back to article Wikipedia: It's not for girls

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As well as a few guys pretending to be female...

    A lot of women on the internet either pretend to be male or don't mention their gender at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Sex", please; ...

      ... not gender. Being male or female is >not< gender: it's sex - got that ?

      Gender is a concept in grammar that describes (among other things) which articles and adjectival endings "agree" with the noun.

      So, for instance, the German for "the little girl" is das Madchen *. The noun has neuter gender, even though the girl herself is female.

      Similarly, "the spoon" (no sex at all) is "die Loeffel" (feminine gender) *.

      * (Sorry about no double dot over the a or the o)

      <rant ends>

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Sex? gender? What about the other two?

        Yes, the *first* definition (according to my OED) of gender is a technical term used in grammar. However the next definition is the property of belonging to such a [gender] class and the colloquial third definition is "a person's sex".

        Also, regarding your examples. I think a fair few people will agree that spoons (no sex at all) does often lead to sex. Which is really what I wanted to steer the post around to.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Words with more than ONE meaning,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=add46516a83689d1&biw=1276&bih=679

        3. The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)

        Don't really care what that means in german, language gender is a completely different thing.

      3. haveAnIceDay

        Sorry to be so German, but...

        ... it's 'der Loeffel'. Stick that in your Wikipedia and smoke it!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward


        as we are wearing the four-cornered hat already:

        "Löffel" is actually of masculine gender, and so the singular goes with "der".

        "die Löffel" is _plural_, and the plural article is "die" for _any_ gender

        sg. .................. pl.

        der Löffel -- die Löffel

        der Mann -- die Männer

        das Haus -- die Häuser

        die Frau -- die Frauen

        "Deutsches Sprak schwerer Sprak", as the man said.



      5. Michael Friesen

        Mark Twain on language and gender

        To quote the very excellent writer Mr. Mark Twain, on the subject of "The Awful German Language":

        "In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl."

        linguistic gender != sexual gender

      6. Ushtey

        It's all about the timing.... what happens before you get your gender. Typically the gap is around 9 months

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    {{original research}}

    If you edit for a while (or even just tagging articles as needing attention) you're bound to attract other editors' attention, some of whom are the stereotypical overzealous young male. You know the type, heck most of us here will have been such at one time or another: Freshly high on the awesomeness of their pet project and more capacity to find fault with others than in moderating their own actions.

    I imagine that girls are less likely to pick up something like wikipedia for their pet project needs and are more easily put off by having their contributions be not so subtly "improved" away, or "helpfully" criticised into oblivion. And of course the fair sex automatically attracts fair amounts of attention and thus more scrutiny on their works.

    Of course, the above is all speculation and even if true I wouldn't know what to do about it. Maybe ze big jimbo can come up with something original. Or not, as the case may be.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Wiki Circle Jerk

      Wikipedia long ago became a clique so it wouldn't surprise me if it is as male dominated as most other institutions are with their 'I know best', other males tolerated but considered inferior, and women can just sod off back to the kitchen arrogant attitudes.

      The question is; are women locked-out and discouraged or just disinterested in playing the Wikipedia game?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Wiki Circle Jerk

        Couldn't have described Wikipedia any better. Most articles being maintained by a bunch of immature males and the rest being corporate PR propaganda. Try and point out an obvious inexactitude and you immediately get shouted down and/or banned, mainly because you're not a member of the clique or the truth doesn't match some corporate propaganda line.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Doesn't exist

    Well I checked Wikipedia for an article called "Male bias in articles" and got the response: "The page "Male bias in articles" does not exist"

    Should we therefore assume that since Wiki doesn't have an article for it, it doesn't exist?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Creating new articles isn't hard...

      ... but keeping them is something altogether. If you would sit down and do a wikipedia writeup of this research, you could expect jimbo's self-selected selective semantics sodomists to shoot it down because that's a "primary source", and not sufficiently hear-say to include in wikipedia.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    ..women are just crap at providing detailed info on any subject..ask any married man.

