Language committee/FAQ

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Language committee Language committee (Frequently asked questions)
This page provides detailed answers to questions that are frequently asked of the committee.
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Policy[edit]

Existing wikis didn't need this, why do we?[edit]

Requests predating the language committee were determined by community vote, which were then submitted to Wikimedia developers who arbitrarily created wikis in batches. This caused several problems, such as political repression by out-voting, attempts to falsify votes by creating many accounts per person, empty wikis that even today attract vandalism, spam, and bias, takeover of a small wiki by another language group or a group of friends, and so forth.

The language committee was formed to prevent these problem in future requests; dealing with existing wikis is beyond their current authority (that is up to the community and Board of Trustees). Thus far, no approved wiki has had such issues.

Why aren't historical or extinct languages accepted?[edit]

No new wikis are allowed in languages that have no living native communities (except for Wikisource editions). The Wikimedia Foundation seeks to provide the sum of human knowledge to every human being. That means that the single purpose of allowing a project in a new language is to make it accessible to more human beings. If a language is historical, allowing a project in that language does not fit our mission because it does not make that project accessible to more human beings. Instead, a wiki in their native languages should be requested if it doesn't already exist.

Why is the policy applied retroactively?[edit]

The policy is not applied retroactively, but rather at the time of decision. When a decision is made on a request, the current policy always applies and not the policy that existed when the request was filed. The policy is written with specific goals in mind and tweaked in order to better reach them; it would be counterproductive to apply older forms of the policy. This is frustrating in the rare cases where formerly eligible requests are denied, and for this reason we try to minimize significant policy changes. Fortunately, most changes are beneficial— for example, the localization requirements were recently changed so that it is easier to open a first wiki in a language.

Rejection reasons[edit]

Dialect[edit]

LANGUAGE_NAME fails the uniqueness criterion for eligibility, namely that it be sufficiently unique that it could not coexist on a more general wiki. LANGUAGE_NAME also does not have the required ISO 639-3 code except as a subset of OTHER_LANGUAGE, which is covered by the current OTHER_LANGUAGE Wikipedia.

Extinct language[edit]

The language proposal policy requires that a language have living native communities to serve as the wiki's audience and editing community. LANGUAGE_NAME is classified by ISO 639-3 as "extinct", which means that it has no native communities. Unfortunately, this request does not meet the prerequisites for eligibility.