Tell us about Hebrew Wikipedia

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  • Wikimedia Statistics can be difficult to interpret. What is your impression, how many steady contributors do you have?
    • My impression is that there are about 60 steady contributors project-wide. However there are many more contributors doing great work in their niches - geology, biology, history etc. and don't babble too much in the Miznon ("Cafeteria", our Village Pump.) --Amir E. Aharoni
      Daniel B. is right, and i was under-estimating. I looked at the stats. The vast majority of the top 200 users are indeed steady and well-known. --Amir E. Aharoni 13:08, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
    • My impression is that there are about 200 steady contributors. Daniel B 22:49, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Are your contributors mostly native speakers?
    • Israel is a multicultural country that absorbed immigrants whose native languages were different, and this is reflected in the Hebrew Wikipedia. The majority of contributors are native speakers, but there are many who are not. I am a native Russian speaker myself and there are several other Russian speakers; there are also speakers of English, Romanian, Italian, Arabic and other languages. There are also a few Jews from abroad that study Hebrew and edit the Hebrew Wikipedia in the process. --Amir E. Aharoni
  • Where do your contributors live (regions/country)?
    • In Israel, mostly. A few people are editing from abroad - mostly from the USA, but also from Greece, Russia and other countries. --Amir E. Aharoni
    • My impression is that about 95% live in Israel, 4% in the US and 1% from other countries. Daniel B 22:49, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • How common is it that your contributors meet in real life?
    • Meetings are organized, at least once a year and sometimes more often. Some contributors are family members or colleagues at work. --Amir E. Aharoni
    • Meetings are organized 3-4 times a year. Daniel B 23:02, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Other Wikipedias[edit]

  • Do you have special contacts with other Wikipedias (maybe in related languages)?
    • Nothing very organized. Many Hebrew speakers know English well, so some contributors write in English, too. To a lesser degree this applies to Russian, Romanian, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and possibly other languages. --Amir E. Aharoni
  • Do you translate a lot from other Wikipedias? Which ones?
    • English is the most natural source for translations. I, and some other contributors, translated from Russian. Translation poses a few problems - English Wikipedia is sometimes trusted blindly and sources are not double-checked; later, when unsourced statements are removed from the English version, they may stay in Hebrew and mislead readers. Also, sometimes the translators, even though they are well-meaning, do not really know the subject well, which leads to funny translation mistakes - for example, someone translated "Godhead" literally as "head of God" in the article about Mormonism. The community even invented a word for it - targemet; it sounds like a name of an illness ("translationitis"). Such mistakes are eventually found and corrected, though. --Amir E. Aharoni

Organization and support[edit]

  • Is there a Wikimedia chapter in your country? How does your language relate to it?
Yes. The Chapter deals mostly with legislation and projects which involve copyrights and open contents projects, and works on collaborating with other open source and open content projects and is less involved directly with the Hebrew Wikipedia. However, the Chapter has been successful in solving several legal threats and demands to change the articles of Hebrew Wikipedia. Deror avi 11:40, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Are there work groups in other organizations about Wikipedia?
Some Hebrew University and Bar Ilan University courses require their students to write articles for Hebrew Wikipedia in the subject of the courses. Deror avi 11:40, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Your Wikipedia and the linguistic community[edit]

  • Is there a language institution for your language, like an Academy, or a club of people interested in your language? Do you have contact with them?
  • Who (else) supports you?
(See below for the question about public outreach).
  • What does the public outreach for your edition look like? Do you have flyers, give lectures, training etc.?
The Israeli Chapter gives lectures about the Hebrew Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. The Chapter also found funding for an exhibition about Hebrew Wikipedia, which has been shown in the Israeli Parliament as well as all major universities in Israel (further details in Hebrew). Deror avi 11:45, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Do you get feedback from readers?
    • There is a guestbook, where inexperienced readers send feedback, positive and negative. The Hebrew Wikipedia is also often mentioned and quoted in the media. --Amir E. Aharoni
  • What other encyclopedias exist in your language?
    • The biggest printed encyclopedia is the Hebraica - over 30 volumes in print. There are also several other smaller encyclopedias - general, religious, encyclopedias for children etc. There are also a few online encyclopedias - the ynet encyclopedia (commercial) and the music encyclopedia MOOMA (free-access), to name a couple. --Amir E. Aharoni


  • Does your edition concentrate on certain topics, like your region and language, or Latin Wikipedia on Roman history and Christianity?
    • No, there is no defined focus. The Hebrew Wikipedia is general. Naturally, topics related to Israel, the Hebrew language and Judaism are covered in more depth than in any other Wikipedia, but we certainly do not limit ourselves to them. --Amir E. Aharoni
  • Did your edition enjoy text donations, for example from older encyclopedias?
    • No. There are no old public domain encyclopedias in Hebrew. We sometimes translate from public-domain encyclopedias in other languages, but not systematically. The only significant bot uploading from an external source is updating of statistical data about towns and villages in Israel. --Amir E. Aharoni


  • Is there a generally accepted norm about your language (spelling, dictionary, pronunciation)?
    • In practice, the modern Hebrew language is not rigidly standardized, and problems sometimes arise. The Academy of the Hebrew Language publishes its decisions about language standards, but they are sometimes ambiguous and in other cases they appear archaic to many people and do not reflect actual usage. Several dictionaries exist, the most popular and respected of which is probably Even-Shoshan's, but we do not necessarily follow it to the letter. Pronunciation is not much of an issue for a written text in Hebrew and it doesn't vary too much anyway. The usage of some common syntactic forms, which are considered substandard by some people, is sometimes a matter of minor debate (it wouldn't be too interesting to detail them for non-Hebrew speakers). --Amir E. Aharoni
  • How do you deal with different spellings, dialects etc. (like B.E. lift and A.E. elevator)?
    • Sometimes editors email the Academy asking for help with hard spelling problems (foreign names, for example). The Academy replies promptly, but the replies do not always resolve the problem. Problematic spelling is most often resolved in a special forum we set up. We try to find a sensible solution that will be as grammatically correct as possible, but still easy to read and search for. Sometimes because of ambiguous standards it can be only resolved by a straw poll. When technically possible, these decisions are enforced using a bot. I also remember one case when there were two words for the synagogue ark - one used by Ashkenazim, another by Sefardim. Eventually two separate articles were written. (It must be noted that this is a very specific case; in modern Hebrew there is essentially no such thing as an "Ashkenazi" and a "Sefardi" dialect, although the difference in the spoken language used to be significant in the past.) --Amir E. Aharoni

See also[edit]