Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Wikipedians are motivated, or discouraged, to contribute to Farsi (Persian) Wikipedia. Design/methodology/approach – In this grounded theory study, face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of 15 active users of Persian Wikipedia. The interviews then were transcribed and coded using Strauss and Corbin’s method which included constant comparison of data. Findings – Editing and writing incentives, as well as deterrents, were extracted from the data. Findings indicated that motivating factors can be classified into two categories of internal and external. Internal motivations could be individual or cognitive motivations or be related to Wikipedia structure. Also, some factors such as permanent access to the internet can be considered as external motivations for contribution to Wikipedia. On the other hand, content production and improvement of Wikipedia in local language was the strongest reason for contribution; entertainment was the weakest motivation. Positive feedback from other users can be the strongest factor that encourages users to stay in Wikipedia and continue their contribution. Originality/value – This is the first study on PersianWikipedia and one of the few qualitative studies on Wikipedia. It proposes a new categorization of encouraging and discouraging factors for Wikipedians.