While harrasement is deplorable and needs to be tackled, I think it is wrong to insinuate that it is a major cause for lack of participation by women in Wikipedia.
It is a voluntary effort, and besides editors do not have to declare their names or gender in Wikipedia. Editors need not even have accounts. So the numbers the article cites are likely to be unreliable.
There’s certainly vast amounts of abuse and harassment hurled at men online - politicians in particular. Right now, the US president probably receives more online hate than anyone else in history...
Regardless of whether or not that hate is deserved is another matter.
But thinking back as to who else receives as much hate: A few other thoughts are Hitler, maybe W Bush back before modern social media took over. There was definitely the whole Shkreli thing, but I don't think that ever reached the average joe as much as the others have.
I don't know the total numbers for harassment in general. For example if more men than women would use a particular social network, men would likely be more often harassers. In total numbers, not proportions. But I am not sure you would win your bet.
I'm pretty sure men are more often the target of harassment than women. Would take that bet.
Edit: can't find the exact articles anymore (thanks for nothing, liberal Google), but here is for example one mentioning 50% of harassment women receive on Twitter is from other women: https://www.businessinsider.de/half-of-the-sexist-harassment...
The context was a diversity hiring push that put a few women in otherwise primarily male offices across the country and saw disappointing results. The idea was that when women (or any minority group) are outnumbered, they will try to defy expectations and stand out by adopting the social habits of the majority and will compete with each other for ratification.
And that makes some amount of sense to me, like when a gay man reassures us that he's conservative and subtle and a good dinner guest and not like those oversexed deviants that march in the parades. He's forsaking others in his minority group to get in the club.
But it's a thin line. I don't mean to take the position that anything bad that women do is always the fault of men. It's just hard to suss out something this complicated.
I'd say that if someone left photos of genitals on my userpage, that would be a pretty strong disincentive for me to participate.
On /r/twoxchromosomes, a profile of a somewhat accomplished (more like John Aaron, less like Alan Turing) woman was posted. In the comments were some six to ten people lamenting that she didn't have a Wikipedia page.
I thought perhaps it had been put up for RFDs or something the way they complained about how a man in the same position would have a page. Anyway, so I waited a day to see if they'd do anything and they didn't.
The woman in question did deserve a Wikipedia page so I made one, described her story, and added citations. Within the week, various bots had made it pretty. I was then able to go request a picture for her Wikipedia page. I just checked and the page looks pretty good. Lots of people have contributed.
Nothing I did was impossible for any of them to do. So why didn't they do it? Why instead did they write absolute reams of comments about the unfairness when they had the tools to fix it? Why are they so helpless?
On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. You can be the change, quietly.
Over the years I've found out that this is the standard experience for most first time wikipedia contributers. So whilst it may be easy for someone to create a page, that is not the experience for a first time user, and high barriers to entry are a great way of creating an exclusionary environment.
What you're describing is a problem not for the people in that thread. It' sa failure of wikipedia that it's created an environment where the average person doesn't feel able to contribute on a topic they know.
(I do wonder whether maybe it's not so common, but when it happens it makes a big impression and so we hear more about those cases since their victims are understandably annoyed about it and want to tell everyone.)
I'm also sitting on a few bug fixes for open source tools because some of the larger projects have made the process for contributing just way too obnoxious. (Sign our code of conduct, sign a contributor licensing agreement, submit your pull request along with a three page explanation (making sure to use the correct cover sheet) in X format, etc). That feels like work and I'm doing this for free -- like I'm supposed to feel honored that you're allowing me to submit an improvement to your code base. Meh, never mind - I'll keep the fix for myself.
I think that wikipedia and some of the more popular OSS projects have something in common: a clique of long-serving contributors erecting barriers to entry to keep newcomers out.
The discussion about whether to use –,— or - takes several hundred thousand words, and went all the way to ArbCom. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Arbitra...
For a while merely chosing a username was risky business. It's got a bit better now, but it's still weirdly complex process if someone disagrees with your choice of name.
