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Battlestar Wiki talk:Think Tank/Female Involvement

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide

Combining goals?

Goals to solve:

  1. Female involvement
  2. "Important Themes" of the show -- possibly a new "series" of articles?

Why not combine them? Why not scout female contributors to write a themes series? One these women have written stuff, they may just stick around. On an unrelated note, what ever happened to Laineylain and Misco? They seemed to have stopped contributing at some point (all happened before my time here), but judging by people's comments they were very helpful over here. But back to the scouting idea. Maybe we should get our name out there a little more (of course underlining we're not a forum), as like Shane said on the blog, most communities (whether male or female) are unaware of our existence. On a side note, I'd also like this policy to encourage any present females to "come out", and I'll be adding a "sex" field to {{User Data}}. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 03:21, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

Sex and femalecat fields have been added to {{User Data}}. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 03:48, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
Laineylain and Misco were both pretty major podcast contributors for a while there. I'm not sure what happened... no major blowups that I'm aware of. They may have just gotten tired of transcribing. --Steelviper 07:40, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
Paradoxically, centering out women to contribute because they are women is a little weird, but I understand and support this. For one, I'd like to see a female administrator, and I'll be forced to change the term "Mop Boy" to something else. I'll think more about this; there are many women of popular note in the blogosphere (Sarah Kuhn from iPodObserver, Nat from BSGCast, for starters) that should be here more based on their enthusiasm, but aren't. Are there misperceptions about the wiki? The article appears to indicate that. --Spencerian 08:50, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
It is a little weird, I agree, but we have close to zero female contribution, whereas the overall online BSG community is filled with female fans. So clearly, something's wrong. And yes, appointing a "Mop Girl" would certainly be a milestone. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 08:54, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
Erm, how about gender and gendercat for the field names? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 21:17, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

Hey! :-) You know, guys, I feel a little left out... I mean, ok, I work for the German BSGWiki, but... hey! ;-) My guess, why there are so few female contributors on the BSGWiki: they are already involved with other BSG-related projects (fanfiction, actor websites, translating news articles for caprica-city.de...); time's in short supply for everyone. And seeing how great the en:bsgwiki fares, I'd never seen much reason to contribute here. The German BSGWiki is another topic though... Greetings, --CC-Mel 00:41, 2 May 2007 (CDT)

Hey, good to know you're still with us! You're right that the other languages need more menpower (or womenpower, if you will). Joe, I made gender and nogendercat the preferred names for those fields, although sex and nosexcat still work.--Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 04:02, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
The technical difference is that sex refers to the biological characteristics, while gender is the social role occupied (usually as a result of that, but they don't need to be the same). But even aside from that, gender seems better. --Serenity 09:52, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
CC-Mel's made a very good point. There's simply not enough time to go around. That could very well contribute to the lack of (known) female participation as well. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 16:08, 2 May 2007 (CDT)

After reading the article

I agree, Spencerian, Catrope ... definite misperceptions, and something is wrong, but I'm not sure how to fix it. I was posting the below at the same time you both were posting and got an edit conflict, the following are my thoughts on reading the article:

From reading the article linked in the blog entry, I think the author doesn't really understand the goal of BSG Wiki: to be an encyclopedia. We aren't really about the speculation (much) or reinterpretation, but rather the documentation of that which is presented on-screen. Take this quote:

This also means that some important themes in the wiki remain left out so far - including, for example, any coverage of potential homosexual relationships within the BSG world. Creative interpretation of the BSG text in this environment still has some way to go... - http://snurb.info/node/662

"Potential homosexual relationships"? From a encyclopedic standpoint, we don't deal in potentialities, we deal in facts. It also really isn't our goal to do "creative interpretation" of the BSG text; in fact, doesn't that basically break BW:NOT? I'm generally an inclusionist, and we have tags to address these kinds of articles (fandom, plausible speculation, etc), we note real-world parallels in the Notes and Analysis sections of articles ...I wouldn't mind seeing an "Important Themes" series of articles ...

