The tiger shark was the Urdu Wikipedia’s 100,000th article. Photo by Albert kok, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
On December 29, 2015, the Urdu Wikipedia community achieved a major milestone: 100,000 articles. The article in question, tiger shark (en), was created by Ameen Akbar, an administrator who has made almost 17,000 edits to the project.
The Urdu Wikipedia has come a long way since its inception in 2004. It has a very large number of contributors from Pakistan, where Urdu is the national language, followed by India (where Urdu is among the official languages). There are also contributors from the United States, Finland and Germany.
Urdu Wikipedia bureaucrat Mohammad Shuaib says that, with this feat, the project now joins the bigger league of Wikimedia communities with a much wider presence of free knowledge, and that it is imperative to make it a high-quality, referenced tool, useful to people from all walks of life, including students and teachers.
Mohammad specifically cited the recent success of Quarterly Editing Project, and hopes that, in the near future, Urdu Wikipedians will rise to the position of stewardship, discharging the administrative and maintenance actions with higher implication spread across all Wikimedia projects.
The community’s achievement comes six months after Tahir Mahmood, a bureaucrat, was featured on the Wikimedia blog on achieving a record number of edits. His tally now exceeds 150,000. Second-placed Sajid Amjad has over 50,000 edits, and is the senior most active sysop since 2010.
A survey of ten active Urdu Wikipedians found the community now hopes to consolidate on quality improvement measures such as stub expansion, grammar correction, incorporating more elaborate themes and topics, as well as developing a scheme of action leading to an integrated approach for the further development of all south Asian Perso-Arabic script Wikipedias.
Among those surveyed was Ameen Akbar—who wrote the 100,000th article on the project—who emphasized the need for outreach and engaging more editors. Arif Soomro, several of whose articles have been peer-reviewed and are now in the featured category, listed his future editing priorities in the areas of Urdu, Sindhi and world literature.
Another administrator, Obaid Raza, placed stress on popularizing the Urdu keyboard and making multilingual editing user-friendly. In this direction, Usman Khan has recently embarked on the mission of creating instructional videos on how to use the Urdu Wikipedia for the first time.
A notable idea which has gained significant momentum recently as a result of the recent increase in the number of active editors is the planned coordination of Wikipedias in Perso-Arabic scripts, such as Western Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi and Pushtu with Urdu, to ensure that these projects have the widest reach among the masses in south Asia.
Urdu Wikipedia Sysop and Wikimedia community volunteer
Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate