Grants:PEG/Ada Initiative/Gender-gap admin training

This submission to the Project and Event Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2014-15. This is a grant to an individual.

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Gender-gap admin training
Teach the Ally Skills Workshop to 30 people involved in Wikipedia, with the goals of increasing awareness of issues that affect women editors, and if successful, creating a scalable sustainable program to train admins to better moderate discussions that have gender-gap implications.
targetplease add a target wiki
strategic priorityplease add a strategic priority
start dateMay 12
start year2015
end dateAugust 1
end year2015
budget (USD)$9,000
grant typeorganization
created on23:05, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


Discussions on the English Wikipedia can become aggressive, particularly noticeboard discussions of behavioral issues. Women's issues may be ignored or downplayed, and editors are sometimes criticized even for suggesting that there is a gender-gap angle to a discussion. Admins who moderate and close these discussions may not realize how their actions affect the way women view the conversation.

What is your solution?


We propose a pilot program to train admins how to be more aware of how sexism impacts Wikimedia projects and specifically to better inform their decisions as admins. The training program would be the Ally Skills Workshop from the Ada Initiative and taught to up to 30 admins from around the world at Wikimania 2015. Attendees would be selected through a competitive open applications process, choosing the people who would be most likely to benefit from the workshop and to become future workshop facilitators. After the training, attendees would answer an anonymous survey about what they learned and how they would improve the workshop for other admins. The pilot training would be conducted in English.

Depending on the results from the pilot program, we may propose a larger program to train at least 20 Wikimedians to teach the workshop to admins around the world. We would ask for a budget to translate the workshop into the most in-demand languages and adapt the cultural content to be more relevant to local communities.

The materials for the Ally Skills Workshop (attendee handout, facilitator's guide, etc.) are licensed CC BY-SA and publicly available at:

Note on provenance: This proposal has emerged out of discussions on the English Wikipedia's gender gap task force. It also emerged out of an idea proposed in May 2014 by Sumanah. The original proposal by several Wikimedians was for 1-2 workshops and the train-the-trainers. After consultation with the original proposers, the Ada Initiative scaled it down to one pilot workshop, with any future activities to be funded by a new grant proposal.



$9000 for training fees and travel expenses (see below for more details).



Increase awareness of how sexism impacts editing and administrative decisions on Wikimedia projects and give admins the tools to make better editing and administrative decisions and effectively advocate against bias caused by sexism.

Get Involved



  • SlimVirgin (talk) 23:16, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Community organizer Getting the bandwagon to step in is the first step. This proposal needs traction. QEDK (talk) 03:55, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Willing to help in whatever way I can to get this off the ground. ACrockford (talk) 12:05, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Happy to help in whatever capacity is needed. Data crusader (talk) 21:56, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Because this is a very good idea . Britneyfan07 (talk) 04:50, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Being a women I think that I can contribute to bridge the Gender gap on Wikipedia Shrutisaxena75 (talk) 11:24, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Researcher I'm a scientist and I can help with statistics and data interpretation. Xttina.Garnet (talk) 17:56, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Advisor can offer some advisory support where useful Siko (WMF) (talk) 18:11, 29 April 2015 (UTC)


