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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia 579

Posted by timothy
from the busy-doing-real-stuff dept.
Andreas Kolbe writes Wikipedia is well known to have a very large gender imbalance, with survey-based estimates of women contributors ranging from 8.5% to around 16%. This is a more extreme gender imbalance than even that of Reddit, the most male-dominated major social media platform, and it has a palpable effect on Wikipedia content. Moreover, Wikipedia editor survey data indicate that only 1 in 50 respondents is a mother – a good proportion of female contributors are in fact minors, with women in their twenties less likely to contribute to Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation efforts to address this "gender gap" have so far remained fruitless. Wikipedia's demographic pattern stands in marked contrast to female-dominated social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, where women aged 18 to 34 are particularly strongly represented. It indicates that it isn't lack of time or family commitments that keep women from contributing to Wikipedia – women simply find other sites more attractive. Wikipedia's user interface and its culture of anonymity may be among the factors leading women to spend their online time elsewhere.
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

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  • They are too busy complaining about the gender gap.
    • by amiga3D (567632) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:30AM (#47781715)

      With good reason. It's obvious by this that Wikipedia isn't doing enough to attract women to contribute. Such a small representation among women is shameful and certainly something must be done to address this glaring example of gender bias.

      • Re:Obvious Reason (Score:5, Informative)

        by aeschinesthesocratic (1359449) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:33AM (#47781729)
        Have you edited Wikipedia lately? It's a fucking nightmare of committee-watched articles and instantaneous reversions.

        Maybe women just want to put nice things on pinterest instead of arguing about pedantic bullshit all day.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tlhIngan (30335)

          Have you edited Wikipedia lately? It's a fucking nightmare of committee-watched articles and instantaneous reversions.

          There we go, the real reason.

          I mean, face it, men are just more willing to be the trolls and make life miserable for each other. Women see that and avoid the whole issue altogether.

          We saw it with that article on games vs. women article. They simply see what happens as basically a bunch of horny teenagers with ragers going on, and simply steer clear to avoid the trouble. Wikipedia is the sam

          • Re:Obvious Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

            by korbulon (2792438) on Friday August 29, 2014 @05:02AM (#47782653)

            I mean, face it, men are just more willing to be the trolls and make life miserable for each other.

            WAT?! You ever see what happens when you get a group of women together?

            Sheesh. Asking a slashdotter for his insights about women is like asking a Mormon about his favorite microbrews.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I mean, face it, men are just more willing to be the trolls and make life miserable for each other. Women see that and avoid the whole issue altogether.

            Turns out that's a steaming pile, who knew eh. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]

            They simply see what happens as basically a bunch of horny teenagers with ragers going on, and simply steer clear to avoid the trouble.

            Too bad you don't know any actual female gamers: http://www.pokket.tv/wp/wp-con... [pokket.tv]

          • Re:Obvious Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

            by tylikcat (1578365) on Friday August 29, 2014 @07:39AM (#47783165)

            I'm a woman, I've edited wikipedia. But not frequently.

            If I happen to run across something that I know is incorrect and which I can find the sources for fairly quickly, I probably will again. I do recall another female wikipedia editor, a colleague when I was still in computational biochemistry, who avoided our particular area on wikipedia because she'd gotten tired of the acrimony. (I was really working more on the computational side, where she was a far better biochemist, but she didn't correct mischaracterizations about the feasibility of the work we were doing and had been doing for many years because the people who frequented that area were too "mean". And she wasn't exactly your shrinking violet; more, I think, that it met it less something she was willing to invest time into.)

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > I mean, face it, men are just more willing to be the trolls and make life miserable for each other. Women see that and avoid the whole issue altogether.

            Are you kidding? Women love politics and backstabbing. In fact, they are much better at it than men are. They just like to pretend that they are better. If anything, all of this committee nonsense sounds like the sort of thing fueled by women rather than something they would flee from.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Or maybe "pedantic bullshit" is the only way to manage a project like Wikipedia, and choosing not to take part in that also means choosing not to contribute.

          • by LQ (188043)
            There's a difference between pedantry and the out-and-out bullying that makes subject-area experts give up on the whole WP experience. That's why so many articles remain half-baked stubs. I'm not surprised that women are put off even faster than men.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > pedantic bullshit all day.

