Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Simple English Wikiquote (3)

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The result of the following proposal for closing a WMF project is to CLOSE the project. Please, do not modify this page.

The following discussion is closed: Project to be closed per consensus

I've been sitting on this for quite some time. While I've always questioned their usefulness, I'm generally acquiescent to the existence of Simple English projects. The Simple English Wikiquote is an exception for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the project's very definition is not in agreement with what constitutes good scholastic practice, particularly when it comes to dealing with quotes. The Simple English Wikiquote's stated purpose is to simplify what others have said in supposedly more complex terms. It is reasonable to infer, then, that the entire content base of Wikiquote revolves around subjective interpretation. This model is a huge problem, both in terms of its compatibility with Wikimedia's general content standards and the pragmatic consequences of its implementation. Plainly put, it's unprofessional, impossible to execute with an acceptable degree of rigour, and invites the spread of inaccuracy and the corruption of meaning. When a quote is rephrased, there's every chance that the editor has misrepresented the speaker's intention. It's my impression that there could easily be legal repercussions for this type of error – and even if there aren't, it's extremely irresponsible, particularly when living people are implicated.

Secondly, the usefulness of the project is demonstrably inferior to that of any other WMF project of which I'm aware. A salient fact is that a significant percentage of notable English speakers – particularly living ones – generate quotes that are worded with the simplicity of spoken English. Take Steve Jobs, or Richard Feynman. The simplified versions are, in almost every case, phrased with the same register as the quote itself – and some aren't even modified at all. I say this without meaning to be offensive, and I do appreciate others' expenditure of time and effort, but I find myself unable to assign those pages any value whatsoever. And these aren't isolated examples. A flick-through of the Special:AllPages reveals dozens more.

I must clarify that those pages are valueless only in that their purpose at SEWQ is misguided and difficult to justify. Take a look at Steve Jobs' page on the standard English Wikiquote. It's a mess, and it lacks the inline citations of the SEWQ version. Therefore, we must ask the question: would not the effort be better spent on improving the standard English Wikiquote, which has several times been identified to be in dire disrepair and copyright trauma? The SEWQ is an unhealthy diversion from a more useful project for both readers and editors (though I don't presume to instruct the latter group on which projects to edit and not to edit).

To extend that notion, the fact that meaning is inevitably lost in simplification immediately damages the SEWQ's potential for use. An aware person who doesn't speak English and who is looking for quotes is not going to be interested in reading what is openly stated to be a simplification. They will much prefer to read (and will derive considerably more benefit from reading) a translated copy. A careful observer will note that the Simple English Wikiquote indirectly obstructs this reader's opportunity to find such a copy, or at least leads others down an unfortunate path; by its very existence, the SEWQ would appear to promote the neglect of proper translations in favour of simplifications (as do all Simple projects, incidentally).

Among the other criteria for closure met by the SEWQ is mainspace inactivity. It's clear that very little of substance happens on the Simple English Wikiquote on a daily basis, looking at Special:RecentChanges. A spate of users experienced on other projects recently attempted to reinvigorate the project, but the global productivity doesn't seem to have changed much. They are not to be charged with insipidness for this, though; instead, it's attributable to the problems outlined.

