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The following request for comments is closed. No consensus has been found; the RFC has been radically changed a few times inbetween, to no avail. --MF-W 21:58, 1 June 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Unclear policy regarding Classical language projects[edit]

The current language proposal policy criterion barring natural languages with "no native speakers" does not fit use cases regarding Classical languages:

  1. Classical languages typically have existed for millenia without native speakers, as purely second language vehicles; the Latin corpus for instance is 99.99% from second language periods,[1] but the current policy says that they are disallowed Wikis because they have "no native speakers". This is not an appropriate bar.
  2. As purely second-language vehicles, Classical languages have been highly productive and maintained without first-language speakers to correct texts or speech, and have coined new terms for new technologies, by evolving strategies for these challenges, across millenia;
  3. The language proposal policy regarding Classical languages therefore needs to be based on more objective criteria than the "lack of native speakers", such as whether the languages are in current usage, whether competent writers are trained, whether there is a sizeable readership available, whether new terminology are coined, etc, as envisaged by the Committee's Charter and such as are applied to other language groups;
  4. The Language committee currently applies ad hoc criteria as to whether ancient language projects are viable; this needs to be codified, to ensure that the policy is "clear" as the committee Charter states.

Problems for specific Classical language use cases[edit]

There are a number of difficult cases for Classical languages, that arise from the current policy:

  1. The current policy says that new Latin, Sanskrit, Classical / Literary Chinese projects cannot be granted; for instance new Wiktionaries, Wikiversities, or Wikibooks projects are not allowed under the policy for these languages;
  2. The current blanket ban on new Classical language projects risks accusations or actual discrimination against the Hindu community for Sanskrit, which has a large revival movement, and for Classical / Literary Chinese, which is still highly valued by the Chinese community and has official status in Taiwan; discrimination may be felt by Jain and Buddhist communities also; the issue is not absent even for Latin and Greek;
  3. Sanskrit and Literary Chinese are widely studied and understood; Sanskrit has 18 dedicated Universities; Sanskrit-medium schools; daily newspapers online and one in print. It is learnt by hundreds of thousands of Hindu priests as part of their training. Literary Chinese is learnt by Chinese and Taiwanese schoolchildren as a matter of necessity, given the relatively recent switch to newer forms of written Chinese;
  4. The current blanket ban has led to the creation of a "Guerilla" Literary Chinese "Wiktionary" within their Wikipedia, to help with more difficult words; this is sub-optimal from a (Wiki)data perspective, while being an entirely worthwhile endeavour;
  5. The policy currently prevents any consideration of a new Wikipedia for Ancient Greek. Whether Ancient Greek should be allowed a Wikipedia or not, the language proposal policy needs to explain which objective grounds should used to decline it or not; after 14 years of discussion, this clarification should be welcomed by all;
  6. For cases such as proposed ancient or classical language projects that ought to be declined, the lack of fair criteria builds in unnecessary conflict, as justifications based on the lack of native speakers seem arbitrary and inconsistent with other parts of the language policy.

Easy problem to fix[edit]

  1. The problem is extremely easy to fix, without disturbing the current policy that correctly disallows the vast majority of Ancient languages, which lack audiences, competent writers and so on.
  2. The proposal adds a new class of "classical languages" which have long and continued usage
  3. The proposal requires that a classical language has modern formation of vocabulary for new concepts.

Compromise proposal (currently no positive response from Language Committee)[edit]

See also Requests for comment/Start allowing ancient languages/Archived proposals

Define Classical languages as a separate category[edit]

This is deterministic, but simple to implement.

Add a new section to the policy, incuding or omitting the words "such as" according to the preference of LangCom:

Classical languages

The Classical languages [such as] Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Chinese and Sanskrit are allowed, due to their long and continuing traditions of second-language, non-native production, communication and learning, the presence of well-established methods of extension of the language to modern topic areas and their cultural significance. Communities are allowed to apply for new Wikis in these languages.

Open list version[edit]

This provides open, non-deterministic criteria

Classical languages

Classical languages projects are allowed, due to their long and continuing traditions of second-language, non-native production, communication and learning, and their cultural significance, where they have well-established methods of extension of the language to modern topic areas.


