Hey gals, let’s all go edit Wikipedia!

Today the New York Times reported that less than 15% of Wikipedia’s 100,000+ contributors are women. That’s a sobering thought when you consider that a Wikipedia article is usually in the top three hits when you google anything. It’s even more sobering when you consider the fact that, as a result of this bias, Wikipedia articles are heavily skewed in favor of more, um, manly topics. For example, “A topic generally restricted to teenage girls, like friendship bracelets, can seem short at four paragraphs when compared with lengthy articles on something boys might favor, like, toy soldiers or baseball cards, whose voluminous entry includes a detailed chronological history of the subject.”

Sounds like a call to action, ladies!

Have you ever edited a Wikipedia article? Do you have an account there? No, me neither. So went and created one. Moander28, that’s me. And then I went and looked at that friendship bracelet article, thinking that would be an appropriate place to start closing the gender gap. And guess what? I found a typo! A missing period! Yay! Something to edit!

So I bravely clicked on the edit tab. Whoa. Can I just say, this is not exactly user friendly. Maybe there is a reason why boys are more interested than girls in getting their hands dirty here.

I don’t know about you but I find that just a tad intimidating. Maybe Wikipedia could take a leaf out of WordPress‘s book, hmmm? Anyway, notice the missing period after the word counselor? It’s the last sentence before the History and traditions section. Well, I typed in the period, marked “m” for minor edit, and hit save. I did it! I edited a Wikipedia article! I’m one of the elect almost-15% now!

How about you? Go on, edit an article, I double dog dare ya!

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10 Comments

  1. Wikis are not very friendly – that’s for sure! I guess I also in the rare 15% because I have not only edited but created Wikipedia pages in the past! Like you, I wish the interface was nicer but I think the whole wiki-point is “stripped down” or perhaps it’s just “for geeks only”.

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  2. I have ALWAYS wanted to sign up for Wikipedia but I feel like I would get addicted to editing! I should probably get an account though and let you know how it goes. Thanks for lighting the fire under my butt about this. I, seriously, have been wondering about signing up. Now, there’s no question…I’m going to do it. Dare taken!

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  3. Do it, Dorothy!!! Let’s make a goal, each of us, to follow Megan’s (very impressive) lead and CREATE A PAGE some time during the month of February. What do you say?

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  4. I had no idea that so few women contribute to Wikipedia. I may have to check that out. I’m not sure what I would create a page about, but maybe I could edit or add to an already existing page. Thanks for letting me know you found it’s not very user friendly so I know it’s not just me :)

    Reply
  5. Well, after reading your post, I think I might give it a shot. I mean since you double dog dared me and all. I’m kinda scared of that editing page you showed though!

    Reply
  6. Woo hoo! Make sure y’all report back, okay?

    Reply
  7. Well, I’ll admit, I just take the cowards way out and donate $$$$. Well, $$. I have enough trouble keeping up with Older Eyes.

    Reply
  8. I just came across your post when writing one myself on the topic and couldn’t agree with you more that it’s a little difficult to use. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I run a wiki myself but have never really used wikipedia and didn’t realise that there is such a gender disparity in terms of contributing. Although I probably should have considering I run a wiki and don’t edit wikipedia myself! Thought you might be interested in my post here- http://lola-pr.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-women-wikis-do-mix.html

    Reply
  9. Wow, that is too weird! I actually woke up this morning thinking about this very thing and wondering if there are other wikis out there that women do like to use. Your post was very interesting and wikifashion.com is gorgeous!! Since, clearly, it’s possible for a wiki to be beautiful to look at & use, you really have to wonder why wikipedia hasn’t made more of an effort.

    I am curious to know whether the culture at wikifashion is nicer too. Sue Gardner talks about all the hostility and how you have to be able to do “the virtual equivalent of stomping on someone’s foot when they get in your face” on wikipedia. Do you get a lot of arguing among your editors?

    Reply
  1. Nine Reasons Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia (in their own words) « Sue Gardner's Blog

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