Wikipedia:General background on risks for women on Wikipedia and the Internet

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Basic information[edit]

General background[edit]

(Excerpted from a thread at the Village Pump)

Without some sort of overall assessment (making allowances for confidentiality) from the people who work directly with the WMF Emergency Response System, it is uncertain how women's safety concerns specific to Wikipedia participation may diverge from women's general concerns regarding harassment and online safety. However, given that Pew found "40% of Internet users have personally experienced online harassment", and also that "the proportion of Internet users who took part in chats and discussion groups plunged from 28 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2005, entirely because of the exodus of women" it makes sense to set out some background information. Despite the fact that there is no constitutional right to harass women online in the US, as recently as October 2014, "the foundational principles of the policies and guidelines of the English Wikipedia," WP:TRIFECTA were based on WP:DBAD, an off-color reference to male anatomy.

We should also point out that the Wikimedia organization relies heavily on unpaid student interns, and as of March 2014, unpaid interns weren’t protected from sexual harassment on the job in the US, unless they are in NYC, DC, or Oregon. Thus it is not unsurprising that a request at the Gender Gap Task Force for a phone number to report online sexual harassment of volunteers has gone unanswered, nor is it surprising to see a preference expressed for attracting female students rather than senior citizens at a recent Metrics meeting.

In this context, given that as of early 2015 the WP community has shown little capacity or interest in coming up with a workable enforcement mechanism for women's non-emergency safety concerns, it makes sense to share some basic resources for staying safe online and on Wikipedia, such as How to Edit Wikipedia: Lessons from a Female Contributor. It is worth noting that the new Crash Override site may offer some practical support learned the hard way through Gamergate, which caused three women to flee their homes. The FBI offers help to game developers suffering harassment, death threats, while CyberAngels has more general advice. Computerworld suggests removing all personal info from the net, which will take you a few hours to do. APC is monitoring technology-related violence against women outside the US as well, so you may be able to assess concerns specific to your geographical location.

See also[edit]

In addition to the Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines, the links below may be helpful to those seeking to use the existing site processes to resolve gender-related concerns.

Wikipedia processes for editor protection[edit]

Positive reinforcement[edit]

External links[edit]