Open Conference Systems, Catac 2016

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CLASH OF CULTURES, CLASH OF VALUES: WIKIPEDIA AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Peter Gallert, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Gereon Koch Kapuire, Colin Stanley

Last modified: 2016-06-11

Abstract


Wikipedia has become the most popular repository and reference platform worldwide, shown by page views per unit of time, by unique visitor estimation, and by public perception. With the aim to provide access to “all human knowledge” it boosts itself to be a collaborative and open platform for “everybody” to contribute, at least in theory. However, an analysis of contributors shows a rather homogenous and constraint subset of global citizens excluding most or all indigenous communities. Wikipedia as a collaborative system has evolved with and through its contributors over time and therefore manifests their values. We postulate that a cultural clash prevents indigenous communities to participate. Using notions of the value–sensitive design methodology we evaluate the acceptance of Wikipedia as a technology for a specific indigenous community, the OvaHerero in Namibia. Comparing the assumed values of two mutually exclusive groups, Wikipedia editors and members of the OvaHerero community, we draw conclusions towards necessary design changes for a Wikipedia in an indigenous language, authored and consumed by the respective indigenous group. We conclude our paper with an appeal for a participatory re-design process based on the explicated indigenous community values.


Keywords


Wikipedia; technology adoption; indigenous language incubator; OvaHerero;Namibia

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