Women and Wikipedia

The Wikimedia Foundation has been looking at participation in Wikipedia and, according to Mashable, has come up with some interesting results. Apparently only 13% of Wikipedia contributors are women, and only 31% of Wikipedia users are women. This is perhaps because Wikipedia is a steaming heap of fetid dingo’s kidneys and most women have more sense that to have anything to do with it. Your mileage may vary. Your explanations welcome in comments. Go!

(This post especially for Lisa Gold).

10 thoughts on “Women and Wikipedia

  1. What are fetid dingo’s kidneys? I have read Wikipedia, but don’t really trust it as a source unless it has tons of other references around an entry.

  2. “This is perhaps because Wikipedia is a steaming heap of fetid dingo’s kidneys and most women have more sense that to have anything to do with it.”

    That was the thought that occurred to me in the microsecond between reading your second sentence and your third.

    To be sure, I find Wikipedia useful in many entries and areas; but in many other entries and areas, it’s error-prone or greatly lacking; that’s my view as a reader.

    Single example of poorness: “Egosurfing.”

    That sf fans have been picking up their freshly-arrived-by-mail fanzines and immediately flipping through to find their names, and calling that “ego-scanning” since circa 1940? Unmentioned. No, the term and concept was invented by the internet. Whatev.

    Learning all the ins and outs of Wikipedia culture and usage as a writer/user/editor seems more like a Way Of Life than a Goddamned Hobby, and I decline. Tempting as it is to get some better sf fanhistory in there.

    “What are fetid dingo’s kidneys?”

    You get them when White Fang Goes Dingo.

  3. I personally use wikipedia regularly, but am cautious about what I use from it.

    As someone with a child who has a keen interest in knowing “Everything”, it can be a useful quick resource. And it also helps when putting together a fanzine where contributors use words or concepts foreign to me. I can be assured that I will find it there.

    But as always, Cheryl has indirectly taught me yet another knew thing. I’d never heard of the term egosurfing, as applied to fandom, so it ‘s proved educational for me too.

    As for the fetid dingo’s kidneys – I do know what they are….I live downunder….

  4. Sadly, as with much so-called reporting, the article (even the Wall Street Journal article one click deeper) does not say anything about how the survey was executed that got these results. Who was the study population, and how did they acquire them? the average age of respondents “hovers in the twentysomethings” it says, without saying if there were any trends with age.

    Also: 13% of wikipedia contributors are female does not mean 13% of wikipedia content is by male authors. I suspect boys (given their average age of respondent, they must have included young people) are more likely to count themselves a contributor for doing small corrections, whilst women might not definte it that way.

    I always want the details of such surveys. erg.

    In any case, wikipedia is leisure activity. A significant factor in this is probably who has how much leisure time available.

  5. Once again I fail the gender test, then. I not only use Wiki a lot, I have contributed.

    But then, as cultural studies bod, and a parent of a small child, Wiki is pretty good. If I want to know about when the yellow Wiggle changed person, Wiki will let me know reliably. It’s very good for popular culture references.

    I’ve contributed as a fascist, however. In my opinion, everyone should know that Lord Nazir Ahmed is a paid Nestle rep. Not that that edit stays in place very long. Nor that that’s true now, I suppose, as I presume Nestle sacked him when he was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. But he was responsible for the terrible treatment of a young man who blew the whistle on formula skulldugegry in India. So perhaps I’ve never really contributed to Wiki!

    But I still fail the gender test… it is very good on tv programmes.

  6. “Once again I fail the gender test, then. I not only use Wiki a lot….”


    I should have blogged this years ago, instead of writing the same comment over and over again in comments on other blogs over the years.

  7. Language grows Gary. In context, where we were only discussing Wikipedia, it was a perfectly acceptable response.


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