Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Wikipedia is Autistic (Episode 61)

Wikipedia is Autistic (Episode 61)

Ableism in the workplace. See also: exploitation
A: Maximize your Autistic Euphoria. I love that. I love that we have access to that. I do feel sad for the neurotypicals…They're unable to really experience those things.

Hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria and Matt Lowry, LPP, discusses how Wikipedia depends heavily on autistic editors and volunteers. However Wikimedia is ran by allistics who have a pattern of exploiting the autistic labor force they depend on without proper compensation or appreciation.

Wikipedia's systematic approach to organizing information fits right in with Autistic culture! We love sharing facts around special interests and often have skills in categorizing and referencing data.

Autistic data hunger and justice sensitivity often combine to help autistic editors to be inclusive of different cultural perspectives and knowledge. However, tensions arise around what constitutes neutrality and "facts" when editing hot-button topics. For example, what constitutes a “neutral” entry about the Confederate flag?

“A lot of arguments among neurotypicals happen because they they want to know who is right but a lot of arguments between autistics happen because they want to know what is right.”

Unfortunately, the inner workings of Wikipedia show a pattern of ableism from both the neurotypical employees and the “A-Spectrumers” at the company who perform neuronormativity and express internalized ableism through their bullying of autistics and use of functioning labels.

A former autistic Wikimedia employee, "Jane," faced harassment, discrimination and bullying after disclosing her autism diagnosis. She filed an EEOC complaint but dropped it due to burnout.

Jane shared how Wikimedia's neurotypical management frequently demeans and mocks autistic editors and labor behind the scenes, even as they exploit and fundraise off that free labor.

The podcast urges supporting local Wikipedia chapter groups which are often run by autistics instead of donating to Wikimedia's central fundraising, and encourages privileged autistics to become high-edit count editors to change the culture from within.

Don't give money to the Wikimedia Foundation. Do use your privilege—if you have power and extra bandwidth—and…get your editor count up so you get a vote to change things from the inside. Don't do that if it's going to be detrimental to your mental health—take care of that first.” —Angela

The episode explores the complex interplay of Wikipedia providing an autism-friendly platform for special interests while also perpetuating ableism in its management and fundraising practices around this uncompensated autistic workforce.

How has ableism affected you in the work place? Tell us in the comments and use #AutisticCultureCatch to share your answer on your social media and connect with other listeners!

Show notes and resources:

Wikipedia’s definition of ableism

How to become a Wikipedia editor

Wikipedia:WikiProject Autism

Thread: Autism Spectrum Wrongly Described In Wikipedia

Thread: Wikipedia likes us!

Wikipedia:High-functioning autism and Asperger's editors

Wikipedians with autism

Article: Wikipedia accused of bullying former autistic employee with claims of a toxic work culture

Village pump (miscellaneous)

Article: Alex St John’s Ideas About Game Development Are Terrifying

Other episodes to check out if you liked this one:

Episode 04: Industrial Light & Magic is Autistic

Episode 35: Sex is Autistic (Alfred Kinsey episode)

Episode 38: Productivity is Autistic

Ready for a paradigm shift that empowers Autistics? Help spread the news!


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Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Welcome to the Autistic Culture Podcast. Each episode we dive deep into Autistic contributions to society and culture by introducing you to some of the world’s most famous and successful Autistics in history!
Whether you are Autistic or just love someone who is, your hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria, the Linguistic Autistic and Licensed Psychological Practitioner, Matt Lowry, welcome you to take this time to be fully immersed in the language, values, traditions, norms, and identity of Autistica!
To learn more about Angela, Matt, and the Autistic Culture Podcast visit