Misogyny in Hip-Hop: An Op-Ed Post

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The information portrayed on the Wikipedia website regarding misogyny in hip-hop is unreliable, and cannot be considered valid. The process included when defining information on Wikipedia allows for inconsistency and amateurs to portray it, leaving every topic included on the website, up for debate. As stated in Wikipedia fights the War of 1812 “indeed the use of anonymous usernames breaks the link between the outside hierarchical academic world.” (Jensen, 2012) Therefore, there is no academic hierarchy within Wikipedia, which grants merit to individuals based on academic success. In short, anyone can comment on Wikipedia, and the rest of this post will determine why the page on ‘Misogyny in hip-hop’ is unreliable.

The process for creating an article on Wikipedia is centered on “mass collaboration and communal creativity, which people will work and live with in the future” (Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009). Therefore it is important to note that the information displayed on the article ‘Misogyny in Hip-Hop’ involves user submitted material, from people who have not displayed their academic qualities. The reason for this volunteered submission from individuals is because “all users supposedly contribute content out of a basic human need to communicate” (Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009). What can be derived from this quote is that people may be posting and supplying information, out of a desire to receive feedback, especially with a topic as controversial as misogyny in hip-hop. Now that the process of creating an article has been resolved, the validity of the information covered within can be assessed.

First will be determining if the sources used are reliable, unbiased and valid. Many sources include academic journals such as, The Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of Black Studies and Journal of Men and Masculinities. Out of the seventy-one references listed, only three involve academic journals. This demonstrates to me a lack of reliability in the sources. Most sources are from magazine and newspaper articles, which can often include a writer desperate for attention, looking for mere shock value than depicting the facts. Regarding the question of bias, there seems to be minor bias involved within the sources. Many of the sources are derived from work directly from women, and from feminist magazines, which are going to have a biased approach to the situation considering it involves the mistreatment of women. Although writers are expected to be completely unbiased regarding the work they publish, the idea of a woman writing an article with the topic being centered around misogyny, allows for bias to slip through.

Moving along to the contents of the chat page included within this Wikipedia entry, it is clear to see a division between the individuals who have commented. When discussing the contents of the ‘talk’ page it is important to note “Fewer than one in a thousand comment (on Wikipedia)” (Jensen, 2012) and “all users supposedly contribute content out of a basic human need to communicate.”( Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009) Therefore, when reading the comments it is important to ponder, why are these people taking their time to contribute to this topic? A major issue within the talk page involves whether it should be considered ‘Hip-Hop’ or ‘Rap’ (in regards to the presence of misogyny in the music). Some feel as though hip-hop is far too vast a genre and misogyny is not a central theme throughout, but that is only exists in the specific sub-genre of hip-hop, rap.

Although there is quite some debate included within the talk page, the comments are assessed and addressed democratically. There is no bickering between angry individuals on different sides of the argument, but rather well sought out and written comments, with equally well written rebuttals.

Throughout the talk page, there is no authority figure displaying their credentials or expertise on the topic subject. It appears to be mostly passionate fans of hip-hop music, that would like to defend their favourite artists who are consistently depicted as misogynist throughout the article. For example, many individuals come to the defence of performing artist Eminem, who has become a poster child in regards to the topic of misogyny in hip hop. This demonstrates more proof of bias within the article, as it appears the contributors have a passion for hip-hop music and wish to defend the artists mentioned. This is not necessarily unexpected, as Royal and Kapila stated in their article “Coverage for items that were current were deemed more important and produced more hits thus were covered more frequently.” (Kapila & Royal, 2009) Since hip-hop, in particular rap, is a genre created recently, this topic is definitely considered current, and therefore brings a lot of comments and page views.

To conclude, it is clear the information portrayed on the Wikipedia website regarding misogyny in hip-hop is unreliable, and cannot be considered valid. At this point in this relatively new topic subject, it appears as though the majority of the Wikipedia page is opinion rather than fact. This conclusion has been reached due to the lack of reliable sources included in the article posting on this topic. In addition, it has been determined that there is clear bias within the resources as many are written by feminist publications, who are clearly going to have a bias view regarding the mistreatment of women. Also, when viewing the ‘talk’ page within the article, more bias was revealed in the form of passionate fans defending their favourite artists. The issue of misogyny in hip-hop exists currently, and is one, which is still very misunderstood. Although the presence of misogyny in hip-hop is clear, the Wikipedia page dedicated to it simply contains too much bias, alternate views and does not do a good enough job of determining it’s source, and reasoning. This Wikipedia article is simply too opinion based, when it should be centered on facts.

