Wikipedia Bios Analysis

Controlled Analyses of Social Biases in Wikipedia Bios

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Social biases on Wikipedia, a widely-read global platform, could greatly influence public opinion. While prior research has examined man/woman gender bias in biography articles, possible influences of confounding variables limit conclusions. In this work, we present a methodology for reducing the effects of confounding variables in analyses of Wikipedia biography pages. Given a target corpus for analysis (e.g. biography pages about women), we present a method for constructing a comparison corpus that matches the target corpus in as many attributes as possible, except the target attribute (e.g. the gender of the subject). We evaluate our methodology by developing metrics to measure how well the comparison corpus aligns with the target corpus. We then examine how articles about gender and racial minorities (cisgender women, non-binary people, transgender women, and transgender men; African American, Asian American, and Hispanic/Latinx American people) differ from other articles, including analyses driven by social theories like intersectionality. In addition to identifying suspect social biases, our results show that failing to control for confounding variables can result in different conclusions and mask biases. Our contributions include methodology that facilitates further analyses of bias in Wikipedia articles, findings that can aid Wikipedia editors in reducing biases, and framework and evaluation metrics to guide future work in this area.

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Read our paper for more:
Anjalie Field, Chan Young Park, Kevin Lin, and Yulia Tsvetkov (2021).
Controlled Analyses of Social Biases in Wikipedia Bios. [link]