See also Requests for comment/Start allowing ancient languages/Archive#Discussion
Note on prior discussions: These focused on allowing all ancient languages; then on finding criteria to identify which are functional and used. In order to take account of objections to the use of ancient languages in inauthentic manners, a third phase of discussions can be seen below, discussing a proposal focused on Classical languages only. The proposal above and the rationale have been rewritten to take account of this change.
  • Comment Comment it’s plain to see that this discussion isn’t active anymore, and I think that thus is largely due to the archiving and moving of the talk page of the vast majority of comments. I think users feel like there’s no point writing their opinion here because it will anyways be moved either to the archive or to the talk page. Idk if it’s possible to fix this situation, and I might have overused the ping template, but if not you can maybe ping users and explain them that it’s not the case. Anyways, I know that I have probably annoyed the admins enough via debating them but I would like to say this: when I joined Wikipedia, and when I submitted this RfC my goal wasn’t to create an enm.wikipedia.org, it was because I didn’t want to see the test wiki Wp/enm get deleted. I respect attempts to pass this request by it narrowing down to not include Middle English but they don’t seem to be going much further than the original one. -Gifnk dlm 2020 If only Middle English Wikipedia could be saved(talk) 15:10, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal Option[edit]

@PastelKos, Andrew Dalby, Giorno2, Steinbach, Pere prlpz, Amahoney, and Cuzkatzimhut: @Heracletus, VIGNERON, Sigur, Zoozaz1, 扎姆, Anaxicrates, Haoreima, Awangba Mangang, AristippusSer, Robbinorion, Jackattack1597, Sailor Ceres, Whycantusernamesbe21, Sabon Harshe, Iohanen, Sahaib3005, C933103, Oofas, Vikipad, AnotherEditor144, Kitabc12345, Pavlov2, Mmh, Wolverène, Gifnk dlm 2020, Prosfilaes, Pppery, GerardM, Steinbach, VIGNERON, Cuzkatzimhut, Minorax, Janwo, Rschen7754, Jusjih, SHB2000, Iohanen, Sanmosa, DreamerBlue, and Leaderboard: Feedback from the Committee has been thin, but what I detect is that they like the simplicity and determinism of the current bar. It reduces uncertainty and time assessing applications, presumably. So I have drafted a second option above which simply adds four exceptions to be allowed new Wikis, being Latin, Koine Greek, Sanskrit and Traditional Chinese:

For the purposes of this policy, Latin, Koine Greek, Traditional Chinese and Sanskrit are treated as exceptions, and are allowed to apply for new Wikis. Traditional Chinese may not apply for a separate Wikisource.

I would like to test whether that is more acceptable or acceptable to respondents so far. --JimKillock (talk) 22:52, 15 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

  1. I don't think it is a good idea to have an exhaustive list of language listed right inside the policy as that mean any time any interest arises on any new ancient language, the entire policy need to be amended, which is a much more exhausting process than would be necessary, and make the policy itself less stable.
  2. Traditional Chinese is not Classical/Literary Chinese. Traditional Chinese mean characters that are written in traditional ways, and can be used to write both Ancient and Modern as well as Dialectic Chinese Variants. It currently have no separate wiki, and Traditional Chinese have been treated as an language variant, being displayed in Chinese Wikipedia through Language Converter. That's not the target of the discussion
  3. As for specifically blocking Classical Chinese Wikisource. I don't think it is a good idea. As mentioned in the Language Committee Closing Comment on the Request for Language Proposal for Literary Chinese, while the proposal is currently put on hold for the time being due to lack of active contribution to its incubator project, not even Language Committee can reach a consensus on whether the project should be eligible or be rejected. I don't think it should be something be determined by the RFC.C933103 (talk) 05:06, 16 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I find it maybe a tad bit too restrictive, for other historical languages that may in the future acquire a large amount of editors and quality articles, but otherwise it's OK, I think. --PastelKos (talk) 11:06, 16 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks both. The issue here is that we have to find something that LangCom will agree to. Although their Charter commits them to Quantitative indicators these are complicated to assess. From the feedback so far, they like the certainty of the qualitative rule. What we have written may be simply too difficult to implement, and does not address their central concern with "non native speakers".
However Classical languages have not had native speakers for most of their active history, so there is a way to describe this within the current qualitative framing.