That brings me to my final point. It seems that when a request is made for a Simple English project to be closed, a regular group flocks to defend the project on the basis that Simple English projects should not be categorically targeted. I wish to emphasise that this request has been made for reasons independent of the Simple English Wikiquote's language. I do see little value in the Simple projects, but I also have no particular grievance with their continuance. The Simple English Wikiquote is, for the reasons explained above, patently an exception in both definition and form. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 11:12, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]


  1. SupportAnonymous DissidentTalk 11:12, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Support A well-explained proposal, thoroughly logical. George The Dragon 13:35, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Noting my comment below, I think this project is not feasible to stand on its own. It should be merged with another/others. Majorly talk 13:36, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  4. As a sysop and bureaucrat at the project in question, I say this with a degree of regret, but Support per the nom's well-thought-out proposal. –Juliancolton | Talk 13:40, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Support Of course. You can't do quotes in Simple English, which isn't even a language. TurboGolf 14:00, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Not that I am disagreeing with closing it. But the purpose of this wiki is not to do quotes in simple english but to explain quotes in simple english. Its different than en.wikiquote. -Djsasso 14:03, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Tharnton, perhaps you should disclose that you were banned from Simple Wikipedia? It's perfectly possible that your views have changed significantly, but I'm having difficulty accepting that this is a good-faith comment. –Juliancolton | Talk 14:07, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Support - Well made proposal which I find difficult to disagree with. Kennedy 18:52, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  7. I would have to agree with the nominator's well-thought out statement. NW (Talk) 00:55, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Per Anonymous Dissident's incredibly well thought out and written statement. – Katerenka (talk • contribs) 08:59, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Per nomination. PeterSymonds 14:07, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Support I don't believe a simple version of wikiquote is useful. I think we should just add such explainations to the regular en version. However, this is no way support in closing simple projects in general. -Djsasso 14:13, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Support per well-written nomination. Razorflame 15:03, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  12. Support This is an academically dishonest project. harej 15:39, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  13. I cringed when I learned of its inception and I cringe whenever it is referred to in conversation. The frankly embarrassing Feynman page is reason enough. --Closedmouth 15:44, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Support Not because it's Simple. But because it is academically dishonest. We are not here to perpetuate a wiki of deliberate distortion. - David Gerard 15:59, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Oh, and remember that Rush Limbaugh has recently been threatening legal action over distorted and invented quotes on en:wq - it's mind-bogling that WMF could support a project to invite such actions deliberately - David Gerard 16:23, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Support per David. Any knowledge of politics would indicate that this is a bad idea. Sceptre 16:12, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  16. Support. The above arguments are more than convincing. The whole idea is redundant and, as harej correctly points out, plain wrong in places. If such a "simplifying" system is deemed at all useful (which I highly doubt) it can be incorporated into the English Wikiquote. There is virtually no need for a simple version of the verbatim. Garden 18:13, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  17. Support — I find Anonymous Dissident's rationale for the closure to be strong, and therefore this closure to be straightforward. Nihiltres(t.u) 21:26, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  18. Support It only takes a moment of looking at the Richard Feynman selection to understand what's wrong with this project. "What I cannot create, I do not understand" mapping to "I do not understand things which I cannot create" reveals the way this sort of thing is just outright wrong. Simple English doesn't mean "English for stupid people", but that's exactly what is happening here. All the subtlety, all the cleverness, all the thoughtfulness of a quote like this vanishes, and it's not even a scholarly approach to simplification, but rather, someone who either doesn't understand the quote or who wishes to ignore the complexity of the thought doing the translation. --Jpgordon 22:10, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    I think SEWQ quotes are ideally presented in this form: Quote, Simplified Quote, Meaning. I did the Simplified Quote part, but not the Meaning part. Now, the simplification of a quote is supposed to be the simplification of the (English) language the quote is originally presented in. And this is to be done for people who do not have a good understanding of the English language, like people who are learning English, or children, as Tempodivalse points out. So people who are good or very proficient at English are likely to find a simplification as something stupid. So, "What I cannot create, I do not understand" should be mapped to something like "I do not understand things which I cannot create" as its simplification (simplification of the English language); all its cleverness, thoughtfulness can come in the Meaning part. And I admit I may have done some mistakes, but I relied on the basic idea of wiki to be bold, as corrections can be made later on by other users. - RogDel 03:12, 25 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  19. Support The whole purpose of a wikiquote project is to accurately and faithfully show what someone has said or written. Simple projects? The only one I see any real use for is a simple Wikipedia. The above closure proposal is well thought out, and reasoned argument. I think it is a dangerous road to take in the first place - setting out to simplify what others have said, makes me think of NewsSpeak. