Talk:Language proposal policy/Community draft

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Backward force[edit]

I suggest to give backward force to this proposal upon acceptance. Any objections?--Nxx 14:08, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Closed requests will not meet the activity requirements regardless. —Pathoschild 15:58:52, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The question is do you want this proposal to have retroactive force in the positive way, negative way or both? I.e. would you close current projects that violate the policy, or do you want to automatically approve old proposals that would now pass? If it's the former, I don't think it would work, if the latter, probably the requests should simply be resubmitted. --Ornil 19:17, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
It's the former. The point is to establish universal standard of requirements for projects in Wikipedia.--Nxx 07:35, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

What is the procedure to adopt this?[edit]

I've looked through the proposal and the discussion. It lasted for a while (still somewhat active, but not a whole lot). It seems most people like the draft. So what's stopping its adoption? Is there some formal step required? A vote to be taken? It seems to me it should replace the current version now, and if there any more details to be cleared that can be talked about on the discussion page of the policy itself once this proposal replaces it. --Ornil 21:40, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The draft was created as a community exercise ("If people think the current policy can be improved upon, then let them show us what they can do..."), but there was never any clear suggestion as to how it might be ratified. Quite a lot of people like it and consider it both reasonable and practical. However, members of the language committee do not consider it to be so, and it was their disapproval on the Foundation mailing list (I think in November) that left this dead in the water. Their argument, with which I disagree, is that the proposal lacks sufficient objectivity. If you are willing to take the time and energy to argue for this in public forums go ahead! The only way it might ever move forward is with strong community backing. I personally have given up. Dovi 21:03, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Y'know what? Let's create a new wikihost with new wiki encyclopedias that improve on the current policy. And let's stop giving up! Rickyrab 05:36, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Endangered Languages[edit]

I've read/scanned through all the text on this page and can only conclude (with some worry, as I'm working on a Votian wp at the incubator as well as a localisation) that endangered languages won't be accepted. There are many things to consider though, when dealing with endangered languages. For the sake of the example I'll only discuss Votian here, but it could be applied to any endangered language.

1. Yes, practically all (I'd say 99%) of people competent enough to contribute to a wiki in Votian are competent enough in Russian to do the same; thus, the impression I get from the opinions above is: "Let them read Russian." Sure, they could - but this would not serve the language; rather, it would just continue it along the way to extinction. However: if there exists a wikipedia in Votian, even if the articles aren't as extensive and detailed as they are in say the English or Russian wikipedia, those who know Votian will have an extra incentive to use it. Further, it would be an immense boost for revitalisation attempts: suddenly, a new body of text, a new medium for using the language, one with a permanence, as opposed to spoken language.

2. Another issue to consider with endangered languages is dialect and (especially for languages without standardisation) orthography.

On the point of orthography: I found earlier today that someone edited two of the articles I wrote in Votian; though in one case this editor did make one of my sentences more elegant, for the most part the changes were limited to changing "tš" to "c" (I'll ignore for the moment that the tš is more widely used in what printed matter there is, than is "c", which I've seen used only very seldom). The point I want to make here is that yes, there may be people in the community who care about the language, but will get hung up on little things like "I don't like this way of writing it, do it this way or I won't help."

On dialect: I've been writing in one of the two dialects of Votian, but I've had it suggested to me it should be written in the other dialect, which has a (few) more speakers. But the differences are minimal: just one example, "in Moscow" in one dialect is "Moskovaz", the other has "Moskovaza". The two dialects are 100% compatible - but there might arise things such as this, which might fracture the project and kill it at the early stage, though it would be unimportant if the project is already well underway. My opinion, which I've voiced, is that either should be fine. Hopefully, others will see it this way as well. But if not, and they don't initially contribute to the project in the gestation stages, this doesn't mean they might not contribute later - once they see that there's a good body of material present.

3. So far, all those I've told about the idea of a Votian wikipedia have thought it a great idea. But in response to my asking them to come and contribute and write articles, I've gotten "how about I just send you the text and you can put it up at your leisure?" I suspect this will be common in the initial development phase of a WP for a small language - it will seem like too big a task to take on, and there only end up one or two people (out of what might be a considerably larger group of speakers) willing to devote all their free time to such a project. But from the opinions I've read above, if there's only one or two people contributing - even if they do a large amount of work - the decision made by (excuse the bluntness) some random body of people who (though without malice) doesn't much care whether language X lives or dies would be to not approve the project. Yet it's very clear in all aspects of life, the trailblazers are the few - the rest follow, once the hard part is done.

