Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Pontic 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 is rejected and the project will be kept open.

  • A Language Committee member provided the following comment:
    As noted elsewhere, inactivity is not a valid reason for project closure, and there has been content added since approval. Please contact the stewards if you find there is vandalism in the future. For LangCom: StevenJ81 (talk) 16:15, 13 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Dear fellow Wikimedians, I propose closing the Pontic Wikipedia. Here are my reasons:

  1. Completely inactive: While this is not an valid reason, this wiki has become an unneccessary bunch of terabytes on the Wikimedia servers. If you see its Αγορά (village pump), you will see many messages of the Mass message delivery dating back to 2012 and behind. And, the same vandal that vandalized the latin wikipedia and temporaly had me blocked there (Sapianus), had vandalized also this Wiki, and only today someone did something (link).
  2. Dead dialect: Also not an valid reason, but please see: Pontic is an greek dialect. There are many greeks that have origins from Pontus; however, all of them have as an natural language the Normal Greek, Not the Pontic dialect (althrough there are some who know that dialect well). In addition, the Pontic dialect is not an item that is important for sciences (as is Latin, which is also an dead language, but important for Religion studies)
  3. Too small: The numbers here speak from themselves: All it's articles are 465 micro-stubs (the most of them completely unfocused).
  4. Completely unorganized: I am not sure, but it think that no-one there has an positions (admins etc), which means that it is completely unorganized.
So, I ask someone to review my points, and see what we will do. Best regards, Eni vak (speak) 10:42, 26 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]

  • Pontic has its own language code, so at least under ISO 639–3 it's a language, not a dialect.
  • I believe you that Pontic speakers are likely to speak modern Greek, too. It's a separate question whether this project would be allowed as a new project today. But old projects are generally allowed to stay open as long as they are not causing major problems—which these days, they typically don't (except sometimes in the case of Wikinews, since that gets stale).
  • It looks to me like the vandalism you mentioned above was reversed in about 24 hours. Unless there is a lot of vandalism on this wiki that is not corrected, there is no good reason I can see to close it. (See, for example, en:WP:NOTPAPER or el:ΒΠ:ΟΧΙ#ΧΑΡΤΙ.)
Calling @User:Ah3kal: Is there anything going on at this project that is out of control?
StevenJ81 (talk) 15:20, 27 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]

@StevenJ81: Dear user, thanks for reviewing my request. You have strong and respectable opposing points. However, I would like to clarify some things:
  • As I am an Greek, although not from Pontic origin, I know that these people, even before the en:Pontian genocide (before they were massively killed and the survivors migrate to Greece), they had Greek Consciousness. They did not say they were Pontic, But Greek (and Roman, as all greeks were saying, from the Byzantium (eastern Roman Empire)). Also, the most of them had the same religion with the Greeks (0rthodox Christian, some had become Muslims), and, the Pontic "language" Is an variation of the Greek (You can compare an article from the Greek wikipedia and one from the Pontic, and even if you have no idea about Greek, you can see many common things). While the Pontic "language" is harder to understand than the Greek one, it is, in fact a Dialect. I know that ISO disagrees with me, but all the Greeks know that the Pontic is a dialect. As I do not know about ISO, is there any newer version that may have different results?
  • Apart from the language/dialect theme, there is one other, closely related to that: The importance of that language/dialect/whatever it is: As I said before, there are some people who speak the Pontic well, but now it is not their natural language: All speak Greek, learning Greek in school. Except festivals and feasts, there is not special literature (except some translated plays, which their original version is in Greek), because the Pontic dialect was an dialect that was spoken by poor villagers (note:that was not an racist comment, they were forced to live in poverty by the Turkish (who eventually killed the most of them), as the Turkish did on the most Greeks). That is in contrast the Latin language, which is also dead but many significant literature is written on it. I know many-many people who are of Pontic origin but have nearly no idea about this dialect (may seem ironic that I live in a town that the 2/6 of the population are from Pontus).
  • Agreed with you that "Inactive and small does not mean anything (except for Wikinews)", but that wiki goes beyond limits: if we except the size I told before (which theoretically gan grow if there are active members), there is an complete de-organization: Not there is no-one holding an position (admin, rollbacker etc.) (which is an huge problem), there is not EVEN an documentation for these positions (!?!?) (except for admins; nothing else). And, even if you are not believing it, there is nearly no documentation of a policy, either.
So, you can see yourself that this is just an inactive bunch of terabytes on Wikimedia's servers, which would had been something more useful (for example, the Ancient Greek wikipedia test, which, unfortunately, never left Incubator; It could be more useful than the Pontic). Sorry for making an hard-to-read essay, but I believe that you may reconsider your original thought now. Best regards, Eni vak (speak) 20:45, 27 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]

