Volume 3 • Issue 1 • January-April 2023
CEE Newsletter is back!
Some of you remember the CEE Newsletter back from 2017 when it was managed thanks to the volunteers from the CEE region. That newsletter was created based on the idea from the Wikimedia CEE Meeting in Warsaw, Poland (2017). Unfortunately, the newsletter faded away the very next year, with the last published issue from November 2018.
The initial idea behind the CEE Newsletter was that CEE communities showed interest to publish news and success stories in other monthly newsletters (such as "This Month in GLAM" and "This Month in Education"). With the CEE Newsletter, stories of our communities from the CEE region could be visible to all regional communities.
This time, the CEE Newsletter is supported by the regional Wikimedia CEE Hub and its employees, along with the temporary editor-in-chief Wojciech Pędzich from Poland, as volunteer.
Just like the initial newsletter, the new CEE Newsletter will enable us to collect stories and good practices developed in the CEE region, but also your opinions on different topics together with short updates and reports from the communities. It is a place for informing about the ongoing initiatives and a valuable resource for publicity and reporting purposes. You can publish about your institutional collaborations, contests and challenges, expeditions, edit-a-thons and other live events. You can share about important milestones and anniversaries, notable media appearances, gender gap activities, training and software tools or you can give tips about useful practices and send us your opinion articles. This Newsletter will act as a catalog of our CEE WM related work and it is created for both the CEE region and for anyone else who is interested in this part of the world.
This first issue includes stories from the beginning of the year, opinion articles, Wikimedia international update corner and announcements about currently open calls, one of them being the Call for Submissions for the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2023 which is now open for both session proposals and registration.
The editorial team (currently consisting of 1 volunteer supported by both employees of the CEE Hub) will be responsible for maintaining the overall consistent look and feel of the newsletter and reaching out to potential authors from the region. Our initial plan is to publish CEE Newsletter on monthly or bi-monthly basis.
Feel welcome to contribute to the CEE Newsletter! Make sure we cover what matters to you!
The CEE Newsletter is open for new members in the editorial team, so please show your interest by writing an email to Barbara Klen or Toni Ristovski where you will express your interest and you will share with us if you are good in programming templates, in proofreading, translations, or in writing or finding interesting articles from CEE.
Remark: This issue will have automatically translated articles into Russian, so if you are a native speaker of Russian, feel free to correct them.
- By: Toni Ristovski & Barbara Klen (CEE Hub)
Zagreb Meeting which took place on 31st of March and 1st of April 2023 was the first in-person meeting of the CEE Hub Steering Committee (SC) members and employees of the CEE Hub.
The meeting was semi-closed; the whole first day and the first half of the second day were open only to the SC members and employees. During the second half of the second day, sessions were open for special advisors of the CEE Hub and also for the participants from the wider group of supporters of the CEE Hub, as well as some Wikipedians/Wikimedians from the region. Some of them participated in the meeting online while others came to Zagreb (Croatia).
At the meeting, SC members along with the employees of the CEE Hub, successfully made a list of the planned activities which the CEE Hub will focus on during the year, which will replace the initial planned activities in the grant proposal. Activities still will be divided on the same three pillars as the initial activities: Administrative, Programmatic and Communication.
This meeting was dedicated to discussing the initial programme of the CEE Hub, focusing on three pillars: administrative, programmatic and communication. These three pillars represent the support which the CEE Hub staff is providing to the CEE communities in the form of numerous activities and sub-activities (e.g. support while writing grant applications, organising learning clinics, purchasing on demand promo materials).
Although further and more detailed elaboration of activities which were a part of the initial CEE Hub grant proposal was the main point of the discussion, during this meeting we debated other topics as well: CEE Hub support for CEE Spring, CEE Meeting 2023 and 2024, and Wikimania 2024, cooperation with others and the CEE Hub budget.
During the second day we commenced analyzing the current and future governance model of the CEE Hub focusing mainly on examining how the SC members should be elected and how to organize the voting system. Also, a very important part of the discussions was the CEE Hub vision - what and where we want to be in the future.
