The Scots Wikipedia Story Reflection

Ochil Hills

You may have read the story about the bulk of Scots Wikipedia being written by an American teenager who doesn’t speak the language.

I felt the cringe. I’m involved in a volunteer-based translation project with hundreds of languages with a varying maintenance level. Who knows, something like this could happen to us too.

The Guardian article had this part, and I have been curious to know the Wikipedia editors’ next steps:

We are exploring ways of supporting the existing Scots Wikipedia editor community, by offering help with editing training for newcomers, facilitating partnerships with authoritative language organisations and organising editing events to harness current interest and energy.

Then I came across this thread of tweets:

According to Mike Dickison, nearly 100 volunteers gathered on a Facebook group. They’ve held online Zoom training, organized edit-a-thon events, and collectively made over 3,000 edits to Scots Wikipedia in less than a week.

What do you make of this story?

The difficulties of quality control in crowd-sourced content creation. Power of training and helping others learn. What a group of driven individuals can accomplish when they have a common goal for good.

While I saw all the above, I thought the most interesting thing in this was the individual responses as a reflection of where you stand.

Some laughed at the person who made a mistake. Others objectively reported the issue to raise the awareness, gave a helping hand, or organized to make the situation better. You can point out a flaw of an existing system, do nothing, or work with the system and make a difference. You have a choice.

In this particular situation, I was just a bystander reading articles and tweets. But because of those who took positive actions, I have a renewed faith in working as a team. I’m more excited to explore what I can do to take part in the projects I’m involved in. I wanted to share that in a blog post to show appreciation and encouragement.

I also learned about some resources they used for discussion and training:

Kudos to the Scots volunteers for transparency and providing a learning opportunity for others too.

Photo credit: Hellinterface at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

Published by Naoko Takano

高野直子 / Globalizer at Automattic / 🏠 Tokyo, Japan

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