Talk:Toytoy's proposed policy for wiki closure

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To make this page well organized, I may insert sections to separate questions. Hope my insertion will not cause any problem. -- Toytoy 01:20, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

English Wikipedia[edit]

en probably would have failed at least three of these tests (market and both usability) early on. Perhaps a test taking into account the number of literate speakers with Internet access should be added. 151.196.235.226 07:12, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

In the very beginning, Wikipedia was nobody. Now Wikipedia is a popular brand name. I know some tests are just too harsh. Japanese and German wikis are good if not great, however, a writer who works for Yomiuri Shinbun or Der Spiegel may still use English Wikipedia as his/her first choice.
However, if there are web or BBS messages that mention Wikipedia, it shall be a good indicator. The point is people shall use it. If people are not using it after a couple of years, it is not worthy to keep. -- Toytoy 14:32, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
Dissent concerning de:Wikipedia and Der Spiegel. They are copying from de:WP, not from en. ;-) More serious: I don't support the idea that somebody ist to say That language is irrelevant because I say so and therefore it must'nt have its own Wikipedia. I think such an attitude is both arrogant and an insult of all speakers of a language considered irrelevant. Imho, the best solution for all of us would be to delete this page and just forget that idea. -- 84.146.145.244 10:58, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
My idea has always been "If this wiki fails, let's close it." If the English wiki has only 5 regular contributors and their edits account for 86% of all edits, I'll say let's close the English wiki.



However, if 10,000 educated Edo speakers (population: only 1,000,000) come to Wikipedia, we can expect that the Edo wiki would become fairly up-to-date, accurate and unbiased in a couple of years. I'll say let's keep it.
The most important reason behind Wikipedia's success is its wide participation. A lousy wiki created by a few persons may not represent that language. They deserve no special treatment.
Admit it, this idea is pretty logical and practical. -- Toytoy 11:26, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
A fr:Wikipedian just found a nice comparison for that kind of logic: If someone causes trouble, just kill him and he'll stop causing trouble. If somebody said to you Your language is irrelevant and your Wikipedia work was superfluid, what would you reply? Are you sure it's a good idea to ask that question? Admit it that it's not. -- 84.146.166.207 11:51, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
If my Wikipedia performs so poorly that it fails to attract new users and I have to spend several hours a day writing it to keep it from dying, I will be deeply ashamed. If that's the case, I'll close my own Wikipedia (because it's not supposed to be my own and I was not supposed to be on my own). Did you get it? -- Toytoy 13:49, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

No hi estic gens d'acord[edit]

amb aquesta proposta. Pérez 18:36, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

I he de afegir que aquest toytoy només es dedica en els darrers temps a fer propostes de tancar wikipedies. On son les seves contribucions a la wiki? Sr Toytoy. Ou sont votres contributions a la wiki? M. Toytoy. Where are your contibutions to the wiki? Mr Toytoy. Dónde están sus contribuciones a la wiki? Sr. Toytoy

Un Vàndal? Un voyou? Vandal? Vándalo?

Pérez 18:57, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Strong dissent[edit]

I dissent strongly from this proposal.

Even small Wikipedias:

  1. may be good sources of articles for translation.
  2. may be the seed from which something more substantial later grows.
  3. link well into the rest of Wikipedia and form a piece of the larger whole.

Also, a wiki with a small number of contributors, but where that small number are good at what they do, may be excellent. The Catalan Wikipedia is a case in point: I would say from experience using it that its standards are generally quite high, that its coverage of specifically Catalan subjects much exceeds what we have in other languages (including Spanish, English, and French), that most of this would probably never have been written if we did not welcome articles in Catalan, and that most of what we have about Catalunya in the English-language Wikipedia is due to a number of us making translations from the Catalan Wikipedia.

Similarly, the few individuals writing in the Asturian-language Wikipedia have written some very good articles on Asturias that have been translated into other languages.

Many of us who are multilingual think of Wikipedia as one big system with articles in many languages, not as a group of separate monolingual encyclopedias. It may be important to post, prominently, a language-specific disclaimer based in part on en:Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia that gives further warnings of the pitfalls of a particular language-specific Wikipedia.

If someone wishes to carry on dialogue about this with me, please get hold of me at en:User talk:Jmabel, because I do not monitor Meta. -- Jmabel

Min Nan Wikipedia[edit]

I strongly disagree with this line of attack.

Minor technical details:

  • The author cites relatively trivial imperfections ("21 vs. 22") as an argument for the smaller editions being of worse quality than the largest editions. (On the other hand, it'd be a huge and serious mistake to state the value of PI as, more or less, 31.4 rather than 3.14, or that Einstein was the Anti-Christ.) (It's almost as if the author had trouble coming up with good arguments to defend his radical proposal.) The truth is that no doubt other mistakes and errors exist. No doubt some will not be weeded out for quite some time. Neither should suggest the inaccuracies, discrepancies, contradictions, mis-representations, and other errors (i.e. systematic mistakes and biases) and simple mistakes are permanent. This applies to wikis large and small, and numerous examples exist for wikis along the size spectrum. Moreover, the fact that such a numerical discrepancy exists on the main page does not necessarily suggest poor workmanship. Indeed, apparent mistakes (usually spelling and grammatical) are sometimes deliberately left behind or even inserted to encourage participation.
  • To criticize a one-year-old wiki for having many fewer editors than wikis based on the top-ten languages (out of some 5,000+ human languages worldwide) is to wield an unfair yardstick.
  • To single out specific editors for being "hyper-active" (relative to other editors on the same wiki) strikes me as a bit odd. All things being equal, participation is always a good thing. An example of unwelcomed "hyperactivity" is the use of bots to dump junk on Wikipedia. That's not the case at all. The real measure stick is in the quality of the edits.
  • The real motivation behind this proposal is shown by this statement: "As a native Chinese speaker living in Taiwan, I can show you some problems created with unneeded dialect versions." i.e. the proposal is motivated by a subjective bias against certain language varieties deemed by the author to be "dialects". It is a view that is fundamentally socio-political and cannot be resolved by analyzing numbers (as the proposal tries to do).

A-giâu 10:09, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

These "relatively trivial imperfections" are easy to spot and created by your own edits. Yet for the past five months, they are not fixed. Now tell me something about quality.
"Indeed, apparent mistakes (usually spelling and grammatical) are sometimes deliberately left behind or even inserted to encourage participation." Now just tell me did anyone participate?
I don't really care about hyper-activitism. So far you like it, there's no way to stop it. The point is I don't see USER BASE GROWTH. If this is a well-functioning wiki, the list of active users shall grow by, possibly, one per month or so. Within a year, there will be several active contributors and even more passive users. If people are using this wiki, they will fix your mistakes.
I did not wield an unfair yardstick at a minor language. As you have said, Min Nan users are everywhere. It's on the 21st/22nd (whatever) place. So the speaker base is not a problem. And many of them are highly educated and reasonably wealthy. So the actual point is they don't come to your playground. And that's your policy's problem. -- Toytoy 12:26, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
I find it methodologically flawed to discuss specific examples, since they are not limited to one or another wiki. But to indulge your obsession, I'll just say that
  • Whether the Min Nan language/variety -- or as Chinese nationalists prefer, dialect -- ranks at the 21st, 22nd, or 23rd place depends on which edition of the Ethnologue one consults;
  • The edit history does not show that the discrepancy was repeatedly noted but left in place. This judgement call could be criticized for maintaining inconsistency, but it was not due to an oversight or lack of eyeballs.
As for your other points:
  • Did anyone participate? No, absolutely no one participated. The MediaWiki software gained sentience and started to generate the 1000+ meaningful articles on its own. Your bias truly shines here.
  • The wiki has slowly but steadily grown its user base. There are several active contributers and passive (usually anonymous) ones. You should look at the statistics.
  • It is not my playground, no more than Proposed policy for wiki closure is your playground. Nor am I a founder of this wiki (as you mistakenly assumes in your proposal), though I did apply for adminship early on (not that any of this should be relevant to this discussion).
  • Your point about Min Nan having lots of educated speakers assumes literacy to be part of their (our) education, which it is largely not. But that does not mean the literate base is none, either. Nor does that mean we invented a new language or new script or new orthography, and chose Wikipedia to implement it. The difference is that by bringing Min Nan writing to the digital page, people who are against regional Chinese languages suddenly notice, even though it has been around for more than a century.
A-giâu 10:44, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

This whole proposal strikes me as very POV against smaller languages. A language with a smaller number of speakers will have a smaller pool of authors to draw from - some of the smaller Wikis may have a higher proportion of editors:speakers than do en, es and fr for example.

Certain languages are very important in national identity, and to close down a wiki because it isn't "performing" would be interpreted by some as a major slur against their identity. For example also, the Welsh language is a very political topic having been banned for many years and thus for Wikipedia to "supress" it (as this is how it would inevitably be seen by some) would be a PR disaster.

See also the en:Sapir-Worf hypothesis which states that the language someone speaks influences their world view. How is declaring someone's view of the world as "failing" or "insignificant" compatible with NPOV? Thryduulf 13:25, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

With lots of money and many experienced translators, I can translate the whole or the core part of English Wikipedia into many small languages. If you rule out philosophical, historical, political and religious articles, most other articles can be translated without much POV infusion.
With the English Wikipedia, people are talking about NPOV. But with these small wikis, you expect some local POVs. What are you thinking? What's your point? Wikipedia is not a think tank. You may speak Albanian or Zulu in your brain, but when it comes to calculus, you do it almost the same way as everybody else does.
My point is, if a wiki is contributed by only a few users, we see the contributors' personal POV rather than the general speakers' native POV or logical framework. Let's say if the English Wikipedia was written by Jimbo magically overnight, do you really think this 650,000-article Jimbopedia shall reflect the the POV or NPOV or world view of average English speakers?
Sapir-Worf hypothesis is almost irrelevant when it comes to individual. Karl Rove and Michael Moore both thinks in English. Do you think an English wiki written by Karl Rove shall be the same as another one written by Michael Moore? Some fundamental frameworks inside their brains may be the same (objects, subjects, verbs, hierarchy, categories ...), however, their views are too different for anyone to notice the fundamental similarities.
Wikipedia is not a language ICU. It also shall not be a national identity nursery. If a wiki fails to attract a reasonal amount of writers and readers, let's close it. If they want to publish, there are other wikis and blogs.
I know a mass killing of small wikis is bad PR. Only if people had not been creating non-functioning wikis so carelessly and so quickly ... -- Toytoy 14:21, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

There is no connection between the the number of articles and NPOV. For example, the w: en: PLO article is pure Palestinen propaganda (My English is not good enough to rewrite it), and it is at biggest Wikipedia...

The problem of POV doesn’t depend on the number of article. The culture is more significant (at the Hebrew articles the Israeli option is more emphasized). Troll Refaim 14:47, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

When you say "Israeli option" did you mean "Israeli opinion"? I really don't want to get involved with the heated flame wars between you and the others. If you don't like the PLO article, I think some others will also tell you that they don't like some Jewish-centered articles. Fact: As a Chinese, I can review many contradictory and biased articles. I cannot review an article written in a language known by only a few and written by even fewer people.
Anyway, we shall not murder a wiki just because its speakers are few. With a reasonable number of contributors, a wiki in any language has a chance to be fairly NPOV. Who were the one or two Hebrew wiki pioneers? Did you agree with their views? Possibly not always. However, with about 58 active contributors, I guess today's Hebrew wiki shall contain several debating views.
Do you live in Jerusalem? Or do you live in a settlement? What do you do on the sabbath? Are you an ultra-orthodox? Or are you a reformer? Did you join the IDF? Or did you refuse to be drafted? Do you like the UO mayor of Jerusalem? There are countless debating views in Israel. And I wish the 58 active contributors shall reflect the ideas of today's Israeli and Arabian people. Without a reasonable number, this is difficult to achieve. For the record, I don't want to get involved with any Israel-related debates here. This is highly inappropriate. -- Toytoy 15:30, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
I know that are articles at English wikipedia that are pro-Israeli, I talked about PLO, because I read it many times due to making the Hebrew article more NPOV.
The wikipedians at Hebrew wikipeida have several debating views (Yesterday, A troll was mark all army leaders as war criminals), but almost wikipedians are Israelis, and this effect the articles. Troll Refaim 19:30, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
Toytoy, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to avoid "arguing" with personal remarks to dismiss other user's arguments. When you say: I really don't want to get involved with the heated flame wars between you and the others., besides being disrespectful, you are attacking a person/culture to dismiss his argument. He was trying to say, the Hebrew wiki would be more Israeli-centered. Your response was a person/cultural attack, not an argument.

