Cautionary thought on Wikipedia core policies in less technical countries

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(This was also in the IRC office log of 12-22, but essentially on a separate point. I don't know if it's been covered here so it may be worth noting.)

Many cultures will be worse at COI and advocacy than ours - sorry for a generalization but its a gut instinct... so be careful to mention "Wikipedia only contains information that is written by selected people and places, to help people like <name> rely on it." Encyclopedicness is hard to explain in simple terms, basically they need that expectation in there up front. Not being a marketer or outreacher I'd suggest using multimedia - show them that point in the movie/video somehow.

Consider how enwiki grew... at the start there was a HUGE amount of tolerance for "original research" and imperfect content. As enwiki got substantial, that tightened a lot. For example when I started editing, there was no cite (<ref>...</ref>) system. The rule was you posted what you thought was right, and someone might ask for a source on the talk page, perhaps. Maybe developing countries' citizens should not be expected to have access to "reliable sources" or education and such? Consider that whole area of assumption.

Or create a Draft: namespace (NOINDEXed) where mistakes and draft content are writable, and tag articles when you think they are ready for mainspace. Maybe thats a model for some places? Get it basically viable, then mainspace it. Better than userspace because its more visible so others can collaborate, patrol, help and review, and the sense of OWNership is less. New content by default created in draft:, moved to mainspace when ready; in the meantime its safe to develop and anyone else can see articles under development and collaborate too. A bit like a formal "sandbox space" rather than a sandbox page. If you aren't sure or you're new, draft articles in the draft space... someone will help when you think its ready. Suddenly, developing articles gets a lot easier, and articles that should never be in mainspace don't get there. Create the namespace and the tools for it, link to it as the default location to create in from "this page doesn't exist, you can create it"but leave its use optional. People'll use it if linked.

FT2 (Talk | email)14:37, 29 December 2009

so be careful to mention "Wikipedia only contains information that is written by selected people and places, to help people like <name> rely on it." I don't realy understand what you mean here.

Not being a marketer or outreacher I'd suggest using multimedia - show them that point in the movie/video somehow. Do you mean that effort should be put into introducing people to Wikimedia by multimedia instead of assuming that they will read the same information? I think that is a good idea, because I think most people in our culture initialy has become aware of the open content and open source movement through causual conversations rather than having read something about it. In a culture where there is few people that are aware of the philosophy behind such movements it is very unlikely that anyone would ever hear about this from such a causual conversation. Here I realy think a Movie that explains the core principles as well as some technical details about how to edit could be a good solution. A carefuly choosen soundtrack might as well be very important for puting people into the right mood as they watch the video. To put them into a state of mind where they feel that the project is aiming for a good thing and that they are able to contribute to achive this. Involving local celebrities in such a campain would certainly have an effect too.

a HUGE amount of tolerance for "original research" and imperfect content I think this is very important. Policies that are good for larger Wikimedia projects might be counterproductive for smaller ones. I think this can be made as a cautionary comment in the recommendations. Just to make everyone that reads them aware that whether to implement the different recommendations in some cases has to be considered on a per project basis.

Draft namespace Is this not a recommendation that maybe is more important for larger Wikimedia project? For the smaller ones I think the main namespace could be used instead. But to create a draft namespace for each project would probably not hurt, but maybe more draft-like articles should be allowed in the main namespace of the smaller Wikimedia projects while there can be stricter restrictions that discualifies draft-like articles in the mainspace of projects like

Dafer4500:39, 3 January 2010
  1. Explain the idea of V, NPOV, RS, OR in simple terms - why they matter, what we hope for. There's nothing wrong and everything right with explaining it. Just don't expect to get too much of it or be too demanding of unfamiliar editors in small or new projects. But explain it? Yes :)
  2. People unfamiliar with the benefits or uses will probably grasp the ideas and benefits more by being shown (TV style) than by reading it in text. Even if some like and seek textual information, others will not, and many countries have significant populations with no cultural norm on text-based looking up of data and information. For them, multimedia will convey much more, and much wider.
  3. Yes.
  4. Appropriate for all. A smaller project may not have a culture able to produce high quality content, but there's no reason to avoid developing that approach in other ways. "Create your new article here [= Draft:NAME] then post a link HERE and ask users to add it to the encyclopedia if they think it's good enough" will probably encourage peer review and a bit of a trend to higher standards in a culture that has neither, better than "post to mainspace and wait to see what happens or ignore it".
FT2 (Talk | email)02:36, 3 January 2010

I think 1 and 2 is covered in the "Promoting Wikipedia in developing countries and minor languages" thread now, 3 should be included as a cautionary thought in the local language recommendation and 4 is something for the quality task force. Right?

Dafer4515:37, 3 January 2010

Overlapping recommendations are fine; I passed these all your way as requested and because they could be useful there as well. But some equally apply here too.

Overall I think you are right, 4 is more "quality related". It's about how to introduce quality in a wider culture or an editing community that doesn't have that background or is new to wiki, needs leeway to get going, but should aim to begin quality work somehow even so.

FT2 (Talk | email)18:57, 3 January 2010