The Women in Red World Contest closed on 30 November at midnight. The editors working on the project created 2,885 articles in just 30 days, writing articles about notable women from every single country in the world. The contest, which began on 1 November 2017 and ran for the month had editors competing for a total of around $4,585 in prizes. The final scoreboard shows the magnitude of the editors' combined efforts: seven editors wrote more than 100 new biographical articles each in November; at least 22 editors wrote more than 30, or more than one per day on average. And all the newly-minted articles had to meet the contest's basic quality rules, for minimum size and proper references. Furthermore, a record 22 editors became members of WikiProject Women in Red during the course of the contest. Of the Did You Know's in November, twenty-nine were about articles created in the contest, as well as fifteen in December, and twenty-five that have yet to be listed .
The contest took a while to organize after Dr. Blofeld's proposal came to life. Besides all the heavy lifting of getting the grant approved, creating all the sign up sheets, adding multiple red links and monitoring, he used his networks to get it off the ground. Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight and Ian Pigott were instrumental in helping prepare templates, invitations, and distribution lists. Emilio wrote the bot after several months of trying to find a coder. Sue Barnum designed the logo and did much work developing the missing article lists, along with numerous other volunteers. During the contest, several judges, particularly Cwmhiraeth, verified bot findings and checked for copyvio issues and other policy-based criteria.
The Signpost's Eddie891 asked Dr. Blofeld to reflect on the contest:
- How do you feel about the number and quality of articles created during the contest?
- At the beginning of the contest I set the target of 2000. It quickly became apparent that we might end up with nearer 2500, but the end result of 2900 articles far exceeded expectations and was a brilliant result. I thought even 2000 initially was an achievement as the African Destubathon lasted six weeks and produced 2041 articles and stubs require less work than if they didn't exist. I think the overall quality of articles was very good, very few shorter stubs and the referencing mechanism I think ensured that a lot of the work produced was consistently formatted.
- If you could run the contest again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
- Very little as I think the contest proved to be a great model for development, but I had some complaints about the bot picking on formatting, so maybe I would relax some of the rules on how sources are formatted as some people did say that it demotivated them.
- What would you say is the greatest success of the contest?
- Definitely the way it worked to produce articles on every country and entity on the planet, and a wide range of occupations. While the figure of nearly 2900 was very impressive and beat records for output in one month I think the diversity displayed was extraordinary and how I think Wikipedia should be developed.
- What's next for you?
- I have a toolkit to make based on the contest to allow other editors to replicate it and run for smaller regions, I also have to take care of the prizes once I am wired the grant money and then likely propose something new early next year.
- Anything else you'd like to add?
- Thankyou everybody who contributed to the contest, and you taking the time to arrange these questions!♦ Dr. Blofeld
- "My favorite article of the 52 I created for the contest? I enjoyed a lot of them," editor Penny Richards commented. "I was excited to start an article about a mapmaker, Laura L. Whitlock, because I used to study women and maps, and because her map of 1911 Los Angeles is really detailed and interesting." Richards wrote her first 26 articles for the contest in alphabetical order, one for each letter, from Asako Hirooka to Zelia Peet Ruebhausen. "That was just a fun extra challenge for myself," she explained.
- The contest inspired editor Sue Barnum to explore writing about women from Oceania. She also wrote several articles that were missing from the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame page. Her favorite article, though, was Lydia Avery Coonley. "I was finally able to write about one of the missing women from the Chicago Women's Club page. I knew she was notable, but I'd had a hard time finding sources until I searched under her second married name. Women's articles are often a challenge because women more often change their name than men!"
- Editor Ser Amantio di Nicolao turned his focus largely towards women of Central Asia. "I was stunned," he says, "by the lack of focus on the topic – the category Category:Tajikistani actresses didn't even exist at the beginning of November. I was lucky enough to find some good sources to help me begin to flesh out content. By the end of the month I'd written about around 60 new articles covering Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan."
