|This is the discussion page for Pramod Raghavendra & Hari Prasad Nadig's presentation at Wikimania 2006, Language and cultural barriers and challenges to Wikipedia. Please join the discussion below!|
The Chinese Firewall
One huge problem with the Chinese edition is that 90+% of Chinese speakers have extreme difficulty accessing it because it is blocked by the People's Republic of China.
One thing that I'd like to talk about are ways and strategies for dealing with this, since a lot of things that one assumes will work, actually will probably do more harm than good. This is actually a topic worth discussing since some of the possible ways of dealing with the firewall (i.e. the google.cn solution of sanctioning a censored version within the firewall) are likely to be very controversial.
Roadrunner 07:58, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia as a language learning tool
On a more positive note, let me point out that I've found wikipedia to be really useful as a language learning tool. One thing that you get with wikipedia is near instant error correction as well as correction in language conventions.
Roadrunner 08:09, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Lack of access to education
In addition to "the obvious of limited access to technology & [the prevelance of] poverty", are politics, as noted by roadrunner and limited access to education. A significan number of third world nations have depressingly low literacy rates thus compounding the problem. Sadly, all four of these problems are beyond our control at present. In otder to correct these issues, Wiki would need to form partnerships with myraid aid agencies in a quid pro quo arrangement, "we'll supply the computers if you allow us to give seminars on Wiki". Jim62sch 09:40, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
The language of education is also an issue, especially in Africa where schooling has been predominately, generally overwhelmingly, and often exlusively in the languages inherited from the colonizers: English, French, Portuguese, and in one country, Spanish. Aside from all the pedagogical and cultural issues of education in a second (L2) as opposed to first (L1) language (= lack of formal education in L1 or about other languages of their societies), this means that many educated Africans are not that familiar or comfortable writing in their maternal language or other African languages. Educational policies on language of instruction & teaching of African languages have been under discussion and debate over the years and there are favorable changes, which, taken together with efforts to make computers & internet available to school children there, lend some urgency to the issue of developing African language Wikipedias. A12n Posted along around 23:30 (UTC) on 6 August 2006.
Speaking of Chinese
One interesting thing is to compare Chinese encyclopedia articles with their coorresponding English counterparts and you will find that there are some interesting differnences in what types of knowledge is considered important. In Chinese memorization of large bodies of facts is considered high status knowledge whereas in English, its original narrative and analysis that tends to be considered high status.
Roadrunner 21:32, 27 July 2006 (UTC)