Stan Shebs schrieb:
Pete Bartlett wrote:
Why is de: better than en: is a great question.
They appear to have
covered classic encyclopedic topics much better than en: and
their proportion of Exzellente Artikeler is double that of our FAs, despite
standards. How to learn from de would be a great thing to discuss.
In a word: "Ordnung".
The full range of connotation is not easily translated into English,
but the disambig for de:'s [[Ordnung]] connects to lots of telling
things, such as en:'s [[social structure]] and the like. At the risk
of playing amateur sociologist and offending everybody, I'll opine
that while the German cultural liking for "Ordnung" sounds to USians
and Brits an awful lot like a compulsion to "follow orders", in
the WP context I think it translates to a greater sense of duty to
help achieve communal goals.
As a german Wikipedian, I would dispute this. It is definitely not
Ordnung and a sense of duty which makes the difference between English
and German Wikipedia. And even if this claim comes up again and again,
I'm not even sure that German Wikipedia is really better than English
Wikipedia. They are different and have different strengthes.
Now...let me collect some differences, I leave it to the reader to draw
his own conclusions.
On 2nd April 2006 the category:Living people on en contained 81.930
entries while the number of _all_ german articles tagged with
Personendaten (=almost all wikified biographies) was 86.830. I was
When I compare RfA on en and de, I count support votes on en:
31, 53, 45, 48, 61, 81, 28, 76, 50
72 (loosing candidate), 6 (loosing candidate), 93, 143 (loosing
candidate!), 92, 55
It seems rather strange to me that the bigger community has less
participation on such an important topic as is "who should become admin".
I didn't look at the criteria voters use on en, but they might be also a
bit different. On de candidates who really do a lot of useful cleanup
work are regularly turned down if they are not able to show that they
are also good authors. Other no-nos are bad behaviour, ignorance and
especially ignorance and wrong actions in image right questions.
Social structure. The german wikipedia has a geographical advantage here
because it covers a smaller area than the english. I may be a bit
exceptional but my estimate is that I've met at least 150 wikipedians in
person. Those 150 wikipedians know others who know others... there is a
rather close network of personal relationships among german wikipedians
(including of course the wikipedians from Austria and Switzerland). This
becomes especially important in case of conflicts: a good editor in
wikistress, deleting his userpage and quitting? He'll be flooded with
emails and maybe a calm discussion with one of his friends on the phone
will sort the problem out.
Let's look at the structure of the IRC channels now. English wikipedia
has the general channel #wikipedia with an extremely low signal to noise
ratio, the a bit more quiet #wikipedia-en and - I may be mistaken on
the following: a closed admin channel, a bootcamp, mediation, probation
and esperanza (whatever this is).
German wikipedia has: the general channel #wikipedia-de for socializing,
coordinating general work on the wiki, discussing events on wp, calling
an admin for quick vandal bans etc. Rarely people who chat too much off
topic (=not wikipedia related) receive a friendly kick.
Other channels: #hist.wikipedia where most historians hang out.
#phil.wikipedia - meeting channel for the philosophers. #bio.wikipedia -
home of the biologists. Some people frequent only the topic channels
and not the general one. The biology channel was the first topic channel
set up and reflects the strength of the german wikipedia in biology. The
Projekt:Lebewesen (living beings) is the most active project on de and
they fill one whole column on featured articles alone (the historians
are catching up).
General atmosphere. It's difficult to get hard data on this, but the
thing I hear most often is: atmosphere on the English Wikipedia is much
more relaxed and people are friendlier and politer. There are even a few
users who left the German Wikipedia with this reason and work only on
en. So it might be true. This feeling is often connected to the
behaviour on AfD. Hurtful comments are frequent there, combined with a
much lower threshold for AfD: articles which are tagged as stub on en
are usually proposed for deletion on de (and either expanded or deleted).
One group of prominent editors sticks to the maxims on the page "Be
). This is
not meant literally, but in the sense of Larry Sanger:
To attract and retain the participation of experts, there would have
to be little patience for those who do not understand or agree with
Wikipedia's mission, or even for those pretentious mediocrities who
are not able to work with others constructively and recognize when
there are holes in their knowledge (collectively, probably the most
disruptive group of all). A less tolerant attitude toward disruption
would make the project more polite, welcoming, and indeed open to
the vast majority of intelligent, well-meaning people on the Internet.
Refering to this "meme" (it's not a guideline), users have - undisputed
by the community - been blocked for "disturbing good authors from
writing articles". Leads to blocking and banning customs. The german
wikipedia has no arbitration committee. A poll to establish one has not
reached a necessary majority, the community divided about the question.
Long term bans are decided by a community vote, short term bans are
pronounced at the individual admin's own discretion. If another admins
thinks a ban too harsh, he may shorten or lift it. Wheel wars about such
issues are rare, though.
Wikipedia namespace. This topic probably comes closest to Stan's
assumption of "Ordnung". Personally, I love the Wikipedia namespace in
the English Wikipedia. There is so much to discover, so many obscure,
interesting or funny pages. However, without counting, I have the
impression that en has many many more pages in this namespace than de.
When I look in
a huge number of good advices, guides for almost everything (hey, even a
whole page for how to set dashes). The number of german pages is much
lower. Pages in the Wikipedia namespace are routinely scrutinized if
they are really necessary and often merged into existing ones or
is a rather complete overview of all important documentation pages.
Last point of this long mail: the impressive german projects like the
printed wikireaders, the DVD, the writing contest with big media echo
etc. In my opinion, these are due to several factors:
1) the independence of the german community from Jimbo and the Wikimedia
Foundation. The English Wikipedia is very much a monarchy, with people
looking to Jimbo for advice and guidance. The german wikipedia had and
has nobody with Jimbo's authority. People had to deal with the fact that
there is no ultimate appeal. This has consequences for the social
structure (which evolved to what I'd characterize as a meritocracy with
a few prominent and influential editors) but also for the possibility to
realize such projects. People had to act on their own, so they did it.
2) Personal dedication and leadership of individual Wikipedians. Most
projects were team work, but there was usually one person who invested
much more work than the others. The driving force behind Wikipedia
academy in June is one editor, Frank. The driving force behind many
successful initiatives like the writing contest is Achim Raschka. The
driving force behind the Wikipedia exhibition were Frank for the
organisation and me for the realization. The WikiReaders were produced
by individuals. etc.
3) For the DVD and WikiPress: the luck to find a good partner company
which is crazy enough to take up the accompanying risks and whose bosses
and employees "grok" the Wiki way. The first thing Vlado, one of the
Directmedians, did after the first CD was finally ready for production
was to expand the article Reggae to double its size - at 3 o'clock at
night. Just to relax...
So much for a comparison between English and German Wikipedia. I noticed
that I wrote much more about de, as I know the project much better.
Maybe someone else could add more facts about en. I'm placing this text
also on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Elian/comparison
- feel free
to edit and add comments there (and of course fix my bad english ;-).