minuscule, with a yearly budget of less than $100 million — a rounding error for big tech. (It should be noted that Google has made one-off contributions to Wikipedia in the past and includes the Wikimedia Foundation in a program through which it matches employee donations, which netted the foundation around $1 million last year.)

A few years ago, I wrote about financially supporting Wikipedia.

I consider it a subscription fee to an indispensable and irreplaceable resource I use dozens of times weekly while producing kottke.org. It’s a business expense, just like paying for server hosting, internet access, etc. — the decision to pay became a no-brainer for me when I thought of it that way.

I also called on other companies to support Wikipedia on a recurring basis:

Do other media companies subscribe to Wikipedia in the same fashion? How about it Gawker, NY Times, Vox, Wired, ESPN, WSJ, New York Magazine, Vice, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post? Even $500/month is a drop in the bucket compared to your monthly animated GIF hosting bill and I know your writers use Wikipedia as much as I do. Come on, grab that company credit card and subscribe.

Wikipedia is a shared online resource that we all would sorely miss if it went away, people and companies alike. We should all pitch in and support it.

Ten hours of walking in NYC as a woman

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 29, 2014

A woman recently took to the streets of NYC and walked around for 10 hours. She walked behind someone wearing a hidden camera that captured all of the catcalls and harassment directed toward her during that time…108 incidents in all. This is what it’s like being a woman in public:

At The Awl, John Herrman notes the parallels between a woman on the streets of NYC and a woman spending time on the internet.

But the video works in two ways: It’s also a neat portrayal of what it is like to be a woman talking about gender on the mainstream internet. This became apparent within minutes of publication, at which point the video’s comment section was flooded with furious responses.

A typical post in the YouTube comments thread:

are you fucking kidding me “verbal harassment”? most of all the guys called that woman “beautiful” or said to “have a good day”….it would be harassment if the guys called that woman a “hoe” or “bitch”…you are a fucktard.

On Tumblr, Alex Alvarez neatly dispenses with that sort of “logic”:

To anchor this more concretely, consider the behavior of the men in the video. Take a look at how they seek the woman out to wish her a good morning, despite her not having made eye contact or shown any interest in talking to them. Take a look at how they’re not wishing a good morning to any other person, particularly male people, also walking around. The woman is walking directly behind the man filming her (the camera is hidden in his backpack), and not one of the men shown in the video are seen to be greeting him and wishing him a good day. Just her.

Why is this?

It’s because they don’t care, really whether she has a good day or not. What they care about is letting her know that they have noticed her — her hair, her face, her body, her outfit. They want her to notice that they’ve noticed, and they want her to notice them, however fleetingly.