On 1 October 2011 19:37, Maggie <rockerrepro(a)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
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.