Task force/Recommendations/Local Language 2

From Strategic Planning



To increase the use of and participation in local Wikimedia projects it is important that the projects provides material that is of importance to the people in that region. The material provided on e.g. the English Wikipedia might in some regions not be of much interest, even if it would be translated into the local languages. Even increasing the topic coverage on sites such as the English Wikipedia could have some results as it could increase the use of Wikimedia projects by English speakers in a region, giving an increased awareness of the usefulness of these projects and in turn stimulating the use of the projects in the local languages as well.

To stimulate creation of material that is of interest in different regions it is important to know the latest up-to-date happenings in that country. For example in the Wikipedia section, articles relating to research in that country can be shown, and in the wikinews section current news about that country could be given priority. Also in the Wikibooks, Wikispecies and other Wikimedia projects up-to-dates in that particular country, relating to the particular project, should be given priority.


Automatically collect data from the wikimedia projects taffic logs, search engines, alexa and so on about what people in different regions want to read about. Then present the regional data easily accessible from the same regions main pages of the different wikimedia projects, in a format that is easy to read and understand. The statistics could be collected in different cathegories such as current research, news, hot topics (topics that has a rise of interest for a couple of days, weaks or months, e.g. a wedding of important persons in the region or a season long tv show), cultural interests (e.g. dance might have a higher number of searches in some regions than others) and so on. Further encourage creation and expansion of articles about content that occurs on the list. It would be good if topics that already has articles of pretty high quality could be filtered out of the list so that the list only contains topics that are not well covered and need to be improved.

Also make sure that topics of higher interest in the given region is highlighted on the main pages of the different Wikimedia projects. Even if there is a very well written article about Denmark in Tajik, there might be other articles that are better suited to be a featured article on the Tajik main page.

Assertion: The major Wikipedias lacks content that are of interest to people in many regions.

Surface of the earth at night
Density of geotaged articles
Density of named places in www.geonames.org

People in different regions are interested of information of different character. An article about the Eifel tower or a European politician is of more interest to a European reader, while an article on lake Victoria or African politician can be of larger interest to African reader. At the moment there is a lack of content that are of interest to people in regions that has had little growth of their own projects.

Some comments from an article at floatingsheep [1] highlights these issues:

  • "Many Wikipedia articles (about half a million) are either about a place or an event that occurred within a place, and most of these geographic articles handily contain a set of coordinates that can be imported into mapping software."
  • "The country with the most articles is the United States (almost 90,000 articles), while most small island nations and city states have less than 100 articles."
  • "Almost all of Africa is poorly represented in Wikipedia".
  • "[T]here are more Wikipedia articles written about Antarctica than all but one of the fifty-three countries in Africa".
  • "[T]here are more Wikipedia articles written about the fictional places of Middle Earth and Discworld than about many countries in Africa".

The three images shows a map of the nightsky, the density of geotaged articles about a region and the density of named places in www.geonames.org respectively.

Comparing the first two images one finds that there is a very high correlation between the density of goetaged articles and electric light. Comparing the second and the third pictures it is also easy to see the large possibilities for extending coverage.