Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Interlingua Wikipedia - Unethically raising the Article Count?

There is something queer happening on the Interlingua Wikipedia. I remember until the beginning of this month, there were about 5,500 (give or take a hundred) articles on the Interlingua version of the Wikipedia. The number today, only three weeks later, stands slightly above 9,100. Roughly speaking, this is an increase of 3,500 articles in less than three weeks. This sounds impressive. Perhaps there is a sudden interest in the language. But wait a minute. 

When you look at the number of active users, who have made at least one edit in the past 30 days, it is only 65 according to the data on the Statisticas page (Esperanto Wikipedia has 468, for comparison) and 50 of them are automated computer programmes or bots. It means either the remaining 15 people wrote all of the 3,500 or so articles (approximately 233 articles per head) or the lovers of the language have turned to playing the same game Volapukists played a couple of years ago. Back then a series of automated computer programmes had created articles on the Volapuk Wikpedia at a breathtaking speed. It now has over 100,000 articles. Of these two possibilities, the second one sounds more plausible.

Almost all the articles created in the past few weeks are one or two line articles and most of them are about cities, towns and villages in Spain and Vietnam. It is unlikely that 15 people suddenly developed an interest for geography and none of them wrote more than one or two sentences.

I believe these bot created articles will add little, if any, value to the Interlingua Wikipedia. The move could indeed backfire as new students may get discouraged on finding these stubs most of the time they look for something on the Interlingua Wikipedia. The editors, or whoever is behind this, should better concentrate on creating a few but quality articles, like these ones. (I wrote them!) ;)

Here is a screen shot of the Statisticas page on 21 September, 2011: