What do you think of the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers? Any good? If not, can you help improve it?

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  • Elisabeth
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What do you think of the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers? Any good? If not, can you help improve it?

I'd like to draw your attention to the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers. This is how it looks:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitation_worker

It gets around 60 pageviews per day which is quite low but might rise if its content is improved and if it's linked more from other articles.

What do you think of its quality? Any good? Are you itching in your fingers to improve it? If so, good! Anyone can edit Wikipedia. I can help you get started if you're unsure how.

Here is my list of improvements that I think should be made:
  1. There are probably too many bullet point lists; consider converting them to prose.
  2. We should add more content on safety aspects.
  3. Perhaps more content on country examples.
  4. The readability score is quite low. We should change the language to make it easier to understand for the general public.
  5. A higher number of sources/references would be good.
  6. I am not sure if the article is complete and comprehensive or if we have missed out important aspects? 
  7. I noticed that there are relatively few "incoming links" (159 so far). This means the article is not well embedded in the Wikipedia web yet. Perhaps more articles should link to it. You can see which articles currently link to it  here .
  8. The lead is too short; should be about 600 words and is currently only 165 words. The readability of the lead is also low and it's not a good summary of the article. 
There are two previous threads where we had discussed aspects of this in the past: This activity would fit well within this global project:  Global advocacy for the health, safety and dignity of sanitation workers , 2020 - 2023 • Initiative for Sanitation Workers (a global advocacy partnership between ILO, SNV, WHO, World Bank and WaterAid)

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • DaveTrouba
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Re: What do you think of the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers? Any good? If not, can you help improve it?

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for this post. It's a great start and I think you've given a lot of great ideas about how to improve it. Certainly the topic is important and growing in importance. I've not personally edited many Wikipedia articles, but if there is interest here in the SuSanA community, perhaps we could have three or four people volunteer to be on a small group, whereby we'd hold a Zoom call, discuss, divvy up the suggestions, and from there divide up the work to edit further the various segments of the article. Wikipedia is so important these days, and it is certainly important the entire Sanitation community agrees as much as they can to/with the content and helps to shape it.

Best,

Dave
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  • Nyembezi
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Re: What do you think of the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers? Any good? If not, can you help improve it?

Dear Dave,

I agree with you on the importance of the topic and Elizabeth those are great ideas on how the topic should take shape. I support the  suggestion of teaming up to add more content to the article! I am interested in being part of the team of volunteers who will be editing the article. I will email you directly to explore ideas.

Regards,
Rosemary.
Junior Consultant at the African Women Sanitation Professionals Network Zambia Chapter (AWSPN-ZC)
Project Associate at CaDev
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: What do you think of the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers? Any good? If not, can you help improve it?

I think the article on Sanitation Workers is pretty good. However, it does not point out the problem with American English, where sanitation worker primarily refers to a person engaged in solid waste management. People who work with excreta management are usually known as environmental engineers or environmental specialists. These terms are comprehensive.

In the US and  Canada, the term "sanitation worker" usually refers to someone who collects solid waste and takes it to a transfer station, landfill, or incinerator. The importance of sanitation workers in the struggle for human rights is seen in the 1968 labor strike of the Sanitation Workers of Memphis, Tennessee. This was the event that drew the Rev. Martin Luther King to the city, where he was assassinated. www.history.com/news/sanitation-workers-strike-memphis

I don't know how to address this purely linguistic anomaly. Perhaps a Country note at the end of the article. I believe that Americans and Canadians employed to manage human waste in international humanitarian contexts are likely to self-describe as sanitation workers..

Thank you, everyone, for your work on this.

Carol 
Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: What do you think of the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers? Any good? If not, can you help improve it?

Hi Dave,

That sounds like a good plan, please go ahead with arranging such a Zoom call and so forth. I am all for it!
I suggest that the Wikipedia article could be copied across to a Word doc (or even better a Google doc). There, people could make comments and suggestions. Later, I could then insert those changes into the live Wikipedia article (or guide others on how it's done).

I copy below from an e-mail that I have sent to other content experts who have helped me review some other Wikipedia articles in the past. This provides some guidance with respect to Wikipedia editing:

++++++++
I should also point out that the start of the Wikipedia article (called the lead), namely the part that is before the table of content, is meant to be a summary of the article (similar to an abstract of a journal paper, or an executive summary); it is meant to be about 4 paragraphs or 600 words long. Often, they are not good summaries yet. 

If you prefer working along a list of guiding questions for your review, there is a list here . If you prefer to give “off the cuff” remarks, that is also useful. You could for example comment on necessary updates, pointing out content gaps, irrelevant content, misinterpreted content, and suggestions of better and more up to date publications or images.  

Our list of contributing experts is slowly growing, and there are quite some interesting people there by now. I hope that you will join them soon. Please see our current list of contributing experts here

Wikipedia also provides discussion pages for each article: Look for the tab labelled “talk” at the top left of each article and you’ll be able to read about issues previous editors have discussed over the years. The talk page for this article is here . The most recent discussions are always at the bottom of the page. When you see user EMsmile, that’s me. 

Some further pointers about editing: If you’re planning to provide new text, we’d have to say which publication the content is based on (unless it’s general knowledge, like “the sky is blue”). I tend to add a reference after every 2-3 sentence or at least one per paragraph.

Furthermore, we have to write any new text “in our own words”, i.e. it cannot be a copy & paste from a publication. I find it can be tempting to copy a paragraph from one’s own publication (I have done that too in the past) but it’s not allowed in Wikipedia due to copyright, unless that publication is open access. But even then one usually has to paraphrase the text so that it fits better with the target audience (lay persons). 

+++++++

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • I'm passionate about SuSanA's role in the WASH sector since about 2005. I'm a freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3362
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 919

Re: What do you think of the Wikipedia article on sanitation workers? Any good? If not, can you help improve it?

Hi Carol,
I realised that I never replied to your post from February yet. Sorry about the delay!

There is now a section about this in the Wikipedia article, see here:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitation_worker#...ences_in_terminology

I've termed it "regional differences in terminology" and have included your proposed wording, is that OK?:

Regional differences in terminology
In the United States, the term "sanitation worker" tends to be used exclusively for  municipal solid waste collectors : people who collect solid waste and take it to a transfer station, landfill, or incinerator. [6] [7]  People who work with excreta management are usually known as  environmental engineers  or environmental specialists. The importance of sanitation workers in the struggle for  human rights  is seen in the 1968 labor strike of the sanitation workers of  Memphis , Tennessee. The  Memphis sanitation strike  in 1968, supported by  Martin Luther King Jr. , brought together both waste collectors and  sewerage  maintenance workers. [8]

Are there any good references I could use for these statements, especially the part about the environmental engineers or environmental specialists?

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. Dave, are you still interested in pursuing this?
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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