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Let's All Build a MENA Protest Map

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, February 23 2011


Wikipedia's editable map of recent protests in the Middle East and northern Africa
Wikipedia's CSS guidelines for mapping protests in the Middle East and northern Africa

Wikipedia's entry for the "2010-2011 Middle East and Northern Africa protests" features, naturally, a color-coded map showing the severity of protests across the MENA region.

One neat twist: this being Wikipedia, that map is easily editable -- in this case updating the style sheet, a.k.a. CSS, behind the map -- and you can read through the somewhat fascinating change file. Wikipedia editors discuss and tweak this visual representation of protest over time, making notes like "added a visibility 'stick' for Bahrain," "added Western Sahara as related non-Arab protest," and, on Morocco, "1 (peaceful) march on Sunday...no more protests, can't be considered as major." Taken together, the edit log adds up to a visual record of the protest wave running through the Middle East and northern Africa, as seen through the eyes of Wikipedians.

Above: an animated glimpse at how Wikipedia's collaboratively-edited Middle East and Northern Africa protest map has changed over the last few weeks.

(With Anthony Russomano and Anna Lekas Miller)

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