from the telling-it-as-it-is dept
Although there has been some sniping about the quality of Wikipedia's entries from time to time, we generally take it for granted that when key articles are missing they will get written, and that if they are unbalanced, they will gradually get better -- all thanks to the open, collaborative editing process that sorts out such problems. But an interesting post on registan.net notes that these dynamics may not apply to some versions of Wikipedia -- for example, the one written in the Kazakh language:
I also find the idea that thousands of diligent volunteer Kazakh Wikipedians are hard at work writing up an unbiased encyclopedia of the world and of their country [hard to believe]. The incentives for it are all wrong. The rewards for glowing diatribes on [Kazakhstan's President] Nazarbayev's Kazakhstan are clear, but the risks involved in challenging that narrative are equally so.
It's an important point. Wikipedia may request a "neutral point of view" from all its contributors, but when the consequences of telling the unvarnished truth are rather less pleasant than embellishing the facts a little, we can hardly blame people in countries like Kazakhstan for straying from the Wikipedian ideal.