[Gendergap] Wikipedia's gender gap: discussion on Metafilter

Sue Gardner sgardner at wikimedia.org
Wed Feb 2 03:03:07 UTC 2011

FYI: I found this discussion really interesting:

Metafilter is a really interesting online community. I am guessing
it's 2/3 male, which is more gender-balanced than we are. In recent
years, it's made a serious effort --with strong support from its
moderation staff-- to stomp out talk that women there find alienating
and marginalizing (e.g., rape jokes). As a reader I think those
efforts are succeeding: the rest of the community there seems to have
stretched itself to accommodate those women's perspectives.

Metafilter is very different from us (we're not a discussion forum,
etc.), but I think their core community has lots of
attitudinal/demographic overlap with ours. The women there presumably
could potentially have become Wikipedians, and in theory still might.
They are geeky, internet-centric, smart. So they're worth listening

* One of the takeaways for me from the thread: the women there say
they don't want to have to repeatedly make a case for topic notability
in the face of what they are perceiving as clueless male "obnoxious
gatekeepers." They clearly find it exhausting, and many explicitly say
that they deliberately sought more friendly environments that were
receptive to their work.

* And -- a lesson from Metafilter's own experience, described in that
thread: "I'm reminded of how painful and drawn-out it was to remove
"I'd hit it!" from the basic lexicon here at MetaFilter. Changing a
basic, organically-grown aspect of a community's culture is really
hard to do, and requires smart and dedicated people willing to get in
your face about it."

There's some other good stuff there; that's just two bits.


Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

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