I wasn't trying to imply that this bias was in any
way avoidable. I
was simply trying to point out that without the valuable contributions
of those who are not native speakers of English, the Wikipedia would
be much more biased towards the large group of nations you just
pointed out. I am also fully aware that English is not close to being
the most spoken language in the world.
In short, I agree with everything you've mentioned. I'm not trying to
sound like a copout, but I think somewhere along the way what I said
previously was either misinterpreted, or I managed to brainfart and
say something in a way I didn't mean. Apologies.
On Sat, 12 Mar 2005 20:30:43 -0700, Mark Williamson <node.ue(a)gmail.com> wrote:
This is a very narrow-minded view I often
"So many people around the world speak English!"
In most counts of second-language speakers of English, actual ability
is not measured. Thus I might take a random sample of Nicaraguans and
find out if they speak English. What do I define "speak English" as?
For most counts, that's simply people who /say/ they speak English,
which is a lot larger than the number of people who can actually read,
write, and/or speak English at an elementary level.
It's especially exaggerated in for example African countries (for
example Nigeria), as well as India, many places in Europe, and the
In the end we would still come up with a fairly large number of
English speakers, even with a revised more accurate count. But a much
smaller percentage of them would be second language speakers from
outside the US, UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, and Ireland (plus the
other, smaller countries where English is the native language for most
Yes, we do get some degree of POV counterbalancing from non-native
speakers of English, but what percentage of editors on en: speak
English as their second or third (or other - I find now on en: that in
biographical articles where it says somebody speaks even so few as 9
languages [in the field of polyglots, that's relatively small], people
question if that's even possssible on the talkpage out of ignorance)
language? AFAICT, it's decreasing rapidly as we get more and more
people (an increasing number of them are blockheads, bringing our
blockhead percentage up as well to dangerous levels), mostly from the
US, Canada, UK, NZ, and Australia (all the people I have met that are
my age know about Wikipedia, which is shocking since this wouldn'tve
been true a year ago).
Nearly all the non-first-language editors on en: are from the upper
economic strata of their respective societies where fluency in English
is more common than in, say, the lower middle class.
All these factors combined mean that en: is still very much shaped by
the collective cultural experiences of its editors, and thus while we
try to remove systemic bias we still miss some important POV holdouts
because they don't jump out at us, and en: is still very much an
encyclopaedia written from an
American-Australian-NewZealandic-Canadian-British perspective/POV with
only relatively minor counterbalances from those whose cultural
experiences fall outside those of the aforementioned English-native
Still, the counterbalances are greater than they are on, say, the
Greek Wikipedia, or the Serbian Wikipedia, or the Chinese Wikipedia.
My point is that all Wikipedias have their inherent biases.
People seem to think this is a huge problem, but for now it is
unsolveable and it will remain unsolveable until we can see a full,
accurate MT solution implemented in a Wikipaedic context.
Ti Jay Converse <supermo0(a)gmail.com> 12.03.05 21:54:30 -0500 siá-kóng:
This is the reason that it is necessary for
anyone who is able to edit
on a Wiki outside their country of residence. The English wikipedia
is a representative of people who speak English all over the world.
The fact that the vast majority of those users are American does not,
in my mind, change the fact that a English-speaking person in France
can correct point-of-view problems on an article regarding Denmark, or
any other combination. There will always be an inherent bias towards
wherever the most editors hail from. This simply heightens the need
for those who do not live there to provide what could be considered
On Sat, 12 Mar 2005 16:22:24 -0700, Mark Williamson <node.ue(a)gmail.com> wrote:
This is not possible.
While ultimately the English and French versions may or may not be
/less/ biased in this way, there is no such thing as 0 bias and NPOV
is subjective based on the collective cultural experience of the
On Sat, 12 Mar 2005 10:07:34 -0500, Delirium <delirium(a)hackish.org> wrote:
> Jack Lutz wrote:
> >On a similar note, see Bill Gates' essay on Encarta titled "The facts
> >on where you are coming from". Ultimately he suggests it "present
> >points of view where appropriate", but notice how the different language
> >editions are having their facts and emphasis warped to meet culture, because
> >"readers will get upset about content that may fly in the face of their
> This sounds exactly contrary to NPOV, a lot more like "write biased
> encyclopedias that will be more locally popular". If the Serbian
> Wikipedia is biased towards the Serbian viewpoint when it comes to
> regional conflicts, and the Bosnian Wikipedia is biased towards the
> Bosnian viewpoint, then they're _useless_ when it comes to providing
> NPOV information, and any Serbian or Bosnian interested in such
> information would have to turn to one of the other Wikipedias (en, fr,
> de, ...) for it.
> I'd think we'd want people to be able to get globally neutral
> information in their local language, not just the locally-biased version.
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I'm not stupid, just selectively ignorant.
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