Language does constitute a thinking framework[edit]

Language does constitute a thinking framework.
I see it when I want to make interwiki links for wa:, in several cases I can't. As there is no 1-to-1 equivalency with other articles; eg there is a single article in en: while there are several ones in wa:, or the other way.
Then there are also the cultural differences; on wa: there are several articles about veterinary topics (diseases, techniques, etc) that doesn't exist on en: (it seems despite the huge number of en: contributors, there aren't farmers among them); several articles about mushrooms have been written too, that doesn't exist in en: (a lot of them however did existed in de:, I found out thanks to the latin names).
As for some of the "tests" for a good wiki to pass; well, wa: pass a lot of them, just you will never know as you don't speak Walloon and don't live in Wallonia
there is indeed quite a lot of discussion about wikipedia in Walloon, just not on the wiki itself, but in mailing lists; wa.wikipedia.org has been cited in almost any major Walloon language publication; there has been indeed translations of articles from wa->others (mainly to fr:, but also to ro:, en: and others); and several new contributors have have been attracted too (keep in mind it is a quite recent wikipedia; it is just 13 months that it is on wikipedia.org), there are currently 7 active and regular contributors, 4 of which arrived in the last 6 months.
Srtxg 00:12, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
I have personally encountered many one-to-many or many-to-one (possibly many-to-many) interwiki problems between Chinese and English wikipedias. It is possible to create a catch-all page on the many side that says: "To non-XXX speakers, $$$ and ### may be known as %%% (English) in general." This solves some problems.
My idea is to examine all existing Wikipedias and see if some of them are not reasonably successful. Some versions do perform very poorly in this sense. Let's say you speak English, and for some reason, your version of English Wikipedia fails to attract 10 active contributors from a sea of global English users after a year. Your own contribution accounts for over 50% of edits. I think we should close your English Wikipedia as a result.
If you are trained by the Harvard Medical School and you run a clinic on the Beverly Hills, you are expected to gain customers. If you fail to do so after a reasonable period, you are considered a failure. Your investors shall flee.
A wiki has to justify its existence. If English Wikipedia failed to justify itself several years ago, there will not be so many non-English wikis. And very possibly, you will not be here. If Walloon really does it, then congratulations. It proves the value of my tests. I know even some "active" wikis may fail to meet many if not most of the tests. Keep on the good job. -- Toytoy 01:16, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

What is an "edit"?[edit]

Also, what exactly is an "edit"?

In my case (I am the "strong editor" in the Walloon wikipedia cited), I do a lot of edits, yes, almost any article has been edited one or several times by me; however, the majority of them are wikification, spelling armonization, interwiki links, desambiguation of links, etc. and not real content addition. Actually, while I has been for the first year almost alone, indeed, I'm currently no more the main content contributor for wa:

What I mean is the counting number of edits is not necessarly a relevant thing.

Also, some people tend to do a lot of small edits, while others do only one big edit (that is the case of the second bigger contributor, and currently main content contributor, on wa:; he accesses the internet through costly phone line dialup, so he edit the articles off-line, and does a big cut and paste while online (often replacing whatever changes has been done since his last edit, so I come after that and maybe do one or more edits to just put back the data that has been lost; counting for some more edits while I didn't added anything new :)

Also, it is important to consider content; and usefulness for the intended target. The Walloon wikipedia has an important number of articles with information that is not found anywhere else (not even in the biggest other wikipedias), about places and rivers of Wallonia, about Walloon writers and personalities, and several articles on grammar and language related topics. The Walloon wikipedia is actually a very valuable ressource for Walloon speaking people, probably more valuable than the Chinese wikipedia is to Chinese people (as they have a variety of other sources where they can get the same information); that is reflected also on the en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia articles per population article (compare the articles/million speakers ratio for wa: and zh: wikipedias... using a speaker-usefulness criteria, we could as well call for deletion of the zh: wikipedia, as a so small proportion of speakers seem to care about it :-) I'm just kidding, I'm not against any culture; just to make you think that your own POV is not the only possible, and while on your own POV you have the nice role, you may have the bad role on other's POV)

Actually, I believe that this whole "proposed policy for wiki closure" is actually a "one-man-bad" idea, and that it has no chance at all to be accepted by wikipedia community as a whole, as it is so opposed to the main idea behind wikipedia (actually, with such a policy in place in the beginning, the Chinese wikipedia would probably not exist right now, as well as 3/4 or more of the existing ones too.

So, I don't care much about this silly idea of deleting existing and working wikipedias; however, in the umprobable case that this policy be implemented, hopefully the content is GFDL; so a new wikipedia project could be launched, where all those wikipedias would be welcome; that is, at the end, such a policy will have no effect at all, other than a different IP address hosting some languages... then I wonder, what is the whole purpose of this proposal?

Srtxg 23:24, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

I know edit itself is not a good indicator. You may spend days working on a draft in Microsoft Word or any other external editor and paste the 100 k long masterpiece into Wikipedia. That counts as only one edit. I used to be such an Internet user two years ago. And this is one of the main reasons why w:Fidonet survives in Russia.
However, batch editors are easily spotted by people in the know. They deserve special treatment. If there is an adequate number of users, their edits will serve as a fairly good indicator. If you have the database, and you know how to mine it, you may analyse how many articles are created by only a couple of editors. If that's the norm, I'll call that a bad sign.
Edit count is a quick and dirty criterion. In most cases, it shall not be used as the only criterion. However, it may be used to single out many wikis that are not functioning well.
The point is, you can always invent a reasonable way to roughly evaluate a wiki even if you cannot read that language. You may raise a concern based on w:prima facie evidence. That wiki in question has better work out a reasonable defense or face its closure. Do you think a company's CEO knows how to do an art designer's job? No. A good CEO or any othe manager knows how to ask penetrating questions. All wikis shall be held accountable or bust. -- Toytoy 01:36, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
Another point is about the future. Or "Will this wiki survive if its top dog leaves?" A good wiki shall be running on its own. It has to be a chain reaction. If you suppress this node, the other ones keep moving on. Chinese wiki is probably on its delayed early stage of chain reaction. Will other wikis start their own chain reactions? I am skeptical. Personally, I don't contribute to Chinese wiki often. I always do the talk pages. Because Chinese wiki is generally not good enough as a research aid. If I don't use it, I don't contribute. But I believe in its future.
A functioning wiki shall be able to move on with or without its top dogs. -- Toytoy 01:58, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
I tend to believe almost every wiki at some time had a bunch of "top dogs" to make most of the work. And remember - there is no large chance for a sufficiently large group of editors at once coming to revive a closed wiki; they will come one by one, but if there is no wiki they will leave. \Mike(z) 13:44, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
Personally, I thing there has to be some local places for the writers to hang around. You have to have some national science, arts, literature, hobby, entertainment websites to cultivate writers and readers. Wikipedia cannot do this for you. You learn to be socialized in lots of places. A poorly performed Wikipedia shall not be used as a bait. -- Toytoy 13:57, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

There is saying which goes something like this: "There is lie, there is big lie and there is statistics"

Dear Toytoy, with this kind of statistics in "The one-man-band symptoms" section you can say what ever you like. You missing, additionally the points shown above, that there is a lot of users who's work need to be reedited, correcting wording, spelling adding comma here and there add category, interwiki links, wikifying articles etc. etc. so there is many easy ways to become top editor without actually contributing much new value or being good "father-like" figure to support other work on material collection and writing, and not to worry about representation. So, think again when claiming arguments in this kind of statistics. --TarmoK 06:41, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

The DNA fingerprint is also a lie in some criminal cases. The only way to debunk me, is to show me a better analysis. My analysis was done in 30 minutes. I know it may contain mistakes. I will not shoot someone just because he's a Brazilian electrician running to fast for his own good. Now can you do your own math? -- Toytoy 06:52, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Maybe you should take more time than 30 minutes to think through before making this kind of strong suggestion and aclaims that other people work is not worth to keep here(?) If I remember correctly it was Stalin who said: "no person, no problem" (and results were...).
If you see the problem then is good to look for solution, which will benefit also other side, not just try to erase it. ... anyway, you seem have made your mind and it seems to be pointless to prove and spend time that there is other side of coin and to argument why your suggestion is not sensible. (when asking understanding from others, it may good to start to understand them first, unfortunately your approach and way of arguing, doesn't invite even to think along, not talking about supporting it) --TarmoK 07:38, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

As a regular user of, and contributor to, the Esperanto wikipedia, I must say your statistics puzzle me. What on earth do you mean by labelling a large and living encyclopedia a "one-man-band"? We're at least 130 registered users, out of which perhaps one fourth are active contributors. By starting out with the language with the lowest "one-man-band-percentage" at top (instead of at the bottom of your list, as it ougt to be), and, furthermore, by italicing so-called artificial languages [I write "so-called" 'cause in the end, all languages are man-made] "for comparison's sake", you only give me the impression that you dislike certain languages and Esperanto in particular. This may or may not be so, but anyhow your way of presenting these statistics is misleading. What's the logic in italicing AIs, for instance? What is there to compare? In my POV all living, functioning languages should be treated equally, no matter their origin/prehistory. Where is the Cornish wikipedia in your list? Most of its contents are made by one man only. Furthermore, listing the Toki Pona and Klingon wikipedias serves no purpose, as TP has already been removed (just try making an edit there), and Klingon doesn't work as a fully functioning wp (you cannot make interlanguage links to it). As a writer of the world's two most widely spoken languages, Mandarin Chinese and English, you are in a position where you can easily look down on the efforts of contributors from minor languages. This may in the same way easily lead you to a kind of "linguistic arogancy". Had you been the member of a minority group (globally, linguistically speaking), I'm sure you'd felt differently. We need articles in a wide variety of languages. Sometimes, somethings just cannot be translated, or a very unlikely to become so. An example: till now, only the Cornish Wikipedia has articles about the Cornish-language bands Krena and Skwardya. If English as a language had been in the same position as Cornish, I'm sure only en: would have articles about, say, U2 or Eric Clapton. Bab

Chinese language issues (moved from the article)[edit]

I am from Shanghai, China and I am not a native speaker of Min Nan. But my parents and I do have many classmates, friends and colleagues whose mother tongue is Min Nan, and most of them are living in or come from Fujian and Hainan. I have asked almost everyone of them whether they have seen the POJ(白話字) and let them to visit the zh-min-nan main page. They told me they had never seen these characters, and none of them could read the articles before I gave them instructions. They are also strongly against using this POJ. I don't know the situation in Taiwan. But, after the talk in zh:Wikipedia:聊天, I think few people in Taiwan could read or write in this POJ, which was invented based on Latin letters by foreign missionaries.

As a matter of fact, Chinese (and its dialects) is a bit different. We divided it into two parts: Spoken and Written Chinese. When we read or talk, we use our own dialects, which could be quite different from others'. But all spoken varieties of Chinese are written in a common formal written system: Chinese characters(汉字/漢字). And the POJ, currently used in zh-min-nan, is of course not Chinese characters, and can hardly be understood by most (if not all) Min Nan natives worldwide. So I think that the zh-min-nan should be protected immediatedly from editing until an investigation or a voting has been given to make a conclusion on this problem.

To close it, to change its language code (e.g.: zh-min-nan-POJ) or something else... --Captmjc 08:04, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

See also: w:Chinese language and w:Chinese characters

Discussions (moved from the article)[edit]

Personally, I totally agree to close the za and zh-yue wikipedia, but zh-min-nan is in a very different situation. I thought we should consider it carefully. --Moses 07:30, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
I think we'd better close many wikis. I really don't think a wiki authored by only a few people shall stay here. An important criteria is user base. A wiki without a growing population of contributors is hopeless and subject to subjectivity. Would you trust the English Wikipedia if 5% of its 650,000 articles are written by one individual, however smart and "unbiased"? There has to be a higher standard. -- Toytoy 08:11, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
As it happens I was just reading this comment on the English Wikipedia, that showed that back in 2002 User:Mav accounted for 10% of the edits on the English Wikipedia. Of course there were few articles back then. Perhaps you need to put more emphasis on domancy tests rather than domination by individual users. -- Solipsist 14:41, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
English Wikipedia has a future. Otherwise, it could have closed its doors in 2003. With a good source of public domain material such as the CIA World Factbook, anyone can create dozens if not hundreds articles in a matter of hours. Since you're copying from a reputable source, that one-man-band is still good enough.
It looks like User:Mav did not copy PD materials. However, his contributions must have been checked and double checked by many throughout the years. We shall also talk about the possibility of future improvements. I think possibly some of the wikis are just hopeless.
In addition to article contributions, User:Mav also talked a lot. That implies there was a functioning wiki community in 2002. I have seen some wiki that has articles but very few talks. This is not good. -- Toytoy 14:56, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Why I ask with tears in my eyes[edit]

As a wiki user from Africa I have to stress that you should not forget that there are many people on this continent that still need access to the internet. When they do finally get access and there is no wikipedia for their language they will be less inclined to participate even if they can speak some English. I discovered wikipedia by idly putting in some Google search phrases in my own language and found a surprisingly good article on the wikipedia for my language. This stirred my interest in wikipedia and I have even made some contributions to other languages' wikipedias, providing cultural insights and local knowledge that further enriches those larger wikipedias. There are other languages being spoken in my country that definitely will start developing once the educational level and access to the net increases it will however take a lot more time. What damage does a small one man wiki really do - the resources it consumes in the bigger picture is minimal, but it provides an avenue for participation in future of hundreds of millions of people.

