Cultural bias in Wikipedia content on famous persons



Wikipedia advocates a strict “neutral point of view” (NPOV) policy. However, although originally a U.S-based, English-language phenomenon, the online, user-created encyclopedia now has versions in many languages. This study examines the extent to which content and perspectives vary across cultures by comparing articles about famous persons in the Polish and English editions of Wikipedia. The results of quantitative and qualitative content analyses reveal systematic differences related to the different cultures, histories, and values of Poland and the United States; at the same time, a U.S./English-language advantage is evident throughout. In conclusion, the implications of these findings for the quality and objectivity of Wikipedia as a global repository of knowledge are discussed, and recommendations are advanced for Wikipedia end users and content developers.