WP:Clubhouse? An exploration of Wikipedia's gender imbalance

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WP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia’s Gender Imbalance
Authors: Shyong Tony K. Lam, Anuradha Uduwage, Zhenhua Dong, Shilad Sen, David R. Musicant, Loren Terveen, John Riedl [edit item]
Citation: WikiSym 2011 (7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration)  : 1-10. 2011 October 3-5. Mountain View, CA. ACM.
Publication type: Conference paper
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1145/2038558.2038560.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Yes
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WP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia’s Gender Imbalance is a publication by Shyong Tony K. Lam, Anuradha Uduwage, Zhenhua Dong, Shilad Sen, David R. Musicant, Loren Terveen, John Riedl.


[edit] Abstract

Wikipedia has rapidly become an invaluable destination for millions of information-seeking users. However, media reports suggest an important challenge: only a small fraction of Wikipedia’s legion of volunteer editors are female. In the current work, we present a scientific exploration of the gender imbalance in the English Wikipedia’s population of editors. We look at the nature of the imbalance itself, its effects on the quality of the encyclopedia, and several conflict-related factors that may be contributing to the gender gap. Our findings confirm the presence of a large gender gap among editors and a corresponding gender-oriented disparity in the content of Wikipedia’s articles. Further, we find evidence hinting at a culture that may be resistant to female participation.

[edit] Research questions

"What is the extent of Wikipedia’s gender gap, and how has it changed over time?

How is Wikipedia affected by the gender gap?

What gender differences exist in conflicts in Wikipedia, and how do those differences relate to the gender gap?"

Research details

Topics: Antecedents of quality, Comprehensiveness, Community building, Contributor engagement, Culture and values of Wikipedia, Social order, Participation trends [edit item]
Domains: Computer science, Information systems, Sociology [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis, Explanation [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "-" [edit item]
Research design: Econometrics and time series, Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Longitudinal [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Article, User [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Dump [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Article, User, User:talk [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Overall, our findings indicate that there is a sub- stantial male-skewed gender imbalance in English Wikipedia edi- tors that does not appear to be closing at any appreciable rate. This is at odds with observed participation rates in other forms of on- line social media that are gender-balanced or that are even female- skewed [15, 19]. Furthermore, we find that the gender gap matters to Wikipedia: there are gender-associated imbalances in coverage quality, which impinges on Wikipedia’s goal of producing a high- quality encyclopedia. Not only would addressing the gender gap help resolve the quality disparity, it would also help increase di- versity within Wikipedia’s collaborations, which prior research has shown to improve group productivity and retention rates [6] as well as decision-making quality [14]. The problem is subtle, and simple attempts at solution without detailed understanding are likely to fail. Of our nine hypotheses, all of which seemed plausible before we began the study, nearly half were not supported by the data. How can it be that the gen- der gap in Wikipedia is not closing, though overall Internet us- age has become gender-balanced? Taken together, our results for RQ3: Gender-Conflict hint at a culture that may be resistant to fe- male participation. More research, including interviews, surveys, and focus groups, is needed to determine the underlying causes of the problems evidenced by our findings, and to determine what can be done to improve the situation. We hope this research is a first step toward addressing the gender imbalance – and the problems it causes – in Wikipedia."

[edit] Comments


Further notes[edit]

Winner of Best Long Paper Award at WikiSym 2011

Facts about "WP:Clubhouse? An exploration of Wikipedia's gender imbalance"RDF feed
AbstractWikipedia has rapidly become an invaluableWikipedia has rapidly become an invaluable destination for millions of information-seeking users. However, media reports suggest an important challenge: only a small fraction of Wikipedia’s legion of volunteer editors are female. In the current work, we present a scientific exploration of the gender imbalance in the English Wikipedia’s population of editors. We look at the nature of the imbalance itself, its effects on the quality of the encyclopedia, and several conflict-related factors that may be contributing to the gender gap. Our findings confirm the presence of a large gender gap among editors and a corresponding gender-oriented disparity in the content of Wikipedia’s articles. Further, we find evidence hinting at a culture that may be resistant to female participation. may be resistant to female participation.
Added by wikilit teamYes +
Collected data time dimensionLongitudinal +
ConclusionOverall, our findings indicate that there Overall, our findings indicate that there is a sub-

stantial male-skewed gender imbalance in English Wikipedia edi- tors that does not appear to be closing at any appreciable rate. This is at odds with observed participation rates in other forms of on- line social media that are gender-balanced or that are even female- skewed [15, 19]. Furthermore, we find that the gender gap matters to Wikipedia: there are gender-associated imbalances in coverage quality, which impinges on Wikipedia’s goal of producing a high- quality encyclopedia. Not only would addressing the gender gap help resolve the quality disparity, it would also help increase di- versity within Wikipedia’s collaborations, which prior research has shown to improve group productivity and retention rates [6] as well as decision-making quality [14]. The problem is subtle, and simple attempts at solution without detailed understanding are likely to fail. Of our nine hypotheses, all of which seemed plausible before we began the study, nearly half were not supported by the data. How can it be that the gen- der gap in Wikipedia is not closing, though overall Internet us- age has become gender-balanced? Taken together, our results for RQ3: Gender-Conflict hint at a culture that may be resistant to fe- male participation. More research, including interviews, surveys, and focus groups, is needed to determine the underlying causes of the problems evidenced by our findings, and to determine what can be done to improve the situation. We hope this research is a first step toward addressing the gender imbalance – and the problems it causes – in Wikipedia.and the problems it

causes – in Wikipedia.
Conference locationMountain View, CA +
Data sourceWikipedia pages +
Dates3-5 +
Doi10.1145/2038558.2038560 +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22WP%3AClubhouse%3F%2BAn%2BExploration%2Bof%2BWikipedia%E2%80%99s%2BGender%2BImbalance%22 +
Has authorShyong Tony K. Lam +, Anuradha Uduwage +, Zhenhua Dong +, Shilad Sen +, David R. Musicant +, Loren Terveen + and John Riedl +
Has domainComputer science +, Information systems + and Sociology +
Has topicAntecedents of quality +, Comprehensiveness +, Community building +, Contributor engagement +, Culture and values of Wikipedia +, Social order + and Participation trends +
MonthOctober +
Pages1-10 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeConference paper +
Published inWikiSym 2011 (7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration) +
PublisherACM +
Research designEconometrics and time series + and Statistical analysis +
Research questionsWhat is the extent of Wikipedia’s gender gap, and how has it

changed over time?

How is Wikipedia affected by the gender gap?

What gender differences exist in conflicts in Wikipedia, and how do those differences relate to the gender gap?
Revid11,037 +
Theories-
Theory typeAnalysis + and Explanation +
TitleWP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia’s Gender Imbalance
Unit of analysisArticle + and User +
Urlhttp://grouplens.org/system/files/wp-gender-wikisym2011.pdf +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionDump +
Wikipedia languageEnglish +
Wikipedia page typeArticle +, User + and User:talk +
Year2011 +