Thank you very much. I hope that your example will help to prevent the closure of Wikipedias that are considered irrelevant by Toytoy and wish you good luck with the Wikipedia in your own language. -- 84.146.166.207 12:59, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
User:84.146.166.207: Did I ever say irrelevant anywhere in my proposal and replies? I used inactive, good, good enough, reasonably up-to-date, credible and accountable, non-functioning, fails to meet most of these tests, hopeless, zombie-like, good-looking, alive and kicking, pathetic, fails to be diverse and active, making gross mistakes, contradictory statements, without anyone's correction, glaringly undisputed visible mistake, being vandalized, garbage materials, If this wiki fails, let's close it, contributed by only a few users, fails to attract a reasonal amount of writers and readers, not reasonably successful, perform very poorly, fail to do so after a reasonable period, failed to justify itself, hopeless and subject to subjectivity,
The only term that is remotely similar to irrelevant is unneeded that only describes Chinese dialects that are generally not used for higher education anywhere. I did say irrelevant once, it was:
Sapir-Worf hypothesis is almost irrelevant when it comes to individual.
Can you read? Did you really know what I mean? Don't make up false accusations. User:84.146.166.207, you owe me an apology. If all these words cannot make my points clear, you'd better go back to w:Dr. Seuss. -- Toytoy 13:28, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
To the unsigned African wiki user: The net is not a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. While many African countries, during the painful colonial periods, adopted English, French, Arabian, Afrikaans ..., native languages such as Bantu and Swahili and their dialects are still used by many. Don't fool yourself into believing that when one day many of your people are on the web, there will be some good enough African language Wikipedias waiting for them. No, not a chance. Unless there are enough people working on it.
Face it. If people really want to start a functioning wiki, w:MediaWiki software is always available for free. Even if this Wikipedia does not host it, there will be many other hosts, possibly some of them in Africa. My proposal is all about performance. And the only way to achieve good performance is to gather as many as possible. From what I have seen, most small wikis simply fails to attract people. That's why they remain so small and they will be small for the foreseeable future. An empty parking lot issued by Wikipedia cannot save you from being small if people are not coming. If you fail to bring your people here, it's your own fault, not mine. I just ask to close those non-functioning wikis. Remember, I am not Jimbo. No one will listen to me. Your tears are irrelevant. So is my proposal. -- Toytoy 13:45, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
Well thank goodness for that :) No offence, but your stance seems to me as typical of "big guys" (large cultures, languages, centres of power) towards "little guys". Don't be such a playground bully, OK? Language diversity, similarly to biodiversity, has its merits. 198.36.32.41 07:27, 1 March 2006 (UTC) pl:user:Bmucha

Your proposal is irrelevant. Face it. And just stop it. Thank you. --Magadan 15:04, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Internal scrutiny is always relevant and required. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia. It's not a blog or a chat room. Face it. There are wikis that deserve to be closed. -- Toytoy 15:07, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Estoy completamente de acuerdo con que cerrar algunas wikis por flata de actividad sería un error mirando al futuro. Tal y como ha dicho el usuario que inicio esta sección, eso pasa y pasará en los idiomas que quizás más necesiten de una idea como la de la Wikipedia. Estoy completamente en desacuerdo con la propuesta. Por otro lado, como ha dicho otro usuario, las cuestiones políticas se levantarían innecesariamente.

I do agree with the user that started this section. Closing a wikipedia for inactivity is like killing the hope for those languages to use something that will be of value for them. Languages that don't have internet access now will be the users of this effort in the future, and closing their oportunity to use it is, for me, an error. I do completly disagree with your propousal. On the other hand, political issues could arise with this propousal. Regards, --80.102.183.172 16:07, 26 July 2005 (UTC) (es:Jdiazch; en:Jdiazch)

The Hebrew case[edit]

The Proposed policy is problamtic and the Hebrew wikipedia prove it. According to propose, the Hebrew wikipedia (now with 58 wikipedians very active), would be closed because at first year only one or two users was active. Troll Refaim 14:58, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

I am amused. There are so many active and hyper-active Jewish and Israeli in the English wiki, why didn't they join the Hebrew wiki during its infancy? -- Toytoy 15:05, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
Maybe same reason you haven't joined chinese wikipedia being Chinese? --62.151.60.41 17:17, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
Actually, only one or two active wikipedians joined us from the English version... Troll Refaim 19:35, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
I am kind of puzzled. I always believe many people in Israel speak good to excellent English (functioning school education). I know many settlers are recently migrated from Eastern Europe, but I also believe that many Israeli English Wikipedians also speak Hebrew and contribute to the Hebrew Wikipedia. -- Toytoy 00:36, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
The Israelis at English Wikipedia know Hebrew, But most of them don't want to write at Hebrew. I don't know why, but this is the situation. Troll Refaim 12:19, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, people, people, people ... -- Toytoy 12:46, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

the global village[edit]

The whole idea is interesting -in a somewhat morbid way- because it reflect two opposing views of the global village: one that celebrates its diversity, the other that wants to do away with it. The reasons for the latter are a mystery to me. Pray tell Toytoy, what harm unfinished and incomplete wiki's are doing to wikipedia or the world at large?

What is a much bigger nuisance is totally illegible ones that create nothing but ???? ???? ?? ??? on most people's screens. Let's start by closing them down (starting with Chinese) and standardize on Latin script only. After all, all these question marks take up much more memory space than let's say a tiny Xhosa wiki. But then, are your views on black South Africans as derogatory as the ones you hold on hyperactive Jews? af:Gebruiker:Jcwf

Did I say anything about w:mojibake? Don't make up my words. Did I use "hyperactive", "hyper-active" or "hyper-activism" under a derogatory light? These are my words:
  • I don't really care about hyper-activitism. So far you like it, there's no way to stop it. The point is I don't see USER BASE GROWTH.
  • There are so many active and hyper-active Jewish and Israeli in the English wiki, why didn't they join the Hebrew wiki during its infancy?
The word "hyperactive" was first used by User:A-giâu in response of my observation and question:
Do we setup a wiki so a single willing contributor can spend several hours a day writing it to justify its existence?
Can you read? Is there any derogatory meaning other than "being the only wikipediholic of a wiki because no one else comes"? Shame on you. -- Toytoy 01:28, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
For quite some time I was that hyper-active nut on the nl. wiki. It had 400 pages, most of them pretty atrocious in quality. Now it has 80.000 pages. Suppose you want me to be ashamed of that and my mothertongue too? Only 21m speakers, must be inferior? We know your kind: got rid of them in 1945.af:Gebruiker:Jcwf

Long-term project[edit]

The writer claims that out of 204 non-English wikipedias '70 of them have more than 1,000 articles. The rest of them are either inactive or infrequently used.' This is clearly incorrect. Although some smaller wikipedias are relatively inactive, many are edited and expanded every day. Most wikipedias take more than a year to reach 1000 articles (including Chinese), and during that time they usually have only a few regular editors and lots of stubby articles, but over time more editors come and the growth rate increases.

This is a long-term project and smaller wikipedias could eventually mature into large encyclopedias with large communities of developers, just as Chinese has.

Imagine if someone had closed the Chinese wikipedia early on because it wasn't growing fast enough and didn't have enough editors. Would there be a Chinese wikipedia now? I doubt it, because many of the developers would probably never have become involved with wikipedia if there hadn't already been a (semi-)functioning Chinese wikipedia. Some of these editors have probably gone on to help, even in a small way, with other wikipedias (including English), which has brought benefits to the whole project.

Someone on this page compared this policy to shooting troublemakers, but I think it's more like shooting misbehaving children. Give them a chance! Chamdarae 17:52, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Did you know that w:Ho Chi Minh used to work for w:Auguste Escoffier?
OK, I'll drop this irrelevant and obscure story. My point is, if you don't have the infrastructure, no one can build it for you. In the mean time, you'd better go somewhere to see how people work.
Chinese wiki once was plagued by wiki's software problems, two firmly established systems of writing (two wikis) and at least four sets of local variations (not dialects). It made editing quite difficult as a result. Moreover, many Chinese users also complained that they are blocked by the government.
Personally, I wouldn't mind if the Chinese wiki was closed in 2002. Because if they closed it, someone somewhere would had setup another wiki (possibly in Florida!). It could take a couple of years to develop the software and advertise it, but it would have been done. I am very sure of it because there's an established academic infrastructure in the Chinese-speaking world.
One day, that stand-alone Chinese wiki will even work out interwiki and licensing solutions. People will do it with or without Wikipedia. Do we have a New York Times Chinese edition that works on New York subsidized money? No. We are reading newspapers anyway.
Personally, I think the Chinese wiki was slow, because it was not locally rooted. Many Chinese and Taiwanese web users are not visiting English websites frequently. As a result, it experienced only modest publicity. In the mean time, the existence of Chinese wiki also barred others from building a true competing Chinese wiki locally (there are fly-by-night copycats). If you build your own website, you have the incentive to advertise it. Otherwise, you're just another passive user.
I understand there are countries and peoples who are desperately in need of knowledge. But Wikipedia is not your overnight rescue. Setup your own infrastructure with or without computers. No one can save you except yourselves. -- Toytoy 23:31, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Where's the problem[edit]

I simply don't see the point of this proposal. I know that some of the smaller wikis do not function optimally, but what harm do they do the rest of us? The smaller wikis get virtually no publicity in the larger ones (en:Main Page only lists wikis with over 1000 articles), so I can hardly agree that they cast aspersions on the other by there very presence. And they provide a useful sandbox for users with illusions of grandeur (a minority of miniwiki admins): let these sorry souls pretend to be King (or Queen) of a tiny wiki if they wish to be, it keeps them out of the hair of the rest of us! On that note, I must go and start lincolnshire.wikipedia.org, the first encyclopedia in Lincolnshire English... Physchim62 18:01, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree completely. Of the small, not-so-well-functioning wikipedias, some will grow and get healthy while many others will not. It is impossible to tell which ones on beforehand. If you kill 20 half-dead wikis, maybe you killed one that had a future as a vivid and well functioning wiki. Letting them all live, the other 19 wikis do no harm. / Habj 22:50, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Monitor, don't lock[edit]

I'd proposed something similar at m:Inactive wikis last November, but I've since changed my mind and I don't see the advantage of locking these wikis. Since stewards can no longer lock or unlock wikis, it just means more work for developers. An increased focus on monitoring small wikis would be far more useful. Angela 20:16, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

If you have the expertise, time and will to monitor inactive wikis, let's do it. I believe there will still be some wikis not monitored by anyone. By monitoring, I expect to see vandalism removed in a matter days and an accountable monitoring report created monthly or quarterly. If this is not affordable, let's close it.
It's already being done, Toytoy. The only reason anybody even noticed that the Zhuang Wikipedia was "in the wrong language", is because of the SWMT. Nobody here seems to care what you expect. You have effectively alienated yourself from the community with your bossy attitude, telling everybody what's going to happen without giving a choice, and calling people liars and assholes. You said in one spot that your reasoning is smarter than anybody else on this talkpage, that is very rude and hasn't earned you any brownie points.
There is an over-1000 article wiki that failed to spot a huge numerical discrepancy on its Main Page for over 5 months. They failed to monitor their own small but beautiful wiki. So much with monitoring. -- Toytoy 23:46, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
SWMT only monitors inactive, and VERY small (as in, under 200 articles in most cases) Wikipedias. These are Wikipedias which are still very fragile. A Wikipedia with over 1000 articles is in a stage of development where the community is already fully responsible for problems. If you see a problem in a page, CORRECT IT. You call it a huge numerical discrepancy... Guess what, these weren't even texts in the native language, they were to introduce the language to speakers of other languages. The figures are one number different. This is, in my view, an extremely insignificant numerical discrepancy for which no Wikipedia should be closed by any sane person. What you're like here is, "Oh my... they have a HUGE numerical discrepancy on the mainpage, because their Wu and Mandarin versions have one different number!!!! We need to flush them down the toilet!!!". However this is TOTALLY rediculous.
What is your motivation behind seeking such a widespread "purification" of all Wikipedias, more like a Wikipedia-genocide? So far it seems that it's only out of a hatred for Chinese languages. For your information, zh-yue is still a TEST WIKIPEDIA, which means that it does not have any of the stringent requirements. It can't be "closed", because it was never open in the first place! --node
The SWMT now has only two members. I know there are other submarine watchful eyes but this is only better than nothing. It's too late now to make this proposal, but you really have to think harder before starting a new wiki. You shall always ask yourself, can I monitor this wiki? If you cannot, just don't do it. Wikipedia is not their only lifesaver. It shall not be a lifesaver at all. -- Toytoy 01:35, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Uhh... HELLO!!! The SWMT monitors all small and inactive Wikipedias. It's very simple, I check for vandalism on ALL of them EVERY COUPLE OF HOURS very diligently, this is a list of perhaps 80 Wikipedias, but I also check Wiktionaries, Wikibookses, Wikiquotes, in total a list of over 300 I think. So you think we cannot handle one or two more?? I don't need to ask myself if I can handle it before I add a new one, I just add it. I was one of the main proponents of the 4 newest Wikipedias, when they were created I immediately added them to the list. All of these are somewhat active, unfortunately though the Scots Wikipedia is the only one that can be considered "healthy" yet, although the V~oro interface is translated. --node

Why are we indulging this fool?[edit]

Why are we indulging this fool by carrying on a discussion on the discussions page when we should be changing the text of the main article into a sensible policy for closure if there ever had to be closure of a wikipedia?

