you have my sympathy, and let me tell you this: I am man and programmer,
and when I edit articles nowaday I tend to ignore the info boxes and the
templates at the end of each article. If I create a new article and I
happen don't have a similar article with the templates and infobox
already at hand, I simply create an article without both.
And I think it is essential to tell the beginner to do the same: Don't
bother with things that are too complicated, it is the content that counts.
What I also do is help newcomers to wikify articles. I think it is an
utterly bad habitate just to put a wikify template in a not nicely
structured article instead of to do something by one self. It is usually
just a few edits, two '''s, a few [[ and ]]s, and maybe a
[[cateogry:...]] that can make the difference.
Personally, there are two reasons that I don't really care about info
boxes and templates: First it is my own habitate as a user. For me the
summary at the begin of an article tells me more than the info boxes.
Info boxes are great for machines, for semantic web or things like that,
but as a human I am more content with the summary. Second, I am sure
that there will be at some time some nice and capable people who will
put the necessary info boxes and templates in the articles I created. I
never try to start a perfect article (I even never start an article in
my own sandbox, people can always see my progress in the articles), I
just do something and then leave it as I am able to.
In all the discussions about editor retention and new comer barriers
there is one thing that astonishes me again and again, and that is the
whole discussion seems to be highly biased on the technical aspect,
while the social aspect mostly tend to be neglected. People put a HUGE
TON of hope in the visual editor as if it can resolve everything. But
actually I think what VE can do is very limited, as far as our rules and
our scope don't change.
Nowaday Wikipedia articles (across all major languages) are highly
biased in style and in content to academic thesis. How references are
used and put, the criteria for references as valid, are almost
one-by-one copied by the standards from academic thesis. Content without
references are by itself considered as delete candidates. Both of these
strongly put up constraints on who can put new content in Wikipedia and
what content is considered as viable. I always feel sorrow, that both
the Foundation and the community neglected the Oral Citation Project
lead by Achal ( http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Oral_citations
believe it has the potential to revolutionary how anthropology (and
maybe a lot of other sciences where field study is necessary) is done
just like Wikipedia revolutionized how Encyclopedia can be done. And it
can really give a lot of people, who did not enjoyed the academic
training, the possibility to contribute their knowledge.
The other major topic that I see neglected in this whole complex of
discussion is how our rules are set up. They don't really put on a price
or punishment against rude behavior. There are a lot of initiative to be
welcoming and helpful, they are all great, but in the end, one rude
comment can destroy efforts of two or three welcoming volunteers. Our
rules only set in if the rude behavior is obvious, but not if they are
acid and suttle. And people tend to ignore rude behavior if they come
from a high performer editor.
Change our attitude to non-academic-content and change our play rule on
rude behavior is harder than change in technology, this is why people do
so as if the VE is the holy grale. But it is not. By the start of the
last strategic period, in the years 2009 and 2010, the Foundation
conducted a lot of studies about why people leave our community, and
Wiki-syntax is only one of at least three other reasons. VE is just a
tool, tools can be used for good or for bad, it is the mind, that
decides for which the tools are used.
Am 01.06.2014 08:55, schrieb Risker:
On 1 June 2014 01:39, Fæ <faewik(a)gmail.com>
On 1 June 2014 04:26, James Salsman
selects strongly against women.
Where is the evidence that women have more
wikitext than men?
(Probably drifting to "Increase participation by
As someone who has run editathons on women focused topics, I found
this an odd comment that does not match anecdotal experience. New
women users seem little different to men in the issues that arise, and
though I have found myself apologising for the slightly odd syntax,
given the standard crib-sheet most users get on with basic article
creation quite happily.
There are far more commonly raised issues such as the complex issues
associated with image upload (copyright!), or the conceptual
difficulty of "namespaces" which mean that some webpages behave
differently to others. None is something that appears to "select
strongly against women", though the encyclopedia's way of defining
notability can make it harder to create articles about pre-1970s
professional women, purely because sources from earlier periods tend
to be biased towards men.
If there are surveys that wiki-syntax is more of a barrier for women
than men (after discounting out other factors), perhaps someone could
provide a link?
Fae, I don't know if wiki-syntax in and of itself is more of a barrier for
women than men. What I do know is that wiki-syntax is a lot harder today
than it was when I started editing 8 years ago, and that today I would
consider it more akin to computer programming than content creation. That
is where the barrier comes in.
The statistics for percentage of women employed in computer-related
technology is abysmal; we all know that. Even organizations that actively
seek out qualified women (including Wikimedia, I'll point out) can't come
close to filling all the slots they'd willingly open, because there simply
aren't that many qualified women. They're not filling the seats in college
and university programs, either.
Eight years ago, only about a quarter of English Wikipedia articles had an
infobox - that huge pile of wiki-syntax that is at the top of the
overwhelming majority of articles today. There were not a lot of
templates; certainly the monstrous templates at the bottom of most articles
today didn't exist then. The syntax for creating references was
essentially <ref> insert url </ref>; today there is a plethora of complex
referencing templates, some of which are so complex and non-intuitive that
only a small minority of *wikipedians* can use them effectively. I know
wiki-syntax, and I have found it increasingly more difficult to edit as
time has gone on. I don't think it's because I'm a woman, I think it's
because I'm not a programmer - and women who *are* programmers are only a
small minority of all programmers, so it follows that women are less likely
to have the skills that will help them sort through what they see when they
It's exactly why I've been following and keeping up with the development of
VisualEditor - because I believe it will make it easier for those who
aren't particularly technically inclined to contribute to the project. I
believe it's the route to attracting a more diverse editing population,
including but not limited to women. And I think that it's pretty close to
being ready for hands-on use by those who are new to our projects, now that
it can handle pretty well most of the essential editing tasks. It's not
perfect, but it's getting there.
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