Following the success of Swahili?  Have you actually spoken to a Swahili Wikipedia editor? I have and I haven't met one who'd agree with you.

While I appreciate that this brings exposure to Wikipedia and the language it is a massive burden on the editors.  Swahili editors got an upsurge of pages, but no long terms commitment of contributors.  Google essentially arrived, gave out cokes, got massive media exposure, and left.  All the editors volunteered their time and where left picking through the debris left after the event.  I'd hardly call relying on massive amounts of volunteer time "heavy lifting funding wise", Google gives very little.

So unless lessons have been learnt and integrated into this program "beware of Google bearing gifts".

I'd say go for it for Tswana and Zulu - if you can find contributors - you can't damage something that doesn't exist.  I disagree with Ian, I think you would get more Afrikaans participants because of a passion for language, internet connectedness, etc.  But I'd hate to burden the existing Afrikaans community to repair rubbish that will be contributed by drive by writers.

Asaf, maybe you can outline what lessons have been learnt from the Swahili effort and how those are integrated into these planned events.

On 2011-06-14 03:07, Ian Gilfillan wrote:
Hi Asaf

That's interesting news. The challenges though will be quite different to the Swahili event. Swahili is widely-spoken across numerous countries, and had a sizeable Wikipedia community beforehand. Afrikaans isn't as widely spoken, but has a relatively lively Wikipedia and active community. However, finding 35 judges from within the community will not be possible - there were only 24 active editors in April -

For both Tswana and Zulu, the Wikipedias are barely functional, with no active editors.

It does provide an opportunity though to kickstart some activity, create awareness, and make some progress towards building a community. I would be wary though, after the Swahili experience, of bringing in lots of new people for a competition in the absence of an active community. I believe the Swahili community had some challenges integrating the new editors and articles, and doing so in a vacuum might be trickier.

I'm happy to assist, though I'd like to discuss more with Google their aims and expectations, and give them a better idea of the situation as it is.

ian gilfillan

On 13/06/2011 22:53, Asaf Bartov wrote:
Hello, everyone.

Following the success of the Google Kiswahili Wikipedia Challenge[1] in 2009, the WMF has been in touch with Google's Nairobi office about a "Wikipedia Challenge" to be conducted in the languages Setswana, isiZulu, and Afrikaans, to be held from early August 2011 to early October 2011.

This is basically a writing competition (translations are allowed) of articles, with a proposed grand prize of a sponsored trip to Wikimania 2012 (in Washington D.C.), and several smaller prizes.

The competition is now at the planning phase, and we would very much like to involve some of you at WMZA on several fronts.  The first and most pressing is finding volunteer judges for the articles that would be submitted.  Google wants 35 judges per language, expecting each judge to need to put in 2-3 hours a week for the duration of the competition.  Are you able to begin interesting your local communities in these languages and enlisting volunteers for this?

And generally, could you identify an appropriate contact person?  (or one per language?)

This could be a very energizing program for your chapter to engage with.  Google are doing most of the heavy lifting, funding-wise.


   Asaf Bartov
   Wikimedia Foundation

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