Scots Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Favicon of Wikipedia Scots Wikipedia
Logo of the Scots Wikipedia
The homepage of the Scots Wikipedia
Type of site
Internet encyclopaedia
Available inScots
OwnerWikimedia Foundation
Users101,086 users, 4 administrators as of 25 March 2023
Launched23 June 2005; 17 years ago (2005-06-23)
Content license
Creative Commons Attribution/
(most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)

The Scots Wikipedia (Scots: Scots Wikipædia)[a] is the Scots-language edition of the free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. It was established on 23 June 2005, and it first reached 1,000 articles in February 2006, and 5,000 articles in November 2010. As of March 2023, it has about 36,000 articles.[1] The Scots Wikipedia is one of eight Wikipedias written in an Anglic language or English-based pidgin/creole, the others being the English Wikipedia, the Simple English Wikipedia, the Old English Wikipedia, the Pitkern-Norfuk Wikipedia, the Tok Pisin Wikipedia, the Jamaican Patois Wikipedia, and the Sranan Tongo Wikipedia.

In August 2020, the wiki received scrutiny from the media for the poor quality of its Scots writing and the discovery that at least 20,000 articles had been written by an editor who did not speak the language. This attention led to a review of the wiki's content by Scots speakers as well as editors from the wider Wikipedia community.[2] Most of the editor's articles have been deleted, which is evident in the decrease in the total number of articles from about 55,000 in 2018[3] to about 40,000 in 2021.


By February 2008, the site contained 2,200 articles[4] and had outpaced Māori Wikipedia and Kashmiri Wikipedia. Reported reception, however, was mixed; Scotland on Sunday's literary editor described it as "convoluted at best, and an absolute parody at worst",[5] while Ted Brocklebank, culture spokesman for the Scottish Tories, described it as a "cheap attempt at creating a language".[5] However, Chris Robinson, director of the Dictionary of the Scots Language, wrote: "The fact it is doing well gives a lie to all those people who decry Scots and try to do it down."[5] In 2014, Jane C. Hu of Slate described the site as reading "like a transcription of a person [speaking English] with a Scottish accent" and said one Wikipedia editor had proposed that the project be closed, in the mistaken belief that it was a practical joke.[6]


In August 2020, the site attracted attention after a Reddit post noted that the project contained an unusually high number of articles written in poor quality Scots by a single prolific contributor, who was an American teenager. These articles were written with mostly English instead of Scots vocabulary and grammar and apparently using an online English–Scots dictionary to crudely translate parts of English Wikipedia articles. Over 23,000 articles, approximately a third of the entire Scots Wikipedia at that time, were created by this contributor. These articles have been described as "English written in a Scottish accent" with gibberish and nonsensical words and spellings not present in any Scots dialect.[7][8][9]

In response to the controversy, the Scots Wikipedia started a review of its articles for language inaccuracies, and deleted many of the affected articles.[2][3]

Robert McColl Millar, professor in linguistics and Scottish language at the University of Aberdeen, has said that the affected articles displayed "a very limited knowledge both of Modern Scots and its earlier manifestations".[8] Michael Dempster, director of the Scots Language Centre, contacted the Wikimedia Foundation over the possibility of building upon the Scots Wikipedia's existing infrastructure, describing the renewed interest in the site as having "potential to be a great online focus" for the Scots language.[10]


Scots Wikipedia statistics
Number of user accounts Number of articles Number of files Number of active users Number of administrators
101086 36140 671 108 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pronunciation varies between [wikiˈpeːdia] and [wʌkiˈpeːdia]; see Modern Scots § Phonology.


  1. ^ "List of Wikipedias". Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b Harrison, Stephen (9 September 2020). "What Happens to Scots Wikipedia Now?". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Wikipedia Statistics - Tables - Scots". Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Learnin's jist a wee click awa". Daily Mirror. 25 February 2008. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b c Horne, Marc (24 February 2008). "Scots finds home on gey muckle website". Scotland on Sunday. Archived from the original on 1 June 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  6. ^ Jane C. Hu (5 August 2014). "The Free Enclopaedia That Awbody Can Eedit: Scots Wikipedia Is No Joke". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  7. ^ Song, Victoria (25 August 2020). "Alleged Teen Brony Has Filled the Scots Wiki With Thousands of Fake Translations [Update: Confirmed Teen, No Longer Brony]". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on 26 August 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  8. ^ a b McDonald, Karl (26 August 2020). "Scots Wikipedia taken over by American teenager who wrote thousands of 'very odd' articles without learning language". Archived from the original on 26 August 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  9. ^ Ingham, Lucy (26 August 2020). "Majority of Scots Wikipedia articles are gibberish due to single prolific editor". Verdict. Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  10. ^ Brooks, Libby; Hern, Alex (26 August 2020). "Shock an aw: US teenager wrote huge slice of Scots Wikipedia". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2020.

External links[edit]