          Agreed. Wikipedia's policy is that in order to not have an article maliciously deleted that it must have two citations. The last nine articles I added had between six and fifteen citations, but they were still deleted by the jerk-off deletionists. After that experience, I will never contribute to that anti-information site again. Never.

          Of course men will accept that sort of BS as a challenge and keep contributing, but anyone logical would give-up on that site forever.

          • I wondered why the thing is littered with ten year old bad tempered exhortations to replace everything on the site with something better.

            I might start taking the advice of the educational establishment and stop using it

        • by u38cg (607297)
          women^H^H^H^H^H people

          FTFY

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Agreed. Emphases should be on feeling instead of facts. A big problem on Wikipedia is that most edit hurt feelings, especially when you write a lengthy article about your favourite celebrity and someone come behind you and rape all your work with facts. Such senseless rigour are symptom of the patriarchy.

        It is difficult for women to compete with men, because of this men should make place for more diversity. Wikipedia should empower women to express themselves free or peer judgement, divergent opinion or fac

      • Re:Obvious Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:51AM (#47781807)

        What do you mean by gender bias? Does wikipedia need to do something special to attract girl? That would be gender bias. The way it works now is gender equality, and it's nobody's fault that women have other interests in mind.
        But nevermind me, let me hear your suggestions on making this site better suited to women!

      • Re:Obvious Reason (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sound+vision (884283) on Friday August 29, 2014 @01:50AM (#47782011) Journal
        What should they be doing to "attract women"? For that matter, what are they doing to "attract men"? Could it be perhaps that the nature of encyclopedic editing appeals more to men? No, that'd be too easy and go against what feminists and their cohorts have been beating into me for decades... must continue with forcing "equality" through perverse incentives instead of promoting equal opportunity and cooperation between men and women...
      • by Fred Mitchell (3717323) on Friday August 29, 2014 @02:11AM (#47782071) Homepage
        There are obvious differences in general in how men and women tend to socialize. We should own up to these differences and stop pretending they do not exist.

        It's not like there is anyone out there telling women that they cannot contribute to Wikipedia or Open Source projects or even Redis. If you want to participate, then just DO it already.

        And so, I find the attempts to "attract women" just so we can continue to hide our heads in the sand about the natural skew of participation due to NO ONE'S FAULT to be a wash.

        I welcome women, of course, but don't believe in these rather condescending "outreach" programs. They always fail because they all are about ignoring the hard realities of human nature.

        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          And so, I find the attempts to "attract women" just so we can continue to hide our heads in the sand about the natural skew of participation due to NO ONE'S FAULT to be a wash.

          Simone de Beauvoir and Jonathan Coe called, they say you've successfully substituted objectivity with male subjectivity [wikipedia.org]. If women don't participate in Wikipedia, Wikipedia cannot be said to be "encyclopedic" -- everybody at Wikipedia up to Jimbo Wales accepts this fact without discussion.

          Your proffered explanation of a "natural skew"

      • by alexhs (877055)

        something must be done to address this glaring example of gender bias.

        You're joking, but they're doing exactly that [slashdot.org]

      • by agm (467017)

        They're not specifically doing anything to attract either gender to contribute. Everything they do is gender neutral. This is a non issue.

      • by Qbertino (265505)

        With good reason. It's obvious by this that Wikipedia isn't doing enough to attract women to contribute. Such a small representation among women is shameful and certainly something must be done to address this glaring example of gender bias.

        I'd say Wikipedia isn't good enough for *anybody* with more than two braincells to rub together to contribute to. Pseudoexperts deleting content without any explaination at all just because it was posted by anons, flat out wrong content, political scirmishes, lack of sep

    • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Friday August 29, 2014 @08:53AM (#47783543)

      Can anyone tell me why I don't see more articles about the gender gap in elementary eduction? There is a HUGE 87% to 13% gender imbalance there that hasn't changed in decades. And yet I don't ever seem to see any articles about it anywhere. All I see are tons of articles about much smaller imbalances in the STEM fields.

      Someone? Anyone?