  5. Ru


    So, does wikipedia's little echo chamber, deliberately or otherwise, exclude known female editors? Can it tell an editor is female just from their writing? Or are its actions fundamentally offensive to the female psyche? That would be entertaining.

    Maybe the fairer [citation needed] sex is simply less interested in contributing to what is largely a collection of technical articles with a scattering of noticably poorer quality nontechnical content, given the general trend of women to study and work in non-technical fields in the english speaking west, which is where most contributors seem likely to live.

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      "Can Wiki tell if an editor is female from their writing?"

      If they're writing about friendship bracelets and/or Sex in the City, then the answer is an unequivocal "yes".

      (Paris, because more people have looked her up than have looked her up on Wiki.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Anon for a reason

    I whole heartly agree with the first anon and will remain anon for good reason.

  7. Psmiffy

    You owe me for this ...

    "Researchers there found their flabber gasted to its very limit"

  8. Winkypop Silver badge

    You don't hear much from the wiki-whackies these days

    Not that that's a bad thing.

    It's just an observation.

    Might just go over and make some edits.....

  9. Cameron Colley

    "friendship bracelets or Sex and the City"?

    I didn't realise only teenage girls counted as women on the internet?

    My idea of a more female-biased article would be either about female health or, being a little sexist perhaps, beauty products. OK, so that's almost as stereotypical -- but at least they're things common to at least some women in all age groups an cultures and not just Western teenagers.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Must... resist... temptation....

      ... to see what Wikipedia says about Twilight. Too Much Information is my guess.

    2. Oninoshiko

      Re: I didn't realise only teenage girls counted as women on the internet

      Are you kidding? Everyone (even guys) count as women on the internet!

      Did SitC have a teenage demographic? If so, is the demographic STILL teenage? I'll be honest, I have no idea what it's demographic is. I think a more interesting question then "what percentage of SitC's audience is female?" is "What percentage of females are SitC fans?"

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I am worried about you

        You are familiar enough with said popular (ladies') TV programme to refer to it using an acronym, but yet you have still got the name wrong.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the internet

    Where men are men ... and so are most of the women

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother


      the children are FBI agents

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge


        What about the small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri? What are they?

        1. Mediocrates

          small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri

          "What are they?"


    2. farizzle


      Sounds funny if you imagine Jeremy Clarkson saying it ^_^

  11. dave 46

    Girls bullied on nerd forum?

    That would run contrary to experience, perhaps wiki editors are unlike any of the nerds on every other internet forum but I doubt it.

    Could be the women don't want to argue, hide the fact they are women if they have any sense and aren't used to being corrected when wrong (it is the ones without sense who own up to being a woman remember).

    Then the clincher, women just don't want to edit a wiki.

    Lets face it, most guys have better things to be doing than editing a wiki, what kind of swamp monster must the women on their be?

    1. Galidron

      Girls bullied on nerd forum

      It's not that uncommon for nerds to try to push women out of their groups. Some of them are very resentful against the opposite sex. Some believe that women shouldn't be allowed to participate in whatever particular nerdy activity they are involved in. Others just drool too much which isn't the same as bullying but I imagine is a bit of a turn off.

      I think some of it is because some nerds blame women for not having any interest in them. After all it couldn't be related to their social skills because they get along with each other just fine.

      Full Disclosure, I participate in several different activities that would likely put me in this category.

  12. Jim 59


    Most silicon chips are designed by men too. I know, I can hardly believe it either. Anyone who wants to change that could start by encouraging girls to study engineering. Good luck with that.

    1. Ru
      Paris Hilton

      Lack of female engineers

      is a largely english-speaking western cultural issue. Russia and China do alright, for example. There's nothing fundamentally alien about women working in highly technical fields.

      I know a british female Verilog coder; she observes that the lack of female engineers in the industry means she can pretty much walk into a company, say 'gizza job' and they'll fall over themselves to provide very competetive salaries and reward packages. She's not unhappy about the lack of competition, but doesn't quite understand why some many of her peers went into mediocre jobs in law, media, journalism and the like where they don't make big bucks and don't stand out from their peers.

  13. Marco van de Voort
    Thumb Down

    "critical information resource". Apparently not to women.

