[Foundation-l] encouraging women's participation

Excirial wp.excirial at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 21:21:05 UTC 2010

Just a comment in general and not a reply to anyone specific.

The ultimate goal of Wikipedia is building an Encyclopedia, and all the
activities around it (Talk pages, discussion pages, IRC channels and so on)
are intended to support these goals. Sure, we have a friendly discussion on
a talk page every now and then, but most of our efforts are related to
improving Wikipedia. Some people join us because they love a free
information society. Other join us because they like writing or want to
share knowledge. And some people just enjoy reading Wikipedia, making small
corrections every now and then. The reasons to join are legion - Of course
they equally include spamming, PoV pushing and vandalizing as well but i
will be ignoring the negative ones for now.

Yet Wikipedia is not a social network or a game site. We are certainly a
community, but we are not myspace, facebook or youtube just to name a few.
People should be here to create an encyclopedia, not to play games, chat or
whatever. People who join for those reasons are likely not here to create an
encyclopedia in the first place, and there are other sites on the web which
satisfy their desires a lot better then we can. I do not believe in the
citizendium model where only verified experts receive full privileges while
the normal people receive a function somewhere in the back, but at the very
least we should draw a line between "Interested in creating an encyclopedia"
and "Not here to create an encyclopedia". If we go the social network route
we will soon be swarmed with people that add literally nothing at all to the
project itself ("Give me Kudo's." - "Oh, you like kittens to? Lets chat!" -
"i found the secret article after just 10 minutes!"). Sure, our editor count
might rise if we offer diversions, but this is similar to edit count -
Quality over Quantity.

If anything i would say there are two types of editors who may quit - the
one's who don't like Wikipedia, and the ones who don't understand Wikipedia.
The former group are the PoV pushers, the people who are not really
interested in writing an encyclopedia, the vandals and the spammers. The
second group consists out of people who simply don't get all the rules, who
find the Wikisyntax to difficult, who get warned when they try to edit and
so on. If anything we should focus or recruitment efforts on the second
group, as they are the ones who are potentially interested in helping with
Wikipedia. We certainly should not be changing Wikipedia just to cater to
the former group.

For now we will just have to be satisfied with the editors that do join us.
Writing an encyclopedia is not the only thing one can do in his free time,
and some people simple prefer other diversions. That doesn't mean we
shouldn't spread the word about Wikipedia to interest people, but neither
does it mean that we should adapt Wikipedia for the sake of attracting the
largest amount of people we can.


On Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 10:29 PM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 7:53 PM, Keegan Peterzell <keegan.wiki at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > My jaw just dropped.  While I know these are ideas intended to help
> increase
> > the socialization, this is turning Wikipedia into youtube.  The day that
> > happens I'm resigning all my permissions and packing my bags.  Softening
> > notability?  Fantasy articles?  Games?  Live comments?  No thanks.
> While I would like to see good articles about every episode of
> whatever on Wikipedia, this was not the point.
> The point is to make "personal space" on Wikimedia projects. Adding
> features to the profile (now: Special:Preferences) will increase
> number of those who are willing to stay on project.
> > I don't think the idea of encouraging women to participate needs these
> > things.  I have a fierce dislike for what I consider to be the
> mind-numbing
> > distraction that social networking sites provide.  I'd rather use
> Wikimedia
> > projects to stimulate my mind, not kill time.
> You should be able to turn off those features.
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