Wikipedia Is a Sausage Fest; Women Love Sex and the City

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Less than 15 percent of Wikipedia's hundreds of thousands of unpaid contributors -- responsible for over 3.5 million articles in English -- are female, according to an article on the front page of today's New York Times. The exact figure hovers somewhere around 13 percent women and the average age is, unsurprisingly, in the mid-20s, via a study last year by the United Nations University and Maastricht University. Wikipedia hopes to raise its female contributors to 25 percent by 2015, while Wikipedia's current contributors hope to someday have a date. And to learn who Manolo Blahnik is!

What are things that women know about and could therefore write about on Wikipedia? Well, Sex and the City, duh, but the popular lady show "includes only a brief summary of every episode, sometimes two or three sentences," while The Sopranos Wikipedia page "includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode," writes the Times.

Is it possible that there exists a confounding variable -- for instance, Sopranos is more packed with plot and symbolism and is therefore in need of more exegesis than Sex and the City? Or perhaps articles vary in length based on the average IQ (or employment, for that matter) of its Wikipedia contributors? Honestly, who knows, but one thing is for sure: women love stereotypes that group them constantly with Sex and the City.

Also used as evidence in the Times article? Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo -- two fashion designers featured heavily in... Sex and the City! Both only "get but a handful of paragraphs" on Wikipedia.

"Is a category with five Mexican feminist writers impressive, or embarrassing when compared with the 45 articles on characters in The Simpsons?" the Times asks. Only boys like cartoons!

Is this schism of interest? Certainly, and it very well may reflect "the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women." But these are some sexist-leaning examples, New York Times! That said, the Wikipedia entry for "pork rinds" is probably massive.

Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia's Contributor List [NYT]


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8 comments
24AheadDotCom
24AheadDotCom

If you think all WP contributors are unpaid, look into a directory called dmoz, which is similar to WP in being a "community" site with volunteer editors. Years ago and perhaps still today, getting listed in dmoz would boost your search engine ranking, which for most sites translates into money. And, rumors have abounded for years about dmoz editors who'd take money to list sites and even worse goings on.

Considering that WP turns up near the top of search results for almost everything, they have a bit of a choke hold on information. And, no doubt there are plenty of people who would be willing to pay to make sure that their POV is represented, even when it involves speading disinfo. Or, maybe no one who edits WP is paid to do so, and all that disinfo just involves those with an unpaid agenda. Some of it is described here, but this only scratches the surface:

24ahead.com/s/wikipedia

24AheadDotCom
24AheadDotCom

If you think all WP contributors are unpaid, look into a directory called dmoz, which is similar to WP in being a "community" site with volunteer editors. Years ago and perhaps still today, getting listed in dmoz would boost your search engine ranking, which for most sites translates into money. And, rumors have abounded for years about dmoz editors who'd take money to list sites and even worse goings on.

Considering that WP turns up near the top of search results for almost everything, they have a bit of a choke hold on information. And, no doubt there are plenty of people who would be willing to pay to make sure that their POV is represented, even when it involves speading disinfo. Or, maybe no one who edits WP is paid to do so, and all that disinfo just involves those with an unpaid agenda. Some of it is described here, but this only scratches the surface:

http://24ahead.com/s/wikipedia

Josh
Josh

Spot on article. The wikipedia articles for the twilight series is a good rebuttal to the new york times.

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