Meta talk:Language proposal policy/Community draft/Archive 2

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Backward force

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?

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

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

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)

People interested in extinct nonclassical languages

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)