(note: even the article you linked says it is an dialect, on the first sentence.) Eni vak (speak) 20:46, 27 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]

I'm not necessarily suggesting you are wrong about dialect/language. But please look at Closing projects policy and read it thoroughly. There is just no justification under that policy to close this project:
  • There has been content added since the early days of the wiki. Not a lot, but some.
  • And there have been legitimate edits. Not a lot, but some.
  • Yes, most pages are stubs. But I randomly went to about 50 pages, and of those, exactly one qualified for speedy deletion—and it wasn't nasty, just a harmless test page.
What is here is not harmful. Deleting it is not going to free up terabytes from WMF servers. (It won't. Please trust me on that.) And organizational issues are not a problem; there are many small projects without administrators who do just fine. Unless you think I have missed a lot of vandalism here, I just don't see a policy-based justification to close the project. Is the existence of this project harming the Wikimedia Foundation in some way? StevenJ81 (talk) 21:35, 27 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@StevenJ81:, thank you for asking my opinion. I'm Greek and native speeker of greek but do not really understand pontic language (especially when spoken, and think readable articles are probably written in bad pontic, that's why they are partialy understood by non pontic greeks). I just patrol the wiki from time to time reverting vandalism in my gs hat. I do not think that anything there is out of control, and there seems to exist 1-2 active users occasionaly. So I do not think there is any urgent need for any action.—Ah3kal (talk) 03:26, 28 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]
About the problem of space on wmf's servers, 1) you shouldn't be concerned about that, they have a ton of server space 2) closing it wouldn't solve that problem either because they don't actually delete it, they just lock write access.
don't have any support/oppose view or the other stuff you said, just wanted to point that out. Computer Fizz (talk) 03:52, 28 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Dear users, thanks for your valuable input. I see you present very valid reasons; through I still feel that something must be done. @Computer Fizz: and @StevenJ81: I knew that it won't be deleted (I have not proposed it for complete deletion), just said that is an unnecessary weight to the servers (but after the thing you said, I see that it does no harm the servers, but still unneeded). For the rest comments:
  1. @Ah3kal: (θα μπορούσα να σας μιλούσα Ελληνικά, αλλα καλύτερα να δούν και οι άλλοι τι λέω, είναι συμαντικο) Dear user, i also do not know Pontic. An thing that i would like to mention to all is the one you say: even if I do not know that dialect, I have encountered one page that even I have seen that it is written in improper Pontic (Burger King; maybe it had been created with Google translate). As you say you patrol more frequently that wiki, you have seen more. It is an fact that I had forgot to mention in my original request. (So, we have an wiki in an dead dialect, at least it should be correct)
  2. Back to StevenJ81's comment: Ok, I have read that Policy page, thanks for reminding it. I, in most part, agree that this thing will not cause much harm if it stays open (but it will cause a little), but it also will not bring good results. And the fact that it has no good results either is the thing that mostly causes harm. If it continues like that, it will always stay outdated; No major correcting and expanding of the old articles, and no new articles. I have spoken with one of the 2 occasionally active users Ah3kal says, but he also reverts vandalism only; even if the other one does not just revert vandalism, this wiki cannot go forward; My point is that it has no community, just an bunch of editors from the regular Greek wikipedia who sometimes patrol for vandalism (through they do generally well their work)
