Critical issues presentations/Barriers to participation of new editors in the Arabic Wikipedia and proposed remedies

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Submission no. 150
Title of the submission

Barriers to participation of new editors in the Arabic Wikipedia and proposed remedies

Author of the submission
  • Farah Mustaklem
Country of origin

Palestine, State of

Topics

Outreach, Policy, Research

Keywords
  • Arabic Wikipedia
  • Barriers to participation
  • New Wikipedians
  • Community Outreach
  • Knowledge Gap
Abstract

The question of barriers to participation for new Wikipedians has been tackled before, but mainly for versions other than Arabic. In this paper, I will research those factors that are common among languages, but will focus on factors unique to the Arabic version.

Arabic, by most counts, is the World's fifth largest language in terms of number of native speakers, however, its online presence is lacking. Wikipedia is no exception. Arabic is the 21st largest Wikipedia language edition. Shortly after the English version of Wikipedia hit the 5 million article mark, its Arabic counterpart achieved 400 thousand articles. This disparity has led me - a veteran Wikipedian - to put efforts to increasing contribution to the Arabic Wikipedia by holding workshops for potential Wikipedia editors. During these workshops, I was able to observe first-hand the difficulties faced by trainees.

In addition to these anecdotes, I will be conducting an online survey among new Arab Wikipedians, as well as holding interviews with local Wikipedians to gain in-depth insight into the steep learning curve involved in becoming a Wikipedian. The proposed remedies to the barriers will be a mix of policy changes, community outreach, and perhaps some technical solutions.

Result

Not accepted