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Arabic Wikipedia

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The Arabic Wikipedia Arabic: ويكيبيديا العربية‎‎ Wīkībīdyā al-ʿArabiyya or ويكيبيديا، الموسوعة الحرة Wīkībīdyā, al-Mawsūʿa al-Ḥurra is the Arabic language version of Wikipedia It started on 9 July 2003 As of September 2016, it has over 400,000 articles, 1,200,000 registered users and over 29,000 images and it is the 20th largest edition of Wikipedia by article count; it was the first Semitic language to exceed 100,000 articles

The design of the Arabic Wikipedia differs somewhat from other Wikipedias Most notably, since Arabic is written right-to-left, the location of links is a mirror image of those Wikipedias in languages written left-to-right Prior to Wikipedia's update to MediaWiki 116, Arabic Wikipedia had a default page background of the site inspired by Arabic/Islamic tiling or ornament styles Switching from MediaWiki's new default Vector layout to the original MonoBook layout may restore this page background

"Edit" button on Arabic Wikipedia screenshot, old background in 2008


  • 1 History
  • 2 Blocking
  • 3 Evaluation and criticism
  • 4 Usage and page views by country
    • 41 Percentage of Arabic Wikipedia page views from each country, in the period from 1 March 2016 – 31 March 2016
    • 42 Arabic Wikipedia views as a percent of total Wikipedia views for countries in the Arab world
  • 5 Milestones
  • 6 Gallery
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


Arab Wikipedians meeting during Wikimania conference in Hong Kong

At the emergence of the Wikipedia project in 2001, there were calls to create an Arabic domain raised by Arab engineers The domain was created as "arwikipediaorg" but no serious activity took place except with anonymous users who experimented with the idea Until 7 February 2003, all contributors to the Arabic Wikipedia were non-Arab volunteers from the International Project Wikipedia that handled the technical aspects Elizabeth Bauer, who used the user name Elian in the Arabic Wikipedia, approached many potential Arabs who might be interested in volunteering to spearhead the Arabic project The only group who responded were the ArabEyes team who were involved in Arabizing the Open Source initiatives Elian's request were conservatively received and ArabEyes team were ready to participate but not take a leadership role and then declined participating on the second of February 2003 During this negotiation time, volunteer users from the German Wikipedia project continued to develop the technical infrastructure of the Arabic Wikipedia backbone

In 2003 Rami Tarawneh Arabic: رامي عوض الطراونة‎‎, a Jordanian PhD student in Germany who originated from Zarqa, encountered the English Wikipedia and began to edit content Contributors encouraged him to start an Arabic Wikipedia The Arabic Wikipedia opened in July 2003 By that year a significant group of contributors included Tarawneh and four other Jordanians studying in Germany

On 7 February 2004, one member from the ArabEyes, Isam Bayazidi Arabic: عصام بايزيدي‎‎, volunteered with 4 other friends to be involved with the Arabic Wikipedia and assumed some leadership roles In 2004, Bayazid was assigned the SysOp responsibilities and he, with another 5 volunteers, namely Ayman, Abo Suleiman, Mustapha Ahmad and Bassem Jarkas are considered to be the first Arabs to lead the Wikipedia project and they are attributed for working on translating and enforcing the English policies to Arabic The Arabic Wikipedia faced many challenges at its inception In February 2004, it was considered to be the worst Wikipedia project among all other languages However, in 2005, it showed phenomenal progress by which in December 2005, the total number of articles reached 8,285 By that time, there were fewer than 20 contributors and the administrators and contributors made efforts to recruit new users

In 2007 the secret police in an unspecified country detained Tarawneh and demanded that he reveal the IP address of a contributor To protect the Wikipedian, the administrators forged a dispute that was the presumed reason for Tarawneh losing his administrator access, so the secret police was unable to obtain the IP In response to the incident, the rules now state that no one user may have access to all information about the Wikipedia's users

Second Conference of the Wikipedia Education Program in Cairo University, Egypt, February 27, 2013

In 2008 the Wikipedia had had fewer than 65,000 articles and was ranked #29 out of the Wikipedias, behind the Esperanto Wikipedia and the Slovenian Wikipedia Noam Cohen of The New York Times reported that, to many of the attendees of the 2008 Wikimania conference in Alexandria, Egypt, the "woeful shape of the Arabic Wikipedia has been the cause of chagrin" Cohen stated that out of Egyptians, fewer than 10% "are thought to have internet access" and of those with internet access many tend to be knowledgeable in English and have a preference of communicating in that language The Arabic Wikipedia had 118,870 articles as of 15 January 2010

