What is the problem you're trying to solve?
The percent of female Wikipedia editors is low. According to the UNU-MERIT 2010 Wikipedia Survey Reasons for Non-Contribution, the top two things that female non-contributors said would make them more likely to contribute are:
- I knew there were specific topic areas that needed my help (41%)
- It was clear to me that other people would benefit from my efforts (37%)
Sexual assault on college campuses has, unfortunately, been headline news. Wikipedia is a major source that people are consulting on this topic of particular, but not exclusive, interest to women. The Wikipedia Project Feminism popular pages page shows that the Wikipedia rape page had 65,350 views in February, averaging 2,333 views a day, and the Campus rape page had 6,323 views in February, averaging 225 views a day.
Wikipedia information on sexual assault, specifically campus rape, however, is very weak and systematically biased against women. It is not by any stretch of the imagination neutral point of view (NPOV) and does not reflect state-of-the-art scholarship by subject matter experts in the field of sexual assault prevention and response. The Campus Rape page has been cited for lacking a worldwide view. Many prominent researchers, such as Rebecca Campbell and Nancy Chi Cantalupo, and major advocacy groups, such as End Rape On Campus (EROC) and Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFER), do not have pages. When the topic is covered, the incidence rate is suppressed and false accusations are emphasized.
When young women and men and trans people who are looking for guidance, consult wikipedia on this issue, they will most likely feel discouraged. The lack of accurate information may even discourage them from reporting the sexual violence they have endured and from seeking help. Activists, young and old, men, women, and transpeople, are recognizing the inaccuracies, and wikipedia is losing creditability. For young women on college campuses today, sexual assault is the touchstone issue. Cover the issue well, and you will win young women for their lifetimes. Do it poorly, and you'll lose them.
Sexual assault, specifically campus rape, is a topic area that needs help and people will unquestioningly benefit from the efforts of committed editors. Female non-contributors will be motivated to edit this topic and then may move on to others.
What is your solution?
We need a committed cadre of female editors today but also for the future. Changes in wikipedia need to made, but also defended over time. College students have a lifetime of editing potential before them. They are studying the knowledge that wikipedia wants to capture. The people most willing and interested in taking on the gender gap in Wikipedia are those most committed to women's issues. The "women's" issue that female (and male and transgender) students are addressing today is campus sexual assault prevention and response.
Many survivors, however, can be re-victimized by unsupportive encounters in the aftermath of their traumas. Taking on the topic of sexual assault in wikipedia given its current systematic bias is intimidating.
On this problem, as with so many others with divisive aspects, we all need to get out of our silos and cross the bridge and learn to work with others with whom we disagree. To do so, we need a constructive forum. Wikipedia's insistence on proper sourcing of assertions provides a neutral framework for those discussions. This project seeks to develop pages on this problem that have a balanced perspective. So, for example, references to false accusations and true assertions of rape would occur in closer proportion to the ratio in which they actually occur.
Trying to make changes to achieve balance without support would be ill-advised. This proposal seeks to create a consortium of schools around the world addressing the topic from a grounding in evidence-based studies and academic research. By focusing on an issue that has deep commitment from current campus activists from institutions of higher learning around the world, this project will create the critical mass necessary to not only create but defend edits that seek to provide a balanced perspective on the issue. This empowering experience in a collaborative environment will create a committed cadre of enthusiastic wikipedia editors for the future. By creating success on this touchstone issue, wikipedia will prove to women that they can get the information they care about covered well in wikipedia. This pilot will naturally expand to other topics of concern to women.
In particular we will:
- Organize Google Hangout Chats to organize real-time discussions across campuses.
- Organize edit-a-thons on college and university campuses.
- Use the resources of the Wikipedia Education Program Classroom Assignment Program to help professors and instructors include Sexual Assault related Wikipedia assignments in classes.
- Create an ongoing cadre of college student and eventually alumna (and alumnus) editors committed to putting Sexual Assault related pages on their watch lists for ongoing monitoring.
Involve students, particularly young women, in improving Wikipedia's coverage of sexual assault, particularly campus rape, to reflect a NPOV based on the research of scholars and subject matter experts in the field. By providing positive communal editing experiences on a topic of passionate interest, create female editors committed to editing into their lifetimes.
See Time Line below for the metrics we plan to use.
