Submissions/Small Wikipedias, Great Expectations: Following the campaign for the development of the Greek-language Wikipedia.

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission

Small Wikipedias, Great Expectations: Following the campaign for the development of the Greek-language Wikipedia.

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Ilektra Pavlaki
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Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Greece was one of the first countries in the world to embrace the vision of Wikipedia for the creation of a universal repository of human knowledge, launching its local version in 2002. However, the steady, but slow pace of growth in terms of contributions and participants, suggests that this first wave of enthusiasm was succeeded by a period of “numbness”.

On January 17 2011 and on the occasion of Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary, a new initiative kicked off that aimed not only at reviving the spark of collaborative action within the existing Greek Wikipedia community, but also at encouraging new contributors to support the effort. The “I participate in Wikipedia” campaign, as the initiative is called, is supported by the Greek Ministry of Education and sponsored by the Greek Free/Open-Source Software Society and the Greek Research & Technology Network. To further enhance the campaign, the Ministry of Education has declared 2011 as the “Year of Digital Encyclopedia”.

The primary goal of the “I participate in Wikipedia” campaign is to make the Greek version of Wikipedia truly “useful” by: a) increasing the number of the articles up to 120.000 b) improving the quality of the content c) intriguing both educators and students to participate in the development of the project. At the core of this modest goal lies a much greater desire to turn the Greek version of Wikipedia into one of the best in the world. In order for the aforementioned vision to be realized, a series of free workshops, presentations and seminars have been planned across Greece.

In the frame of a larger research that I have been conducting for my master thesis in the New Media Program at the University of Amsterdam (Mediastudies), under the supervision of Geert Lovink, I have been attending many of the workshops, while getting personally involved in the development of the Greek-language Wikipedia and following the campaign. Thus, in my presentation I will attempt to provide an overview of the effort of the “real” local community to re-build its Wikipedia community. In explicit, the proposed presentation aims to:

  • identify the opportunities, the challenges but also the major implications that emerged when people were invited not only to collaborate in cyberspace, but also to meet in “physical meetspace” (Andrew Lih, 2009, 8)
  • shed some light on the specific practices that the Greek Wikipedia community selected in order to realize its vision and how these reflect Greek culture and contemporary concerns
  • capture the collaborative climate and discuss the distribution of roles, the emergence of hierarchies and the consensus reaching process
  • examine how and to what extent Wikipedia’s core value of non-paid, collaborative participation could be relevant within a society that struggles amid economic crisis.

It is important to note that this presentation shifts the focus off Wikipedia’s usefulness as a tool, to highlight the “human-ness of everything inside” it (Reagle, 2010, x). Community has the leading role and that is what makes Wikipedia a socio-cultural phenomenon of great influence.

Finally, even though the proposed presentation focuses on the development of the Greek-language Wikipedia, the findings could prove valuable and insightful for relative projects in other languages, providing the basis for further research on non-English Wikipedias.


  • Lih, Andrew (2009), "The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia", New York: Hyperion
  • Reagle, Joseph Michael, "Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia", London: the MIT Press
Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)
People and Community
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Hopefully, yes.
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  1. Pichunakia 16:43, 29 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Saintfevrier 18:22, 30 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Blahma 12:49, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Vibhijain 13:39, 4 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Stefania wiki 12:29, 10 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  6. R25. 19:06, 10 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Casual 20:25, 30 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Nemo 21:06, 12 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  9. I am very curious about this. Amir E. Aharoni
  10. Geraki 05:49, 15 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Ashina 05:12, 26 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]