Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Cree Wikipedia

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This is a proposal for closing and/or deleting a wiki hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. It is subject to the current closing projects policy.

The proposal for closing cr: is currently open for discussion by the community.

Proposal to close Wikipedia in Cree language[edit]

In my opinion, the Cree Wikipedia should be closed.

This project was created back in 2004 along with many other projects with the ISO 639-1 code. Despite this fact, the project has never had proper popularity. In the entire history of the project, there was only one administrator present - who has been completely inactive for 10 years, besides, he does not speak the Cree language.

For almost 20 years of existence, only about 10 real articles have appeared in the project, and then only a small size. Most of the content of the Cree Wikipedia was made up of one-line dictionary stubs or lists created by non-native speakers (example:ᒥᐦᑕᐊᐧᑲᕀ ).

The project is often attacked by vandals, whose edits often do not roll back for months: administrators are not active, there are almost no participants: the obscurity of Cree language and writing system gives scope for the imagination of vandals.

All the articles of the project are written in different dialects and writing systems, which, together with a tiny number of articles, turns the encyclopedia into a set of mismatched pages.

The project interface has not been translated, there are almost no pages with rules, manuals: and those that are are written in English. The templates are also not translated, and many articles have English text.

The project itself, in fact, does not exist - there is only a set of few pages written in several writing variants, dialects, languages at the same time without a clear structure, rules, templates, in the creation of which native speakers almost did not participate. It would be much better if the few useful contents were moved to an Incubator where they could at least be looked after. Таёжный лес (talk) 19:46, 4 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]


  • Comment. Since I have been named and pinged. The problem with the Cree Wikipedia (cr) is that it corresponds to a "macrolanguage" according to ISO 639 and it includes different languages (on top of dialects). Sometimes the lines between what constitutes a language and a dialect is very blurred, especially in the case of Cree where we can see it more like a language continuum. For what I understand from my discussions with some speakers, is that a given community will understand the communities closest to them even though they speak a different dialect, but the farther you go, they will not understand at all (i.e. with 1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6 communities, to make it simple, 1 may understand up to 3, but not 6 at all, but 6 will also understand 3). Some communities of the Cree family uses the Cree syllabics while others use the latin alphabet. When we started the project to create a Wikipedia in Atikamekw language (atj) which exists and is active now, we actually started it on the Cree Wikipedia (cr) instead of the Incubator because the Atikamekw language is technically part of the Cree macrolanguage according to ISO 639, but it was evident that the Atikamekw was different enough from Cree to justify having their own Wikipedia (which is now the case). Since I don't speak Cree, and Cree isn't a unique language, it will be difficult to identify which articles are part of which language of the Cree macrolanguage. Personally, I don't think there are enough justifications to close the project. When a project is developed with actual Cree speakers to create and develop a Wikipedia in their language(s), I think it should be up to them to make the decision to keep cr.wp or to divide it into specific Wikipedias (Plains Cree, Woods Cree, Swampy Cree, etc.) It should be up to them to decide if it makes more sense to have a unique Cree Wikipedia (cr.wp) or to have specific Wikipedias. It should be up to them to decide the fate of the existing Cree Wikipedia (cr.wp) since I don't see any real justifications for its closure at this point. Please don't hesitate if I can provide more details. Amqui (talk) 19:17, 11 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    • And about the creation of one-or-two words articles with a picture, I think, back in the days, the idea was to create pages to make it easier for speakers to augment them afterwards, instead of them arriving to a completely empty Wikipedia. With the recul (like we say in French), or in hindsight, I think it was a false good-idea (myself included). That's why many pages were archived (including some created by me). Amqui (talk) 19:26, 11 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • INFO: I habe now protected all Articles in the crWiki --𝐖𝐢𝐤𝐢𝐁𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 👤💬 08:31, 13 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    • @WikiBayer: What for? What do we gain by that? What if this affair draws speakers to the Cree Wikipedia, who want to start editing in order to save it? They'll be baffled by the impossibility of doing that. In fact, you have already closed down the Cree Wikipedia, since nobody can edit it now. You made its closure a fait accompli while we are discussing it. Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 23:40, 13 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    • I have to agree with Steinbach: that action seems uncalled for and inappropriate. Even though it only affects a handful of pages, it seems like a decision that should have been made by an "uninvolved party", not someone who is deeply involved in this discussion. - dcljr (talk) 04:49, 14 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
      @Dcljr@Steinbach The protection is only for one month and has (nothing) to do with the discussion about closing. It is about preventing LTAs from destroying the pages, because since the beginning of this discussion the articles have been destroyed by goofballs. See for Example cr:Special:Diff/39414 𝐖𝐢𝐤𝐢𝐁𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 👤💬 07:20, 14 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
      I just think you should be more careful in the future about taking administrative actions (as a steward global sysop) that have some bearing on a discussion that you are involved in (even though you reject that idea out of hand, clearly others disagree). In this particular case, I don't see why the standard revert-and-block strategy was so woefully inadequate. After all, at least three other users (besides you) have reverted bad edits there in the last two weeks, so it's not like the wiki was not being monitored. - dcljr (talk) 01:08, 15 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
      "revert-and-block strategy" This leads to endless edit wars with LTAs. Page protection is all about preventing damage. The advantages of page protection clearly outweigh the disadvantages in this case, especially as anyone with a 4-day old account can edit these pages. 𝐖𝐢𝐤𝐢𝐁𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 👤💬 12:32, 15 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose I couldn't disagree more with this proposal. Notwithstanding its obvious lack of success, it doesn't bother anybody either. All we can do is hope for the best, that is: wait for someone to pick it up and turn in into something substantial. It's true that no such person has turned up over the last 20 years. But if we close down this wiki, the chance will drop to zero for there will be no more project to breathe life into. Also, the number of articles will fall from 13 to zero. Is that what you call progress? Then, finally the point of two scripts and various dialects. Yes, that can be a problem. I speak from my own experience as an editor of the Limburgish Wikipedia. But I'd rather leave that point to the speakers. If the speakers say "I'd be willing to edit a Cree Wikipedia, but not one that admits all dialects", so be it. Then we close this one and create dialect wikis instead. But we can't decide for them that the Cree wiki must be closed because of its lack of unity. Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 15:02, 13 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    There should be 50+ articles in a page 18:05, 13 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose as not finding the closure arguments convincing. Restructuring the Cree site into sections for specific dialects could increase participation, in my view Atlantic306 (talk) 19:06, 14 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    This was already done by myself on the Main page and it's actually how we started the Atikamekw Wikipedia that is now active. Thanks. Amqui (talk) 19:25, 14 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral Macrolanguages are by themselves questions, potentially there should investigate that whether there's a standarded "Cree" writing language, if not, then I could however support its closure, just like what we did for Akan Wikipedia. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 03:35, 15 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support the wiki only has 14 articles, it has almost no activity and the only edits on the wiki are from cross~wiki vandals and spam bots, plus the Cree language has dialects that are different, so it must be divided into several wikis in different dialects and improved in the incubator.Wiki libre 1919 (talk) 01:03, 17 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Please don't do copy-paste article moves like you did here: 1 2. This breaks the association between an article's content and its edit history, which is required by the licenses under which Wikimedia wikis operate. (Can an admin please fix this?) - dcljr (talk) 03:39, 19 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Sigh… And now Таёжный лес has edited the page again, removing most of the content that was there. That doesn't fix the problem, you know… - dcljr (talk) 04:12, 21 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    This content was not in the Cree language, but in English. Таёжный лес (talk) 14:32, 21 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • I wouldn't like to place a support / oppose template here, for I'd like everyone see my detailed explanations rather than just see my vote before my statement - some would like to do so. Please note that this particular issue has been proposed back in 2020 (vide here), though under a different name but actually the same language. It was speedily closed, with the reason "vandalism by LTA". Despite this, the proposal itself seems more than reasonable. As we know, Cree Wikipedia was created back in 2004, even before Incubator went online - I didn't even find logs about its creation on Incubator. Actually, Inuktitut Wikipedia is almost in the same situation as that of Cree, which seems to be created in those years as well. Firstly, they're written in a special writing system that's obscure to users outside this community. This reason is significant. Why could many other seemingly not-very-widely-used language editions succeed in some extent? Take Turkmen Wikipedia for an instance: though Internet isn't popularized in Turkmenistan, the language itself is similar to other widely used languages (especially Turkish: they're Turkic languages), hence people who r/w Turkish can also contribute a lot there. This isn't applicable for Inuktitut and Cree. Some people has covered part of my second reason, but still I have additional reasons. Closure of Inuktitut Wikipedia had been proposed back in 2007, but was rejected later. @Steinbach: stated that we should "leave them a chance". This seems reasonable, but what if they aren't getting active in the past 15+ years? Time has proved that they cannot be active. Or, we've given them 15+ years, and they're still almost dead, how can we predict that they would get active in the foreseeable future? The only human sysop here is Amqui, a Canadian who speaks English & French, but not Cree. He made his statements above, but I reckon that there's no actual living user who really speaks Cree there, let alone making decisions! Then I looked into user creation logs (automatic creation is filtered out) there, and found few users actually edited. And...those who "made edits" are spambots, which almost only edit small wikis, not even registered on most large sites, and got locked later! I dare say that even some projects inside Incubator are more active than this one. Therefore, it's time to close it and get contents back to Incubator. We've given it enough chances. -- U.T. 09:56, 19 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Your arguments are as predictable as they're invalid. Time has proven ... absolutely nothing! The fact that something didn't happen in the past does not mean it won't happen in the future. Before 1903, no person succeeded in building a flying machine, which led people to say flight was impossible for humans. In 2016, people were certain that the US would never elect a far-right president, because they'd never done so before. We all know what happened next. Now you are saying the Cree Wikipedia will never be revived, because no competent speaker took the trouble to do so in the past. Whether or not a dead Wikipedia gets revived depends on sheer accident, as we have seen on so many occasions before. It depends on someone finding it, telling his/her friends, a case being mentioned in the media, organisations standing behind it etc. etc. And then again: is it bothering anyone in its current state? Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 10:17, 19 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    What you said make some sense, but do you think it has a large probability to take place? Those Cree people are some who have fallen behind the time, and what's worse, they're culturally crushed by stronger ethnic groups. Are there really any websites written in Cree besides Cree Wikipedia? At least I haven't seen one. Also, Wikimedia sites are not created for rescuing languages in danger. If the language itself is in danger, keeping that edition of Wikipedia isn't helpful, for few would really help it grow. It's other organizations that are in charge of preserving endangered languages, rather than Wikimedia. -- U.T. 11:55, 19 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    I don't understand what the US presidential election has anything to do with Wikimedia's projects. The viability of a Wikipedia is determined by how many native speakers there are, how many have access to the internet, and just plain how many are interested. To my understanding, Canadian indigenous languages suffered a lot of oppression decades ago, and those that speak it well are older and less tech literate, much less likely to edit Wikipedia, and this is a "macrolanguage" that isn't standardized. ManhattanChase (talk) 05:31, 23 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • While rummaging through some Cree speaker categories, there is one speaker who claims advanced knowledge of Cree (ExplodingPoPUps), along with some more people with basic understanding, ExplodingPoPUps' enwiki user talk says they are semi-retired and their last edit was March 2023. 08:21, 20 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    Can you believe what he claimed? He claimed that he has advanced understanding of many minor languages, each of which are distantly related, even across several language families... U.T. 12:05, 20 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
