What would Wikipedia be like if it did things differently? Had different standards for article inclusion? Different policies for non-free content? A different approach to dealing with problematic behavior? Simply a different group of core users who shaped its policies and community culture from the beginning?
Experiments like this have been run over and over in the form of the 262 different language versions of Wikipedia. Andrew Lih's The Wikipedia Revolution and Andrew Dalby's The World and Wikipedia have valuable but brief sections exploring what things are like on a handful of other projects, and first-hand accounts appear now and then in blogs and mailing list posts. The better English Wikipedia articles on specific language editions also provide some useful comparative insight. (The ones with significant original research are the most useful in this regard, although they may become less so as they are cleaned up.) However, on the whole very few cross-language comparisons (in English, at least) have been put down in writing. Hopefully we can change that.
The Signpost is calling for editors active in one or more non-English Wikipedias to write accounts comparing governance, process and policy, and editing culture across languages. The key questions are: how is it different working on another Wikipedia?; and what could English Wikipedia learn from that project—and vice versa?
Please list your comparison essays, or your plans for them, at the opinion desk. While you are there, you can read and comment on some of the other draft opinion content in development. As always, the Signpost is looking for new contributors, and there are more ways than ever to get involved; in addition to the opinion desk, there are open-ended writing opportunities at the review desk and the interviews desk, or you can stop by the revamped newsroom to pitch in on the next issue. Of course, comments, news tips, and story proposals are always appreciated at the tip line.
Finally, thanks sincerely to all the Signpost readers who have been using the new comments section so passionately, and thanks to User:Pretzels for designing and implementing it.