Thus, I think special consideration should be made for endangered languages trying to revitalise themselves. Who was it, that baseball person I think, who said, "if you build it, they will come." This applies in a case such as this, too: few are willing to take the initiative to start such a project. But once it's off the ground and going, they'll happily join in. It's very common throughout communities of endangered languages, that everyone is sad their language is dying, but only one or two people decide to devote all their time to efforts at revitalising and reactivating the language. If there are such people, they should be encouraged, and not rejected.

4. In a case of an endangered language with revitalisation efforts underway, some of the proposed criteria would rule it out, which would be harmful to the revitalisation effort. As an example: the last native speaker of Livonian recently died. However, the language isn't dead - it's growing. For the first time there have been textbooks printed, classes are being taught. But there's only a very few people so far who would be considered "fully literate" or "fully competent" in the language - and so a WP proposal would be rejected on these grounds, right at a time when such a thing would be most needed. Publication of books is costly; this is not, and one thing all language revitalisation plans have in common is a lack of funds and the difficult questions of where to spend what little funds there are. Wikimedia says the intention is to spread knowledge: every linguistic-cultural community has its own unique view of the world, its own unique knowledges. By allowing revitalisation projects for endangered languages to happen, even when there are only one or two people who are initially dedicated enough to do the "heavy lifting" and get the difficult stuff out of the way, Wikimedia foundation could play an invaluable role in assisting language revitalisation projects. 2Q 09:52, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Simple-language wikis[edit]

I'm reviving the idea of simple-language wikis/wikipedias, even if the simplified languages have no (ISO) codes. I feel that simplified languages can be a help to speakers of various languages with learning disabilities. Rickyrab 05:29, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you. More reasons for allowing simple-language wikis are easier access for children (who are often very curious to read wikipedia articles but get scared off by long and complicated encyclopedic texts), foreign speakers, or even native speakers who need a simple summary of the basics, more in depth than the first paragraph but not quite as prolix as the full in-depth articles. The "simple English" Wikipedia is finding a decent resonance, so denying people in other major languages the same seems hypocritical. I even understand the concern that wikipedia might get flooded with new "simple" language versions. But this problem could be addressed by introducing a reasonable criterion like size, e.g. that only languages with 500000 articles and/or users can request to open a simple version. (The exact criterion of course should be up for discussion, I just threw out this number to have a starting point for this discussion.) --Urpsel 12:21, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

People interested in extinct nonclassical languages[edit]

Suppose there is a community x that is interested in extinct non-classical language y. Currently, policy disallows that. Where should community x go to create a "Wikipedia" type wiki if blocked by Wikimedia from doing so on Wikimedia? Rickyrab 05:29, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Also, the above question applies to dialects with no ISO code and to made-up languages that "some kids created in school one day" like Smurf and Elven. Rickyrab 05:33, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Proposal: The general rules of language use in Wikimedia[edit]

[I know that my English is not perfect. And I would be grateful for the correction of possible grammatical and stylistic errors.]


I am a professional anthropologist and at the same time, a man with considerable experience as a politician and as a party to legal conflicts. I am very interesting by those most bitter conflicts in the Wikipedia community around the creation of Wikipedia in those or other languages. This, in particular, the sharp conflicts over language: Volapük, Lombardian, Siberian, Klingon, Quenya, Toki Pona, Moldovan.

[I note that the closing pages of the Moldovan and Siberian languages was partly inspired by political motives, respectively, the representatives of Romanian and Russian languages. There is no doubt in the existence of a group of Siberian dialects of the Russian language, and there is no doubt in the existence of a formal written language, which was called "Moldovan" and was considered different from Romanian.]

I believe that decisions on these matters do not meet many of the panellists. This means that the problem of the continued functioning of languages of the Wikipedia needs more regulation. Should be introduced simple and obvious rules, which could satisfy all. Moreover, these rules should be considered obvious and fair to all members of the Wikipedia community.

These rules I have set out in the form of a few simple and universal legal norms. These rules have a few sources.

Main source: These rules follow from the main purpose of Wikipedia. The purpose of Wikipedia - creating the most complete and high quality on-line version of the encyclopedia in all languages of the Earth.

Second source: own practice of the Wikipedia community (especially the Language committee) in dealing with such issues, the presence in the practice of historical precedents.

The third source: the general universal principles of law that have proved themselves throughout the history of mankind, and which recognized the basic legal systems of almost all States, except in the most odious dictatorships. In this case there are two such universal principles:

1) A person shall not be liable for the acts of illegality which he could not have known. In particular, it should not be punished for acts which at the time they were committed were not illegal.

2) If people are free to enjoy certain rights, these rights they can not be taken away or limited. This is a very important universal principle, which dictates the obvious solution of a number of the most violent conflicts in the Wikipedia community.

Based on this latter principle, those languages that already have existing Wikipedia pages, or who have already obtained the right to create such pages in the wiki-Incubator, in any case can not be denied the right to own Wikipedia.

Because of this legal principle should be necessary to reopen the languages of the Wikipedia: Klingon, Toki Pona, Moldovan and Siberian.

On the other hand, these Wikipedias have been closed due to fair and honest reasons. So we must not allow the emergence of similar pages in the future. For this purpose, and should be taken these guidelines.


The general rules of language use in Wikimedia


A. Rules of use of existing languages in Wikimedia


1) Any language of Wikimedia may not be removed from it.


2) Administrators of each active Wikipedia in any language are obliged to care about the quality of Wikipedia articles. In particular, there is considered unacceptable the bot-creation of the main part of Wikipedia articles in any language.

In case of serious doubt as Wikipedia in this language guide Wikimedia Foundation may require the removal of all articles that have been bot-uploaded.


3) If necessary, bad-quality Wikimedia to correct the deficiencies can be returned to the Wiki-incubator.


4) In case if the language is used in two or more writing systems, separate sections for each type of writing is not created. Instead, is necessary to create a program that can translate the contents of any article on this language from one writing system into another.

We are welcoming the creation for any language of Wikipedia, program that gives the contents of articles into the International Phonetic Alphabet, as well as program that translates into the Latin transcription of the contents of articles in those languages, which made other writing systems.


B. Rules for the establishment of Wikipedia and Wiki-Incubator for new languages


1) In the Wikipedia and Wiki-incubator can be created sections in any native (living or dead) language, having the code ISO 639-3.


2) In the Wikipedia can be created partitions on any living language, not having the code ISO 639-3, if it satisfies the following conditions:

a) there are people for whom this language is native;

b) these language has a literature and electronic sites;

c) there is a scientific description of the language: its vocabulary and grammar;

d) The Wikipedia has pages devoted to this language in English and at least three other languages.


3) In the Wikipedia can be created sections on any recently extinct language, not having the code ISO 639-3, if it satisfies the following conditions:

a) The language died out not earlier than 1850;

b) there is a tutorial of the language;

c) these language has a literature and electronic sites;

d) there is the scientific description of the language: its vocabulary and grammar;

e) The Wikipedia has pages devoted to this language in English and at least three other languages.


4) In the Wikipedia can be created partitions on any dead language, not having the code ISO 639-3, if it satisfies the following conditions:

a) in that language existed and survived to the present day own rich literature;

b) there is a tutorial of the language;

c) these language has a modern literature and electronic sites;

d) there is the scientific description of the language: its vocabulary and grammar;

e) The Wikipedia has pages devoted to this language in English and at least three other languages.


5) All the languages that do not meet the criteria set out in paragraphs 1), 2), 3) and 4), are considered to be artificial.

In Wikipedia, there are sections of the following artificial (constructed) languages: Esperanto, Simple English, Ido, Novial, Intelingua, Interlingue (Occidental), Volapük, Lojban, Quenya, Klingon, Siberian, Toki Pona, and Lingua Franca Nova.

In the Wikipedia is not possible to create partitions on any other artificial languages.

As an exception, the decision to establish a section of Wikipedia in any other artificial language can be accepted by Wikimedia Board of Trustees. In this case the language must meet all the requirements of paragraph 4) for the dead languages and have code ISO 639-3 and a level of development and popularity of not less than the Quenya in 2009.


6) If a native language has the code ISO 639-3, but does not satisfy the conditions about 2) or 3) or 4), proposal of this language can be rejected.


I believe that the adoption of these rules will remove all the stress and all the discussions around the language policy of Wikipedia.

Best Regards,

Ihor Rassokha, Ukraine

No.--Prosfilaes 19:18, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Why no? -- User:Paccoxa
It's less simple; currently there are no new Wikipedias for non-ISO-639-3 languages. It's based on false premises, like "If people are free to enjoy certain rights, these rights they can not be taken away or limited." Even in general, people have their rights taken away or limited by new laws all the time. I'm sure there are several kings who wouldn't mind if their right to act as an absolute sovereign hadn't been historically taken away, but it was for good reason. It proposes reopening bad Wikipedias; the Siberian Wikipedia had nothing but Russian language garbage on it, and there's no evidence that anyone who speaks a Siberian dialect of Russian wants a Wikipedia for it.--Prosfilaes 20:20, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

"It's less simple; currently there are no new Wikipedias for non-ISO-639-3 languages".

- There are non-ISO-639-3 languages among the existing projects of Wikipedia. And from a legal point of view, it is wrong for Wikipedia to bind tightly itself to the outward standards. You can not vouch that these standards ISO-639 will always be consistented with the policy of Wikipedia. Proposed criteria for non-ISO-639-3 languages are not less stringent than the current criteria of the ISO-639-3.

"It's based on false premises, like" If people are free to enjoy certain rights, these rights they can not be taken away or limited. "Even in general, people have their rights taken away or limited by new laws all the time. I 'm sure there are several kings who wouldn't mind if their right to act as an absolute sovereign hadn't been historically taken away, but it was for good reason. "

- King is not the people. In my opinion, you do not understand simple things: one thing to remove from the existing Wikipedia bad article, but quite another thing - if the people was deprive the right to use Wikipedia which they already possess.

 Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution: 

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Arbitrary deprivation of human rights - is a tyranny.

 "It proposes reopening bad Wikipedias"

- My proposal: 3) If necessary, bad-quality Wikimedia to correct the deficiencies can be returned to the Wiki-incubator. But: 1) Any language of Wikimedia may not be removed from it.

"the Siberian Wikipedia had nothing but Russian language garbage on it"

- This view is not neutral. Because:

a) Siberian language is clearly and significantly different from the Russian language.

b) Siberia has its own culture and its own history, including political history. In particular, in the 19-20 centuries, there was a movement for autonomy or even independence of Siberia from Russia. See Wikipedia's article "Siberian regionalism".

c) Opinion of proponents of the Russian language in this matter does not mean anything. For example, many Russians believe Ukrainian language such artificial as Siberian. Would you prohibit Ukrainian Wikipedia too?

d) In addition to the Italian Wikipedia is Venetian, Piedmontese, Lombard, Sicilian, etc. This situation is in many other cases. The majority of residents in Italian regions, such as Lombardy, apparently uses the Italian language. But this does not justify the ban Lombard Wikipedia.

"And there's no evidence that anyone who speaks a Siberian dialect of Russian wants a Wikipedia for it."

This view is also not neutral and is contrary to basic principles of Wikipedia. In such a case to close dozens of existing Wikipedias. This criterion is obviously not apply to Volapük, Simple English, Serbo-Croatian, Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa), Piedmontese, Occitan, Ido, Aragonese, Low Saxon, Sicilian, Sundanese, Neapolitan, Asturian, Samogitian, Cantonese, Tarantino, Alemannic, Interlingua, Anglo -Saxon, Old Church Slavonic, Gothic, etc.

I am not a supporter of the independence of Siberia. It is not my business.

I am a supporter of the resolution of conflicts in Wikipedia on the basis of common, simple and fair rule of law. User:Paccoxa

There is no obligation to recreate a Wikipedia that was solely used for vandalism. Any policy that creates such an obligation is going to be rejected. Your ranting about the Siberian Wikipedia demonstrates your valuing of theory over fact; in reality, the language used on the Siberian Wikipedia was pure standard Russian, and the text often obscene and abusive.--Prosfilaes 17:14, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


1) I repeat
I am not supporter of Siberian language especially. I am supporter of fair Law and I am against political arbitrariness.


2) If Administration or stewards of any language Wikipedia use it for vandalism, these administrators and stewards must be replaced. Bad-quality Wikipedia of this language can be returned to Wiki-incubator. This case is irrelevant to the general right to own Wikipedia of any real language of Earth.


3) I don't understand: how somebody can use Wikipedia in one language “for vandalism” against Wikipedia in another language technically? Or Siberian Wikipedia “was solely used for vandalism” against itself?


4) Principles of Wikipedia etiquette: [1] “Assume good faith. Comply with etiquette ethics. Wikipedia has worked remarkably well so far based on a policy of nearly complete freedom to edit. People come here to collaborate and write good articles. ...Forgive and forget. ...Avoid reverts whenever possible”.

Prosfilaes: “There is no obligation to recreate a Wikipedia that was solely used for vandalism. Any policy that creates such an obligation is going to be rejected.”

- Is this opinion appropriate for normal user of Wikipedia?


5) GreenPillar.svg: “Wikipedia has a neutral point of view, which means we strive for articles that advocate no single point of view. Sometimes this requires representing multiple points of view, presenting each point of view accurately, providing context for any given point of view, and not presenting any point of view as "the truth" or "the best view".”

Ukrainian Wikipedia, article “Siberian language” (“Сибірська мова”):

“Siberian language - an artificial language based on dialects of Eastern Siberia, mostly starozhytetsky ("old-habitant") dialects of the XIX century with the Turkic borrowings. Creating of language intensified in 2005 with the active participation of Yaroslav Zolotarev, but in 2007 the process was stalled.

Investigation of the XIX century

In 1873 in Russia in the publication "Proceedings of the Siberian office of Russian newspaper society (РГО)" was published studies PA Ravinsky " Observations and dictionary of Siberian dialect". On the old Siberian dialect described as follows: "Siberian dialect comes from the north-Russian, but two centuries of alienation, most other natural living conditions and other historical circumstances gave to it the original direction. Dialect of Eastern Siberia is especially phonetics, a set of unique grammatical forms. Dictionary includes over 3000 local words that are unknown to the general Russian language.

History and Development

Work on the creation of literary languages of Siberian launched in 2005 in blog Yaroslav Zolotarev, known as user LiveJournal samir74.

Formation of the language continued to blog and post continues on Siberian Freedom, where activists perform translations of world classics, published daily news and political essays published in Siberian subjects. October 1, 2006 opened part of the Siberian language Wikipedia, but this Wikipedia was perceived ambiguously Wikipedians, met particular resistance from the Russian imperialists, and September 19, 2007 it closed.”

This is an automated translation from Ukrainian. But I think, that the meaning is clear. Dear mr. Prosfilaes, your point of view is not "the truth" or "the best view".


6) Prosfilaes: “The language used on the Siberian Wikipedia was pure standard Russian”

First, it is not. Second, there are Wikipedia English and Simple English; Belarusian and Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa); Serbo-Croatian, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian; Indonesian and Malay, Hindi and Urdu; and so on.


7) Prosfilaes: “Your ranting about the Siberian Wikipedia demonstrates your valuing of theory over fact”.

- I believe that the theory is needed in order to avoid the unpleasant facts. Paccoxa 21:14, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Policy[edit]

The language policy requires for a language to be recognised as such. There are recognised Siberian languages and they are welcome. By moving the argument to ISO, we no longer have to deal with people who insist that we recognised their language on their say so. These languages turned out to be a mix of made up languages and revived languages. The WMF is in the business of delivering knowledge. It is not in the business of defining what makes a language.

Indeed there are projects that would no longer be allowed to have a project. This makes no difference and from a ¨legal point of view¨ it makes no difference because we have always been clear that this is how it is supposed to work. The policy was approved by the WMF board and the language committee administers the policy that is effectively only about new languages and projects. One of the problems with the current situations is that a few languages are using language codes that are reserved for other languages.. Not a good thing when you consider that it is these same codes that indicate language on the Internet. Thanks, GerardM 13:27, 12 November 2009 (UTC)


Dear GerardM! Thank you for your opinion. Generally I am agree with you. But I want to attract attention to some conclusions from your point of view.

1) “The policy was approved by the WMF board and the language committee administers the policy that is effectively only about new languages and projects.”

- But is it possible to delete existing language of Wikimedia's project now (to delete generally, not return to Wiki-incubator)? If it is possible, who can delete existing language of Wikimedia's project? Do single-valued formal criteria of such deletion exist? Or any language can be removed at any time?

Or WMF board would decide “Any language of Wikimedia may not be removed from it.”?

2) “The WMF is in the business of delivering knowledge.”

