The 2018 global Wikimedia survey came out in October and I nearly missed it.
In other years, Wikipediocracy would have been on it, but they seem to have even fewer women than usual these days, and the only two people who cared – Andreas Kolbe, because he did care, and Greg Kohs, because he wanted to embarrass the WMF over their sloppy statistical methods and extract revenge for some backroom deal over paid editing that fell through – are gone.
So what does the survey say?
Only 9% of the users are women. Compare this to 2010, when, according to Kolbe’s old piece in Wikipediocracy, “only 12.64% of contributors are female.” The report mumbles around about “we are not sure if this is due to a change in the sampling strategy”. But responsiveness or even methodology does not seem to be the WMF goal here. On the talk page someone has pinged EGalvez (WMF) with the question
“Among high activity editors, the lowest response rate was 25% from Portuguese Wikipedia while the highest was 25% from German Wikipedia.” Presumably one of those percentages is wrong? Thanks.”
The question was never answered and the apparent error remains on the page.
So the answer to participation of women remains: “Some work is needed to learn what effect this sampling change had, if any.” Well, they have the raw data, when are they going to rework it to give a meaningful comparison? IMO it has already been done, and the results are not something we will ever see made public. Instead we have ever-shifting goalposts. Participation of women is now rebranded as “diversity” and “inclusiveness”, which is in turn rebranded as age, educational level, and geographical area.
What else? Results are posted by “teams”, that is, the WMF group requesting data points on various stuff. So after clicking through the general report and reading it, you then find out you have to click on 11 different boxes to see the results for different internal WMF requestors. Here is the Support & Safety page: Community Engagement Insights/2018 Report/Support & Safety.
And what else?
- “Dutch Wikipedia was lower in measurements of collaborative intent, awareness of self and others, feedback and recognition, individual commitment to diversity, and inclusive interactions.” LOL, no surprise there, just take a look at the crude, misogynist language they use over on Sucks.
- “Compared with editors, program and affiliate organizers perceive that their communities place more value in diversity”. Hm, maybe that has something to do with the “Proposed changes to the Wikimedia Foundation Bylaws“.
- “Sentiments towards a sense of belonging and having an inclusive culture in the Wikimedia community were two of the lower scores among the diversity and inclusion measures. …the average response for women in the survey was 8% lower than men…” No shit, Sherlock. If you can find any women.
- “Although 54% of Wikimedians on the projects agree they are “freely able to express my thoughts without being attacked on Wikipedia”, women reported statistically significant lower scores than men.” That pretty much means that 46% do NOT feel they are freely able to express their thoughts.” But which thoughts? Don’t forget these are the same people who think a good use of their time is deliberating whether an F-bomb is sanctionable.
- “Among developers, there was 20% average increase from 2017 for all measures of collaboration and engagement”. Hmm, might this be a result of the Technical Code of Conduct.
- “Across Wikimedia audiences, an average of 22% felt unsafe or uncomfortable in any online or offline space in the last 12 months. In 2017, we asked the same question, but did not set a time limit of 12 months. So while it cannot be stated that harassment has decreased, we can say with some confidence that it has not worsened.” What? First, where is the survey from last year, and what were the numbers. Second, what happened to all the people who were harassed before? Did they by any chance just leave? This is like measuring unemployment statistics by counting the number of people getting unemployment compensation. You aren’t measuring the number of people who have run out of benefits, or who have stopped looking for work out of discouragement.
- “Experience of harassment has not declined since 2017 and appears to remain steady“. So all those people they keep hiring to solve the harassment problem have not made any headway.
- Finally this one from “Support & Safety” (isn’t it Trust and Safety?): “We still do not understand the reasons why people feel unsafe.” Well, yeah they did kinda tell you:
Except the problem is that you asked the people being harassed why they were being harassed. How can anyone be expected to speculate on someone else’s motives? You should have asked the people doing the harassing. “Have you ever done x, y, or z, if so, who and why.” And instead of this multiple-guess format, how about a space for open-ended answers.