Just delete it. This proposal is completely rediculous. There are many small but successfull Wikis on his closure list. nl:Gebruiker:Danielm
What is my "closure list", Mr. Asshole? If a small wiki can justify its existence, let's keep it. If it cannot, close it. Don't make up a en:straw man. Now you owe me an apology, liar. -- Toytoy 01:15, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
You think that you get an apology by saying Mr. Asshole and liar? Nice idea. ;-) -- 84.146.135.61 11:13, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Too fast too furious![edit]

A project that starts with 2 or 3 people it may continue with a lot much more. This is obvious for all the languages. It is not reasonable to "close" languages because they are not written by as many people as the ones they write down i.e. in English. At the Greek section we give a good try, for example. So, don't be so totalitarian! Pvasiliadis --62.38.150.4 21:38, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Do you expect a project with its jobs done in a foreign country by some unknown foreigners with foreign money could have any lasting impact in your own country? How miserable. With or without this wiki, you should be able to brew some sort of knowledge-building infrastructure of your own in your country with or without the help of the internet or computers. Do you know how to cook? Can you cook if w:Jacques Pépin did not visit you country and teach you how to cook the French way? Wikipedia is not THE wiki. It is not the w:Obi-Wan Kenobi nor is it your only hope. -- Toytoy 23:55, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
The term "foreign country" for the internet community seems so poor! The (geographical) country factor has no real meaning any more. Of course we can do much more in other e-ways in every country but i think that WikiPedia is a good instructor for the very start. Pvasiliadis--62.38.146.212 11:55, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
I don't want to know where you are. How many German sites do you visit everyday? How many Spanish sites have you been to? How many Japanese sites? Fact is, average Internet users don't usually visit a foreign website even if it speaks that user's language. Now please tell me what a typical Bengalese user sees this formerly ISO-8859-1 based website. -- Toytoy 12:53, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
What does that mean? We don't visit Chinese sites as well. How can you connect some language with a specific country? Do you feel that Australians should make their own wiki and not contribute to wikipedia? Stupid idea. Wikipedia is not an american project, it's international. English Wikipedia is on en.wikipedia.org and not us.wikipedia.org. As for you one-man wiki theory, some wikis have a greater growth of users than the english or chinese (17% for the Greek one, while the English has 7%). --Geraki 16:42, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Fact: Running a website requires promotion. When was the last time you see a Javanese .com giving you free gifts at a mall? When was the last time I saw Wikipedia covered on my country's TV? Yes, it has been covered. A foreign website will never receive so much coverage as a local website that has the expertise and will to promote itself. That's why I am always a better thinker than the rest of you all. Do you want to vote? -- Toytoy 16:51, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Solution in search of a problem[edit]

I don't understand what the problem is that this proposal is trying to fix. The existence of less-active, less-complete wikis within this project doesn't really harm anybody, and the front page of the site emphasizes the larger wikis, giving much less prominent links much further down the page to the smaller ones, so the inactive ones aren't being put forward as the showcase items for people to run into and complain at their incompleteness. However, they all have the potential to grow some day into bigger sites, just like the current large ones did. If they're arbitrarily killed now, you'll be killing that potential. 66.68.10.37 22:19, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

It is not a problem because you don't see it. If you are required to pay $1 a month for each sleeping wiki, you'll be worse than I. Just because it costs no money, so we are not supposed to scrutinize them? Everything has a potential. Not everything is worthy to do.
Have you seen Alexa's Global Top 500? There are Arabian, Greek, Israeli, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese web sites in it. In fact, the 5th largest site is created by Chinese money. That list is more than national versions of Yahoo!, MSN and Google.
Personally, I think this safe harbour mentality is one major reason why it had taken so long for many non-English wikis to grow up. -- Toytoy 00:14, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

A quote from Jimbo[edit]

"Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language." [1] (my emphasis).

How does your proposal fit in with this? Also think that "the highest possible quality" encyclopaedia for a small language might be significantly less broad than the English encyclopaedia. I know virtually nothing about the w:Guaraní language, but I imagine that articles in English such as w:British Rail Class 153, w:Wolverine (comics) and many others will be covered with other similar ones rather than as one of a large set. Thryduulf 22:25, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Thryduulf. This proposal goes against the stated objective of the Wikimedia Foundation of providing an encyclopaedia for everyone in their own language. Regardless of how inactive a language version is at the moment, we are not in the business of closing them down. -- cy:Defnyddiwr:Arwel Parry 22:37, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

You have every good principles in the world. You don't have the expertise, time and will to manage. Philosophy cannot solve your managing crisis. If these small wikis are out there in the cold, your good will cannot save them. Face it. -- Toytoy 01:12, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

No n'estic gens d'acord.[edit]

First of all, I apologize for any inconvenience because I'm going to express my disappointment about this proposal in my own language, in Valencian, also known as Catalan. In English I wouldn't be able to express my arguments against than exactly as I can do in Catalan. If someone is fluent both in English and Catalan, I would be pleased if you can translate me.

For English speakers sake, I'll try a loose translation of Joanot's words (in italics after each paragraph) which does not necessarily mean that I agree with his opinion. Cinabrium 02:35, 26 July 2005 (UTC) (from Wikipedia en español)

En primer lloc, hi existeixen tants punts de vista sobre la realitat com llengües que existeixen en la Humanitat. No vull entrar en el tema sobre les versions de la viquipèdia en llengües artificials o llengües mortes, però sí vull entrar en el tema sobre si la Viquipèdia hi hauria de tenir versions en llengües minoritzades (com és el cas de la meua llengua, el valencià), minoritàries (com és el cas del náhuatl), o en imminent perill de desaparició per manca de parlants (com passa cada any amb desenes de llengües amaçòniques).

In the first place, there are as many viewpoints on reality as languages in humanity. I'll not enter into the issue of wikipedia versions in artificial languages or dead languages, but consider the issue of whether or not WP should have versions in languages turned minoritarian (as my on language, Valencian), minority languages (as náhuatl), or in imminent danger of extinction because of lack of speakers (as happening every year with dozens of amazonic languages).

El meu argument és molt senzill: La Viquipèdia funciona sota un mètode del Punt de Vista Neutral, i sovint aquesta neutralitat només és possible elaborar de manera consensuada i ponderada a l'article de diferents punts de vista sobre un tema. L'existència d'una llengua, que no és altra cosa que l'herència cultural d'una comunitat de persones que han anat acumulant una sèrie de coneixements, a vegades convertits en tradicions i costums, de manera que els parlants d'una llengua comparteixen un punt de vista de la seua realitat.

My argument is very simple: Wikipedia works according to the NPOV method. Such neutrality allows the consensual and balanced ellaboration of articles, based on diverse viewpoints on any subject. The existence of a language is just the cultural inheritance of a community of people having accumulated a set of knowledge, sometimes turned into traditions and customs, so that the speakers of a certain language share a viewpoint on their reality.

Em vé al cap ara mateix la pel·lícula "The Esmeralda Forest", de John Boorman, en què la tribu amaçònica de "els invisibles", tenien un punt de vista sobre la cultura occidental extesa des d'Europa: som les termites que escurcen els límits el món, i amplien els inferns. Els que pertanyem a la cultura occidental de bén segur que tenim un altre punt de vista sobre nosaltres mateixos: som la cultura que possiblement és capaç d'eixir fora del nostre propi planeta. Quin és el punt de vista neutral?. Tant de bó eixa tribu poguera participar en la Viquipèdia per a aportar els seus punts de vista que indubtablement enriquirien de continguts d'allò més neutral.

In John Boorman's movie "The Emerald Forest" an Amazonic tribe, the "invisibles", have a viewpoint on the Western culture: the Westerners and their culture are the termites that grind the edges of the world and widen the hells. Those belonging to the Western culture would surely have a differente viewpoint on themselves: the culture that is capable to leave the limits of our own planet. Which is the NPOV? It would be great if that tribe could participate in Wikipedia to contribute their viewpoints, so that the contents are enriched and turned more neutral at the same time.

El fet que la Viquipèdia estiga disponible en diferents versions i, alhora, que aquestes versions s'intercanvien (gràcies a la genial idea de la Llicència GDFL) traduint-se, permet la transmissió de diferents punts de vista des d'una comunitat lingüística a una altra que, amb el temps, aconsegueix una neutralitat d'allò més acurada i consensuada. Segurament els articles japonesos sobre la bomba de Hiroshima tindran molts arguments necessaris per a abastar la neutralitat, juntament amb els articles en anglés possiblement escrits majoritàriament per nordamericans. O els articles en català tindrien molt a dir sobre la expulsió dels jueus d'Espanya car que els jueus formaven un gruix molt important dels catalanoparlants en aquells temps.

The fact that WP is available in different versions, and that such versions can now be exchanged (thanks to the clever hack of the GFDL) and translated, allows for the transmission of different viewpoints from a linguistic community to another one so that, as time goes by, better neutrality could be achieved on the grounds of accuracy and consensus. Certainly, articles in Japanese on the Hiroshima bomb will have many arguments needed for achieving neutrality, together with articles in English which have very probably been written by a majority of U.S. people. Or the articles in Catalan would have a lot to say about the Jews expelled from Spain, since those Jews were a very significant group among the Catalan speakers of those years.

Així, mentres hi hage una sola persona que estiga disposada a fer la seua versió lingüística de la Viquipèdia, no està fent només una simple i repetida traducció, perquè ni és simple ni és repetida, és una viquipèdia que explica altres punts de vista. Si al final es decidira restringir, per exemple, als que superen dels 50.000 articles, la Viquipèdia haurà incomplert el punt de vista neutral, i el seu projecte estarà ferit de mort.

As far as there would be just one person willing to edit his or her own linguistic version of WP, that won't be just a simple and repeated translation, because it's neither simple nor repeated but a WP explaining other viewpoints. If at the end it is decided to restrict WP to, let's say, versions above 50,000 articles, WP would not have accomplished its NPOV goal, and the whole project would have received a mortal blow.

D'allò bó és que, en qualsevol cas, la idea no és patrimoni de ningú, i qualsevol grup de persones podrà tornar engegar el projecte original de la Viquipèdia, amb el seu multilingüalisme que jo considere que és un dels principals atractius que ha fet crèixer la popularitat d'esta Enciclopèdia.

However, the good news is that in any case the idea is nobody's property, and any group of people would be able to engage into the original WP project, with its multilingualism that, in my opinion, is one of the main attractives of the growing propularity of this Enciclopaedia.

Visca el Coneixement Lliure en qualsevol llengua. --Joanot 22:43, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Long live Free Knowledge, in any language.
Finally, a worthy debate. Thanks to both of you. I can only read a little castellano. Catalan is simply beyond me.
Regarding "The Emerald Forest", I have to say it may not be relevant. I have not seen the movie. But I am skeptical that a movie shall introduce any new POV to the general public. These words are surely written by some fake tribal men who are actually lowly paid Berkeley-graduated Hollywood screenwriters. If that counts as a non-white POV. ... If that counts ...
Did you know that the Chief Seattle's reply (its most politically correct version) was written by a TV writer? Did you know The Education of Little Tree was fabricated by w:Asa Earl Carter, a former racist speech writer? If we cannot check the facts, we'll let these baseless and fabricated native POVs fool us. That's why monitoring always comes first. If we cannot monitor a wiki, close it.
I don't care whatever exotic POV it has, all I know is that a wiki could have been fabricated because no one is watching. A good wiki shall grow. It shall be able to monitor itself. Otherwise, we close it. If you do want to learn something, go to the Amazons and learn from them. Don't expect you'll learn something from them cheaply in this Wikipedia. That's my point. More to come. I have a life. -- Toytoy 03:03, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Arguments against a policy for wiki closure[edit]

