Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Geography

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Does a geographical bias exist?[edit]

Almost certainly yes. Below is a comparison between how many times Canada is mentioned in four encyclopedias and how many times Nigeria is mentioned. The second column is the ratio of mentions of Belgium to mentions of Rwanda.

27:1 11:1 Wikipedia
19:1 4:1 Encarta
12:1 4:1 Columbia
5:1 4:1 Britannica

While it has long been one of Jimbo Wales' goals to distribute Wikipedia in the poor nations of the world, currently we would be giving them a product that does a relatively poor job of covering their regions. It should be noted that it only does a poor relative job. Wikipedia has a similar total number of articles mentioning Rwanda and Nigeria to Encarta and Britannica.

Rough evaluation of coverage:

Coverage Region
Excellent North America, Japan, Western Europe, Australia & NZ
Good East Asia, Eastern Europe
Mediocre Latin America, Middle East, South Asia
Poor Sub-Saharan Africa


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 Wikipedia:Wikipedians by country. Our writers submit articles about what they know and what they know is more likely to be close at hand. Also, a look at Special:Mostlinked quickly demonstrates that the United States is the most linked to country far above any other country.


Geography To-Do List[edit]

The following geographically 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)

25%.svg - stub, a paragraph or two, completely inadequate.
50%.png - maybe a few paragraphs, but coverage is inadequate, still missing some basic information. May include Western-biased information; for example may focus on relations of a place with the west.
75%.png - Many paragraphs, covers all, or almost all, basic information, provides a bit of depth.
100 percent.svg - Excellent article. Covers all that is required of an encyclopedia. Has balance and depth. Sufficiently long to cover the topic.



Geographic features[edit]