Monday, January 31, 2011

Sex Differences at Wikipedia

So I noticed this morning in the NYT this piece about Wikipedia. Apparently people are worried because males write a lot more for Wikipedia than do females. They're also worried that more male-ish topics are generating bigger entries than more female-ish ones. I was going to float the following obvious hypothesis to explain some of the difference, but Drum beat me to it:

Still, even accounting for [the fact that The Simpsons has an audience orders of magnitude larger than do Mexican feminists], the gender disparity is real. But I suspect the reason has less to do with women having trouble asserting their opinions and more to do with the prevalence of obsessive, Aspergers-ish behavior among men.
Well, I'll bet that a fair amount of it is also women having a lower tolerance for internet assh*lery than do males...but it's the Aspy hypothesis that occurred to me. Guys just seem to get more obsessive about weirder stuff than do females. (I actually tend to think that this also accounts for a great deal of the difference in science and academia, too.) The NYT piece compares the relatively short entry for certain Mexican feminists to the relatively long entry for some character from Grand Theft Auto. My reaction was: it's not the lack of interest in Mexican feminism that's the really weird thing here...

(Incidentally, folks continue to say "gender" when they mean sex...)


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