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Where are the women?
In this article, replace 'Wikipedia' with 'WebmasterWorld'

 3:53 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Where are the women?

In this article in today's NYT, Wikipedia has...
...the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women.

The article suggests that "women are less willing to assert their opinions in public." But, no one knows if you're a guy or gal (or,as the famous cartoon noted, a dog) on the web (although Facebook is working hard to change that, but let's not go there...).

Catherine Orenstein, the founder and director of the OpEd Project, said many women lacked the confidence to put forth their views. “When you are a minority voice, you begin to doubt your own competencies,” she said.

She said her group had persuaded women to express themselves by urging them to shift the focus “away from oneself — ‘do I know enough, am I bragging?’ — and turn the focus outward, thinking about the value of your knowledge.”
Hmmmm. Let's me respond to that comment in a caring, thoughtful way: Huh, what...?



 5:45 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Concerning women updating Wikipedia to me it's less a "women are less willing to assert their opinions in public." then a matter of time and priorities.

From the article
“Everyone brings their crumb of information to the table,” she said. “If they [the women] are not at the table, we don’t benefit from their crumb.”

When women prepare the crumbs in the real-life kitchen, hubbies have the time to update some articles. After the crumbs are cleared from the table and the dishes washed (while hubby is still updating articles) there may be many other priorities/interests to fill the remaining spare time than updating some articles.

On the other hand ‘do I know enough, am I bragging?’ is something that some men
would be wise to think first before they say/write something ;o)


 6:46 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

When you are a minority voice, you begin to doubt your own competencies
It must be a girl thing.

Mine is invariably a minority voice but I've never doubted my competency. There are plenty hereabouts who can attest to that!



 7:50 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

How can they write Wikipedia articles or open threads on Webmasterworld, when they are busy writing shoe reviews on zappos.com?


 7:56 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some women have thousands of posts on WebmasterWorld, and don't have time for shoe reviews.


 9:05 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some women have thousands of posts on webmasterWorld, and don't have time for shoe reviews.

Ah, I was only joking of course. The best programmer I know is a woman. Ok - the second best, I am the best I know. But unfortunately she is the exception.

Imagine you go to a party and there is this gorgeous woman and you go over and then you talk the whole evening about how to best set up a LAMP server configuration and if Ruby on Rails is better than PHP.

It never happens....


 9:57 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some women have thousands of posts on WebmasterWorld, and don't have time for shoe reviews.

hear hear!

jecasc, it's really difficult for women (in my experience anyway) to bring something like that up at a party, men get all "threatened" like

as for Wikipedia, I think women (my son's schoolteacher is no exception here, and she's non-techie as far as I know) knew it was a waste of space and have spent their time teaching the/their children how to use the internet properly ;)

He's got a project just now where they've been specifically told not to copy from wikipedia - he's 11 and I know this is a first exercise in "research" for them so obvioulsy some copying is allowed but I'd told him the same thing about wikiP which is how the subject came up - the upshot is that he now knows that wikipedia is not all it's cracked up to be :)

When he sees me on WebmasterWorld, or with an HTML page open in code view - he just says I don't understand that, I tell him I'm coding a menu or whatever I don't bother explaining the difference between markup and coding, even if it is a php coded page that's open).. I show him the final result, he says can't you just paste a dropdown menu into your page - I smile - if only it were so simple

it might not be the crumbs on the table us women have to juggle is all I'm saying ;)


 10:25 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

It never happens....

Oh but it does:-)

I remember being in a local nightclub one night about six years ago when a stunning 20 year old blonde walked up to me and said "You're so-and-so's dad, I need a little help with some computing ideas I've had!"

That lasted about three hours and we still discuss all kinds of computery stuff, what's more she plays the drums!


 10:34 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

In my experience working with women, they like to talk. They'll flirt, gossip, review, suggest, fuss, detail, analyze, and reminisce more as well as more easily than the guys in my life.

Which is why it was, from what I have read, women who drove much of the success of Facebook. I'm working on several "family" sites right now and Facebook is powerfully effective getting the message out to women. I've seen the stats folks.

So, while fully acknowledging how busy women are with real life--it's certainly that way in my world, but it's their choice, I pull my share--I don't think that's the primary driver here. There are a lot of women who are spending a lot of time on FB.

Why did they flock to Facebook and not get involved in the message boards such as WW and Wikipedia? Or even message boards for young mothers. (Sure, they have some traffic, but not like you'd think.)

Perhaps it has something to do with Facebook had more controls about who they were interacting with.

In my experience, women are much more careful about who they do business with, who they share with. After there is a comfort level, they can be as open or more open to sharing their opinion and expertise as men, but women are careful where men are not. Facebook closed network is safer than Wikipedia's wild west.

That's a little half-baked, I'll toss it out there.

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