Requests for comment/Large scale language inaccuracies on the Scots Wikipedia

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Rationale[edit]

Originally this topic was opened with the focus on the actions of mainly one user on the Scots Wikipedia. His actions, albeit well-intentioned, nonetheless exposed a large vulnerability not just in the Scots Wiki, but small language Wikis in general. The conversation that followed quickly turned to the topic of the fate of the Wiki itself: How to best fix the damage that had been done, to what extent pruning is preferable to fixing, is the project even salvageable? And how can this sort of thing be prevented in the future? This conversation is currently still on-going and probably will be for a while. In large part as a result of the mainstream coverage this issue generated, several native Scots speakers have stepped up to the task to help fix and moderate the Wiki.

More broadly though, what happened raises questions about other small language Wikis. There are 300+ public Wikis, of which the vast majority are tiny, that might suffer from similar problems that come with having little to no oversight. If you’re someone who doesn’t understand the language a particular Wiki is written in, it’s impossible to tell for yourself. The idea has been raised to start a “Small Wiki Audit”, which would have people fluent in one of these languages assess the quality of the articles written there. This too is still a work in progress. --ReneeWrites (talk) 13:40, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Previous rationale

Wiki user AmaryllisGardener has made a significant number of contributions on Wikipedia overall, of which the vast majority were done on the Scots Wikipedia. There he contributed over 27,000 articles, making up close to half of the total number of articles on that Wiki altogether.

The problem is that none of these articles were written in Scots. AmaryllisGardener does not know the language, as seen in for instance this exchange. Despite this he is treated as somewhat of an authority on the language, judging by the contributions on his talk page by people who don't know the language either.

However, the bigger problem is the tens of thousands of articles and edits that were done in an endagered language. The articles use US-en grammar instead of Scots grammar, and the English words are replaced with a Scottish translation (some of which were not correct, either). For words where the author couldn't find a Scottish equivalent, either English was used instead, or a new word was made up altogether (like "pheesicist", although in Amaryllis's defense, he did not create that word, another user who doesn't speak Scots did).

Huge parts of the Scots Wikipedia can not function as a resource because of this, and do active harm to the language it pretends to be written in. Scots is a struggling language, and having it replaced with the dressed-up skeleton of another language is cultural vandalism at an unprecedented scale.

For more discussion and commentary, see this thread on Reddit.

--ReneeWrites (talk) 21:18, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]


Wikimedia UK statement, 26 August:

Daria Cybulska, director of programmes and evaluation at Wikimedia UK said: “We do not own or control the Scots-language Wikipedia, which as with all parts of the Wiki community, is edited and managed by volunteers.

“We are aware of the concerns that have emerged about the content of the Scots-language Wikipedia and are in touch with the Wikimedia Foundation and volunteer editor community to offer support in helping to ensure that these issues are addressed.

“We are exploring ways of supporting the existing Scots Wikipedia editor community, by offering help with editing training for newcomers, facilitating partnerships with authoritative language organisations and organising editing events to harness current interest and energy.” from The Guardian



Media Coverage

Discussion[edit]

Note oan aw proposals[edit]

  • Scots: Thar is a mony guid ideas in som o the proposals, but can a jist ask that nae muckle chynges/auto-rollbacks are put in place wioot discussion wi native spikkers (e.g. oan https://sco.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Mercat_Cross)?
  • English: There is a lot of good ideas in the above proposals, but can I ask that no big changes or auto-rollbacks are actioned without discussion with native speakers of Scots? 2A02:C7F:8ECF:9900:7841:7B21:B189:DB7C 07:47, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]



I've tried to collate links to the various discussions all over the place:

This is most assuredly, not vandalism. Improper, perhaps, but not vandalism. We don't assume that people are acting in bad faith just because someone on Reddit said so. Let's wait a week or two for this to blow over and then we'll discuss it. Discussing it now is going to attract too much attention from trolls. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 21:42, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe "vandalism" isn't quite the correct term, as the damage may not be intentional, but I think anyone would has any familiarity with Scots would agree that this is deleterious. I hope there is serious and reasoned discussion about this, and "well, it was in good faith" isn't used as an excuse. 2A01:4B00:87FF:9B00:BD54:47DE:E785:A169 21:47, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Unintentional vandalism is still vandalism. Meaning well and causing harm is still vandalism. "Waiting for it to blow over" is a cop-out. The fundamental weaknesses of Wikipedia are bare to people and pretending it's not a big deal & hoping the negative attention just goes away is just cowardice. 68.188.207.241
You're both missing my point. There does need to be a serious and reasoned discussion, but this discussion isn't it. Nothing productive will come from an accusatory discussion created as a reaction to a Reddit post aimed at discrediting an editor. It's worth keeping in mind, no one editor can ever ruin a project. Anyone could have reverted their edits at any point (assuming they were improper; I am offering no opinion on whether they were), but they didn't. The issue here isn't their edits, it's lack of participation on the Scots Wikipedia in general. All the people on r/Scotland are just finding out about this now because they have likely never been on the Scots Wikipedia in the first place, and have probably never even heard about it until now. Let's close this discussion, wait a bit, and start it back up. That's all I'm asking for. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 22:02, 25 August 2020 (UTC) + edit in response to following comment[reply]
Seems a bit disingenuous to suggest anyone could just go ahead and revert the main administrator of a wiki like it was any other reversion. (edit: actually after reading more of this RFC, it seems that when that did happen it'd just get double reverted) TheSeer (talk) 06:27, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The language is called Scots. The edits were made to the Scots Wikipedia. --73.104.197.78 22:10, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry about that, fixed it. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 22:12, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The issue here isn't their edits, it's lack of participation on the Scots Wikipedia in general - Both things can be true at the same time. And one user's influence on a Wiki that is actively being monitored by various people is indeed limited, but this person practically had free reign over the project over the course of almost a decade, adding an average of 9 articles a day, and acted as the main active administrator since 2013. This is not something any one person can just go and fix; assuming native/fluent Scots speakers take an interest in the Scots Wiki, it would still take a group of a dozen or so people months if not years to clean up. --ReneeWrites (talk) 22:32, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
If everything you just said is correct, than this user is just a symptom, and this discussion isn't going to fix the core issue. At risk of sounding trite, I'd like to remind everyone that I am not advocating for hoping the negative attention just goes away. What I am advocating for is a useful and productive discussion that will analyze the present condition of scowiki, determine what can be done to fix it, and attempt to understand whether this is a systemic problem that could potentially already be affecting other wikis. That's not what this discussion is. Considering, however, that this problem only came about because Scots' similarity to English allowed it to be edited by a non-speaker, I don't think we are looking at a systemic issue that can affect wikis that are written in a more distinct language. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 22:41, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There are other languages pairs that are similar to each other - Bokmål Norsk and Nynorsk, for example, although they're both more heavily edited than the Scots wiki - so those could be concerns. Identifying them and fixing them would be no easy feat. Gbear605 (talk) 22:46, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Taking stats from the discussion on /r/linguistics, there are 28 wikis with 1000+ users active in the past month. English is obviously the largest, with the rest being largely the most popular European or Asian languages (with a few surprises) -- but then, there are 313 languages represented in the Wikimedia community, which leaves 285 wikis just sort of pottering along. I'm starting to wonder if some of these wikis shouldn't be pruned a little by a careful hand. I don't mean deletion, I mean someone ought to at least check that they're doing alright. (There's plenty of amateur linguists out there who might be willing to highlight issues, at the very least. Fixing any problems is almost secondary, I feel, to knowing that they're there.) RexSueciae (talk) 22:51, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Having an audit of small wikis to check for issues like this sounds like a splendid idea to me. PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:57, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Luckily, that seems to actually exist, with the Small Wiki Monitoring Team (although they check more for blatant vandalism than the linguistic accuracy of articles -- perhaps they could take on additional duties?). RexSueciae (talk) 22:59, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Unlikely, as the members of that team don't have the language skills for it. The SWMT is a very small group of globally-active editors across Wikimedia; you aren't going to find language experts there that aren't already editing projects in the language that they speak. – Ajraddatz (talk) 23:21, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@RexSueciae and Ajraddatz: I created the page small wiki audit, let's continue this discussion on the talk page there. PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:28, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Just FYI the editor in question is a part of SWMT..., so whatever the existing model probably needs tweakin' TheSeer (talk) 06:29, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'll just say, this is as much vandalism as the time that old woman decided to "repair" that fresco in Spain without the skill to do so. Undertaking a delicate task with no experience, skill, or ability to do it, thereby causing damage, is an act of vandalism, whether you were well-intentioned or not. SecretName101 (talk) 23:36, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Honestly, I don't mind if you revert all of my edits, delete my articles, and ban me from the wiki for good. I've already found out that my "contributions" have angered countless people, and to me that's all the devastation I can be given, after years of my thinking I was doing good (and yes, obsessively editing, I have OCD). I was only a 12-year-old kid when I started, and sometimes when you start something young, you can't see that the habit you've developed is unhealthy and unhelpful as you get older. I don't care about defending myself, I only want to stop being harassed on my social medias (and to stop my other friends who have nothing to do with the wiki from being harassed as well). Whether peace can by scowiki being kept like it is or extensively reformed to wipe my influence from it makes no difference to me now that I know that I've done no good anyway. --AmaryllisGardener talk 21:55, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@AmaryllisGardener: Don't be too harsh, pal. I mean, yes, your misguided actions have upset a lot of people, but you've put a lot of effort in here, so you've clearly got dedication and some skills here which you could put to good use elsewhere. Clearly you're a native English speaker, why not contribute to English Wikipedia? I'd also encourage you to come and visit Scotland, spend as much time here as you can and speak with some real Scottish folk so you can further your appreciation of the country and the way we speak. Without sounding like a tourist board advertisement, you'll find a beautiful country with a lot of friendly people.
@AmaryllisGardener: Frankly, your response is off-putting. I have seen too many people in other communities do something controversial then, when confronted with their actions, attempt to deflect the conversation by accusing unknown persons of harassing them in order to gain sympathy (and distract from the criticism). I do not believe for a second that you are being "harassed on [your] social medias [sic]" in the short time since this issue came to light, nor that anyone is attempting to harass your friends, particularly since Wikipedia accounts are rarely connected to other social media. (I'm not saying it's unknown, plenty of people include enough identifying information in their wiki profiles for people to make an educated guess, but I sincerely doubt that someone took the trouble of not just tracking you down, but tracking down your friends, in this short length of time, for...what? To yell at you when they could just as easily do so on the wiki? It took awhile for this Request for Comments to be set up, you think that elite trolls managed to track you down even sooner?) I am also deeply suspicious of anyone who, in their not-an-apology statement, hides behind mental health as both an explanation and an excuse. Really, excuses are a large part of what you just posted; you were twelve, you meant well, you developed a habit that became an obsession. And you are no doubt distressed at being publicly called out, which is entirely natural, but you have yet to take responsibility.
For my part, I don't know what to say. I don't feel like you were malicious, but it's clear that someone ought to go over the Scots wiki and double-check most of the pages. The degree of potential misinformation (unprecedented, I think, in wiki history) is something I feel that Wikimedia should remedy through professional help. Maybe hiring freelance copyeditors who are fluent in the language -- but then, Scots is not necessarily standardized, there are many dialects, and it may be that some people are more towards braid Scots or not, as the case may be. Now that I think about it, other languages might need to be reviewed as well, particularly ones with relatively few native speakers or histories of marginalization.
Finally, I feel I should reiterate what was said elsewhere, but I say it again: the fact that the Scots language is so close to English has led to pages from the Scots wiki being used for entertainment value by English-speaking internet users, who laugh at its outlandish vocabulary -- all the while not realizing that so much of its quirky characteristics, its funny words and phrases so close yet so different from standard English, were straight-up invented by a non-native speaker. It's like discovering that a whole category of articles on Wikipedia were based on stereotype and imagination, and now the subjects of those articles have become aware of the imposture (and deeply offended).
I do not support the closing of this discussion until there is a community consensus on how to proceed, to fix the issues of Scots Wikipedia and potentially other vulnerable wikis. Vandalism, disruptive editing, or whatever, as long as we're still talking about where we go from here. RexSueciae (talk) 22:20, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Now that I think of it, look on the bright side -- you've not "done no good," you've exposed a vulnerability (possibly systemic) that Wikimedia needs to do something about. And I do think that hiring fluent copyeditors to go through and correct words / grammar is appealing in its directness (or, failing that, put out advertising or social media outreach to Scots-speaking communities, see if they can join as volunteers, since I know that paying for wiki articles is a dangerous path to walk). RexSueciae (talk) 22:24, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@RexSueciae: Actually his twitter name was the same as his wiki name, so it’s not like it would be difficult all I did was Google it. He’s since deleted his Twitter, so perhaps there’s some truth to his words. I wouldn’t put it past people thinking they’re well meaning to try to message him the harm he’s doing. Unfortunately when that starts coming from dozens of people at once it can certainly feel like harassment.
@RexSueciae: Given that this issue seems to have first come to light on a 4chan thread that contained a lot of vitriol, AmaryllisGardener's claims of harassment seem plausible. --Acblue2 (talk) 03:05, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Acblue2: If they're anything like this.. Yeah. –MJLTalk 03:43, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I mean no offense, but this reads like it's from someone new to the internet. Absolutely yes, people go through the trouble of tracking people down to yell at them—it happens all the time. There is no shortage of trolls and downright mean people online. In the hours since the original reveal, this has gone viral on Reddit, and made the rounds on Twitter, 4chan, and even some tech news sites. I've seen plenty of hurtful comments in public about this, I don't doubt for a minute they would make it to the DMs as well. ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 03:41, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
SuperHamster, out of curiosity, have you seen any news sites talk about this other than Gizmodo and Vice? I'm asking since we're trying to determine if this should be mentioned in the English Wikipedia article about the Scots Wikipedia, but I am having trouble finding reliable sources for it. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 13:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Puzzledvegetable Made it to Russian news as well, not sure if that counts. Anton.akhmerov (talk) 23:08, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks. I made that comment earlier in the day before it was widely reported on by the media. The issue has since been resolved. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 23:11, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I retract my comments concerning that particular subject. RexSueciae (talk) 04:19, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@AmaryllisGardener: I have seen other Wiki users comment on your user page that your Scots isn't right before this discussion blew up. You said about yourself that you are not a fluent speaker. I can't imagine that in a decade, you've never had the thought that you might be doing something wrong and "translating" English articles word for word with the help of online Scots translators would be a good thing and you never noticed any negative feedback. I have read Reddit comments saying that when people tried to correct those articles to proper Scots, it would be reverted, and I believe those comments. In any case, the impact of this has been extremely damaging, I can attest to myself that I first checked out the Scots Wiki a few years ago out of curiosity and concluding that Scots is just weirdly-spelled English, while when watching videos on Youtube native speakers did use a lot of different vocabulary from English. I don't agree with an earlier user to pause this discussion for a few weeks, because then it's just forgotten about again and nothing happens. This needs urgent action. --Glennznl (talk) 22:58, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@AmaryllisGardener: Not sure if you'll see this, but I hope that this doesn't spoil your clear passion for this language. I think that while the reaction you have seen here does obviously speak to the magnitude of the problem that has been created, it also speaks to the incredible dedication and volume of work that you did over several years. I think that if you took the time to truly study the Scots language and proper translation, you could become a very prolific editor in the future, and make a real contribution to the language. Learn from the mistakes you have made, but please don't let them make you lose your passion for the language and the culture that you clearly do care about to a large degree. --NerdOctopus (talk) 18:19, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I move to close this as clearly not vandalism. When the most prolific editor on a wiki is being blamed for the failings of a wiki, we have to draw the line. There are fixes available with additional users, not for this user to be brought here for creating most of a wiki - even if it needs better style guides. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 21:59, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • I don't think this is a situation where 'fixes' are going to work. Like if you had a house built and it turns out the builders had used loaves of bread painted grey instead of stone to build it, you'd need to start again. The problem isn't that there are 'mistakes' or whatever that needs fixing, a good 1/3 of the wiki at least is written in a made-up caricature of Scots. If I added 20,000 articles to French wikipedia that were just in English but with "le" before a few words and "alors" randomly inserted in the middle of phrases, I'm sure nobody would advocate for 'fixing' them.
    • You're right that I shouldn't have used the phrase vandalism to describe this. I whole-heartedly believe that Amaryllis operated in good faith, but this is still a discussion that I believe is worth having. Is it possible to rename this page? Edit: it is. ReneeWrites (talk) 22:06, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • I actually think disruptive editing is an even worse description of this - it's hardly disruptive to be doing something for so many years without issue. I think this should really be a discussion on what the issues are and how we might market for those to who might be able to fix. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 22:15, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • There's a difference between "there isn't an issue" and "nobody has addressed the issue". --ReneeWrites (talk) 22:32, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • (edit conflict) I have trouble understanding your point. Would creating hoax articles not be disruptive as long as nobody noticed for a decade? If we are going to need to coordinate the deletion of tens of thousands of articles for a wiki that lacks a community that can do that itself, Meta is the place to start. Emufarmers (talk) 22:38, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
          • Agree with both of the above. The time for discussion is now, not two weeks from now when even fewer potentially interested Scots speakers are here to see it. Regardless of good faith, the effect of this kind of long term low quality editing is a chilling effect on attracting new editors to the Scots project, as attested by multiple editors above. I think it's important to make a decisive move here to restore faith in the community and trust in the project, or else the Scots project will likely languish forever. Axem Titanium (talk) 23:15, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
            • The Scots project has languished for the past two decades, and I imagine it will continue to do so into the future. I agree we should discuss what can be done to improve the current situation there, but there is also the broader policy discussion to be had over what to do with small-language Wikipedias (and associated projects). I dare say any project with under 10 regular editors who are native speakers has issues, and many with more than that do also. – Ajraddatz (talk) 23:19, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
              • I can't deny that, but surely we should be removing all possible barriers that might be in the way of that changing, right? I can't imagine feeling motivated to improve a Wikipedia in my language if what's there is so comically and offensively bad that the effort seems daunting and hopeless. Consider any prospective editor who might want to start editing now, as has been called for elsewhere on this page. Why should they feel motivated to leap into it if their first task is to clean up someone else's ten year long mess? I think vaguely gesturing at the problem and saying "well fix it" would be a bad outcome of this discussion. Something stronger and more affirmative is in order. Axem Titanium (talk) 23:45, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
                • Is that necessarily how it works? About half of my job is writing and editing what other people have written, and it's a hell of a lot easier to fix errors in something (even significant errors) than write everything from scratch. I don't know what the right answer here is, or if there even is one, but the trade-off we often have on small language projects is we either have some content with problems (national bias, selective topics, this, etc.) or we just don't have any content. – Ajraddatz (talk) 23:51, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Ajraddatz and Axem Titanium: Okay, I have an idea. We 'hide' the offending content using "<!-- -->" non-editors can't see it. Leave a notice on the article stating something to the effect of 'This article was written by a non-speaker of Scots and has significant word, grammar and format issues. Any editor may attempt to fix the original text in the editor or is allowed to start over from scratch, if they'd prefer.' This way the offending/wrong text is removed from public view, but retained for corrective edits; however, we've also granted authorization to strength up trash the original text and redo it from scratch if the editor making corrections deems it easier or preferable for that article.--The Navigators (talk) 01:59, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Are there any native Scots-speaking volunteers who are interested in contributing to scowiki? I haven't seen any come forward yet in all of these discussions. IMO, it would be best to allow the local community to decide how to proceed with the situation, but it seems there isn't any community except for a handful of non-Scots-speaking volunteers. PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:20, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • Had to make an account to respond since I've never edited wiki articles before, but I grew up with a lot of scots being spoken and read a lot of scots language literature - I wouldn't say I'm fluent but close enough with a dictionary. A big part of my apprehension in calling myself fluent is lack of contact with it as a written language in a long time, and achieving a quality scots wikipedia is something I can wholeheartedly get behind. I agree wholeheartedly with everything Soothrhins has said in the mercat cross forum about quality over quantity and trying to remove this bastardised version of scots and english is the best way to get to that level of quality in my mind. (talk) 13:15, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
You are bang on the money. I do a little bit of patrolling on scowiki, if there is any native speakers, I'm yet to come across them.Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 22:22, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Canny link tae Facebook on here, but search fir 'Scots Wikipedia editors' group (setup the day)2A02:C7F:8ECF:9900:619D:688D:F8AA:B8CC 23:19, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The IP user who focused on Scottish nobility is fluent. –MJLTalk 01:04, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Haven't had time to read this discussion fully, but I've been looking into this since it broke a few hours ago. These edits are clearly not vandalism. They may be subpar by pretty much any standard, but they were not in bad faith. For the moment, I think the most productive course is to discuss and determine (1) how to fix the disruption caused by the editor and (2) appropriate steps to prevent it from happening again. I don't want to impose on the Scots Wikipedia, but the community should give serious thought as to whether this administrator has sufficient trust to retain the tools or editing privileges. Wugapodes (talk) 02:25, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

This incident is now the subject of media coverage [1] --Mocha2007 (talk) 03:48, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Oh look, I was quoted in that.. –MJLTalk 03:54, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • What you seem to have at the moment is a conlang. It is not Scots: it is a language constructed as a group project which uses American English, online Scots dictionaries, and American impressions of Scottish accents. Calling it Scots is inappropriate, as it is not. Klingon is a constructed language which uses Dutch as one of its bases and which uses re-ordering of Dutch words and largely American English grammar. Does this mean Dutch speakers understand Klingons? No, to them it is as hard to understand as it is for American English speakers. It is a distinct, constructed, language. If you want to keep the Scots Wikipedia, revert it back to before this user started making edits. If you want to keep the Wikipedia as is, then ask the editor to make up a name for his constructed language, and appropriately rename the Wikipedia. There is a Klingon Wikipedia which was locked in 2005, and which is maintained off site. The actual Scots Wikipedia stopped when this editor (and others) started replacing it with a constructed language which bears no semblance to Scots. You are not losing a Scots Wikipedia by reverting, but gaining one. If you want to maintain the current constructed language Wikipedia, rename it. Preferably in a way that seems less racist to native speakers who find this offensive. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Newforthisdiscussion (talk) 04:57, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • It's worth taking a look at what Soothrhins, a native Scots speaker, had to say on the community discussion forum: sco:Wikipedia:Mercat_Cross#Gaun_Forrit. PiRSquared17 (talk) 07:45, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • A 'Scots wikipedia editors' group been started on Facebook as well, they've got an editathon organised for 30/31 August. Imperative to get this discussion of how to fix it to square with what native editors are doing. Soothrhins (talk) 08:18, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • The situation maybe has similarities with the CXT auto-translation issue on en.wiki in 2016-17? A special CSD X2 was used to delete various articles, but some draftification consequences are still being tidied 3 years later. AllyD (talk) 10:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • As a Scottish (mostly former) enwiki editor, I'm going to chime in. There are a lot of conflicting problems here. I 100% think something drastic ought to be done, whether hiding much of the content from non-editors, or deleting much of the content. I'd fully support a project to improve certain articles - certainly ones that are relevant to Scotland. I think this could become a really nice little wiki - but it ought to be scaled down in scope. Many people aren't deletionists, but scowiki doesn't really need thousands of stubs about every random topic under the sun. A focus on Scottish topics would be nice. A big problem is, Scotland is a fairly small country, Scots is a largely spoken language (without the same level of written history that a huge language like English has to help with standardising spelling and grammar), and most people who speak Scots aren't confident in their ability to edit scowiki. My father not only spoke Scots but wrote fiction in it, and I'm not confident I could do a good enough job. I think a bit of the Dunning-Kruger effect was happening here - the non-Scots speakers who so prolifically edited the site didn't realise exactly how bad at Scots they were, and therefore had a lot more confidence. And there's a problem with "we need more Scots speakers to tidy it up, that's all!" Why? Because the user responsible for most of this mess was an exceptionally prolific editor. Fixing every single edit would be a monumental task - and people are expecting Scots-speakers to do a helluva lot of free labour to fix mistakes they did not make, didn't expect anyone to make, and didn't know people were making (I personally never did so much as look past the frontpage of scowiki - if I even remembered its existence). There are definitely people willing to help, including myself, though it would be gnomish tasks for the most part on my end. But I think those helping out should be met halfway. Fixing the entire wiki as it is now would take such a long time that I can only believe some deletions are necessary. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 14:59, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Has the Wikimedia Foundation released an official statement about this yet, and if not, does anyone know if they intend to? --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 16:37, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Wikimedia UK's Director of Programmes and Evaluation is quoted in The Guardian article published in the past hour: [2]. AllyD (talk) 16:42, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Can I ask a genuine question? Is this wiki supposed to be written in Scots Gaelic (a Gaidhlig) or some other version of Scots? I ask because I have not seen a single sentence on any page on this wiki written in Scots Gaelic. I am an Irish speaker (and studied that language to Uni level) and I spent one semester studying a Gaidlig in University. I know that the two languages are very similar and they only split into separate dialects about 1500 years ago. I can read Scots Gaelic and identify words that are shared by both languages, and a similar grammar structure. I'm not fluent, but I can identify the language. It's really distressing to see well meaning people who have no understanding of these languages talk about how they propose this wiki be fixed. If this wiki is supposed to be in Scots Gaelic, can someone point me to one page on that is written in that language? If not, please start over. -- aggie

Scale of the problem[edit]

