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The gender gap matters because Wikipedia purports to make available "the sum total of all human knowledge." And we can do that, when women are so seriously underrepresented on Wikipedia. It really, really hard to talk about "women" or "women interests" because of course women make up more than half the world population, so it kind of absurd to imagine you can easily pigeonhole what women are interested in. But I always laugh when people say that Wikipedia is complete that Authentic Devonta Freeman Jersey everything that needs to be written about has been written about because when I read Wikipedia I am constantly stumbling across gaps in our coverage. Anecdotally from my perspective (and you can draw your own conclusions about whether these topics are gendered or not) I find Wikipedia tends to be weak on female novelists, female journalists, some feminist topics, some design topics particularly housewares type stuff, practically all fashion topics, some visual art and graphic design topics, and all kinds of management theory and organizational behaviour/design theory. Presumably some of that is gendered and some of it isn
I would also say though, that most people will never edit Wikipedia. It very much a minority taste. And so I don actually aspire to encourage all women to edit, any more than I aspire all men to edit. (To be clear: I wish they would, but I think it unrealistic to expect they would.) Editing Wikipedia appeals to a particular subset of people, who are a little nerdy/geeky, super smart, persnickety, fact obsessed. Those are the people who enjoy editing Wikipedia most, regardless of their gender : )
I was at a conference about the gender gap a few years ago in Buenos Aires, and I remember Wikipedia being critiqued there by a panel of Argentinian feminists. One was criticizing Wikipedia for its articles about transgender issues/people, and essentially seemed (to me) to be calling on me to fix the problems she was perceiving us as having. And I sympathized with her, but I also felt that to a certain extent she was missing the point. Wikipedia is what we make it. If you don like what you see on Wikipedia, you should fix it add more, make changes, speak up on the talk pages.
In saying that, I not meaning to be dismissive of bad experiences people sometimes have on Wikipedia. I not saying it a level playing field we definitely suffer from [[systemic bias]]. And so particularly if you are a member of a group or perspective that underrepresented on Wikipedia (if you an Indian editor editing on the English Wikipedia, a woman, etc.) you may have a harder time than a majority culture editor, in getting heard. But it worth doing it anyway. Half a billion people read Wikipedia, so it worth putting in some effort to get it right, so that what those people are reading is as useful and complete and accurate as possible.
On a more practical note, I would say that it helps as with any underrepresented group to hang out with other people like you, for support and advice. Wikipedia and other editors certainty in particular can sometimes be kind of daunting. Problems are actually a lot rarer than you expect. It just that when you do run in to a problem, it tends to be a problem.
When I was doxxed, it involved dozens of phonecalls to anyone they could find connected to me ranting about how I hate men (lol,) as well as two incidents of actual face to face harassment. With some other people who have been doxed, it unfortunately resulted in things so severe as to result in the perpetrator being imprisoned.
One way to get around it is to use a pseudonym that has no identifiable connection to you, whatsoever. Don link it to an email account, and don use a name you ever used elsewhere. And then use that account to edit controversial articles. As long as you email arbcom about it, it within accepted policy (and you don even really have to email them.) Just a possible suggestion I hate the idea that people won edit what they would otherwise edit because of fear of doxxers and other not okay people.
I do think that what Wikipedians perceive as hostile is different from what non Wikipedians perceive as hostile, definitely. When I first joined the Wikimedia Foundation I was constantly wondering why people were being so abrupt/brusque/unpleasant with me. I would experience people as being unkind on the mailing lists and wikis, and then later I would meet them F2F and they were totally lovely it was very confusing. That not unique to WP at all, but I think it more so on WP, possibly, than elsewhere. The WMF Chief Talent Culture Office, Gayle Karen Young, says it because Wikipedians (and WMF staff for that matter) value content over connection meaning, we don care as much as many other people about social niceties: we are more interested in the substance/content of what people are saying. I think that definitely true. I think you can see it even in the WP interface, which, for many reasons including this one, tends to be homely and grey rather than colourful/inviting/slick.
WRT where I think conflict stems from I not sure, but I think it probably both. Wikipedia doesn have a mechanism for permanently banning/barring editors, and it is very slow to get rid of people for being rude. (See "geek social fallacies.") Over time that probably has an effect on the culture overall harmony sensitive people are likely driven away as harmony insensitive people accumulate. And perhaps fighty people are drawn to controversial topics, as well. I can also say there a label we use called "moth people." Moth people are people who are drawn to controversial topics and they definitely exist on WP. They are distinct from what we call "planet people," who are not drawn to controversial topics. (I think the moth and planet concept originated with Clay Shirky, when he was following the discussions on WP after Pluto was determined to not be a planet.)