- Not only. "According to English Wikipedia, there are around 20 or 30 speakers of this constructed language worldwide. Does that mean that Volapük Wikipedia has no purpose, or that it is worthless? I do not think so. If those 20-30 people, or any 5-10 of them, take an interest in the language and would be interested in working on a Wikipedia in that language, then I think that's a fine project. But why? Why would they want to do this? Likely for the sheer joy of creating in the language, of sharing a hobby with friends, etc." [Jimbo Wales 01:42, 1 January 2008 (UTC)] Do you agree with Jimbo Wales?

3) “It is not in the business [of WMF] of defining what makes a language.”

- These are gold words! To my mind, if a language already exist in Wikimedia, it is not in the business of defining what makes a language. Do you agree with me?

4) “By moving the argument to ISO, we no longer have to deal with people who insist that we recognised their language on their say so. These languages turned out to be a mix of made up languages and revived languages.”

- I like the argument to ISO. But it is not satisfy in some cases too. For example:

a) Now known the meaning of about 50 Etruscan words. But the Etruscan language has code ISO 639-3!

b) There are two Belarusian languages in Wikibedia. Really it is one language, but with two orthographies. Code ISO 639-3 there is only one. But “it is not in the business of defining what makes a language.” Etc. Thanks, User:Paccoxa 21:48, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

My proposal regarding the registration of new languages[edit]

GerardM write: “It is not in the business [of WMF] of defining what makes a language.” May be, he haven't understood me. I don't propose “defining what makes a language”. If a language have own literature, this language is already defined as language by its writers, readers, editors and libraries. Every serious library takes account of each language separately. All modern libraries have electronic catalogs. If language has a website, this language is already defined as language by programmers.

There is website Ethnologue: “The purpose of the Ethnologue is to provide a comprehensive listing of the known living languages of the world. (…) Ancient, classical, and long-extinct languages are not listed (even though the ISO 639-3standard assigns codes to them), unless they are in current use (as in the scriptures or liturgy of a faith community)”.

So, I propose:

Profile (test questionnaire) for a new language of Wikipedia

1. Language name in English language.

2. Language name in native language.

3. Status of language: living, recently extinct, dead, artificial.

4. Its ISO 639-3 code or a good reason why the language has no code.

5. Article about this language in English Wikipedia.

6. Articles about this language in three other Wikipedias.

7. Three some websites in this language.

8. Five modern (written at 20-21 century) books in this language with electronic catalogs of some libraries, where are these books.

9. Vocabulary of this language as a book with electronic catalog of library or as a website.

10. Grammar of this language as a book with electronic catalog of library or as a website.

For living languages:

11. Article about this language in website Ethnologue.

For recently extinct, dead, artificial languages:

12. Tutorial of the language as a book with electronic catalog of library or as a website.

For recently extinct languages:

13. Summary, that the language died out not earlier than 1850: quotations from authoritative sources (websites).

For dead languages:

14. Five published in 20-21 centuries books with ancient texts in this language, with electronic catalogs of some libraries, where are these books.

For artificial languages:

15. Educational institution with the state license, where this language is learned; with website of this institution.

16. Three different ongoing magazines in this languages with electronic catalogs of some libraries, where are these magazines.

If supporters of a new language are unable to complete the questionnaire, this language can not be accepted. Thanks, Paccoxa 17:15, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Why the change of the language policy is necessary.[edit]

I received personal letter from one member of the Language committee. I disagree with him, and (sorry!) continue this discussion publicly.

1. About my “urge to have the language policy”: I reached a lot in my life, and this discussion don't need me for assertiveness. I like Wikipedia, and want it to be even better. I'm just a volunteer.

2. You write: “You do not address the overwhelming desire by a majority of our community not to have any new projects at all. ...your point of view will open a lot of negative debate that is likely to only negatively affect the existence of our smaller projects and prevent the creation of new projects.” I believe in your sincerity, but this point of view cannot be truth. The Wikipedia's Сommunity never will say: “We do not allow the establishment of any new language projects”.

3. Somebody do not address modern position of Wikipedia in the world culture. Now Wikipedia is one of the most successful global projects in history. Wikipedia means in the field of knowledge the same thing as the United Nations in the field of policy or as the Olympic Games in the field of sport. For any language to have own Wikipedia means the same thing as to be United Nations member for any independent state or to take part in the Olimpic Games for any national team. The UN (or on the Olympic competition) do not invite everybody, but the door will be open always for decent.

