Gender gap/outreach letters

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Per Sue Gardner's suggestion, response to my draft outreach email below. February 22, 2011 via Gender Gap email list:

I think we (anyone here) should create a page on meta (linked to from here) where we put your draft text, and point to good basic resources to support people getting started in editing. (There are some very good resources here: and elsewhere on the outreach wiki.)
That would equip people to use your base text, plus any links that seem useful to them, to do outreach to any group they like. I really believe that individual outreach: people reaching out to their own networks, is a good tactic for us. Because the people who are one degree of separation from the people here are by definition good candidates to become editors.

Here is a draft of an email you can adapt to fit your own desires and audience (i.e., age/family status/educational level/etc.). Feel free to tweak this draft. If others have other drafts to offer, create a new dated section and include your signature.

July 30, 2014 (draft letter)[edit]

(Draft 1.0 Letter regarding solving gender gap and promoting open discussion regarding civility – unfinished/not technically “WikiProject” please don’t delete me!)
Sisters, Wikipedia needs your help! The atmosphere here is horrible and the gender gap has only gotten worse. The current number of highly active Wiki-admins/editors that are women has dropped into the single digits. I mean, single digit percent, not that I thought there were less than 10 females on Wikipedia, although sometimes I wonder :)
I understand it has been pretty uncivilized here for a few years, and the resulting hostile atmosphere has meant many of you have left, but we can AT LEAST promise you that we will do our best to try to make it at least a little more civilized here, and our WikiProject-Civility WikiProject, when it is hopefully approved, will provide an OPEN PLATFORM for discussion, in a safe place, ON WIKIPEDIA, where all parties can participate in an open discussion without closing any discussion, every page, every project, every word would be forever open to discussion, with the primary topic of conversation being: “How can we increase Civility at Wikipedia and reduce the gender gap?” Any good faith idea, any possible solution, any project can be proposed at WikiProject-Civility for support/oppose voting to determine Wiki-consensus.
I need you help at WikiProject-Civility to help us build the best encyclopedia we can, and I promise, we promise, to do a better job of welcoming new editors and new contributors (especially for multimedia[1]
I have been treated in a very uncivil way here myself, I think we can find the solutions together. I promise to do my best to try to make it a more civilized place that you would feel comfortable coming and helping us out at. I promise to try to make this a safe place for you to return to and help us out at. A place run with a little more respect for what Some of us are trying to do here. A civil place. A place we are proud to work at. Diderot’s Wikipedia, our Wikipedia.
In response to completely understandable fears about censorship, and widespread fears about an Orwellian “Thought Police” nightmare, I see it from your perspective, I SHARE your fears and will be VERY responsive to any rule that gets anywhere close that that nightmare, that is not my dream at all, but I do want to bring my family here, if possible. Please, I know it can be hard, stop and try to see it from our perspective just once:


Some of us consider this an important place of work, some of us are working on building the archives of our civilization’s knowledge.
Some of us don’t want our Wiki-articles, the subjects we are passionate about, polluted with negativity, hostility or vulgarity, if at all possible.
Some of us would like to remind all of us that everything you record here will be read and judged by your children and your ancestors, many years from now, please consider your digital legacy. Your legacy will be judged based on your actions here, fighting for Wikipedia's future and a civil place that we can be proud of.
Some of us LOVE Wikipedia, and want our families, OUR CHILDREN, to visit us here, to volunteer their time here.
Some of us have young children that will be using laptops very soon and will very likely spend a lot of their homework time here learning about our world.
Some of us have grandchildren in similar situations.
Some of us will be deeply ashamed if we have not: 1) permitted the creation of a dedicated WikiProject-Civility to address the incivility reported by many in the Wikipedia community, 2) demonstrated significant reforms that improve civility and 3) bring back female editors who left for incivility reasons with 3.1) AN APOLOGY, 3.2) a promise that we will, as a community, find a better way to resolve our disputes, 3.3) we will explore new conceptual/technological solutions to problem solving, such as creating a de-identified space “Ideas without Egos”, the “Twilight Zone” or whatever we want to call it, in order to hopefully improve the incivility problem, and hopefully others.
Some of us would also like to add, that we understand that it is funny, well written and/or conceptually interesting, and some of us admit to not being saints ourselves, but some of us find it hard to justify the existence of WP:DICK and the putative WP:CUNT having ANY place in the type of Wiki-encyclopedia we want to be involved with.
Some of us recognize the telling tale of a straw man dancing through the flames, but sincerely hope that if ANY conversation has any chance of being civil on Wikipedia, it should be the one about trying to be more civil.
Some of have higher aspirations for our permanent digital archive to our civilization’s knowledge.
Some of us think that this is important work that we are doing here.