Is anyone able to work out the number of articles which have been created by AG and then not edited by anyone else? It seems that if you use the random page feature there's a good chance you'll land on one which meets that criteria. If warnings or deletions are going to occur, I think those should be a priority.
Also, I saw someone on Twitter mention how AG's talk page showed "no indication he has ignored criticism from native speakers." However I have found things like: https://sco.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collogue:Fitbaw where AG ignores an Edinburgh IP in favour of the online dictionary. So is there a way to search for all of AG's edits on article talk pages (excluding those which are page creations) to try and find similar discussions? Boothy m (talk) 11:08, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There's also the talk page on Mount Everest, where he butted heads with Scots speakers. Wrt your question: while you can filter out a user's contributions to show those on talk pages alone, I don't know how to do that excluding talk pages of articles made by that user. --ReneeWrites (talk) 11:41, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
That was an interesting discussion, with a degree of incomprehension and wielding of authorities. "I mey nae speak the baist Scots..." And in terms of process, taking it to an RfC was the right action, but its minimal participation is also indicative of the problem here and now. AllyD (talk) 12:08, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Wow, if I didn't know any better then you'd think he was a fluent speaker living in Scotland! Interesting that AG linked to a category of Scots users instead of a single editor, very vague.
I know you can also filter to only show those edits which are talk page creations, but not the opposite which is what we need. Boothy m (talk) 13:00, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
It's extraordinarily concerning that so many things, like using a crude word for mountain, failed to raise the right alarms to stop most of this damage before it happened. SecretName101 (talk) 23:09, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Randomly looking through AG's contributions, there are a lot of pages where he is the only contributor. Randomly looking through random pages there are a lot of pages where he is a major contributor. User My hat stinks has been marking pages as {{Fixscots}}, which I guess is helpful, or maybe not. There might be an argument for automatically rolling back all contributions where there has no been no other contributions since - which would totally wipe out some pages, but probably not pages that matter. Any page that really does matter should have other contributors. BenAveling (talk) 13:10, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Quantifying the scale of issues on the wiki I think is really important at this stage (and beyond my capabilities I'm afraid. As the issue is broader than one user, but non-native Scots having greater confidence in native Scots. How many articles are stubs? How many have {{fixscots}}? How many articles are by users with self declared low level of scots (e.g. sco:3)? Answers to these would make it clearer on the correct course of action re: bots/rollback/manual review/only saving the best etc Soothrhins (talk) 14:49, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I can't say how many pages are AG's alone but some stats are indicative. sco.wiki has (to the nearest hundred)
57,900 content pages
210,000 pages
772,200 page edits
145 active users in the last 30 days.
AG's edit counter shows
94,500 pages created across all sco.wiki namespaces
166,700 live edits
The breakdown of pages created by AG shows
78,900 pages created excluding redirects, of which
27,700 pages in mainspace
15,000 categories
12,100 templates
1,100 modules
so possibly, to account for the discrepancy,
15,600 redirects across namespaces.
This suggests to me that
  • Over 75% of edits were not made by AG and most of those will be GF.
  • Nearly 50% of mainspace pages were created by AG and it’s likely that most of them have only been edited by AG. If all those were deleted, many redirects would be orphans.
Sampling suggests many of AG’s 12,100 templates have only been edited by AG. Those include minor (e.g. Template:Bundesautobahn 4 route map), infobox, housekeeping and other templates. Some are unused, other used many times. Again, if all AG’s sole-editor mainspace pages were deleted, more templates might be orphaned.
Sampling suggests AG didn't contribute much to resources such as sco:Wikipedia:Keepin a caum souch whan the editin gets hot, sco:Wikipedia:Whit Wikipedia isna and others at sco:Wikipedia:Commonty Yett. (Even so, to this non-Scots-speaker, their text looks very like English with a Scots accent, with identical word order. I expected more marked differences in phrasing and syntax.) 92.6.149.254 18:19, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Scots speaker chiming in - the first one is gibberish, the second contains a misspelling of a very common Scots word ("isnae"). This sort of thing is why I think the whole thing should be deleted. C Ci? 18:29, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I sympathise, especially after doing some more digging. Looking at the user pages of other major contributors to articles, policy pages and guidance, I'm struck by how few are currently Scots speakers and how many have never been proficient in Scots. 92.6.149.254 19:59, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
User MJL helpfully linked to the the request to open Scots Wiki. The lead proposer was "a 16-year-old uncircumcised male from Dunedin in New Zealand" who "..can translate Scots because of its similarity to English"! Of the ten proposers, only one even claims to be a native speaker. We need to stop this kind of thing from happening again. Blythwood (talk) 21:50, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Worth making a section to collect evidence on what went wrong? It's clear that the proposers at the request for new languages were woefully unprepared to moderate a wiki, and the user profiles I posted yesterday show that the wiki clearly had an issue with well intentioned but utterly ignorant editors making edits in a language they didn't speak from a very young age.192.76.8.79 22:08, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]


I really don't see any benefit to be gained from the way this discussion was opened. This is a good faith, utterly committed, but completely misguided young person. He or she started editing at 12 years old. The focus should be completely on rescuing Scots Wikipedia, to the exclusion of any discussion on the users behavior or motives as they are and will remain irrelevant from this point forward. Nathan T 17:29, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with most of what you've said, but I'm not sure it's 100% cut and dry like this. To rescue Scots Wikipedia, one must responsibly determine an outcome for its most prolific editor and its main administrator. It seems clear at this point that the user in question should be neither. TCN7JM 17:52, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Clearly this whole debacle has drawn some much-needed attention to the state of the Scots Wikipedia. The main discussion needs to be on what happens next. Witchofthewoods (talk)10:20, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Some perhaps other relevant statistics via Wikidata queries:

  • Total number of articles linked to Wikidata items (excluding templates and categories): 58121
  • Total number that have sitelinks ONLY to sco.wikipedia.org and not to anything else: 1086 - spotchecking this, many of these seem to be of rather dubious quality or usefulness to this wikipedia - sco:Leonardo da Vinci, Pichilemu for example?
  • Total number that appear to be about Scottish subjects (people, places, other things identified as in or from Scotland): 368

The last query can be examined here. That seems a very manageable number for human cleanup; the 1086 maybe not too bad for manual checking also. ArthurPSmith (talk) 21:28, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

That query only lists some articles about lochs or people, and still omits the vast majority of the pages in the deep category structures Geografie o Scotland and Scots fowk, let alone the pages in the other categories in Scotland, all of which have at least a 50% chance of requiring deletion or rewriting due to not being in Scots. 92.6.149.254 22:21, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I did try random page, and sure enough on the first try there was a stub article for which they were the sole editor. This is all so obscene. SecretName101 (talk) 23:01, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Use a bot to list the pseudo-Scots articles[edit]

Though I do not know Scots, I am a linguist (my user page), and I have been editing Wikipedia, mostly English, for just short of fifteen years; so this issue is of concern to me.

I looked at the History of a couple of random pages. The second one I hit, Jacques Friedel, was created 31 August 2014 (1,369 bytes) by TDKR Chicago 101, whose username is immediately suspect for knowledge of Scots. From their user page:

[languages]: fr-1
Hi im TDKR Chicago and I live in Chicago. And I like to create pages, so that people may learn about people in scots and to have the same amount of biographies than the English Wikipedia.
About
Hi! My name is Lenin. I was born on October 1 in Chicago, Illinois. I was raised here in Chicago. [...] Hi! I'm not use to the Scots Wikipedia, but I will mostly create articles about people. My main language is Simple English.

(Clearly unqualified to edit sco.wiki, and not very correct in English either.)

The only subsequent edits have been four, all by Amaryllis during March 2017 - March 2018: ten individual one-word changes.

It seems clear that a bot could scan all articles for such levels of inadequacy and list them, perhaps in a new "Category: Large scale language inaccuracies", and if desired sequester them in some way, perhaps literally or perhaps by The Navigators' proposal above or something similar:

Okay, I have an idea. We 'hide' the offending content using "<!-- -->" [so] non-editors can't see it. Leave a notice on the article stating something to the effect of 'This article was written by a non-speaker of Scots and has significant word, grammar and format issues. Any editor may attempt to fix the original text in the editor or is allowed to start over from scratch, if they'd prefer.'

--Thnidu (talk) 16:25, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Damage to other projects[edit]

The user contributed to many other wikis, including the Scots Wiktionary in Incubator, many entries adding translations for Scots on English Wiktionary and has almost as many edits on Wikidata as on Scots Wikipedia of which (almost) all relate to Scots translations.

He also has notable number of contributions to Norfolk-Pitcairn, Kapampangan, and Novial Wikipedias.

Please check Special:CentralAuth/AmaryllisGardener for potential vandalism on any projects in languages you know. Tracerneo (talk) 15:58, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • I brought up the Wikidata problem, and the knock-on effect that this is having on WWW sites that scrape Wikidata, on Hacker News. One thing that has already come out of that is that the title and Wikidata entry for even sco:Laird's Prayer are suspect. Yes "Laird's Prayer" (landowner's prayer) is what en:wikt:Lord's Prayer is telling the world to be the Scots translation. Jonathan de Boyne Pollard (talk) 05:47, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Though I have no involvement in Christianity since Sunday School 50 odd years, so lack detailed knowledge here, this example may not be so far wrong. A quick Google search finds mention of William Lorimer's translation as "The Laird's Prayer", though William Wye Smith's earlier translation seems to be headlined as "The Lord's Prayer". AllyD (talk) 06:32, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • This indicates that article titling may be particularly important, needing safeguarded to avoid polluting other data services. Given the manifest danger of home-brewed terminology (as per my comment in Puckle Proposal p.3 below), I am thinking there should be a basic requirement that any sco.wiki article title must itself have at least one reliable 3rd party source to demonstrate its prior use in Scots? Maybe a new Puckle Proposal is needed for this. AllyD (talk) 06:39, 28 August 2020 (UTC) Now added as Puckle Proposal #p.10_Article_title_must_demonstrably_follow_an_existing_Scots_usage. AllyD (talk) 07:04, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I sampled Wikidata for some cases where sco.wiki and en.wiki have different names for a geographical location. The doubling of the "c" in the first word of sco:Macchu Piccu may be a simple misspelling or may be an attempt to distinguish from a Scots "ch" - but if the latter, is there prior evidence for such a spelling or is the Scots language being constructed in that edit? Then I noticed sco:Cammuskenneth (and its Abbey); that spelling may transliterate the Gaelic more accurately than the English Cambuskenneth but is there evidence for its actual use? The Dictionary of the Scots Language gives multiple examples for Cambuskenneth, both before and after 1700 but returns a blank for Cammuskenneth. So again, is the language been constructed here (also replicated by AG into en.wiki) or is there reliable evidence of this use? I will be flagging the en.wiki for a citation, so if anyone knows better please edit there. (Similar for other Cambus- places, though sco.wiki has no article on the village of that name.) AllyD (talk) 05:54, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Another location example: AG created sco:Kirkcoubrie (which spelling is also replicated onto sco:Kirkcoubrieshire etc.). The DSL has long-term examples for Kirkcudbrightshire and a basic listing for Kirkcudbright, but none at all for these sco.wiki terms. Unless someone can find actual usage references, these again appear to be construction of the language on phonetic lines, which have then percolated through to Wikidata etc.? AllyD (talk) 08:11, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

AmaryllisGardener was evidently not alone in doing this[edit]

While the most prolific offender, it would seem that AmaryllisGardener was not alone in doing this.

Look at some of those on on this list. Some of them raise alarms to me as potentially also ill-equipped in their familiarity with scots. The list is outdated, but gives an idea of who of the prolific editors have been.

I'm so sorry to throw anyone under the bus here, I debated whether to name names myself, and came to the conclusion that it is needed for other potentially questionable editors to be identified for the sake of repairing the Wiki.

On their scots user page @Varlaam: identifies their familiarity with Scots as "sco-2", the same self-identified familiarity AmaryllisGardener gave themselves. This is a low level of familiarity, yet Varlam has made 7,804 edits.

On their scots user page @Avicennasis: also identifies their familiarity with Scots as "sco-2". Yet, they have made 6,816 edits.

On their scots user page @Bazza: also identifies their familiarity with Scots as "sco-2". Yet, they have made 1,784 edits.

On their scots user page @Mendor: also identifies their familiarity with Scots as "sco-2". Yet, they have made 1,816 edits.

On their scots user page @Nou Uiserr: identifies their familiarity with Scots even lower, at "sco-1". Yet, they have made 1,907 edits.

@Creol: (who On their scots user page describes their skills of scottish as lacking, but also claims their edits are mostly administrative and maintenance-based) has made 1,320 edits.

@TDKR Chicago 101: (who I know has done some tremendous work on English wikipedia, and I particularly doubt any malicious intent from) is from Chicago, and I question whether they have a strong understanding of Scots either. Yet, they have made 1,468 edits and created 473 mainspace pages (presumably including redirects). The pages I have seen of their's so far all are bare-bones stubs (with very minimal prose), so I'm uncertain how much damage would have been done.

I have barely scratched the surface of this list, and already found that, as of 2014, many of the top-editors were individuals whose familiarity with the language was lacking. This problem is not limited to one user, and seems to have deeply infected the wiki.

This is seriously like if Spanish wiki was written almost entirely by first-year spanish students. SecretName101 (talk) 23:46, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

There needs to be a preferably double-blind review of all editors, from highest to lowest count, to determine whether they were editing in a net positive manner. James Salsman (talk) 00:07, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
First we'd need a updated list of the most prolific editors. The current one is from 2014, six years ago. BTW, also alarming, as of 2014, the 50th most prolific editor had only made 40-something edits (if we are to trust this list, created by AmaryllisGardener themselves). That would highlight just how few editors made so much of the wiki. I'm starting to move towards nuking the whole wiki because of this. SecretName101 (talk) 00:14, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Even as someone who doesn't speak the language it's clear that a number of these editors were creating content in exactly the same way as AmaryllisGardener. A look at one of the articles created by Varlaam shows that their first edit is to copy the content across directly fro the English Wikipedia, with subsequent edits simply substituting words with Scottish ones, keeping the English sentence structure and grammar. In total they created 200 articles on the wiki. 192.76.8.79 00:22, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Should I even retain the "likely" in the section title. Seems more like, "evidently" would be better suited. SecretName101 (talk) 00:39, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Certainly seems more accurate! Also have a look at section "Assessment of linguistic quality. How widespread is Scotched English?" where another IP editor and I raised concerns about a number of other editors a couple of days ago.192.76.8.79 00:45, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
"Clearly" isn't hyperbole here as it is in the FAQ. James Salsman (talk) 00:51, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I've started [4] to help review, with the 39,159 remaining articles A.G. edited in scowiki mainspace. I can make such tables for other editors. I prefer using a different namespace to nuking, but I hope these sorts of tables can help shed light on whether semi-automated rollback is feasible.
I am working on a way to categorize the fluency of content instead of contributors. James Salsman (talk) 19:00, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There were very few who actually were speakers involved in the conversation that made the decision to create Scots Wiki. Should they have gone forward with creating such a wiki without first identifying fluent experienced Wikipedians willing to get involved? The only Wikipedian in that 2005 conversation who identified themselves as a fluent speaker was @Derek Ross:, who ultimately was involved in the Scots wiki, making 2,499 edits on the wiki between June 23, 2005 and July 11, 2016. SecretName101 (talk) 01:36, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Good lord! I took a look the current list of Scots Wiki admins. On their user pages on Scots Wiki, AmaryllisGardener and @Avicennasis: have babel tags sco-2. And @MJL: has a babel tag of sco-1. @Fox: doesn't have a babel tag, and if they are fluent, they'd be alone among current admins. This is horrendous. SecretName101 (talk) 01:42, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Even back in 2007, two of the four then-admins are people who would only identified as Sco-2. The other two don't have any info on how they identify their fluency as far as O can see. Not looking good. SecretName101 (talk) 07:50, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I noticed at least one of the former administrators and one of the more prolific contributors (with thousands of edits of Scots wiki) was was banned indefinitely from English Wikipedia and blocked indefinitely from Spanish wikipeida. They've since vanished from Wikimedia. Again, things are looking worse and worse the deeper we dive. They also contributed a few hundred edits each on various foreign languages, more than I suspect they spoke. Not sure if that is alarming. They also had a bot account which edited Scots wiki over 100 times, and some other foreign-language wikis each thousands of times. So not sure if that's alarming itself either. SecretName101 (talk) 08:09, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@Île flottant: was also once a admin, despite only identifying their fluency as Sco-1 on their Scots wiki page. They only contributed a total of 177 edits to Scots wiki. It is worth noting that Bazza, who I previously noted only had identified their familiarity with Scots as "sco-2", is a former admin. SecretName101 (talk) 08:15, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@SecretName101: adminship and edits aren't good metric to measure what you are looking for. You should try to look at article creations (non-redirects) and prose additions. –MJLTalk 22:17, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Rename proposal[edit]

  • As this discussion has been cited by various media outlets, and will likely continue to be cited, I suggest that we rename this discussion to be something more neutral. The current title is a remnant of the early post-Reddit flare up that was largely aimed at discrediting a user. We're beyond that at this point, and a more accurate title is in order. Perhaps Requests for comment/Large scale language inaccuracies on the Scots Wikipedia. If no one is opposed to this, I'm going to go ahead and make the change soon. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 22:05, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Sounds good to me. PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:06, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Puzzledvegetable: Yes, and perhaps greater context on Rationale needed too. Soothrhins (talk) 23:20, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion of Wikimedia UK's statement[edit]

Wikimedia UK's statement

Wikimedia UK statement, 26 August:

Daria Cybulska, director of programmes and evaluation at Wikimedia UK said: “We do not own or control the Scots-language Wikipedia, which as with all parts of the Wiki community, is edited and managed by volunteers.

“We are aware of the concerns that have emerged about the content of the Scots-language Wikipedia and are in touch with the Wikimedia Foundation and volunteer editor community to offer support in helping to ensure that these issues are addressed.

“We are exploring ways of supporting the existing Scots Wikipedia editor community, by offering help with editing training for newcomers, facilitating partnerships with authoritative language organisations and organising editing events to harness current interest and energy.” from The Guardian

Sounds to me like they aren't taking a position on that, so we can just go ahead and nuke it if that's what we decide to do C Ci? 18:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Cinnamononym: That's right, Wikimedia UK are not taking a position on whether to 'nuke' the wiki and start again, but we would like to help the Scots editing community regardless of what the decision is. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 08:40, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Richard Nevell (WMUK): I'm a Scots speaker and a member of the wider editing community and that's why I think it should be nuked. Contrary to what the state of the website may suggest, there are Scots speakers in on the conversation. C Ci? 16:47, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Cinnamononym: I had suggested they reach out to universities, and in doing so this will make the proposal to nuke it irrelevant as the professors would have stewardship over the wiki. WhisperToMe (talk) 18:32, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting idea, why professors and which universities? C Ci? 18:34, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Cinnamononym: Language preservation is a big element of academia and the professors who study the subjects would have the passion to take charge. I recommended universities in Scotland in general. I don't know which ones have the biggest focus on language studies or language preservation but as an American who doesnt know a lot of about scottish institutions I'd suggest University of Edinburgh due to its prestige. They do have a school of Celtic and Scottish Studies (within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures) WhisperToMe (talk) 18:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I get what you're saying, but Scots isn't really in need of preservation in that way. There are millions of Scots speakers (I'm one of them). The problem is with the website, not with the language. I would argue that for new users, whether they're academics or native speakers, to attempt to translate hundreds of thousands of words of gibberish into Scots would be a much more onerous and inane project than simply deleting it and starting over. And if we can't get the sort of Scots-speaking user base necessary to undertake the task, it would be better for it not to exist at all than to exist in anything like its current form. C Ci? 18:47, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Thats part of why I did contact the department so that someone who is in authority can say "this is unsalvageable" if that is the case. If you like I can forward the relevant e-mail to you. Also having an actually correct Wikipedia can help with machine learning of Scots. WhisperToMe (talk) 18:53, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with you in principle, but it doesn't take a professor to state with authority that this website is written in gibberish. As the old Scottish saying goes, "aye, I think I can smell sh*te" C Ci? 19:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
For people who know Scots, certainly not. For people who don't it'll be good confirmation from authority that the best step is a total rewrite. WhisperToMe (talk) 19:32, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Aye but on the subject of authority, why would anyone care about what a non-Scots speaker thinks about the accuracy of a nominally Scots webpage to begin with? C Ci? 20:29, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The people on the board of the WMF, the donors, and many of the influential Wikipedians arent Scots speakers and they need to know "is this Scots correct?" This issue also comes up when Wikimedians who don't know X language are being asked on Meta to make adviministrative decisions related to Xwiki (especially in user conduct issues). Having experts appraise this can help these stakeholders make decisions. Thankfully the Scots Language Centre head Michael Dempster thinks SCOwiki can be salvaged WhisperToMe (talk) 21:32, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Well that's fair enough, if he wants to have a crack at rewriting hundreds of thousands of words of gibberish then mair power to him. My point though is that you don't really need to find an academic to tell you that the website isn't written in Scots when there are spelling and grammar errors alongside made-up words on the website's front page. Meanwhile, the rest of us presumably get to enjoy years of waiting to see if the bastardization of Scots gets accurately rewritten rather than starting on an actual project to create an actual Scots Wikipedia site. It's nae skin off my baws either wey. C Ci? 22:15, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

MediaWiki:Sitenotice[edit]

I have used my admin powers to put up a sitenotice describing part of the issue and linking people here. –MJLTalk 19:56, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@MJL: would you please ask Oor Vyce to translate it? James Salsman (talk) 20:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
"Followin recent revelations, Scots Wikipedia is presently reviewin its airticles for muckle leid inaccuracies." @MJL: @James Salsman: Soothrhins (talk) 20:13, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Soothrhins and James Salsman: Actually, I think I am going to leave it in English for now. The intended message is for people who can't speak Scots. Putting up a dual translated warning just seems like it can backfire pretty fast. –MJLTalk 20:27, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I do not share your opinion on which choice is most likely to backfire, and believe a dual translation with Scots first is the correct one. James Salsman (talk) 20:40, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Agree with James. The notice should have both, Scots first. We are trying to repair the relationship with this community, not condescend to them. Axem Titanium (talk) 20:56, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, this needs to be in Scots as well. --IWI (talk) 21:07, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I agree it should be in both languages. WhisperToMe (talk) 21:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Happy for my translation to be approved by another native speaker. To give @MJL: confidence. Soothrhins (talk) 21:53, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Since I am the only one with reservations about this, I just went ahead and did the dual translations. –MJLTalk 22:21, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@MJL: Are you aware that the site notice isn't visible on m.sco.wikipedia.org or on the mobile app? Don't know if it can be updated to make sure it appears there but a lot of people probably access the site by mobile. Witchofthewoods (talk) 23:01, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Witchofthewoods: No, I was not. I will look into that now. –MJLTalk 02:34, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Witchofthewoods: I had to do it through CSS, but I got it done. –MJLTalk 18:39, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Nice one @MJL:! Witchofthewoods (talk) 19:28, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Contact request[edit]

The general consensus is that it's best to not contact AmaryllisGardener directly at this time.

For journalists or other people who wish to contact people who are qualified experts on this topic (either Scots linguistics or Scots Wikipedia), see below. You can contact Wikipedians directly through their talk pages.

@AmaryllisGardener: Hi - not sure how to contact you, but I'm an academic researcher interested in speaking with you about all this. It's clear to me that you know more about Scots than many of the people slamming you. If you'd be willing to chat, you can find me on twitter at @hinesjumpedup - thanks! (And sorry if this is the wrong place, I have no idea what I'm doing on here.)— Preceding unsigned comment added by Hinesjumpedup (talk) 21:16, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@Hinesjumpedup: Hello! Amaryllis probably won't be available for awhile as he's dealing with the issues. However I can recommend other people to contact if you like WhisperToMe (talk) 21:25, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@WhisperToMe: That would be great, thanks! There's a lot of misinformation flying around that makes all this sound worse than it is.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Hinesjumpedup (talk) 21:45, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Hinesjumpedup: User:Stinglehammer is a Wikimedian in residence at the University of Edinburgh and User:Sara Thomas (WMUK) and User:Richard Nevell (WMUK) are with Wikimedia UK, an organization for Wikimedians in the entire United Kingdom WhisperToMe (talk) 21:49, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I am also here if you are looking for a Scots Wikipedia administrator who can't speak Scots. –MJLTalk 21:51, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There's also User:Soothrhins who may become the emergency admin of SCOwiki. WhisperToMe (talk) 22:31, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Hinesjumpedup: Hello! I'll drop you a message on Twitter. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 08:48, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
User:Hinesjumpedup I'd like to make you additionally aware of https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Index which is where all the resources are for researchers in Wiki. I'm a Wikipedia researcher and can help you out if you have any questions about navigating Wiki etc. If you would like to get in touch you can find me on Twitter @carlinmack carlinmack (talk) 23:09, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Hinesjumpedup: "I'm an academic researcher" Then you can tell us your affiliation, and point to your institution's ethics policy, can't you? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:25, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Assessment of linguistic quality. How widespread is "Scotched English"?[edit]

Many of the proposals above implicitly make the assumption that AG's contributions had poor linguistic quality, but other articles are written in decent Scots. Above, someone wrote that 1/3 of articles were written by native Scots speakers. If this is true, then proposals to selectively revert/delete/draftify his contributions make sense. However, if most of the rest of the wiki is also written by non-natives in Scotched English, then these solutions are insufficient to solve the underlying problem. IMO, this would push more towards proposals like moving content back to Incubator or perhaps even nuking it entirely (not that I'm endorsing that option). So, it would be nice if a native Scots speaker could look at a sample of articles primarily by AG and articles where he didn't make major contributions, and see whether AG's articles are actually much worse or whether they are just par for the course. PiRSquared17 (talk) 01:51, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

I'm Northern Irish, of Ulster Scots heritage. So I still use a bit of Scots words and phrases in my day to day. That in no way makes me a native speaker, nor an authority on what is grammatically correct in regards to the Scots language. I've no bother understanding written or spoken Scots. But I'm not confident enough to consider myself any kind of authority on it. And nor would anyone else be if they were honest about it, except those who have actually studied it, or are linguists with an interest in it. I could look through a whole bunch of wiki articles right now and say "aye thon's grand" and anyone who has studied Scots could take one look at it and think "wtf am I reading?". I also have absolutely no intention of going through tens of thousands of pages to clean someone elses mess. And nor does (or should) anyone else. Which is why all those comments stating "if you don't like it, fix it yourself" are so insulting. The only real answer is to nuke it. What exists, at least what AG touched, is gibberish. The other two thirds quality is now questionable. If I had to guess, I imagine the other two thirds is mostly made up of people who think Scots is just heavily accented English, who like AG have been ignorant, but not maliciously intending to do harm and the rest done by those being malicious. 46.208.56.195 03:21, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not a speaker of scots, but a quick look indicates the issues go a lot further than one editor producing badly translated pages in good faith. A quick look at the Scots wiki page for "Lunnon" indicated that the majority of the content there was added by AG, as expected, but going back to the very first drafts/stub of the page reveals that it was created by Saforrest, a user that freely admits on their scots wiki userpage that they have no understanding of scots whatsoever, and have tagged themselves an babel level of 0. Lee Vilenski, who, I note, voted to close this discussion and has since voted against all options involving content deletion, has created dozens of incorrectly translated articles on snooker and snooker tournaments, for example a quick look shows the scots article on "2020 Warld Snooker Championship" is a poorly translated version of the English wikipedia "2020 World Snooker Championship", having all the same issues as the pages produced by AG (inappropriate use of 'an aw', identical structure and grammar to the English wiki etc).
I have just noted the same under the "Proposal 1.5" section in a reply to another user, about other editors. 46.208.56.195 04:49, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The more you look the worse it gets! These poorly written articles by people who have clearly never spoken the language have been going on seemingly since the wiki started! Some of the earliest edits to the current featured article "Robert Burns" were written by LadyofShalott, an american who admits to having only a very limited understanding of scots (A'm juist lairnin - from her user page) and who seems to be primarily editing the wikipedia because their ancestors travelled to the us via Ireland from Scotland! Thus user would go on to make the much mocked article on "Pheesicist" (as a redirect) in 2007!

Another contributor who made a number of early edits to the article is Canaen~scowiki, an american from California with seemingly little experience with the language. They were told on their user page that they were writing Scots with an accent and asked which dialect they were contributing in, to which they linked a web page and responded "the only ane Ae cud find online. Raither, the only ane Ae bothered tae find." This was in 2006!!

I just looked at "recent changes" There were four recent major contributors. One is from Ohio, one is I believe from Connecticut, and one is from Sri Lanka. Only one is native Scottish. Blythwood (talk) 06:59, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'm the user from Connecticut for the record.~ –MJLTalk 00:09, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I have lived my whole life between the Clyde and Forth Valley; I have read Scots documents from poetry to the vile Act Anent Coalyers and Salters and 18th century legal opinions; I've read MacDiarmid's synthetic Scots - but despite all that, I never felt qualified to edit sco.wiki. Any time I looked at an article there, it seemed to use a specialist phraseology that I wouldn't be able to follow, even those little things like isolated "nae" for negation where I would have put a composite "isny" or "hasny" and the now-legendary "an aw" intrusions. Until yesterday, I would have put that down to me speaking Scottish-English, Glaswegian, or whatever, as distinct from this "Scots" which seemed to be elsewhere. Now I am thinking the dictionary-thumbing painting-by-numbers approach of those who had written much of sco.wiki had generated a perverse effect which implicitly repelled editing by local speakers. But remediation now would be difficult: it is not just a matter of recruiting academics or local speakers: neither a classical prose nor Scottish-English overlay is desirable - this problematic was already there for MacDiarmid and his "synthetic Scots" and is no less today. AllyD (talk) 07:26, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Does anyone have examples of articles that are written to a useful standard? I haven't seen any myself. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by 82.68.102.198 (talk)
  • The IP makes a really good point. I don't think I'm seeing the likes of the Featurt airticle being under some kind of prior "guid airticle" assessment (and adjudged by whom anyway)? Until and unless someone can point to a substantial article which we can all agree is written in actual Scots, sustaining the whole venture is questionable. AllyD (talk) 08:55, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • sco:Scotched English doesn't look too good to me. Aside from being unreferenced and finishing with two paragraphs in an instructional tone which would not be acceptable on en.wiki, the central core of its main paragraph is written in English: "Since the Foster Act - Education (Scotland) Act 1872 Scots and Gaidhlig were "outlawed" and English was taught. In Scotland this is now called Scottish Standard English (SSE). Most Scots and Gaidhlig are taught by intergenerational transmission in the home i.e. the family. ". AllyD (talk) 08:43, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • The Scotched English article was very good but some idiot has come in and ruined it. I'll revert it back. Ultaigh (talk) 01:58, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Ironically by far the best article I've seen written on the Scots Wiki is the article on Scotched English. There are still one or two minor things I would change and the register is maybe slightly too informal but compared to the rest of the Wiki it's written in very good Scots. Looking at the examples above it seems like AG wasn't the only problematic user so I'd say that the problem extends far beyond the 50%ish of the Wiki he was directly responsible for. Well-written like ths Scotched English one are probably one in a million. Ultaigh 11:24 27 August 2020 (UTC)

We will be unable to measure the vocabulary and grammar variances necessary to answer this question without citogenesis studies. James Salsman (talk) 03:43, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Attribution on created pages[edit]

I was just wondering about the page creations having very little attribution. For example look at template sco:Template:Coca-Cola, which appears to have been copied over from en:Template:Coca-Cola and just midified slightly without any attribution to the original source. -- WOSlinker (talk) 10:37, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

This is also a problem with many articles, for example there's an entire suite of articles such as sco:31 Julie that are obvious copies from en.wiki but lack attribution per Translating from other-language Wikimedia projects and are thus breaches of copyright and of the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use. 92.6.149.254 11:16, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Things such as sco:Module:Navbox should be deleted and reimported from en:Module:Navbox with the correct attribution. -- WOSlinker (talk) 13:06, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@WOSlinker: If you make a list of pages, I will do this. –MJLTalk 18:33, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The guidelines at the incubator say nothing about making such attributions. Instead, it just encourages translating articles. Do the English Wikipedia instructions above have an equivalent on the Scots Wikipedia? --RichardW57 (talk) 20:25, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

How do we agree on a written leid?[edit]

Scots is mostly an oral language, by virtue of the fact that most of us only speak it at home and didn't study written Scots at school like we did English. I know there are plenty of sources of grammar and spelling, but they don't all agree with each other. There's no standard written Scots. I joined specifically to help with editing articles, but I'm honestly not sure where to start without some sort agreement on spelling and grammar. The Spellin an grammar page hasn't had much attention recently so I thought this might be a good place for a discussion about it. Witchofthewoods (talk 14:11, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

There's only 8 native Scots speakers on here according to this page.
WitchofthewoodsHave you seen the Scottish Wikipedia Editors group on Facebook? Within that there is a link to material developed by the director of the Scots Language Centre which might give you the confidence to move forward now. In general though? I don't think a wiki can agree on a written leid, we'd need a statutory Scots Leid Board (funded by Government) to do that properly. Soothrhins (talk) 14:41, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I have seen it. But there's even disagreements between what's in Michael Dempster's material and what's in the Scots Haunbuik for example, both being excellent resources. It would just be useful at least to agree on a set of spellings to be used to that we don't end up with people arguing over spellings. Witchofthewoods (talk) 14:44, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There might be a comparison to be made with the American vs British English issues on enwiki? Obviously a lot more variation here, but if articles can be self-consistant wrt spellings and dialect then it shouldn't be too big an issue? --Liam McM (talk) 18:01, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Enwiki currently uses all (formal) versions of English if you check out the MOS there. If an article subject is related to a country and that country has its own variety of English, that version is preferred. Other than that, consistency within articles is key. I think a very broad manual of style for scowiki could do the trick. Some spellings ought to be standardised purely for the purpose though, just to save confusion, else you'll have people bickering about spellings. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 18:18, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
May I ask why Scots speakers, who use the language actively, couldn't be able to write their language down? And as far as I know, there are concepts about Scots spelling, or historical examples of Scots written texts. In Germany, I think it would never be a big problem to use "dialects" as written language, if they weren't already half-dead as spoken language. Maybe is this more simple 'cause we have most times still a connection between spelling and spoken language in Standard German. (Excuse me for the probably very bad English) --Universal-InteressierterDisk.Arbeit 15:44, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Well, it's complicated. Scots is more spoken than it is written, there is regional variance, and most Scottish people don't speak exclusively Scots. My father actually mostly did, but he was raised that way by his mother, who died in 2010 at age 99. Most of the people who do speak Scots are much older, as it was highly discouraged in schools in the mid-century and onward, to the point (I've heard) of corporal punishment being used on students who didn't comply. My father also studied Scots, read Scots, wrote in Scots, and he probably could have done a good job editing scowiki. But I don't speak fluent Scots. I can understand it when I hear or read it, some Scots words are part of my vocab, but there's a difference between that and being able to write accurate Scots. It would take a fair amount of studying before I think I would be comfortable attempting to write in Scots. But then having my level of knowledge of the language means I'm more aware of what I don't know, and I suspect many Scottish people who are aware of the language feel similarly. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 18:38, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

WMF comments?[edit]

Noting that many of these mass-deletion or draftify proposals would be near-tantamount to deleting the wiki (given the amount of pages/contribs of this person), and especially noting proposals like nuking everything or incubating the project, what is the WMF's stance on this issue? Especially since I note that closing/deleting projects requires LangCom/Board approval. Similarly, if any extreme solution is taken, obviously we'd need to persist a backup of scowiki's current content (are dumps available forever?) ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 15:58, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@ProcrastinatingReader: nuking the site doesn't require Langcom approval. No one is suggesting we close the project. Deleting content is a different matter, though. –MJLTalk 18:37, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Use the moment for a radical restart[edit]

Hello, this is a very sad story, and it would be wonderful to use the moment(um) for a radical restart of this wiki. I am sorry am not an editor of this wiki do not speak Scots; I have studied the multilinguism of the Wikimedia movement and also have some ideas on wikis in general, based also on our experiences with the German wiki for children, Klexikon.

In my humble opinion, a Wikipedia language version should be mainly a service to readers. What are Scots people interested in? How to find that out? - that would be the first big task. Msybe you could reach out to Scots people and ask them, creating a list of the 2000 most wanted articles? What would Scots people be interested to read about in Scots? I guess, some very basic encyclopedic articles (about Elephants or Electricity, for example), and especially articles related to your language and region (e.g. famous regional people, history of the language, geography of Scotland).

Second task: have a new look at the rules of this wiki. Can they be improved in order to foster "quality before quantity"? What new procedures could help insure that articles are actually written in Scots and serving the readers?

Also discussed in Proposal #0.

And third: clean the wiki content radically. Store the present day content somewhere and delete it from Scots Wikipedia. In my opinion not only the AG articles are problematic. Also bot created articles like this or this add nothing to your endeavour to create content that is attractive to Scots readers.

When re-building your wiki, old content can be used if it is supporting the goal to provide attractive content.

So, these are some ideas - ignore them or use them at will. :-) Ziko (talk) 21:32, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Ziko, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. They are quite big tasks, so can I suggest they move to the main section of discussion. Would be good to keep this bottom section for small things we can do quickly. Thanks Soothrhins (talk) 21:51, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Help is at hand[edit]

Bit of a stushie, arising from clearly well intentioned attempts at improving a rather derelict project, so glad to note The Big Wiki Rewrite article at the Scots Language Centre. As an ancient Scots speaker masel, working out the spelling of words is daunting, and after a couple of edits on .sco I gave up. So delignted to see that this has brought welcome attention. AmaryllisGardener has done the project a favour, if not in the way intended, and hope they come out of it well – the interwebs can be rather ferocious, but as Scott nearly said, the tangled web we weave can be sorted out with honest endeavour. . . dave souza (talk) 22:54, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

More than one Scots language[edit]

Gin tak the language spik in maist a the content ah've seen it is at best approximating midland/TV Scots - ahine times ca'd Lallans.

This seems a bit ill-trickit. Ye'd have to speir - is there nae ither kine o Scots?

Doric, fae the heavenly-dancers o' Aberdeenshire,is a verra different kind of speil.

As a the loons and queans ken. There's affy fine buiks by sic cheils as Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Charles Murray, nae tae mention the warbling o Jean Redpath and mony a corn-kister.

Syne times the Beechgrove Gairden wid be broadcast tae ither toons in Scotland as teuchter entertainment.

I'll nae be greeting if ye dinnae, bit wid be affy fine if ye hud oot a wee bit butt and bairn on wikipedia fur the folk o the furry boot toon.

If there are alternate spellings, that's fine. We can handle spelling, grammar, dialect, and usage ambiguities. We can't handle a lack of participation, and if the community has poisoned participation, the Foundation needs to pay consultant reviewers and auditors to correct that. James Salsman (talk) 04:29, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Well there is more than one type of English, also. The English Wikipedia deals with this effectively i.e. some articles are written in British English, some Candian, Australian, Nigerian etc. A similar thing could be done with the Scots Wikipedia; certain articles could be marked as being written in a certain written form of Scots. --IWI (talk) 12:27, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'll add tae this and say that as a "native" Scots speaker, I dinnae really follow half ae whit he's sayin, as it seems tae be mair North East. A'm fae Glesga an we have wir ane way ae speakin. It's no like Burns' Scots, or Doric, an it's no quite like Oor Wullie's Scots either. I cannae gie ye a definition ae what "Scots" even is, an I wouldnae feel that confident contributin tae "official" Scots. So if there's wan kinna Scots fur scholars, an another yin (or mair) fur normal folk, whits even the point ae this wikipedia? The noo it's jist daein a disservice tae wir culture. Dinnae get me wrong, some folk are ae daein their nut aboot "Scots" as if their embarrassed tae be Scottish, and I cannae be daein wi that either.
This incidentally is possibly the first time in my life I've typed out a whole paragraph in "Scots", which I did to contribute an example. As you might be able to see, it's mostly just English with different vowels/pronunciation and local idioms. There is also distinct vocabulary, although you would probably be hunting for an excuse to use a lot of it in an article context. And there are slightly different grammatical structures in some circumstances, but again I can't see most of it coming up in non-conversational writing. Barely any natives can write literary Scots, which is probably why the wiki is finding it so difficult to recruit any "native" speakers. This is cultural vandalism by a cringy American with "Scotland" as a hobby. --Sjemverett (talk) 23:28, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Sjemverett: One important thing to point out is that actual Scots speakers did establish the wiki, but they left, and then the American teen came. WhisperToMe (talk) 00:00, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Well, I'll be putting in more work on improving my written Scots thanks to this. Might even take up that offer of becoming an admin.John Gordon Reid (talk) 13:01, 3 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I abstain on un-English matters, but I encourage you to do both! Support Support--GrounderUK (talk) 13:41, 3 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Influence on world outside of Wikipedia[edit]

This article sums up fairly well how harmful Scots Wikipedia actually is and how it has changed the perception of Scots around the world. A particularly galling passage is this - "There are also Wikipedias for languages commonly considered to be dialects of larger languages such as Venetian or Pennsylvania Dutch, though they often differ enough from the larger languages to be evaluated as separate systems by linguists.

One of those dialects is Scots, not to be confused with Scottish Gaelic or Scottish English. Scots is close to Standard English in the way Norwegian is close to Danish, which is to say, they are pretty much mutually intelligible. It’s possible to read the Scots Wikipedia and understand nearly everything, but there’s just enough unfamiliar vocabulary and syntax to make the experience linguistically interesting and also utterly charming."

Clearly, this is much more than a local wiki thing; the rest of the world's perception of the language has changed at least somewhat and we really need to do something about it, starting with all the proposals below. Zoozaz1 (talk) 03:55, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Yikes! This is real bad! Axem Titanium (talk) 04:03, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The article is 4 years old. It might not be a bad idea to reach out and draw attention to the current project, maybe they could revisit what they've written. Witchofthewoods (talk) 09:39, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Tool WikiHistory enabled for sco.wikipedia[edit]

Hello from de.wikipedia, so sorry for my (sometimes) bad english. I have enabled the tool WikiHistory for sco.wikipedia which a few of you may know from the english, german or italian Wikipedia. You can see the percentage on words added by some user, see this Example. You can also see that percentage for all articles a user has modified, like AmaryllisGardener's articles. The list for this user is currently computed and I hope it will be ready within a day. The website shows only the first 1000 articles, the download-links at the very end provide a full list, restricted to the settings at the top of the list.

There is also some online-version, just add the lines of my common.js to your common.js file. Then you see an additional line with up to 5 main authors at the top of the article. I hope that tool helps a little bit in identifying those articles, which need most attention. --Wurgl (talk) 14:41, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks, this looks useful. PiRSquared17 (talk) 20:25, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

WikiBlame and other interface string translation and review[edit]

I've asked for an internationalization of en:Wikipedia:WikiBlame at sco:Collogue:Main Page#WikiBlame status?. Many of the MediaWiki interface strings appear to be untranslated, and need to be reviewed too. James Salsman (talk) 16:09, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

WikiBlame works on all Wikimedia projects without any special configuration. For what it's worth, the interface to the tool even has a Scots translation already (see the selection in the top right corner), although I can't vouch for its quality. PiRSquared17 (talk) 20:28, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Lsjbot RFC of 26 Januar 2015[edit]

[5] seems to have led to [6] which nominally succeeded, but was apparently never implemented because no machine translation model of Scots appears as developed as Lsjbot requires. I recommend waiting at least a week to re-consider that proposal, but am tentatively in favor if a machine translation system approved by the Lsjbot developers has been developed since. James Salsman (talk) 17:10, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

I don't see how filling the wiki with thousands of bot-generated articles would help with this situation. If the scowiki community reconsiders the proposal and decides to approve it, then they can do it of course, but that's tangential to this discussion. (Also, it will probably be redundant with Abstract Wikipedia once that becomes a thing.) PiRSquared17 (talk) 20:23, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I agree it is tangential to this discussion - ultimately it would be an editorial matter for the scowp community, as and when that develops to a reasonable level. It is not a solution to this problem. Andrew Gray (talk) 21:33, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Considering we're still cleaning up issues caused by Lsjbot in multiple projects years later, just no. -Yupik (talk) 08:13, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Criteria for promoting the Scots Wiktionary from the Incubator?[edit]

CLOSED:

This isn't going to happen considering Scots Wikipedia has the w:sco:Wikipedia:Define namespace for this very reason. –MJLTalk 17:50, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

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

[7] has a number of entries,[8] including the absurd. Does anyone know the criteria for graduating a Wiktionary out of the incubator? Are there any prohibitions against loading incubator Wiktionaries with public domain national language authority approved dictionaries? James Salsman (talk) 03:36, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Someone please request permissions[edit]

-- https://dsl.ac.uk/copyright/

Does anyone know whether Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. considers the Scots Wiktionary "teaching materials"? Would someone please email info at dsl dot ac dot uk to ask? I suppose I can, but I'm hoping @Sara Thomas (WMUK): will you please in your official capacity? Thanks either way in advance. James Salsman (talk) 04:51, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Non-commercial-only licenses are not compatible with CC-BY-SA. Wikimedia content is able to be used by anyone, as long as they give attribution and license any derivative works similarly; in particular, it is explicitly permitted to use Wikimedia content for commercial purposes. SLD's license would not allow that. So we cannot use SLD content, unless they change their license to something compatible with CC-BY-SA. PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:03, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Hear, hear! They will only benefit from going CC-BY, -SA or not. (alternatives) James Salsman (talk) 05:24, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The alternatives are also owned by SLD, and seemingly under the same license. Even without the non-commercial restriction, it says "beyond limited extracts of up to a few hundred words which are necessary for your research or teaching, you may not reproduce, copy or transmit any part of the data on this site without an explicit licence from Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd". PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:30, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sure they will want to go open source (especially given the sad fate of w:SCOsource, which was about a quarter century ago, the authentic heir to the Bell Labs Unix. Quite prestigious, in its day, and quite a coincidence to share the "sco" moniker in the same situation.) James Salsman (talk) 08:54, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Can we please concentrate on the problem at hand here? Scots Wiktionary is clearly not going anywhere in the near future, and it is clear that an openly-licensed third-party dictionary isn't going to be available any time soon. What we do with scoWD can be decided when we've figured out what to do with the Wikipedia. No need to keep opening new tangents in this discussion. Andrew Gray (talk) 12:07, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

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

@Sara Thomas (WMUK): I do not share Andrew's opinion about the likelihood of obtaining a CC-BY(-SA) dictionary soon, and I hope you will help. I would like to if you would prefer not. [9] and [10] appear to be in the public domain.[11] I am asking this because manual, supervised, and fully automated review processes will certainly benefit from the availability of open source dictionaries. James Salsman (talk) 23:05, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@Sara Thomas (WMUK): James Salsman has stated that he "reserve[s] the right to ask" "Government of Scotland officials ... to relicense their dictionaries as CC-BY(-SA)"[12] even though they have no authority to do so. 79.73.243.47 00:19, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The legislators to whom I have reached out have the authority to propose returning some or all of the copyrights to the Crown. Moreover, I am certain that the Crown already has an ownership interest in many if not all of them, and others exist out of copyright, including earlier editions of the dictionaries in questions, which is the real question here -- some of these dictionaries are very old and certainly have editions in the public domain that we should be trying to find and scan. James Salsman (talk) 01:15, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There's no question of "returning" copyright to the Crown. The Crown has never held it and does not have an ownership interest in any of the dictionaries, despite your certainty. Your notions that copyright may have lapsed aren't based in the realities of Scotland and the UK. Tasking others to work on this now at the expense of WMUK, WMF, the Sottish Government while the future of the sco.wiki is still being discussed is once again an astonishing overreach and against consensus. Please stop trying to press this proposal. 79.73.243.47 01:49, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Are you suggesting that the legislature can't require CC-BY-SA-compatible licensing? Or that there aren't any editions old enough to be out of copyright? The movement has a long history of asking governments for those affordances. Everyone should join in such requests. There is no consensus either way, but classist attempts to bully those of us asking for help out of doing so by claiming embarrassment or overreach are of no interest to me. James Salsman (talk) 02:55, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
"Classist? Where did that come from?
A Private Bill to deprive an independent charity of its intellectual property rights would probably not be proposed by any Member of the Scottish or United Kingdom Parliaments. If it was, it would have to be in the UK Parliament at Westminster, intellectual property being a reserved matter under the Scotland Acts. It would have to be given time and priority in an exceptionally congested programme, pass through the House of Commons and the House of Lords and survive challenge in the UK's Supreme Court, all of which is most unlikely for many reasons, not least the questionable and minimal utility of such an extraordinary deprivation of property rights.
Your suggestion of using an archaic dictionary to produce or check a modern Scots wiki does not appear to have been thought through. 92.19.31.156 15:08, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I remain in favor of the measure as in the interest of the rights holders, financial and otherwise, among previously specified advantages. James Salsman (talk) 17:06, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Quick aside[edit]

Should "Proposal #9" still be listed in the main proposals table now it has been moved to small proposal 14 (in essence) and no longer exists under that name? Was a little confusing initially reading back BlackholeWA (talk) 10:20, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

I would agree with us removing it - and option 8 as well, tbh. If they're not open for discussion, no sense in having them in the chart. Andrew Gray (talk) 11:55, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

WikiWho database from the dumps[edit]

@FaFlo: would you please build a Research:Wikiwho Provenance Api database from the most recent scowiki dump? The reviewers would like to know the proportion of an article attributable to a set of editors. James Salsman (talk) 22:12, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

This request seems to me an attempt to inspire a witch hunt. –MJLTalk 04:56, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@MJL: Please. How else do you propose to obtain the proportion statistic requested in multiple of the tagging and review proposals? There is no more reliable way to obtain that statistic. Would you please stop trying to cast my attempts to lay the groundwork to implement (or at least see what implementation would look like) those proposals from others in a negative light? James Salsman (talk) 05:28, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@James Salsman: You don't need this data to solve any proposal put forward so far. All of them focus on the content and not the contributors. I suggest you do the same. –MJLTalk 05:55, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
To take one of many examples from Proposal #3 below, you can't accurately determine which articles are "where he has contributed more than 80-90% of the page's content" without this information. Similarly, you can't sort an article list by proportion of text from disfluent editors without it either. Except for posting comparison tables for the named suspected disfluent prolific editors already named above off-wiki, I am going to disengage from this page until Tuesday so that you might have more time to help with the ongoing editathon. James Salsman (talk) 06:03, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Some points about the Scots language[edit]

I've seen a lot of misconceptions on this page and beyond so I thought I'd write down some of what I know about Scots. I've also noted spent some time with the wiki, understanding what's happened and trying to contribute a little — I would very much encourage anyone who is interested to do that, especially with some of the drastic actions on the table.

  • There is no one "Scottish Language", there are three languages used in Scotland that considered to be native to the British Isles: (Scots, Scots Gaelic and Scottish English). Scots is (despite some bad reporting of this incident) nothing like Scots Gaelic, it is an Anglic langauge which shares a history with Modern English.
  • It has in recent times been replaced by Scottish Standard English as the formal language of Scotland (in government, education, most business, etc) and until very recently it was discouraged in schools outside of the occasional Robert Burns poem. That means the vast majority of modern Scottish literature is in English, modern written Scots is relatively rare (but has probably increased in recent decades).
  • It has no standard orthography or spelling. Dictionaries and other resources do of course exist but they usually list various different spellings and dialectal differences.
  • Few people can speak 'fluent Scots' which is why UNESCO classify it as a 'vulnerable language'.
  • Most Scots still do speak it but mix it with English, given how related the languages are this isn't everyone is aware of, it's just how they speak. The linguistic term for this is a (dialect continuum), generally people learn towards English for formal situations and towards Scots for casual conversation. With each generation there's a shift towards English, which contributes to that 'vulnerable language' status.
  • The dialect continuum means there are various ideas about what even constitutes 'speaking Scots' vs 'speaking Scottish English', since that could be defined in different ways a self-described fluency level could mean all sorts of things.
  • Since it's largely spoken and there's no standard written form it can be awkward to start writing, it also affects our ability to gauge what 'good' written Scots looks like. Yes there are articles by enthusiastic Wikipedians that I would consider to be bad I've also seen Scottish people criticise articles that I thought looks pretty reasonable given the circumstances (probably because it was too different from their day-to-day dialect).
  • In addition to the Scottish dialects there is also Ulster Scots, which is spoken in some communities of Northern Ireland but there's a similar story with it's relationship to English there.

This has the following impact on the project:

  • Adding more Scottish people isn't a silver bullet by any means. Yes, there's more likelihood of real-world exposure to the language but as I explained there's a lot of variation there and writing it can still be a challenge.
  • With most modern Scots mainly being spoken, it's extremely hard to write about academic subjects that are common on Wikipedia if you expect the result to be particularly distinct, it's probable that Scots terms for many things simply don't exist.
  • Spellings are all over the place, sometimes there are fairly widely accepted spellings but a Scots speaker may not know them. Since spelling conventions are largely phonetic even well documented ones vary by accent and dialect.
  • Where there isn't an obvious Scots choice the editor has to have the skills to use the available resources effectively. When there is a choice between English or using an old-fashioned Scots term it's not clear which way the editor should lean, too old and it turns into a historical project for academics like Old English Wikipedia but without using distinctive Scots words that inform people about the language, what's the purpose of the project?
  • The close relationship with English leads to misunderstandings and all sorts of issues with unproductive contributions. Users do things like:
    • contribute entirely in English
    • "correct" pages to English
    • contribute in (software-translated) Scots Gaelic
    • contribute a whole EN wikipedia post and "translate" three words with find and replace
    • look at a page of Scots, see it's similarity to English, and then phonetically write a bad impersonation of a Scottish accent
    • and all the other usual vandalism of course

Monospaced (talk) 08:41, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

A Plan forward[edit]

I wanted to share what I think the best strategy moving forward is.

  • Delete AG's articles because they take up half the site at the moment (Proposal 2.
  • De-index the site from search engines to mitigate further damages.
  • Audit the remaining articles for Scots proficiency.
  • Delete articles that fail the audit if no one volunteers to fix them after 6 months or so.
  • On board new editors and select the next set of admins from that crop.
  • Minimize content not focused on Scottish culture through various methods (p.14).
  • Add sources (especially ones in Scots itself) to remaining articles.