References:

Jensen, R. (2012). Military history on the electronic frontier: Wikipedia fights the war of 1812. The Journal of Military History, 76, 1165-1182.

Royal, C., & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on wikipedia and what’s not..? assesing completeness of information. Social Science Computer Review, 27(1), 138-148.

Van Dijck, J., & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents:a critical analysis of web 2.0 business manifestos. New Media and Society, 11(5), 855-874.

*Image Courtesy of Purchased Microsoft Office for Mac.

*Wikipedia Article this Op-Ed piece is based on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny_in_hip_hop_culture

Blogs which look at the validity of Wikipedia articles:

http://brandonmendisblog.wordpress.com/

http://soitgoes5blog.wordpress.com/

http://beccabellablog.wordpress.com/

http://andreapilkington.blogspot.ca/

http://bookstofilmblog.wordpress.com

Response: Wikipedia, Information Roulette?

Having read the comments associated with my previous blog post ‘Wikipedia: Information Roulette?” some very interesting points arose which I would like to take the time to address. Firstly, I would like to thank those who commented on my blog, I am very appreciative of them.

An interesting point brought up in my comments was the comparison to Encyclopedia Britannica and whether this was a positive or negative. Considering Britannica is the most recognizable Encyclopedia in the world today, and involves some of the greatest minds in the world collecting and assessing the data, I truly believe this is a positive comparison for Wikipedia. For the information included on Wikipedia, to be so closely associated with such a powerful source of information, demonstrates the effectiveness of peer-production. Although Encyclopedia Britannica simply employs around a hundred well educated individuals to portray the information, Wikipedia takes a drastically different approach in allowing anyone to enter information onto their website, but employs thousands of individuals to regularly monitor and edit the information. Two drastically different approaches, with a very similar outcome demonstrate to me the effectiveness of Wikipedia.

Another point raised within the comments of my previous blog post, involves that which was earlier noted, the editing process, which they deploy, and whether or not this is effective. It is true that anyone can provide information on Wikipedia and state it as fact. Although this is true, I still do not believe this is a deterrent as to the validity of Wikipedia. The reason I believe this is because the immense amount of editors the website employs and the constant monitoring it undertakes. Among the most important events in history, the chances of an individual providing information on the website, long enough for anyone to notice before one of the thousands of editors due, seem very rare. This is why Wikipedia stacks up so well with Britannica. The only instance I see where this would arise a concern is with subjects/events hardly known to the world yet. For instance, a brand new device that may have just been invented might have information provided which is not 100% accurate.  This is because the editors have not been able to verify the information yet, and therefore false information may be included on the website. The counter argument to this is that Wikipedia is just so instant, it provides brand new current information, where other encyclopedia sources would not even have that information yet. The fact that Wikipedia allows anyone to upload information, allows individuals a chance to create a brand new page regarding an object/person/event other sources do not even discuss.

Finally the last point I would like to comment on is regarding the use of Wikipedia as a scholarly source. I do not think Wikipedia is, nor ever will be, a reliable source to use regarding academic work. This does not necessarily discredit the validity of Wikipedia, but more demonstrates the strength needed for sources to be deemed fit for academic purposes. In order for academic sources to be considered, they must be written by individuals who are well respected in their field. Since anyone can provide information to Wikipedia, it simply cannot be qualified as an academic source. That being said, I do believe Wikipedia is a great starting point when researching for academics. For instance, if you are doing a project on the War of 1812, you can go to Wikipedia, read a quick review of the information regarding the War of 1812, acquiring a general idea of the events which took place, and you now have a starting point in regards to your topic. In addition, the sources used for the Wikipedia page are all located at the bottom, and therefore can be opened to find proper academic sources regarding your topic.

When discussing Wikipedia, there is a lot, which is up for debate. I do believe Wikipedia is an excellent source for information regarding anything from music to Canadian history. Although it is very prominent, it is still user created and therefore it will never be considered fit as use for academic sources.