This meeting provided enough time to open discussion about all important and open questions. Unfortunately there was not enough time to conclude all discussions. Therefor the SC members decided to continue working on the following topics:
- CEE Hub Vision
- Governance model of the CEE Hub
- CEE Hub support for cross regional events and meetings (such as CEE Spring, CEE Meeting, Wikimania)
- By: Toni Ristovski (CEE Hub)
Wiki Loves Monuments published winners, and from 15 winning images, 7 of them is taken in the CEE Region.
- Third place (Poland)
- Fourth place (Poland)
- Seventh place (Slovenia)
- Ninth place (Armenia)
- Eleventh place (Moldova)
- Twelfth place (Poland)
- Fourteenth place (Poland)
- By: Philip Kopetzky (CEE Hub Steering Committee)
- News and current calls for feedback
While there are always many different news stories going on, the following selection could be of particular interest to you:
- The Wikimedia Foundation is currently discussing their annual plan for the year from July 2023 to June 2024 with communities worldwide. The CEE region is mentioned in a subsection of the "equity page", with an announcement of a second year of the CEE Hub even though no project grant has been written yet. Exciting!
- Our friends from East, South East Asia and the Pacific region have published a draft of their proposal for creating an ESEAP Hub that will join the CEE Hub as another regional hub that is built from the bottom up. The goal is to set this hub up by Wikimania 2023 in Singapore and start the work soon after.
- As you might have read in some of the many places that Wikimedia news are shared, Wikimania 2024 will be hosted in Kraków, Poland! The core team is aiming to involve as many CEE communities as possible, so watch their space for any announcements in that regard (you will most likely also read about it in the next few editions of the CEE Newsletter). Since this conference will happen in August 2024, this also means that the CEE Meeting 2024 will probably take place later in the year than usual, to leave more of a gap to Wikimania.
- Meetings & Conferences in May and June
May is the time of the year when meetings start happening again. While it might be too late to join some of them in person, you can still check if the conference or meeting offers live streams from the event.
- May 12, 14, and 17
- Queering Wikipedia 2023 (online, schedule, you can still register!) - this year's online conference of the Wikimedia LGBT+ community.
- May 19-21
- Wikimedia Hackathon 2023 in Athens, Greece (schedule). The annual meeting to showcase new tools, discuss old problems or work together on solutions. You can watch live streams and videos on the Mediawiki Youtube channel.
- May 26-28
- EduWiki Conference 2023 in Belgrade, Serbia (no program announced yet, recordings might be offered after the event). Discussions and sharing of experiences around everything that combines Wikimedia projects and education.
- June 9-11
- Wikimedia Europe General Assembly, the annual meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, of the newly incorporated Wikimedia Europe organisation, that is a continuation of the advocacy work in Brussels for all things concerning the European Union and its lawmaking processes.
CEE in the news
- An interview with Rustam Nuriev about the Bashkir language Wikipedia community
- International Roma Day Edit-a-thon 2023
- Ukraine: Presenting 10 winning pictures of Wiki Loves Monuments 2022
- Wikimedia Polska has a new 3-year strategy!
- One student, one plane and thirty-seven photos in Wikimedia Commons
- Media Literacy Portal to become a key resource for media education in Czech Libraries, March 2023, Wikimedia Czech Republic
- Wikimarathon is an opportunity to involve students and teachers in creating and editing articles in Wikipedia, March 2023, Wikimedia Ukraine
- Wikeys in the Albanian language, March 2023, Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group
- Wikimedia Polska short report, March 2023, Wikimedia Poland
- Wikimedia Serbia participated in the State Seminar of the The Mathematical Society of Serbia, March, Wikimedia Serbia
- WikiGap Tirana 2023, Albania, March 2023, Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group
- From Ruhnu to Vääna a.k.a. Winterspring in WMEE, March 2023, Wikimedia Estonia
- Wikivoyage Edit-a-thon in Istog, March 2023, Wikimedians of Albanian Language User Group
- GLAM meet-ups, Wikiresidencies and GLAM partners contributiong to editing contest, March 2023, Wikimedia Poland
- GLAM in March, March 2023, Wikimedia Serbia
Open calls and consultations
- Nominations for Building Committee for Universal Code of Conduct, open until 12 May 2023
- Discussion about proposed changes to General Support Fund process in 2023-24, open until 16 May 2023
- Consultation for Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2023-2024, open until 19 May 2023
- Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2023/Submissions, open until May 21 2023
- By: Dandarmkd (Shared Knowledge)
From February 1 to March 31, this photo contest was held in Macedonia for the first time. 2,800 photos and 9 videos were uploaded. The total number of the Macedonian participants for WLF 2023 is 23, of which 18 were competitors and 4 being the jury members. Here are the top three rated photos which are the prized ones.
The 2,809 files depicted folklore and folklore events, festivals, customs and costumes in the towns of Kumanovo, Štip (and its wider region), the villages of Konopnica and Galičnik (with its renowned Galičnik Wedding), Gurgurnica, Ljubanci, Vevčani, Volino, the Pelagonia region. Also, Macedonian folklore was covered from images made in neighbouring Albania. Many images portrayed ethnic minorities such as the Yörüks. Other images depicted dance performances of several folk dance studios.
- In media
Since 2018 Ukrainian Wikipedia has been among the most active participant communities of WikiGap, the global initiative designed to improve representation of women on Wikipedia and bridge the gender gap. Over the past five years, around 350 people joined the challenge by creating and improving close to 4,000 articles about women in the Ukrainian language.
In 2023, Wikimedia Ukraine organized the challenge on Ukrainian Wikipedia once again, with the help of our long-term partners – Swedish Embassy in Ukraine, National Democratic Institute, and UNFPA Ukraine.
The online campaign ran for close to three weeks in March. We invited everyone to join and create or improve an article about a notable woman. As an incentive to join – apart from contributing to the mission of bridging the gender gap on Wikipedia – we’re sending souvenirs for everyone who created / improved at least two articles within the campaign.
As a result, 90 Wikipedians joined the challenge in 2023; collectively they created 704 new articles about women and improved 38 existing ones. (80 participants are eligible to receive souvenirs for their participation, having worked on at least two articles).
We’re especially pleased to see that four articles are now candidates for the “good article” status. One of them is about prominent Ukrainian biologist Valentyna Radzymovska, who was erased from the Soviet history books but is remembered in independent Ukraine. “I participate in WikiGap regularly because I believe that the low representation of women in Wikipedia and in the media space is a problem that needs attention. The topics of women in science, women’s education of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and women’s organizations are especially close to me”, says user Brunei, the article’s lead author and a biologist himself.
Within WikiGap 2023 we supported two offline events. The main one took place in Kyiv, where 17 people came on a Saturday to work collectively on contributing to Wikipedia around WikiGap topics. Besides, Wikimedia Ukraine's volunteer Daryna (user Rina.sl) held a training session for Ukrainians abroad in Gdańsk, Poland, gathering 6 people.
A few insights from organizing the campaign this year and before:
- Promotion on social media is useful for building broader awareness but not so effective for attracting actual participants. The most effective communications tools for bringing new people are the CentralNotice banner and communication with participants of previous similar campaigns via MassMessage.
- People are hungry for in-person communication after three years of the pandemic and the war, so it was quite beneficial to meet offline – both to work on WikiGap articles directly but also as a tool for community building. Unfortunately, because of the war, the scale of offline events this year was much smaller than it used to be before 2020.
- It’s highly useful for us to have long-term partners. While we at Wikimedia Ukraine do most of the legwork in terms of organizing the campaign onwiki and promoting it among community members, the partners are quite helpful in spreading broader public awareness about the cause, as well as by providing material help (such as funding for offline events).
- Photos from the WikiGap event in Kyiv
- Further information
- By: Frosina.D (GLAM Macedonia)
Оn April 13 and 17, 2023, the members of the Veles Wiki Club, under the mentorship of the parent Wikipedian and Professor Lila Arsova, the club's coordinator, actively participated in workshops in the premises of the "Goce Delchev" - Local Library in Veles. The young Wikipedians got to know the traditional folk instruments bagpipe and kaval, which are part of the spiritual intangible cultural heritage of Macedonia.
The 85-year-old Lazar Petrovski from Veles was a guest at the workshop for getting to know the folk traditional instrument bagpipe. He started playing the bagpipe at the age of 48, probably his love for the instrument was passed on to him by his uncle who also played the bagpipe. The participants of the workshop got to know how the bagpipe is made, what parts it is made of, and then they enjoyed the sounds of the bagpipe performed by the oldest bagpipe player in Macedonia, Lazar Petrovski, who besides playing and singing with the bagpipe, has also made many bagpipes. At the second workshop, our young and outstanding fellow citizen, Filip Arilon from Veles, who is a graduated musician, introduced the workshop participants to the folk instrument kaval. The members of Wiki Club Veles listened to Philip enthusiastically and were curious and asked many questions, such as: what is the kaval made of, what kind of music is played on it, why did he choose to play traditional folk instruments, and so on. The two workshops were followed by mutual satisfaction, because the young Wikipedians, all students in Veles schools, could also enjoy the music of these traditional folk instruments.
These activities were part of the program of the association GLAM Macedonia to mark the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO convention Wiki Loves Living Heritage for the preservation of the intangible spiritual heritage, which is celebrated all over the world.
Updates from communities (3)
- By Zblace
20 Wikimedians *(+few local guests) from the CEE Hub, SEE region and Zagreb participated in the MeetUp on Saturday April 1st in net.culture club MaMa of Multimedia Institute, but also remote presentation of Anton from Wikimedia Ukraine, presenting their work. It was an informal event, coinciding with the first in person Meeting of the CEE Hub Steering Committee and CEE Hub's two new executives for the first time.
We enjoyed meeting together, in smaller groups and individually, on the day before and after, networking and contributing to the CEE Hub project development, in hope that WM CEE Hub's services enable new(er) activities in the SEE in the following months and years.
Event was co-organized by CEE-Hub, local initiatives HrW and GLAM, with the support of: Multimedia Institute and Wikimedia Foundation.
- Education Program
- Within our Education Program, 16 Wikipedia editing workshops were held, both at the Elementary School "Milica Milošević" in Jagnjilo and at colleges and universities (Faculty of Organizational Sciences and College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science).
- An accredited seminar was held in cooperation with the Institute for Modern Education in Belgrade. The seminar was attended by teachers from several different primary and secondary schools from Serbia.
- Another internship program was launched in collaboration with the Career Development Center of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.
- The Edu Wiki conference is being organized. Scholarships were approved during March, after which the process of buying plane tickets and obtaining visas was communicated with the participants. Also, those interested had the opportunity to submit their topics until April 1, which will be selected and potentially be part of the conference program.
- GLAM Program
- An edit-a-thon on literature was organized, which lasted from March 27 to April 2. 4 editors participated and wrote 20 new articles on Wikipedia in the Serbian language.
- An edit-a-thon called Old Crafts was held within the Wiki Librarian project. 11 editors participated in the marathon and wrote 58 new and improved 4 articles.
- The internship for the students of the Department of Librarianship and Informatics of the Faculty of Philology (University of Belgrade) was realized in March within the Wiki Librarian project. During this internship, 11 editors participated and wrote 11 new articles.
- Diversity Program
- In March, an edit-a-thon was organized on the occasion of International Women's Day, which lasted from March 6 to 12. During this time, 17 editors wrote 61 new and improved 11 articles. This is just one of the activities in the WikiGap campaign.
- During March, 9 project proposals received micro-grants. The call for projects was dedicated to small-scale projects that have the possibility of growing into long-term and sustainable ones. All interested individuals, representatives of organizations, cultural and educational institutions had the opportunity to submit ideas from January 25 to February 26, 2023. You can find out more about the accepted proposals on our website.
- Wikimedia Serbia and Wikimedians of Republic of Srpska are jointly organizing CEE spring competition on Serbian Wikipedia. This project is focusing on writing new and improving existing articles about the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as various topics related to these countries in a certain way (culture, history, music, science, sports, economy, etc.). The competition started on March 21, and will last until May 31.