We're a community, but we have different goals than other BSG communities. Those goals may not appeal as much to many potential female (and male, for that matter) contributors as, say, the ability to write fan-fiction, discuss potential relationships, or the ability to write whatever they like under their own name with a guarantee that it won't be altered/improved/deleted. I am all for bringing in new contributors, male or female, but I'm against compromising our stated goals to do so (not that anyone is saying that's the plan). I'm more for "getting our name out there". JubalHarshaw 08:56, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

I concur. However, that being said... where are the women (anyway)? Even granting our strict encyclopedic mission, there are still (I imagine) a tremendous amount of female encyclopedic contributors at Wikipedia. Why none here? Is it simply probability/statistics? (They do have a much larger sample size to work with than we do.) I'm not sure. I have, in the past, made suggestions to try to start topics that might be of more interest to a "female demographic", but they were (justifiably) determined to compromise the BW:NOT encyclopedic mission. I don't have any answers, though. --Steelviper 09:31, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
Like I said on the blog, I agree that we should get our name out there. That should be possible without compromising BW:IS or BW:NOT. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 09:52, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
I posted a personal response on the article's blog (it should be available after its blog admin clears it) that clarifies what we are (I didn't speak on behalf of the wiki, but just clarified our mission) and put my 2 cents in about BSG, female contributors, and the one homosexual note in the entire RDM show: the Caprica-Six/Three/Baltar threesome from "Hero" (which should be funny to them as Lucy Lawless, whose Xena character has many homosexual fans and a strong overall fanbase). --Spencerian 15:24, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

I've queried Sarah on getting permission to reprint the paper and the accompanying power point presentation, so people can view the full text and make their own determinations. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 21:48, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

I'm sorry, but I had to post it to get it out there. There is no more than 6 double spaces paragrpahs in 14 pages -- if released -- talking about the wiki. I have read the same article Joe has from her and without the power point presentation I am really not missing out on things. There are a few things first of all that I do not agree with her text -- I have read it being one of the few people that really help mantain our image online as a B-Crat. First of all, this paper was prepared fairly recently. Sometime after April 23, 2007. At frist read -- from what I read -- she assumed a lot of things from just reading the website without looking to deeply into the policies of the wiki. She even accused "us" admins of removing the fun of the series. Secondly, before publishing this to the world -- she made no attempt to verifiy her facts -- failing our own prasied BW:CJ policy. While she posted out we didn't have any "theme" based issues, she pointed out the "Toaster" article and didn't even notice the {{sillypage}} tag that is placed on the top -- and made it look like we we're trying to give it some sort of depth in the show. However, if anyone watchs the episode in Season 1, where Helo and Number Eight no less, run into the resturant -- the camera clearly zooms in on this piece of equipment pointing out the ironey of itself. she also goes onto compare ourself to the Star Trek series -- and using Memory Alpha as a reference itself -- where the technology of articles and alike are much more expanded. As Spenceriman pointed out -- our quality meter is way higher than MA or Wikipedia for that matter and just the sheer number of episode that have been produced in the franchise -- iroincly -- RDM was also part of the Trek team. Lastly, fanfiction is not allowed. I for one am open to the idea at a latter date, but right now we not allow it. Period. While she does credit us for having started the BW:BLOG project, she goes on to say that we did not try hard enough to get more involvement and use the medium as a "blog" is designed to do. Conclustion -- BW:CJ -- which means verify your information always and if your going to accuse a website of not doing a good job -- get in contact with us first -- myself or Joe or I think any user could have pointed out the reasons she has raised. But now we have to go on the defensive and explain our actions. If you are reading this, I open up to you that you signup and join our discusstion -- we do not BW:BITE. Shane (T - C - E) 07:02, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
Good argumentation you wrote there, Shane. After you've gotten some sleep, you might want to put that (in a modified version perhaps) out there where outsides will actually read it. Not many of them know how to find Battlestar Wiki talk:Think Tank/Female Involvement. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 09:22, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
Yeah. It's sad that she has valid points, but a terribly flawed argumentation. Seems like she really doesn't understand the goals of the site. While things can certainly be improved even within our mission parameters, some of the criticism is naturally excluded by the nature of the site. --Serenity 09:30, 2 May 2007 (CDT)

