Little Project, Big Heart — WikiProject Croatia
In honor of Croatia's Victory Day on Friday, we interviewed WikiProject Croatia. The project focuses on the history, geography, politics and culture of Croatia as well as biographies of notable Croats. The central-southeastern European country is represented on the English Wikipedia by 33 editors maintaining over 10,000 pages, including 5 pieces of featured content and 16 Good Articles. In addition, WikiProject Croatia maintains a portal, popular pages list, intertranswiki page, and a task force focusing on the capital city Zagreb. WikiProject Croatia is a child of WikiProject Europe and, as a former component of several countries, shares articles with WikiProject Military History's Ottoman Empire Task Force, WikiProject Former Countries' Austria-Hungary Task Force, and WikiProject Yugoslavia. We interviewed project member GregorB.
What motivated you to join WikiProject Croatia?
- GregorB: What motivated me to join the project was the following question: if we, Croatian editors, won't create and improve Croatia-related articles, who will? This means: if we - who "have it easy", and who are directly interested in this content - don't do it, how can we expect other editors to fill in? In a way, this question still motivates me.
Do you speak Croatian? What are some of the challenges to writing about a non-anglophone country on the English Wikipedia? Have you contributed to the Croatian Wikipedia?
- GregorB: In practice, it is difficult, if not virtually impossible, to write a high-quality Croatia-related article without any reliance on Croatian-language sources. That's why writing about Croatia can be difficult for editors without at least a basic command of Croatian. This is perhaps a greater obstacle than the lack of "local", "contextual" knowledge.
- I haven't contributed to the Croatian Wikipedia at all. Reasons for this are hard to explain in a few words, but it is sufficient to say that I find the environment and general feel of Croatian Wikipedia to be significantly different from the English Wikipedia. Apart from that, writing for a larger audience seems to me to be a better way to use one's limited free time.
Why has WikiProject Croatia remained more active than the projects of many larger European countries like WikiProject Spain or WikiProject Turkey? Does WikiProject Croatia collaborate with the projects of any former-Yugoslav countries?
- GregorB: WikiProject Croatia has rather scarce resources - measured by the number of active editors - but it indeed has a disproportionally high output. I'm not quite sure why. It seems that small number of highly dedicated editors can be more efficient than a large number of casual contributors. WikiProject Slovenia is a good example: User:Kaktus999 is the sole reason why WP Slovenia is ahead of us in article count, because he created thousands of articles on virtually every settlement in Slovenia. A single editor can make a difference.
- Unfortunately, no cross-project collaboration of note happened thus far. People who write about former Yugoslav countries mostly understand each other's native languages, so the use of sources should not be a barrier. These projects are rather light on resources too, and collaboration would really make sense. I'd like to see organized efforts of this kind in the future.
Croatia recently released the results of the country's 2011 census. Were there any surprises in the census results? Was there any controversy? How much work was it to update the data on Wikipedia's articles?
- GregorB: No major surprises or controversies. From the encyclopedic point of view, one minor point of contention is the fact that the 2011 census uses a slightly different methodology, so 2001 and 2011 population figures are not directly comparable. The biggest problem is, of course, the physical volume of work to update all the articles - more than 2,000 of them. The work started on the day the first results were published, and it will probably continue into 2012. Final, detailed results will be published some time in early 2012 - yet more work for us... But looking on the bright side: there's a chance to introduce more consistent referencing and - time permitting - more consistent article layout. (Again, WP Slovenia is ahead of us in this department.)
WikiProject Croatia is home to 5 pieces of Featured material and 16 Good Articles. Have you contributed to any of these articles? Are there any tips you could give for improving articles about Croatia to FA or GA status?
- GregorB: I've written or contributed to several GA articles and - most recently - a featured list. It is difficult to give useful tips here as I feel that there is no royal road to GA/FA content. It is hard work. But here are three tips anyway: 1) referencing is crucial, 2) don't do it alone if you don't have to, collaboration really makes things easier, and 3) skilled copyeditors are a great help, drop them a note.
Have you contributed to the Croatia Portal or the Zagreb Task Force?
- GregorB: I've never contributed to our portal. In fact, I'm barely aware of its existence, and this question got me thinking. Sadly, almost the same story with the Zagreb Task Force - I'm formally a member, but it is de facto inactive now. Both require extra time and resources, and these are lacking.
What are the project's greatest needs? How can a new editor help today?
- GregorB: More editors. I really wish we had more. Quite literally any kind of work would be of help.
Anything else you'd like to add?
- GregorB: On behalf of my fellow editors, thanks for the opportunity to say a few things about our project. I hope this discussion will give us some new ideas.
Next week, we'll take aim at a high caliber project. While we're busy reloading the Report, we hope you'll be blown away by our previous issues in the
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