As of July 2012 there are around 630 active Arabic Wikipedia editors around the world Ikram Al-Yacoub of Al Arabiya says that this is "a relatively low figure" At the time there were hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles on the Arabic Wikipedia The Wikimedia Foundation and the nonprofit group Taghreedat established the "Arabic Wikipedia Editors Program" intended to train users to edit the Arabic Wikipedia By the end of June 2014, the number of articles has reached 384,000


The Arabic Wikipedia has been blocked in Syria with no official reasons given by the Syrian government The block began on 30 April 2008 while all other language versions of Wikipedia remain unblocked and freely accessible And it is still blocked in the country so far Wikimediaorg continues to be blocked, which causes all images on Wikipedia in all languages to be unavailable Tarawneh stated that wasta was used to unblock Wikipedia in Syria

In Saudi Arabia, a few articles on the Arabic Wikipedia are known to be censored; Tarawneh stated that articles about body parts are among the censored articles

Evaluation and criticism

Map showing which countries the page views for Arabic Wikipedia come from Page views to different Wikipedia language versions in Northern Africa and the Middle East, September 2009 to July 2010

In June 2016, Arabic Wikipedia scored 233 in terms of depth a very rough indicator of the encyclopedia's quality This is better than the German version 102, the French version 207 or the Japanese version 74, making it the fifth highest +100,000 articles Wikipedia in the terms of depth, after English Wikipedia 930, Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia 561, Thai Wikipedia 253 and Hebrew Wikipedia 251

At Wikimania 2008, Jimmy Wales argued that high-profile arrests like those of Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer could be hampering the development of the Arabic Wikipedia by making editors afraid to contribute

In 2010, Tarek Al Kaziri, from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, believed that Arabic Wikipedia reflected the Arabic reality in general Low participation lowers the probability that the articles are reviewed, developed and updated, and political polarisation of participants is likely to lead to biases in the articles

In 2008, an article from The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, accused the Arabic Wikipedia of being biased against Israel and on many other issues The article was written by a journalist who says that he doesn't "read or speak Arabic" and used Google Translations to understand the content of the Arabic Wikipedia

According to Alexa Internet, on 26 November 2014, the Arabic Wikipedia is the 10th most visited language version of Wikipedia in terms of percentage of visitors on all of the Wikipedias over a month, with the "arwikipediaorg" subdomain attracting approximately 18% of the total visitors of the "wikipediaorg" website, despite being ranked no 22 in term of the article count In terms of page views, it is ranked 12th with the same 10 Wikipedias above it plus the Polish and Dutch ones

Usage and page views by country

Florence Devouard, the former president of the Wikimedia Foundation, stated in 2010 that the largest number of articles on the Arabic Wikipedia were written by Egyptians and that the Egyptians were more likely to participate in the Arabic Wikipedia compared to other groups

Percentage of Arabic Wikipedia page views from each country, in the period from 1 March 2016 – 31 March 2016

Rank Country  % of views
1 Saudi Arabia 203%
2 Egypt 145%
3 Algeria 100%
4 Morocco 95%
5 Iraq 49%
6 Jordan 44%
7 United States 31%
8 United Arab Emirates 27%
9 Kuwait 25%
10 Tunisia 23%

Arabic Wikipedia views as a percent of total Wikipedia views for countries in the Arab world

Rank Country  % of views 1 March 2016 - 31 March 2016
1 Algeria 436%
2 Bahrain 261%
3 Egypt 571%
4 Iraq 591%
5 Jordan 617%
6 Kuwait 410%
7 Lebanon 270%
8 Libya 727%
9 Mauritania 437%
10 Morocco 392%
11 Oman 403%
12 Palestine 729%
13 Qatar 169%
14 Saudi Arabia 584%
15 Somalia 87%
16 Sudan 686%
17 Syria 768%
18 Tunisia 262%
19 United Arab Emirates 122%
20 Yemen 766%


