[Foundation-l] 1.3 billion of humans don't have Wikipedia in their native language

me at marcusbuck.org me at marcusbuck.org
Tue May 24 14:47:56 UTC 2011

Zitat von Ilario Valdelli <valdelli at gmail.com>:

> On Sun, May 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I am preparing document for Wikimania. Presently, I am in process of
>> analyzing data (SIL [1], Ethnologue [2], Wikimedia projects). I am using
>> Ethnologue data for population estimates.
> The statistics are not realistic considering only the speakers.
> The "correct" statistics should have a "maturity model" to check if
> one language can receive one Wikipedia.
> This means, at least, to consider:
> a) number of potential writers/readers
> b) percentage of illiteracy
> c) level of education
> d) computer literacy
> This means that there is no sense to say that 30 Millions of Nigerian
> pidgin don't have a Wikipedia if this language is used for daily
> communication, it is not written or, if written, it is spoken by a
> population of 35% of literacy and 2% of persons with sufficient
> education level (these are not real data, but it's only an example).
> This means that the Pidgin Nigerian has a potential population of
> Wikipedia's users/writers of less than 1 million of persons, less than
> a dialect spoken in a region of Europe where the literacy is higher.

But don't forget that the users follow the content. As soon as the  
internet provides decent content in Nigerian pidgin the content  
consumers will also appear. And if there's a wide variety of  
interesting content relevant to the speakers of Nigerian pidgin the  
literacy rate for the language will also rise automatically. As was  
said, some people learn to read to be able to go on Facebook. A supply  
of content is a prerequisite to stimulate demand in content.

A single dedicated person could be enough to put a project in motion.  
A dean of a Nigerian college who integrates Wikipedia article creation  
in the instruction plan ("if you create 200 Nigerian pidgin Wikipedia  
articles this semester you'll get X extra credit points for your  
degree") could be enough to get the project to 100,000 articles in a  
year (200 articles*2 semesters*250 students = 100,000 articles in a  

Wouldn't be an "encyclopedia written by volunteer contributors", but  
if the project has 100,000 decent articles after a year some people  
will probably stay with the project or join it as volunteers. After  
all one of the biggest problems of a fledgling Wikipedia is that few  
people have the dedication to work on a project that will probably not  
"take off" for years to come. It's easier to win contributors if the  
project already has taken off and people know that they are not  
wasting their time.

A teacher in Nigeria gets about 50,000 Naira a year (says Google),  
that's about 4500 Euro. For one million Euro you should be able to  
hire 100 educated people to write Wikipedia article as a full job.  
Depending on the detailedness you aim for, that should be enough to  
create 100,000 articles a year. With 10 million Euro you could make  
Nigerian pidgin Wikipedia a million article project.

10 million is a big number, but not a number that's not spend for much  
dumber things than a Wikipedia every day. There are many billionaires  
in the world and a single one of them could push 100 languages to the  
million article milestone.

Just some thought games with numbers. I guess many people wouldn't  
like Wikipedia being written by paid staff. Me neither. But it's  
better than only waiting for volunteers who may never join because  
without some boosting the projects lack the criticial mass to reach a  
state of sustainable growth.

If we just want to wait for volunteers to appear by themselves the  
whole discussion in this thread is stale, because that's already what  
we have done so far and it didn't achieve much for the  
non-nation-state languages.

Marcus Buck

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