Adrianne Wadewitz on Wikipedia’s demographic

About Adrianne Wadewitz: Dr. Wadewitz is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Digital Learning and Research at Occidental College specializing in 18th-century children’s literature and the digital humanities. In addition to her doctoral work, she has been hired as an educational consultant by the Wikimedia Foundation and has taught classes on virtual worlds, children’s literature, and the digital humanities.

Topic of the class: Wikipedia’s tagline is the “encyclopedia anyone can edit” which suggests that a diverse group of people make up its constituency of writers, but this is far from the case. Around 90% of Wikipedia’s editors are male and most of those are white, in their 20s, and college educated. While this in and of itself does not necessarily mean that the encyclopedia will be biased, historical precedent suggests that that will be the result. In this discussion, we will look at Wikipedia’s demographics and investigate how that affects the content of the encyclopedia. We will also explore how being a “citizen” of Wikipedia overlaps with other internet communities, such as reddit, and what this means for politically-charged articles.

Structure of the presentation:

  • Chip’s Introduction
  • Wadewitz’s Introduction
  • Demographics of wikipedia
  • Gender bias
  • Conversation degenerates
  • Sandra Fluke
  • Who makes the decisions?
  • Chip’s introduction
  • Wadewitz’s Introduction

  • Who makes the decisions?


Nine out of ten Wikipedians continue to be men: Editor Survey“, Wikimedia Foundation blog, 27 April 2012

How Kate Middleton’s Wedding Gown Demonstrates Wikipedia’s Woman Problem“, Torie Bosch, Slate, 13 July 2012

“‘Free as in sexist?’: Free culture and the gender gap“, Joseph Reagle, first monday 18.7 (7 January 2013)

Deletion discussion, “Sandra Fluke”, Wikipedia

Men’s rights“, Wikipedia

Men’s rights reddit discussion on Wikipedia articles, reddit






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