      • by BobSutan (467781) on Friday August 29, 2014 @10:30AM (#47784297)

        Every time you hear about a gender gap in STEM, it's because someone didn't do their homework and are operating from a false premise. The truth is there's no gender imbalance in STEM. This is this is the best kept secret out there: they omit biological _sciences_ from the "STEM" definition because women are an overwhelming majority of those fields. When you add them back in there is. no. gap.

        This is all just the result of gender feminists playing games with terminology to benefit their pet projects. It's since taken on it's own life and now people think we need more women in STEM. The REAL gender gap is in education and academia. Men are only about 13% of school teachers and that's got to change if we want our kids to grow up with a balanced view of the genders.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:28AM (#47781711)

    Well the genders are identical so it must be some social factor that the patriarchy is responsible for creating.

    • Re:Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

      by craigminah (1885846) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:39AM (#47781759)
      How about we admit men and women are different, with different interests, and desires? Who gives a crap if men and women do the same thing as long as nothing stopping them from trying? Eliminate discrimination from the selection process and I bet women still don't give a crap about Wikipedia or many other "male-dominated" fields...why must we force equal distribution of gender/race/etc in everything? Again, make sure the selection process is fair and let things be.
      • Also why is it that WP should do more to appeal to females but FB doesn't need to do more to appeal to males? An individual or organisation that tries too hard to appeal to everybody, ends up appealing to nobody. Self exclusion is not discrimination, it plain old "personal taste".
        • by DrLang21 (900992)

          Also why is it that WP should do more to appeal to females but FB doesn't need to do more to appeal to males?

          Uhh, because 64/36 female/male user ratio isn't that far out of line. That aside, I'm sure there are top men in Facebook working to pull in a greater number of men while not pushing out their female user base. Top men.

          Wikimedia Foundation doesn't neccessarily need to do more to appeal to women and they are not suggesting that they do. But it is certainly in their interest to understand why such an extreme gap exists.

        • Also why is it that WP should do more to appeal to females but FB doesn't need to do more to appeal to males?

          Because Wikipedia is, for better or worse, intended to be a repository of human knowledge, while Facebook is a repository of cat photos, freemium games, and promotional potato chip coupon pages.

          Having half the (intelligent, knowledgable) population under-represented in Wikipedia is a problem as it will impact the information Wikipedia makes available, and the usefulness of that information, and t

      • by u38cg (607297)
        Well, because that would be making an assumption without any credible data to support it, whereas there is avast amount of accumulated evidence showing that women are treated like shit in most walks of life.
      • Ah yes, the old "bias doesn't exist because men and women are different" argument.

        Yes, I agree, the one defining characteristic definition of how women differ from men is the propensity to edit wikipedia articles. As we have seen, this is one of the most gender imbalanced places around so it this must be the canonical difference, with other, lesser differences such as professional sports[*] being mere shadows.

        [*] Yep. Going by the results in the last Olympics, if women and men raced in the same marathon rac

      • by gweihir (88907)

        What, common sense? No, no, no! You have completely misunderstood what this fight is about!

        In other news, women are waking up to the little side-effects of requiring equal representation everywhere (instead of the sane "gender-neutral opportunity" -- "equal" opportunity is not doable, as talents, interests and education differ between individuals): http://www.smh.com.au/federal-... [smh.com.au] Of course, if there are no differences between the sexes (yeah, right...), then this is all imaginary.

      • by Theovon (109752)

        You may be right. If we eliminated the barriers, then women might still not be interested. Either way, it's still bad that Wikipedia can't claim to be completely neutral if it doesn't represent a large section of human perspectives.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:31AM (#47781719)

    Yes i am aware of the irony of posting this AC. Though i prefer to think it makes my point.

    Any time someone attacks anonymity, ask what they stand to gain by it. Ask what the platform that is promoting their article or post has to gain by it.

    http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2014/05/cyberbll.html

    Read this, it'll open your eyes.

  • by walshy007 (906710) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:33AM (#47781733)

    Wikimedia Foundation efforts to address this "gender gap" have so far remained fruitless.

    Why must everything be gender balanced? Why not let women do what they want instead of trying to force them in to places that aren't necessarily their thing?

