The UAL Decolonising Wikipedia Network (DWN) aims to support students and staff to edit Wikipedia through the lenses of anti-racism and decolonisation. This is in line with the UAL Anti-Racism Action Plan and pledge to work with students, staff, graduates and partners to dismantle systemic racism within our university and the creative industries (UAL, 2021, p.2) and objectives for Decolonising the Curriculum (p.11). DWN is led by UAL academic Lucy Panesar, in association with Wikimedia UK as part of the UAL Knowledge Exchange Secondment Scheme.
On signing up as a member of the UAL Decolonising Wikipedia Network you accept the following terms. If you have any queries about these terms please contact DWN lead Lucy Panesar on UALDecolonisingWikipediaNetwork@arts.ac.uk
The DWN Outreach Dashboard provides a public list of all editors that have joined it and keeps count of editing activity, but you can choose to participate with your own name as editor or using an alias editor name. You can also choose not to create a Wikipedia account and/or not join the DWN Outreach Dashboard; these are options.
By agreeing with these terms and conditions, you accept that Wikipedia may edit or remove your work or it may be removed or overwritten by other Wikipedia editors, or prompt unwelcome responses from members of the public. UAL and DWN have no control over this and can accept no responsibility. DWN is not set up to act as a gatekeeper for Wikipedia; it aims instead to support members to edit Wikipedia according to the Wikipedia guidelines and follow their Ten Simple Rules, which promote similar academic conventions as those upheld by UAL (i.e. writing in an impartial and factual tone, backing up statements with credible sources, correctly citing sources). Members of DWN will be instructed to abide by these guidelines and accept individual liability for any work published in Wikipedia as part of this project.
If you participate in the project as an extra-curricula student activity there will be no risk to your coursework and assessment; your participation will be voluntary and involve no commitment. If you participate through in-curricula activities, as part of your course at UAL, then the activity may relate to assessed coursework but you will be given the option of doing a mock/draft edit as a simulation or demonstration of your learning. In this way, you will not be penalised if you are unable to edit a real Wikipedia page, for whatever reason; the emphasis will be on your skills and knowledge development.
Some individuals do not want their Wikipedia editing to be traced back to them, so they choose to work behind an alias name or collective identity. This is an option for any students participating in Wikipedia editing as part of DWN. You are advised to do whatever you feel most comfortable with and what is most appropriate for you.
Your safety and wellbeing
DWN participation will be mainly online, but DWN will organise any on-site/in-person activity in line with current Covid-19 restrictions and health and safety guidance applicable to whichever site visited.
In terms of your psychological well-being there is a risk of the subject matter being triggering; colonial history is contested and sensitive, and whilst the decolonial intention of the project is intended to be empowering, it can also be a cause of distress and trauma. By agreeing with these terms and conditions you accept this risk. However, DWN aims to be a supportive space, supporting members to navigate such challenges and to support each other.
If any issues arise that you wish to discuss or need support with, you are encouraged to contact the DWN leader, Lucy Panesar on UALDecolonisingWikipediaNetwork@arts.ac.uk, or your course leader in the first instance.
If you would like impartial or independent advice or support, you can contact Shades of Noir or the Secretary to the Research Ethics Sub-Committee, Research, 5th Floor, University of the Arts London, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA – email: email@example.com
Your commercial interests and reputation
The participation of UAL students and non-UAL participants in Decolonising Wikipedia Network activity is voluntary and unpaid. Wikimedia UK are a non-profit charity, so they have no commercial gain from the contributions of volunteers. Instead, volunteers contribute to the WMUK strategic aim of people editing their projects (such as Wikipedia), and if volunteers edit in areas of under-represented knowledge, this aligns to WMUK’s key areas of activity. Volunteer editing enables WMUK to evidence their support for people working in this area.
The contribution of university student and staff volunteers is particularly beneficial to Wikipedia in terms of increased content and improved quality, which can in turn lead to increased readership. While this does not translate directly into money for the Wikimedia Foundation, as it does not monetise through adverts, it does enhance its reputation which could then make people more likely to donate to the Wikimedia Foundation. The new UAL Student and Graduate Employment Policy says that students should be paid for work outside of their curriculum, but the policy explains that it does not cover ‘Unpaid voluntary work for charities undertaken by students’ (UAL, 2021, p.1).
Academics usually gain esteem and reputation for contributions to knowledge by being credited for their work. This is not always the case with editing Wikipedia as individuals can choose to edit under an alias or pseudonym, for reasons mentioned above. In this case, the contribution would not be credited to them, but in some ways may help protect their reputation if their work is published elsewhere. You are advised to do what feels right for you on a case-by-case basis.
Your conduct as a participant
Student participants of the Decolonising Wikipedia Network are expected to follow the codes of conduct expected of all students at UAL, as outlined in the Disciplinary Code for Students. This includes:
- Not breaching regulations, including policies and codes relating to Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities and the use of emails, software and datasets and all other services, facilities and resources.
- Not behaving in a disruptive or violent manner in learning and teaching or social environments and/or residential accommodation managed by the University.
- Not engaging in communication with staff or other students which is offensive or slanderous.
As editors of Wikipedia, participants are advised to read the guidelines on Contributing to Wikipedia, which explain that:
The Wikipedia community is made up of people from different countries and cultures, with different views, perspectives, opinions, and backgrounds, sometimes varying widely. Editors should treat each other respectfully, work together collegially, and avoid behaviour that would be widely seen as unacceptable, disruptive, tendentious, or dishonest.
Participants are also expected to follow these Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia:
- Rule 2. Learn the five pillars
- Rule 3. Be bold, but not reckless
- Rule 4. Know your audience
- Rule 5. Do not infringe copyright
- Rule 6. Cite, cite, cite
- Rule 7. Avoid self-promotion (shameless or otherwise)
- Rule 8. Share your expertise, but don’t argue from authority
- Rule 9. Write neutrally and with due weight
- Rule 10. Ask for help
If you have any questions about the above, please contact DWN lead, Lucy Panesar on UALDecolonisingWikipediaNetwork@arts.ac.uk