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Is There a Female Gender Bias in Wikipedia?

By - Source: UoM | B 75 comments

Wikipedia is geared much more to a male audience than to females, a new study published by the University of Minnesota suggests.

Computer science researchers found that only 16 percent of the editors who joined Wikipedia in 2009 were female and only 9 percent of the edits came from female editors during that year. Women apparently also have a tendency to leave Wikipedia again when their edits are reverted.

The researchers also claim that a gender bias within Wikipedia has an impact on the quality of the content published at the online encyclopedia as articles that appeal to women are generally shorter and less detailed. Descriptions of movies that are more likely to attract women have a lower quality level than descriptions of movies that may be seen primarily by males. "Overall, Wikipedia seems to be growing in a way that is biased toward topics of interest to males," the researchers concluded.

So, what could be the problem? The findings suggest that Wikipedia has a "culture that may be resistant to female participation." Articles edited by females are twice as likely to be about controversial or contentious topics; female editors are significantly more likely to have their early contributions undone by their fellow editors; and females are more likely to be indefinitely blocked by fellow editors, the researchers said.

“We expected to find that females would avoid conflict, but to our surprise we found just the opposite,” John Riedl, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering and a member of the research team, said. “We’re not sure exactly what this means, but it may give us more insights into the Wikipedia culture that could be one of the contributing factors to the gender gap.”

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    amirp , August 18, 2011 3:15 AM
    there can only be so many articles about kitchens and sandwich-making on wiki
  • 29 Hide
    Gamer-girl , August 18, 2011 3:48 AM
    It could be that the majority of females do not classify editing Wikipedia as fun or enjoyable - that would be the simplest explanation.

    It could also be that because anything that is a male dominated area, most males act differently than if they were in a 50/50 group. Am i wrong? Do you you guys act differently if you think that there are no girls around that can see or hear you?

    If any girl shows interest in a male orientated subject she will have to deal with the stereotype of females not being able to contribute anything worth while to the subject.

    Also girls have *feelings* and tend to take things personally.
    - This is also based on my own experience,
  • 28 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2011 3:10 AM
    It couldnt possibly be a lack of intellect
Other Comments
    Display all 75 comments.
  • 28 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2011 3:10 AM
    It couldnt possibly be a lack of intellect
  • 31 Hide
    amirp , August 18, 2011 3:15 AM
    there can only be so many articles about kitchens and sandwich-making on wiki
  • 18 Hide
    silver565 , August 18, 2011 3:15 AM
    Oh god...

    Do we need a support group too?
  • 24 Hide
    afrobacon , August 18, 2011 3:26 AM
    I have always found females to be more argumentative in general. Never had much inclination to fight with them though.
  • 23 Hide
    cold fire , August 18, 2011 3:33 AM
    anon23333333It couldnt possibly be a lack of intellect

    Comment of the month.
  • 23 Hide
    silver565 , August 18, 2011 3:46 AM
    It's wikipedia?

    I don't see how this ONE website will harm women in any way at all. Women are just as capable as men. Heck the CEO of Yahoo is a woman.

    By the sounds of it, Wikipedia just haven't found the right sort of people. I doubt this would be a sexist thing at all. You might as well say that female builders are useless because they're a minority in their industry.

    Women are just as equal to men. Just because they aren't huge in one field doesn't mean that field is sexist. Of course their work is twice as likely to be edited... there are more men there.

    There are more female teachers than men. Who cares?
  • 29 Hide
    Gamer-girl , August 18, 2011 3:48 AM
    It could be that the majority of females do not classify editing Wikipedia as fun or enjoyable - that would be the simplest explanation.

    It could also be that because anything that is a male dominated area, most males act differently than if they were in a 50/50 group. Am i wrong? Do you you guys act differently if you think that there are no girls around that can see or hear you?

    If any girl shows interest in a male orientated subject she will have to deal with the stereotype of females not being able to contribute anything worth while to the subject.

    Also girls have *feelings* and tend to take things personally.
    - This is also based on my own experience,
  • 23 Hide
    AbdullahG , August 18, 2011 3:50 AM
    @Gamer-girl Finally, someone with some common sense!
  • 4 Hide
    CaedenV , August 18, 2011 3:51 AM
    Descriptions of movies that are more likely to attract women have a lower quality level than descriptions of movies that may be seen primarily by males. "Overall, Wikipedia seems to be growing in a way that is biased toward topics of interest to males," the researchers concluded.

    hmmm how much you want to bet it was men who did this study lol
  • 25 Hide
    mortsmi7 , August 18, 2011 4:13 AM
    So women are too busy playing farmville to update wikipedia....

    j/k
  • 13 Hide
    jonnyberthiaume , August 18, 2011 4:22 AM
    I don't know, maybe the fact that men are more generally objective and women are more generally subjective doesn't help in a context where subjectivity shouldn't be... If I read about an electron, I really dont need to know how the electron "feel"...

    I don't say that women cannot be objective, they just are more incline to see things thru their own emotions than men. For some subjects it's good, for some other it's bad. It's probably more a matter of what kind of subject there is on Wikipedia.
  • -3 Hide
    Kamab , August 18, 2011 4:25 AM
    I don't really see an interesting take-away from this article.

    Next up: Study shows that more men read reddit compared to women.

    After that: More Men on 4chan than Women?

    More interestingly:

    http://www.allbestarticles.com/internet/internet-marketing/men-and-women-do-not-use-the-internet-the-same-way.html
  • 8 Hide
    velocityg4 , August 18, 2011 4:28 AM
    Given that there is no one in a decision making position excluding females I don't see any sort of gender bias. Rather it is more a reflection that women are either generally less interested in Wikipedia or are simply not as interested in contributing.
  • 7 Hide
    Pyree , August 18, 2011 4:35 AM
    Gamer-girlIt could also be that because anything that is a male dominated area, most males act differently than if they were in a 50/50 group. Am i wrong? Do you you guys act differently if you think that there are no girls around that can see or hear you?

    OMG, you read my mind!
    Girls around: Be nice and friendly to the girls, keep personal hygiene and etiquette as well as showing off how awesome I am.
    Just bros: S'up bro! and forget about etiquette and hygiene and no show off because we know we are all losers.
    Girls probably think I am a jerk now but in my defense, I don't agree with my bros when the conversation turns demeaning or discriminatory against women.
  • -3 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , August 18, 2011 4:48 AM
    Could it be because more men read wikipedia and women would rather read some fiction book than something factual? Just sayin'...
  • 11 Hide
    bison88 , August 18, 2011 4:58 AM
    The Internet recognizes no sexual orientation unless one claims to be. This isn't a gender bias this is just retarded bullshit to stir up the genders. You can come up with a statistic about anything if you wanted to and make a story out of it.
  • 12 Hide
    cognoscentiable , August 18, 2011 5:00 AM
    The information they add and edit is reverted or changed because it's wrong, not because of the gender of the person that added it.

    If there's a lack of information in 'articles geared toward women' what's stopping more women becoming editors? Am I misunderstanding what wikipedia is? I'm not seeing a bias, just a lack of female contribution.
  • 8 Hide
    thespin , August 18, 2011 5:35 AM
    Simple! Women don't play fair for the most part, and they also have control issues. So they end up tearing each other's hair out, or a man has to play referee which men do much better than women. Emotion - iy's a bummer - ask any man!!
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