    If women are actors instead of objects, they can make their own damn choices and do what they want to do without requiring others to try to sweeten the deal specifically for them to try to entice them.

    • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:58AM (#47781845)

      I like that - "actors instead of objects". That's a great turn of phrase.

      And it emphasizes that any sort of gender/race/sexual orientation re-balancing is at its essence *objectifying* people. It's asserting that they must be defined by some label, and must obey some sort of normal distribution because of that label.

      No doubt, history is filled with all kinds of evil misogyny, racism, and homophobia...and large swaths of the planet still have those problems, especially in the islamic world. But we lose sight of the truth, that people are individual *actors*, not *objects*, all too often. Fighting the scourges of discrimination of various sorts doesn't lead to some predetermined statistical balance, it gives individual actors the *freedom* to make the choices they'd like. Sometimes, those free choices are lopsided, and that's *okay*.

      • "misogyny, racism, and homophobia" were all considered pollitically correct in their day, and that's exacty what was wrong with them. Political correctness in the opposite direction is no better because it's also predicated on an ideologically driven notion of "balance". Telling women they should be on WP is no different to telling them they belong in the kitchen.
    • by tgv (254536)

      While I can see the merit of action in classical gender gap examples, I too agree this goes to far. Imagine demanding a quotum on Pinterest: no more women allowed until the balance is 50-50. That would be insane. Now, I know that Wikipedia has a higher standing and is consulted as authoritative, so it will be deemed more important, but Wikipedia is about providing correct information, which is unrelated to gender distribution.

      I don't get it either, unless it's about money, somehow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Why must everything be gender balanced? Why not let women do what they want instead of trying to force them in to places that aren't necessarily their thing?

      When a huge chunk of the human race chooses en masse not to participate in something when there's no particular reason they shouldn't - the intelligent person wonders why and tries to correct the problem. Folks like you just ask vapid questions and perpetuate ignorance and bias.

      • by walshy007 (906710) on Friday August 29, 2014 @02:07AM (#47782061)

        the intelligent person wonders why

        I have no problem with this, it's always helpful to try to figure out how something came to be.

        and tries to correct the problem.

        This can be problematic. We can try to figure out what influences the male muscovy duck to hold the female down and force copulation for example, but why is it a "problem"? and why should it be "fixed"?

        Since when is people choosing what they want a "problem" that deserves "fixing" with indue influence?

        Science is a tool used to try to figure out how things are, it doesn't judge them as morally good or bad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mashiki (184564)

      Why must everything be gender balanced?

      Because the "social justice warriors" tell you it must be. And if they don't get their way, they'll whine, cry, and call it rape.

    • by rmstar (114746)

      Why not let women do what they want instead of trying to force them in to places that aren't necessarily their thing?

      You mean, let them care about cooking and pink dresses instead of dealing with psychopathic jerks on wikipedia? I'm sure that if you think this through, you will at some point (maybe in a decade? nah, optimistic) reach some from of enlightenment on the issue. It helps if you talk to actual women, too.

    • by Theovon (109752)

      No, it's a real problem here. Wikipedia is all about (1) information about the world, and (2) a neutral perspective on that information. Women do have a slightly different perspective, focusing on different information and different aspects of information. Including those additional perspectives will make wikipedia content more complete and also more accessible to female readers.

    • by mean pun (717227)

      Wikimedia Foundation efforts to address this "gender gap" have so far remained fruitless.

      Why must everything be gender balanced?

      I don't know about everything, but perhaps the Wikimedia Foundation simply would like to have a larger pool of contributors? There are often pragmatic reasons to worry about a gender gap.

    • Why must everything be gender balanced?

      Why should the fact that not everything need be gender balanced mean that you can't argue that a specific thing should be?

      To put it another way: is Wikipedia helped or harmed by having only one gender contribute to it, given it's supposed to be a repository of human knowledge?

      .

      1. .

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:35AM (#47781745)

    Its not bias against women. its women choosing not to participate. End of argument.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How do you ensure NPOV, when entire demographic group(s) self-select out?

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Friday August 29, 2014 @02:24AM (#47782111)
      Tautology U has taught you well. Prove women don't participate for reasons other than bias.

