Gender gap stories

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This page collects anecdotal evidence of why women stopped editing, or never began. Please use the talk page for discussion.

Elizabeth1848 says:[edit]

(Comment: from the post it is clear she is wikipedian Elizabeth1848)

April 9, 2013:

Regarding White Ribbon Day[edit]

Many of the articles in Wikipedia reflect such misogyny that one can't trust any of their information. Articles I've seen on women or concerning women are often toxic or trivializing. An article on feminist economic theory I've seen on Wiki was written at least partly by a man (as I've seen the material he's written on his economics website) who has distorted, misrepresented and critiqued, without rebuttal, a pivotal theory on economics which I developed. I feel hopeless about correcting it. As other women mentioned, it takes time and effort, which not too many women have available... and then it's all expunged anyway!

Other definitions I've tried to correct or add pertinent information to have had the information deleted. One, about "White Ribbon Day" to which I added information on how it's been observed since some men in Montreal inaugurated it in memory of the mass slaughter of 14 female students, who the killer accused of being feminists, on December 2, 1989 at the L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. This day is now commemorated all over the world from Australia, to Canada to Brazil to S. Africa. But there's no mention of this event in the Wiki definition of White Ribbon Day, instead Wiki says that White Ribbon Day is a "single released by rock band Delirious. … released from their album King of Fools in 1997, reaching number 41 on the UK Singles Chart." I thought this was a complete trivialization of a serious global problem (violence against women). After I added the relevant information about White Ribbon Day observation, I got this note from a Wikipedia censor:

"Hello, I'm C.Fred. Wikipedia is written by people who have a wide diversity of opinions, but we try hard to make sure articles have a neutral point of view. Your recent edit to White ribbon seemed less than neutral to me, so I removed it for now. If you think I made a mistake, or if you have any questions, you can leave me a message on my talk page. Thank you. —C.Fred (talk) 23:40, 8 March 2013 (UTC)" I tried to contact him but there was no link or any other way of doing so. No wonder women don't contribute to Wikipedia - they can't.

Regarding Anita Sarkeesian[edit]

I know many women who have made recognized, respectable social and political contributions who are loathe to put their entries on Wikipedia because they know their entries will be defaced with slander, obscenities and threats as is the case for what happens to thousands of women who use the internet not just Kathy Sierra, Anita Sarkeesian or a few others. As an example Sarkeesian says:

"All my social media sites were flooded with threats of rape, violence, sexual assault, death – these threats and comments were all specifically targeting my gender.

The Wikipedia article about me was vandalized with sexism, racism and pornographic images.

A campaign was waged to report all of my social media accounts as fraud, spam even as terrorism in an effort to get them suspended.

They attempted distribute my home address and phone number.

Pornographic images made in my likeness being raped were sent to me again and again.

There was a game made where players were invited to “beat the bitch up” in which an image of me became increasingly battered and bruised."

This is common treatment of women online and in Wikipedia. Still, predictably (since men dominate the internet) if you look up “cyberbullying women” online you come up with a bunch of cites of how it’s women who are doing the cyberbullying. In fact, the first person prosecuted for cyberbullying was a woman (in Missouri).

Yet I've seen Wiki entries like the ones for NAMBLA or Kobe Bryant (who made a civil settlement against rape accusations) protected from additions by being shut off to edits that could add to their germaneness and relevance.

It seems that Wikipedia is not just in the business of providing information. It is in the business of deciding what information is available, and then shaping that information to comport with the approval and prejudices of those men who dominate the Wiki process.

Deletions of new articles, amount of time required to contribute[edit]

A new editor on en:WP created an article on the founder of a notable independent music label. Although she cited three sources with in-depth coverage, including features in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Guardian and his New York Times obituary, the article was deleted a few hours after creation, apparently due to a bot-applied "Movies" tag. After discussion with the admin, and intervention of her husband, who is an established editor, the article was restored.

A few weeks later, she had researched another article and began drafting it. After writing the first couple of sentences, she accidentally clicked "Save" instead of "Preview". One minute later, the article was nominated for speedy deletion by a new-page patroller who had awarded himself a barnstar on his user page saying "You play whack-a-mole with terrible new pages like no one I've ever seen! Awesome!"

Although the article was eventually kept after other editors got involved, the attitude and self-image of the new-page patroller left a poor impression on her. She resented having to spend time defending the article in discussions with someone who did not know anything about the subject. In combination the two incidents left her feeling that she did not want to contribute further new articles to Wikipedia, as she assumed the attitudes displayed were representative of the bureaucratic arm of the project.

That said, she was very impressed how a mention of her experiences in the Gendergap list some months later led to several editors speaking out against the new-page patroller's behaviour and a subsequent RfC/U against him, demonstrating that his behaviour differed considerably from the recommended policy on dealing with new articles/new editors.

However, she is also wary of the time-consuming and addictive aspects of Wikipedia (having experienced her husband devote more and more time to this project, most of it in discussion rather than new-article creation, to the detriment of other areas of their professional and private lives. ;) ) --JN466 14:59, 17 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]