    "As Wikipedia continues to be a critical information resource,..."

    That's a very male centric view :-)

  14. Luke McCarthy

    Time for a rename

    Dickipedia, the free male encyclopedia

  15. alien anthropologist


    > 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

    ..and the remainder are undercover cops and law enforcement agents.

    No. There are no women on the Internet. Except on female safe web yards like Twitter and Facebook...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Hardly any of the site's legions of volunteer editors are female"

    Doesn't this mean that women are biased against Wikipedia?

  17. David Hicks
    Thumb Down


    There are a large number of clique-ish, angry nerds on there who will delete pages and revert information that goes against their political views, or is decided quite arbitrarily not to be notable enough.

    I watched a friend's page get deleted because of notability concerns (he's had three novels published recently) while there's a page for every bit-part character in the most obscure anime/manga you can think of....

    Yeah, it's populated by the absolute worst sorts of geeks and I can well imagine rampant sexism in the mix there too.

    1. Rovindi

      Notability Concerns

      A friend of mine, a publisher, had his page modified to say he had died. Being upset about this, I rang him to ask him about his death and how it would affect his short-term plans and whether we were still on for a beer on Friday.

      Despite not being dead, the numpties at Wikipedia initially refused to change it, citing "notability concerns". After a whole raft of emails, which have been become legendary in our circle, as well as pictures of him with that days Evening Standard etc., they relented.

      You can´t make this shit up.

  18. Steen Hive

    8.3% of Encyclopaedia Britannica's

    editorial board is female. Wikipedia are therefore trailblazing for women's rights?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Not sure if trolling or just very clever.

      I'm not sure if 16% isn't pretty good, compared to the general background of male domination of the internet and technology firms and projects. I can't think of, e.g. any open source projects that have reached that degree of female participation, and in a long career as a programmer I've never worked anywhere that managed to recruit that many female programmers.

      We fail pretty hard as an industry.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Age old battle of the sexes

    However as a bloke the three female bosses I've had have been ten times better than the five males bosses I've had. No it's not some lurid little workplace, domination trip, they just made working for a living slightly more pleasant than having to deal with all that alpha-male, bloke-shit.

    That's another thing, while we're on it! Why is it obligatory to know all this useless fecking bloke-shit?! I couldn't give toss about football, rugby or cricket ( snooker and darts, different story! ). I don't care that you need a double-overhead ooja wotnot to cover my flange-vibrating baboon monkey nut wrench splurch capacitor or that a double 5 inch wotnot, thingy doodah fits into a rotary, mucsle pulsing castle-nut splat-box! Getting my arse out of bed in the morning is a trial in itself, let alone doing a day's work, dealing with the kids and doing my share of the house-chores, having to learn a load of useless shit just feel more of man? Bog off, life's hard enough as it is!

    Now if you want to discuss the in's and out's of camera focus mechanisms and creative aproaches to photographic compositions over a pint of genuine brewed pint of Suffolk "cyder", I'm your man!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I am fed up in the morning hearing the office conversation turn to football

      Two football fans turn up, discuss a match at the weekend. After they are done, a third turns up. The first few words he utters is "did you see that atrocious penalty?" and the whole conversation repeats. Then the fourth and fifth turn up...

      Nothing else gets discussed to the point of wanting to make me scream until they stop.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am fed up in the morning hearing the office conversation turn to football

        > Two football fans turn up, discuss a match at the weekend. After they are done, a third turns up. The first few words he utters is "did you see that atrocious penalty?"

        The trouble with arsenal is that they always try and walk it in.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      If you ever want a new job ...

      > I don't care that you need a double-overhead ooja wotnot to cover my flange-vibrating baboon monkey nut wrench splurch capacitor or that a double 5 inch wotnot, thingy doodah fits into a rotary, mucsle pulsing castle-nut splat-box!