I think this is sensible and avoids going on witch hunts and nuking the site. –MJLTalk 04:56, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • If it can be done quickly at a site administrative level, it seems prudent to de-index the site, whose current articles are maybe in a position analogous to unpatrolled new pages on en.wiki which are also unindexed. However some search engines and wider data consumer services utilise Wikidata, so the page labels (see my examples at #Damage_to_other_projects) and links to sco.wiki articles may lessen the beneficial protective effect? (To be clear, in this I wasn't proposing a mass deletion exercise on Wikidata: that should be maintained in line with the coming and going of articles on sco.wiki itself.) AllyD (talk) 07:12, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@AllyD: I've been thinking about the Wikidata side of things (since that's something I can be useful on!) - will add some notes this evening on cleaning it up. Andrew Gray (talk) 11:48, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Suggestions for Wikidata, in line with this proposal, now up at Talk #Next steps for Wikidata. Andrew Gray (talk) 22:30, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • While MJL's steps seem good practical actions, it concerns me that it will become routine effort, as soon as Editathons get under way. Any small group working through an arduous task becomes focussed on its next step - improving this article, then moving on to that article, etc. For the broader community, how and when will we know when the overall artefact is in a good state, even an adequate state? Some kind of measure marks will be needed. I wouldn't want to belittle others' efforts in any way; the more effort has been committed, the harder it is to say it has been misdirected or squandered. So I'd ask now: is renovating sco.wiki the right place within the open knowledge infrastructure to devote Scots language expertise and effort? Or, to take a previous example, might Scots-language resources within Wikisource be a better target? Is a distinct sco.wiki the right thing to develop at this point, or, might it instead become a potential presentation layer deliverable from WikiLambda/Abstract Wiki? AllyD (talk) 08:38, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    @AllyD: enwikisource (the host for Scots language text) can only publish public domain works which is great, but it doesn't help us preserve the language in its modern form.
    I think the marker would be completing the audit, re-indexing the site, ratio of sourced articles, and other milestones. Either way, yeah it's going to be a routine effort, but that's how most wikis are organized. –MJLTalk 18:36, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • This sounds good. First wave of deletions; deindex during cleanup; second wave of deletions for anything unimproved or unchecked. The current wave of activity looks promising and I am hopeful this will help fix things, but if it stalls, we have a plan in place to remove material that hasn't been worked on. Andrew Gray (talk) 11:48, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I would suggest combining this with proposal 7 and draftifying the unaudited articles; there is no need for something in mangled Scots to further reach the public if it can be avoided. Zoozaz1 (talk) 12:35, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    @Zoozaz1: We don't have draftspace on scowiki. –MJLTalk 18:36, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I presume, though, that it can be created. Zoozaz1 (talk) 18:48, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Draftspace is where articles go to die. If you want content to reach readers, and to get cleaned up, it needs to be out where people can see it and fix it (and feel like it needs to be fixed now, not at some future date). WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:33, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • If it can be done now, I would de-index the site from search engines sooner rather than later. It's the one aspect of this whole debacle that contraindicates "there is no deadline" and demands urgency. Axem Titanium (talk) 06:25, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Now that AG has resumed editing sco.wiki, predominantly moving articles and their talk pages, which thereby creates new page for each redirect [13], how does that affect the options which are under discussion? Has anyone confirmed that this does not impede the implementation of options 1-4 below? AllyD (talk) 14:27, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Endangered and minority language Wikis[edit]

This brings to light a much larger question about how to tackle curation of minority language wikis where the userbase is too small to rely on the open nature of Wiki for the curation and maintenance of articles. I think it's unavoidable that a group of users who can demonstrate an understanding of a language should be made responsible for a minority language. Wikipedia already locks editing of articles for a variety of reasons such as on-going events or to prevent abuse and vandalism. I think a trust but check system where accounts who do not meet certain criteria for specific minority languages would need their edits approved by those who can speak the language. If there is an issue of not having a suitable number of volunteers able to verify not the accuracy of the text, but the language many minority languages have societies dedicated to their preservation. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 174.112.234.73 (talk) 16:13, 2 September 2020‎

New Information highlighting potential impact on the language and the SQA[edit]

Some new information has surfaced on the Scottish Reddit Community, the post of which is here.

The bit that shocked me was a section of the message, and an excerpt from the Scots Leid discord stating:

  • The ee spellings are actually a really interesting rabbit hole. They generally only appear in three places - Scots Wikipedia, the Online Scots Dictionary, and materials published by the Scottish government. The current theory as formulated by the good folks on the Scots Leid Discord goes like this:
  • "when the Online Scots Dictionary is being put together, they take a lot of words from the Scots Wikipedia, since even at that early stage it was probably the biggest online resource for Scots and nobody really expected them to just make up a whole fake version of a language"

This Wiki has potentially tainted the online Scots resources, and some have theorised it may have tainted the curriculum of the SQA.

If this is truly the case... this Wiki may have dealt huge blows to the preservation of this minority language. Pax Brittanica (talk) 19:36, 3 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

...Holy crap. As terrible as this is, there's a very morbid irony that AG potentially did to an ennagered language what Franco couldn't do to the tongues of Spain for decades. He never responded to any messages he received anywhere, as far as I know. A bit of a tangent but he definitely is not neurotypical and i hope this whole debacle online did not make him give into despair over this. The full consequences may not be fully realizable, but it's a shame I read he received threatening hate for this. That being said, as for the current plan, uh, wow. A lot to clean up, what a mess. I would hate to be a Scots scholar these days.--Sigehelmus (talk) 00:42, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Also would this fit under of hoaxes on Wikipedia?--Sigehelmus (talk) 00:56, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
That site claims copyright back to 1996. It's not obvious who's behind it but I was struck by this page. At times, it reads like a program specification for deriving "Scots" spellings for "English" words. I assume good faith, of course, but maybe Scowiki is just one of several victims of whoever published those rules?--GrounderUK (talk) 01:33, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Just to confirm that the web archive from April 2001 gives the same chronology and sources (I venture it's the same text) as the current website. As it said then: "On the whole the spellings used can be found in the Concise Scots Dictionary published by the SNDA. The following explains the spelling conventions used when choosing among and adapting the spelling variants in the Concise Scots Dictionary."--GrounderUK (talk) 13:30, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Sigehelmus: Can we please not unironically compare a user to a fascist dictator? –MJLTalk 02:15, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Maybe once Wikipedia stops committing cultural genocide.2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:50E3:ED66:CE29:B877 11:59, 4 September 2020 (UTC) To clarify what I mean by that, MJL, you are not in a position to tell people how angry they are allowed to be or should be. 2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:792E:FEE0:C82C:F541 14:04, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

It also doesn't give people carte blanche for personal attacks and aspersions. Please try to remain civil and on topic. Isabelle 🔔 14:16, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Comparing the damage this Wiki as a whole has done to an endangered minority language to the damage that someone attempted to do to minority languages and failed is not a personal attack. Especially when there is no one person being attacked. Nor is it off-topic. The only attack on reputation is the reputation of the Sco Wiki, which fully deserves to be dragged through the mud, as it is has made more progress in oppressing the Scots language in 2 decades than the British government managed in as many centuries. If your website has done so much damage that people are comparing its "achievements" to Franco's aspirations, and they have a point, you should stop digging the hole any deeper instead of trying to tell people off for being rightfully upset. 2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:792E:FEE0:C82C:F541 14:26, 4 September 2020 (UTC) I just reread above and I do see the the comparison is made with AG. My apologies, my emotions are running quite hot on this topic. That is somewhat cruel. I am sure we are all aware here that AG is not evil and was acting in good faith, but that should not make us shy away from assessments of the damage to the shared culture and heritage of 5 and a half million people. I think that matters a bit more than AG's feelings. 2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:792E:FEE0:C82C:F541 14:41, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Franco literally had people killed for their cultural heritage. AG hasn't led a successful coup against the government of the United Kingdom and enacted laws to oppress Scottish people. You can't compare the two. It cheapens the damage both have caused. It isn't a matter of hurt feelings. It's just owning up to the fact that what Franco did was much more violent and oppressive than the capabilities of an American teenager editing Wikipedia. –MJLTalk 14:51, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Nobody here is suggesting AG is a violent fascist dictator. That's not what we're discussing here, please stay on topic. We are talking about the damage the Wiki you have been admin of for several years has done to an nation of 5 and a half millions language, culture and shared heritage. Just because it was done by accident does not make it any less awful, and how your condemning being called out on it looks as if you are denying the damage which has been done. Not a good look for yet another American who doesn't speak our language. Get off your high horse.2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:792E:FEE0:C82C:F541 14:57, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

To get truly back on point and sum up the above discussion, no, we are not being hyperbolic and reactionary. Yes, it really is that bad. A nation's education system has been polluted by a culturally insensitive and destructive mockery of a language written by users who do not speak it. It is indefensible and should be deleted yesterday.2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:792E:FEE0:C82C:F541 15:19, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@MJL: I can't believe that my hackneyed attempt a joke led to such controversy. I know Godwin's Law gets used a lot on the Internet especially in recent years, but obviously I don't think AG is Literally Franco, partially evidenced by the fact I sent him a sympathetic message to his talk page about all the drama. However, the rhetorical crux is still valid in that we do not even know the full consequences of so many years of error and he has done real damage (possibly, to some extent, permanently especially if you believe in dialectics) to an endangered minority language. My phrase "morbid irony" was purposefully invoked to suggest a context of gallows humor. If anything this is all just a stark proof of how powerful the digital age can be, in that one neurodivergent youth can splash more waves than a dictator in the right niche. Yet in short: "It's not that deep fam". Let's focus on trying to make something good out of this disaster.--Sigehelmus (talk) 18:11, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Let's just get things straight. I have been an admin for only a year and a half. Second, the ramifications of what has happened are very apparent to me, but I don't agree with placing the blame on a single person. What happened was not the result of a single person; it was systematic failure that started way before AG even considered editing. –MJLTalk 18:43, 4 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
One teacher cannot be representative of the whole of Scottish education, but this article in a reputable publication yesterday [September 5th] rings true.--GrounderUK (talk) 11:01, 6 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposals[edit]

We need to come up with a solution rather quickly to directly solve this problem. There are smaller proposals for long-term actions and smaller scale actions below; this section is for acting to fix the immediate issue by either ridding the encyclopedia of the non-Scots articles or trying to improve them with mainly stand alone proposals. Generally, this section is formatted from the most drastic/severe proposal to least. Zoozaz1 (talk) 13:16, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Current proposals
Proposal Delete Wiki Hide wiki Undo AG's article edits Delete AG's created articles Blank / hide AG's articles Manually review content Delete non-Scots articles Fix non-Scots articles Mass tag
0 - Nuke and start over Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
0.5 - Remove to Incubator[1] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
1 - Mass rollback preserving edit history[2] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
1.5 - Rollback w/ blanking, preserving all edit history[3] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
2 - Delete AG's articles that can't be rolled back[4] Green tickY
3 - Automatic review and deletion[5] Green tickY Green tickY
4 - Selective rollback[5][6] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
5 - Manual review, remove non-Scots articles without trying to fix them[7] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
6 - Manual review, trying to fix non-Scots articles[7] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
7 - Draftify[8] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
  1. Compatible with proposals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8
  2. Compatible with proposals 0.5, 2
  3. Compatible with proposals 0.5, 2
  4. Should be combined with proposal 1; compatible with proposal 0.5
  5. a b Compatible with proposal 0.5; partially compatible with proposals 5, 6
  6. Proposal has been closed
  7. a b Compatible with 0.5, 2, 7, 8
  8. Compatible with proposals 0.5, 5, 6, 7, 8


The table is a useful summary but it seems to me that 0.5 implies deletion of the Wiki in the word "remove". Option 1 also includes mass tagging of articles created by AG and could (should) include tagging of all reverted articles "A simple rollback to prior to AG's first edit, plus a tag explaining the situation, is the simplest solution for this problem... Axem Titanium (talk) 05:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)". I've assumed I'm right and added two check marks (green ticks) but I won't argue if anyone wants to remove either or both.--GrounderUK (talk) 15:41, 2 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #0: Nuke and start over[edit]

It's been suggested to me to Nuke the whole thing and start over. –MJLTalk 09:46,come 26 August 2020 (UTC)

Er... no? You would delete each and every bit of it, even those pages written by full-blooded Lowlanders. And trust me, you wouldn't stay motivated for long to repopulate the wiki. So what would you get after one year? A pathetic project of less than 1,000 stubs. And after everyone loses interest, it might once again become the domain of non-speakers who think they're helping. Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 10:21, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'm just forwarding a position that has been expressed to me time and time again since this controversy started. –MJLTalk 10:23, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
These extreme suggestions are clearly reactionary, and always abundant when something goes viral in this way. I wouldn't take them to heart --158.140.215.234 11:37, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Disagree. Please don’t. What about the other 1/3s that were written by Scot speakers? We can’t do that. Oshawott 12 ==()== Talk to me! 10:43, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Where did you get 1/3 from? PiRSquared17 (talk) 11:04, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Amaryllis's contributions were closer to 1/2nd of the total amount of pages on the wiki, not 1/3rd (27k out of 58k), a lot of pages that were not made by Amaryllis were still edited by him, and a lot of other contributions were made by non-Scots and on occasion vandals. I don't agree with Proposal 0, but this problem extends beyond the actions of just one user. --ReneeWrites (talk) 11:11, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Agree. It is hard enough to find native speakers willing to produce content, let alone redacting texts which are merely weird re-spellings of English originals. Krm db (talk) 11:01, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - I realise this is the input from external factors, but nuking a wiki because of the quality just isn't right. It'd never be recreated. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 12:04, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Oppose As has been noted a few times in this thread, there are native speakers interested (not as many as you might like). They need to (a) be supported to have more control over the wiki and (b) talked to on what approach should be taken to clean up/review subpar content. Soothrhins (talk) 12:12, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree It's an embarrassment. Wikipedia was just getting a good reputation and keeping this pretend version of Scots destroys that reputability. The only way to save face is to show that it is not condoned. 212.140.121.176 12:23, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Not offering an official opinion here as this is a drastic proposal and I don't feel comfortable formally agreeing or disagreeing given that I do not speak Scots. With that disclaimer out of the way, I think it is worth noting that if a Wiki's language is so little known and spoken that one user was able to have this kind of effect on the Wiki and no one knew about it until a post on Reddit, evidently the language lacks the vitality necessary to support a Wiki and keeping the Wiki beyond this point may do more harm to the language than good. Wikis shouldn't be the primary force behind a language, the language should be the primary force behind the Wiki. With that said, if scowiki ends up being nuked, I would not protest it after the fact. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 12:40, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • @Puzzledvegetable:As a Scots speaker, I'd say the issue isn't the number of speakers (there's over 1.5 million), its the number of speakers willing to edit a Scots Wikipedia when the absolute majority of Scots speakers also speak, read and write English. Scots is a minority language, and fairly unique in the world in terms of being close and yet distinct from English. I'll save you from a full history lesson, but the short of it is that Scots is a language that is mainly spoken by its users as opposed to written down. It can actually take a lot of (personal) training and confidence to write (scrieve) in Scots (even if you are fluent speaker) as many are discouraged to in school or work.
I suspect that is part of the problem in having a seven figure sum of people who use the language daily being outnumbered by non-native speakers on the wiki. As noted elsewhere on this page, there are native-speakers getting organised after yesterday's revelations. The wider wiki community should be supporting them to fix the problem. If you're worried about damage limitation, wiping a language's existence isn't going to do you any favours in my book. Soothrhins (talk) 13:01, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Soothrhins, I am not trying to wipe the language's existence. However, the number of Scots speakers in the world is irrelevant if none of them edit the Wiki. While I understand that this may be due to complex sociological factors regarding the nature of the language and active attempts to suppress Scots as a written language, Wikipedia is simply not the place to address that. We do not revive a language by creating a Wiki for it, we create Wikis because the language is used (and has potential to be edited) by enough people to justify the Wiki's creation. Once the internet flurry caused by the Reddit post dies down, we're going to have the same problem. A group of people deciding to work together to fix the issue doesn't help long term. There isn't supposed to be a dedicated group of language experts, there's simply supposed to be enough people using the language that the Wiki is maintained by the masses of passive editors. That's the whole point of Wikis in general. If it was supposed to be the work of a specific group, it wouldn't be a Wiki.
I genuinely hope that there is some way to fix this, but nothing I've seen so far looks very viable. I personally support proposal #1, because it appears to be the only way to address the problems caused by this particular editor without going nuclear, but if it comes to the nuclear option, I wouldn't oppose it. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 13:16, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The fact that no suitable Scots-speaking editors have come forward in recent years does not necessarily mean that none will come forward now. To date, any Scots speaker interested in the project would have looked at it and seen a large number of articles written in no dialect they recognise as Scots. Many of these articles were posted by a person in a position of trust and responsibility in the project, who as early as 2014 was threatening to block new editors on the grounds that they were not writing in Scots. On top of that, the recent furore has raised a lot of awareness about the existence of the project. 88.109.68.70 14:23, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@88.109.68.70: Also because machine learning uses a database of Wiki articles for a particular language, Scots speakers will have an interest in making sure there is a bank of correct Scots articles. I'm hoping the University of Edinburgh Scottish Studies Department can send volunteers or even take stewardship of the project. WhisperToMe (talk) 19:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, kinda, or at least some variant of this. Everyone else is quick to come up with ideas that involve manpower (peoplepower? userpower?), ignoring the fact that there just isn't any out there. We need to be exploring solutions that can be implemented by a small number of people over a short period of time, otherwise nothing will get done. Past experience has shown that even if we get interested people from other projects, that interest will rapidly wane, particularly when faced with such a repetitive and extensive task. – Ajraddatz (talk) 13:44, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Comment Funny how all the support for this anti-proposal comes from non-Scots, who wouldn't be able to tell sound Scots apart from the kind of language used by AmaryllisGardener. All the while, those Scots that have spoken out here have:

  • Called for a constructive solution (nuking is not constructive, as should be clear to everybody)
  • Planned an edit-a-thon to tackle this problem in other ways than wholesale destruction
  • Sought contact with this user and invited him/her to this edit-a-thon

Moreover, what some fail to see because they don't want to see it: the Scots Wikipedia was set up by actual speakers long ago, years before most of you were around in Wikimedialand. Their contributions must now be undone forever? That's nothing short of obscene! It has been stressed before: Scots is, more or less, an endangered language with a modest scriptural tradition. If you nuke Scots, you would destroy much of what little Scots the internet has to offer. Forever, possibly beyond retrieval! All for the benefit of the language, I suppose?! Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 13:57, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Scots is, more or less, an endangered language with a modest scriptural tradition. If you nuke Scots, you would destroy much of what little Scots the internet has to offer. Forever, possibly beyond retrieval! If that is correct, then that is precisely why this proposal is being considered. The language doesn't have the vitality to support a Wiki. As I said before, "Wikis shouldn't be the primary force behind a language, the language should be the primary force behind the Wiki." We don't maintain Wikis for the purpose of supporting a language. Edit-a-thons are great for short spurts of editing. I don't think it is reasonable to suggest that an edit-a-thon is going to solve the problem long term. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 14:12, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
By that logic, many Wikipedias would have to be deleted right away. Most of them are either in minority languages or in mainly spoken vernaculars. From the very beginning, we have gladly admitted Wikipedias in such languages.
Are you even aware that the main concern of this RfC is the quality of the Scots Wikipedia? ReneeWrites, who raised the issue, wants a sound Scots Wikipedia because in this form, it doesn't benefit the language. So this whole discussion is about what we can do for the Scots Wikipedia, not what we must do against it! Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 14:27, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
There is a difference between "admitting" minority language/spoken vernacular Wikis and forcing them to be of a certain size once they exist. To frame the question about "benefiting the language" is confusing the issue; Wikipedia is intended to benefit readers, not languages.
In my mind, the fact that so many low-quality articles have existed for so long without action being taken is pretty direct evidence of a very low readership of these articles. What value is there in directing a large manpower effort (comprised of editors who have yet to be identified) to restore these articles for use by such a small audience? Would it not be make more sense to allow the Scots-speaking editors to create their own articles from the ground up as they see fit rather than asking them to fix up articles on topics in which they may have no interest? This would allow them to direct effort towards articles which have the greatest utility for them and remove the embarrassing articles during the time it takes to build up the new content.
Even this is not yet touching on the issue of "preserving" the Scots language. As you say, Wikipedia allows "endangered" language Wikis but that is not the same as saying that Wikipedia is supposed to "save" endangered languages. That is not a stated goal of Wikipedia and pursuing that goal quickly leads into a lot of thorny questions. If a language "dies" (or if its presence on Wikipedia "dies" for whatever reason), that may be sad from a sociological perspective but it is not a concern to Wikipedia as a project. As another editor above aptly put it, Wikipedia should be driven by language as it exists; language should not be driven by Wikipedia.
Deleting the articles in question is indeed a radical solution but it's hard to see who exactly is harmed by it other than the amorphous concept of "the language". These articles have had very low readership and their author has expressed acceptance of their potential deletion. What is really being lost by their deletion other than the peace of mind of some non-Scots-speaking editors? 2600:1700:68D0:6F10:65B2:C485:F347:6A7A 16:12, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Steinbach As a Scottish (mostly former) editor of enwiki, finally chiming in here, I would like to say that having read a lot of discussions on other sites, and spoken to fellow Scots, most Scots are in favour of deleting the entire thing. Not to "preserve" the language, but because they believe the wiki to be "beyond saving" and that it's more offensive and damaging to leave it up. So I wouldn't tar any support/oppose votes here with a non-Scot/Scot brush. The Reddit AMA on the Scotland subreddit, in fact, is full of people calling for the whole thing to be deleted. I personally am not going to support the proposal, because knowing the wikisphere as I do, I think it's unlikely to ever happen, and also I think there is something that can be salvaged. But I think your comment here is a tad unfair and unhelpful. I personally do understand why people think the whole thing ought to be "nuked". OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 14:42, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Steinbach: have you asked us all? No as I am a Scots speaker and want it deleted. 212.140.121.176 15:48, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
So you also want the contributions by competent editors to be gone forever? Great Scot you are! Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 16:19, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
You can disagree with someone without implying they're doing a bad job at being their nationality. Please be less dismissive and more constructive. Personally, if I were part of a project that had ended up drastically different to how it was imagined, and in a way that was frankly harmful to worldwide perceptions of a thing, I would be perfectly fine with my work being deleted. The intentions of the original creators mean less to many Scots than the fact that they feel scowiki is offensive and makes them a laughing stock. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 16:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Steinbach there are no competent editors on this website, it's a rudderless ship piloted by a crew of charlatans and madmen. I'm a Scot and I think the only fitting monument to the enormity of the project that AmaryllisGardener has undertaken for the last decade is to completely destroy it. I think this would be very funny. Cinnamononym (talk) 17:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Steinbach: Can you not be so dismissive to native speakers, you're making it worse - they're not going to want to edit if this is the welcome their views on their language/identity receives. You say you're Dutch, so consider that the entire Dutch Wikipedia was rewritten by an American in poorly spelt German with American grammar over 10 years, with no stable point for reversion, and all the administrative pages were given the same treatment. But you say you would want a small group of volunteers to take just as many years trying to fix it, with public perceptions of the language and project dying even more over that time? I'm not saying I support it being deleted, I have no opinion, but calling someone a bad Scot for not wanting their language to be misrepresented on such a large scale - and when you yourself are not Scottish - is inappropriate and counterproductive. Kingsif (talk) 22:53, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
My comment is simply that any proposed solution that requires multiple editors over the long term just isn't feasible. An edit-a-thon or two isn't going to reverse two decades of no local community. We either accept that most of the content on scowiki is not acceptable (which we very well could do - the current content could be a launching point for very slow improvement over the next couple of decades) or accept that it is beyond saving and delete it, maybe saving some of the good content, but again whatever option we choose will have very minimal people involved to implement it. Look at this discussion -- thousands of people are talking about this issue online, and we have maybe 20 people here discussing options. And how many of that 20 are willing to dedicate hours per week to fixing the problem, over the time span of many years? – Ajraddatz (talk) 15:11, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Oppose on principle, at least for now, and understanding that it is not something that you yourself are proposing. It would appear that we have at least some contingent of native Scots speakers willing to try to fix this. As I believe all decisions here should be made with the ideals of native speakers in mind first, we ought to at least let them give it a shot. How long the motivation lasts beyond this initial push cannot possibly yet be known. Ergo, this would currently harm more than it helps. TCN7JM 14:55, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, for now. This is quite an extreme reaction to activities by one user. The solution to a widespread problem shouldn't be to restart it from scratch, but to find out how to remedy this. One of the support comments stated "It is hard enough to find native speakers willing to produce content, let alone redacting texts which are merely weird re-spellings of English originals." For that, we need to find a way to motivate native speakers to add content to the Scots Wikipedia, rather than just walk away from the project. Let's try cleaning the wiki up first before entertaining the idea of shutting it down. epicgenius (talk) 15:41, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment: I'm unwilling to fire off another brash and ill-considered message, but in the event that the "delete" faction prevails by consensus (which isn't happening) I strongly suggest waiting some length of time (perhaps a month) before nuking anything, to give editors the chance to make some sort of a difference. Someone proposed sco.wikipedia for deletion once before -- the major "oppose" votes there were people taking offense to the proposal calling Scots Wiki a "joke." Is it a joke today? I just want to defer any nuking until editors have enough time to evaluate the wiki's status. If those editors never end up materializing, if the wiki doesn't look different a month from now, then a nuke might be warranted. I don't think it would be productive at this time. RexSueciae (talk) 15:54, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • Comment in reply to @RexSueciae: Definitely merits in taking a phased approach. My concern is that for native-Scots editors to be able to make progress, some initial support is needed. Even if that was a bot that was flagging up potential articles that are issue. Absolutely no disrespect to the current administrators, but there also needs to be at least one who has Scots as a mither tongue (so there is some support to the other admins). Soothrhins (talk) 16:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose for now As there are actions taken to contact universities and get them involved in preserving this WhisperToMe (talk) 16:28, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree Burn it doon. If the French version of wikipedia was all "onh hee hon hee hon, zis is ze French Weekupehdiaa" there would be no debate about whether or not it should remain. Nuke the whole thing and don't start over. C TO THE I TO THE N TO THE N TO THE A TO THE M TO THE O TO THE well you get the idea pour yourself a bowl and let's chow down and shoot the breeze, ask whatever you please but don't sneeze on my knees 18:00, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose, at least now until we see if the fixing works or not; and even if the fix fails, only pages not fixed should be deleted not the whole project. Cheers, 85.170.134.240 17:58, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree Jist rename the damnt thing "stage-scots" in place o' "scots" and start ower.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.243.100.168 (talk) 18:27, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree I'm Scottish and this whole wiki is an embarrassment. Whatever's worth saving is overshadowed by the rubbish piled on top. The rubbish needs to go ASAP - not as and when Scots-fluent editors can be found who have the time to clean it up.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.31.211.229 (talk) 18:50, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree I wouldn't touch this wiki with a barge pole. It's an absolute mess. Despite the fact I use Scottish slang and speech in my everyday life, it does not in anyway make me a "native speaker". I'm not a linguistic, either amateur or professional, nor have I studied written Scots. In fact, I doubt many Scots speakers have ever studied actual Scots. This entire wiki is like someone from Boston decided to edit wikipedia pages with a healthy dose of "to be sure to be sure" and "chucky ar la" English to Irish for the Irish Gaelic wiki. Which begs the question how accurate the Irish and Scots Gaelic wikipedia sites are. I also think that if a white European had made tens of thousands of pages and hundreds of thousands of edits of wikipedia in stereotypical black ebonics, in todays climate, you wouldn't be able to remove the admin and their "work" fast enough.
  • Oppose for now I think this should be our last resort, once we've gone through and determined the less destructive solutions are not workable. I feel that a day or so after we became aware of the issue and started assessing it is a little too quick to use this option, given we have some other options that we can explore and feel out.--The Navigators (talk) 20:55, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose in favor of a dedicated bot algorithm or moving to the incubator. I understand the impulse, and even considered it myself when I first heard, but nuking the pages will make it harder to recover, not easier, because any salvegable material will be made inaccessible to the vast majority of Scots-speaking editors who may be moved to help. Wugapodes (talk) 21:24, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, of course. Okay, granted, I don't speak Scots and I've never contributed anything of substance to scowiki. However, as a Wikipedian I would find it intolerable if my work were to be deleted just because someone else wrote a lot of articles without knowing the language. And to those saying that it's not only AG's articles that are bad: okay, but that's no reason why all 38,000 thousand articles should be bad as well. There are other, less radical, methods available to tackle the issue. IJzeren Jan (talk) 21:29, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment The current state of this wiki actively harmful to perceptions of the Scots language and a distraction from real resources for those interested in it. If a serious effort to correct this cannot be sustained then I believe we would be better off without it. I am still hopeful that the Scots language version can be brought into a useful state through one of the other proposals and I would prefer this to wiping it entirely. Monospaced (talk) 21:55, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral If possible, fix it as Wikipedia aims to do, but maybe hide all the content in the process as there are many arguments above as to how this is damage for public perception and machine learning. However, I do think the views of Scots speakers should be prioritized: do they want this Wikipedia? Do they think it's useful, will they use it, how outraged are they? Kingsif (talk) 23:05, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • sort of Would it be possible to delete all the AG created articles? They seem to be mangled versions of the en pages, so there is no loss of useful information. The other pages could be reverted ot before the first AG edit. The rollback history should be deleted so that it cannot be restored. Edits from any other editors that are not using Scots should be treated in the same way.