No, there actually is no barrier to entry. You can go to any page right now, click "edit", and are greeted with a WYSIWYG editor. No programming or markup knowledge required. No registration needed either.
An example not mentioned in the article (it's kind of tangential wrt the problems of wikipedias community) but worth noting; women are still disproportionally more likely undertake caring responsibilities outside of work and so may not have as much time as men to create and edit wikipedia pages.
It is easier to complain, especially if these days money can be made by complaining.
It was bad enough when the US military applied the policy to LGBT people. To say that Wikipedia (something that people do entirely in their free time and unpaid) should do the same for women is ludicrous.
I really think the site should have required real names for most editing. Pseudonymity brings out the worst in people.
People are also not that different in person - it's just that some of them don't go out much so you're unlikely to meet them and their horrible personalities.
This. You participate in Wikipedia because you want to. And like in many tech areas, women tend to not be interested in them.
Exactly. Just because Wikipedia doesn't have traditional profiles and like buttons doesn't mean it isn't a social network. A social network at the end of the day is literally just that: a graph of people (nodes) with relationships (edges) between them.
For some reason, people tend to think of social networks as more specific things than they actually are. That happens all the time with language. Some big brand comes along and monopolizes an entire widget. Twenty years later, we get a small fraction of people who actually believe that something can only be a widget IFF it looks like that brand's widget. Social networks can look very different than Facebook or MySpace. Wikipedia is one such example.
If you can model Wikipedia as a graph of people with relationships, then it makes sense to think of it as a social network. It's actually pretty easy to establish a toy model. There are lurkers and editors. Lurkers visit pages built by the editors, and editors effectively interact with each other through edits.
In any system where you can interact with people, unwritten social rules become relevant, and we can expect things like harassment.
Sure, it's a website edited by multiple people - some identifiable - and you could in theory be so impressed by a person's contribution to it you end up wanting to meet them, but to some extent so is the vast majority of the rest of the internet. There are comment threads on local newspapers and Amazon.com too.
Doesn't sound like a very useful definition. There are infinite meaningless graphs of people that fit your definition. E.g.: the graph were the relationship is "all of our grand-grand-parents have the same number of characters in their respective names". There you go: graph of people (nodes) with relationships (edges) between them.
Social networks don’t tend towards meanness per se. Only those that are incentivised to drive engagement, like those powered by ads, have an inherent tendency towards devolving into cesspools. Wikipedia doesn’t appear to be inherently corrupted in the way Facebook or Twitter are.
At least that's the distinction I've always personally made.
To your point - I can see why Wikipedia is a "social network" according to the social science definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network
However, there is also a distinction between "social network" and "social networking service": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking_service
This is again a matter of language and semantics. If we wanted to get super-specific, we would call sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter "social networking sites" or "social networking services". Instead, we colloquially wrap everything up into the term "social network".
To that extent, the intention and/or context of "social network" here is more about whether Wikipedia fits into the landscape of major public social networking sites mostly meant for socializing (ex. Facebook) instead of some other niche or segment.
Wikipedia has a different use-case, product, and business model than "social networks" (social networking sites) like Facebook or Myspace, so it's something to consider when making the mental association of what a social network is and comparing it against those major brands.
There's millions of users on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedians), so it's not far-fetched that out of so many people, there are going to be those that clash with others in the network in bad ways.
I bet if you look at other information-oriented "social network" organizations, such as in academia, the same sentiment would come up where there would also be unpleasant people and harassment to deal with as minutiae is argued over, so this is not something unique to Wikipedia in that regard.
Overall, it would be nice if Wikipedia stayed committed to capturing information in a non-biased and objective way to preserve it for future users. It's valuable to have multiple groups contribute their own experience to various subjects, as long as it's not done destructively in a way that is intentionally set to follow an opinionated agenda, which would devalue the 'encyclopedic' nature of Wikipedia.