  3. The last thing; "not a lot, but some". Even you agree that it has "not a lot" good contributions; There was a little content added when it opened, and then nothing else. I have not read all its 465 pages, but surely there will be something describing something that current (eg. an company). Let's see an example: you see an random page, it is grossly outdated (not just a litle). There are 2 options on that: 1) fundamentally rewrite it to represent current events; 2)just leave it and mark it with the "update" tag. I don't know about you, but I would do the option 2. But think: The editors had told you not to choose the option 2, and you shall do the same in an entire wiki, in an language you hardly understand and in an wiki which nearly no-one knows it existence. With that example, I do not want to say that the problem is unfixable, I just want to say that we must do an really great effort to fix it, in an page that no-one knows.
  4. And, if you still believe that we must keep it, we must translate All the policies and guidelines, because they do not exist there.
As you can see yourself, it is a far easier and better solution to close this thing and move it to the Incubator; if there exists an community of Ponts which still want it, they can refurbish it there, with less cost than if it was kept as an separate website, and then re-move it all-new to mainspace. Eni vak (speak) 12:04, 28 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  • In truth: It takes much more work to close a wiki and move its contents to Incubator than to leave it alone—and that's especially true when one adds the further work later required to move it back into its own subdomain. That's the "easier and better solution".
Still, I do take your point about the fact that there is little updated. I'd welcome a statement (in Greek, Pontic and English) that we could set as a project-wide site notice pointing out that the project is not updated frequently—inviting contributors to do so—and that there is a risk that information found in the project is outdated. StevenJ81 (talk) 14:26, 28 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@StevenJ81: I know that it adds the ultra-great burden of the moving, but, i think (but am not sure) that when on incubator, it will be an little easier to do this complete rebuilding of the project, especially on writing the needed policies and re-write the articles on proper Pontic. About your suggestion, it seems an good idea, but, except if we add it on all the Wikimedia projects and make some interesting things to attract, it will have the opposite outcome: 1)It will dishearten most new editors 2)The most regular editors will not want to work on an completely unknown version in an dialect they don't know (but I'm not sure). (trivia:This is one of the most interesting discussions I ever had) Eni vak (speak) 17:32, 28 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  • "Dead dialect". In fact it is not a dead dialect. But it is also fact is that is not well defined, and there is no written literature. Modern Pontic speakers tend to use words from their local mother tongue to describe modern things (thus you can have 3-4 ways to say "mobile phone" in fact in greek, russian, turkish, but not in "Pontic"). People who speak Pontic do not write Pontic and those who try to write Pontic are not fluent. If you check early Pontic Wikipedia discussions, you can see that all of them are in modern Greek, and not in Pontic, because the users were not fluent in Pontic. I am afraid that the articles of this wiki are hardly comprehensible for original Pontic speakers with no knowledge of modern Greek.
  • Disregarding this (a wiki with mostly bad or useless content), there is no need to close it at the moment. I agree with StevenJ81 for a sitenotice with a call for participation, although it will probably not help a lot.

