In terms of Wikipedia updates that is, according to a 2010 study investigating the question of who is involved with writing the popular, if not entirely reliable, online encyclopedia (check out the first sentence of the photo below).

wikipedia article

The 2010 study seemed a little … how should we say it … elementary. But a more recent study by UC Berkeley’s School of Information — more commonly known as the I School — is delving deeper into this difference between contributions from men and contributions from women, which people have called “a gender gap,” based on a greater variety of factors.

Now, the male population is probably feeling some pride in knowing that, based on the 2010 study, they dominate Wikipedia contributions — less than 13 percent of contributors were female.

When the I School researchers took a sample group of Wikipedians, it turned out that more than 80 percent were male. Even more interesting was that among the most active contributors, the “gender gap” was even more pronounced.

In this latest study, the top quarter of contributors were responsible for more than 90 percent of the individual revisions. In that group, men triumphed over women in terms of number of members and average number of revisions (which was used as the determining basis for active involvement). While men averaged 24 revisions each, women averaged 12.

The reasoning behind why this matters is because, “The people primarily responsible for taking care of Wikipedia’s upper-level management — the people who set policies and arbitrate disputes — are drawn from the most active contributors,” stated Judd Antin, an I School Ph.D. alumnus.

But then again, there’s always been the rather prevailing argument that when it comes to quality, women kind of turn it out and show men what’s up.

Looking at a sample of Wikipedia articles from men and women alike, women’s posts tended to be “more substantial” and nearly twice as long as men’s.

The general conclusion to make seems to be that although men might contribute more, a part of the difference might be due to the greater care and considerable details women place in their respective contributions.

Great applause for the advancement of our professionals and experts today. However, The Clog can’t help but resist to notice that there are some comic strips in existence (like below) that make such in-depth research on Wikipedia rather … humorous.

wikipedia cartoon strip

Image sources: sinosplice (top) and Ross Mayfield (bottom) under Creative Commons
I School researchers explore Wikipedia’s gender gap [UC Berkeley School of Information]



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