Requests for comment/Policy on creating new Wikiprojects language versions

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According to the current Language proposal policy, an language "must have a valid ISO 639 1–3 code", " must be sufficiently unique that it could not coexist on a more general wiki", and has "a sufficient number of living native speakers" before it would be possible to create a new wikiproject language version.

In practice, these policies have been used to reject/put on hold/not-verifying the eligibility of projects like:

  • Wikipedia French Simple, Wikipedia Simple German, Wikinews Simple English - proposal for creation of a version of Wikipedia or other Wikiprojects written in simpler language like Simple English Wikipedia
    • Wikipedia Simple English were created before the adaption of current language proposal policy, and its modern usage should have shown that there is a market for such a wikiprojects
  • Wikipedia Ancient Greek - for not being a living language
    • Projects like Wikipedia in Latin, Old English, Classical Chinese are also dead languages, however, their Wikipedia versions were proposed before the adoption of current language proposal policy, and they have achieved varying degree of sustained flow of contributor and readers so it could be said that there are people that would be benefited from existence of these projects.
  • Wikipedia European Portuguese - for being described as a variant that philologists and institutions support for a unification, claiming European Portuguese were not different enough from Brazilian Portuguese
    • Other language pairs that are different by similar degree - like Hindi-Urdu, Malay-Indonesian - obtained their individual ISO code and have created separate wikiprojects.
  • Wikipedia Hainanese, Wikipedia Teochew - for lack of ISO 639 code despite being widely seen as a language.
    • They are individual languages, however, ISO code was not granted after application due to problems and politics with the ISO code application system.
  • Wikipedia Enets - for the lack of native speakers despite ongoing educational and resurrection effort
    • Note that the situation is as such while artificial languages wikiprojects are allowed for creation.
  • Wikipedia Southern Min written with Hanji, Wikipedia Hanja - for being a different writing system but not a different language.
    • Some Wikipedias in multiple writing systems deployed a conversion tool to convert between different scripts, however some languages with writing systems that do not correspond to each other directly, like having a phonetic writing system and then an ideographic writing system, have no viable methodology to achieve a mechanical writing system conversion, without using technologies on par of machine translation to locate and identify the text's meaning and then guess the most appropriate alternative expression in the alternative writing system. As such, articles in alternative scripts in these languages are either stored in an alternative page on the same Wikipedia project, or on an alternative non-WMF-managed wiki, both of which makes interwiki navigation difficult. (As Wikidata only support one-to-one linking of article entries, Wikipedia with multiple pages on same subject but in multiple systems can only link one of the page in Wikidata, and the alternative script version page will become non-discoverable in interlanguage link)

As such, I would like to propose for a modification in the process of how a new Wikipedia language version can be opened in order to allow for a more flexible approach to open a new language version when they might not literally fulfill texts written in language proposal policy but would be beneficial to the community and while upholding some principal in the current language proposal policy.

  • First of all, for language variations, like those that are written in different script, follow different standardization, as a geographical variation, from different time of a evolving language, or that if it is a different difficulty or complexity class of the same language, I would suggest that it should be up to the decision of individual community for the mother language on different wikiprojects to determine whether it is suitable to have a new wiki or should the proposed effort be integrated into the main wikiprojects. As the circumstances of each individual language differ, individual wikiproject communities for each language should be able to tell which options will be better for their future development and the community's future needs (as in whether the language variation can "coexist on a more general wiki" according to the language proposal policy) better than a linguistic-based discussion.
    • In cases where opinion from the parenting languages differ from the opinion of the smaller community that would like to develop a new variant edition wikiproject, the conflict should be resolved by argument instead of vote, and the parenting community should be inclusive to variants on the wikiproject itself if either the parenting community or the daughter community found it is undesirable to develop a new language variant edition wikiproject.
  • Secondly, for languages that are without ISO code, as long as there are sufficient linguistic evidence supporting that the language is indeed a language on its own, then despite the language might not be accepted by ISO 639 for creation of a new code, it should still be allowed for community of that language to create their own wikiprojects. (The current language proposal policy says, "The information that distinguishes this language from another must be sufficient to convince standards organizations to create an ISO 639 code", however, ISO 639 registration authority could reject for such a code creation on technical basis rather than linguistic basis, just like the situation on request for a code for Teochew)
  • Thirdly, languages that are on the verge of extinction with little to no native speakers but with ongoing vitalization efforts, as long as active user community for such language exists, then the creation of such wikiproject should be allowed for creation. Although it could be argued that when there are no native speakers, educational information might better be reflected in a wikiproject that are designed for native language of those speakers, however a different language often represent a different kind of mindset and as such the kind of content that could be created via the use of different language could be different and as such could be meaningful to L2 users despite there could be no native speakers in these languages.

Proposal by C933103 (talk) 04:46, 6 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • About your 6 problems, the second one is already being discussed at another RFC, for the rest 5:
    1. We don't say simple form of a language is not allowed, Requests for new languages/Wikipedia French Simple 3 is already eligible;
    2. It seems that you don't know the difference between dialect, variant, variety and orthography, that said, no splittion of Portuguese wikis are allowed, because codes like pt-PT, pt-BR, pt-MO, ... are orthographies, where Indonesian and Malay are different on the so-called "borrow words", and eventually Hindi and Urdu are having differents on cultural, religion, and geography;
    3. About Hainanese, there's currently a campaign to restart requesting ISO code, and about Teochew, that isn't a language at all, it's just a dialect of Southern Min in some villages;
    4. Enets, that has only 40 living speakers, so it's of course too hard to have a wiki, not only a Wikimedia wiki;
    5. You may ask Sotiale about problems like Hanja or "Southern Min written with Hanji",

The rest 3 proposals can be answered by @Prosfilaes:, sorry I don't have enough knowledges on answering them. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 01:37, 7 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you are asking me, then I would say Oppose Oppose, because The Wikimedia Foundation does not seek to develop new linguistic entities; there must be an extensive body of works in that language. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 22:10, 7 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Any Wikipedia requires citation of secondary sources to support claims in articles. If a language has almost no speakers, then very few sources can be expected to exist on the large majority of (contemporary) subjects. Try finding sources on the w:Cuban Missile Crisis in Ancient Greek, for example... And without the requirement to list sources and cite them in the text, such projects would quickly become a haven for all kinds of nonsense and spam. ArticCynda (talk) 20:34, 7 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]