Tuesday, March 04, 2014

#Wikimedia and growth

Growth is one of the development projects of the Wikimedia foundation. Its article states: "The purpose of the team is to find ways to attract and retain Wikipedia editors". It focusses on the English language Wikipedia and this is problematic.

It is problematic for several reasons. The most obvious one is, the English Wikipedia has the most developed community and infra structure and this does not compare easily with most other Wikipedias. When en.wp is compared to a tree, it takes away the light and nutrition from the others. Once this is understood and accepted as an issue, the fact that less than 50% of the traffic is in English and that this percentage is decreasing makes it obvious that growth is happening elsewhere.

When the purpose of growth is to attract and retain Wikipedia editors and when growth is not happening where the focus of the growth project is, it is likely that tools are developing that are not considered as part of the growth project. Take for instance the Reasonator and Concept clouds, both provide accessible information based on information that is largely based on information from any and all Wikipedias. When people spend time adding labels to Wikidata items they will quickly make the information provided of a higher quality in their language. It will show up in search results and it will provide not only basic information on a subject but also information on related subjects.

The classifications of editors that have been validated for the English Wikipedia are not valid for many of the other Wikipedias. When there are few articles on any subject, basic information is key and not so much the featured articles of the en,wp that are all to often too long to read and not that relevant. 

This is however not what this growth project is about. It is well intentioned but it puts the needs of the projects where growth is happening in the shade.


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