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Gender, Bending Wikipedia

By Moxie

This article explains how a single user on Wikipedia with an agenda can manipulate the project over an extended period. Wikipedia lists a number of articles under the category “English murderers“, and as of writing this category has a handful of subcategories: English assassins (7), English murderers of children (36), English people convicted of murder (155), English female murderers‎ (40), and English regicides (mostly those involved in the execution of Charles I)‎. For some reason Wikipedia does not have a category “English male murderers” which some may consider a bias in itself.


Lets focus on the two categories English people convicted of murder (155) and English female murderers‎ (40). It turns out that 35 of the 40 “English female murderers” are also in the category “English people convicted of murder”; the remainder are male. Assuming that eventually the missing 5 women will get added to the category, Wikipedia has 120 articles (75%) concerning male murderers and 40 articles (25%) concerning female murderers. How does this compare to actual gender breakdown of murder convictions in England?

In 1995/6 (which does not seem to be a special year) there were 935 males convicted of murder (90%) and 101 females convicted of murder (10%). How is it that a female is 2.5 times more likely to be listed as a murderer on wikipedia than a male? Enter the special interest contributor by the name of Shakehandsman, a Wikipedian who tends to add negative copy to articles on women. Even when Shakehandsman isn’t writing overt negative comment, his additions are designed to denigrate the person indirectly. For example here is the before and after Shakehandsman version of the article on journalist

…continue reading Gender, Bending Wikipedia