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The Geography of Wikipedia: Article Quality in South Asia


The maps of Wikipedia posted on this blog offered useful insights into the geographies of one of the world’s largest platforms for user-generated content. They reiterated some of the massive inequalities in the layers of information that augment our planet. 

But not all articles are created equally, and those maps didn’t give us much of a sense of the quality of articles. “Quality” is obviously a slippery word and there are infinite ways of measuring it, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll crudely use the term to refer to article length (future maps will employ a variety of other metrics). 



You see a range of interesting patterns here. Notice the thick cloud of content over Nepal and Kerala (see the map below for a zoomed-in version) ; the glowing lights that signify agglomerations of content over Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Karachi; and then, perhaps more unexpectedly, the dense layers (of relatively short articles) over central Sri Lanka and parts of Myanmar. Cities tend to have higher-quality (longer) articles, while surrounding regions have shorter articles. The layer of content blanketing Nepal isn’t made up of tiny articles, but closer inspection reveals that many of these pages are also stubs of villages (e.g. Budhakhani).



What explains these patterns of intense focus on some parts of the region and lack of interest in others? This question won’t be answered with a simple map, but I would be curious to hear any interpretations of these patterns, so please let me know in the comments section below if you have any thoughts about the graphic. I’m also happy to create either a higher-res version or larger-scale maps zoomed into specific parts of the region if anyone has any requests. 
Mark GrahamWikipedia, oii, menaea, India