      There's a senior mechanics position just waiting for you at my local "%£^&*$*($(" main dealership - they don't know the square-root of sod-all about mechanical things, either.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        Mechanical idiocy

        Yeah, you wouldn't believe: when my partner's car lost the oil, the clowns at the dealership actually tried to put new bearing shells on damaged crankshaft journals, with the predictable result that it ground... to ... ... a halt .... Ummm. Castle-nut splat-box, was it? I'll pop down to the stores.

  20. Minophis

    Not all bias is a bad thing.

    'As Wikipedia continues to be a critical information resource, it is important that all voices be heard.'

    Err no. If Wikipedia is a critical information resource it is important that the most intelligent and knowledgable men and women on that subject are heard. Reading the comments thread of almost any video on YouTube shows what happens in the internet when all voices can be heard.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They will be using that "positive discrimination" shit... boost the number of women working there.

    I hate positive discrimination, and not just when its against me.

  22. Loyal Commenter


    It's because any person who has spent enough time watching Sex in the City to be able to write a wikipedia article on it would either be confined to a small comfortable room without access to electricity, let alone the internet, or would already have taken their own life?

    In my (perhaps limited) experience, women aren't particulalrly underrepresented on the internet, but they seem to spend most of their time alternating between facebook and ebay.

    The fact that few technical articles on wikipedia have much female input is perhaps more a reflection of the general lack of women working in technical fields. For example, in my career as a software developer, which has stretched over more than a decade, I have met exactly two female programmers, one of whom was technically very adept, and one who wasn't. I'd be very surprised if the percentage of women in this field reaches double figures. This is not due to lack of ability, rather than lack of interest. This is a pattern that is reflected in many technical areas, and if you want to change it, you first have to change popular attitudes (including those amongst women specifically) towards what is considered appropriate work for women. Good luck with that.

    It is also worth noting that gender bias works both ways, and there are very few males working in areas such as nursery nursing. This is in part due to the attitude society takes towards men working in such roles, viewing them with suspicion.

    1. disgruntled yank


      The mayor of Washington, DC, is a confessed "Sex and the City" fan. This did not seem to hurt him in the primary, I suppose because a majority regarded his opponent, the incumbent, as a jerk. I could post a query to the mayor's office asking what they will do about it, but he didn't run that well in our ward and may regard this as more yuppie snottiness.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Mayor of D.C.

        Getting elected to Mayor of Washington, D.C. doesn't count for too much. remember that this is a city that *re*-elected a convicted crackhead who's defence primarily consisted of "Bitch set me up!"

  23. welshman10


    Women are far too busy with the ironing and cleaning to take part.

    1. Minophis

      Re: But...

      It's amazing what we can get away with now that we have lost the Moderatrix.


      I miss her.

  24. Greg J Preece

    See, if I were a lass...

    ...I would find the implication that I was only interested in "friendship bracelets and Sex and the City" to be a wee bit patronising. Perhaps the colour pink also, and My Little Pony?

    1. farizzle

      and friends!!!

      My Little Pony AND FRIENDS!


      i mean full stop

      1. Greg J Preece

        20% cooler in 10 seconds flat

        I can see your point - they are magical, after all.

        Oh God, what's wrong with me??

  25. Anonymous Coward

    or maybe...

    there's no "kitchen" or "sandwich" in "wikipedia"... of course they're gonna get made fun of... welcome to the real world, where everyone gets made fun of. Someone should make fun of me for ending that last sentence fragment with a preposition. I think the world needs a good dose of sense of humor.


    1. nyelvmark

      I doubt you care, but one analysis, the "of" in "get made fun of" isn't a preposition, but a part of the the phrasal verb 'to make fun of'. By this analysis, grammatical English sentences really don't end with prepositions. But cue the inevitable old joke:

      Harvard freshman: Hey buddy, can you tell me where the library's at?

      Senior student: Real Harvard students never end a sentence with a preposition.

      Freshman: I'm sorry. Can you tell me where the library's at, asshole?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Little Pony?

    At least with the new version that seems to be mostly male geeks as well, I'm afraid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      "mostly male geeks as well"

      Damn right! Fluttershy is adorable!

      ...Wait, did I just say that out loud?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The inimitable NMA TV on the "Brony" phenomenon.

  27. RISC OS

    What about shemales?