Ways to address the issue

I've been reading the responses on the blog. (I didn't realize that a vanity search would turn into a full fledged discussion on improving gender diversity of our contributors. Not that this is a bad thing, but life leads you to the most interesting places.) Basically, I haven't gotten the feedback that I've hoped yet from the female sector of the fandom, but I did like some of the ideas I saw, notably:

  1. The series on "Important Themes" in the series. (Actually, I did attempt to start something like this, but it never took off.)
  2. Delving more into character's motivations. We cover the history of the characters, which help us to understand the source of their motivations, including what drives them, but we can do better. As Serenity pointed out on the blog, our analysis on Romo Lampkin's motivations from "The Son also Rises" on forward is a good template to work from.
  3. Having read Sarah Toton's paper, my initial impression is that the technology barrier isn't the major hurdle. I'll quote the paper here, because it's something that struck me upon first reading it:
    "[W]omen fans tend to insert themselves and personals experiences into the storyline, identifying with characters and finding relationships between the fictive universe and their own lives, men parse through a text like a puzzle, giving great weight to authorial intent and working through details within the text in order to gain some sort of ownership."

-- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 21:48, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

I hope you don't mind that I moved this down here, as the discussion would be very confused otherwise. The section above is more general, while this is about practical ways to improve the situation.
About point 2, that I brought up: There was already a proposal to change the major character articles from a strictly chronological event listing to really exploring what the characters are about. That also creates themes for the characters. While this still wouldn't allow the sort of rampant speculation that's possible with a forum, I always felt that it would improve the articles. Contributors just need to realize that they can't just include all of their pet ideas and interpretations of the characters.
Secondly, some of the episode analysis is really jumbled together, jumping from one point to the next. It would help to organize that a bit. Maybe going so far as having sub-headers for "Character analysis" and "Plot analysis". Even without that, points about the same thing could be grouped together and ordered better that way. --Serenity 09:29, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree on the spirit of this, but we have to be careful not to overextend the purpose of analyses in articles; by their nature, they are subjective, so sourcing is a must to prevent mistakes or NPOV problems. (I don't even like it when the guys do this. :) The point were girls tend to relate to the characters through their own experience vs. how guys handle things more in-universe (analyzing how the tachyons are bounced off of Seven of Nine's mammary-based energon emitters) is going to be a problem if we want to keep things encyclopedic. --Spencerian 15:06, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
Yeah, that's what I hinted at above. I'm just saying that we already talked about doing a little bit more analysis (there was even a sample page, but I can't remember where). Seeing some of the stuff floating out on forums, separating fact from personal interpretation can be really tricky. But I don't forsee a mass influx of people adding their own stuff either. --Serenity 15:14, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
The sample page you're talking about is probably The Son Also Rises#Analysis, which does a lot of character analysis. It's also one of the lengthiest analysis sections on this Wiki (save for Miniseries, Analysis of course). --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 15:27, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
No. While "The Son Also Rises" is a very good example on how to do episode analysis, what I meant was a re-written character bio (as a test/demo), and a subpage of some other article or discussion page. I think Roslin, but I'm not sure. --Serenity 15:33, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
Yeah, it was on Roslin. Just don't know where it had gone off too. (It should be linked from the corresponding Think Tank proposal, however. ;-) -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 15:55, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
Found it. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 16:08, 2 May 2007 (CDT)

Missing Articles

Some very good points here; I'm a little ashamed that this issue never ocurred to me, and that it's taken so long to come up. That being said - the relationships depicted on the show thus far have been exclusively heterosexual. The only exceptions seem to revolve around Gaeta, in a strictly subtextual/blooper reel/off-screen context. So although it's unfortunate that we don't have a chance to talk in greater detail about the show's attitude towards sexual orientation, there just isn't a lot to go on as yet.