Poetry slam for Wikipedia, a debate on free licenses, the opening of the Czech Wiki Photo 2022 exhibition. Such a packed programme awaited those who decided to spend the evening of 13 January 2023 in Charles University’s „Didaktikon“ space. The programme attracted over a hundred spectators and the event was definitely a success.
- The programme started with a debate on free licenses
The programme started in the afternoon with a debate on free licenses, to which four experts with expertise directly or indirectly related to the issue of free licenses were invited. The debate offered a reflection on the nature of free licenses, their purpose and the legal questions they raise. The fact that the intended 90-minute debate stretched to two hours, also thanks to questions from the audience, shows that there was much to discuss.
- Poetry slam for Wikipedia and education made dozens of spectators laugh
Poetry slam, a performative poetry genre, has enjoyed unprecedented popularity in the Czech Republic in recent years. Considering the fact that two employees of Wikimedia Czech republic are involved in it, and that perhaps the most famous Czech poetry slam performer Anatol Svahilec is a passionate Wikipedian, the connection was clear. After last year’s premiere, we knew that we had to repeat the poetry slam for Wikipedia, and it was not a mistake.
Potopa Basha talked about how easy it is to deviate from the original query when searching the internet. The bronze medalist of the European Poetry Slam Championship, Vašek z Aše, reflected on how to use everything he learned in primary school in everyday life. “Nothing like recaping polyethylene first thing in the morning,” he said. As the winner of the evening, the audience chose Dejv with a poetry slam in which he thinks about what would happen if Czech celebrities looked up their defining topics on Wikipedia. The one and only Anatol Svahilec hosted the whole show and the audience fell in love with his improv slam on Wikipedia.
“I don’t even remember the last time I giggled like that all evening,” Zdeněk Svatoš, a Wikipedian and a graduate of our Seniors Write Wikipedia course, told us after the event.
- Czech Wiki Photo 2022 exhibition will be on display until the end of February
We are very pleased that the exhibition was opened by the Rector of Charles University Milena Králíčková, and we officially signed a memorandum on this day to confirm our broader cooperation with the University, about cooperation regarding Students write Wikipedia and more. On the occasion of the exhibition, a member of the Czech Wiki Photo jury, internationally award-winning photographer Edita Bízová, spoke. The results of Czech Wiki Photo 2022 have been officially announced and we can already look forward to the next edition of the competition for the best Czech photo uploaded on Wikimedia Commons. The exhibition will be on display till the end of February in Prague. You can also see the competition’s results online.
- By Kruusamägi
From time to time we all probably have read or heard about the attempts to close or censor Russian Wikipedia, however so far it has not been successful. The question is, could someone in Estonia succeed in what Putin has not succeeded in?
In January this year for the first time an Estonian Wikipedian was taken to court for his editing. The claim was directed against the chairman of Wikimedia Estonia Ivo Kruusamägi and two Reform Party politicians. To put it in a nutshell the Estonian businessman and a local party sponsor Parvel Pruunsild stated his dislike of the Wikipedia article about him and filed a claim in Court to get it changed.
More specifically, the Wikipedia article about him referred to the fact that Mr Pruunsild had a connection to the highly controversial pension reform that came into existence in Estonia in 2021. People were then allowed to take out their pension savings, and in September of that same year, around 1.3 billion euros exited retirement accounts. Earlier, in 2019 the news publications were expressing suspicions about Pruunsild’s bank potentially earning millions of additional income due to this reform, which he had been eagerly supporting.
The lawyers hired by Mr Pruunsild made several attempts to remove this info section from Wikipedia, that mention he had some connections to the reform, by deleting it as anonymous editors (for example here). As administrators rejected all attempts to erase that information, the lawyers decided a month later that it was time to bring this to the court. “This is slander, pure and simple," the businessman commented in the Estonian paper.
Let it be mentioned that the information in the Wikipedia article was based on the newspaper source (Eesti Ekspress) and it was correctly cited in the article. Should Mr Pruunsild have started refuting the information he considered slanderous from a newspaper article? This step, however, was skipped. But among the people who had raised suspicions he chose two politicians from the opposing party and sued them as well.
