There are 79 languages worldwide that each have more than 10 million native language speakers. Those languages are spoken by a total of 4.7 billion people, of whom one billion are online. While there are robust Wikimedia projects in some of these languages, in many of these languages, particularly non-western ones, Wikimedia projects are small with a limited number of participants and users.
There are some challenges that are shared by many smaller Wikipedias. Many of these issues are technical. In order for people to successfully develop and maintain a Wikipedia they need to be able to interact with the MediaWiki software in their own language. However, despite the immense efforts of the MediaWiki team there is still a ways to go to fully localize the MediaWiki software.
Another problem faced by many smaller Wikipedias is the lack of tools and templates to facilitate editing. This is in large part due to a dearth of editors that have the necessary technical skills to develop tools and fix errors and bugs on the wiki.
A final issue common to small Wikipedias with a limited number of editors and administrators is the difficulty of maintaining this site in protecting it from spam and vandalism. Additionally, in many regions there is a lack of understanding of the concept and possibilities of a wiki.
The Local Language Projects Task Force is currently exploring the following questions:
- Are there Wikimedia policy and procedures that inhibit the development of local language Wikipedias?
- How can mature Wikipedias like English and German support the development of local language Wikipedias?
- How can Wikipedians who do not speak local languages but have experience editing and building mature Wikipedias contribute to the development of local language Wikipedias(ex. developing templates, Wikipedia buddy system)?
- What role should translation from mature language Wikipedias to local language Wikipedias play and what tools are needed to facilitate this role?
- What lessons can be learned from the growth of the successful smaller language Wikipedias?
- What strategies and tactics are successful in increasing awareness of Wikipedia projects in a specific geographic region and how can Wikimedia empower people to implement these strategies and tactics?
- What tools and supports are necessary to further build out local languages?
- Who is needed to support this strategy (e.g., Wikimedia Foundation, chapters, individual volunteers, external partners), and what do they need to do?
Data and Analysis
- Regional Analysis. The Local Language Projects Task Force has done some additional analysis
- Local content as an indicator of how active a community is.
- Information on the book shelf project- a repository of information design to create awareness about Wikimedia projects including how-to guides on how to edit