It seems like editors have arguments on these topics, according to the article. Not harassment on every topic under the sun
and typical of the situation, when the agenda is thwarted regardless of reason fall back on the media to shame the group standing in the way and be sure to portray it in an offensive manner not withstanding the real issue
As a rule, just because an asshole or idiot disagrees with you, it doesn't make you right. Stop trying to use that as an argument.
On the other hand I'm pretty sure that "having arguments over topic x" wasn not the only thing going on either.
> As a rule, just because an asshole or idiot disagrees with you, it doesn't make you right. Stop trying to use that as an argument.
Where is that used as an argument?
Also, "Simple English" is vastly different from "English" and stats referenced don't seem to list "English" but, rather, "Simple English"; so, referencing it is bordering on intentionally misrepresenting the statistics to favour your argument.
The stats also notate the following: "This cutoff is arbitrary for the sake of clearly visualizing the distribution across major Wikipedia languages." This, to me, would seem to be the most disconcerting aspect/notion of the stats, in question. Arbitrarily deciding what a "cut-off" point is will, surely, make the stats askewed.
...but if we're to proceed with taking the article at face-value, then we must also ask the question:
Why is there such a stark contrast between the languages in these stats? For example, Welsh (the second-highest stat) is almost at 50%.
Why would there be such a discrepency between the two languages (English versus Welsh), if they share nigh equal hardships? Does this actually come down to culture as a byproduct of language representation?
 - https://whgi.wmflabs.org/gender-by-language.html
 - https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
And I think one of the underlying issues with Wikipedia is its is community incredibly hostile to new editors. So any attempts by Wikipedia to correct for the bias toward white male editors is often undercut by its own community.
It's extremely biased when put in contrast with Infogalactic and even against Encyclopedia Dramatica despite its nature.
Also, it is the internet. It just takes one awful person out of several Billion people to harass other people all over the world. More specifically, if you post insults (like, for simplicity, implying via feminism that men are assholes), you are bound to hit somebody among the Billions of people who fights back.
So far I have mostly heard of Wikipedia being rather left leaning and many topics being controlled by installed moderators.
As a side note I'm discouraged because of the labyrinth of arcane rules (which I assume have all a reason to be there) around Wikipedia, and when adding something it goes into weird modes sand needs to be reviewed which last time took several weeks.
Men have the option of declaring their gender without fear of any consequence. They don't have to excise any mention on their profile of details that might reveal their sexuality or gender. Some are even able to wear it like a badge. They're able to lay down roots on Wikipedia - create a profile and become a respected editor.
Women and LGBT people aren't able to do the same without hiding their gender - and have to go out of their way to hide it for fear of harassment. Saying "they can just use the WYSIWYG editor" misses the point. Other people _can_ be more than an IP address.
The point isn't that people are able to hide their gender or sexuality, it's that anyone has to do it in the first place.
If women are driven out of the online space by harassment or otherwise, the vast majority of that influence and opportunity will accrue to men.
While threats of violence and being called offensive names are not nice, they don't limit the man's potential in the same way by virtue of being offline.
(Neither, I might add, does it seem to be having a large impact on men's advancement in the professional offline space, where the vast majority of senior positions are also held by men).
I don't think you're understanding the data. I read the study, too. Men received more harassment overall online. All the harassment in the linked study is online harassment. I'm not sure what you're talking about this harassment being "offline" for men.
There is no source that would prove that Armin Haken is his son, and so unfortunately Armin's work cannot be mentioned in the context of the article, as apparently somebody tried to do before me. (I actually read Armin's article that was mentioned on Wikipedia and then encountered Wolfgang Haken in a different context, and I was wondering if he is the same guy.)
So, the usability of Wikipedia is decreased (ironically, it can still be found in the history). I wish they took a more nuanced view on source reliability than just black and white.
His pace is at least an edit per minute, while he's editing, so it's not like he is writing complete articles. It's doing things like changing deadlinks or making grammar changes.