Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Tok Pisin 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.

  • Explanation by the closing Langcom member: Per discussion at #Proposed close below, I will treat this request as withdrawn, and the project will remain open. I am separately looking to try to find someone to validate the language. Ideally, that will be someone from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Tok Pisin service, so that not only can we have verification/non-verification, but perhaps some publicity that will bring in new contributors. If the "verification" uncovers that the bulk of the project is actually not in Tok Pisin, I will reopen the discussion for further ideas as to potential paths forward. For LangCom: StevenJ81 (talk) 15:04, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

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

Before I get started, I want to say that this proposal has NOTHING to do with the proposal to shut the Simple English Wikipedia, it is not done out of spite or wish for revenge, and I bear this project no malice at all.

I am disappointed when projects such as the Tok Pisin Wikipedia come to a stage where there is little or no human contact, save from stewards doing renames, bots, or the SWMT. Unfortunately, this is the position that the Tok Pisin Wikipedia now find themselves in. Reviewing recent changes, there have been 27 edits in the last 30 days (except my notice to them, warning them of this proposal). Only ONE of those edits was a human edit actually working on an article - all the others were anti-vandalism work, stewards, CommonsDelinker or renaming.

There has been a notice for some considerable time on this project's front page, asking for help to revive the wiki if you speak Tok Pisin, which I do not, nor do I suspect, do many others - since it's not a language you can have as a mother tongue, rather it is a lingua franca due to the considerable number of dialects spread across PNG, New Britain and New Ireland.

The project has no active administrators, only one or two active local human editors, and for all the time it's been open, less than 1500 articles. There has been a brave attempt to build a community here, but bearing in mind that a fair proportion of the population are either illiterate or have difficulty with reading and writing, due to poor education in some areas, there aren't that many people who can or will be able to write these articles and improve what is there.

I would like to ask that the content of this Wiki be moved to the incubator. I certainly don't want to see it deleted. If at any time the community can be revived while it's on incubator, then I'd welcome it back with open arms. There's a community waiting to happen - finding it and getting it moving is the problem right now, and I see no solution to it.

Many thanks for your attention. DaneGeld (talk) 22:57, 5 July 2018 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Closing projects policy is clear; it has content, 1500 pages according to you, and thus there's no reason to close it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:38, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Support because they're making nonsense contents, the contents aren't in Tok Pisin afaik. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 11:58, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
Comment Comment @Liuxinyu970226 What evidence, if any, is there that "they're making nonsense contents?" DraconicDark (talk) 22:39, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
Support I think some statements like “Inactive isn't reason for closure” are weired and rather like Trumpism, per liuxinyu970226, most of contents are not real tok pisin, but rather like something that you can understand just need some Indonesian or Malay knowledge, fwiw tok pisin should use some special scripts like áàéèíìóòúù, they never used, so closure under fake language using reason could be more fair. -- 22:56, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
(A) Let's not get involved in politics here, by calling out current politicians. It is the sign of a good rules-based system that it has rules and follows them consistently, instead of making up the rules ad-hoc for each new issue. Following the policy already in existence is a good thing.
(B) w:en:Tok Pisin never uses those accents. Looking at the same page in other Wikipedias, at various things linked to by those pages, a Google Images search for Tok Pisin, I don't see these accents being used. I would be surprised to find a pidgin with such a complex script, and would not at all be surprised to find, even if missionaries or the government saddled it with such a thing, that it wouldn't get used in practice.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:16, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment LangCom comment: If there is substantial evidence of "not the right language" here, then there may be grounds to close. Otherwise, I'm not sure I see a policy-grounded justification for this. StevenJ81 (talk) 13:31, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
Comment Comment @StevenJ81: - I am happy to go through the relatively small number of articles this wiki holds and provide you with some examples of articles not in the right language (or language which may not be Tok Pisin) - what the langcom should bear in mind is that Tok Pisin is the actual first language of NOBODY in Papua New Guinea, so there are no native speakers of it, so to speak - it's a second or third language for everybody, used when others can't communicate in local dialects and languages. DaneGeld (talk) 21:20, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
As an example, there are 67 pages alone, requiring review by a fluent speaker of Tok Pisin ([see here]). As a further example, take the article Frens (which is not even spelled correctly. The name of the country in Tok Pisin is Pranis). This article has been awaiting proofreading since 2007! The reason they're not getting proofread and checked is there are no native speakers, or people with significant fluency to do the work! That's just one of the 67. To get to the point, it is impossible to judge the accuracy of any of the 1481 articles on this wiki, because the spellings are as inconsistent as the grammar and the usage of the language. There are no hard and fast rules, spellings vary, and to be honest, I'd be willing to stake a large part of my savings that most of those articles weren't even written by people who have any knowledge of Tok Pisin whatsoever. The whole thing is a mish-mash, a mixture of English, things that look like English and probably aren't, and things that are meant to look like someone else's language and probably never have any relation to it. DaneGeld (talk) 21:42, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article claims that it is the first language of 100,000 people. More to the point, it's completely irrelevant if there is no native speakers of it. A Lingua Franca Nova Wikipedia was just created with no native speakers. There are 67 pages requiring review by a fluent speaker; that's a day in the life of a Wikipedia.
Why do you say the name of France in Tok Pisin is Pranis? says Frens. en:wikt:France says Pranis, but is at best no more reliable than then the first source. Not that both can't be correct; as any number of edit wars on the English Wikipedia can attest, there's often not just one name for something in a language.
Spellings vary. That is true for most languages; see en:w:Spelling of Shakespeare's name for one example of how many cultures can be careless with spelling. If we excluded all languages that didn't have a strong standard orthography, we'd have to exclude a lot of languages.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:20, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
I would give you a good chance that those articles awaiting review haven't been sitting there for 11 years, Prosfilaes. Face it. TPI Wikipedia is dead in the water. If there are indeed, as the English Wikipedia claims, 100,000 native speakers, that's 100,000 people out of 8.08 MILLION (the population of Papua New Guinea as of 2016 census) who could potentially contribute to the TPI Wikipedia. That's 1.23% of the entire population, or 1 in every 80 people. Where are they? There is nobody to review those pages outstanding, because no Tok Pisin speakers are contributing. It's all bots and the SWMT cleaning up vandalism. I will again contend that it should be closed, as there is no guarantee that any of the articles on it are actually in Tok Pisin, because nobody is present to review them or check the work. DaneGeld (talk) 16:34, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Inactivity is not a reason to close a project. Anything that basically amounts to inactivity is not a reason to close a project. If it's not in Tok Pisin, then that's a reason to close it, but it needs to be more than supposition.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:04, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
So tell me this. How am I supposed to prove it's not in Tok Pisin, when there are no Tok Pisin speakers using the wiki to check the work over? As I said, stuff's been waiting 11 years to be proofread. I will leave the decision to @StevenJ81: and the LANGCOM, but without people to verify the language used, for all we know every article on there could be bulldust and WMF are hosting it. I'm not going to bang my head on the wall anymore. DaneGeld (talk) 10:23, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
That's a fair point, Dane. (That's a problem we have to deal with in cases like this. You understand, of course, that one reason everyone comments on SEWP is that everyone speaks English. An identical wiki to SEWP where only local people speak the language would never get the same kind of scrutiny.) I think where I am headed with this one is to see if we can find someone who is expert enough in the language to give us a read on it; surely if it is as widely spoken in Papua New Guinea as the enwiki article indicates, we can find someone who answers to that description. If such a person says it's BS, then we'll try to remove the BS (and determine at that point whether to move it to Incubator). If not, then not. Reasonable? StevenJ81 (talk) 13:24, 16 July 2018 (UTC)
I think I'd be happy with that. By all means, if it's actually in Tok Pisin, I will let it sit and see what happens. As I said to Prosfilaes a couple of posts up, the "native speaking" (according to Wikipedia) population, is only 1.23% of the whole of Papua New Guinea. Finding someone with enough knowledge to verify it might not be so hard - there are radio broadcasters who work in Tok Pisin for example, ABC Radio Australia have a Tok Pisin news service, as does EMTV who broadcast to Papua New Guinea. There is also a newspaper called the "Wantok", which is the only Tok Pisin language newspaper in the whole country. Someone out there could help us, but it would be a case of finding that person (or people). Just one question, @StevenJ81: - what do we do if it's not possible to find someone to verify the site? Does it then become an issue for LANGCOM to decide on merit, or does the issue get dropped? DaneGeld (talk) 22:29, 16 July 2018 (UTC)
@DaneGeld, current policy is biased in favor of letting projects stay open. Around 2008–2010 this wasn't the case, because a lot of small projects ended up as dumping grounds for spam, and it was hard to keep them patrolled. Things are so much better now that LangCom tends to want to leave projects open:
  • WMF doesn't really see quiet, inactive projects as embarrassing, if you will. As long as there is not embarrassing spam content in there, then in most cases articles consist of reasonable, correct content, perhaps in some cases a little dated, but not embarrassing.
  • Wikinews is a little different, because stale news is, well, stale. So we have taken to using "soft closes" for that. There are a couple of recent examples you can look at.
  • Otherwise, LangCom's attitude is that as long as the project exists, and infrastructure is in place, it's easier to let it sit there to wait for new contributors to come at some future date than it is to pack it into Incubator and then possibly having to export it again someday. From the point of view of "how does it look to the outside", there isn't much difference between its being quiet in its own subdomain and its being quiet in Incubator. Now we want to minimize the number of new projects that end up being dormant like that, so that's why there are some hurdles to jump to get a project opened in the first place. But once they're there, we try to let them stay open if we can.
Actually, we usually ask for people with academic or linguistic credentials to check languages. But that usually happens on final project approval, not early on in the process like this is. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to get the ABC Tok Pisin news service, and/or Wantok, to vet this, and perhaps to run a story to encourage some new contributors. StevenJ81 (talk) 23:20, 16 July 2018 (UTC)
Note: It is possible that the Wantok Niuspepa is no longer published. A quick check of their archives reveals that the last issue (certainly the last one posted online) was issue number 2231, published in July 2017. Whether they have stopped updating their website or not, I do not know. I will send an email to their publisher, Word Publishing, and see if they are still in print across PNG. DaneGeld (talk) 11:44, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
The home of the service on ABC seems to be Unusually, there does not seem to be a direct way to reach the two reporters. But I'll try to send a general query through ABC later today and see if I get anywhere. StevenJ81 (talk) 14:25, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, StevenJ81. I was looking back at the history of the Tok Pisin Wikipedia. The last administrators I can find were two who were granted by the Stewards; User:BarkingFish and User:ToAruShiroiNeko. Unfortunately, BarkingFish looks to have been banned (not globally, but certainly on the English Wikipedia because of sockpuppeting), and out of the two he seems to have been the one with some live knowledge. I can't find him active anywhere however. Would it be advisable to try to email him, or just forget about it and leave it to academic sources? DaneGeld (talk) 18:18, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
And as I said a couple posts above, there are 0 native speakers of Lingua Franca Nova, a Wikipedia that was just opened. The number of native speakers is completely irrelevant to the continued existence of a Wikipedia, and even if it were, languages like Scottish Gaelic and Hill Mari have Wikipedias with fewer native speakers (and fewer speakers period) than Tok Pisin has native speakers.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:43, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - TOk Pisin is the most common language in Papua New Guinea. There are 8.2 million people in the country, about 4.2 mlilion have at least a passive knoweldge of Tok Pisin. Yes, we are talking about a creole language, with an ISO 639 code (tpi). If the project really is about supporting language communities, there's a case we neeed to support. There may be issues such as literacy, or access to Internet which may stand in the way, but these issues should not lead to the WMF dropping the language: As to Admins: there are many small wikis without their own admins, so that's not an issue. Note: Niederdeutsch (NDS) has about double the number of passive speakers.. Samic languages: about 24k speakers, 17k or so speak/understand Northern Sami; there's a wikipedia for Northern Sami (se.). We should therefore look at reviving the project. (And to clarify: I have no association with Tok Pisin or Papua New Guinea). --Eptalon (talk) 16:34, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

Proposed close[edit]

As I have said earlier, unless vast portions of this project are actually not in Tok Pisin, there is no justification for closing this project. I intend to inform LangCom that this proposal should be closed as rejected, but also ask that someone reach out to a language expert to give a check of the contents. If that expert finds problems, this can potentially be reopened. StevenJ81 (talk) 17:42, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

Accept - I'd be happy with this. DaneGeld (talk) 12:19, 21 July 2018 (UTC)

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