Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/History
Does a historical bias exist ?
The English speaking wikipedia does have a bias toward inclusion of some topics. The history of certain countries and areas are well covered. English speaking countries with large populations, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have a large number of detailed articles. Other western countries such as Germany and France are also well covered as their histories are relevant to the "Western canon" of history. Their populations are also generally well educated in English, and their nationals can contribute to the English wikipedia. More peripheral European areas are not as well covered but still have some good articles.
However, certain areas, notably Africa, have very poor historical coverage. Most areas of Africa have vague general history articles covering their entire history even though a large volume of scholarly material does exist covering their histories in more detail. Wikipedia, which has a stated goal of being aimed at the poorer regions of the world, barely covers the history of these areas, except in rare cases.
Rough evaluation of coverage:
|Excellent||North America, Western Europe, Australia & NZ|
|Good||East Asia, Japan, Eastern Europe|
|Mediocre||Latin America, Middle East, South Asia|
The causes of this bias are fairly readily apparent. Wikipedia exists almost solely on the Internet and is thus on one side of the Digital Divide. Wikipedia writers mostly come from developed nations. Take a look at Category:Wikipedians by location. Our writers submit articles about what they know and what they know is more likely to be close at hand.
- Make Wikipedians aware of the issue so that they might decide to help work to correct it.
- Create lists of basic but missing topics in those under served areas to aid Wikipedians in finding ways to correct bias:
- Rather than only encouraging existing users, attempt to recruit new users to the project who can help counter these biases
- Alter or expand the project so that it is not so subject to the digital divide.
History to-do list
The following historically related articles have been identified as inadequate. They must be completed to counter the systemic bias of Wikipedia. Each article is assigned a level of completedness according to the following scale: (We will have to agree on some sort of scale)
- stub, a paragraph or two, completely inadequate.
- maybe a few paragraphs, but coverage is inadequate, still missing some basic information.
- Many paragraphs, covers all, or almost all, basic information, provides a bit of depth.
- Excellent article. Covers all that is required of an encyclopedia. Has balance and depth. Sufficiently long to cover the topic.
- Ali Hassan Mwinyi
- Ethiopian famine
- History of Africa - Article is very poor on Africa in the 20th Century, just an incomplete list of events. The article also needs to be reduced in size, and some child articles set up for the periods
- Burundi Civil War - currently up for nomination as CSB Collaboration of the week
- Various African countries in WWII articles