  • Arabic Wikipedia was launched in September 2001, yet due to MediaWiki software migration, the oldest surviving edit dates back to 9 July 2003
  • Article number 10,000 was نكاف Mumps created on 25 December 2005
  • Article number 50,000 was جامعة تكساس مدرسة الطب في هيوستن University of Texas Medical Branch created on 31 December 2007
  • Article number 75,000 was قائمة الصحاري من حيث المساحة List of deserts by area created on 30 August 2008
  • Article number 100,000 was المعهد العالي للفنون والحرف بقابس University of Gabès created on 25 May 2009
  • Article number 200,000 was الجوازع إب A village in Yemen created on 21 October 2012
  • Article number 250,000 was جانيت جاينور Janet Gaynor created on 6 December 2013
  • Article number 400,000 was فيض الله قيقلك A Turkish politician created on 17 December 2015


Logos in different fonts for Arabic Wikipedia:

See also

  • Arab world portal
  • Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia


  1. ^ Ahmad, Abdullah September 2013 "Arabic Wikipedia: Why it lags behind" Asfar e-Journal London, UK ISSN 2055-7957 Retrieved 23 December 2014 
  2. ^ List of Wikipedias by number of articles
  3. ^ "المستشار / طارق قابيل" 
  4. ^ Archived discussions about International languages Refer to section "Provisional is Best, Sort by Population" Note the comment "Outside jokes, the french an german wikipedias is more developed than the one of hindi or Arab" Last accessed 4 August 2014
  5. ^ "arabic wikipedia" 
  6. ^ "We have a problem!" 
  7. ^ "ويكيبيديا:الميدان" 1 August 2003 – via Wikipedia 
  8. ^ The discussion page of Svertigo that shows the non-Arab volunteers working on the Arabic Wikipedia in late 2003
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Su, Alice 14 February 2014 "In the Middle East, Arabic Wikipedia is a flashpoint — and a beacon" Wired Condé Nast Retrieved 14 February 2014  Archive
  10. ^ Panović, Ivan University of Oxford Faculty of Oriental Studies "The Beginnings of Wikipedia Masry" al-Logha Series of Papers in Linguistics, 2010 8: 93-127 sourced content from p 94
  11. ^ "X!'s tools" 
  12. ^ These were Ayman, Abo Suleima, Mustapha Ahmad and Bassem Jarkas
  13. ^ Wikipedia Statistics - Arabic Wikipedia Accessed on 4 August 2014
  14. ^ a b Cohen, Noam 21 July 2008 "In Egypt, Wikipedia is more than hobby" International Herald Tribune Retrieved 14 December 2008  Archive
  15. ^ a b Al-Yacoub, Ikram "‘Taghreedat’ to offer Arab Tweeps their own search engine" Archive Al Arabiya Thursday 19 July 2012 Retrieved on 24 August 2012
  16. ^ Wikipedia Statistics Arabic Retrieved on 4 August 2014
  17. ^ Arabic ويكيبيديا يختفي عن صفحات الانترنت السوري
  18. ^ Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report - Wikipedia Page Views Per Country, September 2009 to July 2010, map by Ziko van Dijk and numbers by Erik Zachte recent stats
  19. ^ "List of Wikipedias - Meta" 
  20. ^ Noam Cohen 17 July 2008 "Wikipedia Goes to Alexandria, Home of Other Great Reference Works" The New York Times Retrieved 29 June 2012 
  21. ^ ويكيبيديا والعرب: خلل في المشروع أم في الثقافة؟ in Arabic 
  22. ^ "Wikipedia's Arabic-language version skews the Middle East" The Jerusalem Post | JPostcom Retrieved 2016-06-09 
  23. ^ "Wikipediaorg Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa" 
  24. ^ "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report - Page Views Per Wikipedia Language - Breakdown" 
  25. ^ Samir, Amira December 2009 "Le masri est-il contre l'arabe " in French Al-Ahram Hebdo Archived from the original on 4 January 2014 Retrieved 13 March 2010  CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown link "« Les Egyptiens sont effectivement les plus nombreux à participer dans la Wikipedia arabe, c’est-à-dire que les statistiques montrent que le plus grand nombre d’articles dans la Wikipedia arabe sont envoyés par des Egyptiens"
  26. ^ "Page Views Per Wikipedia Language - Breakdown" Wikistats: Wikimedia Statistics Retrieved 6 May 2016 
  27. ^ "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report" Retrieved 6 May 2016 

External links

Media related to Arabic Wikipedia at Wikimedia Commons

  • Arabic Arabic Wikipedia
  • Arabic Arabic Wikipedia mobile version

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