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Comments

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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:TFA on WP-Critical Site Critical of WP? Do tell (579 comments)

Heh. The large gender imbalance has been reported by the Wikimedia Foundation for years. The survey-based estimates (sources are the UNU survey and a WMF survey) are not corrected in the footnote (which is about which statistics to use to estimate the percentage of mothers). The gender imbalance of Reddit is cited to Huffpost, it's 72% male (which is less male-dominated than Wikipedia), and the most extreme of all the major social media sites listed there. There are multiple citations for effect on content, including New York Times, Atlantic and a recent Guardian editorial. 1 in 50 relates to survey respondents, not contributors (which some have claimed may have a *slightly* higher proportion, based on sampling bias). For participation dropping after age 20 see UNU survey (linked). WMF efforts to address the gender gap are well publicised, Sue Gardner talked about it to the press until she was blue in the face. Women aged 18-34 in Facebook and Pinterest: sources linked. The surveys were commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation itself, and comparison to social media is relevant in relation to the argument that women have no time to be online. Relevance of anonymity on women's participation per quoted text from Wiley Handbook. User interface impact is a hypothesis, based on recent discussions on Wikipedia's Gender Task Force page.

If your post is representative of Wikipedians' ability to read sources, Wikipedia is not destined for greatness.

about a month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:It's the wiki software stupid (579 comments)

I do think paid crowdsourcing is the future. All the talk about "sharing" is hypocritical spin, given that Google and other scrapers are using Wikipedia content to make money from ads, while unpaid volunteers do all the work. See Wall Street's internet darlings require an endless supply of idiots – Sharing Economy? Mug Economy, more like.

In terms of social development, the internet currently compares to the darkest age of the industrial revolution. So, more power to you.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:why the focus on gender balance? (579 comments)

Many academics have said the same thing to me. No desire, and not enough time, to argue endlessly with nincompoops. There is currently an initiative underway, focused on medical articles, to get funding for experts to peer-review Wikipedia articles. Once an article is up to scratch, there would then be a permanent link to the peer-reviewed version displayed on the article page. This might be a more promising approach, and it could scale to other topic areas as well. Experts would (1) be paid, (2) have the guarantee that their work will have some permanence, (3) derive a degree of kudos from their having been appointed to do this work. Funding would, in this case, come from charities interested in making reliable medical info available online. Currently, for example, there is a Wikipedian-in-Residence at Cancer Research UK, who is working with CRUK experts on Wikipedia's articles on cancer. The position is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Discrimination (579 comments)

Quite. I think the whole discussion about what turns women off once they're there addresses only the smaller half of the problem. The main question is, why don't women come to begin with.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:If wikipedia wants information, lower barriers (579 comments)

If you take things on people's say-so, you end up with this. Reliability is bad as it is – looking at an article, you can never be sure, without checking the references, whether it is a bunch of nonsense or a well-researched, accurate article. But if you allow everyone – well-intentioned, knowledgeable people like yourself as well as pranksters and hoaxers – to add stuff without citations, the site would quickly be corrupted altogether. No one can tell if you are sincere or making stuff up out of whole cloth.

Kozierok's First Law: "The apparent accuracy of a Wikipedia article is inversely proportional to the depth of the reader's knowledge of the topic."

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:why the focus on gender balance? (579 comments)

Yup. And of course, you are looking at the English Wikipedia, which is the most-developed language version of Wikipedia. Yet Wikipedia claims to be available in over 280 languages, when in many of them, coverage is really, really rudimentary. See e.g. the "Mind the zombies" slide from a recent Wikimania presentation – basically, only 125 language versions of Wikipedia have more than 5 editors. The others are, to all intents and purposes, dead.

Note also that even English Wikipedia contributor numbers (as opposed to reader numbers, which are immense) are really quite small. (Someone else has pointed this out above.) If you look at this table, you'll see that there are only about 3,000 regular editors in the English Wikipedia, i.e. people who make more than 100 edits a month (i.e. about three a day). That number has shrunk considerably over the past few years, from a March 2007 high of 4785. At the same time, of course, the number of articles continues to increase constantly (now at 4.6 million). There are fewer contributors, and more articles to be watched over.

So Wikipedia has many articles that it does not have the (wo)manpower to curate adequately. In the early days, of course, everyone thought that "eventually" all these articles that someone started would become little masterpieces, but it's becoming clear that this will not happen. Little-watched biographies in particular are a problem, as the only people interested in them are usually the subjects and/or people who hate them for some reason, so they turn either into puff-pieces or hatchet jobs, with no one really noticing (there are well over half a million articles that no one has on their watchlist). Yet they are the top search hit when someone Googles the name online.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Work for free? (579 comments)

This reminds me of Newslines.org, a news-based crowdsourcing project that overlaps to a certain extent with Wikipedia, with the difference that they *do* pay their contributors. They report that their gender split is reversed: they have more women contributors than men, and also have more contributors from ethnic minorities than Wikipedia (in fact, their two leading contributors are black women).