  • Edits made by 168.209.98.35 moved from the talk page because this proposal is highly personal. It will be answered by me. -- Toytoy 02:05, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • I also changed the bullets into numbers so I can answer the questions by the number. -- Toytoy 02:39, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  1. All wikipedia's had to start somewhere - with one user writing one article. en probably would have failed at least three of the tests (market and both usability) proposed below.
  2. Even small Wikipedias:
    may be good sources of articles for translation.
    may be the seed from which something more substantial later grows.
    link well into the rest of Wikipedia and form a piece of the larger whole.
  3. proposal for policy for wiki closure is motivated by a subjective bias against certain language varieties deemed by the proponents to be "dialects"
  4. Certain languages are very important in national identity, and to close down a wiki because it isn't "performing" would be interpreted by some as a major slur against their identity. For example also, the Welsh language is a very political topic having been banned for many years and thus for Wikipedia to "supress" it (as this is how it would inevitably be seen by some) would be a PR disaster.
  5. Language constitutes a thinking framework. Wikipedias in smaller laguages therefore contributes to thiking diversity.
  6. Users from smaller languge wiki's may curretntly be excluded from participation due to lack of Internet access in the developing world, but this will change, and should hardly be a reason for discrimination.
  7. We have nothing to lose by keeping all wikipedia's - just go somewhere else if you don't like a wikipedia.
  8. A policy like this is impractical because you can never have acceptable criteria. -- 168.209.98.35
  • Question #1: Answered.
  • Question #2-1: If it's not used and very few could read it (some people invented a writing system of his own!), there is no way to translate it.
  • Question #2-2: If they have a working infrastructure at home, everything can be used as the seed.
  • Question #2-3: If no one but bots visits that link, that link is useless.
  • Question #3: Speculation. You're second-guessing the defendant's w:mens rea. This is highly w:ad hominem.
  • Question #4: If the Welsh wiki fails to be reasonably up-to-date, credible and accountable it shall be closed. We are not killing the Welsh people or their language. If I have a business and I hired a Welsh who sleeps on the job, I'll fire him. This does not mean I am a racist employer.
  • Question #5: No. If you cannot read their language, it does not translate to your think diversity. And by letting two or three users living happily in their own corner, you created a sandbox of no thinking diversity. You are treating them like zoo animals. (Also answered before.)
  • Question #6: If they are coming, we can reopen the wiki. If we don't, they'll develop one of their own. Wikipedia is not THE only wiki. It is not THE salvation.
  • Question #7: Someone somewhere could lose if he/she gets a wiki stuffed with unchecked and possibly biased contents. Because you don't use that wiki, you are not hurt by it.
  • Question #8: NPOV is also difficult to enforce and interpret. If you have something to say, look into the database and tell me what you've found. Don't bomb me with empty principals.
Thanks for reading. -- Toytoy 02:39, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Just a few comments to some of the points:
  • Answer #2-3: If nobody but bots *have used* the link, it *has been* useless. If nobody but bots *will use* it, then it *will be* useless. But are you certain that you can extrapolate?
  • Answer #4: It is much easier to see if someone is asleep than to evaluate if a wiki is "reasonably up-to-date". So I don't think your comparison is valid in this case.
  • Answer #5: There you assume that it is about a language you neither write nor read. I read a few languages I don't really know how to write - some of them have not that very large wikipedias, and might - a year or two ago - have been classified as 'having a dead wikipedia' and hence being closed. But today, they *do* improve my thinking diversity.
  • Answer #6: a) If they come, there is no way, I repeat no way, that they would come in sufficiently large numbers at once. They'd come one by one to a locked wiki, and immediately leave. And don't say that they could first gather somewhere else, since that would require 1) that there were a place they could inform others about their interest in a wikipedia in that language, and 2) that they came almost at the same time, to avoid that the first possible users would have forgotten all about it and 3) that they all speak some second language through which they could learn about the existence of wikipedia, since a closed, and hence empty, wiki will not give any google hits.
If on the other hand, that first user had had the chance of creating something - not necessarily large, or NPOV, or actually good in any way, but still something - not only would the next user have a chance to see what the fuss about "wikipedia" was all about (without having to resort to a language they perhaps doesn't even read), but also there would be google hits in their own language, which would direct more people to the wiki.
  • Answer #6: b) The whole point of the internationalization of wikipedia is IMO that it contains all the languages, and hence it looses much of the whole point by "kicking away" some languages to other servers/software/owners/domains/.........
  • Answer #7: In all wikis today (not excluding the big, and active ones!) there are scores of small, incorrect and POV-containing articles in those areas of expertize which is still not well covered by users. These are also a problem to the readers, but how do it come that incorrect articles in a wikipedia are less of a problem than incorrect articles on a small wikipedia? And no, there is not necesarlily a larger chance for a error in a highly specialized article in quantum physics, say, to be corrected in en:wikipedia than a trivial error in a small one. Simply by the reason that there may very well be a similar barrier to attracting the PhD:s in physics, as to the speakers of an 'obscure' language. Should be hence "lock" quantum physics articles from editing on en: until we have enough professors??? I'm sorry, but I think that is just as ridiculous as your suggestion, Toytoy.
Ok, that's what I had to say today. Thanks for your time. \Mike(z) 21:40, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Middle way[edit]

Toytoy, point is someway correct, that bad quality (very subjective to define) wikis may reduce the credibility of other wikis, but you seem to miss the point (as much I was reading, sry if missed something) that wikipedia is free to write, free to use and free to trust.

That's true that there are many wikis with little or (almost) no content. I would propose to add to these wikis "note" in top of every article that this wikipedia is updated infrequently and contributions are welcome (something similar to text in wikis' frontpages) so somebody who reads it is "warned" that article can be "raw". I think this should "solve" some of Toytoy's concerns. --TarmoK 06:52, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

What's the point?[edit]

In the course of Toytoy's argumentation, I have found not a single hint as to why closing certain wikis would actually improve the chances of people writing in that language of making a good, solid encyclopedia, and how would that strengthen Wikimedia's framework, except for some vague generalizations about the desirability of self-organization and self-funding that are clearly ideological and do not deserve discussion in this place.

In particular, I find issue with the claims that:

  1. running a wiki in a certain language is "saving it"; Wikipedia is merely providing users with a varierty of choices, so that they can employ the language they prefer;
  2. "we" (a rather elusive we) are "not supposed to do it"; Toytoy is not Wikipedia, nor the Wikimedia foundation, nor a valid representative of the Wikipedia community. The use of "we" as a rhetorical means of strengthening his own position functions simply as a cover of the arbitrariness of his opinionated and unduly normative proposal;
  3. the existence of slow, small or partially inactive wikis impairs the quality or attractiveness of the larger ones; from my own experience of the Spanish languages case (Castilian, Catalan, Aragonese, Asturian, Galician and Basque having their own wikis), it's quite the contrary. Minority-language-speakers, enthused by the prospect of writing in their own language, turn up much better articles in matters of regional or historical interest, which in turn are translated and enrich other wikis.

In the end, nevertheless, I have a stronger counterargument. To put it bluntly, why bother closing them? Is there any gain to be had? The onus of proving it is on Toytoy, and so far he has not provided any solid arguments for it. I admit he may still do it; in the present state of affairs, however, I'd dismiss his proposal. Taragui 10:36, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

I only use the word "we" when I cannot use the word "I".
  • [I think] This soup is too salty, we shall not put so much salt in it.
  • I believe this is a bad idea, we shall close some wikis.
Shall I say:
  • I believe this is a bad idea, I'll close some wikis.
Am I nuts? Do I have the power?
If you check the history of my proposal, you'll see that I have taken every possible care to make my words as mine as possible. I reverted other people's rewrite. I added a personal statement. I signed it. I have even said this is my own proposal and it belongs to no one else. People deleted the statements.
I always say if anything is working, we can keep it. However, every wiki shall be able to face some scrutiny. Based on my own research of three Chinese dialect wikis, I believe there are surely some wikis that have to be closed. I can provide some prima facie evidence of tell-tale defects. That's all I can do. -- Toytoy 11:05, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
My use of "we":
  • That's why we have rules dealing with deletion and speedy deletion.
  • I propose that we close, very possibly, all inactive ones ...
  • If a wiki ..., we shall not host it any longer.
  • Can we afford to spread questionable information ...
  • A slow wiki is an unfortunate oxymoron that we are not supposed to breed.
  • We can always keep their files ...
  • Can we rely on a wiki ...? Don't we make mistakes?
  • I propose that we examine all wikis ...
  • Do we setup a wiki for just a few persons? Do we setup a wiki ...?
  • Shall we ask them to work harder? Or shall we close that wiki?
  • If a language is dying. We are not supposed to save it. We shall not give too much and pay too little attention.
  • What will it be if we kill some wikis?
Now tell me which "we" can be substituted by "I". Can you read? Did you really read my words? You are wasting my time. -- Toytoy 11:17, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

I think I can help you, Toytoy: your use of "we" can be substituted with indirect phrasing.

Examples:
  • That's why there are rules dealing with deletion and speedy deletion.
  • I propose that very possible all inactive wikis be closed
  • If a wiki..., it should not be hosted any longer.
  • etc. etc.
To follow your own trend, you are the one that wants to put salt in your soup, we will have nothing to do with it. Saludos--Orgullomoore 15:33, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Orgullomoore has summarized the points faultlessly. "We" is a well-known rhetorical device for disguising whim as consensus, and personal interest as universal rule.
It is you who are wasting our time here. I stated clearly that I have four solid objections which you have not addressed.
  1. running a wiki in a certain language is not "saving it [the language]" in any meaningful sense; Wikipedia is merely providing users with a variety of choices, so that they can employ the language they prefer;
  2. the vague moral argument that we are "not supposed to do it [save the language]" is not only irrelevant, as per 1. before, but completely unfounded; there are no grounds for it, and to formulate it as you did merely covers the fact with a lot of emotive tragic-hero chatter;
  3. the existence of slow, small or partially inactive wikis does not impair the quality or attractiveness of the larger ones; from my own experience of the Spanish languages case (Castilian, Catalan, Aragonese, Asturian, Galician and Basque having their own wikis), it's quite the contrary. Minority-language-speakers, enthused by the prospect of writing in their own language, turn up much better articles in matters of regional or historical interest, which in turn are translated and enrich other wikis.
  4. the increased administrative overhead deriving from your proposal, mainly in the form of endless and painful decision processes before opening or closing a given wiki, is far more detrimental to Wikipedia than the current existence of said wikis.
Please say anything meaningful about these before resorting to personal arguments again. You've been warned. Taragui 08:02, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Opposite Viewpoints from Zh.Wikipedia(Chinese) Community--We should Keep Our Steps to Openness and Diversity Firmly[edit]

First of all, I apologize for any inconvenience because I'm going to express my disappointment about this proposal in my own language, in Chinese. In English I wouldn't be able to express my arguments against than exactly as I can do in Chinese. If someone is fluent both in English and Chinese(maybe the one who make this proposal), I would be pleased if you can translate for me.--theodoranian 11:18, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

維基之道──我們應該繼續多元開放 The Wiki Way--We should Keep Our Steps to Openness and Diversity Firmly

談我所認識的維基百科兼覆Toytoy的Proposed policy for wiki closure

我從2004年中參與維基百科至今,目睹關於漢語方言的爭論數次,Toytoy先生均以相當強勢的語氣批判他認為有問題的閩南語、壯語及粵語(測試版)維基百科,並認為應當關掉這些維基百科。對於此一爭論,至目前為止,中文版似乎有不少維基人認同Toytoy先生的看法,但是身為中文維基百科的一份子,我認為不能讓Toytoy先生的想法代表中文維基百科社群的全部,因此想分享一下我所認識的維基百科,提供給大家參考,也順便回應Toytoy先生關閉部分語言版本的提議。

開放的意義[edit]

維基百科是一部免費的、開放的、任何人都可以編寫的線上百科全書。這個線上百科全書與傳統百科全書(無論是紙本或是線上版)最大的不同之處,就在於它的開放性。

Heckert GNU white.png

開放性是維基百科得以建立的最重要基礎,它不僅僅由專家精英所編撰,更開放給匿名用戶;在廣度方面,從學術理論、歷史大事到流行文化、日常生活都是收錄的對象;在深度方面,不限於每個條目數百字的篇幅,既容納w:zh:塔等長篇巨構,也開放給各種小條目;在時間向度來說,它不僅開放給現在的我們,也向未來的參與者開放;在空間來說,它不僅有某幾個強勢語言版本,來自不同地方的人也可以用自己熟悉的語言(甚至人造語)來編纂-只要它有其他人可以編寫並識別的書寫系統,並且未來也可能在多媒體科技的發展之下出現全屬多媒體資料的線上百科。

開放性不單是表現在維基百科的內容之上,它還表現在使用方式之上──開放的著作權授權模式,任何人可以基於任何目的,僅在很少的前提下──不將之佔為己有,都得以使用、利用這套百科全書。維基百科選擇了透過開放性的共同協作模式,達到著作權利的分散,促成人類文明的快速累積,而人人都有管道獲知他人眼中的世界。

這個開放的架構,其前提就是人人平等,人人都可貢獻自己的所知,各種語言版本的維基百科將循著地球公民的良知與善意逐漸完善,未必是現在,但保持開放性就是保持了完善的可能性。

the title: The Meaning of Openness

精靈遠走的中土世界?[edit]

-多語版本存在的必要性

Wikipedia-logo.png

維基百科之所以開始不久之後就開設多種語言版本,個人以為維基媒體當局意識到文化多元性的重要。維基百科計畫的目標是盡可能收錄世界的知識,開設不同的語言版本,用以承載並蒐集各種不同語言環境的歷史文化,維基媒體當局並未選擇僅以強勢語言做為開設標準,此乃因維基百科的各種語言版本並非各個獨立於其他版本,而是成為一個整體計畫的一部分,就如同維基百科的Logo,一個拼圖過程的地球,一塊一塊都要蒐集,怎麼可能還要捨掉一大塊?