Before the lawsuit was filed we were given 24 hours to remove the paragraph from the article. They probably expected that Wikipedia would obey their orders, but the opposite happened. We arranged a flood of media coverage about the topic and hired one of the best lawyers in the country on SLAPP cases. Now everyone knows Mr Pruunsild was connected to the pension reform and also that he has sued Wikipedia. It is not really good PR by any standards, is it? And his chances of winning came close to none as the case was rather dubious, to begin with.
We pointed out in the media: “Wikipedia, like any other encyclopedia, publishes summaries of original sources. Those who do not like it are free to turn to, for example, the newspaper and demand they overturn their claims, and if they manage to convince the paper to do that, Wikipedia will report that the paper first said one thing about them and then something else".
Although, from Wikipedia's point of view, it would be very convenient to destroy Mr Pruunsild’s claims in court and it would be a good warning for the future it would inevitably involve a large expenditure of time and money. So in March, when Pruunsild's lawyers offered a compromise, according to which they would withdraw the lawsuit, it was accepted. It was also agreed that both parties would pay their own expenses. Of course, there was no reason to expect that they would apologize or pay the expenses themselves. Obviously, their costs were significantly higher, in our estimates at 5,000 - 10,000 euros. Too bad no one mentioned to Mr Pruunsild earlier that Wikipedia can be edited for free, you just have to follow the rules.
After the case started, the Wikipedia article was quickly expanded and the topic was brought up in the media. The article section that was requested to be removed is now longer than the original article. Also, those people who perhaps had not read the relevant newspaper articles years ago are now familiar with the topic and know about his connection with the pension reform. Additionally, a section has been added to the article regarding the court case itself. It will probably be expanded in the future, because the court case against two other defendants, the former Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip and the former minister Jürgen Ligi, continues. We are yet to see how he plans to demonstrate the claims, that a businessman may do something to earn money, as slander.
As Englishmen like to say: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. What better promotion campaign for Wikipedia could there be?
- Further information
- By Zblace
After the breakup of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, the language most commonly known as Serbo-Croatian (now discussed mostly as BCMS pluricentric language, spectrum or continuum), a language of 20+ million speakers, started to disappear (at least under that name) as a standard language in the former federative republics, now independent countries. For the last 30 years, the young populations of Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and finally Montenegro nowadays call their official standard languages Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin language, mostly without thinking about it, while for those who lived in 80s shared Yugoslavia experience, there is an afterthought.
The originating language shared among all these language standards was actually created based on a dialect of South Slavic languages that is used far away from both Belgrade (Serbia) and Zagreb (Croatia), which are now polarising standardisation axis ends. It was created from the štokavian dialect spoken along border of Herzegovina to Montenegro, mostly as an emancipation coordination act of that highly rural and fragmented region, supported by than still strong Dubrovnik Republic city-state with interest in emancipating South Slavs also against then powerful Venice. Standardisation was later (Vienna Literary Agreement).
Wikimedia currently hosts 4 separate Wikipedia language instances as equal: HR/Croatian, SR/Serbian and BS/Bosnian - and also a SH/Serbo-Croatian language instance of Wikipedia, the latter was actually the first one among ex.Yugoslav Wikipedias (before splintering off BS and others following, with their copies of base articles)...as well as much younger, smaller (but not too small) Montenegrin, albeit in Wikimedia Incubator, a wiki that hosts language test projects before they spin-off into own wiki instances.
Since 2006 the Montenegrin language is the official language of Montenegro, smallest of countries that split from original SFR Yugoslavia, and it has its own language code: cnr (SIL, Glottolog), ISO 639-1 or 639-3. Montenegrin language is the only official language deriving from the Serbo-Croatian spectrum which does not yet exist as a separate Wikipedia.
Since 2017 Montenegrin Wikipedia has a status of incubator project and since (at least) 2022 this incubator project was partially disabled without discussion and communication with the Montenegrin community, including its test-admin. This disabling means that new users can not create new pages to be added, though existing pages can be edited.
The future of the Montenegrin language incubator is formally in the hands of Wikimedia Language Committee (LangCom) whose members are to decide if the whole Montenegrin Wikipedia incubation should be declared as eligible (or not) now for the 5th time. Unfortunately they have little capacity *(all volunteer positions) and overview *(no proper research of context aside from formal checks is really done).