    I bet they are under represented too...

  28. RISC OS

    Wikipedia should get rid of all it's editors

    ... you can't edit anything on there for love nor money... whatever you write will removed and classed as vandalism even if its is nothing of the sort. The editors just have different opinion about the subject and use the editor rights to revert changes.

    Also if the dude in the red chinese shirt (why is he always pictured like that, it makes him look like a twat) want anyone other than nerds and geeks to write wikipedia articles he should make the thing understandable to normal people... does anyone understand what they see when they try and undo something?

    1. Steven Roper

      I gave up trying

      to contribute to Wikipedia years ago. I once spent days on there going through correcting spelling and grammatical errors, not even adding or altering the factual content. Nor did I "correct" American spelling - I was merely correcting genuinely misspelled words and grammatical errors.

      After discovering that the vast majority of my edits were being reverted to the erroneous versions by snot-faced little elitist pricks with an editorial superiority complex, I told them to go fuck themselves, got banned for my pains, and haven't been back since.

      The only thing I use Wikipedia for now is to get the source websites listed at the ends of the articles for information. I wouldn't take anything from Wikipedia itself as gospel.

  29. Chris Jasper

    Or Maybe....

    Women just have better things to do with their time.......??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well done Chris Jasper for finally mentioning that

      The involvement of people in anything that doesn't result in personal gain is a type of sickness. What will they say when they die? "I spent 1/10 of my waking life working on some open-source project that is now totally obsolete, wow I feel really good about that". In return I got a few 'virtual' thanks, didn't make any friends (at least not the type that I could have a beer with), and totally f**ked up my eyes, neck and back in the process, when I really should have been making the most of my free time to play sport, spend time with the kids (perhaps even... *have* some kids). You get the idea? Women, quite simply, don't suffer from the sickness. They're self, self, self, unless it's some community-based thing, in which case their contribution is highly visible, resulting in more friends, more people to share gossip with and so on. I'm sure I'll get shot down for my stereotypical view, but we have plenty of women at work (programmers), but they do it as a job. They don't take it home. They have better things to do, so really there is no reason for them or anyone else to complain about a lack of representation.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        "The involvement of people in anything that doesn't result in personal gain is a type of sickness"

        Go back to bed Ayn Rand

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I have long suspected..

        ..that's why women are under-represented in computer programming. They aren't as easily fooled by computers as us men. I think we get some kind of 'social interaction' kick from them. Women being more accomplished social animals means that they don't get that same kind of kick. To them a computer is just a bloody complicated machine and only an idiot would bother to spend all day 'communicating' with one.

        I've known three female programmers during the 25 years I've been doing it and all of them were very good at programming. They seemed to take it more seriously though and were interested in the theory which is part of why I came up with my theory. Most male programmers prefer to leap in and start typing (experience gradually weans you off the habit). None of the three women I knew did that. They always planned things out thought and didn't start work until they had a clear idea of what they wanted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The reason women are under-represented in computer programming

          .. is that women are under-represented in computer programming.

          The 'Let's get more women into computing' campaigns completely miss the point and are doomed to failure, not that so-called industry 'experts' seem to have noticed any time during the last 30 years.

          Still waiting for the 'Let's get more of a less pathetic type of man into computing, so that women will then follow naturally' campaign.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        "I spent 1/10 of my waking life working on some open-source project blah blah"

        As opposed to "I spent 1/10 of my waking life posting innane drivel on some news-site message board that is now totally forgotten, wow I feel really good about that"

        In 1000 years, what will anything YOU have ever done be worth a damn?

        In 1 billion when the entire record of human existence on this world has been subducted back into the Earth's mantle?

        In 4 billion when the sun goes red and either scalds or totally consumes the earth.

        (Or in several years-decades when God does effectively the same thing if you are more into the primitive superstitious stuff).

  30. great_bear

    Sexist reporting?

    Sorry to see that The Register took the "Sex And The City" comment out of context, making The Register itself look embarrasingly sexist. I'd suggest that before commenting, people read the actual report itself instead of The Register's mischaracterisation of it.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, The Internet....