多元文化之重要性實毋需我多贅言。多種語言版本的存在也有助於中立性的維持及知識的傳遞,條目少的可以從條目多的翻譯,或是藉由多語版本比較讓讀者心中出現一個較中立的描述。跨語言的文化交流也從此出發,但無論如何交流,保持語言文化的多樣性仍然是人類文明進步的基礎,語言、文化或許會因交融、激盪而消亡,但無可否認它可能藉由進入其他語言文化的深層意識之中而繼續存在,或許有人質疑這個可能,但語言文化本就是雜交變異而成,試問人類文明豈是單線地一直向前行進?

僅以目前強勢的語言來看,並不能得出未來它終將永遠強勢的推論。在拉丁語是世界獨強的時候,英語還不是個東西,如今拉丁語已成僵死語言(但化身到拉丁語族之中),英文卻席捲世界。前面所說的開放性,就包括給未來的強勢語言一個選擇的機會,我們不能在當下就掐著未來的脖子。更進一步說,我們必須對未來有信心,相信未來終將有人會把弱勢語言版本的維基百科修改得更加完善。反面來說,我們在不能襄助弱勢語言的同時,更不應該命令弱勢語言離開這個計畫,如果這樣做,維基百科將成為精靈遠走的中土世界。


the title: Middle-earth That Elves Left?

The Essentiality of Existence of Multi-language Versions

Soon after it began, Wikipedia was made available in many other languages. Personally, I thought Wikimedia saw the importance of diversity. It realized the importance of taking in the knowledge from all over the globe, therefore setting up Wikipedia in different languages. Wikimedia aimed to gather greater understand of subject matters, as seen through various points of view that has emerged under diverse cultures, and decided against the support of mainstream languages only. This was prompted by how closely inter-dependent the different mainstream editions of Wikipedia were, and how the different editions had to be worked as one plan. Wikipedia's logo depicts a globe pieced together one by one, so no one piece should be given up on.

The importance of supporting many languages is obvious. It helps to maintain the neutrality and the dissemination of knowledge, since what an article lacks in a language, can be made up for by translation. Alternatively, a user can compare an article in different languages to get a neutral point of view. This is interlingual cross-cultural exchange. However, to further development of human intelligence, the diversity of languages must be preserved. Through assimilation or various other influences, some languages and cultures will die out, while others will, through the deeper knowledge of other languages, prevail. After all, Mankind has always developed in different directions and dimensions. Even today's languages and cultures first arose out of diversity.

Even the most important language may not persist forver. When Latin was at its peak, English was non-existant. Today, Latin is dead and only preserved in her derivatives, while English has taken the world by storm. To have openness also implies giving future mainstream languages (but today's less mainstream languages) a chance. We should never strangle them out of the future. Also, we must have faith in the future, and believe that one day, someone will polish up the Wikis in these less mainstream languages. In another way, even if some of us cannot help these languages, we have no right to evict them from the plan, or wikipedia will lose her middle ground.

我寫故我在[edit]

-參與的重要性

Wikistress3D 4 v3.jpg
Wikistress3D 3 v3.jpg
Wikistress3D 2 v3.jpg
Wikistress3D 1 v3.jpg

維基百科之所以採取開放性,就是為了讓人人皆可參與,以達到編纂、進而完善百科全書的目標。除了參與維基百科的編寫及管理外,維基百科目的並不是在評論任何語言或是任何現象優劣的所在,它容納對於事物的各種意見,但是本身並不表示意見。它強調的是:任何人看到錯誤就可以協助改進,而不是強調:看到任何錯誤就加以評斷或扼殺,無論是評斷他人封閉或是不知改進,都不是維基百科開設的目的。

或許有人認為天生我材的目的就是要對維基百科的各種現象提供針砭、建議或是評價,但這些評論不會影響到維基百科以各種語言搜羅世界上各種知識的初始目的-每個參與者都可以平等地,自由選擇要不要,或是選擇要為哪一個語言版本的維基百科效力。實際的力量來自於參與而不是批評,這就如同假如User:Ktsquare只出一張嘴,呼籲一百遍中文維基百科建立西元年份條目,中文版維基百科也不會就憑空生出西元1世紀到21個世紀每年都有一個條目。

或許一個語言版本有其先天的進入門檻,導致參與的難度提高很多,但這是參與者本身的力有未逮,還是這個語言版本本身的問題呢?(關於與事實不符乙節詳後述)現在沒有人說某個語言版本只有特定身份的人才能參與,端看參與者本身有沒有興趣跟能力罷了,如果說因為自己不會、不能參與,就說一個已成型的社群結構有問題,進而評判其貢獻沒有價值,豈非倒因為果?

the title: I Write, so I Be

The Importance of Participation

Wikipedia opted to be open, so that anyone can participate in writing and compiling a complete encyclopaedia. Since conception, Wikipedia was involved only in the editing and administration roles, and is not judgemental of any language or trend. Wikipedia accepts all points of view, without possessing her own. In Wikipedia, you are free to edit all mistakes, but, for goodness' sake, do not criticise and attack every mistake. To accuse others as being narrow-minded or stubborn is contrary to Wikipedia's aims.

Some people may criticize, comment on and judge the trends of Wikipedia, but its objective to gather the knowledge of the world in every language should never be affected. Wikipedia has given every person equal rights and freedom to decide, whether or not he should contribute to Wikipedia, and to which language edition. After all, the driving force of Wikipedia stems from participation and contribution, not criticism. As an example, User: Ktsqure once proposed that the Chinese Wikipedia start articles for every century from the 1st centry to the 21st, and the Chinese Wikipedia freely exercised her abovementioned rights not to heed the criticism as soon as it was made.

So, in some editions of Wikipedia, should there be a steeper learning curve than other editions, is it the fault of the user or the edition? Today, no one language edition restricts anybody's participation. So how can a person, because of his ignorance toward a certain language, starts criticising the community structure of that language edition, and goes even further to vilify the value of that edition? Is it the fault of that edition, or is that person's?

你們對我最小兄弟所做的,就是對我做[edit]

-避免歧視弱小語言版本

前節已提到參與門檻的問題:某個人未能參與一個質量不好的語言版本維基百科,可能是因為該語言版本的進入門檻頗高,世界上會書寫這個語言的人非常有限,也可能是因為這個人本身力有未殆。問題在於,參與者人數跟條目數不代表該語維基百科的品質,放眼加泰蘭語與希伯來語的維基百科雖小,品質卻頗高,反觀一些所謂的大語言版本則是金玉其外。在眾多語言版本的維基百科之中,有些語言版本對於中文維基百科的使用者來說,參與門檻既高,其存在的意義除了大小之外並沒有差別,但是為什麼今天有人選擇了拿弱小的語言版本開刀?同樣不懂葡萄牙語跟南非荷蘭語,為什麼死的就是條目較少的後者?

這完全是對於少數、弱小的歧視所造成的。十九世紀以來的帝國主義為人類帶來許多災難,更讓人切齒的是某些同受壓迫的民族在富強之後,搖身一變反而成為歧視、侵略他人的軍國主義者;我要呼籲的是,強勢者不應成為壓迫的來源,身為日漸壯大的中文(漢語)維基使用者,理應對於弱小語言版本的發展遲緩感同身受,並且在發言上有所節制,畢竟任何一個語言的強勢都不應該成為壓迫、驅趕其他弱小語言離開維基百科計畫的理由。

UN flag.png

聯合國大會在1992年2月21日通過第47/135號決議《隸屬少數宗教及語言之民族或族群之權利宣言》,其中第二條第一項即謂:「隸屬少數宗教及語言之民族或族群者(本處係指少數族群的人們)有權去享有其自身的文化,宣揚與實踐其自身的宗教,在公私領域使用其自身的語言,並且不受到任何干預或是各種型式的歧視……」,維基百科是一個世界性的非營利計畫,影響所及早已超越國家的界線,參與此一偉大的計畫時,宜注意到保障弱小語言、並免予歧視的國際法趨勢,雖說維基百科不是弱小語言的急診室,但任何人均不應出於歧視的目的去檢視弱小語言版本的貢獻成果。

the title: When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!

Avoid Discrimination on Minor Language Versions

從大還是從小下手?[edit]

-資源節省悖論

有論者以為,維基計畫資源有限,保留那些弱小的、發展緩慢的、沒有未來希望的維基百科不符合經濟原則,並進而推論這種語言不配有一個版本的維基百科,即使它們現在有一個維基百科,也只不過是浪費資源,甚至稱這種語言的維基百科「宛若僵屍」。這是一個似是而非的言論。而我要請大家注意的一件事情,就是各種語言版本的維基百科參與者是活生生的人及他們所形成的社群,人與社群的存在就代表知識的可及,就是維基百科的目標。我們必須跳脫數字的、量化的迷思,非營利的維基媒體當局從來不以效率、數字來評斷一個計畫是否值得存在。

因為數字終究只是數字,任何人都可以用對自己有利的數字來解讀一個語言版本成功或失敗與否。我也可以舉出一個數字來證明中文維基百科比閩南語維基百科更加失敗:中文人口12億,閩南語人口約莫3千萬,比例約是40倍,但是中文維基百科的條目數卻只是閩南語版的30倍,非常熱心的用戶數,中文版約莫70至80人之間,閩南語版卻有5人。如果今天我們以數字所推論出的代表性不足來質疑閩南語版,我們反而會陷入更大的正當性危機之中──中文維基百科是更小的圈子,我們比閩南語版更失敗。

再繼續說數字及大小的迷思,以及所謂節省資源、經濟論的荒謬。英文維基百科的條目數是閩南語維基百科的650倍,如果說要節省資源,很明顯的,只要英語版本節省出1/650的資源,就可以保留閩南語版的空間,「為什麼你看得見你弟兄眼中的木屑,卻不覺察你眼中的大樑呢?」,難道英語版的650倍都是毫無雜質的精華,而閩南語的1/650則全部都是糟粕嗎?如果要討論節省資源,那從最大的英、德、日、法版本開始做起吧!

the title: Start from the bigger or the smaller?

The Paradox of Resource-saving

可能打擊錯誤[edit]

-手段與目的之關聯

2001年5月,中文維基百科與阿拉伯語、荷蘭語、德語、世界語、法語、希伯來文、義大利語、日語、葡萄牙語、俄語、西班牙語、瑞典語的維基百科協作計劃一起成立,但沒有人撰寫條目。當時中文維基百科的功能變數名稱為zh.wikipedia.com,不支持中文直接輸入,頁面全部都是亂碼。一直到將近一年半之後的2002年10月24日,才由User:Ghyll(即User:Mountain)撰寫第一篇首頁。為什麼中文維基百科可以發展成現在這種樣貌?在Mountain兄撰寫首頁之前,中文維基百科是什麼?是對老外來講的海納百川,同時是對14億華人來說的笑話一則?

我先自私地提出我認為閩南語百科最適宜的發展方式:漢字與羅馬拼音(白話字)並存(但是我的想法並不重要)。假如(請特別注意,以下所說都是只是假設),今天如果說閩南語維基百科堅持使用白話字做為唯一的書寫方式,並且其是一個錯誤的發展政策,最後終究導致一個以數字所推論出來的失敗成果,應該檢討的是它所採行的政策?還是它本身存在的目的?誤將手段的錯誤當成目的的錯誤,並且將兩者混為一談,雖然我非常不想這樣子懷疑,但是總覺得這似乎背後隱藏著某些不尋常的意圖。

我還是必須扣緊開放性的主題,回到正面的論述之上。具有特定目標的開放性架構,只要透過參與就可以糾正任何達成目標前手段的錯誤,具體的來說,今天只要有三個熱心參與壯語維基百科的人,用符合ISO標準的壯語書寫體系加入壯語維基百科,目前被稱為垃圾的壯語維基百科獨偏某地區壯語音調的撰寫模式及政策就可以獲得改善。如果要基進一點地說,在我們強調普通中文作為漢語維基百科的唯一正統語言的同時,我們就必須容忍其他文法的漢語維基百科的存在,否則,我們就必須把它納進來,做為一個可接受的寫作標準。

the title: Possibly Wrong Strike

The Relation between Measures and Goal

捍衛異議者的說話權[edit]

-多元主義的結果

今天我們能有一個蓬勃發展的維基媒體計畫,就是因為這個計畫採行了開放性多元主義,並且讓各種聲音都有平等機會展現的結果。維基百科容納各種知識,也容納各種意見,今天任何人可以放聲批評維基百科的包容性,但是在此同時他也被維基百科包容了,無論清濁的河流終究歸於海的無垠,這是開放性的必然結果。

維基百科的討論頁中可以包容偏激的言論(並且相信會有意見加以平衡,達到中立),此實毋須我再贅言。不過,我要再提醒一點:語言是弱小族群展現他們與多數、強勢族群擁有不同政治身份的武器,當弱小族群選擇用他們自身的語言來表達時,語言應該被視為是一種政治主張,任何對其加以限制的意圖都應該受到最嚴格的審查,包括是否有歧視在內。今天任何一個想要驅逐弱小語言於維基百科之外的主張者,應該反躬自省:其與弱小語言間的關係,主張驅趕者身受維基百科開放性的接納,卻無法容納其他的異議?