There are comments about most of the observations here being from non-native speakers. I think that most are from non-speakers of Scots. I think that many are confusing English as spoken by most Scots with the quite different Scots language (Lallans or Doric). The presence of mock-Scots on the sco pages is a severe disincentive to contributions from the Scots-writing community. I have been discouraged in the past from my casual edits being replaced almost immediately with mock-Scpts. Like most of my neighbours, I switch between speaking Scots and English depending on the circumstances, but am not a fluent writer in Scots. There are probably more people writing in Gaelic than Scots. --Scunnert (talk) 02:21, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • Oppose Many non-Wikipedians have suggested this (see Reddit), but I think that belies a misunderstanding of the Wiki process, and what deletion is. On En-wiki, we don't delete articles simply because they're bad. They need to be fundamentally unsuitable to get deleted. I think deleting the Wiki entirely is a giant "Fuck you" to the actual Scots contributors, and will be the final nail in the project's coffin. I think we can come up with an effective solution that is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 01:33, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • @CaptainEek: I opened a new section below without reading this, but I really disagree with your reasoning here, Cap. It's evident that very few Scots speakers use this Wikipedia, but the wider Scots internet community are generally very angry about its misuse of the language. The people who care about this issue do not care about the Wiki process, and we need to consider them. I also think it's been made clear that the majority of articles and even style guides etc. are not just bad, but complete nonsense in Scots (the word "gibberish" appears on this page a lot), which probably meets fundamentally unsuitable. Whether we reform them or delete them should not be a question for people overly concerned with applying how we normally do things, but the people whose language is (not) being used. Kingsif (talk) 01:44, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment From a language preservation and promotion perspective, nuking it is far preferable than any proposal that leaves any of AG's edits intact, for example with disclaimers as suggested in proposal 3. The sheer magnitude of his troublesome edits outweigh anything potentially salvagable. That being said, nuking the entire wiki is unnecessary, but only because it is possible to just rollback every edit AG has made as per proposal 1. Damien Linnane (talk) 01:58, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree. There is no imaginable scenario where the wiki in its current form can be fixed. There's no way to preserve material short of having native speakers go through every single article, since the problem goes far beyond the edits of a single user. The main argument in favour of not nuking is that there is possibly some good work on some articles that might be deleted, and that effort would have gone to waste; but given that the vast majority of the wiki appears to be garbage, the effort required to find that good material and preserve it would be greater than the effort that was spent to create it in the first place. If there are now people who would want to work at making an actual Scots wikipedia, their effort would be better spent making a new wiki completely from scratch instead of "fixing" a totally compromised one. --69.41.200.30 02:32, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Was second choice, but moving towards support following the case studies raised by IPs here, here and here. It's increasingly clear to me that this editor was just a symptom: a huge proportion of editors on the Scots Wiki don't speak the language at all, they just fancy themselves as linguists and/or watched Braveheart one time too often. It's like the Billy Connolly sketch about how Scottish folksongs are written by weirdos obsessed with the Auld Country who've never been to Scotland in their lives. University editathons can fix eight or nine articles at a time: it's obvious that this isn't a thousandth of enough. Blythwood (talk) 05:03, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree But I hope the current version of the Scottish Wikipedia is backed up in the Internet Archive. I know all the articles are I'm not quite sure about the pages not in the article namespace, all the media, and the history. I know this is a huge loss but there is no other realistic way to fix the disorder. Jake The Great 908 (talk) 06:15, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Scowiki dumps are provided on dumps.wikimedia.org. I believe pages-meta-history.xml.bz2 contains all revisions of all pages, including non-mainspace. I don't know if the IA has a copy of this file, but I suspect they already have most of the data in their incremental backups. I wasn't able to find a backup of all the (nonfree) media, but you could scrape them all using the WikiTeam script with the option --images. PiRSquared17 (talk) 06:29, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose for now. I am of the belief that no content is better than truly terrible content. I have reservations that a proper clean-up can and will take place without at least some large-scale deletions. I would hate to see scowiki left as it is with only a few pages fixed and the rest tagged, which is what I worry will happen if we expect too much from volunteers who do not already consider editing an encyclopedia to be a hobby of theirs, and who may not realise yet how tedious it can be, or that turning gibberish into Scots may be a harder undertaking than starting anew. But they should have a chance. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 06:44, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose This is the wrong solution to the problem. --Rschen7754 06:46, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree As a Scotsman I will say that ignoring personal attacks at the user AG, this Wiki is clearly the playground of a number of language enthusiasts who do not live in my country. I would agree to preserve the actual Scots content but it appears to be a sad minority. This Wiki is an unintentional mockery of the Scots language, and the best thing to do when you unintentionally mock something is apologise and clean up, instead of what some non-Scottish users have been doing in here and frantically trying to justify it. --165.225.196.225 08:58, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Nuking Scots Wikipedia won't and will not solve the problem. This is running away from a problem, and generally if you run away from all the problems you currently have is going to become a bad idea as the problem is going to remain there and left unsolved. We need a constructive and smart way to solve the problem - and i agree on Steinbach on this. SMB99thx 11:15, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Steinbach is off his tits and has been nothing but an aggressive tit to native Scots speakers and anyone else who brought up the topic of nuking the sco.wiki because judging by his user profile on sco.wiki he is irrationally fearful that his own edits might be next. The lad needs to sort his head out. The only constructive way to fix this is a complete nuke. IP user 46.x.x.x.x and Blythwood have already dug into various pages and found that ALL of them so far have been created by non-native non-Scots speakers. You're from Indonesia. There's how many languages there? How many of them are protected? Now think how Indonesian speakers of any of those protected languages might feel if some bampot from Scotland decided that running English wiki articles through an online translator was suitable enough to create nearly 60k articles in said protected language. 150.143.212.130 11:42, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
It's not running away from a problem, it's removing the problem. Steinbach is reacting very emotionally because he wants to protect his output. Look at his user page and you'll see he's taking this personally, which is not helpful. --165.225.196.225 12:05, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks! This is the first time I had participated on a sensitive discussion, so my comments might not well as thought-out as other users. I'm crossing out my agreement on Steinbach, but I'm staying on opposition. SMB99thx 12:14, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose on the basis of PR. "Hey, they had a wiki so terrible they had to hide it from public view!" --Prospero One (talk) 11:24, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
God forbid a Wikipedia editor or admins ego gets hurt while an entire UNESCO protected language suffers. 150.143.212.130 11:45, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Don't know what makes you bring up the issue of single editors, I was referring to WMF as a whole. Also, which one sounds better to the layman hearing about these things – proverbially sweeping the issue under a rug with a nuke, or attempting a creative solution? --Prospero One (talk) 11:56, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The PR of removing a small wiki which is treated with disdain by Scots over it's awful content is not significant to the foundation when compared to the fact that the entire Scots language has been so brutally misrepresented by this wiki. --165.225.196.225 12:05, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Nuking it sounds better. What creative solution do you have? A bot might see off AGs articles, but that still leaves tens of thousands of articles that need gone through. Are you prepared no go through tens of thousands of articles that need gone through? No you're not. And I'm not sure who has an arse big enough to pull the plethora of editors, who also happen to speak and can write grammatically correct Scots that can fix tens of thousands of articles in a short period of time, because "woah, we don't want to rush fixing a problem that has completely bastardised a protected language and will continue to do so for so long as the pages remain up, it might make us and the WMF look bad". 150.143.212.130 12:16, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment This would resolve the copyright and Terms of Use breaches (unattributed 'translations' from en.wiki) in articles which AG never touched; the question of what to do with AG's templates (many with poor translations), modules and categories; and the many other articles, guidance pages, etc written in mixtures of plain English, very poor Scots and accented English. 92.6.149.254 12:08, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Absurd awful solution proposed by hysteria. We've had legitimate Scots contributors too over the decade or so scowiki has been around. We can't just move for nuking everything, rather than addressing the problematic content itself. Absurd proposition. Maybe much of the remaining content is also problematic, but has anyone put in the work to see? How much valid content would we be deleting, by actual editors who didn't have that much time, but made valid contributions in the time that they had.
    No offence to Scots speakers, but if you want a wiki that honestly represents your language, and don't want non-Scots people doing the writing, ultimately you're going to have to join the volunteer community and fix the crap yourselves, because you're the only people that can. And I'm not convinced, when the dust settles, that is what will happen.
    A wiki is not written overnight, scowiki is the product of 15 years of work. Nuking will do nothing but destroy scowiki. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 12:25, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Doing a job wrong after fifteen years does not make it right. If the Scottish editors are not interested or available then filling the gaps with literal nonsense was not the appropriate approach, regardless of how consciously it was taken. I have no doubt that this wiki was created with the best of intentions but it has been corrupted too heavily. No wiki is better than a dramatically wrong wiki. --165.225.196.225 12:28, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    There is evidence here for one user's contributions being unhelpful, and the wiki currently being in poor shape, and having been poorly maintained in recent years. But there is no evidence shown to say the first 5-10 years of contributions are also bad. We take the minimally destructive options for a good outcome, not the nuclear option because it sounds appeasing and is likely to make for the most dramatic headlines. If we can reasonably fix the wiki, and maybe even revive the project, that is the option we should strive for. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 12:41, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    (Edit conflict.)This kind of sounds like "Do an immense amount of free labour or else put up with a harmful representation of your language that you didn't create and didn't know non-speakers were gradually creating". I'm not thrilled with the placement of blame here, or the attitude towards people that want it to be deleted. I voted oppose, I want it to be saved overall, but calling people who feel differently "hysterical" is irritating. And for what it's worth, Scots-speakers are trying to organise to clean up a mess they didn't make, but some people believe it's unlikely they will be able to meaningfully complete such a task, considering how many articles there are. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 12:37, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Free labour is another way to say volunteering to a resource we all use to preserve ones UNESCO protected culture. No, they're not expected to put up with a harmful representation, that is why we have proposals below to address the damage caused by this single editor's contributions. But we are all volunteers doing free labour here, and we should show some respect to past volunteers too, by not binning their work on a whim. The nuclear option is hysteria; this wiki is 15 years old, considering its contents solely by the contributions of one editor is hysteria propped up by media reporting that will die out in a week or two. I'm not brushing off the cultural violation Scots feel by the current state of scowiki, but I am fobbing off any comments which fail to address all the contributions on scowiki, which go beyond this single editor. This nuclear option may be suitable if, after trying the below proposals, we still have a wiki filled with rubbish, or if supporters can show even early content was nonsense. I see nothing here showing that. We do not bin the work of our past contributors with trigger-happy fingers. A reasonable, collected approach is required. It would be an insult to past contributors to bin their efforts like this. I fully concur with the comments at User:Steinbach. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 12:52, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Just realized that these IP want to throw the hard work of older Scots editors to the bin and that was before AG edited the wiki. SMB99thx 13:01, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    (ec)It's not just a single editor. Read the discussions above; the sub-par standard was set long ago. There are non-Scots edits as far back as 2006. Many, if not all, of the currently active scowiki editors (pre-brouhaha) are non-speakers. The editor in question just happened to be exceptionally prolific, which is why his articles are such a large bulk of the wiki overall. And currently scowiki does more harm to the language than it is "preserving" it. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 13:03, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I did read the comments above, I see no evidence of such an assertion. Some non-Scots editors, sure. A Wiki with no valuable content at all? No evidence presented for such a bold statement. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 13:08, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    You didn't read them. To be honest you've been dismissive, arrogant and obnoxious. Particularly with the "if you don't like it, fix it yourself", like a handful of people should fix several years of nonsense they had nothing to do with. It's already been discussed, if you'd bothered to read other posts, with users going back through historic pages and users and finding out they're not native-Scots speakers. What they chose to mention is just a handful. The entire wiki authenticity is called into question. And are you a Scots speaker? Who are you to assert that "there is no evidence shown to say the first 5-10 years of contributions are also bad". Because there's absolute no evidence shown to say the first 5-10 years of contributions are good. 15 years you squawk vehemently. Look at the first few editors of the main wiki page and tell me how many of them are actual native-Scots speakers. Get off your high horse. 150.143.212.130 13:16, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    "no valuable content at all" please note that I did not make that statement. I said that it does more harm than good in its current state, which is that most of the content is not in the correct language and is instead in a hilarious/offensive (depending on your position) hackjob of it. I don't want it nuked, but I think you should show a bit of respect to people's positions and not dismiss them as "hysteria" or imply they're being callous. As noted by someone else, people have been going over historic edits and it's damning. I myself have been struggling to find pages that are solely in actual Scots, edited mainly by Scots speakers. That's all I'll say. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 13:24, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    The one that really chapped was "No offence to Scots speakers, but if you want a wiki that honestly represents your language, and don't want non-Scots people doing the writing, ultimately you're going to have to join the volunteer community and fix the crap yourselves, because you're the only people that can. And I'm not convinced, when the dust settles, that is what will happen." Which basically amounts to "Hey, offence intended Jock, but if you want a wiki that honestly represents your language, you're out of luck because anyone can claim to be a native-Scots speaker and make whatever edits they want, which indicates a fundamental flaw with our system, but please don't bring that up. Also, when the dust settles, if you haven't got anyone to do the work, tough. It stays and one of the most visited sites on the internet will continue to host articles in gobbledegook pretending to be your native language." 150.143.212.130 13:33, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    They don't need to "claim to be a native Scots speaker". scowiki has no such policy/guideline, as far as I'm aware (although, its community is entitled to create one). For the limited set of bad articles identified, there are proposals (below) to delete/tag them using bots. That bot would also be made by volunteers. Beyond that, I don't know what you want me to say? Obviously a non-Scots speaker is limited in how much they can do. Everyone here is a volunteer, so you can't expect non-Scots to dedicate their time to fixing up a mess they also aren't responsible for - most people on this page had nothing to do with scowiki. And, again, it's ethically and principally backwards to delete 15 years of work, with many of those contributors being Scots speakers, simply because one person drew some headlines. I'm only saying the obvious: you cannot both be outraged and expect someone to fix it, yet take offence at the suggestion that said person be you (or another Scots speaker). There are no paid employees here, except WMF staff (who aren't responsible for content). You can petition the Wikimedia Foundation to close the project, but I suspect that proposal will be rejected. If you're not going to petition the WMF, what you're doing is asking volunteers with no association with scowiki to fix up the mess. Hence the least you can do is show some understanding and respect, especially if you don't want to participate in the cleanup yourself. Yes, you're not responsible for this mess, but neither is anyone else on this page. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:04, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    You have no idea what is right or what is wrong. And you're content to err on the side of "****ed if I know, let it stay", rather than remove something that is most likely erroneous and damaging to a protected language. And save me the poor volunteer spiel. We're here because your platform allowed a single "volunteer" to run amok with no oversight for the better part of ten years. PROVE THAT MANY OF THOSE CONTRIBUTORS WERE ACTUALLY SCOTS SPEAKERS and not Yanks or Canadians, or malicious English editors making a mockery of the language like the IPV6 poster, or the bloody Sri Lankan we had TODAY creating articles who are not native-Scots speakers. Again, this has all been discussed if you had actually read all the posts and take it on board instead of feeling threatened that perhaps whatever little wiki fiefdom you possibly lord over is next for the chopping block. Nobody cares about "no paid employees" here other than people who think their hobby has value to anyone but themselves. There is absolute no value in this wiki. It is completely detrimental to the Scots language. Why shouldn't volunteers fix up the mess? IT WAS VOLUNTEERS WHO CAUSED THE MESS. Drop the holier than thou attitude. Nobody who speaks, reads or writes Scots cares about the wiki method or whatever other nonsense you're going to bring up to justify your reluctance to fix this. They care that their language on one of the most visited sites on the internet, is mostly completely fabricated. As for participating in the cleanup. What are you going to do? Run a bot? Delete AGs posts? Good for you. Are you going to stick around and fix the tens of thousands of other possible problematic pages that aren't grammatically correct Scots? No you're not. Because you're not a Scots speaker. It's going to be left to a handful of other poor sods to deal with. Give your head a shake. 150.143.212.130 14:16, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I presume you can speak Scots? If so, what I genuinely don't get is why you're so opposed to doing some work in fixing it up yourself (or in trying to recruit other Scots editors who can). Even just writing a couple of articles, if many speakers did that scowiki would be in great shape, and it doesn't take long at all to write 1-2 short articles. Since, as you say, it's a vulnerable language I'd think contributing to scowiki is a pretty incredible way to protect it, permanently. Surely this is a better solution to aim for than killing the wiki? I honestly think the media attention this is getting could be turned into a good opportunity to raise awareness for the language and make scowiki a useful resource. That would be a better outcome than scrapping everything, no? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:24, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Yes I can. Why should I? This was not my, or any other Scots speakers mess. This was a joint effort, which, judging by the myriad of users who've gone through various pages, and various profiles, have ascertained screwed this up by not being native speakers. As for "trying to recruit"... do you know how hard it is to get anyone I know to have any interest in what my hobbies are in regards to computers, let alone, spend the next several months going through thousands of pages of grammatically incorrect Scots posted by Yanks, Canadians, English and Sri Lankans, that ran English through Google translate and considered it "jobs a good un". The topic of discussion isn't about me though. The topic of discussion is the inherent wrongness of just about every damn thing on this wiki, other than what's been submitted and edited in the last few days (and there were still problems with non-speakers submitting nonsense articles). I, and just about every Scots person I know and who I've talked to about this, would rather see it nuked instead of left up like this. Its an absolute embarrassment. Not just to the WMF but every single damn person who ever submitted an article or edit thinking Scots is just heavily accented English with random Scots words thrown in. And it is not my job to fix it. We shouldn't have to be fixing this mess because the MediaWiki platform is inherently flawed. If there was a big red nuke button for this entire wiki, I'd have hit it hours ago and had the survivors rebuild. 150.143.212.130 14:36, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    ProcrastinatingReader, yup, what the IP above said. We can mass-draftify and users can whitelist individual articles found to be trustworthy. But any plan assuming that around thirty thousand dodgy articles can just be improved by "someone", followed by whining about how lazy Scottish people are for not doing something about this before, is not going to work. Blythwood (talk) 14:38, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Even if you're both correct, nuking is a bandaid. I doubt anyone will want to contribute with the threat of another nuke in 10 years looming over their head, and since assertions here are that we won't have enough Scots contributors anyway, we'll probably end up with this nonsense again, or just a poorly maintained wiki. Nuking isn't really a solution. You can propose the deletion of the project, if you want, since that sounds like what you're really after. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:56, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Oh look. Another ****ing bureaucratic hoop to jump through to get anything done. Am no going to bother ma hole. It can stay as wrong as it is. The main page should be edited to include "Aw this wiki is baws. Go find another source for accuracy." But I imagine that would be reverted for vandalism quite quickly, wouldn't it. Much more quickly than 60k pages of horse **** pretending to be a UNESCO protected language. Jesus Christ. 150.143.212.130 15:01, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - Absolutely not, It would be like having a leak under your kitchen sink .... and throwing a grenade under it - Won't solve a thing and instead will make things 10x worse. I'm sure we can think of a less-drastic approach. –Davey2010Talk 14:02, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose After some consideration, this seems like the least productive option. It's hard to predict how many people will be willing to recreate everything from scratch, while making sure this whole thing doesn't happen again. Isabelle Belato (talk) 15:14, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • AgreeI honestly think Scots Wikipedia is so poisoned it would be best to start from the ground up. Unless there is a way to somehow "quarantine" the site and wade through the articles saving ones of quality, I propose removing it in it's entirety. Port a'bhéil (talk) 16:25, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • @MJL: could you clarify what "nuke" means here? This could be "close the project down", or "delete everything and restart from a blank page" - which are two very different situations. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:37, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Andrew Gray: Mass-delete, not project termination. (I would assume, given MJL's link in the project proposal.) RexSueciae (talk) 19:09, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support in principle Strong support, see additional reasoning below. A lot of the opposition to this proposal stems from an assumption that the mere existence of a Scots language Wikipedia is an unequivocal good. This perspective is endemic among already prolific editors of other Wikipedias. Based on my reading of multiple people here, I don't think this assumption should go unchallenged. First is the problem of an entire Wikipedia, masquerading as being written in Scots, borrowing the prestige and massive visibility of English Wikipedia. A truly immeasurable amount of harm is being put into the world against the Scots language by being one of the most prominent websites that purports to be written in Scots. A bad Scots Wikipedia is actually worse than no Scots Wikipedia at all. Second is the issue of what goal this Wikipedia is trying to accomplish. Does the world need a Scots language article on sco:Spain–Turkey relations? What does the hypothetical end state of this Wikipedia look like? A number of people have floated the idea of a more limited scope Wikipedia that focuses on Scots-related topics, which is why I don't necessarily support nuking the Scots Wikipedia in practice. This idea has merit and should be considered thoughtfully. The path to creating this limited scope Wikipedia might or might not go through a nuking of the current one. Axem Titanium (talk) 19:20, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
You've hit on an important point which I think is not likely to be considered here. The assumption that a Scots language Wikipedia is an unequivocal good. A small project, with Scots speakers as admins to provide oversight, where we can have articles on Scottish topics, in Scots? That would be incredible. This? This is a universe away from that. Current scowiki is largely written in what I will call faux-scots, and features many articles that would scarcely meet enwiki notability guidelines, and are certainly of no interest to anyone who wants to read information in Scots. It is demonstrated in discussions above; we have stubs on My Little Pony characters, on minor politicians from other countries. Aside from the fact those articles were written in faux-Scots--does scowiki need an article on everything under the sun? Should it be enwiki but in Scots? No. There aren't enough speakers to maintain such a broad project. And pretty much every Scots-speaker speaks English too. If they want information about a topic, they will go to enwiki. Scowiki should look to fulfil a different niche. But this idea possibly suggests that smaller language wikis should fulfil different roles to larger language wikis, which is a whole meta-discussion in itself. So many voters are not considering that such a position ought to be possible (that very small language wikis maybe don't need to be carbon copies of enwiki but in the respective small language). OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 21:05, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Changing opinion on this to strong support, per Ultaigh below and this. Based on the editathon, the evidence doesn't seem promising to suggest that any of the existing poor quality text will metamorphose into perfect or even baseline acceptable Scots with a bit of elbow grease, and the preponderance of bad text has an inertial impact on attempts to change it, making it even more difficult to improve. Better to nuke it all and start over with a small braintrust of committed Scots speakers. And if restarting isn't possible, see my reasoning above and ask if a Scots Wikipedia is a worthwhile thing to exist, even in theory. The current one is functionally a vanity project started by mostly non-Scots speakers on a lark, just to see if they could. I would go so far as to say Scots Wikipedia shouldn't get restarted without a group of committed Scots speakers at the helm. As anyone can plainly see, a bad Scots Wikipedia actually is a net negative, worse than no Scots Wikipedia at all. Axem Titanium (talk) 07:04, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm not too familiar with Wiki meta and not sure if I can officially agree with two different proposals at once, but I'm very much in favour of either the full nuclear option or moving it to the incubator where nobody has to see it. I don't think many of the people arguing to keep scowiki public actually understand to what extent it's not just "inaccurate", but actually harmful - as someone born and raised in Scotland, I've always assumed the Scots Wikipedia was intended to be some light-hearted novelty or gag like the ill-fated Klingon version or the old Pig Latin Google, and for a significant part of my life it actually shaped my opinion on "Scots" as a language given how few resources exist for it. The actual goal of the scowiki project was to promote and preserve a minority language, but in its current state it's somehow managed to achieve the direct opposite of this. You cannot leave this mess accessible to the public without actively going against the spirit of the initial project. I mean, do Scottish people really need hundreds of pages on My Little Pony characters that didn't meet notability guidelines for standalone pages on English Wikipedia, written in a non-existent conlang? If it needs to be preserved, please just move it to Fandom.com and let Wiki hobbyists play with it there. --Screaming coffee (talk) 19:32, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • I don't think people are saying it's merely inaccurate and not harmful, but that they prefer cleaning up the inaccuracies to taking down the entire Wiki in one go, and with it legitimate pages as well. --ReneeWrites (talk) 19:38, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • You're right, I think it's just the new "neutral" wording of the page title here that's bothering me as I was following the discussion before the change, although I'll gladly admit I'm not exactly coming from a neutral standpoint myself. I think the best thing to do in this case would be to remove it to the incubator, where a strict back-to-basics approach should be applied and a lot (I actually suspect the vast majority) of these articles should just be trashed completely. Again, I don't know a whole lot about what goes on behind the Wiki curtain and I'm likely making an arse of myself here, but scowiki in its current form is very obviously the bloated product of a few people's hyperfixations - as a further example, I clicked the "random article" button and the very first thing to appear was a stub about a single plot point from one "Star Wars" film, written entirely in Standard English (with the sole exception of one "and" being substituted with "an"). Again, as long as it remains public, it is antithetical to what the project was intended to be in the first place (not repeating this at you specifically by the way, more so for the sake of anyone else reading.) Cheers --Screaming coffee (talk) 20:20, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
You're right, there definitely has to be something serious done. I will note that the random article you clicked on, because it was created by AG, would automatically be deleted by most of the proposals and manually deleted/improved in the rest, so even if it isn't incubated articles like that will still gone from the public's view in most cases. Zoozaz1 (talk) 20:30, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support very reluctantly. First I want to say that I deplore the personal attacks that AG has been subjected to. While their contributions have unfortunately not been helpful, they were undoubtedly done in good faith. All of which said, we have a problem here. To my mind there are two questions that need to be asked. First; is there enough participation on this wiki to effectively address the errors that have been unwittingly introduced in both a reasonably speedy manner and one that also materially corrects the problematic pages? Secondly; is there enough participation by speakers of Scots to maintain a reasonable level of quality control over the wiki while expanding it into something that is actually practical as opposed to a cultural novelty? My answer to both questions is, probably not. At some point one needs to be realistic about how to fix problems. Sometimes when you realize you have built a structure that turns out to be riddled with flaws, the only rational response is to knock it down and start over. I am not going to get into the starting over part, but I think whatever rises from the ashes needs a much stronger quality control system in place to prevent this from recurring. -Ad Orientem (talk) 21:22, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Not given these statements by the Scots Language Center[14][15] that indicate it is both a resource and can be fixed. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:53, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose I do not think that this option should be used since the whole entirety of the Scots wiki is not a lost cause. I believe better solutions will come out of the other proposals. -Boldblazer (talk) 01:53, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Weak Support. A team ought to be organized that can salvage and preserve the best articles (because really there are very few articles I've seen there that are even halfway-decent, actual Scots), but everything else should be cleared and razed to build from scratch. This is certainly a tough and confusing mess, but there is no other practical solution that can undo the damage that AG and similar "enthusiasts" did over the years. Hard to estimate concepts like cultural damage in contemporary times, but the state of the Scots language as it is wasn't it good shape and the wiki overall made it look ridiculous to people, like just English with a funny accent. The other proposals are just band-aids, when we need to amputate.--Sigehelmus (talk) 05:40, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. The fact that this page and this discussion is almost entirely in English is an indication of the lack of expertise available to rectify this problem, and Michael Dempster underestimates the amount of work involved. After nuking, the new project needs to be scaled back very considerably so as not to include, for example, articles on minor New Zealand politicians. The focus should be on articles that are relevant to and of interest to Scots speakers who want to read about that topic in Scots. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the community has the resolve to do what's necessary yet. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2.27.144.207 (talk)
  • Strang oppose – there's a guid six years of article creation and edits by others, much of which is likely to be worth if imperfect. As ye'd expect. Regrettably, articles AG created look disposable, so they can go an anyone wantin tae edit wid be better startin wi en.wiki articles rather than these dodgy stubs. However, AG's edits on ither articles ah've lookit ower arenae bad. (Wrote this wi Scotticisms tae placate 2.27.144.207, any complaints do please contact me to discuss) . . dave souza (talk) 08:43, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose The language itself is still valid, at least its ISO 639-3 code is sco, the only problems are around the quality of contents in this language, not the language itself. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 11:09, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
That's not the argument being made here, FYI. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 21:12, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree. As an Irish person I would feel aggrieved if a non-Irish person set up a Hiberno-English Wikipedia and this was the result. Scottish (and Irish) people use dialect in everyday speech but we read and write in English. The (I'll have a) "Scotch" Wikipedia is a laughing stock. Regular speakers of Scots English would probably not be interested in correcting the articles. Scottish Wikipedia editors probably wouldn't know where to start, unless it was in middle-class Edinburgh brogue.
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose Destroying something is a last resort when it's utterly broken and unrepairable, and the general population doesn't want to keep a peice of it. If you can fix it, fix it. Can I Log In (talk) 17:29, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong support Strong support My initial thought was to hold off any talk of nuking until after the planned editathon on the 30th of August. I was very excited and looking very forward to it, confident that we could fix things, taking part in discussions and organisational efforts. Over the last few days, having observed the first few probing efforts, I no longer have any confidence in it. People who do not speak Scots are being encouraged to participate out of a misguided sense of encouragement and an unwillingness to gatekeep. To their credit these people are trying to help and often approach the subject with some humility, but they are being misled by people who should know better into believing that they can make a meaningful contribution. Already there have been instances of people claiming to be native speakers encountering widely used Scots words they're unfamiliar with and editing them out. These people do not speak Scots. They speak Scottish English and believe them to be the same thing. This compounds the problems that started this whole mess in the first place. At least AG, misguided as he was, sometimes accidentally ended up with some proper Scots in his articles because of his dictionary's help. These people will not even have that. The Wiki will still be written in a mishmash of English gibberish, and won't even have the few Scots elements that lended it some fleeting credibility. I understand now that there can never be a successful Scots version of Wikipedia because so many people, mostly Scottish people, have a completely wrong-headed idea of what Scots is, in part thanks to the initial state of the Wiki. The whole thing needs to be shut down before it can do any more damage, and I'm not convinced it should be started again. I made the initial Reddit post detailing what was wrong with the Wiki because I love this language more than anything. I've dedicated my life to it. I was heartbroken to learn that all the scorn and derision it has to endure was the result of ignorant, delusional people thinking they could speak it. Their arrogance was disgusting. I can't bear to see it all repeated. Ultaigh (talk) 20:00, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I was originally opposed to the idea of nuking, but am beginning to favor it. Looking at what I uncovered here in the discussion above, I'm starting to move towards thinking we should nuke it and start over. So few editors were compiling nearly all of the wiki, and as far back a six years ago, very few of them showed much proficiency for the language. This is not only a massive issue, but a longstanding one. We'd need to revert this thing, at least, back many many years before we'd even have a possibility of getting to a point where proficient speakers made the bulk of the edits, if such a time ever existed. I'm starting to doubt there was ever such a time, though. Either that, or a mass rollback and deletion so massive that it practically functions as a nuke (except with the edit history preserved). SecretName101 (talk) 00:18, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Nuke from Orbit There's no purpose to this Wiki existing if there's not going to be anybody to actively maintain it, once this controversy has died down the attention needed to fix it will go with it. The existence of this mostly dead wiki is more of a punchline than anything else and is clearly causing distress to scots and I think we should respect their wishes. Hemiauchenia (talk) 01:08, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Over at /r/Scotland there is strong sentiment that the Wiki should be deleted. some interesting quotes

