Proposal:Reach out by active promotion of content in wiki-weak large languages

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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Wikimedia could help actively seed content in wikipedias which lag far behind in size compared to the size of the language community. Especially for developing countries. Especially by seeding with educational content that relates to everyday needs (health, food, basic technology, etc).


Wikimedia could do more to reach out to undeveloped/developing countries by reaching the hundreds of millions (or even billions) of people who do not happen to speak a second language where we do well, like English or Spanish or ....

The current policy where we wait till people start helping themselves has not yet been very productive for some parts of the world.

We could actively encourage content development in those large but wiki-weak languages. Maybe pay for translation of a basic set of articles to any language which is deemed in need of support ? Per yet to be defined criteria (like more than a million speakers, to start with).

This could serve as incentive and also serve as example of what could follow. Wikipedia content would than show up from time to time in Google in that language. After all for many of us Google was also the starting point.

Compare '1000 articles' on meta

This proposal is quite unlike an earlier initiative on meta, where 1000 articles were deemed essential. That proposal also has its merits, but in a different context: those 1000 articles are partly high brow culture, with a focus on first and second world, partly good general knowledge, but not of direct help to anyone in less privileged parts of the world. Few people from Africa or India would feel an incentive to contribute if they find Wikipedia has content in their language about Sarah Bernhardt, Le Corbusier, Dialectic, and about 800 (give or take) other topics on that shortlist.

This proposal aims for content that is immediately relevant, articles about food, hygiene, health, basic technology, and the like. There is a minority of people in Africa with internet access. That minority probably has a better than average education, and may not need the proposed content in their local language themselves, but they may see the benefits of good articles in the local language for their peers, and find an affordable way of distribution, and thus help to get the ball rolling.


Of course there are practicalities to consider.

  • Who guards the 100 essential articles in a language until a community self-organizes?
  • We might need a variation of the current policies for new projects, where now an active community is a prerequisite.
  • We might publish those 100 article as a protected showcase with different procedures to open up the wiki for general editing.

Participation in wikipedia editors per million speakers of the language


In (semi-)official interviews India and Africa are quoted on a regular basis as potential beneficiaries of our work. This proposal aims to speed up progress.

Key Questions

  • How to select proper content for this massive translation undertaking?
  • How to guard the content while the wikipedia's in question are still struggling to reach an active community?
  • Should we write this content ourselves or ask very experience and committed ngo's (e.g. Red Cross, UN) for assistance?

Potential Costs

  • It would costs money to hire translators
  • Our current policies for creation of new projects might interfere
  • Content would need to be guarded (or semi protected) until local editors have built momentum


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Reach out by active promotion of content in wiki-weak large languages.

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