另外,別忘了中文維基百科社群做為一個社群的責任,就是我們不能放棄(雖然不見得能說服某些意見,但我們必須、有義務去)平衡意見市場的努力。如果有一天讓開放性崩潰,那會是全體維基社群的災難。每個人應該沒有壓力、無所恐懼(比方說被人用效率來計算他們的貢獻成果)地參與維基百科,這是一個開放空間所應具備的條件,我所相信的維基媒體當局不會隨便以數字衡量貢獻,然後拿小語言版本開刀,但在這之前討論氛圍及過程卻非常重要,容我再引一小段話:「接著他們把魔掌伸向猶太人時,我沒有說話,因為我不是猶太人;最後,他們把魔掌伸向了我,這時,已經沒有人站起來為我說話了」。

the title: Protecting Objector's Right of Speech

The Result of Diversitism

不只是百科全書[edit]

維基百科不同於一般傳統百科,因為這個計畫本身採取開放性多元主義。如果我們要給維基百科一個定位,可以說它是一個透過互相協作達到追尋知識的百科全書社群,並不僅是百科全書而已。作為開放性的百科全書社群,正確、信賴及可靠不是它所追求的唯一目標,這一點本應為讀者所知悉,如要論及正確,人類即非全能全知的上帝,除非有人狂妄到說他知道何謂「永遠的、終極的正確」,即使我們知道可能永遠無法達到那個全知全能的目標,保持開放及尊重多元卻是通往目標的可行道路。

我們不應心急,今天過了還有明天,我們這一代人走完還有下一代。如果中世紀有一本權威的百科全書,天動說依其記載恐怕是顛撲不破的真理,傳統的百科全書也不見得是正確,但是歷史上曾有誰憑藉著「保護讀者正確獲得知識的權利」做為理由來要求任何百科全書?今天維基百科都可以被大英百科全書的副總喻為公共廁所了,我們還有什麼錯誤不能容忍,我們還有什麼高尚的名譽要維持,我們還有什麼理由驅趕那些不夠完善的維基百科離開這個計畫?

維基是從夏威夷語的wiki而來,wiki固然含有「快」的意義,但是wikipedia不是要求快速發展的百科全書,相反地,它透過確保開放性並尊重多元來鼓勵參與,讓參與者慢工細活地討論,所以我要大膽地說wikipedia其實是participedia,wikipedia其實是在說「快來參與百科全書」,只有評論卻沒有參與就不應稱為wiki,更進一步說,「打造全人類各種語言版本免費百科全書」的目標,只要透過參與就能減少錯誤,趨近於正確,這是維基百科一直在走的道路,也是我所認識的維基之道。

the title: Not Only an Encyclopedia

--theodoranian 11:18, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

I have translated the title of those sections in my poor English. Thanks.--theodoranian 15:26, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

User Testament: I can testify that they really hate my idea. That's true. -- Toytoy 11:21, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Move to close debate[edit]

I propose that this debate be closed, as there is an obvious consensus against User:Toytoy's proposal. Said user has also repeated proved (him/her)self incapable of defending the proposal without resorting to personal attacks against those making comments. Physchim62 11:59, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

  • I concur. This will become a textbook case one day. -- Toytoy 12:48, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Yeah, close the debate, it is absolutely rediculous.--Orgullomoore 15:21, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • I support Physchim62's idea. -- 84.146.143.244 15:22, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • I support the closure of this debate. – Kaihsu 15:29, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • close, just because ia m not a native speaker of english does not mean i should not be allowed to access wikipedia fully --83.71.43.113 17:27, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Close it right now. Every great number growth from a single one: 1. --Huhsunqu 18:17, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • I support closing this rediculous and arrogant proposal a.s.a.p. B. 20:30, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • I support closing this debat ASAP, and to modify the page in order to gather the consensus expressed here or, if it isn't possible, to blank it. --Joanot 22:06, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Close - So, will someone put a notice at the top of the page stating this? w:en:User:JesseW 01:22, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Delete the page, close the discussion and make sure Toytoy doesn't start this nonsense up somewhere else!
  • I support officially ending debate on this textbook example of how not to make a proposal (or toy with those against it), because the debate has ended with a clear result. Please do not delete it. A-giâu 11:06, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Mark this debate dead, and keep a very close eye on Toytoy to guard against similar proposals later - David Gerard 15:59, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Close this nonsense and send Toytoy to the WikiDungeon. Trilobite 00:29, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Arevider-te. Si 'wikis sin spera' te enoia, tu pote usar iste idea: promover wikis in linguas moriente, in loco de occider un poc Wikipedia. Isto meliorarea Wikipedia, e salvarea un cultura. Almafeta 01:35, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
  • close - supporting to close, proposal can't be demand + all other arguments against this "proposal" given all over this page --TarmoK 06:04, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Lot of scientific gibberish, lack of consistent proofs; never a textbok case, and speaking in defense of the Catalan[edit]

Toytoy, the proofs of your argument contradict you. They can never be a textbook case, unless it is a high-school or elementary school textbook. Let me show a consistent defense of my case. I'll speak of my experience in the Catalan wikipedia, but of course, I cannot extrapolate (as you do):

  • Coming from the Catalan wikipedia, the number of users grow by much much more than 1 a month, with over 1,100 already registred, and several hundred working on it on a weekly basis, and much much more using it passively. Sure, it cannot be compared to the English wikipedia, but it is FAR from dead, and FAR from being controlled by one man. Just visit our discussion pages, and you'll see the countless of hot debates (which suggest multiple user edits). I just can't see why is Catalan on the list, other than being selected simply by prejudice reasons, or by considering it a "dialect".
  • The statistical data you provide is quite unintelligible:
    • First, could you please tell me what is the ratio you are providing? You say it is top user edits divided by total edits. I disagree. Visit the statistics page for Catalan, in which the total number of edits by the top user (which, by the way is a robot, named Robbot) is 4677. You said the number of edits by top user is 21996. Quite a mistake you've made. By the way, the tables will show you at least 49 extremely active wikipedians. If my math knowledge is correct, 49 is greater than 1.
    • Second, even if your data were correct, you'd have to eliminate bots, until you do so, it would be statistically inconsistent (and thus unreliable), as bots do far much work than any user fully devoted to the wikipedia.
    • What about minor edits? Usually administrators do a lot of editing and proof-reading, correcting a couple of grammar mistakes here and there. Their "contribution" would be enormous, compared to normal users, yet it is merely proof-reading. Maybe you should be providing data on number of ARTICLES done by user, and not number of EDITS. You are abusing the data to prove your point, or simply, using the wrong data to prove your point.
    • Are the languages you show on the list just hand-picked, or do they follow a specific descending/ascending order, say percentage of edits by one man or number of articles perhaps?
    • If you were ordering your selected wikipedias by percentage of edits by one man, then wikis with far fewer number of articles would be included, for example, the Nahuatl wikipedia, with 98 articles, has been written pretty much by one man, thus the ratio would be far much higher even than Asturian, yet, you didn't list Nahuatl (I suppose because it is alreadly "inactive", to you, since you conviently dismissed them at the beginning of your case).
  • Your argumentation considered the mistakes that had been left behind for months exclusively in one language. Since I suppose you are not fluent in most of the languages you listed, how can you extrapolate your argument to the rest of the wikis, other than by mere assumption? That is lack of scientific rigour in the use of your data. For the rest of your "cases", again, they are related to a group or family of langauges (chinese). Again, how can you extrapolate the apparently obvious problems of those wikis to other whose langauge you don't even unerstand? I cannot say that if in the Catalan wikipedia a mistake was left uncorrected, then it is so in the Afrikaans. Moreover, how is this related to your hand-picked list of languages, since your list doesn't include "number of mistakes uncorrected"?
  • As for mistakes left behind; if you are discussing a hot topic, sure, it will be rapidly changed in the English wikipedia. Yet I have written aritcles related to Mexico some of them with a couple of spelling and even population figure mistakes, and yet, they have been left uncorrected, because it is not a hot and highly controversial topic. The accuracy of the article, (both in content and grammar), was left entirely to me. My estimation (merely an estimation not a proof) would be that there are literrally thousands of articles with the same story, even if they were written by different authors each. The accuracy of all of them (since they are left uncorrected) is the same as if they were written by one man. So, different articles, each written by many, but left uncorrected, would be less accurate and reliable than 1000 written by one but very dedicated and educated user who provides reliable data. This is only for argument purposes, since, as I proved in my first argument, Catalan is NOT being written by one, neither by a handful, but by a healthy number of users.
  • Finally, usually at the beginning of ANY wikipedia only a handful of users participate (even at the actual birth of the English wikipedia, which I assume you didn't witness, but bumped into sometime afterwards, as most of us did), yet the "experiment" worked out. Let the experiments work out at their proper time in the rest of the wikis.

Summarizing, it would be extremely useful if your numerical/statistical data were intelligible and self-explanatory (honestly, I have no idea what is being shown with those numbers, with the exception of the number of articles, which doesn't prove anything), and then, it would be extremely useful if you could please enhance your data ("prune it", if you may), by eliminating possible biases (robots and proof-readings), and then, please order the data appropiately (in a descending/ascending order), and do include those wikis which ARE written by one user, instead of including other quite healthy wikis like Catalan. And finally, do not EXTRAPOLATE, until you can show how such an extrapolation can be logical and reliable and thus can be applied to all listed languages. AFTER you do so (that is AFTER you provide SOUND AND CONSISTENT proofs), then we can start talking seriously about your proposal. Honestly, a case study done by high-school students would have been based on better evidence.

Yes, let's close this debate, at least until you provide sound proofs. And no, it will never be a textbook case.

--Alonso 16:19, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

I downloaded a fresh copy of StatisticsUsers.csv again, the first 5 lines of ca reads:
  1. ca,21996,0,8042,0,1,1,Llull
  2. ca,4677,71,2,0,2,3,Robbot (bot?)
  3. ca,4673,61,1449,35,3,2,Makinal
  4. ca,3714,466,1635,278,4,5,Joanjoc
  5. ca,3543,196,1134,73,5,4,Xevi
You are talking about the "49 recently active wikipedians, ordered by number of contributions" section (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wikistats/EN/ChartsWikipediaCA.htm), my calculation is based on StatisticsUsers.csv. The top user ca:Usuari:Llull's name can be found in the "20 recently absent wikipedians, ordered by number of contributions" section of ChartsWikipediaCA.htm. He/she does not look like a bot to me. You erred. -- Toytoy 21:12, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
No, you erred again. In adding from all the arguments given by my partner, if you consider as valid the top edits from an absent user it's another proof of incosistence of your proposal. You argue that WP collaborated by one man or by a little group of users would be closed. So, if this user is absent more than 3 months ago, how would be able Catalan WP to achieve more than 15.000 articles the last mont? (near of 3.000 new articles in those 3 months of the absent user with top-edits). It isn't hopeless nor a lack of productivity.
In the other side, this user named Llull is one of the founders who started Catalan WP more or less one year ago, and since then there is more than 1000 users. Every language version of WP's has started this way with a little group of users who were doing a commendable effort and compromise to engage it out, including English version. And your arguments against little communities of wikipedians is also disappointing Jimbo Wale's statements about this subject: In an interview on Spanish newspaper (http://www.elpais.es) he said: "More than 50% of edits in english is done by 524 active users, it means 0'7% of editors. WP in Spanish has 450 editors, but 8'1% of it is responsible of more than 90% of these articles."[2] Such as all we're doing already here, excepting you, erred man, in any part of this interview he's not considering that a WP ruled by little group of users as negative.
Your proposal is non the CPOV, as all we're disappointing with you. As it's clear about the inconsistency of your arguments, I vote to close this debate and to modify the page in order to gathering the points of views expressed by all the users here. --Joanot 22:04, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

What about pure litter?[edit]

Emotions, emotions... I can understand how people feel strongly about small languages (mine isn't rather small, too) and although I find the proposition harsh and maybe even somewhat politically motivated, I cannot but wonder some of the arguments, many of them impolite, against it. I agree that number of articles or the speed at which a wiki grows aren't relevant arguments (w:Northern Sami, w:Võro), but should we not worry about a wikipedia turning in to a w:Wikipedia:Sandbox? And if none of us speaks the obscure language with an unseccesful try, what are we going to do about it? I also want to say that technical points, such as raised by Angela, are naturally relevant, but unfotunately I don't know enough to judge them. --Samulili 16:27, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Fine, let's worry about a wikipedia turning into a Sandbox. But please, provide an intelligent criterion to select those wikis that should be closed, since the criteria so far provided to make the list of languages, simply doen't work. (See the previous section).
The fact is no one except me proposed another set of criteria. They kepy whining as if their wiki is going to be closed by me.
Last year when an editor of EB found some really big mistakes in the English wiki, most people replied, "why didn't you fix it." In this like-minded group, few dared to say that a systematic weakness has been exposed. My criteria may not work, however the problems remain true. At least with these three ill-fated Chinese dialect wikis. No one cares in this faith-based feel-good wiki. -- Toytoy 20:40, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • If some have not proposed another set of criteria it is because proposing to close otherwise "active" wikis its merely absurd. But, if you read thouroughly the whole argument on the catalan defense, there are a couple of proposals, like focusing on articles instead of edits, just to mention one of the many that other users have posted. I think you can construct yourself another set of criteria with all the comments that have been posted so far. But you are as close-minded, and so involved in a heated defense of your own thesis, that you haven't been able, as the proposer and manager of this debate, to reach a consensus. You have just fiercely and offensively defended your own ideas and opinions, without ever trying to reach a middle ground, or simply admitting that your proposal was wrong in the first place.
  • As for the "inactive" wikipedias, that has been discussed in other pages, and there is no need to repeat it all over here.
  • Now, if you feel so strongly about those "ill-fated" Chinese dialects (and your comment simply betrays your own linguistic prejudice and closed-mindness to diversity, even if that diversity means a different alphabet), and can't help but want to bring them down, at least don't drag the rest of the healthy wikis with your inconsistent and extrapolating arguments.
  • Finally, no one would consdier your opinions when your arguments are fallacious, and if you cannot counter-argument without resorting to verbal abuse and cultural prejudice.
--Alonso 23:11, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

I object[edit]

In every possible way. I feel dumb even responding to the original poster's suggestion. BTW., Jimbo should've closed the English Wiki when there were only a couple of editors...how could he not see that it would never work!? --Lumijaguaari 19:52, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Real data[edit]

Let's look at real data.