I want to note that the fact that many of the people endorsing and participating on this project are new editors (and some are so new and intimidated by wikipedia that they didn't even create user accounts but still wanted to endorse the idea) is a testament to the grant proposal in and of itself. It shows the power that this issue has for reaching and bringing new people, many of whom are women, into wikipedia. In the process of creating this proposal, women are learning about how wikipedia works and many are aghast when they look at the condition of the sexual assault pages. They want to rectify the coverage. Beauxlieux (talk) 02:21, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
The Research Working Group from the Summit on Sexual Assault (SOSA) which met at Dartmouth in July 2014 and USNA in January 2015
- Volunteer I would like to participate in this educational initiative about the gender gap between the users of wikipedia. I will help wikipedia in whatever way i can to reduce the gender gap and try to increase the number of female wikipedia users to nearly 50%. I hope I will be selected as a volunteer of gender gap. Sonukumar2014 (talk) 11:56, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Volunteer I have a PhD, research background in this area, and access to students. I should be able to help organize and promote an edit-a-thon on my campus. Cmenning (talk) 21:31, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Volunteer I'd be happy to work on this project through summarizing current quality research so it can be easily worked into the page. Kmariea6 (talk) 21:42, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Project manager I am an experienced project manager in start-up and volunteer environments and I am well-networked and knowledgeable in this topic area. Beauxlieux (talk) 03:11, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
- Community organizer hi guys
- Project manager i want to upgrade Sonukumar2014 (talk) 16:08, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
- Researcher i want to upgrade Sonukumar2014 (talk) 16:08, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
- Wikipedia is the source many people use and it needs to be more accurate on this important topic. Beauxlieux (talk) 19:36, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
- The entry on campus sexual assault needs additional information on the realities of the issue and current research in the area. 220.127.116.11 20:07, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
- Having accurate, up to date information about this serious problem facing campuses and students alike is crucial to creating social change. Having incomplete or inaccurate information will deter survivors from seeking help, and prevent our understanding of how to end assault.Susmarine
- good ideas, but I can‘t see, why WP should realize this instead of College/Uni Messerjokke79 (talk) 11:54, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- This seems incredibly important - people look to wikipedia for information; the source should be relevant. 18.104.22.168 18:12, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Great idea! 2001:4830:2446:BB:C040:58BC:2AD7:2BDF 18:26, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- This is an excellent idea! There really needs to be some evidenced-based information on the page. 22.214.171.124 20:07, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- The % of female wikipedia editors is too small - does not represent the appropriate % of the population Sarahhyche (talk) 20:22, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- I think involving young women in covering campus rape is essential. 126.96.36.199 20:39, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Not only does this project address the timely and vitally important topic of campus sexual assault, but it directly addresses some of the negative consequences of gender imbalance in online knowledge recording and dissemination. Cmenning (talk) 21:16, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- Because of the gender disparity in wikipedia authors and because the topic is campus sexual assault needs to be addressed by someone who is knowledgable, sensitive and has a degree of passion about the issue. Vrsides (talk) 21:43, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- This is a huge topic and I endorse this idea. Your ideas for sustainability are particularly appealing, as you describe a system of alumna editors defending and potentially, actively contributing. I think this has great potential to impact our Wikipedian and non-Wikipedian community. Cshanesimpson (talk) 22:32, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- This is a great idea. We really need more women editing these pages which are at present a) incredibly biased, and b) quick to revert to biased, non-supported claims even after being edited. 188.8.131.52 23:38, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
- This is needed. There is an appallingly cavalier sense about relationships between men and women on campuses, and the latter are too often victimized because of this ignorance. Chicagopaul (talk) 01:57, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
Expand your idea
Do you want to submit your idea for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation?
Project Time Line
June/July: Create goals for numbers of and identify prospective:
- existing and new users working on the pages as evidenced by number of edits, editors, and watchers
- higher education students, particularly female
- campus sexual assault prevention and response student organizations
- school-sponsored sexual assault prevention and response programs and centers
- higher education professors, researchers, and subject matter experts in Women’s, Gender Studies, Public Health, Social Work, Sociology, and other relevant Departments and Medical Schools
- higher education library departments and staff
- higher education courses including wikipedia sexual assault article improvement assignments
2) Wikipedia improvements in coverage of sexual assault particularly campus rape:
- new pages that need to be created
- existing pages that need work measured by characters added, edits, editors, and watchers
- categories and subcategories created & monitored
August/September: Reach out to institutions of higher learning, especially
- schools affiliated with SOSA Working Group members
- schools outside the United States
about hosting Edit-a-thons and assigning Wikipedia projects in classes.
October - April (which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month)
• Participation in Edit-a-thons on college campuses.
• Using the resources of the Wikipedia Education Program Classroom Assignment Program to include Wikipedia Rape article creation and improvement assignments in classes.
Assess project success to goals and compile feedback on experience from participants, including feedback for wikipedia on female participation and response.
8,000 USD Project Manager
10,000 USD College student interns
2,000 USD Fund for food, supplies, & gift cards for edit-a-thons and travel to bring experts to campuses
This whole project is about building the community that participates in Wikipedia. We will collect feedback from participants to assess their likelihood of continuing to edit in Wikipedia and determine what if any changes might make their continued participation more likely.
We will have sparked interest and understanding within university communities about the potential for using wikipedia as classroom activities and would expect them to be able to continue after the introduction and the initial hurdles and barriers to entry are overcome.
In addition, we would have introduced students, professors, librarians, and other subject matter experts to wikipedia and would expect some to get the wikipedia bug and continue editing. Our goal is to create an ongoing cadre of college student and eventually alumna (and alumnus) editors committed to putting Sexual Assault related pages on their watch lists for ongoing monitoring.
Measures of success
We will know if our project is successful if we achieve the goals established at the project outset for numbers outlined in June/July of the project timeline.
Beauxlieux sexual assault prevention and response advocate and skilled project manager with extensive experience building programs from the ground up in volunteer, association, and nonprofit settings. A.B. with honors in Political Science, M.M. in Marketing
Susmarine Assistant Professor and Program Director, Higher Education Program
Kmariea6 Program Manager, Advocate and Researcher at University Violence Prevention & Response Program
Cmenning Associate Professor, Sociology
And other members of the Research Working Group from the Summit on Sexual Assault (SOSA) which met at Dartmouth in July 2014 and USNA in January 2015
Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?