- Noswall59 started off adding biographies of British academics and public servants, but ended up trying to create articles for more obscure locations that still lacked entries in the competition. "It was great to collaborate with others and strike off countries from the list. I was amazed by how patchy Wikipedia's coverage was, and enjoyed the challenge of researching new subjects. My highlights were putting together articles for women from Sark – a tiny, self-governing island in the English Channel – and the remote island of Tristan da Cunha. The competition really opened my eyes to how much still needs to be done in some parts of the world."
- The goal of editor SusunW was to add quality articles for the Caribbean, writing one article for each country on the Latin America/Caribbean missing article page. Quantity wasn't as important as making sure the articles met notability standards with adequate documentation. When she completed the goal before the month was over, she expanded her coverage to include Antarctica, Canada, Greenland and the United States, so that she had written one for each country in the Americas. She wrote, "I was really surprised to find adequate sources to include notable women from tiny Saba and Saint Pierre and Miquelon. But, my favorite articles were the group of them on mixed-race, free women planters from the 17th to 19th centuries." She'd like to see similar contests in the future with the prizes shared between participants and Women in Red, to enable the project to access paid databases or buy shared resources.
- Editor Darreg from Nigeria saw the contest as an opportunity to get the necessary motivation to reduce the knowledge gap around African contents on Wikipedia. He stated: "when so many editors are working together towards a common goal, it tends to steam me up towards that stated objective. I am happy I was able to ensure articles exist for all the female ministers in the cabinet of President Buhari. My best additions were covering topics on women pacesetters, entertainers, feminists and professors across at least eight African countries." He concluded: "I hope to see more of this on Wikipedia. I was very glad with the diversity of the results".
- Editor Alanna the Brave was inspired by the biographical histories she researched and wrote about for the contest: "I'm well aware of the gender gap in the coverage of history, both on and off Wikipedia, so it was an easy choice for me to decide to sign up for the World Contest. Over the course of the month, however, I was surprised and uplifted by the multitude of extraordinary women I stumbled across in my research. I came across stories of pioneering female aviators, broadcasters, lawyers, sea captains, explorers, poets and more. It was a wonderful reminder that women have always played a dynamic role in world history – we just need to open our eyes and look for them."
- Editor Alafarge took the contest as an opportunity to translate pages from the French and German Wikipedias, where many remarkable women lurk who are not (yet) in the English Wikipedia. Favorite find of the month: Louise von Panhuys, an early 19th century botanical artist whose work on the flora of Suriname was inspired by Maria Sibylla Merian.
- Editor The C of E focused on women's rugby union and association football articles but also branched out to other areas including politics and law. "My favourite article was the one I did on Helene Bechstein, Hitler's etiquette tutor. In carrying out my work on sports articles, I noticed that there is a gender bias against female sportswomen in terms of the sports notability guidelines where some that apply to men don't apply to women. I also tried to get my articles on DYK too but a lack of time prevented all my articles featuring."
- Miyagawa worked on a range of topics, including Paralympians and women who work in professional kitchens. "This inspired me to continue working in similar fields, to create a comprehensive list article of every female chef who has ever held a Michelin star. It'll be the first time this has been gathered anywhere, and will show a list of red linked women for future creation."
- Sturmvogel_66 focused on women whose stories were found in sources readily to hand, which primarily included scientists and physicians, Chinese nuns, East European and Balkan feminists, and American economists and historians. "Having majored in psychology and history in college, my favorite article was Tamara Dembo, who helped to pioneer psychological field theory and rehabilitation psychology in the 1930s and 1940s. The (few) economists were probably the hardest for me to write as I struggled to translate economic jargon into terms understandable by laypeople and lacked the background to understand exactly why their work was important."
- Vami_IV, who normally works in Southwestern Germany, focused almost purely on Latin American women, as the topic was interesting to him and he had prior experience with Spanish, which was not too difficult to translate with the right tools. Over the month, he translated over one hundred articles and placed third in the competition overall. "It's hard to choose a favorite," Vami writes, "but if I chose one that really stood out to me, it would be Miroslava Breach. I really bled writing that one." Even as he ran against Sturmvogel and Miyagawa, among others, Vami also competed against a spell of depression. "I'm proud to have served the women of Latin America in such a fashion" he wrote on December 6 on his Twitter. "I really like Latin America. I hope to be back soon. I hear Buenos Aires is pretty great."