At Wikipedia, It's a Man's World01 Sep 2009
Sorry, ladies, but when it comes to questionable online information, it looks like men have the upper hand. A new study breaks down Wikipedia users by gender -- and, whether it's reading or writing, this is one domain the dudes definitely dominate.
The Wikipedia Gender Gap
The study, conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation and previewed in a Wall Street Journal blog, finds an overwhelming 87 percent of Wikipedia contributors are men. Even when it comes to simply browsing and reading, the ratio still skews toward the guys: Sixty-nine percent of Wikipedia readers are male, the study indicates.
So what gives? According to the research, guys may be more altruistic and keen on getting the facts right -- at least, when we're talking about community-driven online encyclopedias. About 70 percent of contributors say their main motivation is sharing accurate information. (The other 30 percent, unfortunately, seem hell-bent on sharing inaccurate info. All the color-coding in the world probably can't stop them, either.)
Some other highlights from the research:
• The average Wikipedia-using guy is 26; the average Wikipedian woman is 24.
• About a fifth of the users hold a graduate degree.
• The main reasons people don't contribute are lack of time (translation: better things to do), satisfaction with simply reading entries (translation: better things to do), and lack of knowledge on how to actually edit the pages (translation: better things to do).
The complete study is set to be released in November, after which point a Wikipedia page about it will presumably surface...and soon thereafter be desecrated with erroneous information.
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