For the purposes of this policy, Latin, Koine Greek, Classical Chinese and Sanskrit are treated as exceptions, due to their long and continuing traditions of second-language, non-native production, and are allowed to apply for new Wikis.

It isn't languages that apply, it's communities of language users.
Once that's understood, there's no need for lists or exceptions or exclusions, and there never was. A community has to demonstrate that it can develop a wiki and that the resulting wiki will contribute, alongside others, to the aims of the Foundation. The language committee has to judge whether this has been demonstrated. Andrew Dalby (talk) 15:46, 16 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  1. Yes! I agree with this. Whycantusernamesbe21 (talk) 23:12, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks – amended to "communities are allowed to apply for new Wikis in these languages". --JimKillock (talk) 20:57, 16 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
If your change do not affect the Chinese wikisource to split them into Chinese and ancient Chinese, I will still Support Support your request. I wish zhwiki could be saved. | Pavlov2 (talk) 04:35, 17 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you, the position on WS does not change; that is single wikis are preferred in the policy, but it is a LangCom decision. --JimKillock (talk) 05:18, 17 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Since my concern is asked and answered here, I would consider supporting to encourage langcom members to adpot your proposal, but my another problem is still to be resolved: that how to make sure the behavior of requestors are good? Since the recent cases of BlueWhale65 (the link only works for Meta sysops), if this proposal is adopted, then in theory the frivolous proposals would still need to check if there are indeed acting one of "second language vehicles" (you said below), and if yes, we should keep it even though it's enough frivolous. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 11:31, 17 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@JimKillock: The problem is that how to treat requests that are indeed to act the "second language vehicles" and those that are frivolous, as I said above, there are spammers that also create such requests, a recent example is just BlueWhale65. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 00:35, 19 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Liuxinyu970226:, sorry I did not answer earlier, I did not fully understand. People will always be able to make frivolous requests of any kind. But the vast majority would be easily rejected as now. Adding a whole new Classical language would require an RFC or request to the Committee on the elegibility of a language to be regarded by them as Classical; it is hard to say if any would be able to show that they meet the criteria (sustained second language output). Even where a Classical language asks for a new wiki, it is very clear whether the project on incubator is active or not. So I don't believe this would cause a problem with frivolous requests. --JimKillock (talk) 04:58, 19 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@PastelKos, Andrew Dalby, Giorno2, Steinbach, Pere prlpz, Amahoney, and Cuzkatzimhut: @Heracletus, VIGNERON, Sigur, Zoozaz1, 扎姆, Anaxicrates, Haoreima, Awangba Mangang, AristippusSer, Robbinorion, Jackattack1597, Sailor Ceres, Whycantusernamesbe21, Sabon Harshe, Iohanen, Sahaib3005, C933103, Oofas, Vikipad, AnotherEditor144, Kitabc12345, Pavlov2, Mmh, Wolverène, Gifnk dlm 2020, Prosfilaes, Pppery, GerardM, Steinbach, VIGNERON, Cuzkatzimhut, Minorax, Janwo, Rschen7754, Jusjih, SHB2000, Iohanen, Sanmosa, DreamerBlue, and Leaderboard: For clarity I am going to cut all the proposals bar the last one, as the Committee still seems to be having trouble understanding how simple and narrow this change is, and that it does not disturb the core of the ancient language policy. Let me know if that seems wrong. --JimKillock (talk) 20:18, 20 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Could you please stop pinging me? I am watching this page and I do reply when I think a reply is necessary. Thank you. --✍ Janwo Disk./de:wp 01:48, 21 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@PastelKos, Andrew Dalby, Giorno2, Steinbach, Pere prlpz, Amahoney, and Cuzkatzimhut:

@Heracletus, VIGNERON, Sigur, Zoozaz1, 扎姆, Anaxicrates, Haoreima, Awangba Mangang, AristippusSer, Robbinorion, Jackattack1597, Sailor Ceres, Whycantusernamesbe21, Sabon Harshe, Iohanen, Sahaib3005, C933103, Oofas, Vikipad, AnotherEditor144, Kitabc12345, Pavlov2, Mmh, Wolverène, Gifnk dlm 2020, Prosfilaes, Pppery, GerardM, Steinbach, VIGNERON, Cuzkatzimhut, Minorax, Janwo, Rschen7754, Jusjih, SHB2000, Iohanen, Sanmosa, DreamerBlue, and Leaderboard:

As per PastelKos, the exceptions may be somewhat restrictive of new exceptions that may appear. It should be amended to be inclusive of all such languages. AnotherEditor144 t - c 16:20, 11 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
What am I missing? Why have I been pinged? Leaderboard (talk) 18:12, 11 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Same. Why have I been pinged as well? SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 20:17, 11 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Also, why have I got an email about this, and the sender is just AnotherEditor? Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 01:06, 12 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Could you please stop pinging me on this? Thank you. I am watching this page and I will reply if and when I think a reply is necessary. Which I do not. --✍ Janwo Disk./de:wp 03:32, 12 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I get the same feeling as well. Please stop pinging me for a page that I'm watching, and isn't an urgent thing (I prefer pings in quick discussions, but not on a page like this) SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 06:20, 12 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
warned Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 08:51, 12 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for doing that. SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 09:43, 12 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
AnotherEditor144 also appears to be blocked on the English Wikipedia for "No chance you're not a sock wasting time, Undisclosed alternative accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project". Cross wiki case? SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 22:47, 12 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed, this strongly supported my argue that some supporters of this RFC are problemic on behaviors, maybe their behavior patterns need to clarify if same or not. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 03:50, 19 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
A good chunk of those who voted "support" are either blocked on a project, or have an extremely low edit count (below 1000 global edits). Thanks for filing that CU report. SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 09:09, 19 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Note that on the same Meta RFCU page, the above one, my earlier submission, is confirmed two LTAs running on both Meta and Incubator (although for unknown reasons, some of the "Group 2" aren't globally locked), it looks like one account of them was having meatpuppet relation with one supporter of this RFC, though more evidences are pending. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 10:20, 25 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
And if Gifnk dlm 2020 and C64 is the best computer are both CU confirmed to each other with the latter being globally locked, why is Gifnk dlm 2020 still allowed to edit? --SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 09:41, 26 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hmm, because not all of the sock masters are globally locked, they can be permanently blocked on one or more projects, but if they only run wrong behaviors on a small number of them, and still feels good on others (an example), then there's no enough reason to request such users also be globally locked, but I'm afraid that AE144 isn't a good example of this. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 06:33, 29 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@AnotherEditor144:, any comments in your defense? -Gifnk dlm 2020 If only Middle English Wikipedia could be saved(talk) 21:43, 4 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
If someone made harassment pings every day for you, then how do you think, by asking me this question, I will try to avoid directly answering, but reporting to SRG if globally effects happened, or ask a random sysop to block (or at least topic ban) them if only on one wiki. Try not to ask an LTA, please and thx. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 13:39, 8 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Reponse from LangCom requested[edit]

Previous discussion focused on the previous proposal is at Requests for comment/Start allowing ancient languages/Archive#Reponse from LangCom requested

