Monday, April 11, 2011
One of my first posts ever here was on how impressive the Afrikaans Wikipedia is in spite of its low article count. The community there has always concentrated on article depth and size, and gives almost no heed to the number of articles. That's a good thing for the Wikipedia itself, though on the surface it does give the impression that it's smaller and less useful than it is, and that's a pity.
A discussion in the community area there a few weeks ago also talks about this. Most of it is in Afrikaans but a bit is in English. Some info from that (not an exact translation, just a rough gleaning of the concept):
"We have 2.6 articles per 1000 mother language speakers. That is comparable with languages such as Spanish (2.1), Portuguese (3.2) and Swahili (3.1) but we are doing badly in comparison with English (10.3), German (10.0) and French (11.0), and very badly compared with Dutch (30.1), Norwegian (58.8) and Finnish (44.2).The second idea is particularly good. People that use Afrikaans will be likely from South Africa, they will be attracted to information on it and will be able to more easily contribute than other subjects, and this could become a positive cycle (the opposite of a Catch-22). More information = more people coming to read it, more people coming to read it = more potential information.
How can we improve this? I have a few ideas:
1. How about the large Afrikaans newspapers (Beeld, Die Burger, etc.) try publishing one of our articles every day? ... the newspaper would also ask people to support the project.
2. What is the Afrikaans Wikipedia for? Is it just for linguistic pride, or is it something truly useful? Most people that speak Afrikaans also know English...thus we should have articles that are better than those in the English Wikipedia. We have to be useful. It is naturally impossible to be better than English in all aspects, but we can be more useful in some parts, such as issues relating to South Africa. Animals, rivers, mountains, sport, literature, music, cities, towns, suburbs, roads, schools, churches, universities, buildings, personalities, history, etc., etc.
The Norwegian Wikipedia always has a weekly competition, sometimes with prizes involved, and they will sometimes involve a city or town somewhere. A local council might allocate a few thousand dollars for example that would be given to the top contributors in a given week who write the most on their town, and so everybody wins. I highly recommend this approach.