Factors, governing the success or failure of smaller Wikis

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Factors, governing the success or failure of smaller Wikis

Johannes Rohr-2
Dear researchers,

Please forgive me, if this is not the right place for my inquiry, but
I was unable to identify a better one.

What I would like to ask is, whether or not anyone of the subscribers
has undertaken or knows who else has undertaken any research into the
matter of Wikis with small speaker communities.

With "small" I would mean languages with, as a wild guess, less than
50,000 speakers, or languages from regions of the world, where
Internet access is still so rare and prohibitively expensive that the
vast majority is barred from participating in projects such as

There is a number of language editions, which have been practically
idle for years and years, such as Kanuri, Choctaw, Inupiaq, Inuktitut
(in Cananian Aboriginal Syllabics) and probably many others.

At the same time, there is at least one relative newcomer edition, the
Upper Sorbian Wikipedia, which is doing extremely well, even though
the number of speakers does not exceed 40,000 (it may be substantially

When it comes to minority languages, Wikipedia is often advocated as
/the/ tool to promote and protect them. At the same time, the "Wiki
principle" on a shoestring would be "the more, the better", the more
potential contributors there are, the more knowledge is likely to be
accumulated. If so, setting up Wikis for minority languages is quite
probably /not/ the appropriate tool to help them. Neither is it likely
to ever generate an encyclopedia.

The discussions about closure or continuation of such projects
typically follow the same patterns. Some people say: "Just give it
more time", while others point to the fact that the Wiki is abused by
spammers and vandals. Personally I suppose, that a Wiki created
without the participation of a group of dedicated editors is bound to
fail. (like e.g. Kanuri, which after three year does not have a single
line in the language). However, there might be other cases. I simply
don't know.

I wonder if such discussions would be more constructive, if some
research results on this topic were available. If they do exist, I'd
be happy for a pointer....



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