Wikipedia: Information Roulette?

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The internet encyclopedia known as Wikipedia, has grown to become a worldwide leader in information, thanks in large part to the ease individuals have accessing its database simply by going to their website, http://www.wikipedia.org . Although Wikipedia is a massive worldwide website “About 13 percent of all internet users worldwide look at Wikipedia” (Jensen, 2012) also “ranking number 7 in Canada” (Jensen, 2012)  in usage among all websites, the validity of information on Wikipedia has been highly scrutinized. Initially, I had the same beliefs regarding Wikipedia as most people; it is not a reliable source for information. I felt this simply because of all the negative aspects associated with Wikipedia heard so often, peers provide the information, anyone can edit their pages, and the database is too large to monitor to assure all information provided on the website is correct. I must admit after reading the articles for this week’s module, my opinion on Wikipedia as a reliable source of information has greatly changed. Although Wikipedia is not foolproof regarding the distribution of information, it is very reliable.

To begin I will discuss my initial thought regarding Wikipedia; the information displayed on their website can be completed by anyone and therefore it cannot be reliable as the people providing it is unknown. This is a thought many individuals share regarding Wikipedia, but upon reading the Journal Article by Nieborg and Van Dijck my opinion changed considerably. Within the article they discuss how Wikipedia is a model of “mass creativity or peer production” (Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009), which is roughly defined as “created by crowds of (mostly) anonymous users who define their own informational, expressive and communicational needs.” (Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009) Rather than determining this as a negative aspect of the information provided by Wikipedia, it seems as though this is positive and the wave of the future in business, specifically Internet business. As stated in the same Nieborg and Van Dijck article “Mass collaborations define the way in which people will work and live in the future.” (Nieborg & Van Dijck, 2009) The implementation of peer-produced information by Wikipedia is now seen as ahead of its time. This mass collaboration which Wikipedia abides by clearly has become the wave of the future as it has surpassed (in unique visitors) “Yahoo News, MSNBC, AOL and CNN” (Kapila & Royal, 2009) Clearly Wikipedia’s mass collaboration process is becoming increasingly affective as it continues to pass major news feeds.

When comparing Wikipedia against The Britannica Encyclopedia, which uses individuals with immense education to provide and edit the information, the mass collaboration process still stacks up quite well. The English version of Wikipedia contains more than one million articles. Kapila and Royal state in their Journal Article from 2009 “By this measure, it is almost 12 times larger than the print version of the Encyclopedia Britannica.” (Kapila & Royal, 2009) This is quite staggering, considering the size of Encyclopedia Britannica. In addition, the accuracy is fairly close to that of Encyclopedia Britannica, deriving information from the same Journal Article, Kapila and Royal state “Within 24 randomly selected general science articles, there were 162 mistakes in Wikipedia versus 123 for Britannica” (Kapila & Royal, 2009). Although it appears as though Britannica is still more accurate, this shows how reliable the information on Wikipedia is considering it can stand toe to toe with the worlds Encyclopedia leader.

It is amazing how you can be entirely convinced of one thing, than read some well written articles, and be completely persuaded to the reverse side of the argument. I use to consistently dismiss Wikipedia as a reliable source for information, simply as a way to find information regarding current music and movies. Having read this week’s articles, I thoroughly believe Wikipedia is reliable, seeing how Wikipedia operates behind the scene, their use of peer production is ahead of its time and all Internet companies are following suit. In addition, having seen the facts comparing Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica, I was shocked to see the results, which displayed how strong the information on Wikipedia is. To seek information of any kind, look no further than Wikipedia. It contains an almost endless amount of topics, provides accurate information, and is regularly edited and updated, I am confident you will be satisfied.

References:

Jensen, R. (2012). Military history on the electronic frontier: Wikipedia fights the war of 1812. The Journal of Military History, 76, 1165-1182.

Royal, C., & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on wikipedia and what’s not..? assesing completeness of information. Social Science Computer Review, 27(1), 138-148.

Van Dijck, J., & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents:a critical analysis of web 2.0 business manifestos. New Media and Society, 11(5), 855-874.

*Image Courtesy of Purchased Microsoft Office for Mac.