4. “You will have to realise that the closure of Toki pona and Klingon was welcomed with a loud round of applause at Wikimania in Taiwan”. - I myself am ready to welcome with a loud round of applause the information, that the new projects like Toki pona and Klingon will no longer be allowed to Wikipedia. To my mind, it's the general aim of your Language committee.

5. But now there are in Wikipedia some projects not better than Toki pona and Klingon. For example, Volapuk (25 speakers generally!) or Gothic (dead language without any modern literature: do not confuse ancient language with the modern youth movement!). I read about Klingon in Wikipedia: “According to Guinness World Records for 2006, it is the most spoken fictional language by number of speakers.” Klingon has websites, books, quarterly journal and “heavy metal band who allegedly sing in Klingon”. Gothic and Volapuk haven't journal and rock- or folk- or jazz-group. But these languages have active Wikipedias now (Volapuk - even excessively active).

6. “History of the Klingon Wikipedia” say: “the fictional nature of the language means that there are no real-world speakers around who could form a community. Work was limited by the fact that the Klingon vocabulary is closed and incomplete, leaving no way to discuss many important topics without circumlocutions”. But the Gothic is not suitable for discussion about algebra or computer design too. But in this situation there are many living languages of Wikipedia too. To my mind, it is not generally fair or correct to deny the right to their own language Wikipedia, if this language isn't “developed” or “reach”. Wikipedia is the beautiful way for developing of any language.

7. The main problem of languages - if there are no real-world speakers around who could form a community. To my mind, it must be the main and alone reason for rejecting a request for an official Wikipedia. And first of all it is the problem of artificial languages. In "History of the Klingon Wikipedia" says: “At present, the conlangs for which Wikipedias exist are Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, Interlingue (Occidental), Lojban, Volapük and Novial. All of these have some speakers; the first three, and in particular Esperanto, have a community of speakers of notable size.” But what about the community of speakers in Interlingue (Occidental), Lojban, Volapük and Novial? Generally it's problem of all artificial languages except Esperanto and (may be) Simple English.

8. To my mind, the right to own Wikipegia could only be decent languages, which have serious community. Now the Language committee believes the main criterion for the decent languages the existence of code ISO 639-3. But there are many artificial or dead languages with valid code ISO 639-3, but without serious community. The same problem has any living language with valid code ISO 639-3, but without writing tradition. Or if there are, for example, only three or five alive speakers in this language. Wikipedia should be a tool, not monument. On the other hand, now there are Wikipedia languages without code ISO 639-3. That is why the criterion of code ISO 639-3 is not satisfy. It can be only additional.

9. Now the Language committee spends a lot of time and nerves for rejecting of the bad language proposals. I propose more simple and formal procedure. Supporters of a new language must complete the standard test questionnaire. There are 10 questions for all languages + 1 or 2 or 3 questions for different categories (living, recently extinct, dead, artificial). If supporters of a new language are unable to complete the questionnaire, this language can not be accepted. I draw your attention to four paragraphs of this questionnaire: 7. Three some websites in this language. 8. Five modern (written at 20-21 century) books in this language with electronic catalogs of some libraries, where are these books. 9. Vocabulary of this language as a book with electronic catalog of library or as a website. 10. Grammar of this language as a book with electronic catalog of library or as a website. These criteria are more clear and hard, than criterion of code ISO 639-3.

10. This test questionnaire can be completed by real living languages only. It gives a chance to recently extinct languages with own writing tradition. This test is impossible for dead languages like Sumerian (has not modern literature), Pecheneg (has not ancient literature) or Pictish (has not grammar and vocabulary, as any language without decryption). Accepting of an artificial languages will be possible only as an exception. It mind, that there will not be any new bad Wikipedia.

11. It is clear that some existing languages of Wikipedia are not passed to this test. Question: What do we do about these languages, like Volapuk or Gothic? - The most simple and humanistic answer: nothing. Participants of such Wikipedias have nothing to blame. Here we must recall the universal legal principle: If people are free to enjoy certain rights, these rights they can not be taken away or limited. That is why I propose as general rule of Wikipedia (and Wikimedia generally): 1) Any language of Wikimedia may not be removed from it. But: 3) If necessary, bad-quality Wikimedia to correct the deficiencies can be returned to the Wiki-incubator.