No one who nowadays "speaks" or mostly rather understands any of those ancient languages is monolingual in them, these languages are no one's first (i.e. native) or only language. Thus, having projects in these languages does not widen the availability of information. This is the huge difference to living "small" languages where there might be native monolingual speakers who would benefit from information available in their language. That is what Wikimedia should focus on, because it has actual benefits for marginalized groups. Providing a platform in an ancient language that a handful of people maintain as their second language for their intellectual pleasure is not and should not be the mission of Wikimedia. --✍ Janwo Disk./de:wp 02:14, 16 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@Janwo: Thank you for engaging Janwo. It is really important we receive substantive feedback of this kind to understand the concerns the Committee has, so we can try to address them. It may not have been clear how narrow the policy was framed, which is to address just major and operative ancient languages; typically what we call classical languages. Your points may well be true for most ancient languages, however there are exceptions.
Taking your points them in turn:
No one is monolingual in them: That is true, but typically for hundreds or thousands of years, Classical Languages are second language vehicles: for instance Less that 00.01% of the Latin corpus has been produced by native speakers.[1] The proportion for Sanskrit is even lower. Functionally, Classical languages are like ConLangs, in that they are codified and fixed (in a way that may not wholly align with how it was spoken) and used nearly exclusively by generations of second language speakers as an auxiliary language, domain-specific language or lingua franca.
Educational value: you express skepticism that there is any educational or informational value to be extracted from their use, but in the case of an ancient Classical language, this seems a bit far-fetched; it also does not take into account the process of knowledge sharing and transference, from one language writing community to another; which is explored in the proposal and is at the heart of the way that the open knowledge movement thinks about knowledge production.
Having projects in these languages does not widen the availability of information — that is extremely unlikely to be the case for Classical languages given that (a) the production and content is being shared and read by groups with different first languages; (b) Classical languages are repositories of much untranslated material, which allow their readers additional insights into certain subject matter; and (c) the Ancient Classical Language Wiki is likely to feature areas of investigation and create onwards information transference back to other wikis. In the case of non-Wikipedias (Wikibook, Wikiversity) there are additional purposes especially regarding in-language environments for learning and usage. These points are further elaborated at (8), which requires policies for specialist information production and policies for knowledge transference to other wikis. (This is mostly to show how it happens, rather than because it currently does not.)
Benefits for marginalised groups: it dismisses that wikis for ancient languages can "provide actual benefits for marginalized groups". For Classical languages, this is not true. To give one example Sanskrit enjoys a very large grassroots revival movement that is I am sure highly under-resourced. Ancient Greek is at least allied with a strong but globally small religious minority, and both Latin and Greek are studied by a much larger group of Christian movements (again, I am aligned with none). (This is explored a little in the proposal preamble). Of course it is the case that information collated into Wikis in a language they study and use and on topics of relevance can benefit these groups, and there is policy at (9) about building links with those communities.
WM's mission: this does not make prioritisation over the particular production of particular information for or by particular groups; rather the opposite, it assumes any educational production can have value, given time and effort by volunteers; the question of who needs particular support and why is surely more a financing question for the Foundation rather than a project initiation question.
The writers are only hobbyists or doing it "for their intellectual pleasure": Classical languages are learnt and used much more widely than this statement would suggest. The proposal is clear that the potential creator pool has to be much wider than just hobbyists or a "handful of people [who] maintain [the language] as their second language for their intellectual pleasure". The Proposal requires a "reasonable degree of contemporary usage" at (7); and a "significant potential readership and evidence of a significant body of competent potential contributors; for instance at least thousands of people trained in writing the language, and availability of courses or training which aim at fluent compositional or oral usage". There are also mitigations to develop links with academics at (9), this could be tightened if you wish. If you think the bar to entry needs to be set somewhere else though, your feedback would be appreciated on this.
No native speakers means no accuracy: The other argument made in other responses is that native speakers are necessary for writing and providing quality control. For most Ancient Languages, this may be an insurmountable problem. But this is not how Classical languages are used; experience tells us that Classical languages are maintained for millenia without native speakers, and have evolved teaching methods to mitigate the lack of feedback of native speakers, for instance, large volumes of reading, focus on language use and style in textual analysis and readers with notes, imitating the style of particular authors, collections of idiomatic usages, discussions about how certain idioms functioned. While that means the corpus of Classical languages will be different, containing different levels of non-native qualities, it does not invalidate their usage, as the current policy rather implausibly claims. --JimKillock (talk) 05:14, 16 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
In response to your and other LangCom feedback, we have suggested: Compromise Proposal Option Two

For the purposes of this policy, Latin, Koine Greek, Classical Chinese and Sanskrit are treated as exceptions, due to their long and continuing traditions of second-language, non-native production, and communities are allowed to apply for new Wikis for these languages.

