On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 2:02 PM, Yaroslav M. Blanter <putevod(a)mccme.ru> wrote:
this would be 10 years of my work. Note that this is
just a narrow topic
which does not overlap with my professional interest (I am a theoretical
physicist specializing in nanoscience). In this field, I am just an amateur
(may be slightly above the average level).
You are interested in this topic; many users (or most, I am afraid) are not.
My conclusions from the two-weeks experience:
1. May be the really low hanging fruit, almost on the ground level, has
been picked up, but in the vast majority of articles there is much room for
improvement. Note that I did not add any special things - only the basic
info which you expect to find in the encyclopaedia. I did not aim at GA or
FA. I used may be 10% of the information I had, and what I had I found in
You have an expert knowledge in this topic, namely the knowledge of
Russian language. Most of English Wikipedia editors don't.
There is a plenty of low-hanging fruits in classical music articles
(especially in Russian Wikipedia). With a use of Grove Dictionary of
Music and Musicians, one could add more than 1000 paragraphs of text
into Wikipedia by just retelling its content. Grove has a basic
coverage of topics, and it has 29 volumes in it; I think that
describes the breadth of the topic well. Anyone claiming there is
nothing to write about there must be kidding.
The reason nobody writes them are:
1. Nobody cares;
2. Nobody understands the terms (most of which are fairly easy to learn).
2. I seem to be perfectly suited for these articles -
I have a general
interest in the topic, and also I know Russian and can work with Russian
sources. On the other hand, I an not a native speaker, and I can leave some
slight spelling errors / incorrect wording etc. This may be a problem, and
generally I am not sure how this problem can be solved. However, if I
estimate the balance, probably I created more of a useful product than I
The very fact that you were able to write this paragraph suggests that
your English is enough to write English Wikipedia articles. Grammar,
if not horrible, is an issue for FAs and GAs, and there you can get
someone to aid you.
3. Even for an technically experienced user as myself
it is difficult to
start contributing to the project. I was able to clear the barrier, but I
am afraid many of the regular users would leave, not being able to
understand the usage of templates and similar things. On there other side,
I got some necessary help, and I know where to ask if I need more.
Please, share your findings with our usability team. Even if it does
not exist anymore (I am not completely sure), they would be glad to
4. Comparing the quality of this particular class of
articles to Russian
Wikipedia, I see both advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, there is a
high chance that someone just living in the district will add some info in
the article in Russian Wikipedia. On the other hand, there are two major
problems with these articles in Russian Wikipedia - copyright violation
(big pieces are added to articles and stay there for years - things became
considerably better with the implementation of flagged revisions, but still
persist), and adding a big number of insignificant and often unsourced
details, including spamming of local interest websites. The English
articles are completely free of these problems. I realize though that this
line of reasoning can not be generalized to all articles, since the
articles on other topics may have very different issues.
I assume that this is because they are less popular. Articles about US
towns may have the same problems.