Proposal for a moratorium on closing African language projects

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The following is a proposed Wikimedia document. References or links to this page should not describe it as supported, adopted, common, or effective. The proposal may still be in development, under discussion, or in the process of gathering consensus for adoption (which is not determined by counting votes).

I would like to propose a moratorium on closure of Wikimedia projects in African languages effective immediately and until such time as a comprehensive policy be adopted by the WMF for managing said projects. Such a policy could be linked to or integrated in a larger policy.[1] --A12n 18:29, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Rationale:

  1. Currently the only way within the Wikimedia system to deal with projects that are not active is to propose their closure. There is no requirement or standard procedure for promoting activity in such projects before their closure can be proposed, voted on, or effectuated (only that there needs to be a proposal and vote, with a hoped for announcement of some sort).
  2. Closure proposals sometimes serve to spur activity on a Wiki. Far from being a point in favor of closure proposals, it seems to indicate that there could be other more constructive ways of generating activity on inactive projects.
  3. Many closure proposals have received only favorable votes, indicating a lack of debate, and very likely a lack of awareness of the closure proposal in interested communities.[2]
  4. Closure results in projects being put in the incubator, which in practice tends to mean that they are forgotten and ultimately deleted. Incubator status also blocks user contributions. It does not seem to function in a way that actually promotes Wiki development, so should be used only as a last resort, after other procedures (to be included in the new policy) are followed.
  5. Africa by and large shares a common heritage with regard to language and education policies that have tended to hinder development of written traditions and literacy in its first languages and indigenous lingua francas. It also is the continent with the lowest levels of access to computers and the internet. The managing of WM projects (which rely mainly on text) needs to take account of these realities, by incorporating ways of supporting and promoting projects in African languages that might be different than those used for languages in parts of the world with deep literacy and high levels of information technology use.
  6. The Wikipedia vision is of a free encyclopedia of high quality in all people’s languages.[3] Jimmy Wales is also on record as expressing hope that Wikipedia be developed in more African languages.[4] Closure and deletion of existing African language projects does not seem to be a good way to achieve these ends.

Voting?[edit]

I've put forth this proposal without being sure about its appropriate form. If it should have "Support" and "Oppose" sections for votes, then please add.

General comments[edit]

Agree this is a good idea. We encourage red links as they promote the creation of content. So does having languages with very small communities / little content. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:20, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

There is a huge diversity of African languages (and corresponding communities). I think such languages should be taken on a case-by-case basis, not treated with a blanket policy, regardless of the good intentions here. Kaldari (talk) 01:33, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. Such as that in discussion at http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Task_force/Recommendations/Local_Language
  2. See for instance various proposals and discussions in Category:Proposals for closing African language projects
  3. “Open-Source Troubles in Wiki World” New York Times, 17 March 17 2008
  4. “Jimmy Wales seeks the development of Wikipedia in African languages” Afrik.com, 25 December 2009