--JimKillock (talk) 06:40, 17 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Janwo: Probably the artificial international languages should be mentioned again at this point. All this argument about seeking information in one's native language would apply also against e.g. Esperanto. There are no native speakers, too, and there are probably more people who understand ancient Greek than who understand Esperanto. But the argument is invalid in this case. The idea of such an artificial language is not a national, but an inter-national understanding, and an equal understanding (both the sides are non-native speakers). And the same applies to the classical languages. --Mmh (talk) 09:29, 17 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Janwo: begins to claim that there is a "huge difference" between languages like Latin and Esperanto, on one side, and "living 'small' languages where there might be native monolingual speakers who would benefit" on the other side; but the words "might be" shows how risky the claim would be. Fifty years ago it might have been true, but not now. Many of the 'small' languages in which wikipedias have been created have no monolingual speakers. Perhaps the Language Committee doesn't realise this? We don't ask the users on any Wikipedia "are you monolingual?" "Is this your 'mother' tongue?" It's the greatest achievement of Wikipedia and the Foundation to have created reference sources in a whole spectrum of languages, helping their users, "marginalized groups" very often and multilingual nearly always, to go on using them and to teach them to the next generation. Andrew Dalby (talk) 18:55, 17 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I do want to note that there exists a difference between "ancient" and "classical" languages that has mostly been eclipsed in this discussion. Anglo-Saxon and Gothic, for instance, are ancient languages. Latin, classical Greek, literary Chinese and Sanskrit are classical. Many people learn these classical languages for communication and knowledge recording in the absence of native speakers; indeed, for many of them (like literary Chinese) one may argue that there were never "native speakers" in the first place (it derives from, but is likely quite different from spoken Old Chinese). Significantly, there are a lot of people who learn classical languages for reasons other than pure linguistic interest, and they may not share a common spoken language; the same cannot be said of ancient languages.
Perhaps our aporia can be resolved if we could simply get the committee to be willing to recognize a difference between ancient and classical languages. I personally think that we may not even need to resort to a rule change; truly ancient languages can remain out while we can recognize classical languages along the same lines as conlangs, and like I said the only language this would really apply to that doesn't already have a project would be classical Greek. AristippusSer (talk) 06:24, 18 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Aristippus, this is a useful distinction, and I'd hope the committee will be able to take note of it. Andrew Dalby (talk) 09:13, 18 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I've added that as an option. On the language and form, it will be up to the Committee to decide. A separate section makes sense in that it would be clearer. I suspect the Committee would be prefer a set list as it means an RFC process to add a language on the grounds it is classical, rather than being part of an application process.
Note that it does matter to make the position of Latin, Sanskrit, etc, clear, as users may want other Wiki projects, and this is currently blocked. There is a recent example apparently of a Classical Chinese Wiktionary being slotted into the Chinese dictionary, by means of separate navigation. --JimKillock (talk) 06:47, 18 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Amire80, Antony D. Green, Maor X, GerardM, Janwo, Jon Harald Søby, Yupik, Evertype, Satdeep Gill, Vito Genovese, and MF-Warburg: Could the Committee take another look at the new proposal options, particularly to take account of the fact that Classical languages are second language vehicles, (usually with important contributions to the original corpus from native speakers, that are dwarfed by the second-language-only output eg 0.01% of recorded Latin is from native speakers; 99.99% has been produced when native speakers were no longer present)[1] and are still productive now; and also ensure that the policy is easy to operate?
These are at:
Thank you very much for your time, --JimKillock (talk) 07:13, 18 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Due to this response, I'm afraid again that this RFC is failed due to no consensus. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 22:40, 20 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
With all due respect, I don't think the comment you quoted indicates that this RFC has "failed" by any stretch.
Having said that, I do believe that @GerardM's comments so far have at least been helpful in the sense that they clarified his main objection to historical languages, which is that he considers them unable to accommodate new terminology. I, for one, was not aware that this is the basis for his objection prior to this discussion.
Since my main interest in this discussion is in the classical Greek project, and I in fact do consider classical Greek able to accommodate new terminology (since the modern language continues to use classical roots and patterns of word formation that can simply be adotped), I would say that there is room for discussion even without changing the current rules. To be clear, I still hope that some version of the RFC can be adopted for the sake of clarity, since the current rule goes beyond Gerard's stated purpose of preventing languages that do not accommodate new terminology – perhaps it can be as simple as making this qualification part of the written rule. But I think this has given us cause, at least, to revisit the RFL for ancient Greek Wikipedia even under current rules. AristippusSer (talk) 03:54, 21 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
When a classical language is to accommodate new terminology, it follows that this does not represent the culture that is the source of the classical language. It then is no longer that classical language it has become a (re)constructed language. As a consequence it fails criteria for admissability. Thanks, GerardM (talk) 05:41, 21 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Gerard, many thanks for responding. While I agree with you in the case of languages like Anglo-Saxon or Gothic, and even to some extent for Hebrew (although in this case the language has been effectively reconstructed), I think the situation is at least somewhat open to debate for Greek, where the history of diglossia has effectively blurred the line somewhat; up until fairly recently nearly all written text in Greek has had some degree of classicizing language, and even today a lot of Katharevousa terms co-exist in Greek alongside demotic ones, so there is really not the need for linguistic invention when we can simply take the terminology used in modern Greek.
What I mean to say, therefore, is that there is some ambiguity here in what counts as the cultural source of classical Greek (and whether modern classically-formed terminology is representative of it), in a way that does not really have parallels elsewhere except, perhaps, with literary Chinese, which is why I hope that we can at least discuss making an exception for it without necessitating a changing of the current rules. Best, AristippusSer (talk) 06:34, 21 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
A change for Greek would be welcome, however this current topic illustrates the problem with the current policy position. The language policy is meant to be fair and transparent. The Committee naturally has duties from the Board around this. If the criteria in fact vary, or are not recorded, or can only be found via email, that is neither fair nor transparent.
We have I think shown that for Classical languages the lack of native speakers is not a valid criterion – hence @GerardM: explains there is a different, more specific criterion, being lack of modern language formation.
If this is in fact the operative criterion, surely it is to everyone's advantage to spell it out in the policy; it is clearer for people who need to know what the policy is, and it is clearer for the Committee to explain to everyone else.
(I should that the current policy reads: Only Wikisource wikis in ancient or historical languages are accepted, because resources in such languages continue to be important to the world, even in the absence of native, living speakers of those languages. — it really is not clear that the "absence of modern language formation" can be read into that statement at all.)
This is not a matter for consensus, btw; the Committee must set their criteria (maintain the language policy). In doing so, they must meet their Charter obligations of transparency, fairness and clear criteria (a clear step-by-step policy (based on quantitative indicators) for evaluating the feasibility of new language wikis).
This seems like a really obvious and simple step for the Committee to improve their workings and help everybody. --JimKillock (talk) 06:58, 21 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@GerardM: I have written a version based on your suggested criteria, above. --JimKillock (talk) 18:15, 21 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • I am not in favour of changing the policy. I have given you an insight in my arguments, other members have theirs and they are welcome to it. With a policy that is deterministic in this way you prevent people from thinking, from taking responsibility. People are chosen for their capability and it is for them to make the policy work. Your way is what I utterly dislike. Thanks, GerardM (talk) 04:57, 22 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Nota bene: I have added the phrase the presence of well-established methods of extension of the language to modern topic areas to the proposal language for clarity. --JimKillock (talk) 07:37, 26 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Request to rename RFC[edit]

