Wikipedia, Anonymity, and Gender

Over the weekend, as part of an assignment for my minor field readings in History and New Media, I made an edit on a Wikipedia page. I’ve had an account on Wikipedia for at least 6 years now, but I only rarely make edits. Most of the time I just like being able to remove spam or fix typos as I find them.

Wikipedia recently added a WYSIWYG editor. I made some feedback on the visual editor and someone responded within an hour asking for some clarification. Another user replied to the first, trying to help, and referred to me as “he”.

I didn’t bother correcting them, but I wonder if I should have. Part of my wants to ask “why do you assume I’m male?” especially given recent conversations about the lack of women in Wikipedia – either as authors or as subjects. I thought about saying “I’m female.” I haven’t, yet, and the moment has probably passed. But it has made me thought about the importance of being visibly female in tech-related situations, for all that I’m a humanist. 

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