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Women4Wikipedia

By CollectiveAct 20 February 2011 34

I am starting a local group for women to get together to support one another in editing Wikipedia. This is a grassroots campaign started by me (a local Canberra mother) which is part of a larger push to redress the gender imbalance in Wikipedia where less than 13% of contributors are women.

You can find out more about this at the Wikipedia Gendergap mailing list or at my web site Women4Wikipedia. My own particular take on the issue is that I’m not overly interested in debating the why’s but more interested in encouraging women to participate in Wikipedia by providing resources and a supportive environment.

I have started hosting Twitter Chats each Monday night 8pm AEST to discuss and network (use the hashtag #women4wikipedia). You can find the readings & past transcripts, news etc at http://women4wikipedia.net

So far we have interest from Laura who is looking for a Canberran woman with a keen interest in sports to help host her Wiki Academy at Canbera Uni and work on Wikipedia articles about Australian Women’s sport; Kath who is interested in improving Australian music/bands articles; & there has also been some interest shown from some locals in improving Wikipedia articles about Canberra topics.

So if you are a woman who might enjoy learning to contribute to Wikipedia (or already have) please contact me via email, attend the chat or join the Canberra Meetup Group so that we can network, share your work etc. We’re hoping to get at least one Womens Wikipedia Hackfest up and running by/around the Centenary of International Women’s Day on March 8.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Women4Wikipedia
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dundle 5:01 pm 21 Feb 11

I’m tending to agree with the “Wikipedia is inaccurate and considering the nature of the contributors, it’s something women should be proud of that they only represent 13%” comments…

p1 12:55 pm 21 Feb 11

Inappropriate said :

How is the gender imbalance a bad thing? And is the gender of the author important when it comes to writing entries in an encyclopaedia?

To paraphrase a friends recent blog post “maybe the issue isn’t too few women making edits, but too many males”.

shirty_bear 12:14 pm 21 Feb 11

LSWCHP said :

anonymoose said :

Wikipedia is one of the most unreliable sources of information and I don’t think trying to clean it up now will help.

I’ve made false modifications to it for years to test this and less than 10 have ever been noticed. Some of the data I provided in wiki articles has been quoted in other discussions about the topic

I’m with Skid, but not as polite. You’re an idiot.

+1

CollectiveAct 11:39 am 21 Feb 11

anonymoose said :

I like the idea of a group of women being empowered and contributing to something but I suggest you chose something more constructive.

Wikipedia is one of the most unreliable sources of information and I don’t think trying to clean it up now will help.

I’ve made false modifications to it for years to test this and less than 10 have ever been noticed. Some of the data I provided in wiki articles has been quoted in other discussions about the topic

So you deliberately mislead the public and this is your claim to credibility and why I ought to listen to you? I guess Wikipedia reflects all the good and bad in society and fortunately not everyone is equally mischievous, negative or cynical. I’m not interested in the argument about the merits of Wikipedia. I think people make the site what it is and need to take responsibility for what it is. This is our conundrum as human beings and I think in this Wikipedia is a good exercise in the issues in democracy.

I can only take responsibility here for what I do and don’t do and supporting women in contributing to Wikipedia is what I’m doing. Finding the courage to do something that other people are too cyncial, busy, afraid or burned out to do is hugely empowering.

Rosie

Pommy bastard 11:36 am 21 Feb 11

astrojax said :

testosterone has been implicated (by simon baron-cohen, among others)

Is it cos I is black?

Oh, that’s Sacha baron-Cohen, isn’t it?

Inappropriate said :

How is the gender imbalance a bad thing? And is the gender of the author important when it comes to writing entries in an encyclopaedia?

Fair comment…

CollectiveAct 11:29 am 21 Feb 11

harvyk1 said :

Don’t waste your time,
I’ve tried to contribute to a couple of articles which I have a pretty good knowledge of and cleaned up the page to remove inaccurate information, but I got tired of “discussing” the merits of edits with other contributors whom obviously didn’t know anything about the subject, but loved causing a shitstorm.

I did also notice that the contributors who did seem to have a good knowledge of subjects had a similar problem.

As Dr Karl says, the internet (and wikipedia especially) is as reliable as the rambling drunk down at the pub.

Hi,

There are certainly people who feel they have had bad experiences at Wikipedia. A lot depends on what you are editing and how controversial it is. I guess there are also people who feel they have had bad experiences at The Riot Act! In fact the combatative mood on The Riot Act seems a good immitation of the kinds of problems some people experience on Wikipedia.

