Critical issues presentations/Working with the Media to Promote Wikimedia Projects: The Case of the Uzbek Wikipedia

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Submission no. 7
Title of the submission

Working with the Media to Promote Wikimedia Projects: The Case of the Uzbek Wikipedia

Author of the submission
  • Nodir Ataev
Country of origin

Kyrgyzstan

Topics

Outreach, Projects, Research

Keywords
  • Censorship of Wikipedia
  • Media outreach
  • OzodWiki
  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
  • Uzbek Wikipedia
Abstract

The Uzbek version of Wikipedia, which was founded in 2003, currently has only a little over 128,000 articles, a majority of which are stubs or are very poorly sourced. Moreover, only 6.4 percent of the Uzbek Wikipedia entries have been created by users. The other 93.6 percent are bot-created articles. Thus, the Uzbek Wikipedia does not have many active editors.

My personal research shows that there seem to be two main reasons that explain why the Uzbek Wikipedia remains underdeveloped. First is the fact that the Uzbek version of Wikipedia, along with many other websites, is currently blocked in the territory of Uzbekistan. Second is the lack of knowledge among Uzbeks about the existence of the Uzbek Wikipedia. Active editors of the Uzbek Wikipedia have been trying hard to address both of these issues.

After finding out that the pages of the Uzbek Wikipedia can be accessed on an HTTPS connection in Uzbekistan, one of our users convinced Google to start indexing articles on the Uzbek Wikipedia with HTTPS by default. To address the second issue, namely the lack of knowledge among Uzbeks about the Uzbek Wikipedia, we have been doing all we can to increase public awareness about our Wikipedia. Because of our efforts, more news articles have been written about the Uzbek Wikipedia in the last few years than in its entire history.

In February of 2014, I convinced Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Uzbek Service, known locally as Ozodlik radiosi, to jointly write a series of articles to promote the Uzbek Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. We dubbed the project OzodWiki. OzodWiki essentially involves hyperlinking selected concepts used in reports by Ozodlik radiosi to corresponding entries in the Uzbek Wikipedia. In addition, the project involves publishing articles on a wide range of topics such as interviews with active Wikimedians, reviews of existing articles, and tutorials on contributing to Wikimedia projects. To date we have published 41 articles. The articles have sparked much interest in Wikipedia and its sister projects and have been met with great enthusiasm.

The OzodWiki project has been mutually beneficial: it has allowed the users of Ozodlik radiosi to click through to expanded information resources while at the same time promoting the Uzbek Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Soon after being launched, the OzodWiki project started to have a positive impact on the Uzbek Wikipedia and Uzbek versions of other Wikimedia projects. While it is unlikely that all of the changes that took place after the launch of OzodWiki were a direct result of the project, a majority of these changes occurred while the project was running.

If given a chance, I would like to give a presentation about the OzodWiki project at Wikimania 2016. The goal of my presentation will be twofold. First, I would like to share our positive experience with other Wikimedians so that they can initiate similar projects to promote Wikipedia and its sister projects. Second, I would like to get more ideas on how we can further improve the OzodWiki project. I am convinced that other Wikimedians will have great ideas on what more can be done to promote our Wikipedia and its sister projects.

Result

Accepted

Interested attendees and comments

Interested attendees:

  1. Panyd (talk) 12:42, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
  2. --Gereon K. (talk) 06:56, 15 June 2016 (UTC)