(prepares to expose herself a bit, and....breaths)

I have absolutely dealt with this behavior. While no one has openly left comments on my talk pages, I have been told a few strange things in my day as a Wikipedian. From "I'll help you because I think you're hot" (paraphrasing - I was actually judged on a "1 to 10" rating system by a group of Wikipedians) to stalking comments from banned users like "you're so hot I'd like you to have my babies."

The only power I have right now is a delete or ignore button. For me, I just keep on keepin on, because I expect people to be direspectful and sexist to me on Wikipedia. The only thing I can do is to them otherwise, speak my mind and say what I think, which I'm rather good at. I also rely strongly on, to be honest, fellow editors - primarily men - who speak up on my behalf. The few women I know who I consider "really good friends" on Wikipedia aren't involved in any aspect of the gender gap, and aren't as proactive or opinionated as me. Which, I guess gets me into more trouble than usual. Often these "situations" are  as common as the sexism I might experience in the real world, outside of work - but, Wikipedia...it's sort of work for me, right now.

To be honest, I have a terribly low selfesteem when it comes to my work in Wikimedia - whether it's thinking I should apply for a job or fellowship, or it's applying for an admin position, or just speaking up in certain topics. I feel that I'm not tech savvy enough, and it's really intimidating since so much of the culture is based around that. It's also intimidating, in general. Just like any other geek world - whether it's playing online RPGs (yes, I've dabbled a bit) or having acquaintances who do society for creative anarchonism (aka play dress up like dungeons and dragons characters) - they assume because of my name I am one thing. The only thing I can do is prove them wrong, including the women sometimes too.

I often channel my anger into changing things. But, when I think about my own experiences, I have no idea what to to do about them.


On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 3:55 PM, Ryan Kaldari <rkaldari@wikimedia.org> wrote:
This situation from earlier today has already been resolved, so no drama
is necessary, but I thought I would post one of the diffs here as an
example for discussion:

I think this is a good example of the "unwanted attention" problem that
I've heard about from several female editors. Generally, when people
talk about sexist behavior on Wikipedia, they tend to think of
misogynistic behavior, but I think the unwanted attention/stalking
problem may be just as important. Have others on the list experienced
this problem? How did it affect you? How did you deal with it? Any ideas
for how it can be addressed systematically?

Ryan Kaldari

Gendergap mailing list

GLAMWIKI Partnership Ambassador for the Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedian-in-Residence, Archives of American Art
Sarah Stierch Consulting
Historical, cultural & artistic research & advising.