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Wooing wiki women

by Greg Krehbiel on 8 April 2014

BBC asks How can Wikipedia woo women editors?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to get more women editors, but whenever I hear about stories like this there seems to be an underlying assumption — that unless there is absolute parity in representation, something must be wrong.

Women, men, whites, blacks, straight, gay … whatever demographic you choose … has to be proportionately represented in every conceivable slice of society. Anything less than that shows some sort of discrimination and is an opportunity for some kind of effort (or even legislation) to “fix” it.

Wikipedia purports to capture the sum of the world’s knowledge, … But “it’s not accurate to call it the world’s knowledge if it’s just half the population’s knowledge,” she says.

Right. Because “knowledge” is a sex-specific thing. If a man knows something about topic A, we need a woman to give her perspective to balance it out.

That’s rubbish, but it lies behind a lot of what people worry about these days.

-- 2014-04-08  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 8

  1. Ken Crawford
    8 April 2014 @ 3:09 pm

    Also note the assumption that it has to be men who are to blame. It just can’t be because women are lazy bums who don’t volunteer their time for online projects like wikipedia (not that I think that’s the reason) or something that would suggest a negative quality of women.

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    8 April 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    Yes, the genius of the feminist perspective is that women are powerful, independent, intelligent victims who don’t need men — except as an excuse for all their problems.

  3. Dave Krehbiel Dave Krehbiel
    8 April 2014 @ 3:50 pm

    I think women tend to be generalists, and men tend to be specialists. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  4. Robin R
    8 April 2014 @ 6:40 pm

    Wooo hooo wiki woman, see how high she flies.

  5. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    8 April 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    Good one.

  6. pentamom pentamom
    8 April 2014 @ 9:56 pm

    I know I’m not all that representative, but….

    I’ve edited on Wiki maybe twice in my life.

    there’s a reason I don’t do it more, and it has nothing to do with the idea that somehow as a woman, I’ve been discouraged from doing so.

    It is,


  7. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    9 April 2014 @ 10:11 am

    Yes, Pentamom, and why can’t it be that what is true of you might be true of women in general?

    Why isn’t it possible that women simply don’t like writing on wikipedia as much as men? Why isn’t it possible that men like changing their own oil more than women do? Why isn’t it possible that men like beer more than women do?

    It amazes me, but I run into this sort of nonsense all the time.

    I have met a lot of homebrewers, and while it is not universally true, it is far more often true than not that men enjoy the smell of the grain, the mash, the hops and the boil, while women hate it. I don’t know if that would hold up to rigorous statistical analysis, but I’m pretty sure it’s right.

    I have friends who think it’s sexist to even suggest such a thing. In their minds women and men have to be identically distributed on every possible criteria.

    It truly boggles the mind.

  8. pentamom pentamom
    9 April 2014 @ 12:18 pm

    Greg, it could be. It’s just that I’m something of an outlier sociologically, religiously, etc. so I’m not necessarily typical. However, there’s no good reason that for this particular purpose, I couldn’t be representative. You’re right, it’s stupid that “women just aren’t interested in that for non-insidious reasons” is automatically eliminated as a possibility.