I joined just to say delete it and start again, what's there now is a complete load of shite. I remember looking at it a few times in the past and thinking it made no fucking sense, "an aw" just randomly at the start of sentences. Makes sense it was written by a non-Scot. At best it's just a joke, at worst as others have said better than me, it's damaging to both the Scots language from a preservation point of view, and damaging to speakers who read it and think that they don't speak "real Scots" because it doesn't match up with what they speak

this one got 134 upvotes.

Delete it entirely. Or if that's too heretical put a huge banner on every page reminding every visitor that it's clearly a work of parody and bears no resemblance to any spoken langauge.

this one got 97. Hemiauchenia (talk) 01:20, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - I was reluctant at first about this option, but frankly there don't really seem to be any actually viable alternatives to clean up all the mess. Realistically the handful of actual Scots speaking editors aren't going to be able to fix the issue of this magnitude. Also deleting AG's content won't cut it, because he was only the most prolific one of the many many problematic editors who have been building up this mess over many years. Simply leaving all this gibberish up with vague hope that it will get fixed one day in undetermined future is not acceptable, as the wiki as its stands is actively damaging the Scots language, directly in contradiction with its primary purpose.--Staberinde (talk) 09:59, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support It's the only way to be sure. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:22, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Comment If we do nuke it, we should preserve its edit history somewhere (perhaps inaccessible to most). It'd be necessary to have for if the Wikimedia Foundation ever decides to run an autopsy of what went horrendously wrong with the Wiki, which they most certainly should consider doing. SecretName101 (talk) 04:17, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    @SecretName101: I'm sure we could partner with folks such as the en:Internet Archive to ensure that a copy of the wiki is preserved if only for future historians to have access to. –MJLTalk 07:25, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, with a heavy heart. I never like discarding people's efforts, but we need to balance that sentiment with the wider danger in continuing to present an inadequate resource (as expressed particularly by Damien Linnane earlier in this overall discussion). A rollback of AG's contributions is a minimum requirement, but will require significant effort, and the more I look, the more difficult it is to identify foundations which can be sustained and developed. In that I agree with the positions expressed by Axem Titanium, Ultaigh and SecretName101. If it goes, what should return? Personally I'd be comfortable with a sco.wiki which didn't pretend to universalism (with all the overheads such as a sco:Portal:Current events) but just provided interwiki-linked Scots articles on a few selected subjects; I'd be thinking of detailed Scots articles about the lives and works of sco:William Dunbar, sco:Robert Burns and sco:Hugh MacDiarmid as a base (though the works of the last of these remain under copyright and the article is a particularly minimal stub). Then there's the question of, for example, Scots placenames and labels replicated onto Wikidata and beyond: half of me wants to retain these, but as I've said elsewhere, some seem constructed: only those attested by sources elsewhere should be retained. AllyD (talk) 09:26, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment: Sometimes it feels like the amount of time needed to repopulate a nuked Wiki is underplayed in comparison with fixing what's there. For example, there are between 500-1000 places in Scotland that would need a page in any relaunched Scots Wiki. It would be much easier and quicker to fix the small errors in pages that already exist for this (some I've seen are very good and well referenced) than starting from scratch. Once the editathon is concluded I think editors should be asked how they found the editing process, and what their opinions are on it. Soothrhins (talk) 11:41, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong support the existence of a bad Scots wiki is far worse than having none at all. If there is a sizable base of native speakers who want to begin building it back up after we nuke it, that's great. Otherwise, life will go on without a good Scots wiki just as it has for the past several years. Lepricavark (talk) 13:53, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose The wiki can be fixed, as the proposals before and the editathon demonstrate, without having to resort to nuking it. Zoozaz1 (talk) 14:00, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • SUPPORT: The existence of a small wiki that is accurate in its relevant language, than a large wiki that's essentially an offensive stereotype. Its all good and well saying we can fix it as we go, but that's been attempted for years and reverted back to WikiScots. You need to understand that this is a recognised minority language by UNESCO, and by hosting such a large website, it is highly misleading regarding the lowland tongues. With a fresh start, we can enact some strong policies and have a smaller scale accurate wiki, with perhaps a system similar to the Latin Wiki displaying whether a translation has been rated accurate. Worse case scenario, no wiki is preferable to a family friendly uncyclopedia. Pax Brittanica (talk) 00:11, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment: The crux of this proposal this needs to be put to the new (and returning) editing community. Personally, I'm much more motivated helping to fix what is already there than I would be starting from scratch. There is one editor who has done thousands of edits (90% of which are still live) (and is still doing fantastic work), can't imagine what they'd think about all of that work being wiped out. Assumptions are also being made about the quality of the Scots. Most articles are currently stubs or short, and are therefore not that difficult to be wrong/fairly easy to fix. Soothrhins (talk) 08:25, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Aye, despite my own opinion, I don't see the degree of consensus (unanimity, even) which would be needed to settle on such a radical option. As I said at #A_Plan_forward, once folk have started committing to remedial work, erasure becomes all the more offensive to them, understandably. But effort isn't everything, and there's a "If not now, when?" issue about evaluating the value of what's in place, especially with the Wikidata integration which wasn't a consideration when sco.wiki was first created. I'm not overly concerned about stub articles (though sceptical about who would actually use them), but as I've said elsewhere (on this page and in your sco.wiki subpage) I am concerned about placenames etc. not becoming constructed and promulgated from sco.wiki without strong attribution to reliable sources. AllyD (talk) 10:03, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

I don't know how to format things on Wikipedia so this comment will look all wrong, but as a Scots speaker who has before looked at sco wikipedia, then recoiled in horror at the sheer scope of fixing just the one page I was looking at to make it into something which even vaguely resembles Scots ... delete the whole thing. It is offensive and damaging. The biggest reason I have never contributed or made any edits is because of how irredeemable what is already there has always been. Absolutely never. Starting from scratch is LESS WORK. And to the people saying that 1/3 of articles are in good Scots, can you link me one? Just one? I have certainly never seen one and I am not going to start digging through this wiki to find needles in a hideous, illegible, offensive haystack. Given the recent attention, there has never been a better time to start a Scots language Wikipedia which is ACTUALLY WRITTEN IN SCOTS. What we currently have is worse than nothing. I would be happy to contribute to a fresh slate. -Dthen

Here's one that some people have said is in good Scots. Zoozaz1 (talk) 20:24, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Great. Let's keep that one article, then. -Dthen

  • Agree - I don't speak Scots and it is important to say this first and foremost. Many people who do speak it natively have stated that this wiki is mostly not written in the correct language at all. Due to the fact it will be impossible to fix such issues, coupled with the assertion that the wiki is actually damaging to the preservation of the endangered language, I must agree with this proposal. If a wiki is damaging to an entire language preservation effort, and is not even written in the language it claims to be; there is absolutley no merit in keeping it. Frankly, I would say scowiki is an embarrassment to Wikimedia as a whole and undermines the Wikipedia project overall. The idea was to write the wiki in Scots, and this has evidentley been largley a failure. Why keep a wiki written largley in a pseudo-language that will likely never be fixed? --IWI (talk) 00:19, 2 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Abstain This is all very sad. My heart goes out to all Scottish people, not just Scots speakers. It is for the latter to decide how they want to move forward, as far as I'm concerned. Clearly much of the current content is a deeply offensive caricature, but I would hate to see all the content entirely destroyed. Surely a few hundred articles, maybe thousands, could be salvaged. And the ones you choose will be the ones you care most about. Delete freely and restore carefully, perhaps? Assume offence and blank all but a few pages recently edited by reliable contributors? You can tell I don't favour this "nuclear" proposal, but this is a request for comments, not a vote. I'm still abstaining, rather than just commenting... or remaining silent. Good luck with whatever you decide is best.--GrounderUK (talk) 02:54, 2 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree - It is necessary. Any half-solution (bot runs, half-baked rollbacks, etc.) will only result in, well, splinching, time consumption and gaffes. However, we must convey our sincere regrets to AmaryllisGardener, who has spent much time and effort in this, though it was unfortunately wasted. HalfdanRagnarsson (talk) 10:15, 3 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree - The majority of this wiki is not a Scots wiki in any recognisable sense of the term- it's a bunch of non-native speakers guessing at what a Scots wiki might be like. The argument to keep it seems largely to be that the scale of the pantomime Scots wiki enterprise is too big to be allowed to fail by those who have overseen it. Demands that actual Scots speakers now have to go through this midden of caracature nonsense, identify what is real Scots and rewrite what isn't in real Scots is pure entitled nonsense and frankly offensive. At best, the entire wiki should be taken completely offline and hidden from all public view, and those interested in restarting it MUST rely on native Scots speaking editors. Hyperspacey (talk) 14:33, 3 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose -- I hadn't formally cast a vote yet -- more of a comment, see above -- but I would like to note for the record that 1) I oppose the immediate nuking of the wiki, 2) I don't think there is consensus at this time for nuking the wiki, and 3) I will support a nuke if and only if the current editing projects collapse and the organizers of those efforts explicitly throw in the towel. RexSueciae (talk) 13:37, 5 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree -- Don't let my username fool you, it was just a silly thing I did to honor my own Scottish heritage back in 2005 or something. However, I'm Appalachian by culture and ethnicity, and we are also the butt of jokes because our orthography and vocabulary sounds very strange. This is all very familiar to me, and I believe to cure the rot, we need to do something drastic. We need to have dedicated Scots speakers redo the Wiki under controlled auspices, starting over, and fresh. Royal Scottish (talk) 07:12, 8 September 2020 (UTC)RoyalScottish[reply]
  • Angry comment that this is even being debated -- It's been two weeks and this entire Wiki is still here, public, visible, and actively causing damage. This is shocking, disgraceful, and franky, pathetic. What is this still doing here? Have you not heard rather conclusively (if you ignore everyone who doesn't speak the language) to delete it? What is wrong with you people? Why won't youlisten. You're never going to listen to us anyway because your vanity project of cultural theft and linguistic genocide is "too big to fail". You already failed. Own up to it. Delete this. This is honestlyshocking. We have been overly nice and polite to try and avoid offending any of the precious feathers who thought they were helping, but now you've been told so many times how badly that you up that obviously nobody cares. There is only one solution and it has been screamed so loudly by so many that you are at this point willfully ignorant. Screw Wikipedia. 2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:C1C1:EAF8:97A4:7C35 16:37, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Opppose as the least productive option. Deindex, banner, clean up. –SJ talk  18:22, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree Its seems to me that most Scots speakers (and other Scottish people) want this thing gone as soon as possible. I think we should respect that wish and just start over.*Treker (talk) 10:05, 13 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support this whole situation is extremely shameful and insulting to Scots speakers, and apparently most of them want to see it removed. I doubt it is easier to fix everything than to erase the site and start over. Super Dromaeosaurus (talk) 11:17, 14 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose I don't know how many people above are actually following the scowiki community, but there's been a lot of interest from native Scots speakers in contributing to the wiki over the last two weeks. The wiki has appointed two Scots speaking admins, there is a discussion board for Scots language vocab/orthography issues, there was an editathon, and there's a Discord server where the community coordinates. All or almost all of the people involved in this undertaking would strongly oppose proposal 0. I believe their opinions deserve greater weight than the drive-by comments of people who only read the news articles. The scowiki community would rather identify and selectively delete stuff that's not worth saving (which is not the same as stuff AG wrote), salvage the rest, and then focus on expanding the coverage of topics that are relevant to Scots speakers. This seems like a reasonable path forward to me. Maybe this plan could be combined with draftification or some of the other proposals below, but in any case it requires rejecting proposal 0. PiRSquared17 (talk) 00:50, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I have. I am a Scots speaker. I refuse to get involved until this disaster is cleaned up first. I would have edited SCO Wiki plenty had it not always been a steaming pile. The mess that is here is the whole and entire reason many Scots speakers have never contributed before. Proposal 0 is the only real way forward. 2A00:23C4:F09:AB00:1DEE:7CBD:21BA:31DC 02:49, 22 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support it's not salvageable without extreme amount of work going in and that would require editors that are not there. As described by Ad Orientem, the misdirection and falsification problem far outweighs the (small compared to the original causative agent) proper work put in. Hekerui (talk) 19:55, 1 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support but don't recreate it Not only is the vandalism bad, but given that Scots is just as distant to English as Moravian is to Czech, but the Moravian language lacks a Wikipedia of its own, there is really no point to having a Scots Wikipedia when Scots has just as much relevance in contemporary Scotland as Moravian is in Moravia: they're basically dialects of English/Czech with no real political basis for their separation (e.g. Serbian/Croatian from Serbo-Croatian or Hindi/Urdu from Hindustani), and virtually all Scots speakers below a certain age understand literary English. 2604:3D09:E27E:A800:E822:349C:29FB:C319 22:54, 1 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]
And who are you to decide what is and is not a language or "basically dialects"?--Sigehelmus (talk) 06:22, 8 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #0.5: Remove to Incubator[edit]

There are a number of problems here, only some of which can be fixed with a mass rollback (which will result in some, if optimistically small, amount of reintroduced vandalism).

1. It's self-evident that Scots lacks a sufficient community of Scots speakers 2. It seems likely that the wiki doesn't have a sufficient community for any purpose 3. The wiki, as it stands, is not substantially written in its intended language

All of these would cause it to fail to pass muster with LangCom if proposed now. My suggestion is to move it back into the Incubator (I believe there is precedent for this) until such time as it meets the various LangCom requirements for approval, including translation, community, activity and verification by a language expert. Nathan T 17:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

This idea sounds interesting, but I'm not familiar with projects in the incubator. Other than that it removes sco.wikipedia from the language sidebar, how would it affect the site structurally? ReneeWrites (talk) 18:00, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree with the statement of issues -- there is a sufficient community of speakers in the world, at least; the wiki community is set to grow rapidly and soon, if all goes well; and the last problem is the one being addressed right now, which might or might not be efficiently fixed. RexSueciae (talk) 18:10, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Even the English Wikipedia has difficulty with editor retention. Eventually this will all die down, and if Scots Wiki will have gained a few long term, quality, native Scots speaking editors, I'll be impressed. Until then, I don't think there is any reason to assume that that will be the case all because of a Reddit post. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 18:28, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Puzzledvegetable: This is why I suggested getting universities involved as passionate professors will realize that Wikimedia is a crucial part of language preservation WhisperToMe (talk) 18:32, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
WhisperToMe, that's an excellent idea, but I think it needs to be implemented carefully. We could integrate it into WikiEducation, with universities adding the editing of Scots Wikipedia to their coursework for students. On the other hand, I really don't want this to involve anyone being paid to edit Scots Wiki. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 18:38, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Puzzledvegetable: Thank you! I just emailed the University of Edinburgh Scottish Studies Department with links to this page and SCOwiki, stated that it's looking for volunteer editors, and to forward to faculty, staff, and students. WhisperToMe (talk) 18:44, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
AFAIK there are no Scottish universities that offer courses in Scots. There are some courses that offer modules or where students can pursue Scots in their own studies. So students may not be in an abundance. But there is certainly knowledgeable/experience academics who can advise. Soothrhins (talk) 20:16, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Soothrhins: According to this page of the Scots Language Centre there are some institutions that do or did offer courses in the language WhisperToMe (talk) 21:43, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@WhisperToMe: Semantics, but there is a difference in courses on Scottish literature (that uses Scots as one of its languages) and the Scots leid itself. Not suggesting you are unaware of that, but just making it clear for those that may not click the link. Soothrhins (talk) 21:49, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, that's an important clarification for readers. The page explains which institutions have Scots language courses and Scots literature courses WhisperToMe (talk) 22:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support in conjunction with other immediate cleanup efforts. There's no reason to move unsalvageable pages to the incubator. Instead we should identify what parts of the Wikipedia can be reverted to a presumed acceptable state and then move those to the incubator for further work pending the development of a Scots-speaking community. Wugapodes (talk) 21:27, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support along with cleanup efforts. I'm actually surprised this proposal didn't come sooner. I was surprised to see that AG went through 7 RFAs, most of which had NO input whatsoever...if the community isn't even active enough to keep an RFA going, that's gonna be a major concern. bibliomaniac15 21:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • In my opinion, this is not a good idea. The Incubator is supposed to demonstrate if a project is viable or not. If after five years in the Incubator, a language has still only five articles, four of which are oneliners, then the obvious conclusion is that it's not viable. But what do you want to achieve by transferring 58,000 articles to the Incubator, knowing that at least half of them are not written in real Scots? The real question is: how do we separate the chaff from the grain? The where question is not a question at all, because scowiki already exists. IJzeren Jan (talk) 21:51, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. The most viable option. (Disclosure: I was sitebanned from English Wikipedia around Christmas of 2018.) 2001:569:BD7D:6E00:F0F3:1FE4:83A7:3AFE 01:33, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, possibly in combination with deleting articles that AG was the sole contributor to. PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:49, 27 August 2020 (UTC) Rescinded for reasons given below. PiRSquared17 (talk) 00:50, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. that isn't what Incubator is for. De-indexing Scots Wikipedia from search engines could achieve the same result and require less technical work. –MJLTalk 05:55, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose quite frankly, importing 58,000 pages would be a nightmare - and then having to move them back after the Incubator period would be even worse, see phab:T173471. --Rschen7754 06:51, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose To me, this is like moving a completed mainspace English Wikipedia article, but with a lot of problems to the draft space. Generally with the way English Wikipedia works, these articles get nominated for AfD rather than moving it to draft space. However, I'm leaning towards agreement with Rschen7754 as this is likely going to be like handling a massive technical workhorse (and i'm taking the term "horse" from workhorse literally here). SMB99thx 12:20, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - if this tool is correct they've created 27,796 articles ..... can we really move essentially 28 thousand articles to an Incubator .... and then once people have finished improving them move them all back ? ..... That seems like a lot of effort for a very small community project. IMHO it's impractical. –Davey2010Talk 14:10, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment - LangCom has previously rejected requests like this to move to incubator, where there's lots of content. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:53, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, unlikely to have a positive outcome, practically speaking. It incurs a huge administrative burden for articles that will probably end up being deleted or have zero salvageable content. Axem Titanium (talk) 19:21, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose for now – Regrettably, articles AG created look readily disposable, so delete them to clear the ground, but the more significant articles have work by others which at least forms a base for checking and improvement by the Scots Language Centre and others interested. If they want, they could move articles to an incubator, but the ones I looked at were ok to a native Scot. Edits by AG hadn't done harm, there's always room for improvement and Scots spelling has huge diversity. . . dave souza (talk) 08:55, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong support This seems like the only viable option, honestly. The Scots language is a fascinating language, and worthy of an eventual Wikipedia, but if it qualified, falsely, on moving off of the Incubator without the required number of articles, edits, etc., then, procedurally, we shouldn't really be entertaining other options, I should think? Dmehus (talk) 19:54, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose - not what Incubator is for, makes use of scripted tools ew do have quite messy. –SJ talk  18:46, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #1: Mass rollback and tag, preserving edit history[edit]

