I think Douglas is right.
People don't become long-term contributors of Wikipedia for any other
reason than because they want to. And it's a relatively rare person who
has that mix of skills, interests and passion.
I don't know the details, and I'm sure Google has some more experience
after their experiments in Swahili and Tswana, but I'd suspect prizes
have both a positive and negative influence. They attract people for the
"wrong" reason, in that they're initially motivated by the prize. In the
case of the Swahili Wikipedia, I heard negative reports -the new
arrivals disrupted the existing community (which was already fairly
established). However, as in the case of the Tswana Wikipedia, prizes
can also create an awareness and an interest which (thanks to the
individuals involved, not the prizes) has been sustained. I'm sure
Google honed the criteria between the two experiments, and we could
learn from them.
On 15/04/2012 00:57, Douglas Scott wrote:
Thanks for looking into this and writing this up, especially the part
on the Xhosa language Wikipedia. It is a very interesting post and I
agree that it is the case that the increase in the number of articles
on Xhosa language Wikipedia has been disappointing after the
workshops. I think that this will be a long term and on going project
with the goal of finding that one or two people amongst X large number
of people that has both the natural inclination to edit Wikipedia
(which I think is a relatively rare trait) and the Xhosa language
skills. As well as building up a community of editors that can grow
on its own.
So I remain optimistic that although it will requite what will feel
like a long period of beating our heads on a brick wall that
eventually some thing will come out of it. It will just take time and
A quick summery of the Xhosa workshops lack of success (as measured by
article output) off the top of my head.
* Beginning of academic year: interest in learning more about,
attending and editing Wikipedia for the
Xhosa language professionals that this series of workshops was
aimed at was high at the beginning of the year and petered off
quickly because people had to get back to work and so felt they
had less time to devote.
* Computer literacy: as has already been mentioned in a previous
email on this subject.
* Over focus on Xhosa language specialists and lack of role-out to
students and other possible interested editors. Students I
think is a good area to possibly focus on in future outreach
projects for the wiki.
On a more optimistic note I feel that it was not a complete loss
because it did:
* Create an awareness of the Xhosa language
Wikipedia amongst Xhosa language specialists and academics.
Judging from discussions I have had with them previously they
had no idea that it even existed and that they were able to even
edit Wikis in general.
* Created some good will and firmer foundations for future
projects. People seem eager to learn more about getting back
into it at the end of term.
* Created some good will and introductions for
other unrelated Wiki projects. Such as providing an
introduction to the Western Cape Provincial Archives who I have
been talking with about setting up a possible small GLAM
project. Time will tell though if anything comes out of that.
P.S. Many thanks again Ian for helping out with the first workshop.
On 14 April 2012 07:41, rupert THURNER <rupert.thurner(a)gmail.com
hi ian, a very interesting post. are you able to
somehow judge how
prices influence participation, quality, and sustainability?
On Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 23:16, Ian Gilfillan
> I've posted an update on the state of the
African language Wikipedias:
> Been some positive progress, although Xhosa in particular is
> after the three workshops.