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I don't want to sound “preachy” or I may get stoned for trying to start a “Wiki-religion” again, but some of us really are passionate about Diderot’s idea/concept/Multimeme that the “purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, and that we should not die without having rendered a service to the human race in the future years to come.” (Diderot) That sounds like a pretty civil place, can we talk about Diderot, his philosophies and other civility-related threads without the thread of censorship, please?
I am somewhat new to Wikipedia, so don’t know how to do this yet, but I would like to propose:
With the mission statement being: A protected place to be able to discuss all civility related issues, with both sides been given a safe place to work on solutions for the civility issues we currently see at Wikipedia.
  • Support. A wise man once said “Wikipedia does not have firm rules”, that they could evolve over time. I agree with him and politely suggest that we need to carefully review the rules, all of them, in order to make sure the civility issues we have now can at least be improved to the level that I won’t be embarrassed to bring my family here? My daughter will be coming here soon to start to use Wikipedia for her homework, she may see something that she could add and want to help out, we need some common sense civility rules at least to the public, to the new editor, and a place to decide what those rules are, with respect to Diderot’s dream being our ideal, although always working in partnership with, and respect for the fiver pillars and all subsequent Wiki-regulation and essays. Best, JimJim-Siduri (talk) 09:36, 30 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

February 19, 2012[edit]

Dear women friends:

I'm sure your are familiar with Wikipedia! You've probably come across it in internet searches and even read some of its articles. It's a great concept - “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” Though and imperfect one, since many of the articles - including on your favorite topics - need improvement.

Have you thought about becoming a Wikipedia editor and working on improving the encyclopedia? It's a great hobby for those who enjoy researching and writing and have the spare time to do it.

Wikipedia, like many outlets, suffers a "Gender Gap" with far too few women editors. However, Wikipedia has started an End the Gender Gap project over the last year which has gotten a lot of media attention and had several successes, listed at its project page:

[Include your own personal story to make it more interesting and mention articles you've enjoyed editing. Or steer them towards articles you think they'd enjoy and/or want to clean up.]

If you have favorite topics that you'd like to see better covered, have time on your hands (as some of us semi- and retired women do), and want to have some great fun, do try Wikipedia. Just for the heck of it check out these articles that you might be interested in helping to improve: [Name and/or link to two or three articles the individual or list might be interested in.]

If you want to teach yourself editing, start by investigating and

Some Wikipedia chapters do conduct workshops. See for more resources for connecting with other Wikipedians.

Do think about checking out Wikipedia as a great new hobby you can pursue for the rest of your life! Someplace where you can help contribute to the sum of human knowledge for years to come. [Or some such motivating language.]

Draft created by: Carolmooredc (talk) 19:00, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  1. I, Jim, think that the WMF is aware that this is a significant long-term problem and that they are working on resolving it - for example, licensing Britannica's multimedia would be an idea they should perhaps re-consider as their easiest path out of the forest, a good start, the right direction..., but is not my current scope, due to the Wikipedia commercial/entertainment use provision being so fundamentally buried in the Wiki movement belief Canon, to the extent that the Multimeme for "free use" has been described as close to religious, reality be damned, data be damned, women be damned, all us be damned. Unless we try to change it.