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Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/Italians do it slower? An analysis of how the Italian Wikipedia community covered the war in Ukraine

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statusnot funded
Italians do it slower? An analysis of how the Italian Wikipedia community covered the war in Ukraine
start and end datesJuly 2023 - July 2024
budget (USD)40000 USD
fiscal year2022-23
applicant(s)• Oscar Ricci



Oscar Ricci

Affiliation or grant type

University of Milano-Bicocca


Oscar Ricci

Wikimedia username(s)


Project title

Italians do it slower? An analysis of how the Italian Wikipedia community covered the war in Ukraine

Research proposal[edit]


Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.

The outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2022 was an opportunity to see different language versions of Wikipedia at work with a recent war event.

As soon as the conflict in Ukraine began, in fact, the different language versions of the encyclopedia started publishing several articles on this topic, but not all of them were published with the same timing. The Italian language version has caused quite a stir in the Wikipedia community because it was the last of the major language versions to be published. While most language versions already had an entry on the war between February 24 and 25, the Italian version did not publish the article until March 15.

This is not the first case in which the Italian community demonstrates an operational difference with the other major language versions. In fact, several studies have already shown how this has happened in several cases with different breaking news.

This project involves a comparative analysis of the development of the entry on the Ukrainian war in the Italian language version, compared with that of the other major language versions (English, French, Spanish, German).

The first part of our research focused on the “talk pages” dedicated to the Ukraine war.

We analyse the discourse published on the talk page to identify the main frames of the conversations and the relative interactions of the different contributors to the discussion. As an established practice in the research on the Wikipedia talk pages, we mostly have identified the contexts in which the explanations of the changes gave rise to an initial conflict.

Methodologically, we drew on media frame analysis. From this point of view, framing establishes the boundaries within which an issue can be discussed. This approach will additionally lean on automated text analysis techniques, such as topic modeling and term frequency–inverse document frequency; this will allow to consider and compare frames across articles.

The second part of the research focuses on the analysis of 100 semi-structured interviews with editors who contributed to the organization of those articles, 20 for each linguistic version.

Through the analysis of the processes that led to the publication of Wikipedia articles devoted to the war in Ukraine we will be able to understand not only how and why the Italian community behaved differently at this occasion, but also whether its different way of approaching breaking news can help the development of best practices for all language versions.




Approximate amount requested in USD.

40000 USD

Budget Description

Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).

Research fellow 30000 $ The researcher will be the main coordinator of the whole project. He/she will organize the analysis of the Wikipedia text and all interviews

Attendance to meeting (travel and accommodation) 2500

Participation in international conference (travel and accommodation) 2500

Publication and translation 2500

Final congress 2500


Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.

The Italian Wikipedia community is one of the largest and most active in the world, making it a valuable source of data and insight into the workings of Wikipedia. The Italian Wikipedia community has been shown to be quite different from other language communities in terms of its structure and its interactions with the rest of the world, which makes it a valuable point of comparison. The research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction by examining the Italian community to identify best practices for engaging new editors and encouraging participation in the Wikimedia community.


Plans for dissemination.

The plan for dissemination will consist of at least two scientific paper on the research. Secondarily, two scientific conferences, one in Italy one international, and a dissemination event with members of Wikimedia Italy and other stakeholders interested to the topics of the research will be organized.

Past Contributions[edit]

Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.

The Principal Investigator has an understanding of the subject matter and related fields, demonstrated through coursework and publications.

He has published 4 national scientific articles, one book, and one international forthcoming article on Wikipedia's Italian language community.

I agree to license the information I entered in this form excluding the pronouns, countries of residence, and email addresses under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. I understand that the decision to fund this Research Fund application, the application itself along with all the information entered by my in this form excluding the pronouns, country of residences, and email addresses of the personnel will be published on Wikimedia Foundation Funds pages on Meta-Wiki and will be made available to the public in perpetuity. To make the results of your research actionable and reusable by the Wikimedia volunteer communities, affiliates and Foundation, I agree that any output of my research will comply with the WMF Open Access Policy. I also confirm that I have read the privacy statement and agree to abide by the WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.