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Indonesia Wikipedia seeks local talent

Jakarta | Wed, March 31 2010 | 09:55 am

Wikimedia Indonesia, the operator of the popular free online encyclopedia, Indonesia Wikipedia, is holding a writing competition as part of its Free Your Knowledge 2010 program.

The foundation said the competition was aimed at increasing the number of local contributors while at the same time improving the quality of writing.

“We almost ran out of ideas on how to get supports for our activity. People keep asking us what they would get in return for writing for Indonesia Wikipedia,” program director Siska Doviana said Tuesday.

Project organizers randomly selected 10 universities in Jakarta, Bogor and Tangerang to participate in the competition, including Bina Nusantara University, the University of Indonesia, and Al-Azhar University.

Each university will select nine students to participate in the competition.

“It would be an ideal situation if [the students] decided to keep writing for Wikpedia Indonesia after the competition, but we’re not imposing any obligations,” Siska said.

The participants have received training to familiarize them with Wikpedia tools and writing styles before the  competition, which runs from April 1 to June 16.  

The top five participants will win notebook computers and one of them will stand the chance of attending the Wikimania 2010 International Conference in Gdansk, Poland, in July.

An official from the Communications and Information Technology Ministry’s Telematics Application Directorate General, Djoko Agung, said the ministry supported the competition.

“[The contest] will help produce more good content on the Internet. If this proves to be the case, then the public will not be subjected to harmful content,” he said.

Siska said students in the competition would benefit from new experiences from attending the international conference, as well as gaining enhanced writing skills.

She added that the competition would also help Indonesia Wikipedia attract active contributors who could submit and edit articles.

Another purpose of the competition is to draw young volunteers from universities to “free their knowledge”. “I believe that knowledge should be free,” Siska said of the nature of the competition.

In the competition, participants will write their articles that should be at least 140 words long, include at least 5 references and a picture and upload it to the website. This means the articles will be subject to editing from other writers as well.

Siska said the possibility that competing articles would be heavily edited by Wikpedia contributors and therefore could not be deemed works by the participants was small.  

“Not everyone knows how to edit articles in Wikipedia. When editors discover that an article does not meet standards, it will be restored to its original version,” she said.

Indonesia Wikipedia was established in May 2003. It had 1.2 million visitors a day in February. This month, there were more than 119,000 new stories.

Web metrics firm alexa.com said Wikipedia was the 11th most frequently visited website in the country. However, the number of active users who edit more than three times a day has been stagnant at 30 since 2005. The trend is declining, Siska said, adding that this affected the number of articles produced. (dis)

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