Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New articles waiting to be made

For Wikipedians who think every important subject already has an article, this list of protected areas and species in Tanzania should be required reading. There are far too many redlinks on important subjects in African geography and ecology.

This was an accidental discovery last month when I noticed a redlink for the Thika River in Kenya. What's the Thika River? Is it important? Ran a Google search to find out, and the very first source noted that it supplies 80% of the drinking water to Kenya's national capital. So I started the article.

Now working on Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, which isn't a very big article yet. Hoping to get it up to size within the five day window for consideration at "Did you know?" It's the only national park on the island of Zanzibar and it's home to the endangered Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey, which lives nowhere else in the world. It'll be exciting to grow this article: the sources are saying that the park is a successful endeavor in ecotourism where cooperative work with the local communities has led to habitat preservation and a rise in the monkey population, while revenue sharing from park entrance fees has given the villages schools, cleaner water, and health clinics.

Which is cool. And there are redlinks like that all over Africa waiting to be filled.


Steven Walling said...

Is there some kind of "most wanted articles" redlink list for Africa?

If not, we should start one. I know Llywrch (with his penchant for Ethopian articles lately) would love to help us.

Lise Broer said...

Good idea.

Waldir said...

automatic list sorted by the "most wanted". See also its parent page, a manually-generated list.

GerardM said...

There is also the Africa project to consider .. maybe we can find one of them to join the conversation.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a project perfectly suited to User:Muhammad_Mahdi_Karim to me. :-) He tends to focus on the little animals rather than the big ones though, it seems.

I agree that Africa is very under-represented and we need to do more to remedy this... It always helps to get locals involved. :-)


Lise Broer said...

Actually I had him in mind when I looked up national parks in Tanzania. He does such wonderful work with photography, it was a way to show appreciation for his efforts to start an article about his country.

llywrch said...

Did someone mention my name?

(Actually, had I been a little less busy, I might have heard it sooner.)

There has been a project to cover the issues mentioned in this post for some time: WikiProject Countering systemic bias. The holes in Wikipedia's coverage extends beyond Africa-related topics: organized labor -- especially beyond Europe & North America -- is another topic that needs covering. And I remember once reading Kelly Martin kvetching about Wikipedia's poor coverage of wood-working.

As for a list of red-links about Africa, there used to be a page on that exact subject in "Wikipedia: WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles", but I just had a look & couldn't find it.

Until someone can find it, my suggestion is to do what I've found is a simple but effective tactic: find a good reliable source, & read through it; as you find useful information, add it to the relevant articles -- or create it as need be.

Don't be surprised if you discover a number of articles that need writing as you do this.


Joshua said...

One often doesn't even need to go so far afield as African geography and biology. Wikipedia has major holes in other areas as well. To use my favorite example(since I was the person who wrote the article) is Samuel Molyneux - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Molyneux . Molyneux is the main chiefly responsible for finding the conclusive evidence that the Earth moves and that Kepler and Copernicus were correct. Yet, until July 2007 we didn't even have an article on him.