Understanding Wikipedia Practices Through Hindi, Urdu, and English Takes on an Evolving Regional Conflict
Wikipedia is the product of thousands of editors working collaboratively to provide free and up-to-date encyclopedic information to the project's users. This article asks to what degree Wikipedia articles in three languages — Hindi, Urdu, and English — achieve Wikipedia's mission of making neutrally-presented, reliable information on a polarizing, controversial topic available to people around the globe. We chose the topic of the recent revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which, along with other recent events in and concerning the region of Jammu and Kashmir, has drawn attention to related articles on Wikipedia. This work focuses on the English Wikipedia, being the preeminent language edition of the project, as well as the Hindi and Urdu editions. Hindi and Urdu are the two standardized varieties of Hindustani, a lingua franca of Jammu and Kashmir. We analyzed page view and revision data for three Wikipedia articles to gauge popularity of the pages in our corpus, and responsiveness of editors to breaking news events and problematic edits. Additionally, we interviewed editors from all three language editions to learn about differences in editing processes and motivations, and we compared the text of the articles across languages as they appeared shortly after the revocation of Article 370. Across languages,we saw discrepancies in article tone, organization, and the information presented, as well as differences in how editors collaborate and communicate with one another. Nevertheless, in Hindi and Urdu, as well as English, editors predominantly try to adhere to the principle of neutral point of view (NPOV), and for the most part, the editors quash attempts by other editors to push political agendas.