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Wikipedia is not Social Media! (579 comments)

The comparison is relevant in response to the argument that women simply don't have time to spend online and edit Wikipedia. They clearly do have time to spend online, but are spending it elsewhere.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:demography & culture (579 comments)

Yes indeed. Well done for pointing it out. While Wikipedia is a top-ten website, the vast majority of people using it never edit it. With men, it's a minuscule proportion, and with women an even more minuscule proportion. Still, the disparity has an effect on the content.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:why the focus on gender balance? (579 comments)

If you don't get the "surely", imagine an encyclopedia where 90% of the writers were women. Do you think it would be as good as an encyclopedia could be?

Incidentally, since you mention it, gays are well represented on Wikipedia, I think. African-Americans on the other hand are poorly represented, and you can tell from some of the content in related topic areas. The hair straightener hoax described here for example probably wouldn't have succeeded if there weren't a dearth of Black editors.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:why the focus on gender balance? (579 comments)

We're not talking about any occupation or hobby, but about the web's primary reference site. No one has a problem if football or knitting forums have an unequal gender balance, but Wikipedia's coverage ends up lopsided if one half of humanity is barely there.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Women crave Feedback (579 comments)

Yeah, you don't get paid for it. But work is done there, and isn't the fact that you don't get paid for it all the more reason why it should be rewarding? People don't volunteer if the working climate isn't in some way satisfying.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Women crave Feedback (579 comments)

Don't you think any workplace works better if people enjoy working with each other? We're both men, but I think neither of us would enjoy working somewhere where we don't get on with people, and probably would enjoy working somewhere where we feel we're doing good and worthwhile work together with people who appreciate what we're doing, and whose work we in turn respect. Surely, Wikipedia should ultimately be no different if it's to produce the best work it can.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Discrimination (579 comments)

The Wikimedia Foundation has long taken the view that having a volunteer community in which women are so underrepresented leads to content that is less stellar than it could be. A recent Guardian editorial commented,

What went wrong? There is an obvious, superficial answer in that Wikipedia empowers self-selecting cliques. Compare the coverage of female porn stars, where a page that went up first in 2004 has been edited over 3,000 times by more than a hundred volunteers determined to make it as copiously referenced as possible, with that of "Female writers" which has no quality control at all

So there are quite practical considerations underlying this which have little to do with social justice concerns. Greater diversity makes for better content in some areas. Hence the head scratching on the part of the Foundation about what it is that makes women stay away, and how to balance things out more.

about 1 month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Obvious Reason (579 comments)

That's pretty much it; there are more fun things to do. If Wikipedia is serious about involving more female contributors, it needs more opportunities for constructive, emotionally rewarding collaboration. I've seen it work quite well sometimes in the Featured Articles process, where people work together to get an article to top quality level, and edit-a-thons seem to strike a chord, but at present those are exceptions to the rule.

about a month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe perhaps men and women are different? (579 comments)

I think this is true, but then the problem is that Wikipedia offers insufficient opportunities for women to engage in their preferred mode of operation. There are some such opportunities, of course, and women are indeed well represented there: Wikipedia's Featured Article process, for example, was for many years run by a woman (SandyGeorgia), and my impression is that women have been more active in that effort (which produces Wikipedia's "gold star" articles) than elsewhere, partly because the process of reviewing Featured Article candidates and polishing them and bringing them up to scratch is a team effort, with a joint achievement at the end of it.

about a month ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Re:Obvious Reason (579 comments)

Do you include Sue Gardner in this? Because it was Gardner, as Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, who was most active and vocal about the gender gap. I don't think there is a person on the Wikimedia Foundation board, male or female, who is happy with the current gender stats. This is not something brought to Wikipedia from the outside.

about a month ago

Submissions

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What do your donations to keep Wikipedia "online and ad-free" really pay for?