    That user's English WP user page might reflect a less "aspirational" view of her abilities: advanced knowledge of English, less knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese, and little to no understanding of several other languages, none of which are Cree. (That said, claims about her language abilities vary quite a bit across the various WM wikis she has set up user pages on. So…) - dcljr (talk) 01:14, 21 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support: Another one of Wikimedia's stroke of ego projects from the 2000s where any goofball could start their own wiki based on whichever language they had a strange fascination in. --ManhattanChase (talk) 05:28, 23 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • What you say is true, but the cree language doesn't have a google traslator. Few pages are important for the conservation of the language. Is not important now have a wikipedia with good articles, but only something that can save it. The wikipedia was born for this reason and you want to end in one way it for a reason that wasn't the original one Enterosquet (talk) 21:59, 23 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Enterosquet The problem is, that whethere there's a unifed "standard Cree"? If not, then I'd love to support this PCP like what we did for Akan. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 22:22, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The Cree wikipedia is already divided into seperate dialects so a united standard Cree is irrelevant for this proposal, imv Atlantic306 (talk) 20:23, 14 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose United project in standard Cree would be better.--Fenikals (talk) 14:14, 5 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per Steinbach and given the information that Amqui provided PersusjCP (talk) 03:29, 6 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. This is Very Important Project for us!.... --Zemant (talk) 16:29, 6 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Why? There can be created separate projects in Cree languages instead of the all-in-one project. The process is already started, as we see it in atj:. --Wolverène (talk) 08:23, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support: Unless a native speak can take over i support the closing. --Tobost06 (talk) 09:33, 13 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose deletion as the wiki contains what appears to be quality content, and I do not believe we should judge the value of a project by its size. Projects like this are important in raising awareness of endangered languages and giving the speakers of these languages a way to share knowledge in their language. The Wikipedia may have few articles now, but what if it was allowed to grow? It would only take one editor to grow the encyclopedia to something more substantial. Surely promoting projects is better than simply giving up on them and shutting them down. Redtree21 (talk) 06:20, 17 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Weak oppose There seems to be valid content, regardless of which Cree dialect it is in, considering the Main Page acknowledges that there are different articles in different dialects. That might actually be what the problem really is. This project is basically an ungroomed macrolanguage mess, and that might be keeping it dead. The solution could possibly be to separate Cree Wikipedia as was the case with Atikamekw Wikipedia (atj), but it would require Cree speakers to decide whether or not to divide cr.wp. Inactivity by itself is not a reason for closure, but lack of content is. Pislikeller (talk) 19:21, 19 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strongly Support 10 pages for 20 years and no admins is a parasite that can’t fix the project. 2601:441:8284:1CC0:885:FF15:1C54:FB16 19:35, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment. I frequently visit the Inupiaq Wikipedia, although I do not speak Inupiaq at all. From what I can tell based on the few words and suffixes which I've actually come to understand in Inupiaq, I've found that the Inupiaq Wikipedia, which has nearly six hundred pages, has a very similar problem to the Cree one. A good amount of the pages are just an image or two with less than a single line of text. Perhaps every single page on the Inupiaq Wikipedia (other than the main page, perhaps), seems to have been made by dictionary-wielders, dabblers, first-year learners, people who know nothing at all about the language, or bots. The Wikipedia in the related Greenlandic language has far more proficient speakers, and its pages are larger but fewer. If an enthusiastic native or fluent Inupiaq speaker were to come along and fix at least some of these pages up, we would have a wiki to serve as material for language learners and as resources for those who already speak the language. You probably wouldn't hurt anyone if you closed either wiki [i.e. moved it to the incubator], let's be honest here. POSSUM chowg (talk) 21:35, 29 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose as the wiki should not be shutdown because it a part of Wikipedia history. Almost all countries have their own Wikipedia site and we should support them, not shut them down. This site needs a new admin and more people to work with it and add pages. The Cree people have a wide history and lots of friendly people. In the 2021 census, 223,745 people identified as having Cree ancestry. That is almost 230K people that know something about Cree history. At least 100K people will talk about that to Wikipedians who want to create pages. This site should be more popular and electing a new admin could only change it so i support a new election for the Cree Wikipedia admin. Markoozdero (talk) 09:32, 1 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That doesn’t explain how this Wikipedia is useful Dronebogus (talk) 21:30, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment it’s worth nothing that Cree is the smallest currently active Wikipedia. I don’t know if this affects anyone’s vote but just want