[Wikimedia-l] Apparently, Wikipedia is ugly

Yaroslav M. Blanter putevod at mccme.ru
Sat Jul 14 18:01:43 UTC 2012

On Sat, 14 Jul 2012 13:37:57 -0400, Kirill Lokshin wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM, Svip <svippy at gmail.com> wrote:

> Consider, for example, article number 4 million:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izbat_Al_Burj.  It's a city of some 
> 70,000
> people -- is anyone really going to claim that this is a 
> "specialized"
> topic?
> Kirill

This is actually a very good example. The article was started by Dr. 
Blofield who is widely known as geostub creator. I am not going to 
discuss now whether mass creation of geostubs is good or not (this is a 
separate issue where people sometimes express strong opinions), but the 
fact is that most of his articles remain two-line stubs for years unil 
(if ever) they attract somebody's attention. Most of my own activity on 
English Wikipedia is about writing and expanding geoarticles related to 
Russia. In particular, in 2010 Dr. Blofield created one-line stubs of 
all districts of Russia (over a thousand). Those which Ezhiki and me 
worked on are in a relatively good shape, others are just waiting for us 
- it can easily take a decade until this work has been completed. But 
both Ezhiki and I are native Russian speakers and have interest in the 
subject - and in a sense this is a special skill. There is much more 
things to do in English Wikipedia for me, a Russin native speaker, a 
speaker of several other languages, an academic, somebody with a broad 
range of interests - than for a teenager who does not have any special 
skills but feels underappreciated and needs attention. And there are 
many more underappreciated teenagers around than people with my profile.

Returning to Izbat_Al_Burj article - usually a 4Mth article would get 
an enormous attention and a huge number of hits. The fact that it is 
only three paragraphs long at the time I am writing this means - I guess 
- that all information easily available in English is scarce and is 
still there. We are waiting either for a native Arabic speaker with 
access to Arabic literature, or someone who by chance has skiils in 
history, in climatology, in human geography of Egypt - in case there is 
smth special about this city which is not yet in the article. And all 
this, including knowledge of Arabic, I would call special skills.


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