      If the reason women don't participate is because women are more likely to have their edits reverted when people see they are done by a feminine name, then the choosing to not participate is based in bias. Asserting your preferred answer doesn't change reality, no matter how much you want it to.
      • by Splab (574204)

        If the reason women don't participate is because women are more likely to have their edits reverted when people see they are done by a feminine name

        Or you know, women could find the interface horribly bad to work with and don't find the time required to learn it well spend? Personally I can't be bothered learning the markup and thus I can't be bothered contributing.

      • Women have no trouble participating on facebook or Reddit where you'll find your links and posts deleted or buried for entirely arbitrary reasons.

        The burden of proof is upon YOU to prove sexism is the result of anything here. All you have is a statistic with no causative association. You can show correlation, but no causation of ANYTHING in this issue. And absent that you have no evidence of anything. Statistics without a proven causative link are not evidence of ANYTHING. Its just data. No more of relevanc

    • by ildon (413912)

      That's not the end of the argument. That's the beginning. Why are they choosing not to participate? Can they be encouraged to participate? Will that net a positive result? (It seems likely that it would. More varied input and points of view would likely make a site like Wikipedia better).

    • by u38cg (607297)
      And your evidence for this is?
  • by mc6809e (214243) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:35AM (#47781749)

    Men in general seem to have less tolerance for what they perceive as error and a greater willingness to fight to correct error.

    That's not the say that men are more often correct than are women. They just seem more eager to do battle, even if it is from behind a keyboard.

    Anyone that's been involved in an edit war of wikipedia knows that the winner is often isn't the one with the best grasp of the facts, but it's the one least willing to give up the fight.

     

    • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:56AM (#47781829)

      Yep, that's what I was thinking. Also a seemingly inherent need to pontificate about any random philosophy, statistics, or trivia they may or may not actually be experts on.

      Really, this should have been completely obvious to anyone who posts on slashdot (not to mention the gender gap here makes Wikipedia look like a bridal shower in comparison).

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      Men in general seem to have less tolerance for what they perceive as error and a greater willingness to fight to correct error.

      [citation needed]

  • Userbox war (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jbolden (176878) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:46AM (#47781791) Homepage

    It is pretty easy to date the why. In 2006 there was a thing called the Userbox wars. There isn't a good page on wikipedia about this. Prior to 2006 Wikipedia user pages were sort of like myspace pages for wikipedia editors. They had lots of personal information and people chatted. Jimmy Wales wanted userspace to be about the encyclopedia. At the same time he didn't want mass deletions. There were mass deletions and the this wasn't easily reversed. The tone changed. This was one of the big steps towards the deletionists winning control of Wikipedia entirely. But if you want to know when the gender's changed this was a crucial moment.

    Of course the deletionists winning even more battles probably didn't help

    Links:
    A few statements on Userboxes but not enough to understand what happened: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    What "deletionists" are and what Wikipedia was like before them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's all interesting but can you show that the gender balance was fine *before* the Userbox wars? Otherwise this seems that you took an opportunity to inject a personal grievance into an irrelevant discussion.

  • by fullback (968784) on Friday August 29, 2014 @01:12AM (#47781891)

    Try having a fact-based discussion with a woman and see where it gets you.

    On second thought, that doesn't work with men either . . .

  • Women crave Feedback (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nullchar (446050) on Friday August 29, 2014 @01:44AM (#47781993)

    There are no "likes" for Wikipedia edits, unlike Pinterest or Facebook posts.

    Women are social creatures and require a feedback loop to keep contributing. Perhaps if we applied gamification [wikipedia.org] to Wikipedia we might get a more balanced participation as the participants would receive some feedback (positive acknowledgements, achievements, whatever) to keep them motivated to contribute.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are "likes" for Wikipedia edits, they are called "Thank".

    • There are no "likes" for Wikipedia edits, unlike Pinterest or Facebook posts.

      Women are social creatures and require a feedback loop to keep contributing.

      So pretty much the same reason that in youtube videos done by men the camera is pointed at the thing the speaker is talking about whereas in youtube videos done by women the camera is pointed at the woman's face.

      Men's natural thought process tends toward "this this this" whereas with women it's "me me me".

