Centre for Internet & Society

Wikipedia articles are considered of a higher quality when they have illustrations. An article without images is considered dull. Wikipedia is all about references. Any information on Wikipedia is encouraged to have verifiable citations. Hence images and external links form a criterion for quality of articles on Wikipedias. This blog post tries to analyse the current scenario of CIS-A2K's Focus language areas with respect to images and links.

If we read through the page on English Wikipedia that talks about why adding images improves the quality of Wikipedia, we realise that writing an article is a very difficult task on Wikipedia as it involves one to generate content in their own words, Wikipedia cannot be a copy paste of some content taken from somewhere. Wikipedia has its own style of writing articles, and when we look at the five basic pillars of Wikipedia and the core content policies, they structure the knowledge that we have to a form that best fits Wikipedia and is proven to be effective to larger masses. At the same time, illustrating an article further improves the comprehensibility of an article on Wikipedia.

This takes us to the next question - If only free licensed images are allowed on Wikipedia, how can we illustrate articles where no image is available under a free license, say you are writing about Doraemon or Godrej and want to add the sketch of the character or logo of the company - they are not allowed on commons. What is the way out then?

Some Wikipedias such as English Wikipedia have allowed Wikipedians to upload images locally on the wiki under fair usage policy. This allows Wikipedians to upload low resolution images or audio or video with a pre-defined small length. IT not only helps enrich the Wikipedia content, it also helps in understanding the copyright implications to larger masses editing Wikipedia.


an animated image on commons - the image repository for Wikipedia.


                                               Animation of the act of unrolling a circle's circumference, illustrating the ratio π. Author : John Reid


There are more than 31 million images/videos/audios/documents on commons, which is the central media repository for all Wikipedias. Commons has a policy to keep only free licensed images.

Why references/citations are so important?

Adding references to articles is important to make Wikipedia's content more accurate and reliable. One of the three core content policies on English Wikipedia which is adopted by most Indian languages is to have "Verifiable" content on Wikipedia. This essentially means, whatever content is added to Wikipedia has to have proper links to citations given. If its a book, an ISBN number is desired. In case of newspapers and websites, URLs with access dates are encouraged to be added. If the newspaper does not have a proper archive, Wayback machine from archive.org can be used to create a permanent accessible URL that in turn can be added to the article.

In order to prove NPOV, one can add the same issue opinionated in 3 or more newspapers or books. Here too, an external link is used to provide the verifiable reference.

So, its safe to say that all articles that have an external link in them may have been properly referenced. A list of such articles is generated and the count of such articles that do not have external links is provided below.


Language Articles without images Articles without external links Deadend Pages
Kannada 6,993 10,839 97
Konkani 1,876 1,351 836
Marathi 12,678 29,064 861
Odia 1,227 3,080 11
Telugu 35,701 19,359 585

The numbers in the above table throw the areas of improvement for the focus language area Wikipedias of CIS-A2K. Especially with respect to adding references to articles where in every Wikipedia, almost as much as 50% of the articles do not have proper references.


Deadend pages are those articles on Wikipedia which do not link to any other page on Wikipedia. In recently changed convention, zero namespace pages on Wikipedia that are not redirect pages are not counted as articles if the fall under Deadend pages. A count of deadend pages is also given in the above table for reference. So, effectively total number of articles in any Wiki = total article count shown on home page + deadend pages.


If these three criterion are improved upon, quality of Wikipedia may also go up.

Of course quality of articles depend upon language, spellings, grammar and several other things. But these are broad methods of improving quality.


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