How to Edit Wikipedia

September 1, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reports that only 13% of Wikipedia contributors are women. What the what? Ladies, obviously we need to step it up. Here's my personal experience of becoming an editor, and how to contribute to Wikipedia. Excuse me while I hang my head in shame for not making any new edits since 2007.

Face it Gina, you edit like a girl.

Sep 1 09 at 3:49 pm

Ha! I guess I do! :)

Gina Trapani [+195]
Sep 1 09 at 3:58 pm

I’m female, have a Master’s degree, and have edited entries before. But I never remember having to specify my sex while doing so. I enjoy that it is an open collaborative source. Of course I had the odd habit of reading the World Book when I was a kid….

lisaleague [+1]
Sep 1 09 at 4:58 pm

@lisa: That number is based on a survey of 175,000 responses, a good-sized sample.

Gina Trapani [+195]
Sep 1 09 at 5:19 pm

OK, I guess while all the men are on Wikipedia, women will take over the world:)

lisaleague [+1]
Sep 1 09 at 5:31 pm

It’s true!!

I’ve been thinking about how I felt about editing Wikipedia before I dove in–and that was uncertain and worried I’d screw it up. I think that, in addition to the fact that wiki’s are downright user-hostile (what with the markup, and in the case of Wikipedia, scary, multi-tiered community rules), is partially why these numbers are skewed. I mean jeez, it’s not like women are a huge force in content creation in other areas of the web (blogs, photo-sharing, Twitter, etc).

Gina Trapani [+195]
Sep 1 09 at 6:22 pm

On blogs, at least, I’d argue that there are more women blogging than men. I ran a survey of 1200 bloggers a couple of years ago, and that group turned out to be 65% female. The, incidentally, is true of the demographics of LiveJournal.

As for Flickr and other photo-sharing sites, my anecdotal experience is that there are roughly as many male or female users.

Now, of course, most of the most popular blogs are written by men.

So I’m not sure a gender bias in other kinds of content creation is a convincing or accurate explanation.

That said, I don’t have a better one. The article’s reasons feel pretty unconvincing, too.

Darren [+6]
Sep 1 09 at 8:57 pm

So maybe men are more likely to respond to surveys?

Comments are closed. Thanks for reading!