I have the idea that the WMF invests $10,000 in the developing world to
recruit $1000 of volunteer labor.
We need to be realistic about the relative costs of doing Western-style,
rich country outreach in all economies. In the past, the strategy has been
to fund the recruitment of volunteers and avoid hiring content producing
staff no matter the outcomes, cost, or impact.
In the spectrum of the average income of individuals in some places, it is
obviously easier and more impactful to hire someone with a masters degree
to outright produce content than to pay for a program which will recruit
Obviously, the WMF cannot and will never pay for content. However, I think
that we need to make it easier for Wikimedia chapters, community groups,
and partner organizations to hire paid contributors. Translation is the
most obvious place to start because having base content in an encyclopedia
is the foundation for demonstrating the legitimacy and value of Wikimedia
projects. Funding should go from WMF to chapters to paid staff for content.
To make this project a go we would need to have a conversation about what
sort of content is a priority for translation. I have a draft of an idea
for prioritizing content for translation.
The idea is that for any given field of study, subject matter experts
identify 99 articles in that field which they deem and come to consensus as
priorities for having a global conversation in that field. So for example,
if a group funds translation of LGBT+ content, then we would need to
develop a canon of LGBT topics to which everyone in the world would have
access. I have no idea how to choose topics, but fewer than 100 is probably
not enough and more than 100 is probably too much for an all-languages
translation project. I could use some help drafting guidelines for how to
make priorities for what to translate given limited resources.
On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 7:51 AM, John Erling Blad <jeb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> This discussion is going to be fun! =D
> A little more than seventy Wikipedia-projects has more than 65k articles,
> the remaining two hundred or so are pretty small.
> What if a base set of articles were opened for paid translators? There are
> several lists of such base sets. We have both the thousand articles from
> "List of articles every Wikipedia should have" and and the ten thousand
> articles from the expanded list.
> Lets say verified good translators was paid about $0.01 per word (about $1
> for a 1k-article) for translating one of those articles into another
> language, with perhaps a higher pay for contributors in high-cost
> countries. The pay would also have to be higher for languages that lacks
> good translation tools.
> I believe this would be an _enabling_ activity for the communities, as
> without a base set of articles it won't be possible to build a community at
> all. By not paying for new articles, and only translating well-referenced
> articles, some of the disputes in the communities could be avoided. Perhaps
> we should also identify good source articles, that would be a help.
> Translated articles should be above some minimum size, but they does not
> have to be full translations of the source article.
> A real problem is that our existing lists of good articles other projects
> should have is pretty much biased towards Western World, so they need a lot
> of adjustments. Perhaps such a project would identify our inherit bias?
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