Given the narrowing of focus, I suggest the RFC is renamed Start allowing currently utilised Classical languages. --JimKillock (talk) 11:59, 27 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

  • I agree. A name that sounds too broad is a detriment when the criterion of a community will apply regardless. Serentty (talk) 00:24, 28 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • To what extent is this even still an RfC? It's been turned into a big, sprawling essay all written by a single user, who has been shifting the questions, changing the topics, plastered everything over with his own lengthy arguments, and moving and removing people's comments at will. I currently see nothing in this page that is actually about collecting other users' opinions, which is what an RfC should be about. Fut.Perf. 13:05, 29 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Rest assured, nothing has been removed. Some comments were moved at your advice to the talk page; other content I moved to archive once it was clear from other users' feedback that the proposal needed narrowing, and the discussions were rather tangential or difficult for a new reader. Anything you feel needs to be restored can be moved back from the archive. For myself I am more than happy to get feedback on what is here and step back for a while (I've not added anything except to the preamble, to summarise the the arguments, for five or six days. And if anything there is wrong, again, feedback is welcome. Meantime I will ping you on the talk page for further advice.) --JimKillock (talk) 16:33, 29 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]
P.s. I have opened this request using my previous account Gifnk dlm 2020. -🇺🇦Slava🇺🇦Ukraini🇺🇦Heroyam🇺🇦Slava🇺🇦(talk)🇺🇦 13:23, 17 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


  1. a b c Leonhardt, Jürgen (2013). Latin: Story of a World Language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 2. ; First language Latin content amounts to just 00.01% of the Latin corpus. New terms and words were and are coined throughout Latin's long active use as a second language.