As promised, we're expanding our horizons by featuring projects that cover underrepresented areas of the globe. This week, we headed to WikiProject Brazil which keeps track of articles about the world's largest Portuguese-speaking country. The project has shown spurts of activity and continues to serve as a hub for discussions, despite its collaborations, peer reviews, and outreach activities being largely inactive. We interviewed two native Brazilians, Victão (Victor) Lopes and Felipe Menegaz.
What motivated you to join WikiProject Brazil? Do you currently or have you previously lived in Brazil? Have you contributed to any of the project's Featured or Good Articles?
Victão Lopes: As a Brazilian, I spend much of my time in Wiki editing Brazil-related articles. Joining the project became an obvious decision, so that I could communicate better with other people interested in the country. I don't remember if I have contributed to any FA or GA. Maybe I've done it without being aware I was dealing with FAs or GAs.
Felipe Menegaz: Well, as a Brazilian, I am glad to contribute for the improvement of universal knowledge and free access of information regarding topics related to the country where I still live. Since my account was created in 2006, the vast majority of my contributions on the English Wikipedia—even though they are distributed through different subjects—are strictly related to Brazil. Therefore, I became a member of WikiProject Brazil in order to meet other editors and find out existing scopes for Brazil-related articles. Unfortunately, the WikiProject was not well structured and the editors barely used to talk to each other. Nevertheless, I was part of a small group of editors who achieved Good Article status, twice, for the article Brazil back in 2007, and more recently, I was largely involved in the promotion of Rio de Janeiro bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics for the same status.
Are some aspects of Brazil better represented on Wikipedia than others? Are there any significant gaps in coverage with which the project could use some help?
Victão Lopes: Well, obviously the largest cities, the most well-known personalities and the most famous buildings and landmarks end up receiving more coverage than minor ones. I try to contribute with the things I'm close to - my hometown, my favorite Brazilian band, etc. If everyone does the same, the coverage will increase significantly - which is something that already happens in some articles, but not all of them.
Felipe Menegaz: Yes, but I think it occurs to the coverage of most of the countries, especially the non-English speaking. In the case of Brazil, internationally recognized aspects are naturally better represented, such as famous places, important people and large events. At the same time, fields like history and culture, which are not familiar to foreigners, tend to be less explored. Recently, Lecen (talk·contribs) is doing a fantastic job with pages related to the Imperial history of Brazil, giving Featured Article status and bringing to prominence articles like Empire of Brazil. WikiProject Brazil could encourage more users to follow the same steps, guiding and supporting the editors in many fields of endeavor.
How does the Brazilian community on the English Wikipedia compare to the community on the Portuguese Wikipedia? Do you frequently borrow or translate information from one to the other? Have there been any collaborations between the two?
Victão Lopes: In the english Wikipedia, people tend to be more polite and loyal to the rules. In the Portuguese Wikipedia, people tend to be less respectful when discussing. Also, the number of articles that are too inadequate at the Portuguese Wiki is high, though it seems to be decreasing. Yes, I always translate information from one to another, as long as there are sources available in the version I'm translating from.
Has the project struggled to remain active? What kind of challenges does the project face when attracting and retaining editors? Are there any plans to revive some of the project's dormant initiatives, like the collaboration, peer review, or outreach departments?
Victão Lopes: Yes, the project is currently semi-active. Only few people discuss at its talk page. I think there are too few people interested, and even less people with enough time to dedicate to the project. I don't know if there are any plans now.
Do you contribute to articles about other countries in South and Central America? What can be done to improve Wikipedia's coverage of these parts of the world?
What are WikiProject Brazil's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
Victão Lopes: To fully reactivate itself and to attract more contributors. Newcomers may help doing what I said above: contributing to minor subjects they are close to and adding minor details to grater subjects.
Next week, we'll poke our head out of our shell. Until then, flap or crawl your way through our previous reports in the archive.