Woman and Wikimedian projects: Crum375
For the background of this series of interviews, as well as for other interviews, please take a look at the page Women and Wikimedia projects and its subpages.
Crum375 is the first Wikimedian who got questions for males. They didn’t declare their gender publicly (see below, all I know about Crum375 is inside of this document and their user page), but they are nominated by one of females which did or promised to do an interview.
Their first contribution was at the beginning of May 2006 and they got admin rights on English Wikipedia at February 2007.
Please, tell us something about you: Who are you? In which projects you are involved? What is your username on Wikimedian projects? How long are you involved in Wikimedian projects?
Crum375: I am an administrator on the English Wikipedia. My comments below are restricted to that project.
Do you have some of the privileges on projects: admin, bureaucrat, checkuser, oversight, steward? If you have some of them, do you think that you gain them easier or harder because you are male or you think that it was not relevant? Also, did you find that female contributors are getting easier or harder privileges only because they are females?
Crum375: I believe that obtaining admin privileges on Wikipedia is fairly gender-neutral. Admin candidates are more likely to be promoted if they positively contribute to article writing and policy development, while getting
along well with fellow editors, including and especially during content disputes. Often, their gender isn’t even known at that stage.
By your opinion, what is the main reason of small relative number of women on Wikimedian projects?
Crum375: Wikipedia is an online community which seems to be dominated by young white males. Often, editing articles, especially in more contentious areas, results in “content disputes”, which may escalate from mild disagreement into “edit wars”. Unfortunately, despite various policies designed to enforce civility and proper behavior, as well as many admins willing to help calm things down, there is frequently enough incivility, hostility and aggression to drive many women, as well as many mature men, away from that environment.
Do you think that your communication with the rest of the (particular and global) community is easier or harder because you are male or you think that it is not relevant? Did you notice that females have easier or harder communication with the rest of the community only because they are females?
Crum375: Many Wikipedians do not publicize their gender. I think the communication issues within Wikipedia are more dependent on personality than gender.
If you were in some decision-making process, do you think that your opinion (not) passed easier or harder because you are male or you think that it was not relevant? Did you notice that it is easier or harder to female contributors?
Crum375: I don’t think gender is directly relevant — personality is much more important.
Do you think that Wikimedian culture is sexist?
Have you ever been insulted on sexual/gender basis? If you did, how often is it happening? Have you ever seen that some female had been insulted on sexual/gender basis? If so, how often?
Crum375: I have not been insulted myself on Wikipedia on a gender basis, and my gender is not publicized. I have seen some females being insulted, some on a sexual basis, on and off Wiki, but I feel the main problem is not a gender issue per se — just unchecked aggression and incivility.
By your opinion, are there some positive examples and positive trends in Wikimedian communities toward better involvement of females in contributing to Wikimedian projects?
Crum375: I am not aware of any.
First two interviews (Delphine’s and SlimVirgin’s) gave a very opposite picture of this issue. I think that the main difference is related to their roles inside of the community. Delphine is working on much higher level, with people interested in developing free knowledge community. At the other side, SlimVirgin is working at the battlefield. Did you noticed this difference during your involvement in Wikimedian projects?
Crum375: Yes. I think that working in the ‘front lines’ tends to draw a lot of fire, both on and off Wikipedia itself. Editors who are perceived to hold a specific firm view in any content dispute, in articles or policies, may incur the wrath of their opponents, on and off Wiki. Typically however, most attacks and harassments are aimed at admins who routinely deal with or block problematic users, often coming from those users themselves posting off Wiki, or through their supporters or alternate accounts on Wikipedia. Of course one can edit [[butterflies]] and rarely catch any fire. ;^)
If you are involved in more then one Wikimedian community, do you see any difference between them in relation of this issue?
If you think that the situation should be changed, what do you think that it should be done to change the situation?
Crum375: I believe the way to improve the situation is to formulate and enforce much stricter behavior and civility policies on Wikipedia. Outside off Wiki attacks cannot be controlled, but I think that just strictly enforcing a more civilized environment within Wikipedia itself would make a big difference. I don’t think it’s a male-female issue; I think it’s more of an issue of aggressive young white males vs. mature grownups, and Wikipedia can gain a lot by attracting and keeping the latter.
By your opinion, what are the most important issues which should be solved to make better involvement of women in contributing to Wikimedian projects?
Crum375: See above.