-Geraki TL 10:13, 2 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

@Geraki: Hello, dear user, and thanks for your valuable input. However, i must say that i disagree.
  • "Dead dialect": In fact, even your comment confirms that it is indeed an dead dialect. How someone with "Pontic" as an natural tongue does not know it well? It's like saying that an Englishman does not know English. This says that no-one has Pontic as an natural language; trust me, i know many people from Pontus, the 2,5/3 of them cannot speak Pontic, and the other 0,5/3 knows relatively well pontic but has Greek as an natural language.
  • Also, i do not know any place here in Greece or in the world that has people with Pontic as an natural tongue and have not idea of Greek; if you know such a place or people, can you please mention it?
  • On your last comment, there is no valid reason to disregard that thing; It has unmaintained and bad quality content in an "not well defined" dialect.
And, if we add 1) long term inactivity 2)nearly complete absence of policies and 3)the work needed to recruit an (at least) small but reliable community, i personally believe that we can extract good results if we close down that thing.
Also, i think now an better outcome would be "delete", but no-one whould agree with that. Eni vak (speak) 21:50, 2 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]
'How someone with "Pontic" as an natural tongue does not know it well?' I did not write that. I said "People who speak Pontic do not write Pontic". For most time in history most people were illiterate (they did not know how to read or write) but they did know how to speak. 😃 I do have elderly neighbours who have Pontic as mother tongue but they speak modern Greek with difficulty, although they are more than fluent with Russian. Probably they can read Greek (but not scholar texts) but they can only write in Russian. On the other hand there are courses for learning Pontic as a second language [1], even in university [2]. I only noticed the fact that there is no critical mass of natural speakers who would be interested or have the ability to read or write in this language. Please do not separate the words of this last phrase: there are natural speakers but they cannot write. Second language speakers will not benefit from such a wikipedia other than using it as a hobby (and not their only access to knowledge). But to my opinion inactivity and absense of policies are not reasons for closing a wiki: only keeping it open will give a chance to create activity and creation of policies by the users (if and when they appear). -Geraki TL 09:28, 3 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@Geraki: Hello again!
  • I didn't said that you wrote that, but this was seeming the summary of your comment. Agreed that there were many people who only knew how to speak, although here is an little bit different situation. As you have mentioned now, there are some elder people (i have corrected your typo) which have Pontic as an natural Tongue, with nearly no idea about modern Greek. Still, this means nothing; a small group of people having that language as an natural one does not make it an "active" one. Correct me if i am wrong, but the newer generations have not Pontic as an natural language, and, Pontic is not teached in schools; only in some universities and private lessons as an second language, as an hobby. As this language attracts fewer people because there is no literature on it (unlike eg.Latin), no-one will care about it.
  • And on your last comment: This is an old wiki. It is open for years, but no-one was willing to translate the policies (or, even, create an new article). How it can attract people now, after being an decade outdated and nearly uncured?
So my conclusion on that is that 1) It will never be used by native Pontic speakers, because they are too few and elder, 2) It will never be used by people learning Pontic as an second language (unlike Latin), because it attracts only a few people, and that because there is nearly no literature on that dialect, and 3) As it never attracted people on it, it will never attract from now-on. Eni vak (speak) 10:00, 3 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Explanation of proposed rejection of request[edit]

@Enivak: We (LangCom) fully understand why you have suggested this. I can't even necessarily say that any of the points you have made are wrong. And on LangCom, we are checking one thing out before we finalize this decision. Still, please understand this very basic rule: If a project currently exists, by default it is allowed to continue to exist, unless its content is so problematic that WMF would be better off closing it. In this case, the content is not stellar. To a great extent, the content is outdated. But in the experienced view of LangCom, it's not so problematic that WMF would be better off closing it. Nobody on LangCom thinks there is a good reason to close this. So in all likelihood we will not. StevenJ81 (talk) 18:38, 9 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

@StevenJ81: Dear user, and, in extend, dear Language committee, thanks for your time considering my proposal. I oppose closing this discussion as Rejected. However, as you are very respectful users and I will welcome any decision you make (ether to close or not to close), I would be very pleased to hear an case, where an wiki, in identical situation like that (Pontic), had fruitful results in being kept open. I ask that because you are doing that job for years, and I would like to learn from your experience for similar cases in the future. For now, I believe that keeping it open will hardly even produce good things, because nearly all policies must be translated, re-write one big loan of articles (because are non-updated and/or in. improper Pontic), and recruit new members (and add user rights to them, as no-one even extended confirmed exists), in an dialect that quite a few speak (and not naturally). Eni vak (speak) 21:08, 9 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.