Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Xhosa Wikipedia

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

The following discussion is closed: The consensus is in favor for keeping this project. This proposal has been opened for more than a year, and there has been enough time for a clear consensus. —§ stay (sic)! 04:33, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Xhosa Wikipedia

I have been moderator for this wiki for quite some time now. I have some passive knowledge of the language but this is fading as I no longer use it. I limit myself to mopping operations and the odd word.

So far the 6 million or so mother tongue speakers have been represented by one, (maybe two) relatively short-lived contributions. All other edits are from non-speakers. I have tried to spark some interest, even wrote to the vice-chancellor of Fort Hare U, a university that is overwhelmingly attended by Xhosa-speakers. His reply was very kind, he assured me he would spread the word, but nothing happened. I think it is better to close this wiki and wait for better times when the desire to have a wiki in their own language awakes amongst the amaXhosa. For the moment I think this desire is non-existent.

Jcwf 23:17, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

I tried to stimulate people to write Wikipedia articles when I was in Mali. I left Mali more than 3 years ago. Today the [Wikipedia] reached 200 articles. I think that wouldn't have happened if it were moved to an "incubation" project. Guaka 13:51, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Jcwf, could you please add a direct link to the place, explain how have you alerted the Xhosa community about this proposal and add the relevant links to it? Thanks. 0 º 12:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I posted a remark about the proposal on the main page. There is no village pump and no community. See: w:xh:Iphepha_Elingundoqo Jcwf 14:51, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Cheers, Jcwf. --0 º 11:31, 11 July 2008 (UTC)


I have filed a request to undo my sysop rights for xh.wiki. I have more, more more than enough of this. Jcwf 02:57, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Support closure[edit]

  1. Support Per Jcwf, and lack of localisation (5%). Move contents to Incubator and close the project until a viable community has been established. Adressing Don's argument: perhaps closing this project because of a lack of native speaker involvement is an incentive that is required to get the community active. Once they work on the Incubator version, they can get the Wikipedia project reopened within a month or two. Leaving projects open just because of the potential got us 150-ish 'dead' Wikipedias - sad but true. Siebrand 15:38, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
    Doesn't closure seem like a rather blunt instrument? The problem is connecting with constituencies from which a viable user community can develop. In the case of wo.wikipedia.org viability apparently began with one person - a Senegalese who happened to live in Italy - and closure was never necessary. In a community of 6-7 million Xhosa speakers mainly in South Africa, there is no one to step up and play a similar role? How will closure and incubator status make the connection, and why can't the connection be (found and) made without closure?--A12n 13:56, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
    Either make it happen or see it close is what will most likely happen... You may know the things I do and know that I am for all languages having their Wikimedia projects. I am however very much against having dead wikis that need a lot of patrolling because of vandalism and no content edits. The Wikimedia Foundation runs about 730 wikis. Many of those are dead weight that need administration if there is no comminuty to carry it by itself. Siebrand 22:48, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
  2. Support per Jcwf. --Jorunn 19:31, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
  3. Support --M.M.S. 13:14, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
  4. Support--Tomchiukc 07:08, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Support-I see exactly one non-bot main namespace edit in the past month ([1]). That's too little in my opinion. - Andre Engels 11:59, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Oppose closure[edit]

  1. Oppose closure. I would like to suggest that despite the good efforts of Jcwf, that in the case of many African languages, the need is for more effective "marketing," tailored to the individual languages. Closing a Wikipedia for a language of this importance - number of speakers, status as official in one country, use in education - is not a lack of interest, nor a shortcoming on the part of Jcwf, but a failure of WMF to devise and implement strategies appropriate for developing Wikipedias in Africa (not saying there haven't been efforts, but that there is apparently not a good overall strategy). Further comments on the Afrophonewikis list. --A12n 14:56, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
    Yes isiXhosa is officially recognized as one of the official languages, but no, the SA government is not very active in promoting its use. It is not used in education. Fort Hare e.g. is a strictly English medium university. This is in part a left over of the struggle days. The apartheid government had a very active policy of pushing Afrikaans and to 'justify' its actions it also tried to promote the African languages. Fort Hare e.g. had a Xhosa-English-Afrikaans dictionary project in apartheid times. I think it got closed down in 2000 but I'm not sure. The ANC has always seen the apartheid regime's actions as a divide-and-rule policy, designed to drive a wedge between ethnic groups. The ANC's response has been a de facto pro-English-only stance, the 'official' recognition of the 9 African languages notwithstanding. Even though many of the new black elite in the country are Xhosa speakers, they would frown at writing isiXhosa and prefer English. Blaming this situation on WMF is imho grossly unfair.Jcwf 00:59, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
    The Pan South African Language Board is a governmental body promoting use of Xhosa and other official languages. As I understand it there are indeed Xhosa-medium schools on the lower levels (not at university level, you are right). You are correct that there are some political and sociolinguistic factors that hobble efforts to develop a resource like xh.wikipedia.org, but in the wider picture there is apparently a community of interest. I do see the fact that we are discussing the possible closure of xh.wikipedia.org as a failure to connect with it (taking nothing away from the laudable efforts you have made; one person can only do so much). My point is not to blame WMF for the situation of Xhosa or any particular language, but I am suggesting that by taking an "if you build it they will come" approach, and then if they don't come have only the option of "take it down" is not going to get constructive results for many languages. Discussing closure of Wikipedia for a language as important as Xhosa does represent a failure, and the appropriate response is seeking to understand where the problems are and what can be done. I'm suggesting that the means (and organizational commitment to finding the means) to connect with potential constituencies are not there. The basic point is that for less-resourced languages, with sometimes complex historical and sociolinguistic situations, there is a need for more proactive measures. I understand that WMF itself may not be in the position to undertake those, but it can start by calling a moratorium on deleting projects (I've suggested this before for the International Year of Languages) and then by re-examining the process for closing projects. To begin with, it might help to have a status before a proposal to close could be made - a kind of "needs help" status that entails certain measures and steps before a proposal to close could be made. As it stands, closure seems to be the prelude to deletion. If WMF really is committed to "a freely licensed encyclopaedia in every language of the world," then something more is needed in cases like this.--A12n 13:17, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
    ..there is apparently a community of interest.. ????? Eh, really? Where? I have not seen that interest at all. The problem is that there is no interest.
    ..what can be done..: by whom? Not you or me. AndingomXhosa! If Xhosa speakers choose other priorities -for whatever reasons- we need to respect that, A12n, not patronize them. Reason one: they are entitled to their choices. Reason two: wiki is a voluntary thing.
    ..moratorium on deleting projects..: deleting?? Nobody suggests deleting! Putting back in incubator perhaps until mother tongue speakers want it taken out of the mothballs. Jcwf 19:15, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
    That one may have not seen a community of interest, or more to the point, that a community of active users on xh.wikipedia.org has not yet appeared does not mean that there is not a community of interest in the language. My point is that with 6-7 million speakers, official status, and use in schools, it looks like there is indeed a community of interest in the language. The problem looks like one of lack of connections that would likely lead to a few individuals at least doing more on xh.wikipedia.org. The "closing" of the project (there really should be another term) is part of a sequence that leads next to deletion. The "mothballing" or "incubator" aspect of closing doesn't really guarantee anything except that the clock is ticking towards deletion - or at least that's the way it appears from outside. If not a moratorium on launching this process, then a new approach of outreach to potentially interested groups would be needed. This is not patronizing - of course it's the speakers who have the ultimate interest, but what I'm suggesting is that with a bit more (1) patience and (2) efforts to spread the word, potentially interested Xhosa speakers will have the opportunity to learn about Wikipedia and how they can make use of it, contribute, etc. Experience in various other cases (Wolof, recently Bambara) suggests that for such languages it takes time for the word to get out and activity to start building (or by implication, it takes more effort to get the word out to people). Put another way, the if people don't know about something, or understand how they can be involved, their apparent lack of involvement can't be interpreted as a lack of interest. Closing this project does not seem to be the way to help it or make the connections that haven't been made.--A12n 23:30, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. Oppose closure. – Kaihsu 14:03, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
    I understand that SABC has daily news bulletins in isiXhosa. Why this rush to close the Xhosa Wikipedia? Is there a serious problem about vandalism? If not, just leave it be, and we will see what happens organically. – Kaihsu 09:52, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
    Rush???? It has been around for four years and been inactive all that time. Jcwf 01:37, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  3. Oppose closure. I strongly second user A12n. Offering the infrastructure for the use of Xhosa on the Internet is not patronizing, not even if attempts to involve native speakers have failed so far. Rather than indicating that Xhosa speakers are not interested in building out their culture and language in written form (which seems more of a patronizing assumption), this failure suggests that there is complex awareness raising to be done. I see no harm in upkeeping a Wikipedia meant for an important African language while the best means of turning the tide are explored. Ni'jluuseger 20:44, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
  4. Oppose closure. At present Xhosa is used as the main language of instruction in many primary schools and some secondary schools in South Africa. Xhosa is also studied as a subject in Universities. 22.3% of all African residents residing in South Africa speak Xhosa (ranked 2nd after Zulu). The reason why there are few contributors on Xhosa Wikipedia is not because of the so-called "lack of interest"; rather it is due to the fact that only 1.8% of the Black African households own a computer. [2]. We need to be a bit more patient and look long term - can we be absolutely certain that there will be no Xhosa contributors in one or two years time? This is the native language of Nelson Mandela and how would he feel if he and the others discovered that their own language has been closed before they even had the chance to contribute to it? --Jose77 23:56, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
    I am afraid Madiba would not care that much, Jose77: as I said before: his ANC adopted a pro-English stance. 'Nation building' and such.Jcwf 12:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  5. Oppose I see it has more than 100 articles, even if most were stubs or lists (I know a few now buoyant places that started like that), it is better than nothing. The incubator in a case like this is a hindrance not a help. It is just innecesary bureaucracy as well, a loss of time, patience and resources. Closing = denying until the bureaucratic walls can be painstakingly negotiated or patiently climbed over - 0 º 12:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  6. Oppose closure. Budelberger 10:59, 6 July 2008 (UTC). (Flag of France.svg)
  7. Oppose JensWilkinson 14:07, 29 July 2008 (UTC) Same as many others. I can't see what harm some patience will do. People may start to contribute. Why rush the process?
    FOUR YEARS OF INACTIVITY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSHING!!! Jcwf 01:39, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    Has not it? Sorry I meddle. The shouting caught my ear and made me pay attention. Jcwf, you sound as if you had been waiting every single second of those years waiting to see something edible pop up out of the xh.wikipedia soil. If you did, that is certainly your own business anyway, not xh.wikipedia's. Most closings of projects are just for the convenience of admins, not for the projects' (and their languages') convenience. Imagine the police moving the citizens in certain areas of the city because "they only can protect people there". That would only be acceptable under very extreme conditions and as long as I know Wikimedia is not suffering any extreme situation right now. Why so many people are obssessed here with giving deadlines to projects? It sounds to me like the usual big corporation mentality: if it is not productive, it does not pay. Be it four, eight or twenty five years without inactivity: years of inactivity is not a valid reason to close any Wikimedia project. Whatever the number of years: doing it IS rushing. Imagine this project as a shelter house at 8,000km high in an inhospitable peak: five minutes after you close the place by remote control because nobody used it (except maybe for urinating and making grafitti) an exhausted mountaineer may turn up and freeze to death at the very locked door of the place. You, with your remote control, may even never notice the corpse(s) with broken knuckles (the alternative cabin is too far, too difficult to reach or plainly unknown for many). Can you foresee when a valid or useful user will appear? I still cannot see the point of these closures under arguments like lack of activity or "no community". The only arguments I can accept for closures are things like projects being thoroughly misused for personal or biassed goals, being directly harmful to other projects, having major issues with GDFL or copyrights, economic or financial harship, etc. Is xh.wikipedia and many other projects proposed for closure asking admins for bread and butter every time they visit them? Those thinking they are maybe should consider again their posts as admins in Wikimedia. --83.44.128.168 18:42, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  8. Oppose Malangali 07:31, 30 July 2008 (UTC) Closing a project like this does tremendous harm to the efforts many people are making to kick-start IT development in African languages. Having the Wikipedia in place is important so that we can demonstrate the potential and bring people into the process of localization and Africanization.
  9. Oppose --Guaka 11:50, 30 July 2008 (UTC) From my experience with 3 Wikipedias in African languages I know these projects need a lot of time and attention, but it's worth it. Bambara just reached 200 articles, Fulfulde is still at 30 something, but Wolof has over 700 articles now. That is worth waiting for, even if it takes years. I'm happy to jump in and help clean any African language Wikipedia. Just let me know.
  10. Oppose Oliver Stegen 13:34, 30 July 2008 (UTC) For all the above reasons. Also, in my experience of 12 years living in Africa, mother tongue speakers on this continent are more likely to use a language resource if it's readily available than if they have to "take it out of the mothballs".
  11. --Ilaria - scrivimi 07:28, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  12. OpposeI understand that the proposal is fortunately to return to an incubator stage not deletion but the argument seems to hinge on the lack of a constantly active native user community on Wikipedia, which I believe is not necessary. I have a well-travelled Pakistani engineer friend that often uses English Wikipedia but only learned of the Urdu Wikipedia (that of his native tongue) when I told him about it last week, so even big Wikipedias are dwarfed in public relations by the big ten. Hebrew as an everyday working language was revived by foreign language speakers after not being anyone's mother tongue from at least 0200 - 1850 to becoming a thriving national tongue, so please do not discount the value of contributions by non-native speakers. Yes, it is upsetting that more Xhosa speakers have not yet taken part but remember that good PR is necessary, Googling will not bring up Xhosa Wikipedia, the Internet connectivity of the Xhosa world is developing, and the presence of a real national language is welcoming to newbies. :)--Thecurran 09:48, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
  13. Oppose Xhosa language is popular in South Africa, and there must be some experts whose mother language is Xhosa, so I think Xhosa Wikipedia can thrive. --RekishiEJ 20:05, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  14. Oppose Just give it some time... maybe it's time to "pass the torch" to another Xhosa moderator and promotional administrator. And for those of us metawiki but not-Xhosa speakers, we can chose images from commons to spark some interest and create articles (however that's the responsability of Xhosa-speakers). I start with this 3: WritingSystemsOfTheWorld.svgPleiades_large.jpg Pink_rose_albury_botanical_gardens.jpg--Esteban.barahona 21:12, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
  15. Oppose -- Purodha Blissenbach 18:14, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
  16. Oppose - The economic situation of most Xhosa speakers is bad, although it is improving. A fibre-optic undersea internet cable will be connected to the country in June 2009. I suggest we wait until about 2010 to see if the project has gained any contributions. It would be stupid to lock this thing down now, only to start it up again next year when internet becomes cheap and available to everyone. Adriaan90 09:50, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
  17. Oppose -- It is a bit messy and just needs to be cleaned up and needs more native speakers participating.--86.132.68.175 07:15, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
  18. Oppose Give them time! --Holder 12:48, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
  19. Oppose Has more than enough articles...just give them a little bit of time to get this project up and running! Razorflame 07:23, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  20. Oppose Closing would be counter-productive. Orthorhombic 10:40, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
  21. Oppose Per Adriaan90. Guido den Broeder 11:01, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  22. Oppose Xhosa is a common language in South Africa, and South Africa is surprisingly wealthy compared to the rest of Africa (No racism intended), I say keep, promote, and edit. Dappl 18:41, 3 October 2009 (UTC)