Wikipilipinas: From a Wikipedia subset to one-stop hub on RP

When I first heard of Wikipilipinas as a Philippines-specific Wikipedia, my stock reaction was: Why the need? Why the fork? And I don’t know whether that approximates that of my techie friend: “He he he.” Perhaps he found the name either cute or corny.

I was further disappointed when I tried to compare Wikipilipinas’ entry from that of Wikipedia on the subjects of the “Philippines”, “Philippine Presidents”, and “Hello Garci Scandal”. They’re almost the same. Plain copy-and-paste tech, I would describe it. Isn’t it a waste of time copying exactly from other sources, no matter how noble the intention is? And isn’t it a waste of time for researchers/visitors as well trying to make out the differences or nuances between the apparently similar texts? Wikipedian and blogger Eugene Villar simply dismissed it as counter-productive.

I gave Wikipilipinas a benefit of the doubt by visiting its site, particularly its policies and overall “table of contents.” The policy side is not yet well-polished. For example, when I clicked on the link “Wikipilipinas differs from Wikipedia in some very important ways”, I was pointed to a text entitled “Editorial and Content Policies” which seemed to claim that two of its policies are unique to it, suggesting that Wikipedia does not have those policies at all.

So what differs Wikipilipinas from Wikipedia, despite their common software platform and content licensing scheme?

  1. Wikipilipinas claims that there is no “neutral” point of view. It “encourages balanced presentation, but not a neutral point of view.” Wikipedia believes that neutrality is achieved when writers and editors “explain disputes” not engage in them. (Does this mean that Wikipilipinas will entertain disputes so long as they are “properly” handled?)
  2. Wikipilipinas welcomes content based on original research, so long as it is supported by facts.
  3. Wikipilipinas is not an academic encyclopedia. It also incorporates other types of references like “Who’s Who” and Philippine almanac.

Content-wise, Wikipilipinas’s main page for Philippine topics appears to be tidier than that of Wikipedia’s category page. Likewise, there may be topics either not yet discussed or underdeveloped in Wikipedia that Wikipilipinas more comprehensively or contextually tackles. Compare Wikipedia’s List of Filipino Traditional Games to Wikipilipinas’ “Filipino Traditional Games.”

One unstated principle of Wikipilipinas would be the view that Filipinos and Filipinas (or the Filipinized ones?) know better. And since the primary intended audience are Filipinos and ethno-cultural groups in the Philippines, Filipinos and Filipinas would have the appropriate tact in gathering information and delivering them to the readers using localized language.

Wikipilipinas is a welcome idea. But I can’t say whether its time has come. I can’t even guess if at least some Pinoy wikipedians problematize whether they would stop writing or ‘developing content’ for Wikipedia and devote their energies on Wikipilipinas instead. And I learned from news that the site would soon monetize the hits by placing ads on the site’s pages.

And there you go. When that “monetization” of Wikipilipinas happens, that will be the fourth “important way” to distinguish it from the online encyclopedia that knowledge workers have loved since six years ago. And the question remains: Will Wikipilipinas catch up or achieve the long tail that it aims?

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About dungkal

A development manager (so I guess) with a passion for information empowerment.
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4 Responses to Wikipilipinas: From a Wikipedia subset to one-stop hub on RP

  1. faculty says:

    Same here. Saw the entries – ripped off from Wikipedia. Shesh!

    Anyway, I still think it is a waste of resources!

  2. Eugene says:

    Well, they’re not simply a fork anymore and they have addressed many of my concerns (e.g., regarding the Pinoy POV) but I now would like to object to their using the word “encyclopedia” to describe themselves. They’re now more than just an encyclopedia and I prefer they use “knowledgebase” instead because that is more reflective of what the site really is.

  3. nuts says:

    We must try to understand that the site is young, no older than my one year old niece. Wikipedia was like that five years ago, and early users usually copy paste articles from old books and free info webs, especially public ones, in the site. Remember that not long ago Encarta and Britannica Encyclopedia criticized Wikipedia, mocking its unencyclopedic entries which they claim were turning the knowledge world into a universe of gossips, controversies, spamming and scum talks. Wikipilipinas, to some extent, has been experiencing the same criticisms. My take on this is that we should give it a try. Besides, Filipinos do it for Filipinos. The sad reality is that foreign knowledge portals have taken over the information that we, as Filipinos, should have been the foremost, if not the only, holder — is a clear kick in our face. We should not rub it in and instead, do something beneficial. That’s why its a free-content site where anybody CAN edit. The site needs you, me and other knowledge-lover people.

  4. M says:

    Have been trying to send an article following their instructions for a couple of days now but I’m just going around in circles.
    And there’s no way of reaching them except if you’re a Press person. !!! Is this a Filipino way of saying no ?

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