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CS&E News

Wikipedia Gender Gap

August 16, 2011

 Picture of John RiedlPhoto of Shyong (Tony) Lam

A research team led by Ph.D student Shyong (Tony) Lam and Professor John Riedl has confirmed a large gender gap among Wikipedia's editors and a corresponding gender-oriented disparity in content quality. In their research paper, "WP: Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia's Gender Imbalance", the researchers present a scientific exploration of gender imbalance in the English Wikipedia's population of editors.

The researchers found that female editors encounter more adversity than their male counterparts: females' contributions are more likely to be undone, and females tend to be more involved with editing encyclopedia articles about contentious topics. These findings suggest that a possible contributing factor for the gender gap is a culture that may be resistant to female participation.

An extended abstract and the full paper can be found on the GroupLens Reseach website. The work will be presented at the 2011 WikiSym conference this October.

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