Swamp Football originates from Curaçao

On: September 20, 2009
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About Ramses Petronia


Wikipedia can be considered prone to inconsistency due to many factors. One of these factors is that Wikipedia has a seperate Encyclopedia for each language.

That this inconsistency can exist in plain facts, is perhaps the most alarming.

An example is the comparison between the description of ‘‘swamp football” in the English Wikipedia and its direct translation, “moerasvoetbal“, in the Dutch Wikipedia.

According to the English version

The sport is said to come from Bishop Auckland in the north east of England where it initially was used as an exercise activity for athletes and soldiers, since playing on soft bog is physically demanding.

Yet according to the Dutch version the sport is said to find its roots in Finland:

Moerasvoetbal vindt zijn oorsprong in de moerassen van Finland. Toen eind jaren negentig atleten en soldaten daar trainden in de moerassen, besloten zij om voor de afwisseling ook eens te voetballen op een moerassige en modderige ondergrond.

This inconsistency  led me to the following Research interest:

How will Wikipedia deal with fact falsification because of seperate language encyclopedia’s?

On the note of seperate language encyclopedia’s there are many good reasons why each language must look after itself. An evident reason is mentioned in an article from Wikimedia project coordination about interlanguage priorities, in which is stated:

There  are many concepts which are very important in one language (e.g. prayer ‘solat’ in Arabic could probably run to hundreds of sub-articles) and much less important to others. Why should that be imposed on an English speaker, since half of the nomenclature will be in Arabic anyway? The Arabic definition of prayer would assume Islamic prayer, with sidenotes for other religions, whereas the English (‘International’) version would be more rounded.

Yet, at the same time it might be interesting for an English speaking follower of Islam to read the article equally in depth in English, or a speaker and reader of the Arabic language to read in depth in Arab about prayer in Western Society. Besides the fact that Wikipedia does not solve problems of this kind (yet), inconsistency will also show because of the popularity of a language.

Though new languages cannot be added without passing through the homogenizing ‘ request for new languages procedure‘ filter, there will always be a huge difference in control of entries between a language with 500,000 speakers or a language with 1 billion speakers. On the one hand a small amount of moderators and editors might have an enormous influence on the wiki content, while expertise is missing on some areas. On the other hand there might be more consistency in the wiki content of that language, because of the smaller group of moderators.

No matter how the cookie crumbles there will be inconsistency between the languages in various fields.

Another question that arises: Is the current way of dealing with languages seperately in favor of Wikipedia’s goal to “compile the sum of all human knowledge into a Web-based, free content encyclopedia?”

It is quite possible that Wikipedia wants to change its seperate language policy one day. Before this happens it might be best to claim as many facts (with as much crossreferences as possible) as possible.

Obviously, in such case many more queries will arise, such as

– If this happens will the language in which certain facts are placed, and the date of placement play a role in judging the accuracy of facts?

In any case, before I make a new language request on Wikipedia for my native language Papiamentu, to make a new entry for “Swamp Football” , translated “Futbòl den lodo” I leave you this picture of how Swamp Football started first in Curaçao, when soldiers took a day off because it was raining, and decided to play soccer.


Video’s and interviews are also available.

One Response to “Swamp Football originates from Curaçao”
  • September 21, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Interesting entry! I agree entirely that Wikipedia needs to concentrate more translating articles into other languages. Also, good to learn about swamp football…

Leave a Reply