I am a new contributor to Wikipedia and read Larry's blog post and the subsequent discussion on this list with great interest.
My first thought was that this indeed is a red herring in terms of addressing the gendergap, however in my limited editing experience I do at times feel like Wikipedia is a boys' club, and perhaps the prevalence of pornography goes some way to an imagining of what is hanging on the clubhouse walls. Although not apparent in the course of normal browsing and editing (I've yet to stumble on anything particularly offensive), it may contribute to the culture which has resulted in a such a participation skew between genders.
I do think it is worth further exploring the idea of the "techno-libertarians" who dominate policy-making as being young males without children. I know that my views on any number of things has changed since I have had children of my own - as my ability to donate time to discussing such issues!
Kim Osman │ Research Student
ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Queensland University of Technology
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What research is needed?
We have academics across the world who want to do research on Wikimedia.
What questions can we put to the researchers in order to obtain a
better understanding of
* why women don't contribute?
* what would help them contribute?
> I edit Wikipedia a lot. I probably spend more time than I should editing
> Wikipedia. Can I ask where there is a prevalence of pornography on
> Wikipedia? I honestly can't think of a single time I have come across it
> when I wasn't directly looking for it. Misogny to a degree, yes.
> Discrimination against women's topics and topics outside the United States,
> youbetcha. But pornography? Maybe I just don't edit articles where
> pornography is very prevalent?
I totally agree with you - I have never come across anything remotely offensive in the course of editing or browsing. What I was trying to say is that rather than being a reason more females don't edit Wikipedia (and perhaps here my use of the word prevalence was wrong) the presence of certain types of pornography on Wikipedia contributes to the culture which results in the instances of misogny and discrimination you note. So I do see the editorial decisions made around the type of content Larry Sanger referenced as being part of a wider conversation about female participation.
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 1:38 PM, Kim Osman <kim.osman(a)qut.edu.au> wrote:
> My first thought was that this indeed is a red herring in terms of
> addressing the gendergap, however in my limited editing experience I do at
> times feel like Wikipedia is a boys' club, and perhaps the prevalence of
> pornography goes some way to an imagining of what is hanging on the
> clubhouse walls
I edit Wikipedia a lot. I probably spend more time than I should editing
Wikipedia. Can I ask where there is a prevalence of pornography on
Wikipedia? I honestly can't think of a single time I have come across it
when I wasn't directly looking for it. Misogny to a degree, yes.
Discrimination against women's topics and topics outside the United States,
youbetcha. But pornography? Maybe I just don't edit articles where
pornography is very prevalent?
There is one reason, and one reason alone, that I have not gotten into the fray about appropriateness of images and some text in Wikipedia. The reason is the discussion ends up on the internet and any search for my name will turn up all the details of everyone's comments. This generates a guilt-by-association situation that can affect real life circumstances that I've already experienced. In discussion with some parents, content added by some, discredits the entire Wikipedia reason-to-exist, and has become 'not-recommended.'
As a mother and educator, who has encouraged universities, schools, PTAs, and school districts to embrace Wikipedia, and give students the opportunity to get a feel for ownership and responsible editing, and as a scholar committed to seeking solutions to gender gap issues, I hold the view that some materials are not appropriate. What is not appropriate in schools and libraries has to be something to consider as a measure of acceptability. As a social scientist, it is clear to me cultures vary.
There might be considered an Iron Curtain Wikipedia with content that those seeking 'certain topics' could elect to navigate.
I'd rather this comment not be attached to any that may follow it, otherwise, I am sidelined from getting into the communication and search for consensus.
Thank you, and onward gallant Wikipedians - wherever and whoever you are,
>From Larry Sanger's blog:
I want to start a conversation. [...Larry says, in his blog]
I. Problem? What problem?
So, you didn’t know that Wikipedia has a porn problem?
Let me say what I do not mean by “Wikipedia’s porn problem.” I do not mean
simply that Wikipedia has a lot of porn. That’s part of the problem, but
it’s not even the main problem. I’m 100% OK with porn sites. I defend the
right of people to host and view porn online. I don’t even especially mind
that Wikipedia has porn. There could be legitimate reasons why an
encyclopedia might want to have some “adult content.”
No, the real problem begins when Wikipedia features some of the most
disgusting sorts of porn you can imagine, while being heavily used by
children. But it’s even more complicated than that, as I’ll explain.
(Note, the following was co-written by me and several other people. I
particularly needed their help finding the links.)
Here is the short version:
Wikipedia and other websites of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) host a great
deal of pornographic content, as well as other content not appropriate for
children. Yet, the Wikimedia Foundation encourages children to use these
resources. Google, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and many other high-profile
sites have installed optional filters to block adult content from view. I
believe the WMF sites should at a minimum install an optional, opt-in
filter, as the WMF Board agreed to do in 2011. I understand that the WMF
has recently stopped work on the filter and, after a period of community
reaction, some Board members have made it clear that they do not expect
this filter to be finished and installed. Wikipedians, both managers and
rank-and-file, apparently do not have enough internal motivation to do the
responsible thing for their broad readership.
But even that is too brief. If you really want to appreciate Wikipedia’s
porn problem, I’m afraid you’re going to have to read the following.