I'm just going to float this proposal out there and see if it gains any traction. Building on a suggestion by User:Paraphrased at [16], I think we should implement a bot-assisted rollback of all articles on Scots Wikipedia that have been edited by AmaryllisGardener. Given the scope and scale of the problem (>1/3 of all articles on Scots Wikipedia), I think a nuclear option solution like this is warranted. This is preferable to a blanket rollback of the entire Wikipedia to prior to Feb 10, 2013 (their first edit), as it preserves the edit history of these pages. For pages that were created by this user, blank and tag with a template indicating that it needs to be rewritten. Axem Titanium (talk) 02:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • Maybe instead of deleting the pages wholesale, the bot could apply an appropriate cleanup banner? (Otherwise, IMHO there's a significant risk of over-removing legitimate contributions—what if, for example, AmaryllisGardener only edited a very small part of one page, but now years of unrelated work would be lost as a result?) --BalinKingOfMoria (talk) 02:13, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • To be clear, I'm not arguing for wholesale deletion. If there's anything salvageable, it would live on in the edit history of each page that is rolled back and tagged as part of this effort. Any editor can go back and look at the history to manually retain/incorporate any legitimate improvements into the live version of the page. There is evidence that merely tagging but not reverting this content would not go far enough to mitigate the active harm that the affected pages are doing. Axem Titanium (talk) 05:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • @Axem Titanium: Why do you say "rollback"? A human editor can choose how far back to go; a bot should simply replace potentially offensive content with a notice encouraging a human to do so. That's how I would interpret "blank and tag" anyway, so why sometimes roll back and sometimes "blank and tag"? In any event, the easiest way of "preserving edit history" is to overwrite existing content with the text of some earlier version, rather than actually reverting to the earlier version (which is what I take rollback to mean).--GrounderUK (talk) 03:37, 2 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • The proposal is to rollback to the last edit before AG's first edit. It is intentionally geared to be easily bot-implementable. I specifically did not want something that would require a lot of human intervention to work. "overwrite existing content with the text of some earlier version" and "actually reverting to the earlier version" are indistinguishable. Axem Titanium (talk) 04:57, 2 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
          • @Axem Titanium: Thanks, that's what I thought. It's just the term "rollback" I was querying, just to be certain. So long as there's a link to the version the bot reverts to so that a human can step through the diffs from the right point, I'm good with this.GrounderUK (talk) 08:24, 2 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • @Axem Titanium:Support I sadly think removing AmaryllisGardener's edits might be our only real option here. I don't think we can allow this to remain in place long term, because there's evidence that the project existing in this state is causing harm. Question: Would this process retain the ability for an editor to try and make the corrections to the original, faulty text, if they wanted to do so? I know that was brought up by @Ajraddatz:, that fixing bad text was easier than starting from scratch.--The Navigators (talk) 02:23, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • I don't think I'm in a position to speak for the current or future editorship of Scots Wikipedia and whether AG would be welcome to continue contributing here. Axem Titanium (talk) 05:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • @BalinKingOfMoria: Maybe it is because the text on a lot of Scots Wikipedia can be read by English speakers, or because you don't understand Scots, you're not actual seeing that there is a problem to just let it exist. It's nearer to gibberish than actual Scots. If we keep any of the bad text (even with a label) it would be a joke offensive. 2A00:23C6:ED82:E200:C90F:B801:E38:95CC 02:43, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • I think you're misunderstanding my point—I'm not denying the presence of the bad text is a huge issue. I'm simply wondering if reverting every page with any edit whatsoever by AmaryllisGardener could be too extreme, due to collateral damage involving legitimate contributions. --BalinKingOfMoria (talk) 03:12, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • AG has undone a lot of vandalism, so this is a potential issue. –MJLTalk 03:27, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • Reverting to the last version before AG's first edit would likely not introduce a significant amount of additional vandalism to the affected pages. Axem Titanium (talk) 05:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
          • Aye, I agree with Axem Titanium. The user can not have undone more vandalism than he made bad edits and even if all that vandalism came back then fixing that would be easier than fixing all of the user's bad edits, but I think some of the vandalism could have been correct Scots he decided was vandalism any means. 212.140.121.176 11:49, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support however, it would be remiss for us to ignore the larger overarching problem: quality control issues on smaller wikis due to lack of oversight. This is something that requires further discussion from the Wikimedia community, and that discussion should preferably not take place here. --Puzzledvegetable (talk) 02:57, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • I also agree with Puzzledvegetable, we need to have a separate discussion on the clear failure on an organizational level to catch this.--The Navigators (talk) 03:15, 26 August 2020 (UTC) (Edited)[reply]
      • @The Navigators: I've explained it here. There was nobody who could catch this. There really isn't much to discuss unless you have further questions about it. (Edit conflict.)MJLTalk 03:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • Agree that it does not solve the larger and more systemic problem facing Wikipedias with smaller editorships. This is a bandaid solution to address active harm that the live version of Scots Wikipedia is doing to the language. There is some urgency to the need to address this but nothing I'm proposing is irreversible. All of the edit history would be preserved and if there's anything that can be salvaged, it is there for native Scots speakers to recover if they choose. Axem Titanium (talk) 05:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. If we just add a warning on top, the text will still be publicly available for others to use. Besides driving off native speakers and harming the perception of Scots as a language, some have suggested the published pages have potential to get into AI training data. Also agree with The Navigators and Puzzledvegetable that this problem is a symptom of broader issues that need to be addressed. Edit: I don't understand why "Delete the article if it can't rolled back" has been broken out as a separate proposal. I think that should be implied. What use is it to keep contentless articles on the wiki? ~ Martyav (talk) 05:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I suspect that rolling back literally all article space edits made by an extremely active editor would probably create entirely new problems. If anything bot-assisted should be done, I think it would be to mark up articles edited by Amaryllis as having problems with language quality. Peter Isotalo (talk) 03:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • Speaking as candidly as I am able, there are more than a few articles which could potentially be deleted if AG was the only contributor. –MJLTalk 03:41, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • It would be pretty off-putting for native speakers of a language to see a caricature of their language in wiki articles (or for non-native speakers to get an incorrect impression of the language). So as far as possible, the offending text should not be visible by default to visitors. Best to keep the text hidden (as proposed by User:The Navigators) with a prominent link to edit and contribute, and another link to display the text for reference. Maybe this could be done on the article level on those articles which are >95% contributed by AG. (Or they could be deleted altogether.) Creamyhorror (talk) 04:12, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • I agree that it should not be visible by default. First, do no harm. We have a responsibility to act to address this, now that we're aware of the problem. A simple rollback to prior to AG's first edit, plus a tag explaining the situation, is the simplest solution for this problem. Manually going through hundreds of thousands of edits to see what can be preserved is not feasible, especially as non-Scots speakers who would be unable to perceive the kinds of mistakes that are the basis of the problem. Axem Titanium (talk) 05:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • Exactly. We cannot have articles that aren't even in the right language as the first thing people see. Everyone will still be able to access the edits made by said person, it would just be in the edit history, Freedom4U (talk) 07:55, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • Yes. It simply isn't going to be practical, based on the statistics quoted, to find people to comb through and correct all these articles. Anything but an automated solution is just not going to work. Blythwood (talk) 01:38, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • The main focus obviously needs to be on stabilising articles' textual content, but it is worth also bearing in mind that the user's activity includes page moves (for example a former Pairth became Perth, Scotland), which changes have become interwoven with others' edits (following the same example, Category:Perth, Scotland and Category:Fowk frae Perth, Scotland), so unfankling is bound to bring fallout. AllyD (talk) 11:47, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. I think the problem is too big to ever be solved by fixing it all manually one by one. Removing every edit the user made seems like the best solution, after which hopefully newly inspired editors will contribute real Scots articles.--Glennznl (talk) 19:33, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • The more I rummage, the deeper the midden looks. Take the short article on Taoism (a subject of interest to me, and also strongly influential on Neil M Gunn, one of Scotland's key C20 writers): it was created by AG, originally describing a "filosophical, ethical, an releegious tradeetion". It cited the first statement of the Laozi, though that was an English translation which has had a couple of its words altered here (which is not something any literary translator would want done to their work). There are more recent edits, by a Saudi IP, but these have replaced the purported Scots words with English, as well as applying American English spelling. So the fact of subsequent editing by others does not provide a quality assurance here. AllyD (talk) 21:15, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support As a native Scottish English speaker with an interest in Scots, it's very apparent to me how far off these articles are from the Scots language. Fixing this is beyond a simple cleanup effort, these are not spelling mistakes, due to the writer's lack of exposure to spoken Scots they are practically written in a constructed version of the language. Even if we revert AG's edits we will probably need a manual review, he was a prolific contributor and admin and those articles were probably viewed as a good example by other contributors (especially since those contributors weren't able to recognise the problem sooner). I think we also need to be mindful of the fact that the value of a Scots Wikipedia is largely in serving as an example of the language, every Scots speaker is fluent in English so the value is not in the amount of information (which mostly will be present on EN Wikipedia) but in that information being well presented in a minority language. Monospaced (talk) 22:43, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Comment: Withdrawing support for this proposal after spending more time on the Scots wiki. The wiki is in poor shape but I was exposed to some of the worst examples first. Despite how the problem has been reported I don't believe that AG's edits are the primary reason for any widespread problems, I think he contributed to a few neologisms and odd spellings but the community but on reflection most of the issues I see are procedural. Monospaced (talk) 23:14, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, this is an important perspective to me. This isn't some tiny minority African language in an area where education is weak. A Scots-language Wikipedia doesn't need an article on (say) a specific German autobahn that only this contributor has ever edited right now. (I mean, seriously read that article as a case study.) And we do need a policy for future cases of this. Blythwood (talk) 01:38, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Given the scale of the edits, this is the only viable solution. I work as an archivist at a cultural institution in Australia whose main job is to preserve an Indigenous Australian language. Speaking from experience, all it takes is one mis-translation to ripple out and cause problems for years. Even though I'm a professional in dealing with matters like these, I can't begin to describe the magnitude of damage done that is going to be dealt every day AG's edits stay online. It doesn't matter if he made some positive edits, it doesn't matter if some good edits by others get lost in the process. Yes that's unfortunate, but if your goal is preserving and promoting the Scots language, you need to get rid of misinformation at all costs. Damien Linnane (talk) 01:19, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support unless someone comes up with a miracle of some kind that makes this unnecessary. --Prospero One (talk) 11:25, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Question Would this include AG's templates, categories and modules? 92.6.149.254 11:45, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I don't see a reason why it would not include those as well. --Prospero One (talk) 11:52, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
If some are widely used in articles that remained, removal might leave seas of red and broken functionality, requiring further clean-up passes. For example, I noticed infobox and citation templates. 92.6.149.254 12:19, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - best solution IMHO, As stated above anyone can manually check articles and retain/rewrite them. –Davey2010Talk 14:15, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose as over-simplistic, AG's own articles look simply modified from en.wiki so can be deleted, but in the few other articles I've looked AG's didn't do harm, or little harm. . . dave souza (talk) 09:03, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, seems the sensible thing to do. Sandstein (talk) 18:21, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per User:Monospaced and User:Dave souza. Unhelpfully simplistic; the real problem is procedural + needs iteration. –SJ talk  18:46, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #1.5[edit]

I want to be a bit more specific about how to do this initial cleanup. We've identified some goals, namely mass rollback while retaining history should someone want to work on these in the future. I suggest we write a bot which will:

  1. Identify each article AmaryllisGardener has edited
  2. Revert those articles to the version immediately before their first edit to that page
  3. If no such revision exists (i.e., AmaryllisGardener created the page) blank but do not delete the page (per keep history)
  4. Log all identified pages on a central page for further maintenance by the Scots Wikipedia community in the long term. This page would include:
    The title of the article
    The number of edits between AmaryllisGardener's last edit and the current revision
    The creator of the page
    (Other suggestions tbd)

This removes the problematic text from all and only the pages that are affected immediately (while keeping the presumably fine text of other pages) while providing the tools and information necessary to resolve the problem in the long term. The history is retained--even for pages AmaryllisGardener created--so that, should Scots Wikipedia attract new editors, they can still go back into the history to salvage what can be saved without having to undelete things. If it helps, I'm also willing to volunteer to write such a bot if need be. Wugapodes (talk) 05:43, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for doing this. I think these are all good ideas. We definitely need a thorough log of all changes implemented by the bot to aid in the subsequent cleanup effort. Adapting some ideas from Proposal #2 below, I think it might be worth tracking the number of bytes that AG added to a page and possibly refraining from reverting if it's below some threshold (i.e. <5 edits && <100 bytes added, for example). These articles would still be tagged for cleanup, but not wholesale reverted. Axem Titanium (talk) 05:51, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, that looks a way forward, though not all of AG's edits were bad so manual checking needed at some point. . . dave souza (talk) 09:09, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Broadly I agree with Wugapodes's suggestion. I looked at some pages local to me, and some of AG's edits were only template-based additions (co-ordinates, Infoboxes) or categories. Clearly it would involve more effort in the Identification phase, but a template-bracketed change might be regarded as non-dangerous and left in place? That said, there are likely to be multiple changes stacked over an underlying problem text, so this might not retain very many of their edits. AllyD (talk) 10:28, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I like the Wugapodes’s idea but want to combine it with and improve upon AllyD’s and Axem Titanium’s ideas. First instead of using a threshold for of bytes/characters/edits you should see if the edits can be cleanly reverted (that is the automatic revert produces no conflicts). Also after doing a rollback you can reapply all rollbacked edits (or parts of edits) not from AmaryllisGardener that don’t result in conflicts.
This is obviously a more complicated bot and as Template:U:AllyD warned the benefit of some of these improvement might be small to non-existent. Many of the steps below can be omitted without affecting the others. The bot would work this way for each article.
  1. Check if any of the text from AmaryllisGardener remains, outside of safe things like template tags or citations, for example if they only edited one paragraph and that paragraphs has been rewritten or removed, then no action is needed, but still run the sanity check at the end.
  2. Scan though the diffs for all of AmaryllisGardener’s edits and see if you can break any into dangerous and non-dangerous parts.
  3. Starting with the most recent, try to revert every edit by AmaryllisGardener, if the revert creates a conflict with other edits then, don’t apply it and move the previous edit (there is still the possibility an older edit can be cleanly reverted, which results in a smaller rollback).
  4. If any edits remain rollback the page to before the oldest remaining edit
  5. Take all rolled-back edits and break any large/multi section edits into separate edits one per section/paragraph.
  6. Starting with the oldest rolled-back edit (not from AmaryllisGardener), and try apply it to article, if there are conflicts don’t apply it and move to the next oldest edit.
  7. Run a sanity check on the produced text to look for common non-Scott words used by AmaryllisGardener.
    If a small number articles fail they can be addressed manually
    If many articles fail the above procedure will need to be revised and redone.
  8. Tag the page and put a detailed log of what happened in the talk page.
This will ensure the minimum amount of good edits are rolled back. It might also be necessary to identify if any other users have been editing articles in a similar manner to AmaryllisGardener. Lotu (talk) 13:36, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Lotu: at present, and until we get quantum computers with dozens of tens of thousands of qbits of qram (not expected for over a decade), the question of whether or not "the revert creates a conflict with other edits" is not decidable without human supervision. James Salsman (talk) 23:36, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support something like this, with total nuke as a second choice. However, some people have recently been tagging articles with a "fixscots" banner, marking that they are in fake-Scots, but not otherwise changing them. Here's an example. Unfortunately, that could look to a poorly-programmed bot like the article is OK because someone has cleaned it up. We need to make sure the bot nukes articles if the only contribution made by anyone but AmaryllisGardener is to add a cleanup tag or other minor changes. Maybe (say) nuke articles with no edits by AmaryllisGardener that have added or removed more than 50 characters. For this reason, I'm going to ping MJL and My hat stinks, who I know have done this, to suggest that they hold off on editing bad articles unless they're making substantial improvements? Blythwood (talk) 03:07, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
"The "Scots" that wis uised in this airticle wis written bi a body that's mither tongue isna Scots." And is that even grammatically correct and how it would be written? Particularly "isna". Shouldn't that be "isnae"? That's why this entire thing needs nuked and someone with an academic understanding of the language brought in to at least admin it. 46.208.56.195 03:26, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
What grammatical errors do you see? I would use 'isnae' too but this the status quo when there is no standard spelling for the language, the spellings reflect people's speech and I've definitely heard both 'isna' and 'isnae' depending on the dialect. Monospaced (talk) 02:34, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Extra comment, looking on sco wiki: it's no surprise that articles on foreign countries and topics with no connection to Scotland, e.g. Uzbekistan, Lesotho, Malawi, seem terrible. The problem editor did not solely write those articles. A Scots Wikipedia, being honest, is likely to be focused on Scottish topics for which Scots words exist. Accordingly, I propose mass-draftify all pages on geographical locations outside the British Isles. That could be done by bot. Blythwood (talk) 04:25, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The Malawi article was created by Fixer88, a user born in California, who resides in California and has Filipino ancestry. The Lesotho article was created by Nou Uiserr, an American who states on his profile page he does not speak Scots at home, but has dictionaries... I'm sorry, but that just reinforces my assumption I made regarding the quality of the editors committing information to the sco.wiki in the "linguistic quality" section. Look at this Daihatsu page. It's just heavily accented English with random Scots words thrown in. And like I pointed out in another post, it brings into question the ability and knowledge (or lack thereof) of every single person listed here. This whole wiki is a mess. 46.208.56.195 04:46, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I would agree, the focus should be on articles about topics relevant to Scotland. Maybe once all of those are dealt with, other articles can be brought in.— The preceding unsigned comment was added by an unspecified user
  • Comment Comment Because for so long so many of the main editors have been problematic (it wasn't just AmaryllisGardener, though they were the most prolific offender), that to be effective a mass rollback would need to be SO MASSIVE that it effectively acts as a nuke to most of the content on the wiki, essentially nuking it back a decade or so to the wiki's infant stage (albeit, edit histories preserved). And even doing that would depend on the quality of the language back in the Wiki's infant stage. It is possible that there was NEVER a time when enough of the language on the wiki was true scots, and that even the most massive rollback would only get a more miniscule wiki with the same problems. In such a scenario, it is arguable that a full nuke (as has also been proposed) may be necessary. SecretName101 (talk) 23:16, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]


Bot development[edit]

@Koavf: can you prepare to implement #Proposal #1: Mass rollback and tag, preserving edit history without administrator permission, please? I am happy to help. James Salsman (talk) 21:07, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

I cannot build a bot--I'm too ignorant to do that. —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:10, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Nonsense! I will try to help. The pseudocode is: for all articles edited by A.G., concatenate an article message box, including information about the proportion of wikitext attributable to A.G., with the first revision not edited by A.G., or blank if he created it, and save the new revision. I will propose a Python script for proposals #1 and with luck some combination of #1.5 and #3 soon.
I used mwclient to obtain a list of all of A.G's scowiki mainspace revisions -- with mwclient.Site('sco.wikipedia.org').usercontributions('AmaryllisGardener', namespace=0).load_chunk() -- which involve 46,103 articles, the excess being redirects, moved titles, and deletions. I'm planning to trim this to the extant non-redirect articles and create a table linking to the article as well as A.G's first and last revision with timestamps to facilitate manual and supervised automatic review. I'm going to try to get some meaningful spelling statistics if I can figure out how to scrape the most common Scots words.
@Ultaigh: I believe we should be able to remove most of the damage soon; please give us another week before committing to the nuke opinion. James Salsman (talk) 21:59, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

The 39,159 remaining articles A.G. edited in scowiki mainspace are listed at [17] to help review, and decide what sort of rollback we want. I can create them for other editors on request.

I'm trying to automate spelling conformance with the 100 frequent word lists (preliminary suspect list) with an eye toward being able to use the larger dictionaries under their noncommercial terms on non-Foundation hosts, at least for a source of spelling conformance information. I'm less interested in automating random samples of the most prolific editors' work for double-blind studies of their fluency, which would take more time to develop. James Salsman (talk) 01:10, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • without administrator permission imo whatever is done should be done by consensus, not unilaterally, just so everyone's on the same page. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 07:18, 8 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    @ProcrastinatingReader: As the admin in question here, that just doesn't seem to be how James likes to roll. If you can find a new way to explain this to him, I'm all for it. –MJLTalk 08:08, 8 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • If it can be shown that the current spelling of a word in an article is the result of a bot update, it seems reasonable to undo that apparent miscorrection, if that's the community consensus. Even then, though, it would be prudent to ensure that future editors can easily revert the approved bot update, if their familiarity with Scots leads them to conclude that the "standard" orthography is not applicable. As far as I am aware, no dialect of Scots has an agreed standard orthography, and any attempt to impose such standards automatically is just another form of cultural vandalism, particularly when there is no mechanism for indicating which dialect is in use. For the future, a simple way of indicating that a particular spelling has been deliberately chosen by the editor ("[sic!]", in effect, but perhaps not in Latin and perhaps <!--just a comment-->) could be considered. Personally, I'd insist on that before any bot update, but that's just part of agreeing what the replacement string should be.--GrounderUK (talk) 13:53, 8 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, as modified by dave + User:Lotu. History-preserving + compatible with other approaches. –SJ talk  18:46, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #2: It's time to get serious - delete AG's articles that can't be rolled back[edit]

I love Scots Wikipedia with all my heart, and I can't imagine how AG must be feeling. He's one of the sweetest most caring people I have ever interacted with in this movement. If it wasn't for his support, I probably would've quit editing Wikipedia a long time ago.
It's with a heavy heart that I have to say, the elimination of every article of which he is the sole contributor is a complete non-starter for Scots Wikipedia moving forward. We will never move past this if that doesn't happen. He created 27,796 pages on a wiki that only has 57,928 articles. Fixing that many pages on English Wikipedia would take years. Scots Wiki doesn't even have a chance even if we brought in an army of editors.
I know his intentions were pure, but we have to face facts that there is very little we can do to fix the unintentional harm he caused.
If we delete his articles, it restores our credibility in the short term and gives us more time in the long term to fix the other parts of the wiki. We won't necessarily be deleting all of AG's articles, but we should at least start with the ones of which he is the sole contributor and go from there. (Edit conflict.)MJLTalk 05:38, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

As I have limited this proposal to only discussions of articles where rollback is already not feasible (since there are no prior versions to roll back to), this proposal is compatible with Proposal 1 above. –MJLTalk 05:42, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I've already mentioned that AG isn't the only source of errors in this. The further we dig, the more it seems to be Yanks with a hankering for the auld country that have decided to create articles in heavily accented English with random Scots words thrown in, or simple word for word translations that make absolutely no grammatical sense. The further we dig, the more it looks like nuking absolutely everything from orbit is the only viable thing to do. What currently exists in the Scots wiki is detrimental to the Scots language and the longer it is allowed to continue to exist, while editors and admins prance about afraid to step on each others toes, the longer this wiki continues to do detrimental damage to the language. If they're hoping that the Facebook group, with less than a handful of Scots speakers are going to fix tens of thousands of articles, they're out of their minds. And I don't think the Facebook group realises the size of the challenge they are taking on... 46.208.56.195 05:50, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
My proposal would cut the amount of articles we need to fix nearly by half. It also solves the most publicized problem. That's a good start for me. –MJLTalk 06:07, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
This problem isn't even finished. Two hours ago this was added by a guy from Sri Lanka. It's just the English Wikipedia page translated, I suspect through this autotranslator. Blythwood (talk) 06:50, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
To me, that suggests that attention has attracted just as many editors with no Scots knowledge as it has with. I don't know how that would be addressed if true. Kingsif (talk) 07:01, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Looking through recent changes there's an article written by a Sri Lankan, about a South African centenarian, "written" in Scots. Despite listing only English, Tamil and Sinhala as the languages they know. At this point, the wiki needs locked as it seems people are just taking the piss. 46.208.56.195 07:04, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not all that au fait with the tools available - is it possible to restrict editing to people who declare an ability in a language, or is that going against the "anyone can edit" idea? Witchofthewoods (talk) 10:43, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Aye, some kind of lockdown looks to be needed. It is disappointing at a time when the sco.wiki is known to be creaking under problems, to see new articles appearing on non-Scottish exam regulators, long-living South Africans ("the auldest jimmy in the world" - really??). If experienced cross-wiki editors are creating these, then even a basic seawall like requiring 10+ edits to create a new article may be insufficient to staunch the flow. Maybe a temporary ban on new articles, diverting them to an AfC process? But then that needs someone to audit them, which effort may be better expended on the main debacle. AllyD (talk) 10:47, 27 August 2020 (UTC) I note also that in the original version of that article [18] the month of May in the date of birth had been (machine-)translated to "kin", completely missing context and meaning. The problems are more widespread than AG's edits. AllyD (talk) 10:56, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@AllyD: To my mind the focus should be on articles relating to Scottish content, otherwise what's the point. Once that's under control then articles on non-Scottish content can be added, but who wants to come to a Scots wiki to read about non-Scottish content rather than Scottish content? Witchofthewoods (talk) 11:13, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support the automated deleting of every article of which AG is the sole contributor. We know they're flawed: delete them. Human editing effort needs to concentrate on the more difficult cases. Bondegezou (talk) 08:46, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • Support as per Bondegezou. Leaving articles which are clearly fake is no way to create a new foundation for a credible Scots wikipedia. There also needs to be some sort of triage of the remaining articles and prioritise the repair/re-construction of those. It's also remarkable that the actions of the offending user are not attracting any corrective measures. Their actions were a clear abuse of their admin authority. Whether or not they are likely to re-appear anytime soon is irrelevant, they shouldn't be given the choice. Why would I want to commit time and energy to contributing to the Scots wikipedia only to have to dance around in circles with people who know their way around the back-end of wikipedia but don't know anything about Scots?Stroness (talk)
  • Support This would be a solid start to fixing the issue. -- ReneeWrites (talk) 09:32, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Insufficient–it's been exposed that there are other major contributors who don't really speak Scots. Additionally, there will be many articles they created that are gibberish but wouldn't get deleted because someone else made one tiny change, say adding a minor update or a cleanup tag. Here's an example. Blythwood (talk) 09:36, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I suggest it's a good start and wouldn't preclude further actions being taken. Perhaps better to do something useful sooner than spend ages debating the perfect solution. Bondegezou (talk) 09:45, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Indeed, frankly I'm not sure scowiki even has any active Scots speakers. But all a bot needs to do is get the number of contribs down to manageable levels. Other contributors are nowhere near as prolific, and we can deal with them manually. Unfortunately, we'll still have a few tens of thousands of articles left, yes, and many may still be problematic, but we can't just wipe the wiki and start afresh. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:54, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support I agree that there is no value to these articles and the amount of time to re-write them would be incredibly inefficient. The time is better spent on rewriting core articles that have some value and adding others as they can be developed (correctly). Witchofthewoods (talk) 10:41, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support I'll support this for now as it's the only proposal that seems to include deletions, which I think are absolutely necessary. Many of the articles are one-sentence stubs anyway. More content is not superior to less content when the content is paper-thin and in the wrong language. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 11:00, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support For the same reason I supported proposal 1. With this in the media every hour these edits stay online hurts our reputation. But even if it wasn't bad publicity, nuking every article AG's is the sole contributor to is an absolute bare minimum response. Every edit he made need to be rolled back asap. Damien Linnane (talk) 11:22, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Question Would this include AG's templates, categories and modules? 92.6.149.254 11:46, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    You can see their full contribs here. Ultimately, they have a lot in the Template namespace, but most of these are infoboxes or templates with not enough text in them. I recommend the deletion solution for articles ("mainspace") only, not templates/modules (a different process for those). You can see the templates created here (there's 13,480). Frankly, at a glance, most seem to be technical / moving stuff over from enwiki, infoboxes, helper templates, that sort of thing, which are fine. A bot should note which templates are currently orphaned, and then which become orphaned after the articlespace delete. The difference will be the ones orphaned due to deletion of their using pages. In simple words, these will be the templates which probably have problems with them, the rest are likely fine. This set of templates should be manually reviewed, not automatically deleted. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 12:11, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Some of the templates/modules should be deleted and imported from enwiki so that they get proper attribution. -- WOSlinker (talk) 15:05, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - I too have worked with AG on EN and they were a pleasure to work with .... so like MJL I too say this with a heavy heart but I have to agree with having all of their articles deleted, I honestly don't see a better way forward,
Realistically it'd be no different to me going to the French Wikipedia and creating articles .... I don't speak French (I only know Hello, Goodbye and My name is) .... you just wouldn't do it ...., It's a shame but I think it's a path forward. –Davey2010Talk 14:24, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Yes, of course delete the article if it can't be rolled back! I don't understand why this wasn't implied to be part of Proposal 1. ~ Martyav (talk) 18:12, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, as others have stated, it's not incompatible with my proposal #1. It's also not incompatible with other proposals to delete all articles not closely related to Scots or Scotland. As others have observed, the hit rate for retainable articles goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down as soon as you get into non-Scot topics. Axem Titanium (talk) 18:52, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support I do absolutely support the idea that for the articles which have only ever been created and edited by AG, that it should be deleted as if they were never created by AG at all. They're useless for the Scots wikipedia if they remain on there. If in the future someone decides to write the same article in proper Scots, they can create the article from the start again. As for the articles which have contributions by other editors, I'm more leaning on the later proposals since I see them as being a bit more of a finicky approach. -Boldblazer (talk) 02:27, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I should add that if there were bots that also added a contribution to an otherwise wholly AG created and edited article, that it should count still as a wholly AG created and edited article.
  • Deleting articles AG created is simple and will remove a lot of the problems. Those I've looked at are simply "translations" from en.wiki, so anyone new can go to en.wiki for a better basis, provided they're fluent in Scots. Articles where AG has done interim edits and others have edited since need individual checking, have a look at Bairn. . . dave souza (talk) 09:15, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support In the past two days I've probably only seen 0.25% of the articles that AG made in total. But there was a clear pattern in those I have seen in that they are overwhelmingly stubs, in the best Scots they knew (with the resources they appear to have been using), usually referenced, but often with little relevance to a Scots wiki (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/Large_scale_language_inaccuracies_on_the_Scots_Wikipedia#p.14_Focus_on_core_project_needs see p.14). I think losing the basis for some articles that should be on a Scots Wiki (but need improved) is a price worth paying for losing the many that are serving little purpose. But it can't be the only thing that is done. Soothrhins (talk) 00:28, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Oppose: I no longer support this proposal. Soothrhins (talk) 08:11, 18 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • There's articles created by AG which have been had minor edit fixes by others in the couple of days since this problem came to light. I noticed this edit to the article on the Blue Jay (which is clearly a transposition of the en.wiki article on this North American bird). Such an adjustment is obviously well intentioned but will turn into exceptions when any bulk rollback/removal gets under way. Until some process of tagging or deleting AG's articles gets underway, would it be best to ask people to refrain from adjusting text on these articles unless they are doing a full overhaul which renders the full post-edit article into proper Scots? AllyD (talk) 08:10, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • @AllyD: Hello. That edit was by me. Thanks for flagging this issue. I'd prefer de-indexing to deleting, but I'll pause my AWB edits for just now until it's settled. Last thing I want is to have made thousands of edits that are subsequently deleted. Best, C1614 (talk) 14:27, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, as a logical consequence of the mass rollback per proposal 1. Sandstein (talk) 18:22, 30 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose, per Monospaced elsewhere. Deindexing and blanking seems a better start, see proposal 1.5. It's hard on a wiki w/ few admins to undo a deletion, but easy to later decide to bulk delete blank articles. –SJ talk  18:46, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support, unfortunately yes. Starzoner (talk) 14:13, 13 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support, this is the absolute minimum that needs to be done in this situation. --Kanzat (talk) 13:23, 1 October 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #3: Stages of bot runs (automatic review and deletion)[edit]

Speaking as a dev (and a bot dev), the proposals mentioned here are not (technically speaking) the best solutions. It's clear a lot of stuff has to go, but the aim is to preserve as much legitimate content whilst removing the crap. Considering number of edits etc is not technically the best way of going about it. A bot is helpful because the number is otherwise unmanageable, but the sole aim should be to bring it down to a manageable number, so human editors can deal with the rest. Overuse of a bot will result in overdeletion.

Best way of doing so, in my view, is bot runs in stages and seeing where we end up after each one (abandoning next stage if the # becomes manageable for human review).

  1. First run would be created articles with only edits by him (on that link, likely where original/current sizes are equal, for an idea of proportions).
  2. Second run to delete all created articles where he has contributed more than 80-90% of the page's content (allowing wiggle room because other editors might've either (a) done small fixes to formatting, citations, etc; or (b) rewrote the article). Looking for ones where he's a sole contributor narrows the pool too widely, because it's very common for other editors to make trivial edits, which would disqualify an article from deletion entirely.
  3. Third run would be to delete majority contributions to non-created articles. After stage 2 (certainly 3, if need be), I think we'll have so few contributions left that it'll be feasible for human volunteers to check through contribs and pick up the slack.

This should apply to articles only (see my comments above re. template/module space). Cleanup runs probably required for now-orphaned categories, etc. Final note would be on accountability. Someone writes the bot, it has a code review by another volunteer, and it keeps a good log of pages it has deleted (and some other misc data). Even if much of the wiki itself is full of garbage, we need to make sure we're not deleting too much. In place of delete, could also draftify/tag, but I doubt we've got the human capacity to review all tagged stuff. Worth noting comments from academics above that all these edits may not be as bad as people are saying (if true, we should either stick to tagging only, or do nothing and let stuff be improved in the natural way?) ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:52, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Oppose This is based on the assumption that one user was to blame for the overall quality of the wiki. From working across different articles I don't think that's the case at all. The problem was a systematic over-reliance on reference websites from well meaning contributors who didn't have access to enough people with firsthand experience of the spoken language, it's history of literature or the Scottish English dialects and accents it has influenced. Monospaced (talk) 07:09, 3 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Oppose. Other proposals are better and more specific. –SJ talk  18:46, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #4: Mass tag, selective rollback[edit]

WITHDRAWN:

Proposer has endorsed Proposal 5 instead. –MJLTalk 17:59, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

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

As discussion above has produced at least one alternative to the mass rollback proposal, I would like to submit the following: tag any page edited with a cleanup banner, and blank/rollback only those pages with greater than some number of edits. (Five? Ten? 100?) RexSueciae (talk) 04:27, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • I think this is much closer to the needs here. If sco.wiki was 67% Scots, and 33% AG edits, that is one thing - but the majority of the rest of the wiki also needs similar cleanup. Considering it's clearly all in good faith, deleting on mass seems like a nuclear option that won't guarantee a solution - likely just highlight how little actual Scots grammar exists. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 07:18, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • If there is no claim that the content of the wiki pages violates core policy, then it seems to me the fact that some of the content is not in Scots dialect is sufficiently dealt with by a banner that properly explains the problem. Chalst (talk) 07:39, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • Scots English dialect and Scots language are different things and mixing them up is another misgiving that keeping any of the bad text will perpetuate. If en:WP:Competency is required is a policy, that should be enough to block the user even if they were acting in good faith and rollback the Scots Wikipedia. 31.52.196.78 10:21, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • Firstly that'd be an en-wiki requirement, but also, we don't go around blocking CIR editors who are capable of engaging in good faith and not continuing their errors (though obviously it's one for Scots Wiki to decide, and I suspect he'll be resigning for some time, though there's also good he could do) Nosebagbear (talk) 10:31, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • Agreed. Blocking is appropriate only when there is the expectation of future disruption. Chalst (talk) 11:31, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
          • If we block users with no prior warnings working in good faith, we'd block an awful lot of users. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 12:01, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • This makes much more sense. 5 edits is fine - yes that will catch a few heavily vandalised pages, but a fairly minimal amount, and translation work in particular often can be done in a few big edits. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:31, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • I agree with this proposal, but I'd go with a ratio-based threshold. As Lee and Nose said above, AG was editing in good faith, so a block is not a good option. epicgenius (talk) 15:37, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Oppose There is no reason to rollback or blank any work that can be improved upon — none of the information is false. This is similar to someone with bad grammar editing, we don't revert their edits, we copyedit. carlinmack (talk) 19:00, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Strong disagree. This goes far and beyond "bad grammar", this is about a massive body of work being written in a language that doesn't exist. Bad information is worse than no information, and cleaning up a mess is often more work than rewriting it from the ground up. Writing articles like this would be unacceptable in any other Wiki with active moderation, why should this Wiki be held to a lower standard of quality while at the same time demanding more work be done from a small team of editors? Articles that are entirely written in non-Scots, especially the very long ones that could take hours to be fixed, are better off being blanked or removed entirely. --ReneeWrites (talk) 20:45, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I urge people to take a look at this article as a case study. It is painfully obvious that it's just a twelve year-old taking English text and putting in Scots spellings of the words. This is the equivalent of blackface and minstrelsy (edit to be clear: unintentionally, and not maliciously), it's like someone creating a fake 'AAVE' Wikipedia that calls white people 'Massa'. Blythwood (talk) 01:56, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Blythwood: Okay, this can be be bad without it being the equivalent of blackface. American racial relations are not a good comparison for this scenario because we're talking about language preservation and misrepresentation here. What your are talking about are things which represent specific form of racial animosity which clearly are not present in these edits no matter who you ask. –MJLTalk 05:51, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • @MJL: I'm Irish not Scottish but blackface performances and mockery of the Irish and Scottish for their linguistic tropes were contemporaneous performances by English as first language comedians. It was common for comedy skits to mock both the Irish and Scottish for their accents and "ape-like" features for centuries, and for cartoonists to label Irish and Scottish people as things like McDrunken, McPunchie, or McDruggie, and feature impressions of our accents using many of the phrases like "och aye the noo" or "divil a bit" to mock us. There's a page here https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/01/28/irish-apes-tactics-of-de-humanization/ which shows that Irish people used be directly caricatured as equivalent to caricatures of US black people, and cast as subhuman and simian. There's also an English language Wikipedia page on anti-Scottish sentiment which shows its long history if you want to look that up. To me, having an English as a first language speaker decide that it's not equivalent to blackface could at best be ignorance of racial discrimination, but at worst could be another "What would you simpletons know when you're not English?" type thing. In fact, this user seems to have overruled Scots speakers in a few instances because he believed he knew their language better than they did, which could be unintentional harm but still doesn't make it not an English speaker overruling Scots. The reason why few Scots kept their language differences was to avoid that discrimination. I'm not fluent in Wikipedia so I don't know how to sign this and I hopefully put it in the right place this time by cribbing code, and sorry if I didn't. But the idea you get to decide if someone else feels their culture was maligned rubbed me the wrong way enough to try posting here again. I'll point out that a lot of English people who watched those comedy skits or who made the cartoons didn't necessarily feel animosity and often thought they were helping or educating people or even being accurate or just funny, so the intention doesn't really stop the effect. There's an episode of Alan Partridge where he is keen to butter up some Irish producers to secure a show and he is unintentionally highly racist and condescending throughout the episode because of his ignorance rather than any malicious intent, but he still characterises Ireland as nation of bomb makers and drunks. I think if a white person started intentionally copying the vernacular of a black person, you would immediately see the offense, and it's much the same offense as when someone tries to copy and butcher a language they don't speak and then overrules the minority speakers who object. (Thanks to whoever signed and moved my last comment for me)— Preceding unsigned comment added by Newforthisdiscussion (talk) 14:07, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • @Newforthisdiscussion: I didn't say it wasn't equivalent to blackface; I said it was a poor comparison to make. Blackface isn't a practice of good intentions according to most, so comparing what happened here to it just isn't correct. You can still be offended, but you shouldn't feel the need to phrase it in specific racialized terms. That is from my perspective as an Arab American.
    Also, you shouldn't say that AG overruled native Scots speakers unless you have evidence to back up that claim. –MJLTalk 02:31, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@MJL:The comparison has been made between such imitations and blackface since the time both were popular entertainments. You need only look through PG Wodehouse to see people assuming blackface was not malicious, and that Scots were rightfully designated as voracious, angry, people and that Irish people, like the Scots, talked in ways that were comedic skit worthy. Bertie Wooster's friends in Wodehouse perform both blackface and such "Irish" accented skits, which means they were done as light-hearted entertainment by the ruling British classes just last century according to cultural sources who lived through the period of their greatest popularity. There is a long history of solidarity between Celtic freedom movements and black liberation movements, because we viewed it as a similar oppression. Bernadette Devlin gave her award for freedom of the city of NY to the Black Panthers, and the Black Panthers recognised only Sinn Fein as the legitimate government of Ireland because of that perceived unity of cultural oppression. The people involved historically saw blackface and imitation of Celtic people as a unified dismissal and imitation of our cultures by a single oppressor. Murals in Ireland commemorate both Bobby Seale and Bobby Sands together as victims of official systems which ignore the rights of political expression against such discrimination. I don't see why you want to deny that history except that it make you uncomfortable. There is a reason the Black Panthers and IRA shared a military uniform, and it is because we felt our experiences at the hands of proper English people were treated with the *same* cultural derision, from diddly-eye Irish skits to blackface, and with the same punitive cultural dismissal that led to our rights to voice any objection to this through standard means being revoked by people who thought they knew better. Ultach raised the issue outside Wikipedia because his edits were inevitably reverted. There are cases listed on this page which show AG overruling the edits of people who legitimately speak Scots. I suggest you read the page.
MJL, I read the reference to blackface in the context of British race relations rather than American. Our history's bad but ... different. For example, from 1958 to 1978, one of the most popular shows on TV was en:The Black and White Minstrel Show, which presented blackface as amusing and even affectionate. As noted above, this was very much like long-standing English representation of Scots, Welsh and Irish, with mockery, prejudice and discrimination treated as banter, justified and necessary. Some of the attitudes to the Scots wiki and reactions to the news about it are so familiar. 92.6.149.254 12:50, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Edited the above to be clear. I actually did have the USA in mind given this page's likely audience. I want to be clear that this person clearly meant their edits sincerely and not maliciously, but what they created has the relationship to real Scots that blackface and watermelon man has to African-Americans: false and offensive. That's why people are so keen to see these pages gone. Blythwood (talk) 13:04, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Whit's wrang wi Watermelon Man? . . dave souza (talk) 13:15, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, you put it well and I should be clear too that "this person clearly meant their edits sincerely and not maliciously", rather like someone who grew up watching en:The Black and White Minstrel Show with his family - as I did. 92.6.149.254 13:42, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I think we're all in agreement here. Probably. I don't know. Let's just all agree not compare Celtic-English relations and American racial relations any further, so my brain can stop hurting. –MJLTalk 08:09, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
YesY 79.73.243.47 13:53, 29 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Disagree. A policy applied to localised issues on the largest wiki (enwiki) is not necessarily appropriate for a massive issue on a minority-language wiki. In the first place, the problem text was taken from enwiki to begin with, so minimal unique information would be lost by hiding it. The larger point is that wiki policy must consider greater issues such as the public perception of (or damage to) minority languages like Scots that wikis create, and the resulting larger reputational impact to Wikipedia. In a nutshell, hide (not necessarily blank/delete) as much of the problematic text as possible to avoid misleading viewers or offending Scots viewers. Anything less is wilfully ignoring the main issue at hand in favour of internal policy that likely wasn't designed for a situation like this. Creamyhorror (talk) 04:18, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment: since this proposal doesn't seem to have much headway in generating discussion -- except for (sigh) an extensive aside on blackface and comparisons thereto -- I'd like to note that I'm not particularly wedded to the idea, and believe that the proposal currently numbered 5 (i.e. the one immediately below this one) is an eminently reasonable path. RexSueciae (talk) 16:59, 1 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

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

Proposal #5: Mass tag and manual review, remove non-Scots articles without trying to fix them[edit]

Edit: I like the idea of combining this proposal with #2: Auto-delete articles where Amaryllis was the sole contributor, subject what's left to manual review, remove articles not written in Scots rather than trying to fix them. --ReneeWrites (talk) 12:54, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]


There is a lot of focus on the actions of one especially prolific Wikipedia user (for obvious reasons), but this problem extends beyond Amaryllis's actions alone. Several of the articles that have gone viral in recent hours weren't written or even edited by him (for instance this version of the now-fixed article on Telekinesis, or the aforementioned article "Pheesicist", which was written but not created by him). Doing rollbacks on one user arguably isn't enough to fix the issue (to say nothing of the consequences of having a bot perform an action that big with little oversight), there is still the entire other half of the Wiki that has been subject to edits of vandals and people with a feeble grasp on the language both. In addition to that, a mass-rollback would risk affecting contributions from Scots users as well, such as the clean-up efforts going on right now.

Basically the entire Wiki needs to be subject to a manual review, with the options for reviewers being either to keep or delete an article, for the sake of speed and simplicity (I don't believe cleaning up the Wiki is a viable option right now, but reviewing can be done fairly quickly). Though I'm also wondering if there is a way to streamline that process to help speed it along, and make sure people aren't doing double the work on one set of articles and overlooking others. --ReneeWrites (talk) 07:51, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

If that streamlining @ReneeWrites also included things that non-Scots/non-Native-Scots can do, and more comprehensive actions that native speakers/writers can do that would help with quality, no? Soothrhins (talk) 08:59, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
It could help with quantity more than quality, but I think the things we can help with as people who don't speak or understand the language will be very limited. Bear in mind that the well-intentioned efforts of someone who doesn't speak Scots are a big cause of the problem in the first place. --ReneeWrites (talk) 09:57, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@ReneeWrites: I think offers of help to native speakers is definitely what's needed. There are good ideas floating around in different proposals. I'm not au fait with Wiki protocols (if that wasn't obvious), but if there was someone who was a user willing to step up to do the technical steps needed in the background (to actually implement a fix of some kind), I'm happy to translate the coherent proposal options into Scots so that they can be properly discusssed/decided upon on the Scots wiki. Soothrhins (talk) 13:07, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
The only option is to create a directory of problematic users and rollback them too. A manual review of tens of thousands of articles in a language few people speak is beyond impossible. Blythwood (talk) 01:45, 27 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Support This is the best solution. Hopefully there will be editors fluent in Scots that are willing to become more active on sco.wiki, but if not, the banners may help. This solution does not rule out a smaller-scale mass revert later on. Soap (talk) 14:50, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Support starting out this way given the growing group of Scots speakers who appear willing to give this a shot. However, I think that if that movement sputters to a halt, the best option is a mass-revert.
I also take issue with the claim that AG has not added swaths of faulty information; I think I know what you're trying to say – that all of the information added is technically correct, just not actually in Scots – but that's precisely the problem. If this happened on a more highly trafficked Wikipedia in a more popular language, such edits would be immediately reverted and enough disruption would lead to an indef block. Add in the fact that the user has evidently been informed on numerous occasions of his incorrect usage of the language only to either ignore it or push back with the faulty conlang and I think there's enough here to warrant some sort of punitive action (personally, I think his adminship should be revoked, though this brings up questions of what other active users would be willing to do it in his place, and otherwise I believe this whole hubbub has done more than enough to help him see his mistakes and give him an opportunity to fix them). TCN7JM 15:14, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
« Have a bot mark all pages edited by AmaryllisGardener (excluding those with only minor edits or reverts) with a template that says "This page is suspected to contain faulty Scots. Wikipedia cannot guarantee its linguistic correctness." » →‎ I suggest to use w:en:Template:Rough translation. Visite fortuitement prolongée (talk) 15:28, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
FYI There is already a {{fixscots}} template which covers the thrust of User talk:Visite fortuitement prolongée's suggestion.
Thank you User:Soothrhins. I have linked w:en:Template:Rough translation and w:sco:Template:Fixscots using Wikidata. Undo as you want. Visite fortuitement prolongée (talk) 15:44, 31 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Support @ReneeWrites: I like the idea you have about combining this one with proposal 2. -Boldblazer (talk) 02:42, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Support. Either this, or the proposal I made above, but I think it strikes an acceptable middle ground with what the wiki needs. RexSueciae (talk) 16:40, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support this combined proposal. It's clear from the examples raised that this isn't just linked to one user; it's more systematic, so any method targeted solely around one user's contribs won't do the job. The outright wipe and restart approach feels like it is placing a very substantial burden of rebuilding from scratch on the shoulders of those who want to try and salvage something - and, thankfully, we do have people who want to do that. This is a happier medium and allows us to reuse what good material there is, and it does appear there is some.
Combining with auto-delete/auto-blank/whatever for users known to have contributed a lot of non-Scots content, as suggested, seems sensible - but that can't be the only solution. It might also be worth doing it for broad classes of articles if they're all found to be problematic - eg the suggestion somewhere on here about "non-Scottish places" mostly being of low quality. Andrew Gray (talk) 22:25, 28 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Support. This strikes me as the best option, even if it will take years to fix everything with so few contributors.John Gordon Reid (talk) 13:57, 3 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Oppose. Sorry, any proposal that volunteers other people to do a manual review of 60k articles is a pipe dream. Even if there were enough people to do it, asking a brand new cohort of volunteer editors to fix other people's mistakes is beyond the pale. Better to use that energy to make new articles from scratch than pick through the existing text. As I've said elsewhere, "fix what's there"-type proposals both overestimate the level of salvageability of the existing text and underestimate the active and continuing harm that leaving the offending text up for anyone to see is. Axem Titanium (talk) 09:52, 6 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Axem Titanium: This combined with Proposal 2 and a set of Scots Speaking admins empowered to delete articles on sight if they don't intend to fix them actually is really doable. Admins on Sco Wiki already have the ability to delete pages for any reason, so it isn't too much of a stretch that a team goes through 20,000+ articles manually since most are stubs anyways. It'd just be deciding whether to tag or delete a bunch of times. –MJLTalk 08:16, 8 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
It's been about 2 weeks since this all started. Is there an influx of Scots speakers on the Wikipedia? Are they staying and becoming active in the community. An update on the current status would be helpful for understanding how feasible or infeasible this is. Axem Titanium (talk) 05:38, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. I support this as it is closest to what we (as a new editing community) are actually doing. If the outcome of this RfC solely focuses on contributions of AG then its a failure. It is worse than one user, but it is salvageable. For example, we have already identified and deleted around a thousand articles (mainly not by the hand of AG) so far that were:
  • IP LTAs (e.g. articles on military weapons in heavily Scotched English)
  • groups of articles with no attempts in Scots (e.g. stubs on films written wholly in English)
  • groups of articles with no encyclopaedic value for Scots Wikipedia (e.g. articles on obscure telenovelas in Scotched English)
We've also undertaken hundreds of redirects of stubs to more specific articles. There is more to do, but I do think we will get there. There are currently RfC on adopting a more specific 'speedy delete' policy, and the Scots Wikipedia's first notability policy. Once these are in place it should support efforts to scale down the wiki. If in a year's time substantial improvements haven't came about, then there is the more drastic options already discussed on this page that can be looked at again. Soothrhins (talk) 07:53, 23 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal #6: Mass tag and manual review, trying to fix non-Scots articles[edit]

We have seen things like these before, though not on this scale. Currently, I am trying to rid the Zeelandic test Wiktionary from faux Zeelandic contributions by utterly incompetent users. And to be honest, I have been guilty myself in a distant past. When I entered the fledgling Limburgish Wikipedia, I was learning the Maastricht dialect from one booklet (a linguistic introduction, not a true primer) and one belletristic book alone. For words and grammar I wasn't sure of, I relied on other Limburgish dialects, or on my linguistic sense using Dutch and German. You can imagine what a faulty sort of Mestreechs this yielded. I am much more experienced now and I own a dictionary, but some of my early articles might not have been corrected completely.

Now there is one important thing to consider. AmaryllisGardener is not a vandal. He or she (sorry, I won't use singular they until hell freezes over - standard English is standard English) is an enthusiastic learner who in his/her youthful innocence (or arrogance, if you want) did not realise how difficult learning a language really is. As far as I can see, he did not add entire swaths of faulty information, intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, I see no reason to ban him/her or delete him/her completely from the annals of Wikimedia. No, AmaryllisGardener should go out and learn some real Scots. His/her enthusiasm is obviously genuine and s/he appears much wiser now, so why not? It sure would be good for this user if s/he can do some good after all this!

Also, the issues with both bot-assisted and manual repair are obvious - and real. Manual repair will take ages and bot-assisted removal is tricky. The best solution is, in my opinion:

  • Have a bot mark all pages edited by AmaryllisGardener (excluding those with only minor edits or reverts) with a template that says "This page is suspected to contain faulty Scots. Wikipedia cannot guarantee its linguistic correctness."
  • Have competent human users check these pages. Ideally, they would be kept in full and be corrected (or translated into real Scots, whatever way you prefer to put it). Less labour-intensive options (apart from just deleting the lot of it) would include rewriting the pages in stub-style, or delete some and keeping some others. Of course, this might take years, and all that time the error-ridden Scots continues to be online. On the other hand however, as I've pointed out, there are more small wikis with this problem. Deleting all faulty content would set an enormous precedent.

I don't have any illusions that my proposal will be passed, or that I can save AmaryllisGardener from further humiliation or a permanent ban. But please keep this in mind: I have more than 15 years of experience in these matters, and I know the problem very well - from both sides! Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 09:14, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Best so far Elis Ahlberg (talk) 09:30, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
In case any other evidence is needed to show that AmaryllisGardener is not a vandal, I understand that organisers of an upcoming editathon have been in contact with them, and they are willing to be involved/improve their translation skills. Soothrhins (talk) 09:35, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support. This is quite easily done, is not drastic, and points to things that can be validated and fixed by fluent Scots speakers. epicgenius (talk) 15:43, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Any proposal to leave the text publicly available will continue to cause harm. People who don't know Scots won't be able to distinguish a page with a few mistakes from English written in eye dialect. They could still get the wrong impression of the extent of the problem, even if warned. ~ Martyav (talk) 16:09, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose per Martyav. It both overestimates the level of salvageability of the existing text and underestimates the active and continuing harm that leaving the offending text up is doing to public perception of Scots as a language, possibly for "years" as the proposal admits. Axem Titanium (talk) 16:17, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • If the page is headed by a solid warning template, nobody is led into believing that this is sound Scots. If you insist, you can make the template very big (something like w:en:Template:Copyvio), so that the main body is barely visible when you load the page. If by then, people still think the article is in real Scots, they're probably too dumb to understand the article... Steinbach (formerly Caesarion) 16:29, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • Just want to point out, the copyright violation template is not simply put over existing problem text. It is placed on a blanked page, with an urgent warning that everything will be completely deleted within one week. This is because simply keeping the text and putting a big copyright violation warning over it would not adequately address the problem, which is that people can easily access text that doesn't belong on the site. ~ Martyav (talk) 17:09, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
        • I think this is a good point, especially since another problem here appears to be that AI language programs use the Scots Wikipedia to train and I must assume they use the most recent version of any given page, a problem which blanking the page would theoretically solve. If blanking the page is the preferable option, I think it would be reasonable to do so and have editors translate based on the most recent unblanked version in the history. TCN7JM 18:06, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • @Steinbach: Agreed! Also WMUK is going to contact universities to get academics involved, so they can be convinced to be stewards of this project WhisperToMe (talk) 16:30, 26 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Support It seems the consensus is that AmaryllisGardener's youth and foolishness (as opposed to malice) must be taken into account, as well as the fact that some actual Scots speakers have contributed to the wiki and their efforts shouldn't just be nuked from orbit. Given that, I support an effort to mark each article written largely by AmaryllisGardener, so that readers will know it's not actually written in Scots. There must also be a push to recruit actual Scots speakers to address the manifold grammatical, syntactical, orthographical and vocabulary errors such that what currently poses as a Scots-language wiki actually becomes one. --Newmila (talk) 17:25