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Submissions/Why not all Wikipedias are equal

From Wikimania 2010 • Gdańsk, Poland • July 9-11, 2010


This is an open submission for Wikimania 2010.

Title of the submission

Why not all Wikipedias are equal: My experiences on English and Telugu Wikipedias

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission
E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)


Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

I have been an administrator on the English Wikipedia, the largest of all Wikimedia projects, for over 4 years. I have also been among the top 100 contributors by edit count terms in a smaller Wikipedia, the Telugu Wikipedia, Telugu being a language widely spoken in South India. The fact that I am now a part of the team engaged in the formation of Wikimedia India, coupled with the fact that most Indian Wikimedians probably edit the English Wikipedia affords me an opportunity to reflect on the reasons for why Indian language Wikipedias have not grown, even controlling for commonly cited factors such as the speaking population, literacy rate and internet connectivity. My relative inactivity on the Wikimedia projects in the recent past also provides me the distance to act as a dispassionate observer in trying to understand how these two Wikipedias evolved – While my observations may strictly be viewed as personal viewpoints in one sense, I believe that this may hold important lessons when comparing and contrasting projects of different sizes. In the presentation, I intend to expand on the observations I make based on my experiences on these two Wikipedias, and the policy implications this may have. The broad pastures in this presentation would deal with the issues surrounding contributing content – the need for a critical mass in the broadbasing of a Wikimedia project, the need to seed initial interest, the implications of handholding, and the requirement for process-led content. By way of contrasting a smaller Wikimedia project with a bigger one, I deliberate on differences in terms of culture and more importantly, the dangers of institutionalization that may occur due to the practices in bigger projects. I finally expand the discussion to include issues such as how awareness of a bigger Wikimedia project is higher than the fact that it is free for editing, followed by how even awareness of existence is lower for smaller Wikimedia projects.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

People and Community

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Slides or further information (optional)

These were the slides I used at the presentation

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  1. guillom 01:32, 21 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Mayooranathan 21:01, 21 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Bishdatta 05:21, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Sky Harbor 15:48, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Jodi.a.schneider 15:59, 27 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  6. aprabhala 14:30, 31 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Kocio 12:47, 2 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Amir E. Aharoni 06:38, 22 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Przykuta 07:54, 22 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Jon Harald Søby 18:30, 26 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Tinucherian 10:34, 29 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]