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:35, 25 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    A simplification of a quote is a translation of the quote into a simple language, though it is perfectly agreeable that no such simple language exists by normal definition of language. However, the problem is the problem of distortion which nevertheless can happen in any sort of translation, English to French, for instance; and English to French translations are acceptable at WMF. Another point is that SEWQ does tell its reader that the simple quote is not the original quote and it’s implicit that there could possibly be distortions. SEWQ would have been an inherently bad project if it didn’t tell the reader that the simple quote is not the original quote, the way German Wikiquote, for instance, would be bad if it didn’t tell the reader that a quote, that it may have, is a translation of the original English quote. - RogDel 17:29, 25 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  20. Support Nominator's logic makes sense to me. -Hit bull, win steak 16:15, 28 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  21. Support Only if EnWQ accepts though. Pmlineditor  16:20, 28 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  22. Support Anonymous Dissident's rationale is a good one. In addition, his suggestion below to create a task force on en.wikiquote to provide simple analysis would help to accomplish the same purpose, but without deliberately distorting the quotes. The Wordsmith 22:56, 28 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  23. Support: Anything to hasten the death of Simple. --MZMcBride 05:14, 29 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Support: I also agree that all of the simple wiki projects should be merged into one large project. The regular Wikipedia has 2.5 million articles. Simple Wikipedia has 51,000 non-stub articles. Disk space is not an issue. Plus, I agree with others that if a person is trying to read an article for learning English, the project should stick with a foundation of good articles of basic knowledge. Basically use something like "Encyclopedia of Core Knowledge" as a guide. After a person goes through all those articles, they could easily move onto the main Wikipedia. If a person is truly wanting the knowledge, then they should just read the articles in their own language. 17:14, 29 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Indented IP !vote. Pmlineditor  17:19, 29 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  24. Support per Brian McNeil. I understand the purpose of the project, but I disagree with it on a fundamental level—as David Gerard said, changing quotes is the very essence of academic dishonesty. Ed (talk) 02:15, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  25. Support, per nomination. –blurpeace (talk) 02:26, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  26. Support but then again, I disagree with the existence of all the simple projects, and all the wikiquotes. Prodego talk 02:40, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  27. SupportJake Wartenberg 02:49, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  28. Support Sufficiently convinced by above arguments. Macdonald-Ross 19:19, 31 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  29. SupportMikhailov Kusserow (talk) 04:42, 1 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  30. Support per nomination --Mercy 11:42, 2 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  31. Support per nomination and other pro-simple people who support this proposal. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 17:20, 3 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  32. Support Logical proposal, Srinivas 10:04, 4 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  33. Support An altered quote is no longer a quote, and shouldn't be presented as one. By its nature, anything the project might add is actually value which has been subtracted, and, as someone observed above, the potential for libel and opinionated distortion is obvious, especially on what will inevitably be a poorly patrolled project.Proabivouac 07:28, 6 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  34. Support - I have changed to support on both this request and the Simple WB request. Simple English Wikipedia and Wiktionary are the only real worthwhile Simple English projects. Maximillion Pegasus 14:12, 6 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  35. Support A dishonest representation of what people say and for an unlikely purpose. When learning another language, I generally prefer the quotes to actually be quotes not simplified versions of what great people actually said. We have plenty of other places that deserve our focus.--Doug.(talk contribs) 20:08, 8 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  36. Support Per nom and many others in this section. Killiondude 01:07, 9 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  37. Support I can't support the continuation of a project based on subjective interpretation. Mm40 (talk) 01:15, 9 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  38. Support I'm an admin there and I support this. MBisanz talk 01:11, 13 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  39. Support I've long been indifferent to the Simple English projects, but this one is completely irresponsible. Reach Out to the Truth 02:29, 14 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  40. Support Thestarblaydialegend 17:47, 14 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  41. Support -- the very concept of "simple English" Wikiquote should be like nails on a blackboard. Time to undo this mistake.  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 02:59, 21 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  42. Support: It's Wikiquote and not Wikiparaphrase; English Wikiquote thus handles the content of this project already and in a superior manner. -- Adrignola 03:20, 21 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  43. A bad idea on many levels. Mr.Z-man 04:22, 21 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  44. Support, speaking as a former admin resigned last July because it is a flawed project. Maxim(talk) 03:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  45. Support Per nom, Jpgordon, etc. -- Avi 03:56, 25 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Support per nom, and in utter amazement that I agree with David Gerard about something related to the Wikimedia projects. The temptation is simply too strong to use the Jimmy Wales quotes as a platform to poke fun at his lies. -- Thekohser 14:09, 7 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
    Project already closed FYI. Pmlineditor  15:04, 7 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]


  1. Strongly opposed Not again. Please give the simple projects a break. I'd like to contest that the project is useless: it's purpose is to define quotes in simpler terms for them to be better understandable to people who do not have a good knowledge of English. I understand the argument that most people would want to see a quote translated into their own language instead of a simple-English one, but SEWQ (and all of the Simple projects) can help benefit people who are learning English, but not yet able to fully understand complex English. It's easier to learn a language when you're actively reading and speaking that language, rather than switching to your own all the time. Another group this can help is children: they might not be able to fully understand a complex quote in English, but can easier comprehend one that's simplified. Now, I'm not saying that all our pages are in good condition - a lot of them are indeed poorly translated, and we might not have excellent coverage - but it's a work in progress, just like any other wiki is.

    Also, I disagree with the suggestion that it is inactive. I'll bet there are hundreds of WMF wikis that are less active and have less content than this one (this project has 600 pages). Are we going to close all of them too? There are still many editors who are actively interested in expanding the project. We've promoted half a dozen admins in the past few months as well. -Tempodivalse [talk] 14:00, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Strong oppose Tempodivalse sums it up for me. In the last one month, we've had almost 100 pages. The wiki is in no way inactive. If you want, I can show several projects which are much more inactive than this one. Give the Simple projects a break please. There have been six proposals to close the 4 Simple projects, which is way above the other languages. Give the projects a chance rather than shutting them down. Pages may be in poor condition - but IMO, the closure of this project will be a setback for those who work in this or other Simple projects because if 4 projects are proposed to be closed 4 times in the course of an year, although 3 of the 4 projects is well active, it is quite unfortunate since it is obvious that people want these projects closed because they don't "like" it. This is nothing against the noms, only what I think about this. Regards, Pmlineditor  15:29, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    I have to take issue with that. I pointed out numerous other problems than "inactivity", and I specifically explained why the SEWQ is different to the other Simple projects. The 100 pages were almost all made by a single editor, and they all look something like this. How is that useful? One quote, and a simple rearranging of the words. Please, don't accuse me of targeting Simple projects – I made sure to explain myself clearly. Inactivity and poor page condition are simply the side-effects of the bigger problems: improper scholastic practice and a definition that makes no sense. I ask the both of you to see reason; I understand you don't want to see the project close because you've been active there, but Juliancolton – a bureaucrat and administrator – found it within himself to support the closure. Doesn't that indicate something? —Anonymous DissidentTalk 23:41, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    First off, I'm not accusing anyone of targeting the Simple projects and neither can I deny that I may be biased 'cause I'm an admin and crat there. Yes, I know, most of our pages, to put it correctly are not useful - but I'd like to request that this project be given some time to develop rather than shutting it down. Anyway, I'll try to fix the project whether it is closed or not. My !vote will be open to change. Pmlineditor  07:55, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    If there is (and always was) a problem with the original construct of this wiki, why was it approved in the first place? -- Mentifisto 08:18, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    The wiki is not only about "modern" people. How many of you consider the quotes of Shakespeare, Dickens or Keats to be "simple"? We cover such quotes too - and I wish to ask why was this wiki approved in the first place if there was a problem with the whole idea? Pmlineditor  08:21, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Lack of foresight. Lack of proper consideration. At the end of the day, it's probably the run-on from the other Simple projects' approval. Once the Simple English Wikipedia was approved, it seems people went to town on the idea and thought that a Simple version for all projects was a good idea. It's not. A better idea would be to present simplifications where they are needed on the English Wikiquote. As it is, a majority of the SEWQ's content consists of minimal rephrasing (like the Arthur Miller page). What no-one has considered is that the Simple English Wikiquote is the only project that is directly redundant to another: whereas Simple Wikipedia et al. aim to have markedly different content to the standard English counterparts, a perfect SEWQ would match a perfect English Wikiquote, just with simplifications at the bottom. There's an inherent problem with that; an inherent element of wasted time and space. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 08:52, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    "A majority of the SEWQ's content consists of minimal rephrasing (like the Arthur Miller page)." - not all, as I say. The project still has potential to grow and become better rather than a duplicate of ENWQ. The important issue is that the project has a community of editors. Pmlineditor  09:01, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    What is the point of trying to grow better than a project many times larger, when the goals are almost exactly the same, when the other project makes more sense and is much more visited, and when and it's early enough to integrate what's worth keeping? Ask yourself: wouldn't it be more logical, and more beneficial for the reader, to start a taskforce on the English Wikiquote whose aims are to go about providing explanations for quotes identified as complex? Instead of two projects that are ideally the same bar the fact that one has simplifications below all the quotes (regardless of whether the simplification is needed), you have one project with simplifications below quotes where it's helpful. If I were a reader – native English or no – I know which I'd prefer. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 09:17, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    In particular, with the examples of Shakespeare, Dickens, and Keats, interpretations could be given responsibly by such a taskforce on the English Wikiquote. It's a convenient truth that quotes complex enough to be worth simplifying often have interpretations from respectable sources that can be synthesised. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 09:32, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    (outdent) The English Wikiquote does not have a sufficient number of users to handle simplifying such articles. Pages with content that ought to be deleted immediately stay there for considerably longer time. I doubt whether it has the community of editors to do such work. I know that using more or less the same words for the so called "simple" version of the quote is practically of no use. I again state that this vote is subject to change. Regards, Pmlineditor  10:21, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    There are 48 users active on the SEWQ, and almost 600 on the EWQ, according to the respective Special:Statistics pages. I think it's safe to say the English Wikiquote would be able to handle the task, and has "the community of editors to do such work". —Anonymous DissidentTalk 10:51, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    AFAIK, Special:Statistics is not really a reliable page as it shows all editors, including IPs, vandals etc. My question is this: I don't doubt whether EnWQ can handle the task, but I do doubt whether a sufficient number of editors on EnWQ will be interested. I'd volunteer to help, but I would like to have the opinion of an EnWQ regular on whether they can do this job. If they can, then it is a Support though reluctantly, I admit. ;) Pmlineditor  11:00, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    That's fair enough. I have no idea whether the EnWQ community would even accept the idea – it's just a proposal from someone who's never been active on any Wikiqoute. I don't see why it would be a problem though, because the sourced explanation of complex quotes is a justifiable feature. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 11:09, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Oppose The nom seems to have made really good points. But I think they might be missing something. The big advantage of the Simple English Wikiquote project for people who really need simplification, such as those who are learning English, (the people for whom this project was probably started) is that they can get to read (some) quotes with their simplification “in a simple way”. That is, they don’t have to go to the English Wikiquote and look for “simplified quotes” on long pages. I can say this supposing that it is very unlikely that all quotes on the English Wikiquote are simplified; no, only few of them will be simplified any way. So, Simple English Wikiquote potentially makes it easy for such readers to get a feel of quotations through their simplified versions in a painless, simple way.

    There is another important point to make. If quotes are to be simplified right on the English Wikiquote, then firstly, the pages are likely to get too long, and secondly, it will be unnecessarily painful for a reader of good understanding of English (i.e. those who do not need basic simplifications as such) to read and enjoy the English Wikiquote pages. The reader may encounter quotes with their (really) simple versions often and is likely to be bored and discouraged to continue reading a page. - RogDel 12:07, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    In other words, simplifications (as needed for the people learning English; the ideal readers of the Simple English Wikiquote) can be a nuisance for a normal reader of the English Wikiquote. - RogDel 12:17, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    My proposal was that only complex quotes be simplified on the EWQ – the page lengths wouldn't be that much longer. No-one will be frustrated because only very advanced and lettered English speakers will not benefit from an explanation of the complex quotes to which I refer. Think about it – a page on Shakespeare's Hamlet, with discussion of the quotes' meaning indented below each one. That makes Wikiquote much more useful immediately, and eliminates the need for a separate SEWQ. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 12:20, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Right, but what’s wrong with non-complex quotes be simplified too, as necessary for the ideal or normal reader of the Simple EWQ. Tempodivalse seems to have made good points regarding this. - RogDel 12:30, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Strongly opposed - I do not find the request proposal convincing at all, nor do I agree with most of the arguments, and think the SEWQ is as active as it's ever been. Yotcmdr 12:25, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Oppose A good argument presented, but I am going to have to disagree with this. While some of your facts prove a point, there is the absence of the wider picture i.e. some of the goals of Simple English projects. I will refrain from making a large speech, but take a look at this article I created for example. It lists some Urdu proverbs, and here you can see that along with the Roman Urdu transliteration, and English translation, a Simple English-ised quote is available. In no way is that page sujectively trying to change the original proverb or its original meaning in english; rather, you will see that the Simple English meaning provides a reinforcement of the meaning. From my opinion, this is one type of context where I think Simple English Wikiquote is, and can be, largely compatible. I have seen books of proverbs and idioms that always provide a definition of a proverb, and I fail to see how Simple English Wikiquote fails from that point of view. Ali Rana 12:33, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Oppose - Small but reasonably active. Maximillion Pegasus 13:58, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Oppose - There is no moral difference between simple's mutilation of Elliot and en's mutilation of Bashō. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 16:07, 25 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Strong oppose. My opinion: People should stop trying to shut us down. If you don't like a project, don't work there. What we do is similar to any other translation, and is subject to the same pitfalls of inexactitude and subjectivity, neither of which are reasons to not translate. They are reasons to translate carefully. SEWQ has a specific audience (people with limited English), a specific purpose (explain/translate quotes into language they can understand), and a specific method (giving the original followed by a simpler version). If any of these is lacking, help us fix it (like helping us find a more rigorous system), don't try to shut us down! Translation is big business, so I know that this form of it can work, too. I am an English as a Foreign Language teacher, and we frequently use what are called "readers", books (often classic literature or recent bestsellers) that are rewritten using a simplified vocabulary. These books are published by some of the most prestigious English-language publishing houses in the world, like Oxford (who also publishes the Oxford English Dictionary, of course) and Cambridge, or publishers that are well-known in the English Language Teaching field, like Macmillan. Would you tell these companies that their million-dollar reader business is a waste of space and that they should stop publishing readers because the English language students should struggle through the original novels and books? That their retelling of Great Expectations, for example, is not the original and therefore has no value or (even worse) is criminal? We do our best to capture the essence of the original quote, and as time goes by, our explanations/translations will likely continue to improve. Other possible meanings might also be included for those special cases where the meaning is ambiguous or uncertain. Anonymous Dissident says that it "invites the spread of inaccuracy and the corruption of meaning." English Wikipedia has all manner of disclaimers (not immediately visible) that state that, for example, people should not take the medicine-related information available as or in place of medical advice. We can say the same on SE Wikiquote, though the situation is generally much less problematic, since a misunderstanding of a quote is unlikely to result in serious consequences like death. In summary, translation is valid, and this is translation. It is dumb to shut us down just because SOME people don't see the value and think we don't do things well enough. Help us improve. --Cromwellt|talk|contribs 01:00, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    So, your points are:
    • This is translation: No, it's not. Translation transforms one language to another. It is far less subjective than simplification – so much so that machines do it with reasonable proficiency these days. And simple English is not a language. It doesn't even have a proper definition.
    • Help us make simplification rigorous: Definitionally impossible, hence the closure request.
    • Simple books by respected publishers: You're not simplifying books. A big part of the problem is that what you're simplifying is already simple enough, or comes from real people (legal issues). See my responses to Pmlineditor above for my thoughts on simplifying quotes from literature.
    • English Wikipedia has problems too: Why is that relevant? The English Wikipedia has problems, but is well-defined and based on a model that proscribes subjectivity. The SEWQ is not.
    • Don't shut us down for legitimate reasons: I fail to see why it's "dumb" to shut you down if the project is seen to be of little value and things aren't done well. In fact, it sounds like good reason to support closure.
    Finally, I'd like to address "People should stop trying to shut us down". If multiple people are independently proposing to shut a project down, doesn't that point to the fact that it ought to be shut down? This isn't supposed to be some form of guerilla warfare, the pro-simples fiercely defending their projects against the rest of Wikimedia, and Wikimedia is not a disjointed body that hosts an indiscriminate and unmoderated collection of wikis. It's a global conglomerate, and these Simple projects have to demonstrate they are worthy of inclusion. If they don't, people are perfectly above the board to request that they be closed down. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 05:51, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  7. OpposeWhile the edit rate linked in the nomination statement, is low, it is still much higher than that of many other WMF wikis. Simple Wikiquote compares favorably to the Cornish Wikiquote, which doesnt even have a Main Page, as well as to some Wikipedias whose activity levels are so low nobody's yet gotten around to translating the interfaces into the language that the wiki is supposed to be for (e.g. some Bantu language wikipedias are written mostly in French, because many of the people who speak those languages also speak French). Also, I agree with the statement above: Simple Wikiquote mangles some quotes, but so do any wikis that translate any quotes from one language into another. Simple Wikiquote (and Simple projects in general) can be improved, and that's why I don't think they should be shut down. -- Soap 02:59, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Oppose If Simple Wikiquote only provided the simplified quotes and not the originals too then that would be misinformation, however it provides both. The nominator provided examples like Steve Jobs where quotes have been translated, wthout appearing to be any simpler. I give the example of pages likeBuddha. The few quotes given could offer a non fluent English speaker someone valuable and interesting ideas that they otherwise might not understand. It might be a resource for some people, so why shut it down? I'm certain there are other wikimedia projects with far less worth than this. The Flying Spaghetti Monster 22:38, 1 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Strongly oppose - per above and mostly I believe most nominations of closure of Simple projects are a personal vendetta against the Simple projects. Most hate them cause "they're a safe haven for banned en users". I do not believe this is the case. --   CR90  02:55, 2 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Strongly opposed Not again. Please give the simple projects a chance. --Vhorvat 19:03, 17 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]


The local community needs to be informed. Barras (talk) 11:25, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I'll post to the village pump momentarily. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 11:29, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
If the concept of the simple english wikiquote was explained better then there shouldn't be a problem in keeping it around for awhile. But its really up to the users descision. If i was voting i would vote oppose. Cheers 12:19, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • An idea I came up with recently, to prevent these perennial proposals regarding the Simple English projects, was to merge the four projects (Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Wikibooks and Wiktionary) together into a large Simple English Compendium of Knowledge. I have been unhappy for a long time with the state of Wikipedia (it's the only SE project I'm active on): I think that, unlike other Wikipedias, it should concentrate on core curriculum topics that non-native speakers/children are likely to want to read about. Instead, we have mass creations of stubs of things ranging from places and asteroids, to football players and rivers. When these are deleted, or nominated for, there are always complaints that the topics are "notable". Those complainers are probably right. However, why would someone go to Simple English Wikipedia to view a one sentence stub on, say, a hamlet in Indonesia, when the English Wikipedia has an identical article, or possibly a more detailed one? It makes no sense to me. Now if I had my way, I would ban all stub creation, and articles should only exist if they meet, say, criteria for Did You Know (which isn't particularly hard). As noble as some people may think they are being when they create one-line articles, it actually is damaging to our project and reputation. When you look up a topic, you'd expect to see something substantial, not just something you'd be able to guess like that X is a place. In short, stubs do not help Simple English Wikipedia at all.
  • Now regarding Wikiquote. I think quote projects are completely redundant and problematic (e.g. the Rush Limbaurgh fiasco, fair-use etc). However, notable quotes can easily be merged into encyclopedia articles. A lot of people seem to forget that SE Wikipedia is not English WP and so does not have to follow its exact rules with article guidelines and layout.
  • A final point: I doubt such a proposal would work, for one reason being that it is probably out of the scope of Wikimedia - but I'm not too sure on that. People are resistant to change, even if it's for the better. There are many positives that can come with merging: more manpower, and a larger community so more opinions and assistance for things like vandalism; a larger scope, while narrowing parts such as what encyclopedia articles warrant inclusion in a Simple English encyclopedia; ability to add new parts, such as news, source, wikiversity etc without having to propose it here. There are probably more. But I really think this is the way to go, to stop these proposals coming up time and time again. Majorly talk 13:26, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Majorly and I have discussed this before and I have to concur that a merger into a single Simple English project makes a great deal of sense. Whilst I don't support a closure of simpleWQ at this time, I do support a merger. A merger would also help project against vandalism as more people watch RC at simpleWP and the SWMT (as good as it may be) doesn't always catch vandalism on the smaller simple projects. Also a problem I have personally noticed with simpleWQ is that often the meaning of the original quote is altered or lost in the transformation to less complex language. With the larger community that a merger would bring more people would be reviewing the language used and so it should provide a better translation. I personally find Simple English projects to be a very good idea. We should all remember that not everyone who is perhaps even a native speaker of English has a high-school or university education and so en projects can be unreadable to some people due to the complexity of language. WE have a lot of smart people in WMF, it shows in the language that is often used. The raison d'etre of WMF is to provide educational resources that anyone can use, not just those with the right level of education. fr33kman t - c 13:58, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    That's fair enough, but what I've never understood is why it's worth the time of day and the server expenditure to create separate, "simple" versions of content, when time could be better spent on making the standard English content easy for everyone to understand and comprehensive. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 14:06, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    This view comes through in your proposal, even though you took care with your words :-) Let me share a short story from my recent experience (which has nothing to do with WQ, but addresses your comment): there are readers who don't know much English and love simple. I work with rural education groups that distribute digital books, pictures, and reference works to offline schools with computers (or computer labs). This past summer, groups in Uganda, Senegal, and Peru -- which all had a snapshot of en:wp -- asked for copies of simple:wp. Even the "easy" Wikipedia articles weren't suitable for their students (even those who heard English each day in class), and the teachers, who had sporadic internet access, had discovered simple Wikipedia and used it a bit. They wanted a full offline dump for their schools. And a great simplified article will not be a great article for normal college-educated readers; it demands more than being clear. (Personally, I would like to see the introduction of a MediaWiki feature that allows for different language-level versions of a single article, so that a user could simply turn on a preference to see only the 'simple' or 'expert' version of an article where available.) -- sj · translate · + 09:57, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    In all fairness, the server space isn't an issue. –Juliancolton | Talk 14:11, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Oh, of course not – neither is the time of day. The example was meant to be trivial. ;-) —Anonymous DissidentTalk 14:23, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Because the main english.wikipedia community is resistant to allowing the content to be made simpler and easier to read. You try to simplify any overly complex science article for example on en and you are immediately reverted and told to stop messing with the articles. is written for university grads fluent in english. There needs to be something for people that aren't at that level. -Djsasso 14:13, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    There are challenges to combining comprehensiveness and comprehensibility, yes, but if you look at pretty much any science featured article, you'll get a good idea of what the amalgamation looks like. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 14:25, 23 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    The problem with Simple English Wikiquote is not that it's simplified explanations - it's that it's a project to deliberately lie about what people have actually said and trying to justify this as "for education." Wherease if it were for education, you'd put the actual quote in undistorted, and footnote the heck out of it. It's the deliberate academic dishonesty, the defence of deliberate lying, that makes this project unacceptable - David Gerard 16:08, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    I believe I and other people have said this a hundred times. Simple WQ does not endeavor to present quotes in "Simple english". It attempts to "explain" them. Presenting a simple version of the quote is not "dishonesty" as you call it, imho. Pmlineditor  16:11, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Surely quotes translated from any language are going to be distorted because translations aren't always literal? Majorly talk 16:12, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    I suspect David Gerard is unaware of the concept of explication, which makes up the entirety of the English Literature corpus. Surely M Gerard is not suggesting every English Lit professor and student is a liar? Or that he himself is one? - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 15:44, 25 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Rush Linbaugh fraudulent quotes on Wikiquote - Mr Limbaugh was threatening legal action over this. Now, this case was a particularly persistent long-term vandal. But it defies credulity that WMF could support a project to deliberately leave its contributors (and possibly itself, if Sec 230 couldn't be invoked) open to such action. Have any quotes in English from living people been "simplified"? - David Gerard 16:28, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Different issue. SimpleWQ doesn't modify the quote; it presents it in Simpler language. If this project was such a serious issue for WMF in the first place, then why was it started? Agree with Majorly too. Pmlineditor  16:32, 24 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    Modifying the quote and "presenting it in simpler language" are the same thing. By the way, that you're citing the fact that the SEWQ was started as a reason to keep it open makes it clear you're short of arguments in the project's defence. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 05:04, 25 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    They aren't the same thing if the original quote is also included and clearly marked. Modifying the quote is replacing the original with a simplified version (which I don't think would be bad, either, as long as it were obvious that is what we were doing). By your criteria, translation is also modifying a quote, but I don't see you going to EN Wikiquote and telling them to remove the quotes from Voltaire and Chekhov. --Cromwellt|talk|contribs 01:39, 30 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I want to close English Wikipedia because it lost nealy 100,000 editors as per BBC. What is the use of keeping English Wiki?
I'm not sure what this is spposed to be a response to. No such arguments have been made here. This is a proposal to close the Simple English Wikiquote, and it has nothing to do with the number of active contributors. Reach Out to the Truth 21:51, 27 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I don't care whether the simple English Wikiquote is kept or not but I'd like to point out to you Anonymous Dissident that if you think simplifying quotes is inherently problematic that this isn't only a problem that applies to the simple English Wikiquote. It also applies to any other Wikiquote that translates quotes from a language whose vocabulary (pertaining to the quote itself) is richer than the language being translated into. --Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 18:59, 19 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]