However, we do have several pages given over to (more or less groundless) speculation on the identity of possible Cylon infiltrators. It seems that either we should make a stricter effort to police such speculation, or allow similar pages concerning the sexuality of various characters.

Also, I think that articles on Human and Cylon sexuality in general are conspicuous by their absence. Between the Gemenese attitude towards pregnancy depicted in "The Captain's Hand", Ellen Tigh and Kara Thrace's relentless tomcatting, Cally's role as a working mother, Athena's post-marriage domestication, Thorne's rape of both Gina and Athena, Gina and Shevon's work as call-girls, the existance of child prositution in the fleet, the Baltar/Three/Six three-ways, and the Leoben/Kara relationship, we have plenty of material to draw on. --April Arcus 15:43, 2 May 2007 (CDT)

This would make for interesting features. :-) Having said that, most of the relationships have been fairly "nuclear family" and heterosexually oriented. The homosexuality issues that are brought up are virtually non-existant. I'm thinking that the author was more or less toying with what the fan fic community refers to as "slash", where they put two same-sex characters in erotic situations to play out the fan fic writer's fantasy or fantasies. That's the general vibe I got when reading the piece, and the corresponding blog entry on snub.
Also, Gina was never a "call-girl"... She was a sex toy/robot slave, as so far as Pegasus' people saw her. Which does raise an interesting question as to whether or not there were ever any Cylon sex-slaves on the colonies. But that's not something that should be addressed here... -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 16:03, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
She spent several months working as a prostitute on Cloud 9 after her escape from Pegasus, as seen in "Epiphanies" and "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II". --April Arcus 16:07, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
Uh, where do you get that from? I always assumed that she was simply sheltered by Demand Peace and did some sort of work for them. Gina is clearly extremely uncomfortable with Baltar's sexual advances towards her, as is to be expected by a rape victim. That pretty much precludes her working as prostitute. --Serenity 16:14, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
From the Podcast. Moore talks about how they tossed around the idea of having Gina end up working at a Brothel on Cloud 9, of the same sort that we see Shevon at in the next episode.
Now this is the first time that we really get to set up the fact that Gina is some place else, at the end of Resurrection Ship he promises to take her some place safe, we kept talking about the fact that she was going to go to the "brothel" over on Cloud 9 and that there would be a "brothel" over on Cloud 9 and actually in the next episode you will discover that there is prostitution going on over on at Cloud 9 and it's perfectly legal. And there was something evocative about that idea, oh there's the brothel and how perfect that is for Gina and she could work out a lot of her angst and anger and somehow we ended up here. That Cloud 9, we had established, has these state rooms because it was a luxury liner and we never quite got around to the "brothel" aspect of it and this is one of the areas that I'm not as in love with in this episode and in subsequent episodes to be honest. This is an aspect of the show that I think we shot a little bit wide of the mark here, there was something dark and intriguing and moody about Gina and the "brothel" and now it just feels like she's over in this upscale hotel hanging out.
So he seems to have left the idea in, but discarded the exposition surrounding it. Later, he again refers to her hotel suite as a brothel:
Meanwhile, back at the brothel... thank God she has those Clark Kent glasses on else he'd be scared right now.
So there you go. --April Arcus 16:23, 2 May 2007 (CDT)
Ah, now I remember. While we know that there is certainly prostitution on Cloud 9 (Shevon), that's one of the cases where I take the final result over the podcast exposition (and that last comment seem more like a joke anyways). Gina's revulsion towards sex is an addition by Tricia Helfer for which she campaigned for. The writers didn't really think of how she would feel after being gang raped for weeks or so. But they agreed with her, and that's how it ended up on screen, thus - at least for me - negating the earlier plans. But that's kinda off topic now. Maybe move it to Gina if anyone is interested to discuss this further? --Serenity 16:29, 2 May 2007 (CDT)


