"Owning" Wikimedia projects in South Asia

    "Owning" Wikimedia projects in South Asia

    Out of curiosity, some time ago, I looked at the depth of city information for New York - and compared it cursorily to the information on Bangalore. There's a world of difference, of course. Practically every street (and a number of individual houses even) have their own Wikipedia page, each lovingly tended to, whereas Bangalore is lucky to host a few major sights. I'm not saying that there is equivalence between Bangalore and NYC; but I am saying that for a city of probably 1 million internet users, it's representation is much less than it should proportionally be for having 1/6th of New York's internet user population.

    This is of course, chicken and egg. But do you think it matters to how people perceive what they can do in/to/with Wikipedia? And how do you think we can jumpstart some of this depth and breadth?

    Are there other ways in which we can symbolically change the way Wikipedia seems to look? (i.e. somewhat Western?) What would these ways be? (Note: an Indian chapter will be up and running shortly, and it should go some way in creating this symbolic connect; i.e. people who live in our postal codes representing Wikimedia projects).

    Aprabhala20:12, 24 November 2009

    Achal, I am not answering your question here, just sharing a good article I read recently that supports your basic premise --- that Wikipedia suffers from systemic bias. URL and snippet below:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/dec/02/wikipedia-known-unknowns-geotagging-knowledge

    An analysis of Wikipedia entries reveals the world's knowledge deserts – which may provide a second wave of activity for the online encyclopedia

    Are Wikipedia contributors running out of topics to write about? Recently, much has been made of the fact that the growth in the number of new Wikipedia articles has been gradually slowing and the number of volunteers apparently falling. But Wikipedia still has much to do: the map above suggests there are still whole continents that remain a virtual "terra incognita" and the next explosive growth in the online encyclopedia will come from places that have not previously been represented.

    The map represents the roughly half million geotagged Wikipedia articles that fall within the boundaries of any one country. These geotagged articles are either about distinct places (such as cities, buildings, forests) or about events that occurred in distinct places.

    There is clearly a highly uneven geography of information in Wikipedia. The United States has the most articles about places or events (almost 100,000), while some smaller countries such as Tonga have fewer than 10.

    But it's not just size that is correlated with extremely low levels of wiki representation. Almost the entire continent of Africa is geographically poorly represented in Wikipedia. Remarkably, there are more Wikipedia articles written about Antarctica than all but one of the 53 countries in Africa (or perhaps more amazingly, there are more Wikipedia articles written about the fictional places of Middle Earth and Discworld than about many countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas). ....

    Sue Gardner20:38, 11 December 2009

    Hi Ms. Gardner, I think its also a matter of Reflexivity. Wikipedia above all other places follows the rule of Reflexivity, Under or Over-representation on any one area or topic generally has a direct co-relation with the interest generated in that very area. The country-wide usage stats would provide ample evidence of this in most cases, the fact that many countries in Africa are poorly represented would mean a low interest in topics or searches related to them or generated from those locations, while fictional places or even distant uninhabitable places like Antarctica for that matter would have more interest since users from different countries and backgrounds with different languages might be interested in them (generating searches, editing, correcting would all be co-related) even more than some real places.

    Theo1001122:08, 16 December 2009