My name is Marc Miquel, I work on a project called Wikipedia Cultural Diversity Observatory (WCDO), which is a joint space for researchers and activists to study Wikipedia’s content diversity coverage, discuss the strategic needs and propose solutions to improve it and fight against the knowledge gaps.
The project wants to explain both the causes of the gaps and to provide a picture of the cultural representation of every language in every place in the world and at the same time, stimulate sharing content across languages. To fight the knowledge gaps, we want to raise awareness by providing different types of resources: datasets, visualizations, and statistics, as well as lists of articles and tools that show the most relevant gaps that need to be bridged.
Solving the problem of knowledge gaps is a daunting challenge – from gender to cultural diversity. However, in this project, I want to shed some light on the problem and start raising awareness in order to have a common understanding of the problems that stop us from having more content diversity. Our main challenge lies in transforming research into effective communication which can be easily understood by every community member and which encourages them to organize different activities in order to bridge some priority gaps. For this reason, we publish academic papers explaining all the different technical methodologies in order to analyze content and how we quantify the most important gaps related to gender and cultural diversity.
I envision that in 2030 every community is aware of the gaps both in the content that they should create in order to properly represent their most immediate context (from geographical places, traditions, monuments, prominent figures, etc.) and in the content that relates to the other languages’ contexts. I expect that collaborations among Wikipedia language communities in order to cover cultural content will proliferate in the years to come. Either with projects like the Asian Month, which invite everyone to edit about Asia, or Intercultur and CEE Spring which promote the exchange of articles between the languages of the Iberian peninsula and between the languages of the Central and Eastern European countries.
All in all, I am confident that content diversity will become one of the main objectives in the future. Knowledge equity is the right way to pay attention to those who provide us with the knowledge we are missing. Because if we want to gather the sum of human knowledge, we must include everyone.
Do you want to know more?
- Wikipedia Cultural Diversity Observatory on Meta
- Slides for Marc’s session “The State of Cultural Diversity in Arabic Wikipedia: Challenges and Opportunities” at Wikiarabia 2019
- “The Sum of Human Knowledge? Not in One Wikipedia Language Edition” by Marc-Miquel Ribé as part of the 20 Years of Wikipedia book