There’s been some momentum recently in the local Wikimedia world.
The process for forming a local chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation was jumpstarted at a workshop at Wits University in August last year, and is now nearing the final stages. The legal documentation is close to being complete, and will be submitted shortly to the Wikimedia Foundation for approval. Once they’ve given the go ahead, we’ll register a local non-profit organisation as the official presence of the local community.
This is happening at the same time as another bid to host Wikimania, the annual conference of all things wiki. I co-ordinated the Cape Town bid in 2008, and this time around Stellenbosch is bidding, with the event to be hosted at Stellenbosch University.
With all this activity, I was invited to talk on SAFM radio yesterday afternoon, in particular about the local chapter, and the local language Wikipedias. It was a short interview, so in spite of hoping to mention both the local bid, as well as the fact that there’s more than just Wikipedia, I was pleased to discuss the much-overlooked local language Wikipedias.
I don’t listen to radio, and I don’t know what sort of impact it, or this particular show on SAFM, has these days, so as soon as the interview ended, I loaded up article counts for all the local language Wikipedias, and now, about eight hours later, I’m looking to see if there’s been any noticeable activity.
Of all the official South Africa language Wikipedias, all but Afrikaans, and of course English, are extremely low traffic, where a single edit is a noteworthy event!
So, how much impact did the interview have, and, more importantly, how have they been doing since my last update?
South African Language Wikipedias
**The Northern Sotho Wikipedia, in spite of being the 3rd largest official South African language, is still in the incubator due to not meeting more recent criteria for a new project – in particular active community support.
In the last eight hours, not much has happened as far as editorial activity goes. A new Sotho user registered, and there was a substantive Venda edit, while a new Zulu article and user appeared. So perhaps speaking on an English-language radio station is not the best way to gain users!
A milestone occured in the Afrikaans Wikipedia though, with the 17000th article being created – by my reckoning it was an article on the Afrikaans metal band K.O.B.U.S! (who make Die Antwoord look like Boney M).
Since my last count, the Swazi Wikipedia has seen quite a jump – mostly a single user adding country entries.
There’s been a flurry of activity in the rest of Africa though. A number of languages have shot past 1000 articles, and two are even growing faster than the relatively stable Afrikaans.
African Language Wikipedias
Swahili has raced past 20 000 articles, and a number of other languages are now growing faster than 2nd-placed Afrikaans. Yoruba has started growing rapidly and gained about 3000 articles on Afrikaans since the May 2010 update, and Amharic also gained more articles in the same period. Lingala and Wolof seem to have both stalled, being leapfrogged by both Somali and Kinyarwanda, which become the eighth and ninth African language Wikipedias to pass 1000 articles.
Kabyle will also pass the 1000 article milestone shortly.
After getting a bit distracted by K.O.B.U.S! above, it’s a bit late, and I’ll update the Wiktionary stats another time.