Talk:Address the gender gap/FAQ

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Help sought to improve this FAQ[edit]

Hi! I"ve been working on this FAQ over the last week or so and would love some help improving it. I thought I'd just quickly write here about what we're aiming for and what help would be particularly useful.


This FAQ attempts to be an easily-linkable resource, arranged in Q&A format, that will help answer many common questions (and/or misconceptions) that arise on-wiki and off about the Gender Gap, why it's a problem, what causes have been identified, what steps are being taken, etc.

In a review I conducted of opposition to the WikiProject Women IdeaLab proposal, I saw a common pattern of people asking for citations or more information for things that are fairly well understood among many people who've been working on Gender Gap, for instance that women online receive a lot of harassment, that disruptive behaviour is adequately dealt with by bans, or that gendered socialisation affects communication styles. Unfortunately there was no easily-linkable citation that could be dropped into these discussions to answer these questions/misapprehensions.

This FAQ improves over/takes a different approach to previous documentation (eg. the GGTP Media and research page) by arranging information topically, rather than chronologially or by type of resource, and by quoting, summarising, or synthesising key points inline rather than simply linking to whole documents.


I started by writing down all the questions I'd been seeing in relevant conversations, as well as reframing information that's commonly written about (eg. in media, in Gender Gap related resources, etc) in Q&A format. I then opened a bajillion browser tabs, went through them all, and as I found answers or information that helped answer a question I put it there.

Thoughts on sources[edit]

What links/sources are appropriate to include here? How should we include/refer to them? We're not ENWP and we aren't required to have NPOV/RS/NOR/etc, (this is after all a page under "Address the Gender Gap" which assumes that the Gender Gap is a problem and should be addressed) but we don't want this FAQ to be perceived as sloppy or excessively biased either. In general I'm taking the approach of "supporting documentation" rather than "encyclopedic".

My approach so far has been to support significant points with at least a link or two to supporting documentation (eg. research papers, Wikipedia pages). When linking to things like personal blog posts, I'm making a point of describing them as "one Wikipedian described..." or similar, to make it clear that this is documentation of a personal experience or viewpoint, rather than an authoritative truth.

Help needed[edit]

  • add supporting information to answers, especially if you know of other research/documentation/coverage of the subject
  • clean up references -- many of the ones I added are bare and don't have full citation styling as yet
  • tidy up prose, making it tighter and cleaner
  • suggest other questions to be answered (this talk page is probably a good place for that)

Please feel free to dive in, or discuss here if you have any questions/suggestions. --Skud (WMF) (talk) 22:32, 3 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Potential sources[edit]

Some resources to review and possibly include:


I agree that sexism and the gender gap are problems on Wikipedia. However, I find offensive to my female identity to say "women aren't joining Wikipedia because they aren't good with technology". I can be good with technology and I'm still a woman because I identify as such! Clr324 (talk) 01:04, 5 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems like I've been indirectly replied to. That's a lot better. Clr324 (talk) 12:52, 5 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, yes! I meant to drop a reply here as well but had to go deal with dinner :) This FAQ is *very* much a work in progress (see above) and several of the answers are super sketchy at present. Please feel free to fill in anything else that you think could use more information/context! The idea is to be able to easily point people to resources if the topic comes up, eg. "But are women really less comfortable with technology? Why don't they just learn wikimarkup!?" or "Maybe women are just biologically not cut out for editing wikimarkup" or whatever. So having good answers with sufficient background info is really important. Thanks for prodding me to improve this one. --Skud (WMF) (talk) 00:19, 6 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Replies to common objections[edit]

Although I find it frustrating (and sometimes insulting), I think even the most absurd critics of Inspire offer us a useful opportunity to capture best practice responses to common objections. I didn't see anything like this in the F.A.Q. and thought that'd be a good public-facing spot for it. Among the ones I've encountered so far...

  • Wikipedia just needs to be made 'prettier' for women to want to edit
  • Women are being somehow "forced" to edit through this campaign
  • This goal of gender diversity is a "quota" system of enforced equality
  • The campaign for grants is "affirmative action" for women
  • Women don't edit *only* because Wikipedia is too technical
  • Women *only* want to edit topics on "feminine" subjects
  • It's the responsibility of women or their job to edit "feminine subjects"
  • Supporting and inviting more women is somehow denigrating or lessening the value of or discriminating *against* men
  • Women are less "techy" therefore it's natural that there are fewer women editors
  • Wikipedia only reflects society's existing bias against women and shouldn't seek to be any different than it
  • You have to be a doctrinaire ideologue or "radical feminist" to support the goal of more women editing and a more diverse community
  • If you disagree with this campaign generally it's important to criticize every proposal, even or especially the useful ones
  • Most editors on Wikipedia are anonymous so it doesn't make sense to try and attract women or people with any particular background
  • Wikipedia is based upon neutrality; therefore, any efforts to change or improve its demographics are "non-neutral"

Please add to this list of bad arguments, then we can crowdsource good responses to them!

Jake Ocaasi (talk) 23:42, 9 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Major Flaws in the FAQ[edit]

I believe there are some major flaws in the FAQ, ones which undermine the very initiative. You can read my full analysis here. The pertinent section is Grants:Inspire/Meta § Criticism of the FAQ.

In my opinion, this entire initiative is structurally and fundamentally flawed. The premises are fallacious, the proposed methods are deleterious, and the goals are ultimately unnecessary. This entire initiative is attempting to fix a problem which doesn't exist and tries to artificially balance the statistics as if that will actually improve the site. It falsely assumes that a male majority is bad, that females are not given the same opportunities to edit, and that the aforementioned should be addressed through funding and social justice.

Even as someone who believes in equal rights of opportunity, treatment, and representation; I find this entire initiative to be ridiculously absurd.

For anyone interested in responding to me, I recommend doing so over at my main post. Although I'll be watching this page, I respectfully request any and all criticisms or replies which include content from my main post to be made in response to said post. Thank you. –Nøkkenbuer (talk) 11:09, 16 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]