The Signpost

A monthly overview of recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, also published as the Wikimedia Research Newsletter.

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  • Does advertising the Gender Gap... I would have thought it is pretty obvious that saying "Wikipedia wants, and needs, more women and girls to edit" will help, whereas the message "Wikipedians hate women, that's why women hate editing there." will have the opposite effect. I have never seen why some of my colleagues have thought the latter narrative would be the beneficial one to promote to the media. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 06:53, 7 January 2016 (UTC).Reply[reply]
    • Actually regardless of what the message is, we know both from WLM and fundraising that a positive wording is less likely to deter participation, while negative wording (in whatever context) has significant negative impact. The trick with canvassing is to try to make things sound fun, and gendergap is not fun (yet). On the whole, though, fascinating findings. Jane (talk) 07:38, 7 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 great report! --Atlasowa (talk) 14:40, 7 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It says right there in the article that they found negative wording reduced the gender gap in their test population. As a bonus it's easier and a lot more satisfying than positive wording. DPRoberts534 (talk) 03:46, 8 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, the difference was between negative information about Wikipedia (i.e. the gender gap in editorial content and editors themselves) and a neutral description (neither positive or negative and not mentioning the gender gap at all). Secondly, the study didn't find that negative wording reduced the gender gap except in the sense that those receiving it were more likely to choose articles on women for the hypothetical improvement task. The second and more important finding is that the negative wording decreased the likelihood of actually contributing amongst both men and women, but was strongest for the male participants. As I have pointed out in the past, the narrative of the gender gap that was started by Sue Gardner and since developed via more and more hyperbole has proved both counterproductive and destructive. It infantilized and stereotyped women and turned our male colleagues from people into an equally stereotyped "other" from which we must be protected. With Gardner's 2011 blog post "Nine reasons why women don't edit Wikipedia", the negative narrative was set firmly on its course. Unsurprisingly, the gender gap in the number of women editors (to the extent it existed back in 2011) had really not improved at all by early 2015. So, instead of applying a bit of lateral thinking, the solution was to ramp up the negativity even more to a level where all perspective was lost. In any case, a very interesting article, and many thanks to Tilman Bayer for highlighting it. Voceditenore (talk) 13:15, 8 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Intriguingly, "the number of readers per editor is higher for articles about women, and the share of articles that no one reads is larger in the case of articles about men".

that does not imply:

In other words, readers prefer articles about women, editors prefer articles about men.
Lets say for example there are 100 articles about men, 10 articles about women. The men's articles have on average 100 editors and 100 readers per article, the women's articles 10 editors and 20 readers per article. Women's articles have more readers per editor (2:1 vs 1:1), yet, readers prefer articles about men (10000 vs 200 readers)... Prevalence (talk) 12:05, 10 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Is there a statistic available for the percentage of established editors who don't state their gender? I'd like to find out if that's a small minority or a majority of the population. Thanks. Praemonitus (talk) 20:56, 15 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • You can see the stats as of September 2015 here: Wikipedia:Database reports/User preferences#Gender. That's about 615K editors who declared a gender in Special:Preferences, out of all 27 million accounts (perhaps 8 or 9 million of which have ever made an edit here) at the English Wikipedia. The percentage of editors declaring a gender is likely to be higher at languages that use different words/endings for male and female editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:08, 29 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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