I learned this somewhat startling fact last week. I was in a group of people – public servants – who clearly thought it was a problem, something to be ‘managed’ or ameliorated in some way. After all, it’s not very balanced is it? Anyway my guess as to why it’s happening is the same as Frances Woolley’s guess which is this.
One theory is that women don’t edit Wikipedia because it is an “obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and…uncomfortable for women.” A recent blog comment by Jaques Giguere attributed some gender differences in on-line behaviour to lekking – a form of sexual display where males congregate and compete for mates. I like the theory, but it strikes me that posting anonymously on Wikipedia is a pretty ineffectual way of displaying one’s prowess.
My own theory is that women are less interested this kind of intellectual competition – after all, deleting someone else’s entry is kind of the scholarly equivalent of checking someone into the boards and taking the puck off them. I also think that women are conditioned or programmed (take your pick) to be modest and value modesty – it’s not feminine to go to Wikipedia and create a page about yourself, or go through entries and add references to your own work.
Anyway, if anyone else has any ideas, please enlighten us.