Feeds

Wikipedia: It's not for girls

Woeful Sex and the City coverage, lady nerditors bullied

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Time-rich computer scientists in America say they have conclusive proof that online encyclopedia/graffiti archive Wikipedia is biased against women. Hardly any of the site's legions of volunteer editors are female, and the few who are get picked on by the male majority: as a result Wikipedia fails to provide quality in-depth information on subjects of interest to women – such as "friendship bracelets or Sex and the City".

The astonishing revelations come to us courtesy of Minnesota uni's College of Science and Engineering. Researchers there found their flabber gasted to its very limit when they discovered that just 16 per cent of Wikipedia editors claim to be female. In general on the internet it's safe to assume that a fair number of people claiming to be female are actually men or teenage boys, so this would suggest that only a tiny proportion of Wikipedians are genuine ladies.

“We were stunned to see such a significant gender gap in Wikipedia,” said professor John Riedl, a member of the research team.

“As Wikipedia continues to be a critical information resource, it is important that all voices be heard. We feel that understanding the challenges caused by Wikipedia's sizable gender gap can be a first step to finding ways to broaden participation.”

It seems that female Wiki-meddlers are given a hard time by the males. According to a Minnesota uni statement:

Female editors are significantly more likely to have their early contributions undone by their fellow editors, and are more likely to be indefinitely blocked by fellow editors. Taken together, these findings hint at a culture that may be resistant to female participation.

And this is a culture which simply doesn't value such things as friendship bracelets and Sex and the City as it ought to:

The researchers found that Wikipedia articles about topics of particular interest to female editors are significantly shorter than "male" articles. Furthermore, they found that Wikipedia's coverage of movies with female-skewed audiences is lower quality than its coverage of male-skewed movies. Overall, Wikipedia seems to be growing in a way that is biased toward topics of interest to males.

"We're not sure exactly what this means," says Riedl, "but it may give us more insights into the Wikipedia culture that could be one of the contributing factors to the gender gap."

You can read the perturbing research in full here. It isn't mentioned on the Wikipedia page on "sexism" as of going to press. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.