[Foundation-l] Introducing a new mailing list

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 4 19:58:58 UTC 2006

--- Yann Forget <yann at forget-me.net> wrote:

> Hello,
> Angela a écrit :
> > Following recent discussions on wikien-l where a
> number of women said
> > they were not comfortable contributing to the
> discussion, a new
> > mailing list has been created for female wiki
> editors to discuss
> > issues of gender bias in wikis and ways to
> encourage more female
> > editors, and just as a place that females can feel
> more comfortable
> > posting to.
> > 
> > It's called WikiChix - named after LinuxChix, the
> women-oriented
> > community for Linux users.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinuxChix
> > 
> > If you are female and interested in wikis, I would
> like to encourage
> > to join the mailing list at
> >
> > 
> > There's also a wiki at http://wikichix.org/ - let
> me know your
> > username if you'd like an account there. Some of
> the pages are openly
> > editable, so even if you're not female, you are
> welcome to post your
> > comments at http://wikichix.org/wiki/Comments
> > 
> > The FAQs for the related communities at
> >
> answer a lot of
> > questions about why this was created, so please
> read those for more
> > information until we have our own FAQ.
> They are always been a gender bias in Wikipedia,
> first by the simple
> fact that there are much less women editors than
> men. This is
> particularly obvious on the French Wikipedia from
> the start, so it is
> not specific to one language. I think the numbers of
> women editors has
> increased lately, but women are still far from being
> about the same
> number as men.
> Until recently, I thought that the problem would
> solve itself over time,
> when Wikipedia becoming more mainstream. I read the
> thread on wikien-l
> and I think that the problem is more serious than I
> thought. The first
> problem is when people (men only ?) do not see that
> the problem exists.
> It remembers me of the tale of the fish and water.
> When asked its
> opinion about water, the fish said: "Please show me
> some water. I don't
> see any water."
> It is sad that women feel the need for a separate
> list, but denying them
> this tool will not help solve the problem. So I hope
> that the list will
> serve its purpose and helps women feel more
> confident on Wikimedia projects.
> > Angela
> Regards,
> Yann

I am completely shocked after reading the archive at
Wikien-l .  My first thought on this list was that it
should be open.  I still would prefer it to be open,
but it will never exist if comments like those that
are showing up on Wikien-l arre to be how it is
started.  There is such a lack of belief that the
problem exists or that it is serious which is shocking
to me.  If anyone who attended the Board Q & A at
Wikimania and can still think it is not a serious
problem after witnessing the entire room laugh at
dismissive comment which nearly brought me to my feet
in outrage; I do not know what to say to them.  And I
do not think the participation of such people who must
have these problems proved to them  will help the

I have to force myself to write this after closing the
"Compose" window a dozen times.  But I feel it is
important to be honest about this here.  Honestly the
way a woman can contribute in places like this by
overlooking all the subtle sexism.  By ignoring it and
pretending it is not about her.  By not responding to
these threads and not drawing attention to the fact
that she is not a man.  By not writing email like this
one.  I do not know how to participate in a discusion
about this subtle sort of dismissive sexism with the
people who dismiss it. Not if I want to turn around
and work with them on-wiki.  I hope this new list can
be something that is open for anyone to join.  I hope
the men who would join would take the opportunity to
listen in to such a discussion rather than shape it. 
But after reading the wikien-l archive I really am
worried many could not stop themselves from arguing
the point.  I don't know the answer.  I do know that I
will *not* discuss this topic with a number of the
people commenting at wikien-l, because they don't get

If anyone thinks I don't get.  Maybe you are right. 
Maybe this is just all in my head and it was
irrational of me to react so strongly to the comment
at Wikimania.  Maybe there are legions of women
secretly contributing to the wiki's right now, I mean
who really know which gender someone is.  Maybe there
isn't a problem at all.


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