  • We don't ask if a man is a father before deciding if his views are valid, and we shouldn't assume that a woman is less of a woman if she's never given birth.
  • by abies (607076) on Friday August 29, 2014 @02:45AM (#47782187)

    How the percentages look like for normal, old-school encyclopedias? I know that for example in case of school textbooks gender ratio might be even skewed towards woman (at least in my country) - which is probably a side effect of majority of teachers being woman (83%). But encyclopedias? I cannot find any data on data - but looking at chief editors of Brittanica, all of them were man...

    I think that problem lies somewhere before age of 25. At some point during early education, there is some kind of bias/peer pressure/whatever which makes woman being interested in other things. Putting Hello Kitty pictures in background of wikipedia is not going to help afterwards ;)

  • by enter to exit (1049190) on Friday August 29, 2014 @02:57AM (#47782231)
    How about not asking about gender on account registration and assigning a random username?

    It'll make it hard to claim that Wikipedia treats females differently.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @03:16AM (#47782279)

    Hi there. 21/F who has contributed to Wikipedia in various ways since high school. I know there's no way to believe that, and the proof of burden relies on me, but I'll just have to ask for your benefit of the doubt.

    The gender gap question is something that always used to pop into my mind while in high school, a time when the media wasn't too concerned about reporting on gender drama and the internet. Now that I'm older, and I've settled the difference within myself and everyone around me, it seems to be the fetishized topic of every formerly apathetic or neutral website I go to.

    I have settled on the fact that it is a combination of mostly nature with a little nurture added in that produces this gap in demography. I think males are more naturally inclined to want to collect facts, devote themselves slavishly to organizing things and work without human interference. That is to say, the quite low incidence of these common traits ['nerdyness'] is lower in females than it is in males, but it's still uncommon across the board.

    This is where the nurture part comes in. Contemporarly American culture seems to be absent of the cultural tropes and stereotypes of a bookwormish, nerdy female -- the kind that would be perfect devoting their time to Wikipedia. I know the cultural trope exists in other cultures like Japan [Sheska from FMA:B, or Princess Jellyfish even? anyone?] in stronger form, and that leads me to think that the already small number of female nerds would be disinclined to practice their dominant mental attribute because they don't see it emulated anywhere around.

    This is also why you'll hear a lot of ranting and raving about women being 40-60% of the gaming population, but events like EVO and Awesome Games Done Quick are still shining sausagefests. Or why women technically use computers as much as men, but FOSS projects are still entirely wholly staffed by males. Few men and even fewer women are inclined to do repetitive, emotionless tasks, and those fewer women who might be inclined to do so are sometimes or usually driven out by either toxic male culture or toxic female culture.

    I dunno. I only got shit for being 'nerdy', playing video games, and loving computers by other women. It's a self-perpetuating culture, and amongst females, the tendency is to seek validation and conformity as opposed to 'going your own way' -- despite what individualist American culture tells us.

    • by u38cg (607297)
      It's certainly true that a huge amount of repression of women is done by women (especially mothers). I'm sympathetic to arguments that there is a natural component to gender biases, but I really struggle to believe that they cause differences as large as those actually expressed. And we're certainly nowhere near understanding where nature stops and socialisation begins.
    • by Nite_Hawk (1304) on Friday August 29, 2014 @10:36AM (#47784345) Homepage

      Interesting read! After reading through all of the comments here, my take on this has been that relative to something like facebook, neither men nor women in general like editing wikipedia. I'm pulling statistics from different years, but I think this is roughly in the right ballpark:

      World Population (2010):
      Female: ~3.42 Billion
      Male: ~3.48 Billion
      Total: ~6.9 Billion

      Active facebook users (2009,2014):
      Female/Male ratio: ~1:1.35
      Total: ~1.28 Billion
      Female: ~0.74 Billion
      Male: ~0.54 Billion
      % of all females actively using facebook: ~22%
      % of all males actively using facebook: ~16%

      Active wikipedia users (2014):
      Female/Male ratio: ~12:100 (rough center of survey according to article)
      Total: 0.000131 Billion
      Female: 0.0000157 Billion
      Male: 0.00011528 Billion
      % of all females actively editing wikipedia: 0.0004%
      % of all males actively editing wikipedia: 0.0033%

      So when you get down to it, there just happens to be a very slightly larger fraction of the male population that is willing to invest their time in Wikipedia. When by and large, people in general don't do it, I think it's hard to make any kind of generalization about whether or not there are specific barriers for either men or women. The bigger trend imho is that there are barriers for everyone.

