AfroCROWD Wikipedia Editor's Article on Doria Ragland Tops Wiki Search List For UK Royal Wedding Libraries Key in her Wikipedian Journey
Harlem, New York City: The Wikipedia article on Doria Ragland, begun by AfroCROWD Wikimedia editor, Linda Fletcher, topped 2 million views in the short week following the famous wedding between Ragland's daughter Meghan Markle, and England’s Prince Harry, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It took only 3 days for the article to hit 1.5 million views and during the historic nuptials, Ragland's Wikipedia article was the 4th most popular search on the platform, ahead of the Queen herself.
An estimated 2 billion people worldwide watched as Ragland took her place in history as a new member of the royal family, generating thousands of pages across news media describing the significance of her new role in history and to the African Diaspora.
Yet just three days earlier, a Wikipedia search for Doria Ragland would have returned empty -- Ms. Ragland was a “Woman in Red.”
“Woman in Red” is a label used within the Wikipedia community of editors for any notable woman who lacks a Wikipedia article to establish her presence on the world's most popular online encyclopedia and 6th most visited website. This happens because hyperlinks on such articles appear in red on the website.
Thankfully, 72 hours before the big wedding day, Wikipedia editor Linda Fletcher came to the rescue, perceiving the need to begin the article. Thanks to her work and an infusion of edits by other Wikipedia editors around the world, the millions who would soon show up at Wikipedia's door to satisfy their royal intrigue would not leave disappointed. Instead they would find sourced and cited information pulled from the world's hive-mind.
“I think that adding content and learning [with] Wikipedia is the future...It has become a way of life,” said Fletcher, “reading, writing, researching, learning, and sharing. It has become a practice for me, something that I can engage in for the rest of my life.”
Fletcher started editing Wikipedia in 2015 with AfroCROWD, a New York City-based initiative with global ties, whose mission is to increase Wikipedia editorship, participation, content creation and awareness among people of African Descent.
While initiatives like AfroCROWD were launched over the past few years to improve statistics, only and estimated 17% of articles on Wikipedia are about notable women like Ragland.
It is also estimated that less than 10% of editors on Wikipedia are Afro-descended or women.
At a 2017 strategy meeting in Berlin, Wikimedians from all corners of the globe pledged to bridge the multicultural gap on Wikipedia by 2030 in accordance with Wikipedia’s ambition of reflecting the sum of all knowledge. This pledge informs AfroCROWD’s mission.
Since joining AfroCROWD, Fletcher has become an active editor, speaking at events with the group about her work and her AfroCROWD experience, and has recently become a Wikipedia coach to new editors who will soon lead her first training. She has also attended global and regional meetups of Wikipedians.
Fletcher first joined AfroCROWD at an event made possible by a partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library in New York, one of the many library partnerships AfroCROWD has developed over time. In fact, AfroCROWD held its first event at the same library and has grown to include others like the famous Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and the Library of the Fashion institute of Technology in lower Manhattan. Partnerships also include museums like the renown Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn. The support and collaboration of these GLAM institutions, along with other community, grassroots and institutional partnerships, are key to AfroCROWD’s outreach.
If you would like to learn how to edit Wikipedia or are interested in Wikimedia-related programming, AfroCROWD holds Wikipedia related events monthly. Linda will lead her first AfroCROWD Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the Countee Cullen Library in Harlem on June 23rd. You can check it out in person or support online here: https://harlemjazzwikiedit623.eventbrite.com All are welcome to participate at AfroCROWD edit-a-thons and events.