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.
Ian Gilfillan

On 15/04/2012 00:57, Douglas Scott wrote:
Hi Ian,

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 perseverance.  

A quick summery of the Xhosa workshops lack of success (as measured by article output) off the top of my head.
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@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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 <wikimediaza@greenman.co.za> wrote:
>> I've posted an update on the state of the African language Wikipedias:
>> http://www.greenman.co.za/blog/?p=953
>> Been some positive progress, although Xhosa in particular is disappointing
>> after the three workshops.