The Meta discussion on this topic can be followed here. The most important point that LangCom makes on this page, and which shows the direction towards which they are leaning when making this important decision, is the following: ‘Montenegrin is little more than Ijekavian Serbian dialect with two additional sounds and letters’ (mind you unlike any other of mentioned languages), so for them it does not seem that Montenegrin Wikipedia would be different from Serbian in any ‘meaningful’ way.
If the current project creation rules had been in place before, the Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian Wikipedias would not have been created as projects separate from the original Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia, for at least the reasons above. Because those Wikipedias already existed when the current project creation rules were adopted, they are from the point of view of LangCom allowed as "grandfathered". But they do not want to create new projects violating the new policy. The first, second and third requests for a Montenegrin Wikipedia were all rejected for this very same reason. The ISO code has also been mentioned as a reason, especially in the fourth request, but it's hardly been the only reason for rejection. Approval of an ISO code does not really change this fact. An ISO code is necessary in order for a project to be approved in Incubator, but just having an ISO code does not automatically give you the right to a Wikipedia project.
Therefore some of the LangCom members ‘feel’ ‘that the Montenegrin community should be able to contribute to, and participate in, the community of the Serbian Wikipedia, the Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia, or both. It should not need a separate project.’
On one hand it might be adequate according to current LangCom regulations to block the Montenegrin Wikipedia project…on the other hand is it in line with Wikimedia rules to support at the same time Serbo-Croatian, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian Wikipedias although according to LangCom all these should not even exist at the same time? According to some of the LangCom members these three would not have been created as projects separate from the original Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia if current rules apply (to all retroactively).
This decision might be (according to current rules) fully formally lingual or not, but shouldn’t WMF and LangCom be considering diverse perspectives and local/regional context when deciding on such sensitive issues? Should they not consider past decisions *(recognizing separate languages and sustaining Serbo-Croatian) and tentative repercussions for the future? This is the future where equity should be central, when most of the small Wikipedias will likely use Abstract Wikipedia/WikiFunctions or other systems that would create much of base articles, while local and unique content will be the most precious.
Montenegrin has been a separate language standard for 18 years now (with valid ISO code) that also has two additional letters (compared to others). Meanwhile Montenegro periodically experiences ongoing war-like tensions with Serbia, so both linguistically, culturally and socially there is a need for a separate Wikipedia project, rather than assume collaboration and commitment.
Having a Wikipedia has long been not only a thing of just language distinction but also a matter of social and cultural distinction. Wikipedia is nowadays even used to emancipate, empower and elucidate preservation of (sub) cultures (often minority speaking populations, languages close to extinction, or even artificial languages). Since the local language is not supported with Wikipedia in Montenegrin, the content gap *(especially if you consult Wikidata) is just rapidly increasing instead of shrinking when compared with all other regional languages, and especially with Serbian, which is the fastest growing and for 15 years the only well-resourced language of C-B-M-S spectrum with two distinct affiliates (all others have none). Mind you SR Wikipedia is by now about 2 times bigger than SH, 3 times than HR and 7 times than BS, but that only concerns article pages, not depth, no Commons, no Wikidata, where the gap is even greater.
The reality of hosting Montenegrin Wikipedia in the Incubator (in terms of resources) does not cost WMF anything extra (no need to fake scarcity) and requires no action (no extra for sure). Blocking it however will render a full state and one language standard unwelcome (including its institutions and a half a million people), rendering for example Outreach work in GLAM and Education there impossible…while providing even more indirect support to those who are against it for different types of arguments (often mutually exclusive radically left, right or liberal in political/cultural/economic rationalities)...
Blocking or marking Montenegrin Wikipedia Incubator project as not eligible is also neither urgent nor useful and it will for sure become a public matter at least for Montenegrins that will waste more energy and create more frustration/conflicts…so why not just…let it be?!.Z. Blace (User:Zblace) is Wikimedian engaged in topics of content, participation and method gaps, member of several user groups and initiatives, currently working on Incubating HBS Wikivoyage as an effort to diversify collaborations and contributions strategies and options.