Community development and POV stages (2)

Founding (cont.)

Out of very developed language areas, usually with a lot of speakers (like German, but cf. Dutch), if community is founded by anyone else but national founder(s), it may be considered as an accident. Even it was founded by someone else, it will be under heavy influence of incoming contributors who see Wikipedia much more as a place of national interest and much less as a place for spreading free knowledge. However, if founder(s) are really interested in Wikipedia, their influence will be significant.

But, usually, people who came from free software milieu are expecting a free software-like project, which Wikipedia is not. While the primary goal of Wikipedia is very similar to the primary goals of free software projects, Wikimedians don’t belong to one esnaf, esnaf of programmers and admins. I have to say that I was said when I saw that some of founders of such type are not very active Wikimedians anymore: it is very predictable that such persons will be bored of dealing with extremists.

It is very interesting to see that out of people with nationalist positions, there are no founders with other kinds of clear political positions. Of course, people from other groups have their own political positions, but there is a difference between building a project to spread free knowledge and its idea and building a project to spread national, religious or any other political idea which is not free knowledge. Wikimedian projects are about free knowledge and it is the only “official” Wikimedian political ideology. And, of course, it is only about founders, not about all contributors.

And it is obvious that Wikipedias with national founders will suffer of heavy POV at the beginning. Of course, POV will be based on the biases of their cultures. If their country has bad relations with some other country, POV will be against the other country; if the culture is homophobic, some of the articles will be homophobic, too; etc.

And what to do with such communities at the founding stage? To block the whole community? To leave them? Of course, not. But, all small communities should be watched constantly. How? Well, for some languages it is not so hard — there are good enough machine translators, but for the most of the languages it is not possible to do that easy. This means that we have to find a way for watching small communities.

When to make an action? What are the limits of POV which may be added to some project? I don’t know. I only know that POV articles are usual for all Wikipedias and that we should think only about a level of POV contamination. Also, we should carefully watch for POV-related complains made by people who are inside of those communities or who know that language.

How to organize that? I don’t know; we should think about that…

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(For the list of all articles from this series, see page Community development and POV stages.)


~ by millosh on February 4, 2008.

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