Feel free to repost!
There is further discussion of this, with Larry in attendance, on
Note that the related thread is in the "Sexualisation" subforum, which is
only accessible to registered Wikipediocracy members. Registration is free
though, and anyone wishing to have a look is welcome to join up and
Hello Gender Gappers,
Just a reminder that applications for AdaCamp DC are still open!
We've accepted about 75 applications and have room for 75 - 125 more
people. Deadline to request childcare is June 8, deadline for all
applications is June 29, conference is July 10 - 11. Apply early in
case we sell out!
* What is AdaCamp DC?
AdaCamp DC is a unconference aimed at increasing the participation and
status of women in open technology and culture, organized by the Ada
Initiative. Topics include Wikimedia projects as well as open source
software, open data in general, fan/remix culture, and other areas.
To get an idea of what to expect, read about the first AdaCamp in
* When and where will it be?
AdaCamp DC is co-located with Wikimania 2012 in a venue about a mile
away (the Washington Post building). It will be the two days prior to
Wikimania, July 10 - 11, from about 9am to about 5pm.
* That's the same time as the Wikimania hack-a-thon! Can I attend both?
We're really sorry AdaCamp DC conflicts with the hack-a-thon! The
venues are about a mile apart, so switching at lunch time or attending
one day of each is practical. If you attend AdaCamp DC, you are not
obliged to be there all day every day.
* Who should apply?
We're looking for people who have significant experience in open
technology and culture, have at least moderate knowledge of the issues
women face in these areas, take a feminist approach to solving these
issues, and collaborate well with others. While we support women-only
events, this Ada Initiative event welcomes people of all genders who
fit these criteria. If you're not sure if you're qualified, please
* What is the format?
AdaCamp DC is an unconference, meaning the schedule and topics are
chosen by the attendees each morning. We will begin the day with a
plenary session, then attendees will suggest session topics to be
discussed during the rest of the day. We will have between 6 and 9
parallel sessions of between 30 and 60 minutes in length. The day
will end with another plenary session in which we review what we
produced that day.
Please feel free to forward this information to other forums or people
that might be interested in attending!
Executive Director, Ada Initiative
Increasing the participation of women in open technology and culture
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 3:55 AM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> I remember Robert Harris once saying to me, in an e-mail, something to the
> effect that one of the main reasons Wikimedia does so poorly at curating
> sexual content responsibly is its gender imbalance. He expressed the view
> that the only way this was ever going to change was by Wikimedia having a
> healthier gender ratio. I thought he was absolutely right.
Yes, that would be an over riding point we came to at WikiWomenCamp.
Want to know what a point of discussion was?
So yes, systematic bias can be overcome by encouraging the growth of female
contributors. The failure to attract women contributors to editing
Wikipedia across various languages has little to do with that.
> For an example of a woman exasperated by Wikipedia's handling of sexual
> content, see this post
> http://www.junkland.net/2011/11/donkey-punch-or-how-i-tried-to-fight.html by
> blogger Penny Sociologist, which my wife somehow came across.
This has whut to do with the issue? Misogyny and pornography are not the
same thing. I'll take the opinion of a global group of women who came to
the conclusion on their own that this is a red herring issue that does NOT
work in terms of addressing the gendergap by trying to eliminate
pornographic material from one white woman from the United States, which I
previously stated was a consensus view at an internationally attended
conference for addressing the gender gap was not an issue.
If you passionately believe in this issue, I would suggest forking and
creating a separate list to remove pornographic material. If you
passionately believe this is a FACTUAL issue that makes it harder for
global participation of women in Wikimedia because they are offended by the
pornographic material, I would suggest you do the research... show this is
a problem and that women really are not contributing to Wikipedia in
Indonesia, Brasil, Argentina, Cambodia, South Africa, Australia, Germany,
Spain, Portugal, India, Canada and Russia amongst other places because of
it. I'd guess that if you seriously did the research, you would find
pornography falls extremely low on the reasons why women do not contribute
to Wikipedia. I'd be extremely delighted to help you with this as I think
there is a tremendous opportunity for understanding why women do not
contribute to Wikipedia and why women SHOULD edit Wikipedia.
(And pardon for my terseness. It is 4:14am and I'm still jet lagged from
my trip to Buenoes Aires where I got to meet some truly wonderful women,
and discuss many of these issues for about five days. The ascyrhonous
nature of coming back to the list where the discussion is so out of line
with all these conversations from those actively involved in the movement
is a bit jarring on the brain.)
Hello Everyone :-)
I'm writing to extend an invitation to people interested in increasing
female participation in Wikimedia Foundation projects to join the
discussion about creating a Funds Dissemination Committee.
The purpose of the FDC will be to make recommendations to the Wikimedia
Foundation Board of Trustees for funding activities and initiatives in
support of the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement.
It would be great to have people from this mailing list chime in to
decrease the likelihood of adding systemic bias to the fund dissemination
process. Also, since one of the Strategic Planning goals is to encourage
diversity, a review of the plan from people on this list will be helpful to
make sure we are putting a process in place that is friendly towards a
variety of populations of people.
The Fund Dissemination Committee Advisory Group is meeting next week to
finalize our recommendations, so it would be good to hear comments right