  • Gobōnobō + c 23:43, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Would prefer in-person training initially, or at least the ability to participate by video-conference, until the program can become more established. Input from admins will be needed in the embryo stages, and would benefit from face-to-face group process. —Neotarf (talk) 00:05, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
    • A question has been raised elsewhere about the length of the session. A week-long session would be ideal, but practically, not everyone can afford to miss work for that long, and a weekend course would easier for participants to attend. Other suggestions have been made for a course that could be delivered during a group's regular evening meetup. This might be considered in the future, but in the development phase at least, a longer session would be more valuable. —Neotarf (talk) 15:45, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Great idea. In-person would be good, of course, but given that shipping and accommodating people from all over the world would add at a zero (possibly two) to the budget and restrict it to big, relatively infrequent sessions, it would be good to explore the online route with the Ada Initiative. In the end, the advantages and disadvantages of online vs physical need to be weighed against each other—and they might be multifactorial. The advantages of online would include a reach to many more candidates, who are not put off by the distraction of a long-distance commute. I presume a "manual" for participants and the basic structure of a curriculum would be produced (the draft curriculum would enhance a funding application). The initial survey might inquire into connectivity and devices; the WMF can advise on how strong connectivity needs to be for google vid (and audio) conferences to work. Tony (talk) 00:39, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Excellent. Training on this issue will reverberate positively through all the Admins do. Carolmooredc (talk) 13:22, 24 September 2014 (UTC) Additional later note here: And it will make it easier to get a quota of say 1/3 (verified) women admins and arbitrators as proposed elsewhere here. Carolmooredc (talk) 18:59, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Good idea. I am not an admin, but I have been in an Ada Initative workshop through my workplace (Mozilla) and it was excellent; very positively focused, had lots of discussion in small groups, and gave everyone who participated food for thought. A combination of online and in-person workshops would be best, I think. AI workshops could work very well, if adapted to Wikimedia admin concerns. In the interestes of full disclosure: I am on the Ada Initiative advisory board. (And also a long time evangelist and editor on Wikipedia & wikis in general.) Geeklizzard
  • This seems like high-leverage, low-cost (assuming online) way to significantly influence the experience of editing Wikipedia for the better. The idea for a screening questionnaire is a good idea since our expertise is in educating and giving tools to people who want to help but just don't know how. The Ada Initiative is currently in the middle of our fundraiser, so I can't add a lot now, except to say that we're interested in exploring this further and would consider developing this training. Valerie Aurora (talk) 21:40, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I am honored that my speech from Wiki Conference USA helped you develop this idea, SlimVirgin! I agree with other endorsers that this is a promising idea. It works with existing institutions (the English Wikipedia admin community and the Ada Initiative) and their skills. And, in my opinion, it aims at training and empowering enough admins to make a genuine difference in onwiki discussions. I have participated in and taught the Ada Initiative's ally skills training workshop and can attest to the quality of the materials and the experience; the proposed gender-gap admin training would concentrate on similar skills and issues. Disclosure: I sit on the board of directors of the Ada Initiative. I am a former Wikimedia Foundation employee (I left very recently, so I'm mentioning this in case anyone reading thinks I am still at WMF). Sumana Harihareswara 18:41, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Another AI advisor who is also an occasional wikipedian chiming in here in support of this proposal. I've both attended and taught the Ally Skills workshop that Sumana mentioned, and I also think that a similar training that focuses on WP admin issues would be super rad :) Leigh Honeywell (talk) 21:26, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:29, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  • This is such a great idea. We desperately need this to help change cultural problems. Keilana|Parlez ici 20:05, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I would definitely appreciate this kind of training; admins work with editors who they almost always know absolutely nothing about and this becomes especially important when having to deal with problematic conduct or closing heated discussions on controversial topics. Understanding better ways to maintain the 'pedia that help retain underrepresented and interested editors is something I value and I therefore support this initiative. I JethroBT (talk) 10:36, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Absolutely endorse this kind of training. It would also set a fantastic precedent for how the Wiki community approaches potentially sensitive issues in general. ACrockford (talk) 13:24, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
  • A wonderful and constructive proposal likely to result in a positive for all. We need more admins. We need a more positive atmosphere. The culture on wikipedia must change if this enterprise is to continue. Fully support admin training as proposed by SlimVirgin. EChastain (talk) 22:22, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Why we need to work with Ada Initiative, if we can use Skype as effectively? Either way, I am not against this idea and I do think that it will lead to a better vibe. However, in order for this vibe to work we need to have at least one female admin that will train females. As user @I JethroBT: knows, I have greeted many users in the past, majority of which were from Middle East, at least half of them probably were women. Not a single one of them joined our community though. :(
  • As far as user @Keilana: comment goes, he brings a good point. This issue is not as much gender based, as much culture based. For example, majority of women from Middle East, Africa, India, or Eastern Europe, are still shy of afraid of joining Wikipedia (although Russian Wikipedia is a bit different in that respect). Perhaps it have something to do with old belief that "one sex is working class, and the other sex is a housewife", plus/minus religiuous views on the Internet as whole. Not to mention that the other reason why we have less female users is because in some countries Internet is costly, and mostly men can afford it (Africa is an example here). Feel free to cortrect me though, but not much have changed since outstead of the former President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt when it comes to women and Internet in that region. :(--Mishae (talk) 23:19, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I really like this suggestion. I have long thought that Wikipedia has reached a stage where we all need more training in classroom-like settings, and this could be a first step in that direction. I watched a video at the Ada site and it was great. If this suggestion is implemented and is successful it could serve as an example for other training ideas. I'd also very much like to see training in the use of the consensus method of problem solving; trained individuals could then be used in the many difficult discussions that arise on the talk pages. I would not agree to the suggestion that "The hope is that other admins would respect those decisions" as it would cause resentment and debate right off the bat, IMO. Gandydancer (talk) 12:12, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Outreach program to universities could be an option.Messiaindarain (talk) 15:59, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Excellent idea. In fact, I think some sort of "gender sensitivity" training should be required of admins. Too often, conflicts revolve around who is the en:Alpha_male and not content.(en:User:Nowa)-- 16:52, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Superb idea ! Did not know this was up in the works. Goes right to the heart of the matter. I think women need a dignified environment to be attracted to it, not a place which is replete with "sailor talk" vocabulary. Besides that, admins need to act in principle of Equality. Wikipedia does have a policy which requires equality, but some admins seem to be either unaware of this community policy, or have little commitment to it. Admins should be made aware of this policy and their commitment to community policies checked. Some seem to decide disputes on the basis of results from the "adminscore" tool, rather than merits of the arguments. We can't expect to keep any new users in this kind of environment; being treated unfairly is particularly off-putting for women, and suggest that this issue be included in the training program. I think / Nowa has said the same thing above. Best.OrangesRyellow (talk) 17:14, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Fine idea. Why not? Tharthan (talk) 20:04, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Excellent idea. Hmlarson (talk) 00:07, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Great idea. let's just do it! Llywelyn2000 (talk) 10:29, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Strongly support. --Theredproject (talk) 20:24, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Strongly support. --Djembayz (talk) 23:22, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Bad education is the origin most problems, good education the solution. Aidafuente (talk) 18:52, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Great idea. Lirazelf (talk) 12:05, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
  • This is an effective way to try and bring more females into the Wikipedia admin fold. JB82 (talk) 14:49, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I very much like this idea and would be willing to help re: identifying issues of emotional labor that admins may face. --Mssemantics (talk) 21:05, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Brilliant idea Ocaasi (talk) 00:22, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Given there are now so few new admins, it might not be impossible to mandate all new ones to complete this/some training within 6 months of passing RFA. Applied to existing admins there is a risk that most who volunteer will be those who need it least, and vice versa. In person would be nice, but very pricy except in eg the Netherlands. Johnbod (talk) 15:48, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm a woman and I only go on here once a year. I think a lot of the things that turn me off could be addressed by this proposal. Xttina.Garnet (talk) 14:06, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Endorse. Expanding one's mind by looking into another's can never hurt. Thank you, Wordreader (talk) 19:31, 24 March 2015 (UTC) - PS - I love the logo!
  • Yes! Lightbreather (talk) 19:11, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Great idea. FCT Berlin=>?! • 18:10, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
  • We GREATLY need more ideas like this! If you'd like assistance with instrument development/implementation, I'd be happy to helpCshanesimpson (talk) 22:27, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
  • This is an important proposal, I support it! Shameran81 (talk) 19:31, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Great idea, will help with the gender gap, will help Wikipedia. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 17:59, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Expand your idea