    Where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents.

  32. Zog The Undeniable
    Paris Hilton

    Slightly fictional example, then

    Article history for "Serbian Nationalism in the 20th century"

    Felicity Petticoat: I feel this article should be restructured to more accurately reflect the role of Tito in subjugating the ethnic Serbs and fuellinh resentment among the disenfranchised peasant classes.

    J.Random Editor: T*ts or GTFO

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bad example unfortunately

      As anything Balkan related is encircled by half a dozen nationalistic editors on each side of the "debate" with a couple of editors trying to be a thin blue line.

      Most sane editors of either gender don't hang around there long.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "On the Internet,

    nobody knows you're a dog."

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    WP has a patriarchal management style that is fine for how men do things in groups , but less interesting to women. Undoing someone's edit instead of fixing a small thing seems like a very macho approach.

    Men (a bit more-so than women) also like to sound authoritative and WP gives them an outlet for that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WP has no management style at all.

      It's just 'last edit wins'.

  35. Paul 135

    Restrict the scope of Wikipedia

    Wikipedia should be restricted to science, technology, film and music.

    All other topics, including anything remotely political or historical should be confined to the dustbin as Wikipedia is a quagmire of insidiously biased diarrhoea on anything outside this spectrum.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe...'s gone:

    "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,"

    [Citation required]

  37. Mike Flex
    IT Angle

    Yeah, whatever.

    'As anything Balkan related is encircled by half a dozen nationalistic editors on each side of the "debate" '

    Instantly splitting into a number of mutually hostile factions? There ought to be a word for that.

  38. Eddy Ito


    So about 1 in 6 fiddlers is female. Perhaps the other females are actually using their knowledge for more profitable pursuits instead of partaking in a contest where the goal seems to be "my wiki fiddle is bigger than yours".

  39. Anonymous Coward


    There are no girls on the intarweb!

  40. Dropper

    Of course not

    All the women that are actually women on the interwebs are playing WoW, not talking on adult chat sites or wasting valuable raiding time creating grossly inaccurate information for kids to cut and paste into their schoolwork. While it is an extremely amusing past time, it isn't really all that important as far as IT jobs go.

  41. Toby 2
    Paris Hilton

    Ladies that are interested in SATC...

    are in the main, I would hazard the guess, less likely to be interested in adding to Wikipedia.

    (BTW the SATC page is actually quite detailed and structured).

    To generalise (ie not to be sexist) most of this section of the female populace would rather be reading "Now!"

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ladies that are into sex and the city...

    are in the main, I would hazard the guess, less likely to be interested in adding to Wikipedia.

    (BTW the SATC page is actually quite detailed and structured).

    To generalise (ie not to be sexist) most of this section of the female populace would rather be reading "Now!"

  43. petronivs

    Faulty reasoning

    "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."

    I'd argue that the opposite probably applies to Wikipedia. There's little to no advantage to be a male pretending to be female on Wikipedia, in fact, the popular perception that females have less input there would even work against it. There are probably a fair number of female masquerading as men there.

    Instead of looking at what gender Wikipedia users identify at, it would be much more instructive to isolate ways women and men compose their language (yes, there are differences), and put some algorithms together to see how that runs across Wikipedia articles in general. I suspect the results would be a lot more even.

    1. Steven Roper

      "isolate ways women and men compose their language"

      There is a site that does this:

      This site takes a block of text and uses statistical analysis to determine the probability of it being written by a male or a female. In my own tests it has proven to be remarkably accurate - on the order of around 85-90%. While this is still a significant margin of error, it is still far more accurate than determining the author by their stated gender identity. Consider that a lot of women would identify as men in order to avoid being hit on or discriminated against, and a significant number of men would identify as women in order to get free gifts and such. I know from running a female character in WoW that people are much more willing to give gold, gear and help to someone they perceive as female than they are to a male!

      So the error factor resulting from false gender self-identification would be considerably greater than the 10-15% error exhibited by that analysis site.

      If you've got the time, feed some wiki articles into it and let us know what you find.

This topic is closed for new posts.