to put that out there. Dronebogus (talk) 16:11, 1 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    This is because most of the articles were moved out of the article namespace into subpages of "Wikipedia:Archives" during this proposal. Kk.urban (talk) 17:27, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    No, it’s been the smallest for a long time. The change in article count just makes the comparison more dramatic. I should know, I’ve been keeping track. Dronebogus (talk) 21:33, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral As I see, a lot of articles were written in Nehiyawin (Plains Cree) and Innu-Ayimuwin (James Bay Cree) languages. I propose to create Nehiyawin Wikipedia and Innu-Ayimuwin Wikipedia and move these articles to them. Another variant is moving the content to Incubator as Cree Wikipedia or Nehiyawin Wikipedia and Innu-Ayimuwin Wikipedia. Пан Хаунд (talk) 18:01, 1 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    What is the extent of difference between cree “dialects”? Are they mutually intelligible or are they separate languages in all but name? Dronebogus (talk) 14:19, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I propose to ask the linguist to look at the Wikipedia. And the linguist would tell us which variety of Cree was most used in the Wikipedia and if the varieties are mutually intelligible or not. Пан Хаунд (talk) 07:59, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support I don’t support vanity wikis for languages no-one uses as a primary communication and learning method. Nobody actively maintains this wiki so there’s no demand for it. Dronebogus (talk) 16:56, 2 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Comment Maybe we should ask language expert to look at the Wikipedia and group the articles by varieties of Cree. And one or two the biggest groups would become Wikipedias. Пан Хаунд (talk) 08:04, 9 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    ᑕᓂᓯ ᑭᔨᐚᐤ,
    Tansi kiyawaw.
    I am a Cree language learner connected to a larger network of people learning ᓀᐦᐃᔨᐍᐏᐣ᙮
    Tbh I don’t think anyone knows this wiki exists. I’m happy to have found it though and will pass it along through our discord groups etc.
    a couple of comments:
    Cree is usually divided into 5 main dialects, which have further regional and community differences. Largely there are sound changes that determine the dialect, with some regional vocabulary. It’s common for language learners to learn th/y somewhat interchangeably. I don’t think these four need to be separate portals. I think having a way of subtitling or tagging articles by th/y/l/n is enough.
    From my understanding, East Cree has more significant differences than the other four.
    y dialect - Plains Cree. This has a Northern variation where the long Ī and E vowels are merged.
    th dialect - Northern / Woodland - one community prefers the term Rock Cree.
    n dialect - Swampy Cree
    l dialect - Moose Cree
    Eastern Cree
    secondly, there kinda is google translate Cree now. At least for Y and northern Y dialect there is Itwewina and connected language projects through the Alberta Language Lab project.
    also, Nēhiyawēwin is a polysynthetic language. So a two word sentence can mean something really quite complex for example:
    kêtaskisinêpahtâw maskêkohk
    ᑫᑕᐢᑭᓯᓀᐸᐦᑖᐤ ᒥᐣᑫᑯᕽ᙮
    means she drops her moccasins as she is running in the muskeg.
    there are a couple syllabics converters that exist in the web now, and articles could be toggled between SRO and syllabics. This would also help. There is still not a lot of support to type in syllabics and although people can read it, typing is still less accessible.
    if anyone wanted to be helpful:
    1. Algonquian dictionaries project has a syllabics converter. Articles could be in both transcribed in both orthographies. (See: Okimāsis and Wolvengray: How to Spell it in Cree for SRO). Same for toggling between macron and circumflex style long vowels eg. ē, ê.
    2. Alberta Language labs has a GitHub with a lot of resources.
    anyways, I hope I can pass this māsinahikan along to other nēhiyawak language speakers & learners and see if there is interest in developing it.
    -Piyêsis Piyêsis (talk) 09:58, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    @Piyêsis, thank you that you have told us important information about Cree language. So, what do you think we should do with Cree Wikipedia? Пан Хаунд (talk) 09:51, 21 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support the closure following the example of Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Akan Wikipedia 2. 20 years was more than enough time either to make the project developed by attracting native speakers, or at least, to make it visible for the ethnic commutity and language activists. And both these possibilities were definitely failed. --Wolverène (talk) 08:23, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    That wiki was closed not because it didn't go anywhere but because it was determined that Akan is not actually a distinct language. That's really the only aspect of that example that is at all relevant here. - dcljr (talk) 14:11, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I did not really say that the akWP was unable to get a (native) community, so the example of the akWP related exactly to the nature of languages. Cree is not just a non-distinct language (same to Akan). Another issue is that there were also no one really tried to build a stable Cree-language community regardless some efforts by enthusiasts with a near-minimum knowledge of any of the Cree languages. Those efforts can be respected -- Amqui and others actually tried to do what they could but still not enough. Do I express it clearer now? :-) --Wolverène (talk) 10:37, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I see. So everything after your first sentence was not your explanation of why the Akan example was relevant here? That indeed was not clear. Thank you for clarifying. - dcljr (talk) 00:20, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    The "stub" pages you put up have been regular pages for a while. How it happened this? There were over a hundred pages that needed to become stubs? I remember an archive. Enterosquet (talk) 13:48, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Which user are you addressing here? Here are the pages that were "archived": cr:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Archives. - dcljr (talk) 02:56, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]