What is the problem you're trying to solve?
The Gender Gap has sometimes sadly been framed in terms of a culture war between radical feminist women and oppressive male misogynists. This binary oversimplification ignores the large and sometimes silent group of editors who despite being part of Wikipedia majority demographics are generous and dedicated supporters of efforts to improve diversity of contributors and content. Currently those editors have no place to connect with each other and there's no easy way for others to find them.
What is your solution?
WikiProject Ally would provide a meeting and cowork space to leverage and connect existing supporters of diverse contributors and content. Specifically geared towards those in Wikipedia's currently majority demographics, it is actually an inclusive way to use our existing community to improve and broaden itself. This is a positive and useful space as opposed to an insulted and reactionary response. It aims not to condemn or impugn currently majority editors but instead invite them to help and participate in improving our community and content through diversity.
- I think this concept needs to be extended further: we need to create a space where allies are given both the rhetorical framework, and the opportunity to learn, with trainining videos, supportive ally-positive reading materials (as opposed to the frequent catchalls often applied to the homogenous demographic), and help identifying what problems look like. Gender and bias -sensitivity training requires more than just acknowledging the problem, it requires having tools for supporting the solutions. Sadads (talk) 14:19, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
- I think in part, its about framing the ability for the members of the majority community to recognize that they are in fact feminists in their outlook, and have the tools to be feminists, and that these don't somehow invalidiate their identification with masculinity or other cultures of identity by in fact acquiring the label. Again, these are all story telling techniques, so require the ability to create a rhetorical framework for believing in your state of "allied" ness, or the sense that feminism an these values are for everyone. Sadads (talk) 14:32, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
- In addition to allies training focused on working with women, I would also like to see allies training that would be useful to those interested in working with people of color, ethnic groups, minorities and LGBTQ. Although the specific issues aren't the same for all groups, the process of finding a way to participate constructively as a non-member of a group tends to work along some general principles.
- This kind of work is much easier when other people help you get up to speed, and can be unnecessarily painful when you try to figure it out yourself through trial and error. I'm seeing a lot of folks in the discussions here who are very well-intentioned, but are unfortunately having a really rough time as they go through that initial trial and error phase of learning how to work with womens' issues. Some helpful and supportive coaching for participants could go a long ways towards making discussions here happier and more productive.
- I'd also like to see training that's not totally full of the latest buzzword jargon. If we are helpful and civilized people, who are gracious to our volunteers, and respectful of the honor and contributions of women, that's what's important. I don't care whether or not people think they are "feminist" or have all the buzzwords; what I care about is whether they treat women with respect, and whether they make an effort to help others overcome the barriers that prevent them from contributing to Wikipedia (and society in general.) --Djembayz (talk) 04:31, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
- In favor of an Ally Project as part of the overall goal. Everyone can help, this gives people another option. Jessamyn (talk) 23:10, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
- Endorse During my many years on Wikipedia, I have seen more issues arising from cluelessness than malice. (I'd give examples but don't want to call out / shame users that I've worked with productively and who meant no harm when doing various insensitive/microaggressive things.) I'm not sure how users could be convinced to view training materials if they don't see themselves as part of a problem, but maybe with some sort of Signpost publicity folks would check it out, out of curiosity. I think a large part of this sort of training is getting users to think outside their own experiences and identify what can be off-putting to others unlike them. I could see a WikiProject -- which likely needs no grant funding -- as well as training for an overlapping set of users who might not want to publicly proclaim their ally status but might be curious about these sorts of issues. Calliopejen1 (talk) 20:11, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
- Great idea. I'll drop some supporting links/suggestions in the Talk page. Skud (WMF) (talk) 01:06, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
- First, a quibble: the idea that it's "culture war between radical feminist women and oppressive male misogynists" was promoted by guys who have attacked the most milk toast proposals for getting more women into editing and then claimed that any woman who objected was a "radical feminist." (I am one so I know many of those who objected are not.) The common definition of "feminism" is merely means wanting equal rights for women to men, so most women are feminists of some kind.
- Otherwise this has the potential to be the best idea yet: if you make it much more specific, calling it something like WIKIMEN AGAINST SEXISM (or something more euphemistic that nevertheless makes that point clear). I'll include a whole description of why on the talk page, including mentioning two similar projects that have tried something similar. What we really need, and I had thought about proposing separately, is something more targeted on men fed up with the sexism and abuse of women, one to help them identify and deal with the bullies and their "boys will be boys" enablers. Carolmooredc (talk) 20:05, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Expand your idea
Do you want to submit your idea for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation?