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

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it.

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:
    Reasons that were given in opposing the proposal include:
    • that simple.wikt is very important for simple.wikipedia in that simple.wikipedia frequently links to pages on simple.wikt when it is necessary to use a not-so-simple word in an article
    • that the original English Wiktionary's definitions are way too difficult to understand for readers.
Langcom does not see any reasons to think that these reasons are not true, it was also mentioned that "from a lexicographer’s point of view, a dictionary for L2 speakers (simple.wikt) would indeed look different from one for L1 speakers (en.wikt)"; => the project does not have any flaw in general that would suggest that it needs to be closed. It also has an active community.
On a side and personal note, it might advisable to look for steps to make en.wikt easier/simpler... I would like to note that my personal opinion is that something is going wrong if en.wiktionary is perceived as an unreadable, ununderstandable dictionary, which can even only be hardly improved. --MF-W 17:45, 19 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]

  • Type: 2 (non-routine proposal)
  • Proposed outcome: closure
  • Proposed action regarding the content: should be merged into English Wiktionary, where needed
  • Notice on the project: Simple talk
  • Informed Group(s): none

The Simple English Wiktionary has defined itself as "an online dictionary that uses simpler words so it is easier to understand". But where is the use? Or is that even true? Wiktionary is a dictionary; en.wiktionary is a dictionary in English. But what is simplewiktionary then? It uses the same words as the English Wiktionary, it might just constrain itself to not use all of the English language words avaible when giving definitions. Nobody needs an online dictionary with only a few words of a complex language. I can understand the idea behind the Simple English Wikipedia, because readers with little knowledge of English can understand encyclopaedic texts better if they are written in "simple" words, but it makes no sense if it is a matter of defining words.

Example: definitions of "dog" in comparision;
simplewikt: "A domestic animal that is often kept as a pet."
enwikt: "An animal, member of the genus Canis (probably descended from the common wolf) that has been domesticated for thousands of years; occurs in many breeds. Scientific name: Canis lupus familiaris."
(I'm limiting myself to only the definition that is listed as "1." on both wiktionaries, as the simple wikt does not have the other definitions)

I don't know exactly which words are acceptable in the Simple Wiktionary, but I don't think the en.wikt definition is in any way less comprehensible than the Simple one. One might even argue that the use of the word "domestic" is not very "simple".
I don't want to offend the simple.wikt contributors. I just don't want anyone to do double work (defining in simple what is already defined in en.wikt).

Greetings, --Vogone (talk) 16:10, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • Oppose This wiktionary like the wikipedia has the purpose of using simpler words to describe things. In the definition you list for example. The words genus, descended, domesticated and breeds would all be considered non-simple or easy to understand words. Domesticated for example is ridiculously complex for someone who doesn't know English. Simple.wiki uses it when they link words that are too complex so that readers of simple.wiki can understand. For this reason the definitions must be simplified, which is why simple.wiki doesn't link to en.wiktionary. -Djsasso (talk) 16:28, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - Pretty much per what Djsasso just said. The simpleWP community uses the simpleWT to explain words. Word definitions are nothing for Wikipedia projects and the definitions and style of the English Wiktionary are often too complex for simpleWP readers. Also, several thousands of pages from simpleWP link there. The Wiktionary is actually needed for Wikipedia. -Barras talk 16:36, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose The Simple English Wikipedia relies on the Simple English Wiktionary to link otherwise complex terms so non-native English speakers can better understand what the SE-WP article is about. Your example demonstrates how simpler words can make otherwise complex definitions easy to understand, as is the purpose of Simple English. Albacore (talk) 18:24, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Vogone chose one of the weaker definitions on Simple wikt, and it should be extended. All the same, it works fairly well in practice because the photograph shows what type of animal is meant. The English wiktionary version uses more complex words. That explains precisely why the Simple wikt was started. Simple wikt is definitely useful when putting up new pages, and I have used it many hundreds of times. Macdonald-ross (talk) 18:51, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong oppose Like Albacore said, the SEWP relies on the content in the simple english Wiktionary. You said also I can understand the idea behind the Simple English Wikipedia, because readers with little knowledge of English can understand encyclopaedic texts better if they are written in "simple" words, but it makes no sense if it is a matter of defining words. If a English-learner looks up in the Longman dictionary and it shows up a long definition with many unfamiliar words, do you think it would not be better to have a simple dictionary? If you want to close this, you'd better try to reach consenseus to close the main SEWP. --Weltforce (talk) 18:54, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Suppose you learn a foreign language, which is not your mother tongue. No matter how proficient you get in that language, there will always be words you don't know.Common examples of such words are the names of plants, of animals, and of diseases. Some of these words lend themselves to an encyclopedic definition, ideally you find them at Simple English Wikipedia. Others do not, and a simple definition of the word (along with a few synonyms) may be what you need. One could argue that the "Regular" English Wiktionary fills that gap, but I disagree: The Regular English Wiktionary's main target group are native Englsh speakers. Consequently, their definition are complex; they try to cover every facet of meaning a word has had throughout history. If I take a random enry, en:wikt:drown proposes To be suffocated in water or other fluid; to perish by such suffocation.. Compare that to simple:wikt:drown: To drown is an action where someone is struggling in water. (with the example of nearly drowning in a lake). Not only do I not need to explain what suffocate/Suffocation means, I also get an easy to understand example of the most common meaning. Since at the current time, English Wiktionary cannot fully replace Simple English Wiktionary, we can't reasonable close the project. --Eptalon (talk) 19:07, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong oppose - it is an important complimentary project for Simple English Wikipedia, and worthwhile in its own right.--Peterdownunder (talk) 21:43, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Vogone, you've misunderstood the purpose of Wiktionary. It's the definitions that are in the project's language. The words defined can be from any language. Simple wikitionary describes words (any words) in Simple English. It's an essential companion to the Simple English Wikipedia. We'd be lost without it. Osiris (talk) 23:04, 21 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • (edit conflict) @all: I can understand, why simplewiktionary is so important for WP. But why you can't make the enwiktionary better? It is so easy to give enwiktionary more examples and make it more understandable. Please answer me this question. Greetings, Vogone (talk) 07:39, 22 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • (edit conflict) You said, that English Wiktionary can't replace Simple Wiktionary, because it has too few examples and so on. That means, Simple Wiktionary is the same as English Wiktionary, but, because of the examples, easier to understand. So I ask myself, why the "normal" Wiktionary shouldn't have those examples. If we make enwiktionary better (more examples), simplewiktionary would be obsolete. --Vogone (talk) 12:26, 22 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Because you would have to have two examples for every example. One with normal english and one with simplified english. This in itself would in turn make the english wiktionary articles a mess and would make the page complicated as it would confuse people as to why there are two examples that mean the same thing. -Djsasso (talk) 14:15, 22 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Take as example the German or English Wikipedia. Have you ever tried make a really scientific article totally understandable to everyone by making the language simpler and sentences shorter? Just try to understand a really scientific topic on the German Wikipedia, which does not belong to your own field of knowledge. The author of that article will most likely revert you and scare you away. Eptalon pointed to one of many really good examples. I at least won't waste my time on trying to "improve" enWT to get then at best reverted. There are several differences between enWT and simpleWT. It just starts with the examplaining sentence, enWT usually throws off some synonyms while we put in a real sentence there to explain something. The latter is for English learners, young children, people with learning disabilities etc. much easier to understand. To make enWT really understandable to our readers, the format of every single page would need to be changed among many other things. That is (as said at the start) just as imposible as trying to simplify article in the German Wikipedia, so that probably kids or less educated people can easily understand it. -Barras talk 12:19, 22 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it.