People who can take it how women wikipedians negotiate and navigate safety

Amanda Menking, Ingrid Erickson, Wanda Pratt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

23 Scopus citations


Wikipedia is one of the most successful online communities in history, yet it struggles to attract and retain women editors—a phenomenon known as the gender gap. We investigate this gap by focusing on the voices of experienced women Wikipedians. In this interview-based study (N=25), we identify a core theme among these voices: safety. We reveal how our participants perceive safety within their community, how they manage their safety both conceptually and physically, and how they act on this understanding to create safe spaces on and off Wikipedia. Our analysis shows Wikipedia functions as both a multidimensional and porous space encompassing a spectrum of safety. Navigating this space requires these women to employ sophisticated tactics related to identity management, boundary management, and emotion work. We conclude with a set of provocations to spur the design of future online environments that encourage equity, inclusivity, and safety for historically marginalized users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
StatePublished - May 2 2019
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: May 4 2019May 9 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Gender gap
  • Online communities
  • Participation
  • Safe spaces
  • Safety
  • Wikipedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

Cite this