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about a week ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "As the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) prepares for its main annual fundraiser, many Wikipedia readers are presented with a banner inviting them to donate an amount equivalent to the "price of buying a programmer a coffee". It's to keep Wikipedia "online and ad-free", the site says. However, this masks the fact that the WMF’s revenue, assets and expenses have risen by about 1,000% in recent years. While the WMF got by on annual donations totaling $5 million in 2007, it now wants over $50 million a year, despite reporting net assets of $45 million last summer and having taken another $50+ million in donations since then. Most of this money is not spent on keeping Wikipedia "online and ad-free", but on a ballooning bureaucracy that sees a select group of Wikipedians transitioning from unpaid volunteer to paid tech staff positions, creating a two-tier society and causing outgoing Executive Director Sue Gardner to raise concerns over the potential for "log-rolling and self-dealing" last year. Meanwhile, the WMF’s software engineering work has been judged inept by the unpaid volunteer community. The VisualEditor (VE), a WYSIWIG editor touted as "epically important" by Jimmy Wales, was so buggy and caused so many errors (such as inserting chess pawn characters in Wikipedia articles) that volunteer administrators rebelled, going over the Foundation's heads to disable VE as the new default editor. Last month's new Media Viewer feature was equally controversial. The WMF had to create a new access right, "Superprotect", to prevent angry volunteer administrators from disabling it, bringing community relations between the WMF and the volunteer community to a new low. An open letter protesting the WMF’s actions acquired an unprecedented number of signatures. Flow, a planned Facebook-style revamping of Wikipedia discussion pages that has been in development for some time, is already mired in controversy, with volunteers complaining that the WMF is turning a deaf ear to their concerns. Donors should be aware that most of their money is not used to keep Wikipedia online and ad-free. It's not used to improve Wikipedia’s reliability either. Instead, it funds the further aggressive expansion of an organization that's at loggerheads with its volunteer community and criticized for having a "miserable cost/benefit ratio"."
Link to Original Source
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Why women have no time for Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about a month ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Wikipedia is well known to have a very large gender imbalance, with survey-based estimates of women contributors ranging from 8.5% to around 16%. This is a more extreme gender imbalance than even that of Reddit, the most male-dominated major social media platform, and it has a palpable effect on Wikipedia content. Moreover, Wikipedia editor survey data indicate that only 1 in 50 respondents is a mother – a good proportion of female contributors are in fact minors, with women in their twenties less likely to contribute to Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation efforts to address this "gender gap" have so far remained fruitless. Wikipedia’s demographic pattern stands in marked contrast to female-dominated social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, where women aged 18 to 34 are particularly strongly represented. It indicates that it isn’t lack of time or family commitments that keep women from contributing to Wikipedia – women simply find other sites more attractive. Wikipedia’s user interface and its culture of anonymity may be among the factors leading women to spend their online time elsewhere."
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"I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax"

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about 2 months ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "The Daily Dot's EJ Dickson reports how she accidentally discovered that a hoax factoid she added over five years ago as a stoned sophomore to the Wikipedia article on “Amelia Bedelia, the protagonist of the eponymous children’s book series about a ‘literal-minded housekeeper’ who misunderstands her employer’s orders”, had not just remained on Wikipedia all this time, but come to be cited by a Taiwanese English professor, in “innumerable blog posts and book reports”, as well as a book on Jews and Jesus. It's a cautionary tale about the fundamental unreliability of Wikipedia. And as Wikipedia ages, more and more such stories are coming to light."
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Pranks, hoaxes, manipulation: Virtual Unreality on Wikipedia

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about 2 months ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Kids confess on Reddit that in order to wind up a classmate named Azid, they added his name to the Wikipedia article on Chicken Korma. Two years on, and Azid is established online as an alternative name of the dish. A prankster twice changes the name of the inventor of the hair straightener, and both names are now widely credited with the invention online. Another kid writes in Wikipedia that coatis are also called Brazilian aardvarks, and incredibly, the name catches on in newspapers, even a university press book. Governments around the world seek to control Wikipedia content through anonymous contributions. Misinformation and propaganda on Wikipedia spread like a virus into other publications: how pranks, hoaxes and manipulation undermine the reliability of Wikipedia, and indeed the fabric of consensual reality."
Link to Original Source
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Wikipedia editors hit with $10 million defamation suit

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  about 3 months ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Businessman, philanthropist and musician Yank Barry and the Global Village Champions Foundation are suing four Wikipedia editors for defamation, claiming they have maliciously conspired to keep Barry's Wikipedia biography unduly negative. The Daily Dot article includes a copy of the legal brief and quotes Barry as saying, “My page was so ridiculously false and made me sound like a terrible person and people believed it causing deals to fall through. I finally had enough.”"
Link to Original Source
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Larry Sanger blasts Wikipedia for hosting bestiality porn without search filter

Andreas Kolbe Andreas Kolbe writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) writes "Larry Sanger has blasted the Wikimedia Foundation for failing to fulfil its promise to introduce a porn filter on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. Plans announced by the Wikimedia Foundation last year to install a weak opt-in filter for controversial content have apparently come unstuck. It has long been known that users searching Wikipedia's media archive for terms as innocuous as "toothbrush" may find explicit adult images at the top of their search results. As Fox News reported recently: "Search for the word 'underwater' and you'll see a woman tied up, naked, and submerged face down in a bathtub." In French Wikipedia, the top result of a search for "homework" is presently a black-and-white porn film showing a man and woman having oral sex with a dog ..."
Link to Original Source

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