Cross Cultural Considerations

From Wikimedia Usability Initiative

Some early thoughts:

When considering Wikimedia projects, internationalism and cross-cultural issues should not just be "considerations", they should be at the core of the mission. I think most of the people participating here, if they use Wikipedia for something, would feel most comfortable using the English Wikipedia. However, for approximately half of our users, this does not seem to be the case. We are biased as speakers of English.

Imagine if the entire world was ruled by one government, but the decisions were made based on opinion polls conducted only in Iran... Wikimedia is a diverse and inclusive community. Within our community, there are many editors and even more readers who do not speak a word of English.

Important first steps:

  • Research
  • There's been some good research done so far for English-speaking Wikipedians. Now how about the other half of our readers and contributors?
  • Discussion
  • Although I'm sure that in principle, contributions here in languages other than English would be welcomed, in practice, this seems unlikely to happen as the interface and all of the pages are written in English. Thus, non-English-speakers are excluded from the process. I realize that it would be extremely difficult to get full involvement from speakers of all 250+ languages used in our community, but we could at least reach out to and find a way to include some of the larger non-English communities.
  • Consideration
  • Non-English-speakers should not be a mere afterthought in this initiative, they should be a core consideration at every step of the way. The multilingual and multicultural nature of our project presents many unique challenges, but it is at the core of our mission and so cannot and should not be treated as a secondary phenomenon.

(Node ue 22:55, 7 June 2010 (UTC))