The English Wikipedia has a “plain language” wikipedia, the Simple English 
Wikipedia. It’s targeted not only towards children, but also towards people who 
aren’t fluent in English and/or have learning disabilities. A few “internet 
hack” memes say “If you can’t understand the Wikipedia article, change en to 
simple!” Basically, the English Wikipedia community has two very 
general-to-slightly-specialist encyclopedias.

Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed in years past that the Simple English Wikipedias’ 
activity level was, shall we say, wanting. I hope that’s changed; I suspect 
kids would enjoy learning to research for the purpose of writing on Simple 
before moving on to the so-called “real” English Wikipedia, but that might 
require some assistance that might not always exist offline. I think Simple 
would certainly be a good place to start making Wikipedia more accessible to 
8-10 year olds.

I dream of horses

> On Jun 23, 2022, at 11:40 AM, Mathias Damour <> wrote:
> Hi,
>  De: "WereSpielChequers" <>
> A childrens' encyclopaedia written for nine year olds would surely be very 
> different than one written for thirteen year olds. And content that parents 
> of fourteen year olds thought was age inappropriate in Alabama might be 
> thought appropriate or even bowdlerised by parents of ten year olds in London.
> In other words, are you sure that one single childrens' encyclopaedia is the 
> answer to either the problem of reading age or age appropriate content?
> There is one thing that is sure, that "one single childrens' encyclopaedia" 
> is a great step for children (and often teenagers and older people) than 
> having just Wikipedia available, and they love it.
> Where I think that Wikipedia could and should change re this is in our use of 
> jargon. To my mind a "general interest" english language encyclopaedia should 
> be written in plain English. I suspect other language versions have similar 
> issues.  Perhaps if we focussed more on this we would make it easier for 
> those who wish to create childrens' versions.
> Yet there is not realistic hopes that the language of Wikipedia will change 
> to be easier. That wouldn't address the fact the articles on general subjects 
> are among the longest ones.
> It sounds a bit weird that a content for 12 yo would not fit well for a 8 yo, 
> and then that Wikipedia could fit to children. The "reading level" of 
> articles on Vikidia is not perfectly homogenous, nor their developpment is. 
> They can be usefull for adult beginners on a subject just as a child can 
> prefer Wikipedia on a subject he's fond of and allready informed.
> That was developped in this post (in english):
> <>
> De: "Ziko van Dijk" <> <>
> Ideally, one would have
> * an encyclopedia for the very young, that parents read to them,
> * an encyclopedia for the 8 to 13 year olds, the target group for many
> of the existing kids' wikis,
> * an encyclopedia for juvelines, 14 to 18 years
> * an encyclopedia for everyone; this is what "regular Wikipedia" should be,
> * an encyclopedia for specialists; this is what "regular Wikipedia"
> actually develops into.
> And maybe encylopedias for people with specific challenges such as
> dyslexia.
> Most language don't have a single wiki encyclopedia for children or an 
> under-developped one. So I guess that's not realistic nor wise to wish such a 
> division in this work. So let's work on the allready allready launched ones ! 
> (Especially the one of the Vikidia family of course ;) see 
> )
> You actually do not need millions of articles for a good encyclopedia, some 
> thousand well written articles are enough.
> Vikidia in French and Wikikids in Dutch are by far the biggest wiki 
> encyclopedias for children, with about 35000 articles each. Yet young reader 
> on the Vikidia's guestbook still ask for "more content", which certainly mean 
> both enought developped articles (not just a few lines) and more subjects. So 
> yes, we need, if not millions of articles, at least several dozens of 
> thousands articles.
> Of course, we see that (as everywhere) 20 % of the articles make more than 80 
> % of the pageviews. But you can't really guess in advance which subject will 
> be in the top 20 %.
>  De: "Galder Gonzalez Larrañaga" <>
> About Txikipedia: the age range is 8-12, but is more 10-12 than 8-9. The 
> problem is that some of the writers are 8-9 years old, so their content is 
> quite simple.
> (...)
> When I read French Vikidia I think that most of the contents are still too 
> difficult for 8-9 years old students, but French education system maybe more 
> advanced in some issues. Or it might be that Vikidia is centered in 8-13 
> years old, and 13 years old readers are way better reading and understanding 
> texts. Klexikon seems very suitable, but it's logical, since it is written by 
> educators, and not children or whoever wants to write. When we make courses 
> with university students who will be the next primary school teachers, they 
> write longer articles, but not necessarily better. The main goal there is to 
> explain things as easily as possible, and not granting anything for known. We 
> advise them to write shorter sentences, without dependencies and to explain 
> all technical concepts inline, if possible. Also, they normally add boxes of 
> "did you know?" so they can add a layer for curious children.
> Just as on Wikipedia, article don't have only one author. That makes them 
> better, more accessible and accurate.
> You can't just test an average child to write on such a wiki to tell if 
> children and teenagers are able to participate to a wiki encyclopedia for 
> several reasons :
> the 1% rule ( fully apply there (or 
> less than 1%)
> regular editors are few but very motivated,
> they typically learn and are engaged for months and years, which is VERY 
> different than having been trained to edit for one or two hours.
> A 12 yo with 2 years of participation, or a 15 yo with 3 years of experience 
> are often very valuables editors, either as writer of for maintenance and 
> community tasks.
> Adults as well have to learn to write on Vikidia, be they educators or not. 
> Just as it is well know that a journalist or a scientist, which are supposed 
> to be skilled is writing articles, often don't fit immediatly with the style 
> that is expected on Wikipedia.
> Mathias Damour
> [[User:Astirmays]]
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list --, guidelines at: 
> and 
> Public archives at 
> To unsubscribe send an email to

Wikimedia-l mailing list --, guidelines at: and
Public archives at
To unsubscribe send an email to

Reply via email to