I don't see anything against a "Sexuality in the Twelve Colonies" or maybe "Sexuality in Battlestar Galactica" article, as long as we stick to the facts. Any homosexual pairings (except for the threesome maybe) are just fantasy, but there is enough other stuff to go on, as noted above. --Serenity 16:38, 2 May 2007 (CDT)

An issue of communication

I don't think we're going to get anywhere by discussing what "females" are looking for since those who are noting this issue haven't been forthcoming... and those women who are forthcoming are, in fact, actually offering other issues for why there aren't more female contributors. (These range from simply not wanting to invest the time to the fact that contributors don't know exactly what they have to contribute.) I've gone so far as to promote discussions on the feministsf.com blog, with little results from those discussions.

So I propose that we shelve this proposal and make a new plan to investigate this issue. Thoughts. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Sanctuary Wiki — New 09:44, 7 June 2007 (CDT)

Yeah, seems to be more of a storm in a water glass anyways. It would be nice to have some regular high-profile women here, but it's not a pressing issue either. --Serenity 09:59, 7 June 2007 (CDT)
Concur. It's not as if we're never been open to the idea. It just so happens that males are more dominant here. It could always change, but entering information on Battlestar Wiki is not compulsory. I don't know if it is practical, but if the question arises again, perhaps a quick poll (even on Sciffy) could be done to ask "How often do you use Battlestar Wiki?", "Are you male or female?", and "If you don't contribute on Battlestar Wiki, why not?" We might get this data already, elsewhere, but still it would interesting to know. -- Spencerian 10:43, 7 June 2007 (CDT) (Talk - Contrib Skillz - Edit Skillz)
The QuantCast external data supports the fact that we have a slighly larger male audience than a female one; but our active contributor body is mostly male. Also, we need to note that we've never actively collected gender information (via polls, as Spence suggested) until Toton's paper. Furthermore, the other language wikis are not even considered as part of our contributor group by Toton's paper; we have female administrators and contributors on the other wikis as well. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Sanctuary Wiki — New 11:19, 7 June 2007 (CDT)
I'll reiterate what I said on the feministsf blog: if we want women to come here, they should step over their own prejudices about BSWiki (i.e. stop seeing us as a boys' club where women won't fit in). Other than advertising that we're not striving to be a boys' club and that women are welcome, I don't see much else we can do about this. --Catrope(Talk to me or e-mail me) 10:47, 7 June 2007 (CDT)
As I pointed out, the issue may very well stem from the Wiki being prejudged as a "boys club", and not anything this community has actively done. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Sanctuary Wiki — New 11:19, 7 June 2007 (CDT)
Hi, female fan here, relatively new to the Wiki. I'm part of a podcasting trio about the show, and the blog responses and call-ins we get appear to be about 90% male and 10% female. Unfortunately I think there's some deeply-rooted gender difference in sci-fi in general for a variety of reasons, many of them outmoded. Even though plenty of women may watch the show, I think they're less likely to identiy themselves as sci-fi fans (and therefore less often explore the on-line communities such as the Wiki). Not to get off-point, but this is also true of people of color. Sci-fi has been a young, white guy domain for a while. At this point I don't think women feel unwelcome - I think they just need to have the idea planted that this stuff is FUN and something that other girls do, too. A way to "attract" female BSG fans might be to think like a marketer: how are female sci-fi fans different from run-of-the-mill ladies (we are- smarter, I'd say ;) and what type of rhetoric, artwork, etc. appeals to that type of women? Sorry to be vague, but I agree with the issue's importance. It's not about representation or "forcing" a minority voice into the scene - it's about making sure all the people already in the scene know they can and should be part of the Wiki.--Aheaslip 17:29, 11 June 2007 (CDT)