Very nice to see all the activities on the smaller South African language wikis! Hopefully this means a start for those projects. I have another idea to get some more things happening.
In Belgium I started the "Wiki Loves Monuments" competition. The goal for the participants was to take a picture of a heritage site and to post them on Wikicommons. The best images were selected and they could win a variety of prices (Belgium: iPad). It was part of a bigger European contest (18 countries). The goal was to attract new contributors to the wiki projects, and for Belgium to gather some wikipedians to start our own Belgian wiki chapter.
The competition itself was fairly simple to organise. The European organisers provided tools, a website, logos, a dedicated Wiki Commons upload tool, ... and also funding (10,000 ZAR). We made the translations (Belgium alone: five languages), we searched for our own jury, we searched for Belgian prices, and we got into contact with government organisations that helped us with a venue for the price ceremony and some more practical things.
The result was fantastic. 170.000 new images in Europe, of which 6000 in Belgium. Lots or media attention for the competition. At least 50 (!) new Belgian members that started working on Wikicommons or Wikipedia itself. A solid group of people that wanted to work on our own chapter. We established good contacts with government organisations that suddenly understood Wikipedia is not a black box but made by real people. Nice media coverage on the competition.
The European competition will be organised in September of this year. They would really enjoy SA to join in, and I'm sure WMF can help us with most of the funding. I think this is an easy way to get the attention of new people, especially from poorer regions (if we provide the necessary translations).
Who is interested to get more information, or to help with the organisation? We can meet in Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg (I'm almost everywhere for my current job)
BE: +32 475 21 38 35
ZA: +27 71 491 31 38
Hi,Ian is absolutely right. Although the workshops them selves tend to create a number of articles creating a community of dedicated editors for Xhosa language Wikipedia will be a very big challenge that I think will take a long time. On the up side people are very eager and interested but on the down side, as Ian has mentioned, there are still problems with basic computer literacy and access to computers/internet. I suspect that it will take a number of workshops followed by some sort of program such as one (and this is only an idea right now) whereby teachers use Xhosa Wikipedia to test their students translating abilities thereby creating a self perpetuating process that continually exposes new people to editing that wiki.As I mentioned to Ian on Saturday I think that a big part of creating a healthy community of editors on Wikipedia is finding enough people with the right type of personality that is at home using a computer. I think that is as much a numbers game as anything else which means spending a long time exposing as many people as possible to the idea and process of editing Wikipedia. A process that is made harder by relatively low rates of computer literacy. But then again we must start from some where I suppose. Either way, more work and support is needed and so long as I have free time and am in Cape Town I am happy help.P.S. Thanks for checking the stats Ian. To be frank I am delighted that one extra substantial edit was made since the workshop on Saturday. That in its self is a 0.7% increase! :-DOn 14 February 2012 00:02, Heather Ford <email@example.com> wrote:Thank you so much, Ian. Appreciate it.On Feb 13, 2012, at 1:15 PM, Ian Gilfillan wrote:Great :) I'd be really interested to know whether people continued to edit after the workshop if you could share.To try answer Heather, the article count went from 125, which it has been stuck at since at least November 2011, to 131 during the class, and there has only been one substantial edit from any of the participants on the weekend (a new article, increasing the count to 132) since the workshop, so the answer seems to be no.
The workshop was 2 hours, and, briefly, we hoped to teach creating a user account, creating or editing (via translation from English) an article, adding links, adding a picture, and I wanted to add interwiki links to the list as well. Everyone created or edited an article, and most, if not everyone, added links, though only some could create a user account due to IP limits, and very few got to adding an image or interwiki links. Douglas goes into more details in his post.
It's more complicated to add links in Xhosa than in English due to the way prefixes are used in the language, so quite often an article may exist, but the link doesn't point to it, and there are already duplicate articles for this reason.
There is still such a barrier with basic computer use, that I found a substantial portion of the class was showing people how to maximize and minimize windows, how to open a new tab or window, etc, and I got the sense that there wasn't always a real understanding of why the various steps were being performed, which reduces the chances of them being repeatable outside of the class.
The one article that was created afterwards is an orphan, with no incoming or outgoing links.
There was a lot of enthusiasm, so hopefully having a followup quite soon will keep the interest and momentum going, but I would expect there to be not much sustained activity as a result of the workshop alone.
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