Achim Raschka of the German Wikipedia announced plans last Tuesday to hold an international writing contest across all Wikipedia languages. Details remain to be worked out, but a tentative schedule was set to consider submissions in March, after allowing time for necessary preparations.
The schedule outlined was based on the German Wikipedia's plans to hold a writing contest, which Raschka said "could be a chance to cooperate and work together" for all Wikipedias. This contest was already set to accept nomination of articles starting 1 March and close 31 March. The days leading up to this would be needed to select and organize the people who would judge the contest. In light of the idea to internationalize the contest, time would also be needed to publicize the contest and get information out to other languages.
Some questions were raised about how to manage such a contest running across multiple languages, and whether a panel of judges would be able to fairly consider all the entries. Raschka responded that it might be easier to let each language select its own best articles, but coordinate the timing of the contest to choose the best from each one.
A similar contest has been held on the Dutch Wikipedia, which also committed to participating in the international contest. Additional interest was expressed by the Polish Wikipedia. On the English Wikipedia, the most notable previous effort to hold an article-writing contest was organized by Danny and known as Danny's contest.
The first of Danny's contests, held in October, went off quite successfully and produced some excellent articles. Contestants included seven future featured articles, including the top two prize-winners, three runners-up, and even two that escaped notice from the judging panel. A number of other good entries filled out the ranks, including three detailed train-related articles by railroad enthusiast slambo.
The second contest, which was supposed to have closed 4 December 2004, is still awaiting any word on the results (unless the winner is Turquoise by default, it being the only entry to have become a featured article so far). Some of the participants inquired on the talk page but got no response.
Chiding about the delay, contestant KF observed on New Year's Eve, "I'm positive 2005 will be the year when the results of this contest are divulged." Muriel Gottrop asked Danny about the situation last Monday, but the week went by with nothing new to report. Perhaps starting a new contest will provide some motivation to close out the old one.