In the news
Wikipedia a "sausage fest", Chicago Wikipedians ("the people you've probably plagiarized"), and other silly season stories
Continuing coverage of the gender gap
Building up steam after last week and boosted by the release of a research paper on the topic (see Signpost article), many new outlets have covered the Wikipedian gender-gap issue. Discover Magazine reported with tongue in cheek that "Wikipedia’s a sausage fest, study says", while the Hindustan Times reported that "Wiki is an all male reality", but did not expand greatly on previous coverage. This week, "Men call the shots on Wikipedia, say researchers" in TG Daily had probably the most detailed coverage of any news outlet, including research figures and quotes from several researchers to add to its coverage. By contrast, KSTP-TV included only the bare bones article "Researchers say Wikipedia has gender bias", focussing solely on research conducted by the University of Minnesota (which put female participation at 16% of editors).
Chicago Wikipedians analyzed
The A.V. Club Chicago, the Chicago-specific branch of the American entertainment website The A.V. Club, has published a humorous analysis of the 226 English Wikipedians who identify as coming from the city. "Chicago's Wikipedians: a look at the people you've probably plagiarized" goes through the user pages of these Wikipedians ("it’s crazy to think that random human volunteers [could build] Wikipedia into the hulking hive of not-citable knowledge it is today") to build up a picture of the average editor from Chicago. It did acknowledge that it was relying on how users described themselves to be accurate, and that registered users were a representative sample of the body of editors that work out of Chicago, since it could not easily determine which anonymous editors it could reasonably include.
Starting off with the discovery that among these 226 editors are "a filmmaker, a cartographer, a financial engineer, a handful of Russians, a schizophrenic, and a gay pastor in the United Church Of Christ", the article continues by confirming many of the biases in editor composition that have hit headlines over the years. Of the editors sampled, 96% of those who stated a gender identified as male, whilst of those who gave a statement of their religious views, Christianity was by far the most common. Despite being a humorous take on editor composition, the article still reserved praise for the editorship. "Thirty percent of those who list their education are still in school... But before people freak out about using a high schooler’s handiwork on college research papers... [these are] exceptionally bright kids, many of whom make very specific contributions to topics they truly seem to get." On a more humorous note, the article concluded that editing Wikipedia is "a learning experience! And what kind of Britannica-spooning encyclo-scrooge could deprive youngsters of that?"
- Vandalism noted: Bryan Floyd of SB Nation got some humor out of an act of vandalism writing "Texas A&M To SEC Rumors Hit Wikipedia Defacement Stage" which, he says, "comes just after the Board of Regents meeting discovery stage and Dan Beebe realizes there's a disturbance in the force stage."
- Slow news day at NYT: The owner of Zabar's, a specialty food store in New York City, has cited Wikipedia in an attempt to justify the selling of crawfish as "lobster", reports The New York Times (). According to Wikipedia's article, crawfish is related to the species commonly known as "lobster".
- Wikipedia in schools: Eleanor Yang Su of California Watch reports that although once maligned, Wikipedia is now being used in class assignments in the state of California. "Dozens of teachers at high schools and universities ... are assigning their students to write and edit entries. ... The projects are designed to help students improve their research and writing skills, while adding to the public knowledge", says the news website.
- List of common misconceptions: Geekosystem this week recommended that you read it. In doing so, the site joined the likes of XKCD creator Randall Munroe in calling for the article to be more widely read.
- Philanthropy and the Smithsonian: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a website dedicated to spreading "news, jobs and ideas" relating to the charitable work of non-profit institutions, described recent partnership efforts with the Smithsonian. Although titled "How the Smithsonian is helping Wikipedia" and written with that slant, one commenter was clear about the benefits of partnership. "What a fantastic idea! Nonprofits of all shapes and sizes could replicate this effort around their own themes," wrote 'Jendarra'.
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