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Sexism Certainly Exists. But…

Why should I pay for yours?

From our Swindon Correspondent:

From the Toronto Star

The most recent 2020 survey by Wikimedia — the site’s parent organization — found that 87 per cent of its editors are men. The survey did not ask about race, but almost half live in Europe and one fifth in North America.

Sarah Severson, a librarian at the University of Alberta and a member of the board for Wikimedia Foundation, said that the lack of diversity trickles to the content on the site, because it’s volunteer-based, so editors will work on pages that they are interested in.

“You see really long articles on Dungeons and Dragons characters, and you see an independent female artist having a small article,” Severson said.

“You don’t know what’s missing unless you have diversity within the editor forces,” she continued. “When you have an editorial community that’s all North American white men they’re just going to see different things.”

This all sounds very plausible, including the part about men writing really long articles on Dungeons and Dragons characters.
But significantly, and unlike the institutional sexism of half a century ago, no-one is stopping the ladies from contributing. If you want to edit or add a Wikipedia page, you can do it. You don’t have to cut your hair short and tape down your breasts and call yourself “Bob”. You don’t even need an account

In the absence of sexist men telling the ladies to go back to their kitchens, we have to conclude that in general, men and women are different. And yes, that “general” means that some women want to be giant nerds, and we should welcome and encourage that as much as we do men. But it also means that you aren’t going to get equivalence of outcomes across the sexes.

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Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
3 years ago

There’s nothing stopping women from taking STEM classes either. Dr Judith Curry remarks that the hostility she experienced as a female scientist was nothing compared to when she turned climate sceptic.

3 years ago

I wonder how Iverson etc think Wikipedia ought to react to this? The organisation is so non-sexist that it has to ask what sex its editors are.

Actually, it’s always the same with these people, the ‘solution’ is always: ’employ me, or people like me’.

3 years ago

So Wikipedia is getting the articles (and lengths) that reflect what its volunteers are interested in, and not what leaders think they should be interested in!

Leaders are already too influential! Articles on towns all have stats that imply that skin color is crucial and someone is out to get women; those on nations must mention what they are doing about money inequality, and whether it is a safe place to have anal sex.

3 years ago

I’m a long term and frequent editor on Wikipedia (currently in the top 2500 by edit count) and have originated and edited many articles. Editors are all volunteers and we edit the things we are interested in: be it pop culture, Ancient Rome, classical music, football or science or thousands of esoteric subjects.

There have been drives to encourage editing of “women’s” articles, but you can’t force people to voluntarily work on things they are not interested.

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