  • It would be interesting to get an idea what the effect is.

  • Wikipedia's user interface and its culture of anonymity may be among the factors leading women to spend their online time elsewhere.

    What the fuck are you trying to say? It's an encyclopedia not a social gathering. And apart from that, most of the 'talk' on the talk pages has named authors.

    Wikipedia may have problems but Wikipedia not being Facebook is not one of them.

  • by thephydes (727739) on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:50AM (#47782621)
    As a teacher with 35 years under his belt, I posit that men and women are different. In my - admittedly limited and anecdotal, and restricted to younger that 18yrs - experience there is a different communication mindset with girls compared to boys (women compared to men?) . I constantly see girls in groups of 8 or so with often one queen bee, and lots of conversation, whereas boys are generally in smaller groups and are quite happy to insult each other, throw a punch and grunt. Facebook emulates what I see in the yard with girls, Wiki-whatever emulates what I see in the yard with boys. Shoot me down if you feel the need to do so.
    • This. Thanks for sharing this information. Most people do not understand that the sexes are biologically different and that's not necessarily bad, we just need to accept that and always take this difference into account when interacting with the opposite sex.
  • by Ellie K (1804464) on Friday August 29, 2014 @05:03AM (#47782655) Homepage Journal

    I am FeralOink on WP (shhhhhhhhhh ;o) I have Commons open on my adjacent browser tab right now!

    I haven't been run off when editing articles about most topics of interest to me. This is even true for controversial articles e.g. Edward Snowden, AIG, Reptilians, Freedom Fries, cryptocurrency, Ambassador Chris Stevens, David E. Shaw, Codex Alimentarius, MongoDB and brassiere. Some articles are emotionally sensitive to other editors, e.g. Murray Rothbard, Ven currency, so I avoid them. It is easy to discern the situation. I have even made some horrific mistakes, deleting a huge chunk of Gen. Ghaddaffi's article was the worst, yet I was amazed that once I explained and apologized (I had also broken a genuine WP rule), the regulars on the article were very understanding. The only incidents of truly rude encounters and massive reverts of hours of my work has been for female-relevant articles. Both pertained to cunnilingus. I am still seething with irritation at the use of crappy references (Cengage Learning books instead of CDC or reputable websites), bare links, sloppy Google books citation without templates and bizarrely tangential content. Also... well, enough.

    Wikipedia does omit a lot due to male PoV, even if unintentional. Here's an example. John Nash's sister wasn't mentioned at all in his bio, and his pre-university education was incorrectly modernized. Also, his wife is a graduate of MIT, a physics major in the class of 1956 or so. That's when Nash met her. His bio didn't mention that, but instead dwelt on her father "being of Argentine extraction"!

    There are lots of little cliques that I sense, infer, and camaraderie. It would be great to be a part of that.

  • It's an outrage! Something must be done!

    Maybe women have better things to do with their time than having edit wars all day for free?

  • Seriously who gives a flying fuck. What does it really matter? Are you so far up the communists' asshole that you think everything on this planet is going to be completely 100% representative of the population of the planet?

  • Animal House. (Score:4, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:32AM (#47784751)

    I thought it might be - well, let us say, instructive - to simply re-post some of the choicer responses to this story, all modded up to +4 or +5.

    Because the "social justice warriors" tell you it must be. And if they don't get their way, they'll whine, cry, and call it rape.

    Men in general seem to have less tolerance for what they perceive as error and a greater willingness to fight to correct error.

    Man? Have you ever dated?? Women are the single most argumentative, must be right, cant change their minds, NEEDS AN APOLOGY EVEN WHEN PROVEN WRONG group out their.

    the big problem on Wikipedia is that most edit hurt feelings, especially when you write a lengthy article about your favourite celebrity and someone come behind you and rape all your work with facts. Such senseless rigour are symptom of the patriarchy.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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