12. But if we decided to keep Volapuk, Gothic and so on, if we decided, that any language of Wikimedia may not be removed from it, what about the languages, which were deleted from Wikipedia? If we agree, that participants of such Wikipedias as Volapuk or Gothic have nothing to blame, why Klingon, Moldovan and Siberian are worse? Another legal rule: the law is retroactive when it mitigate the punishment. Only that is why I am supporter of reopening the languages of the Wikipedia: Klingon, Toki Pona, Moldovan and Siberian. Not because I like these languages.

Thanks, Paccoxa 01:26, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

"If people are free to enjoy certain rights, these rights they can not be taken away or limited." ain't a universal legal principle. Look at w:Prohibition; in many places, they suddenly took away the right to drink alcohol. The principle of ISO 639-3 is not the sole principle, but it's a pretty good start.--Prosfilaes 21:03, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

1. Any human rights are limited by more important human rights only. For example, everyone has the right to life and the right to freedom. But everyone has not the right to suicide. After “non-successful” suicide attempt the person should be placed in a psychiatric hospital: he (or she) should be deprived the freedom for his right to life.

The most important right for existing language of Wikipedia is its right to exist in Wikipedia.

2. “The principle of ISO 639-3 is not the sole principle, but it's a pretty good start.” - I am agree with you completely. See my “Profile (test questionnaire) for a new language of Wikipedia”. If a language has not ISO 639-3 code, there is the reason for very big doubts. But exceptions are possible: now there are Wikipedia languages without code ISO 639-3. On the other hand, ISO 639-3 code is not the sufficient condition.

Thanks, Paccoxa 21:56, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

You ignored the example of w:Prohibition completely. Just because there are now Wikipedia languages with no code in ISO 639-3, doesn't mean that there should be in the future. ISO 639-3 is not a sufficient condition; it is a necessary condition.--Prosfilaes 19:55, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
" You ignored the example of w:Prohibition completely" - This is a false statement. From the perspective of Prohibition supporters to drink alcohol means to suicide.

"ISO 639-3 is not a sufficient condition; it is a necessary condition" - This is a false statement. Now there are 14 liwing Wikipedias without ISO 639 language code or duplicated or using incorrect code.--Paccoxa

Update from the Foundation mailing list[edit]

This important update at the Foundation mailing list by User:Millosh should be of great interest to all community members who put great effort into trying to improve the language proposal policy.

This announcement is a very positive step forward. The members of the language committee deserve great credit for their willingness to re-think these proposals. I am truly grateful, and I'm sure others are as well.

To my mind, the most important thing by far in the announcement has to do with Latin (alongside Esperanto). Here the rules themselves were never really the issue, but rather the ability to make a reasonable evaluation of "special" languages on a case-by-case basis. Latin is "special" because on the one hand it has a popular reputation as the ultimate "dead" language in Western culture. But on the other hand in reality it is very much alive in literature and culture (both academic and popular), in the discourse of living religious communities (the Catholic Church), and even to a degree in science (e.g. medicine, zoology). The decision to reconsider Latin as a living language, thus finally giving it full legitimacy among the Wikimedia projects, is of crucial importance! Thank you.

Given this evaluation of Latin, a re-evaluation of classical Greek might also be in order. While not as popular as Latin, nevertheless like Latin it too is still very much alive in literature and culture (both academic and popular) and in the discourse of living religious communities (the Orthodox Church), though far less so in science.

Also important and positive is the official decision to allow Wikisources for ancient languages, and sometimes Wikiquotes, based on case-by-case evaluations. I'm not fully convinced that the default interface should always be English as a requirement (since those studying the literature should be able to create and handle a native interface), but ultimately I don't think the question of default interface language is a very important one. Rather, what is truly important and positive is the willingness to consider such languages on a case-by-case basis and arrive at a reasonable conclusion regarding each one. From this perspective, the conclusions reached about Wikisources/Wikiquotes in Coptic, classical Greek, and classical Chinese all seem eminently reasonable. Dovi 09:21, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

New language policy[edit]

It seems that language commitee is consider to rethink the language policy

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_proposal_policy/New_policy

We can ask that our proposal were considered.

Request for comment[edit]

Hello everyone, I have started a quest or comment about the policy please seeRequests for comment/Language proposal policy, Thank you,TheChampionMan1234talken-wiki 10:31, 4 April 2014 (UTC)