Celtic Knot Conference 2020/Submissions/Develop Wikis in local languages - From Offline to Online/Discussions

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Welcome to the note-taking pad of one of the Celtic Knot Conference 2020 sessions! This space is dedicated to collaborative note-taking, comments and questions to the speaker(s). You can edit this document directly, and use the chat feature in the bottom-side corner.

✨⏯️ Session details[edit]

💬❓ Questions[edit]

Feel free to add questions here, while or after watching the session. Please add your (user)name in bracket after the question. The host of the session will pick a few questions to ask them during the livestream. The speaker or other participants will answer on this pad (asynchronously: the answer may come in a few hours or days).

  • Do you also call "Berber" Amazigh or similar?
    • Yes
  • ary.wikipedia has 1450 articles; do you know how many of them only exist in this wiki?
    • This is a difficult question. Unfortunately wikidata is not enabled for languages in the incubator, otherwise we could have answered this question with a very simple query. As I am rather active in reading and writing articles in ary these days, according to my personal experience (this is a non-scientific answer) I would probably estimate that articles only exisitng in ary would make some 5-10% of the total version. One reason is that we worked first on the "must be" articles such as the countries of the world, which have articles in already almost all languages. I wrote some few articles related to the local context, but they are a minority for the moment.
  • One question from the journey you were describing, with much persistence. How affected are you now from being unable to meet in person — does this create barriers, enablers or both?
    • We've not been affected at all. We're a User Group, so we don't have finances and we are volunteers, so we rarely met in-person. The meetings were always online, the main change was that Google Meet became free, so we could have more users there.
    • The main difference is that talking to someone you know is much more productive than the anonymity of online discussions.
  • It's super interesting with the Darija Wiktionary being the first written dictionary. How do you as a Wikimedian think about that?
    • It is very difficult for us to create standards and rules almost from scratch. But, in the context where no official suppoort/interest is provided, it is the only solution if we want to go forward. The biggest difficulty we have is about phonetics, as none of us is a linguist, but we learned with time the international phonteical code and use it extensively now in the wiktionary. We are wikimedians, and therefore, we love to share everything we have. To be able to develop one's native language is something amazing, and Wiktionary is really a good platform to archive many old traditional words, so we are using it without moderation.
  • What about Wikisource?
    • Moroccan Darija had unfortunately not a long tradition of being written (lack of standards + status), which makes sources and references even fewer than other languages. However, we are thinking about wikisource as a platform to host different poems, songs and tales, as many of them are ancestral traditions. Unfortunarely, we are currently few people working on ary, so we focus more on the Wikipedia. Once we have it leave the incubator, I promise to check the wikisource and fill it :)
  • Did you have many people feel excluded as a result of moving to an entirely-nonymous (sic) organisation, rather than the anonymity of Talk: pages? Were there users who didn't want to be associated with a real-world identity?
    • This is an important question! So the short answer is: Nobody was excluded because there was no anonymous user in the talk pages (the project was half-dead). This was the main motivation why the User group took the initiative to work on the ary Wikipedia.
    • Of course, we are aware that more and more users will join when the project will start to blossom (this is even our aim). But in this case, we will have already overcome the main challenges that needed conflict -management and careful organization (such as alphabet to be used, standards, etc.). In the next phase, having online and offline contributors is the target, and the more people participating, the happier we will be.
    • This said, we had talk pages ready if anonymous users would show up to discuss the policies and standards that we had, it is just that nobody came, so user group members were lucky enough to be the first ones kick-starting ary wikipedia :)

🖊️🔗 Collaborative note-taking[edit]

Feel free to take notes about the session here, add some useful links, etc.

  • [Daria introduces Anass with a mention of his session last year about the barriers to Wikipedia entry from oral traditions]
  • Today, Anass will talk about how to build in the Incubator, gfoing from offline to online, which is the opposite direction to how this usually goes. The focus will be from the Moroccan Darija (ISO code ary), the vernacular Arabic spoken in Morocco, with heavy influence from Berber and some French, Spanish and Turkish. Schools in Morocco teach Classical Arabic, the standardised written language, but spoken language is Darija.
  • There is a big disagreement among Arabic-speaking communities as to whether the local forms are dialects or languages in their own right — that topic will be avoided in this presentation.
  • [Map shows where Darija and Berber native-speakers are predominant, though Darija is also a lingua franca]
  • Wikimedia Incubator had a request for a Darija instance in January 2008, very early and persistant. This is partly because some Moroccans wanted to form a distinction from the Middle East, as Arabic spans from Mauritania to Iraq.
  • In 2011, there was not a lot of expansion, though it had become to be written in the Latin alphabet (by people who were advocating the adoption of Latin script for Moroccan Darija, this is similar to the history of Turkish). Later participants were more likely to use the Arabic script. By 2013, thus, articles might have both Latin and Arabic script. By 2015 and 2018 there was not a lot of change, though the Latin-alphabet advocates were fading away, being outnumbered by Arabic-script users (which is much more common in Morocco).
  • By 2018, there were still only 93 articles, however, for a handful of reasons
    • There is no standard form or official status, plus different regions have differences in their use of Darija.
    • Keyboards are available in both Latin and Arabic; initially only Latin-alphabet keyboards were available.
    • Vandalism — there were a lot of ideological fights, over whether or not Darija is a language, whether it's a form of separatism from Classical Arabic and so on.
    • Also, the community was scattered with sporadic interest.
  • In the last year, Anass and a friend wrote an academic paper about the Darija Wikipedia and its challenges. They discussed the idea of the Morocco User Group (est. October 2015) of taking on the Darija Wikipedia, which enabled more streamlined and consistent organisation. A taskforce was created and there was coordinated task management, getting things done, like a giant year-long editathon,. They have agreed on their styles and standards and have over 1450 articles now. They hope to submit leaving the Incubator programme very soon.
    • A good example article is that for the planet Earth.
  • Around 100 words exist in their WIktionary now; it is being used as a basis for the Wikipedia.
  • They wanted to try something new, with working offline — being Wikipedians they were already familiar with working online. They found working offline was more efficient and a much better means of solving conflict.
  • Key conclusion: Incubator projects can strongly benefit from offline intervention if it is well thought-through with a clear strategy
  • [More references in slide]


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More information about the Celtic Knot Conference 2020: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Knot_Conference_2020
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