Wikipedia ends free access

Wikipedia needs more African content, here’s how you can help

Next month the 14th Wikimania conference and first in sub-Saharan Africa will take be held in Cape Town.

The theme of the conference is “Bridging knowledge gaps; the Ubuntu way forward” and in the build up to that Wikimedia has issued a call to Africans to contribute to the online encyclopedia.

True, anybody can contribute to Wikipedia, but there is very little in the way of African content on the resource.

“To achieve knowledge equity we need to have more voices represented in our community. This is why we are creating an inclusive environment for people from all over the world to contribute knowledge in a way that considers custom, language, access to bandwidth, and more,” Wikimania conference organiser Ellie Young said in a media statement.

Of course, contributing to Wikipedia means you need a connection to the internet which isn’t always easy in Africa.

For that reason Wikipedia has been engaging with locals, hosting “editathon” sessions, and helping Africans make their voices heard on Wikipedia.

“What is apparent is that African people have a real appetite to see themselves represented on this platform. They want to see their content and their languages on Wikipedia and are crashing through some of the structural barriers to do so,” says Ghanaian Wikipedia contributor Felix Nartey.

Where to start

To start making contributions to Wikipedia you’re going to need an account. Head to this page on Wikipedia select “Create an account now”.

From here Wikipedia suggests new contributors try their hand at editing things like grammar and adding citations to existing articles.

Once you’ve got the hang of that you may want to contribute an article to the site.

Thankfully Wikipedia has an exhaustive guide on how to draft your first article. Be sure to check that guide as it contains a metric tonne of useful information.

The organisation also suggests joining a WikiProject where contributors collaborate to create or improve articles on the website. You can find out more about that here.

Remember if you’re interested in all things Wiki, the Wikimania conference will be happening at the Cape Sun Hotel in Cape Town from 18th to 22nd July.



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