This week, we traveled to Cymru with the folks at WikiProject Wales. Started in January 2007, the project has grown to include 12 Featured Articles, 11 Featured Lists, and 122 Good Articles. With a relative WikiWork rating of 5.34, the project still has a hefty workload with thousands of stubs and start-class articles. WikiProject Wales is the parent of WikiProject Cardiff. We interviewed Bencherlite, Sionk, Ghmyrtle, and Deb.
What motivated you to join WikiProject Wales? Have you contributed to any of the project's Featured or Good Articles?
Bencherlite: I'm not Welsh, but I spend a lot of my time in Anglesey these days, so it seemed a natural project to join. I'm trying to write a GA about every listed church in Anglesey, and am about halfway through. Guto Puw, a Welsh composer, is another GA I helped to write. List of former county courts in Wales is a FL and the information it contains is not readily accessible elsewhere, so I'm quite pleased with that still.
Sionk: I've lived in Wales for my entire adult life so have an interest in (and knowledge of) many aspects. I have tended to create shorter articles on a variety of missing subjects, I don't have the time or inclination to develop articles to GA status.
Ghmyrtle: I live in Wales, so was attracted to creating and improving articles on places and issues that I know something about and where I can access sources. I also tend to create short articles to a standard that I find reasonably satisfying, without any need to get others' opinions on them. I have many other areas of interest - Wales-related articles take up quite a small proportion of my time here.
Does Wales receive the kind of attention that other countries in the United Kingdom get? Are there any significant gaps in the coverage of Wales that don't plague the coverage of England or Scotland?
Sionk: With a population 15 times greater, it's inevitable England gets more attention! However, small fishes in small ponds still make a noticeable splash.
Ghmyrtle: I'm sure that some areas are well covered (Monmouth, obviously!!) and other areas are not. In that, Wales is probably similar to other areas of the UK.
Deb: Not sure what you mean by "plague" but I would say the main areas that are thinly covered are topics in Welsh-language literature, which are more thoroughly covered on the Welsh wikipedia.
Wales is home to some of the longest place names in the world. Does the project typically use the full name or abbreviations when referring to these locations? Has the project run into any problems with Wikipedia's naming conventions for these articles?
Bencherlite: If you're referring to LlanfairPG, then nobody on Anglesey refers to it by its full name (except to prove that they can say it). I've not noticed a problem with long place names, although passions run high on the usage of modern or historic names for counties/principal areas (I forget the exact terminology) and that issue flares up occasionally.
Sionk:LlanfairPG is not typical, so I think the question is a misnomer based on myth! I haven't come across any place naming problems. However, the naming of Welsh people has been discussed because they can be misinterpreted by editors unfamiliar with the Welsh language.
How difficult has it been to find sources for articles? Has the project collaborated with any libraries or museums, like the National Library of Wales?
Sionk: A knowledge of the Welsh language is handy on occasions when the source is in Welsh. Generally there are far fewer major news sources that cover Wales issues - I rely on WalesOnline and BBC Wales. Personally I live near several major publicly accessible libraries so have offline options too. Wicipedia Cymraeg held an editing session at the Cardiff Central Library in 2012.
Ghmyrtle: It's a shame in many ways that the Monmouthpedia initiative doesn't seem to have generated much wider interest among institutions and people in Wales. I'm not sure whether that's because those who were involved in Monmouth have moved on, or because the initiative's development wasn't managed properly, or both.
Have you contributed to the Welsh Wikipedia? What has prevented the Welsh Wikipedia from growing as rapidly as Wikipedia's other languages editions?
Bencherlite: I have contributed a bit to Wicipedia, but my (written) Welsh isn't good enough to take an active role there. I can't speak with any authority as to why Wicipedia hasn't grown more, but Welsh is only spoken by about 20% of the inhabitants of Wales to start with - take out those who are too young, too old, too uninterested or too busy to contribute to an online encyclopaedia in Welsh (as well as those whose language skills aren't up to it) and I suspect the pool of talent from which to draw is rather small.
Sionk: What Bencherlite just said (though my contribution has been microscopic - I live in Southeast Wales where English is dominant).
Ghmyrtle: Per the others. Welsh is a minority language in most of Wales, and most editors are more likely to read, and contribute to, articles in English.
Deb: All the above statements are true, but there are initiatives being run in an attempt to get more Welsh speakers interested in contributing.
What are the most urgent needs of WikiProject Wales? How can a new contributor help today?
Sionk: Get involved! The project has evidently been quite active in the past but fairly quiet of late.
Ghmyrtle: We need more people using good reliable and balanced sources to try and improve existing articles - generally a much more important task than creating new articles where they are not needed.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Deb: Some time ago we did lose a good contributor to English wikipedia who was a Welsh speaker and did come over to the Welsh wikipedia briefly. S/he commented that they found English wikipedia too prone to conflict - a problem we don't really have in the Welsh-language version because of the smaller number of users.