Personally the experience I had at Wikipedia was not bad in any way. I concede this is not always the case which is why I’m setting up a friendly environment to support people through the more difficult aspects.

cheers
Rosie

CollectiveAct 11:22 am 21 Feb 11

astrojax said :

testosterone has been implicated (by simon baron-cohen, among others) in aspergers/autism and there is also a higher incidence of this in geeks (and in silicone valley, where geeks inter-marry, sheesh!), so perhaps there is some prior rationale for the greater masculine incidence in wikipaedia (sorry, i spelt that correctly) editing – nonetheless, good luck in the quest! (being an anonymous on-line experience, though, how will you check gender? [ok, technically ‘sex’, i agree…]

There’s a lot already been written on the possible reasons why. It is also relevant that the average age of contributors to Wikipedia is just 18. However it would appear that people do not think this is as controversial a fact as the lower percentage of women. I expect that both the age and gender of the average contributor has an impact on the site.

When it comes to gender I expect the face to face events will give a reasonable indication of a person’s gender. If you’re asking how Wikipedia got the figures on gender participation it was from a separate survey where people were asked to nominate a gender. I’m not going to go into methodological issues here but if anyone is interested in further debating this they can use the Wikipedia Gendergap Mailing list and ask Sue Gardner, Executive Director Wikipedia or other list members.

cheers,
Rosie

cheers
Rosie

CollectiveAct 11:15 am 21 Feb 11

housebound said :

Good on CollectiveAct for having a go, and for encouraging others who maybe don’t have the confidence to also have ago.

What’s the worst that could happen – a few Canberra women create or edit Wikipedia entries and improve the quality of content on Wikipedia. Is that really such a bad thing?

Hi Housebound,

A lot of the attraction for me is being able to define for myself what and who I am through the experience rather than having a bunch of other people telling me what I should think, feel and do. It’s a great learning experience in this regard and it’s a good excuse to get together with some other women!

There’s more debate about the why’s and wherefore’s and so on at the official Wikipedia Gendergap mailing list that was put up in response to recent media coverage. Links to this are on http://women4wikipedia.net

I’m less interested in the debate and more interested in just doing something – which I already have.

cheers
Rosie
Maybe the naysayers on this forum should ask themselevs who on earth will be hurt by a group of women getting together to do some writing?

CollectiveAct 11:09 am 21 Feb 11

johnboy said :

While you’re there perhaps a certain website could be added to Canberra’s media section.

If it is just adding a url you can actually do that yourself. Anyone can edit Wikipedia. I warn though that your change might get rolled back if someone else decides that The Riot Act is not ‘notable’ 😉

harvyk1 11:07 am 21 Feb 11

Don’t waste your time,
I’ve tried to contribute to a couple of articles which I have a pretty good knowledge of and cleaned up the page to remove inaccurate information, but I got tired of “discussing” the merits of edits with other contributors whom obviously didn’t know anything about the subject, but loved causing a shitstorm.

I did also notice that the contributors who did seem to have a good knowledge of subjects had a similar problem.

As Dr Karl says, the internet (and wikipedia especially) is as reliable as the rambling drunk down at the pub.

CollectiveAct 11:03 am 21 Feb 11

Auntyem said :

I know there’s a website for Canberra women called Her Canberra. It has recently been developed to “provide a virtual community for local women”. Maybe you could contact the creators of this site to gain some local support for your enterprise.

http://www.hercanberra.com.au/

Good luck!

Thanks for this.

Skidbladnir 10:37 am 21 Feb 11

gospeedygo said :

I hope you can turn the lightswitch on and off the required amount of times in order the get out the door first.

Again:
OCD
vs
OCPD

Also, congratulations on making jokes at the expense of everyone suffering a mental disorder.
You’re an hero.
PS: Trolling is a art.

Erg0 10:08 am 21 Feb 11

Anything that broadens the pool of Wikipedia editors has to be good. A lot of articles on “non-nerdy” subjects are somewhat underdeveloped in comparison to, say, anything about Star Trek. That’s a stereotypical example, of course, but I think the site would benefit greatly from a having wider range of contributors.

gospeedygo said :

I hope you can turn the lightswitch on and off the required amount of times in order the get out the door first.

Ah, because people with OCD do things compulsively. Hilarious and insightful, 10/10.

John Moulis said :

The era of luminaries like Albert Einstein writing articles for Encyclopedia Britannica, and all entries being scrupulously checked for accuracy before going to print has long since gone in the Wikipedia age.

Just because I’m a shitstirrer:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Errors_in_the_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica_that_have_been_corrected_in_Wikipedia

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