Hugh Pickens writes writes: The Wikimedia Foundation collaborated on a study of Wikipedia’s contributor base last year and discovered that it was barely 13 percent women and set a goal to bring it up to 25 percent by 2015. But now the NY Times (reg. may be required) reports that progress in reaching that goal is running up against the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women. "The big problem is that the current Wikipedia community is what came about by letting things develop naturally," says Kat Walsh, a member of the Wikimedia board. "Trying to influence it in another direction is no longer the easiest path, and requires conscious effort to change." Joseph Reagle says that Wikipedia shares many characteristics with the hard-driving hacker crowd including an ideology that resists any efforts to impose rules or even goals like diversity, as well as a culture that may discourage women. Adopting openness means being “open to very difficult, high-conflict people, even misogynists,” adds Reagle, “so you have to have a huge argument about whether there is the problem."
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