Project plan




Teach one Ally Skills Workshop at Wikimania 2015. The Ada Initiative is responsible for creating the application form, assisting with recruiting attendees, teaching the workshop, and analyzing the survey results after the workshop.


  • $7,000 Workshop fee
  • < $2,000 Travel expenses for trainer

The workshop fee includes creating the application form and screening applications, assisting with recruiting attendees, teaching the workshop, and analyzing the survey results after the workshop. Travel expenses can be more exactly estimated by WMF.

Community engagement


The community will assist with creating and screening the applications, recruiting attendees, and tailoring the content of the workshop. Workshop attendees will answer an anonymous survey with several open-ended free-form answers. The Ada Initiative will consult with the community members who created and supported this proposal. If the workshop is successful and the follow-on grant is approved, community members will learn to teach the workshop themselves and teach it worldwide.



If the test workshop is a success, the WMF can choose to fund train-the-trainers sessions for people from around the world, who can then teach it in their local areas. Funding for translation and localization of the content is an option.

Measures of success


We have a standard post-workshop survey which includes about half a dozen pair of questions such as:

BEFORE the workshop, I knew how to welcome women to my communities.

AFTER the workshop, I knew how to welcome women to my communities.

It also includes many open-ended questions. We are exploring hiring a survey designer to improve this survey and can also add questions suggested by the community and/or WMF.

The results of this survey will be used to evaluate whether this workshop is a successful intervention and the train-the-trainers should be funded.

Project team


The Ada Initiative: an international non-profit working to support women in open technology and culture since 2011. Our co-founders are Wikimedians and our Deputy Executive Director gave a keynote speech at Wikimania 2012.

SlimVirgin: wikipedia editor since 2004, administrator since 2005.

Xttina.Garnet: Joint Master in Neuroscience student, her work focuses on process that recruit bias and stereotyping in decision making. Occasional Wikipedia editor since 2009, contributor in the Neuroscience Project. Relevant Skills include statistical analysis in SPSS, R, and Python, survey design in Survey Monkey.

ACrockford: Wikimedian in Residence based at the National Library of Scotland, post-doctoral researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Edinburgh.

Data crusader: PhD Candidate in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory, Digital projects coordinator at Emory's Center for Digital Scholarship, assistant managing editor for the open access, peer reviewed journal Southern Spaces. They are also community + advocacy coordinator for the Open Access Button and community representative for the Digital Public Library of America.

QEDK: Editing Wikipedia for quite a while, 3 years or so. Studying in high school. Attended decision making and persuasive writing workshops. I also organized the carnival for our school (does this even count? :P) with a team of just 3 people (visitors were 3k+). I know HTML5 and CSS. Learning Java right now. I also work out at Twinkle (i.e. JS).



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