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Who’s the best Yoruban Wikipedian of them all?

By Gregory Kohs

Wikipedia has some problems with diversity. Something like nine out of ten editors of Wikipedia are male. About three-quarters are under the age of 30. And the vast majority are white. So, probably as an effort to make Wikipedia appear more “global”, the project’s co-founder Jimmy Wales invented an annual prize called the “Global Wikipedian of the Year” award.

In its inaugural year, 2011, the honor was bestowed by Jimmy Wales on a Kazakhstan government-supported official named Rauan Kenzhekhanuly.

The prize included a $5,000 grant, personally from Jimmy Wales.

We certainly hope that Jimbo cleared his $91,679 in 2010 personal debt obligations before he gave $5,000 to a former Kazakh government agent. In all, the award to and interest in Kazakhstan proved to be highly suspicious, as first reported here by Andreas Kolbe of Wikipediocracy and by my own Examiner report. The story was then picked up by The Telegraph and other world media. It certainly put a retroactive blemish on the 2011 Global Wikipedian of the Year award.

Come 2012, Jimmy Wales surely was thoughtfully thinking about who would receive the honor of that year’s Global Wikipedian award. In March 2012, Jimbo would notice the Yoruba Wikipedia (covering content in a native African language spoken mostly in Nigeria) and acknowledge the work of its most prolific editor. A further hint would come in April 2012, when Jimbo began to drum up PR for the Yoruba language Wikipedia, which he called the “most popular African language for Wikipedia”, at 29,000 articles. This surprised some people who noted that Swahili has more speakers than Yoruba. Well, working behind the scenes on the Yoruba Wikipedia was one User:Demmy who had written a “bot”

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