Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#Wikipedia is #teamwork. That is why we need more #women

#Diversity is a top priority at the Wikimedia Foundation and, rightly so. The argument used is typically more women will ensure more information that is of interest to women. Often it is said that it will improve our community because it will make it more balanced.

The New York times provides a different argument that is equally compelling. It reports on research on intelligent groups. It is part of long running research and the findings of what makes a great group are really relevant:
  • a group works well with equal input from all members
  • members are adept at reading emotions
  • women outperform men
As a consequence it is obvious that any and all male chauvinists that abuse women are a serious liability. The argument that they are used to sexist banter is no excuse, it has nothing to do with freedom of expression and everything with abuse.

Wikipedia and the collaboration on all of its sister projects relies on groups working together bringing us the best possible results. Clearly we want to have everybody on board. Social interaction is a vital ingredient for the best results and that needs more attention. There are technical and social consequences of this research that we need to figure out and, last but not least, we need more women.
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