[guest] Rethinking the Top Ten

Written by Waldir Pimenta

http://www.wikipedia.org/

Some people might not know about the www.wikipedia.org template. That is the page that defines what appears on the main wikipedia portal, www.wikipedia.org. Evidently, the template is protected, and thus it is frequent to see people from wikipedias that reach milestones commenting on its talk page requesting an update. However, there is a draft version that can be edited by anyone. This is something more people should be aware of.

Now comes the cool part.

If we remove all the requests for updates from the template’s talk, some very interesting thoughts show up, in discussions spanning several months and even years. These are proposals that cannot be simply put on the draft page to be later synchronized with the main template, since they would represent big changes that require some discussion first.

One of these proposals is the “top ten rule” discussion. The problem is, when the wikipedia.org portal had first implemented the globe design with the ten wikipedias floating around it, the natural choice was the ten biggest wikipedias at that time. But when the Russian wikipedia started approaching the 100,000 milestone (the sections below the globe only went up to 10,000 at that time), many people started proposing its inclusion on the globe, since would “graduate” from the 10,000 level. But what most people didn’t realize, was that (quoting User:Mxn) “most of the top 10 editions were featured around the logo long before they reached 100,000 articles, so getting to 100,000 isn’t why they’re up there”. The fact that at some point they ended up being the only 100,000+ editions of wikipedia was merely coincidental.

Nevertheless, those discussions about Russian wikipedia, and later the Chinese wikipedia (which led to the creation of the 100,000+ section under the globe) questioned the criteria of size for being featured around the globe (which never had been extensively discussed anyway), and proposed some alternative criteria, thus effectively lauching the seeds for a long-awaited reform.

This is when the Top Ten Wikipedias discussion comes in. By collecting the ideas spread across the huge www.wikipedia.org template talk page and posing them together in a separate page, and providing a table with some actual results for the application of some of those criteria (and of course, some spamming around the village pumps for the biggest ‘pedias), the arena was open for a very productive discussion, which is actually ongoing at this very moment! The times are of change, and excitement is in the air. You could be part of the revolution! Go ahead, be bold and add your comment!

——

Comment:

How interesting that the “100,000+ rule” for inclusion on www.wikipedia.org was never originally planned.

The proposal for a new evaluation of what constitutes a “top 10” is very detailed and worth a look, keeping in mind the question: what do you value most about Wikipedia? What factor makes a Wikipedia the most useful? Depending on which factors get favoured, the “top 10” could look extremely different to how it currently does. The question of “what do we value” naturally brings the case of the Volapük Wikipedia to mind (vo.wp scores a prominent text link on this portal, but not top 10 as of yet).

Thankyou to Waldir for taking the time to write this up and share it. —Brianna

04 April, 2008 • ,

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