Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Geography
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Does a geographical bias exist?
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.
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:
|Excellent||North America, Japan, Western Europe, Australia & NZ|
|Good||East Asia, 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 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.
- Make Wikipedians aware of the issue so that they might decided 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:
- Create a list of articles that currently only reflect a western or developed country viewpoint.
- 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.
Geography To-Do List
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)
- stub, a paragraph or two, completely inadequate.
- 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.
- 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.
- Addis Ababa
- Algiers - A good history, but it's just Britannica stuff, and doesn't really cover post 19th century!
- Port Louis
- São Tomé