On 1 October 2011 19:37, Maggie <rockerrepro@gmail.com> wrote:
I've created this group as a women's-only group to discuss things without being inhibited by a male presence, if anyone is interested in joining. This group was not created with the goal of competing with Gender Gap, more as a companion or a friendly place for women to discuss their views. I would suggest this group in addition to Gender Gap rather than an alternative--because there are valid opinions to be heard all over.


I wish you well on this Maggie.  However, I hope you won't mind if I wax historical for a few minutes here.

Some years back, a small group of Wikipedians decided that user harassment, particularly harassment of female users, had reached dangerous levels.  There was definitely some justification for feeling that way - several female Wikipedians had been contacted at their places of employment, their family members and employers had been contacted, and some of the messages indicated the possibility of real-world, in-person stalking. Some male Wikipedians had also had similar experiences, and found them every bit as unsettling; however, the percentage of female administrators/users who were affected was much, much higher, and had resulted in a significant number of them leaving the project or having to take protective steps in their real lives.

In any case, this small group decided to create a private mailing list/group to brainstorm methods of dealing with these issues.  They included in their circulation a bunch of people who'd not requested to join, and who really paid little attention to what was going on with this group.  Ultimately, it came to light that actions were being taken onwiki that had been discussed on this mailing list or that of one of its subgroups, which included administrative actions up to and including blocking accounts.  This went very badly, as one of the accounts that got blocked turned out to be the new pseudonymous account of a (male) editor who had been harassed in real life.  The fallout from this had some very serious effects on the reputations of the people who had started the group, with the good faith hope of trying to solve a problem.

I tell you this story, not to say that such groups are inherently bad, but that the community considers them to be very much a net negative, and the community's past experience with such lists is that they start off with good intentions and wind up going off in tangents and trying to affect the project in non-transparent ways.

I know, speaking as the only person who is a list administrator for every non-public list associated directly with English Wikipedia, that there is constant and very negative assumption that whatever is happening on private lists is inherently anti-wiki, gossip-ridden, and potentially harmful to the project. (When the arbcom-L list sprang a leak earlier this year, it created a huge number of problems that still haven't been completely settled.)

So...bear this in mind. I am not saying "don't do it", just giving you some history as to why it might create some perceptual difficulties, particularly given the existence of a public list.