Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wikimania feature in tomorrow's NYTimes week in review the NYTimes at some point

(Update: Here it is.)

I'm at Language and cultural barriers and challenges to Wikipedia. Upstairs, small room. All the cool foreign kids.
There's a New York Times reporter here who says he's writing about us for Week in Review. (I got out of there fast after he unmasked himself (well, and after the session ended). I'm waaay too sleep-deprived to be anywhere near a times reporter.)

Update: I misread that exchange -- the reporter was saying he had an article not about Wikimania, but about language. The wikimania article is yet to be written.

The session

Should we aim for an ur-wikipedia that every language version feeds into, with every perspective? (Well, no.) How independent should each language version be? (The question becomes more complex when you look at areas in which multilinguism is common -- see africa segment below.) ("If you attempt to combine languages, some of the knowledge actually disappears." But there's not necessarily a conflict here: multimodal translation directions, etc.)

(In other news, I think I said "dutch" when I meant to say "danish". I blame the public schools.)

The Swahili wikipedia is exapanding: >1000 articles. The guy next to me, from Tanzania, is talking about using social networks and students to help it grow.* "If you want to convince people in the developing world to do something like this, that's new, you have to be very persistent. Extremely persistent." (Swahili is not an african lingua franca, contrary to stereotype. However, it doesn't belong to any particular ethnic group, so it carries less baggage. There is tension because ethnic languages are being lost as Swahili becomes more common.)

How big is the overlap between wikipedias? How many polish-language articles don't exist in the english version?

What about nations in which the cultural makeup of the bilingual crowd is different from that of those who only speak the native language. What about bilingual people who choose to write in english because they can reach a wider audience? See also.

*He's also working on a project to rewrite Tanzania's constitution using wikis.

I almost forgot:

The group is forming a new mailing list to continue the discussion and make recommendations to the board.


Marcela said...

I was interested in this mailing list--is it still active? How can we join? Thanks

Ben Yates said...

I haven't kept up with it; sorry.