My last look at the state of the African Wikipedias was in March 2019, so the time is nigh to have a long-overdue look at whats changed since. (Thanks to this tweet from today for forcing me to use “nigh” in a sentence. May as well have asked me not to think of blue).
As always, this is only a measurement of the number of articles, and not of their quality. The Afrikaans article, Afrika, is fairly in-depth. The Igbo article, Eluàlà, is not, but both still count as one article. Take a look at this comment on a previous post for more on getting beyond just article count.
This time I’ve also added a metric for number of active editors, which in this case means an editor making five or more edits in the month of October.
African Language Wikipedias
|Language||Change||2019-04-02||2020-11-26||% +||Active editors|
Firstly, what’s up with Egyptian Arabic? No, it’s not a typo. June alone saw over 257,000 new articles created. With 29 active editors, were each of them creating 286 new articles every day, for the entire month?
Well, no. The vast majority of articles were created by bots, and if you look at a random article, the chances are high you’ll come across an obscure sports player containing a very basic outline.
If the Africa article is any indication, there’s not much depth to the content there, an argument some have made against excessive bot activity.
So in spite of the eye-opening figures, I wouldn’t say the project is thriving.
Afrikaans may have lost any chance of ever again having the most articles of any African-language Wikipedia, but the project is in good shape, with 50 active editors in October, and fast approaching 100,000 articles, most showing a pleasing amount of detail.
With so many active editors, there are many worthy of appreciation, but a particular shoutout to User:Oesjaar and User:Aliwal2012, who both have over 1,000 edits for the period, and have been long-standing, quality contributors to the project.
Afrikaans holds onto 2nd place courtesy of passing Malagasy, another project where much of the article creation was by bots, and which has little resembling an active community.
Swahili also had 50 active editors in October, signs of an active community, and strong, organic growth, and, on current trends, will pass Malagasy. However, unlike Afrikaans, most of the prolific editors are not native-speakers, which presents some challenges to the project. User:Riccardo Riccioni stands out with close to 1000 edits in the month.
Hausa continues to show signs of life. I pointed out last time that most of the new articles were one-liners about football players (“Kenny Allen (footballer) is an English football player.” being the entirety of one example I looked at last time), so the Hausa Wikipedia is not yet filling a key role in bringing crucial knowledge to Hausa speakers, but still, the activity, and number of contributors, is encouraging.
Zulu takes this further, and is the perfect example of the impact one dedicated editor can have. While there are 6 active editors, the vast majority of activity was over an extended period of time now was by User:3atbulletz.
It was only in 2018, just before Wikimania Cape Town, that Zulu first reached 1,000 articles, so the growth in the Wikipedia representing South Africa’s most widely-spoken first language is exciting to see.
Sotho too is showing signs of life. Otherwise, most of the other languages are not showing much life, with Wolof, Kongo, Tsonga and Venda not recording a single active editor in the period.
Overall I’m quite pleased by the activity. It has admittedly been a while since the last update, but there are certainly more signs of stirring than in any of my previous updates.
If you are looking to contribute, it’s as simple as hitting that edit button and boldly going ahead. If you need any help, please reach out to Wikimedia South Africa and we’d be happy to assist.
- March 2019 African language Wikipedia and Wiktionary update
- Zulu Wikipedia reaches 1000 articles
- June 2018 African language Wikipedia update, 50 000 articles for Afrikaans
- September 2017 African language Wikipedia update
- November 2016 African language Wikipedia update
- March 2016 African language Wikipedia update
- June 2015 African language Wikipedia update
- October 2014 African language Wikipedia and Wiktionary update
- June 2014 African Wikipedia and Wiktionary update
- May 2013 African language Wikipedia update
- November African language Wikipedia update: Afrikaans passes Swahili
- April 2012 African language Wikipedia update
- Northern Sotho Wikipedia now an official project, Afrikaans reaches 20 000 articles
- African language Wiktionary update
- African language Wikipedia update
- Wolof Wikipedia reaches 1000 articles
- Swahili Wikipedia now the largest African-language Wikipedia
- The state of Wikimedia projects in South African and Africa – Dec 2008
- The South African Wikimedia communities
- Venda Wikipedia Progress
- First Wikipedia Academy in Africa
- Wikipedia Week
- Afrikaans Wikipedia hits 5000 articles