BADD: A Screenshot’s Worth A Thousand Words

More for Blogging Against Disablism Day.

I just poked around the entry for “Ableism” on Wikipedia. On the Talk page, I found a box placing the Ableism article within WikiProject Sociology:

Screenshot: This article has been rated as Low-importance  on the project's importance scale.

“This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project’s importance scale.”

Ableism of low importance within Sociology? Erm, ooookay. Let’s have a closer look at their definition of “Low-importance”:

This article is of little importance to this project, but it covers a highly specific area of knowledge or an obscure piece of trivia.

20%, people. Disabled people form around 20% of the population in Australia and the USA (and similar numbers in similar societies). One in five. Discrimination is huge, it is institutionalised, it is very often legal. Disabled people are some of the most vulnerable, the most underemployed, the most abused, the most excluded, the most neglected, the most murdered people in our cultures.

“Low importance”? “Obscure piece of trivia”?

OK, so let’s have a look at some other big discriminations. Racism and sexism, are they categorised as obscure pieces of trivia too? (On Wikipedia, I wouldn’t be surprised…)

Screenshot: WikiProject Sociology (Rated Start-Class, High-importance)

Sexism is of High Importance. OK. I agree.

So, racism. I guess the importance of racism within sociology, according to Wikipedians, would be, oh, about similar to that of ableism?

Screenshot: WikiProject Sociology (Rated B-Class, High-importance)

OK, so racism is of High Importance also. OK. I agree with that too.

So why is Ableism of Low Importance? Why does the biggest encyclopedia on earth consider it to be of lesser importance than discrimination against other minorities? Why are sociologists learning and being taught that racism and sexism are The Discriminations, that all others are secondary or tertiary or not really worth bothering about? Why, when a person is both female and PWD, or of colour and PWD, or all three, and/or lesbian, trans, non-citizen, working class, and so on, is ableism automatically ranked as the least important discrimination they’ll encounter? Why are PWD losing this Oppression Olympics, a game we shouldn’t be playing in the first place? (“Intersectionality” hasn’t yet received a rating on the Importance scale at Wikipedia.)

Other topics considered more sociologically important than Ableism (not equal, but more), as far as Wikipedians are concerned, include:

est and The Forum in popular culture

Ralph Larkin

Wilhelm Dilthey

Vixen (comics)

Stay-at-home dad

Weddings in the United States

Truce term

Friendship Paradox



Boomerang Generation




Yahoo! Personals

Fritzl case

List of UFO religions

Greenbelt, Maryland

The Hapa Project

Biosocial criminology

Grand Tour

Speed dating



and Hooters.

14 thoughts on “BADD: A Screenshot’s Worth A Thousand Words

  1. I love posts about Wikipedia, and this is particularly insightful. Thanks for writing this.

  2. My partner is a high-level admin on Wikipedia (he’s in the top 10 for total articles edited) and I’m going to ask him about re-ranking this, sourcing statements in the article, generally making it more “compliant” as per Wikipedia’s “rules” (comparing it to the standards used for the other articles in the Discrimination series), etc. I will see what I can do about this!

  3. Okay, over the next month or two I’m going to work on making the article more “sourced” and a little bit more nuanced/academic, but in the meantime, check out the importance level, sociology-wise! 😀

  4. Strangely, I can’t see the importance rating on any of the sociology articles. I wouls have loved to check out what it is now…

  5. Good article, definitely worth 1000 words, thank you for writing it.

    You are wonderful and amazing to see the problem, realize you can do something about it, and act on it so quickly. Thank you as well.

  6. I spent 5 years as a prolific editor and vandalism-fighter on Wikipedia and I found many ways the site was broken. For one, they have a policy spelled out that “Wikipedia is not a democracy” so you can’t just take a vote and go with majority rules. They want consensus, which means in Wikipedia speak that pretty much everyone agrees. That’s never going to happen. (I could be more specific and refer to a huge site split but I’d rather not risk revealing my WP name. I was harassed off site for correcting vandalism there.)

    That’s great that you got it re-ranked and that you’re willing to work on the article. I know it’s hard work. 🙂

  7. It’s changed! It’s now high-importance for sociology. However, it’s mid-importance for human rights, and racism is high.. and sexism is apparently not considered in the scope of human rights at all, wtf?!

  8. Thanks for your kind comments everyone, but honestly, it was not difficult. My partner is also disabled, and after I showed him this post, he pretty much grabbed my laptop, logged in, and changed everything around immediately.

    He’s going to look into changing the human rights categorization tonight (we didn’t want to draw too much attention to the article by changing everything) and he’s put it on his watch list to make sure no vandals attack it. Also, we added sexism to high-importance human rights. If anyone else notices anything weird about other articles in this topic area, let me know (doorautomatica at gmail dot com) and we can probably get it fixed at some point.

    Another way that anyone who is able to can help with Wikipedia issues is by contributing to the WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia project, which is a collection of audio recordings of people reading Wikipedia pages aloud. The details are here, and they include a how-to list, a link to articles already completed, and a link to requests for articles to be recorded.

    Okay, I’m done being Wikipedia-nerdy for the moment, and I apologize for my lengthy comment. I’m just very excited at the potential for this article to become a resource for people wishing to learn about ableism as well as the potential for making articles more accessible.

  9. Awesome!

    What just loved was the arguement from the “should we delete it”-dicussion that claimed the post was not needed- because they already have one on the disability rights movement- because thats totally the same, right? You know, just like sexism is the same as feminism and womanism; racism is the same as the civil rights movement and homophobia is the same as the LGBT-rights movement.

    What do you mean, one means a form of oppression and the other is fighting again that oppression?lso

    And abelism not being a “real” word? Seriously?

  10. I would never have thought to look for that, but I think you’ve revealed a very important and insightful reflection of the world situation.

  11. It’s great to see the results of this blog post. Well done everyone and I hope the Wikipedia page goes on to become a major resource. Should we have a separate page for disablism, for UK readers? I know the distinction is made high up in the ableism page but I wonder about searches, and what comes up under a google disablism search?

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