January 31st, 2011
|04:13 pm - Editing wikipedia|
Fewer than 15% of contributors to Wikipedia are women (New York Times link). Wikipedia wish to increase this* - with a modest but possibly unachievable goal of 25%.
Wikipedia shares many characteristics with the hard-driving hacker crowd, says Joseph Reagle, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. This includes an ideology that resists any efforts to impose rules or even goals like diversity, as well as a culture that may discourage women. I have contributed a tiny little bit to Wikipedia, mainly tiny corrections as I go, but I always imagine whatever I add will be deleted anyway. That's what people tell me about wikipedia - that the articles are dominated by aggressive in-groups.
“It is ironic,” he said, “because I like these things — freedom, openness, egalitarian ideas — but I think to some extent they are compounding and hiding problems you might find in the real world.”
Adopting openness means being “open to very difficult, high-conflict people, even misogynists,” he said, “so you have to have a huge argument about whether there is the problem.”
Perhaps I should just try to be more active, and see what happens.
ETA metafilter discussion on this topic
* I should rather say of course that 'some people central to wikipedia wish to increase this' - wikipedia doesn't have wishes
I'm too idle to learn the style rules, which seem unnecessarily complicated, so I get deleted. I think you need to be slightly over-precise in the way men more often are than women.
I only make bitty corrections
The vast majority of contributors are *all* of: white, male, teens/early 20s, no children. There's also a huge US domination. One of the things that draws me back there time & again (currently in off phase) is the 'need' to do my bit towards altering the average demog -- not impossible given how few people actually contribute the bulk of the content. (When I was last active I was around 2500th in the contributions list.)
Do you think people know you are a woman, and are they actively hostile about that?
I first outed myself as female when I applied for adminship, and had to correct my nominator's assumption that I was male. I've not experienced any hostility that I've noticed -- my experiences have been that people can be very hostile over specific content disputes, but don't often attack more generally. If anything, imo, people bend too far backwards to make the environment less 'laddish' -- eg there's a bit of a PC police thing where people get blocked for using swear words in discussion.
I haven't seen it on wikipedia, though I notice it in other places. On metafilter a fiction agent posted to say she set up pages for two authors she represented and the female author was deleted. It's not proof of course.
I did wonder, based on a few examples, whether female academics were more likely to be deleted than male ones, but I came to the conclusion that it was largely my personal inclusion bias that was the problem. It might be that female authors/academics are less likely to achieve the type of honours to which Wikipedia inclusion guidelines pay attention.
Did you get through the RFA gauntlet? It can be a bruising experience.
Someone recently got turned down for adminship for being an atheist.
That's a sad development. There was a lot of angst a year or so back about someone being opposed based on their displaying a Flying Spaghetti Monster user box, but I think the opposer claimed to feel it was an indicator of a tendentious editing style.
How on earth can that happen? How can the question even be raised?
Not having investigated the candidate, but there seem to be some RfA regulars opposing on maturity grounds or policy knowledge. There again, there seem to be several who are mainly opposing him because of his religious views &/or sexual orientation. It seems a good example of why RfAs should be decided by bureaucrats rather than simple vote counting.
I squeaked through back in 2007, when it was much easier. Even if I were active there more consistently, I don't think I'd bother applying now.
Thanks for linking to this - very interesting article. I am thinking thoughts about what this means for the future of information, too, and unless that changes, the DWEM/DWAM canon (in the broadest) will continue to dominate the knowledge paradigm.
All I can think is that people will turn to other sources of info if the 'open' ones become dominated by one paradigm
Naah. People, by and large, use Wikipedia because it's convenient. They'll only turn to other sources if those become more convenient than Wikipedia.
Ah, but being a member of my local library I get to use the online Britannica, DNB and various other stuff for free, and that's not only as convenient but considerably more reliable on occasion!
It's not that I imagine people saying 'oh, I'm going to go to elsewhere for ideological reasons' but that people might turn to minority wikis because that's where they will find what they want.
wikipedia does suit me, because the things it does well tend to be of use to me
|Date:||February 2nd, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)|| |
Wow, I had no idea that there was a 'company culture,' for want of a better term at wikipedia. My contributions have been small corrections and apart from when I was involved with the Save Tara campaign, I've never noticed them being edited.