I'll compare data from the Min Nan wikipedia, one of the "accused ones", and a similar one, the Chinese one. I speak neither Min Man or Chinese. I've choosen these because Min Nan is one main character in the arguments, and because people speaking Chinese and Min Nan live in the same country and I asume they have the same access to Internet and to the wikipedia.

According to wikipedia en:Min Nan has 50M speakers and en:Chinese language 1300M (and en:Mandarin_(linguistics) 900M). Let's round it and say 50M for Min Nan and 1000M for "standard" Chinese. It is 20:1 for Chinese. So a Min Nan wikipedia with a 1/20th of the users and growing speed of the Chinese one I'd consider a real success.

Let's look at the numbers [3] [4]:

Articles after 1 year of existence[edit]

  • Min Nan: 940
  • Chinese: 2400

Same time, 1/20th of teorical base of contributors, 2/5th of the articles. I say GREAT!

Proportion of edits by top users[edit]

  • Min Nan (after 1 year): 1 top user -> 54%
  • Chinese (after 2.5 years): 4 top users -> 21%; 24 top users -> 51%

I don't know how to get Chinese data for the same time. Anybody knows? Anyhow, it's 2.5 times the time, 20 times the possible users, so I found 1 user 54% really close to 24 users 51%. A draw :-)

Active users last month[edit]

  • Min Nan: 14 (8 with more than one edit and not clearly a bot)
  • Chinese: 63 (54 with more than one edit and not clearly a bot)

After just 2/5th of the time, and with 1/20th of speakers, 1/7th of active users. GREAT again.

Wrong data[edit]

I will not respond about the argument about wrong data. The example is just silly (21st or 22nd most spoken language in the world?). I'm sure that even in the English wikipedia one can find many of this kind of mistakes.

Conclusion[edit]

We have to congratulate the Min Nan wikipedia people fo the success they have, and encourage them to keep on, not to close it!

Unless, of course, that the reason of all of this was the typical position against minorized langages, the languages some people say are only useful to gossip (I think you, toytoy, think so, or at least you have written it, when it was disscused the convenience of a Cantones wikipedia) and are not real language but dialects that cultivated people do not use.

My first language is Catalan. In my country we have had many of these things. Catalan forbidden to be used on schools or public places, children scolded for speaking it, sings on the school walls saying be clean, speak French (instead of Catalan, of course), not being attended by the police or public authoritites in Catalan (or even being fined fot doing so) and so one and so more.

If this is the case, as it really looks to me, please, don't make wikipedia another tool of oppression against minorized languages. I know every year there are many languages dying, and that wikipedia is not and has not to be a tool to preserve them, but also wikipedia has not to be a tool to keep them down, if they want to survive.

--Viktor 23:28, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

OH......please don't close Zh.wikipedia.....I will be sad.--203.70.84.75 04:10, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

We should try to address people needs in their own language[edit]

The road will be tough, it will take time, but without streching our resources, we must try to build resources in people mother languages. Their mother language is the language people understand best and an encyclopedia in their language will benefit people best, even though they have to complete it with other major and more developped languages. The only reasons I see for closing a language is when there are no editor on it but spammer, and this would be only temporary. A best choice would be monitoring, which would have to be better organised possibly.

I see Toytoy talking of "common standard" to respect, but I do not think this is agreeable. The common standard he is thinking of is the english standards. I see no problem with having different standards, such as an incomplete encyclopedia in a very minor language.

In short, I do not support this proposal at all.

However, I think everyone is free to make a proposition, ToyToy just as anyone. We should not delete a proposal which does not suit us, but simply indicate our disagreement. Some ideas might come out of the discussion; perhaps more people realise they could help monitor minor language and this would be good.

Just do not make too noisy a fuss about this proposal. This is not because ToyToy proposes it that it will happen ;-)

Anthere

Every huge project was first just a seed[edit]

There is a time when French project was smaller than actual Armenian one and only few user (like me) was active on it. Fortunately there was no proposal to close it. Aineko 06:52, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Agreed! Don't trample upon fledging blades before they have the chance to grow out slowly but surely to massive oaks. Caesarion 10:25, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
For a minority wikipedia presents an important chance to foster the use of the language. Especially if topics beyond the everyday live are concerned. We should give them the time necessary to test whether there is a need of an own wiki or not. And it's true: nearly all of the big ones grew very slow in the beginning... Mo 11:02, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Sure, I see no point in closing small Wikipedias. Well, there might be some Wikipedias that are completely inactive, those should be locked, but otherwise – no. --Mormegil 12:50, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

"Let all the pretty flowers bloom"[edit]

Let all the pretty flowers bloom Toytoy. I think Mao said something like that once. The way I see Wikipedia is just one Encyclopedia with many language versions. To deny other languages on the basis of not enough members contributing, or not enough fast growth is to deny a voice to the few who when added up all together make up a big part of this Encyclopedia project. Let all the pretty flowers bloom, it adds to the beauty of the garden, to take these away makes it look like a bed of silk flowers, pretty to look at from a distance, but up close the spirit is dead. Let the minor languages coexist with the others, each language brings a shade of color, and especially, there's beauty of expression and culture that can only be expressed in one's own mother tongue. ILVI 14:20, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

Response from Node, feared "language troll" of Wikimedia[edit]

Hi Toytoy,

I'm sure you've been awaiting my response with either eagerness or fear. So, here it is.

Before I start, a note: you used "per se" improperly. ;p

Now, let's begin. I have numbered my points so they can be neatly replied to individually.

  1. Why close any given Wikipedia, unless it has become a nuisance? The Sicilian Wikipedia, as an example, does not in my opinion even warrant a debate or an investigation. Yes, a large percentage of the articles were created by a single person, but so far there have been no complaints. There are other active users there as well who fix any errors he might make and strive to keep all articles -- no matter who the author may be -- free of POV. The Limburgish Wikipedia is another good example. The majority of the articles were created by HaafLimbo (Wouter Steenbeek, also the purveyor of the Zeelandic Test-Wiki), but he is well-acquainted with NPOV policy. Also, since this is Wikipedia, anyone else can edit his writing and in this way it is monitored.
  2. Why does it matter whether or not a Wiki is active, popular, or perfect? Inactive Wikis -- that is, Wikipedias, Wiktionaries, Wikibookses, and Wikiquotes -- are all currently monitored by the SWMT. Currently this consists of only Angela and myself. HOWEVER, the vast majority (perhaps 99%) of vandalism and spam on inactive Wikis is caught by me or Angela, and most of that which is NOT caught by us is caught by someone else (such as mxn, SJ, Mustafaa, or any number of other users). Wikipedias which are not well-known should not be deleted for this alone -- the English Wikipedia was not well-known right away.
  3. What is your familiarity with "bad Wikis"? Which Wikipedias do you edit on a weekly basis? I think it is only zh: and en:. Where do you get off making this proposal, then? How many of these other languages can you speak?? Obviously not Hebrew, because if you did you'd probably also know that not all Jewish people can read and write fluent Modern Hebrew, just as not all Buddhists can read and write fluent Pali, and not all Christians can read and write fluent New Testament Greek. Next time you want to make such an extreme proposal, please gather the opinions of native speakers of these languages (you did it for Minnan, but for any other languages??).
  4. My conclusion: Wikipedias have a tried and true development pattern. All Wikipedias that are now "safe" from the claws of your proposal, would not have been safe 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, or even 1 month ago (depends on the Wiki). Wikis are collaborative environments, and "broken Wikis" will slowly but surely be repaired. Some have accused the Low German Wikipedia of being in Patentplatt (fake Low German). If this is true, it will eventually be fixed. The system works. And, as they say in Wulumuqi, ِائفئت يينت بروق دونت فيقسيت (UKY: ifht yint broq dont fiqsit) -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it). --Node ue
I have occasional disagreements with Node but not this time. Toytoy cannot be right. Robin Patterson 20:32, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Deliberate obstruction of Wikipedias in other Chinese languages[edit]

My own conclusion is that small wikipedias in minority languages will grow all be it very slowly. They just need time. What is written now will be kept isn't that great? It gives another person something to build on instead of having to start from scratch. I am becoming very irritated by the group of Chinese wikipedia users that try to kill every wikipedia in a different Chinese language apart from Mandarin! They already succeeded partly by obstructing the creation of wikipedias in other chinese languages but Mandarin! Waerth 11:55, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Seconded. This is all about obstructing other Chinese wikipedias, and never mind the collateral damage elsewhere - David Gerard 15:59, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Thirded. I'm still pissed that what otherwise would've been a successful bid for a Wikipedia in a language with gazillions of speakers -- in fact, two separate bids (the less-publicised Wu request, and the Cantonese request) -- was obstructed mostly by incessant whinging that it would take away from the userbase of the oh-so-impoverished Chinese Wikipedia, which at that time had almost 20000 -- TWENTY THOUSAND -- articles. Despite what was at first a thriving test Wikipedia, it was never created, not in small part due to Jimbo's expression of his opinion (which was based from advice from someone at the East-West center who said that Cantonese and Mandarin are written the same, despite the fact that plenty of other people were saying on-list that they are in fact NOT). Now the possible future creation of a Cantonese Wikipedia is overshadowed and subtracted from by the creation of the "Cantonese Community Wiki" at Wikicities... damn!!! Thanks a lot, Fuzzyhead!!! >:( --Node ue 18:28, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Fourth-ed. I entirely agree with Waerth, David Gerard, and Node ue.Harvzsf 02:45, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Fifthed. Totally agree, but Toytoy and others who've tried to block non-Mandarin Chinese wikipedias clearly don't represent the whole zh-wikipedia community. I think we should go ahead and create a Cantonese Wikipedia as soon as possible. The test-wikipedia was going fine, and proved its feasibility. And the Wikicities site points to Wikipedia, so we should have a Cantonese site that people can contribute to. Also, rather than drawing users away from zh-wikipedia, it might actually draw more people here, benefiting all Chinese wikipedias. --Chamdarae 09:10, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Idle question... Jimbo Wales seriously thought Cantonese and Mandarin were two forms of the same language? When he had en:Chinese Language to read? If what you're saying is true, why should we bother with making Wikipedia better when the site's very owner isn't going to read it? Almafeta 01:15, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
Unfortunately Almafeta, that article is very confusing. In the very first section it says: "Spoken varieties of Chinese can be written in a common formal written language which, since the beginning of the twentieth century is Vernacular Chinese (based on Mandarin), written using a nearly identical set of Chinese characters."
While it is true that people more often use Baihuawen ("Vernacular Chinese") in writing, it is actually just writing with Mandarin vocabulary, grammar, and expressions. It's also quite possible to write the local vernacular, as has been done at the Cantonese test-wiki, and it's perhaps about 70% similar to written Mandarin in the case of Cantonese. All of this is explained to some degree in w:Chinese written language, but even then it's very -- VERY -- confusing. I'm going to add a new page on Meta for discussion of the possibility of separate Chinese wikipedias. Proposal for Sinitic linguistic policy. --Node ue 07:46, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

immediatism vs. eventualism and language bias[edit]

This proposal is just immediatism at its finest, combined with a bias toward languages with large numbers of speakers. As an eventualist, I naturally oppose it. On top of that, I'm one of several people who have an interest in reviving the obscure Lojban Wikipedia [5], which would almost certainly qualify for deletion under this proposal's terms. And yet I cannot identify the harm in having an encyclopedia in lojban, or in Klingon. And the benefit that just one person, reading nothing but some obscure language, might find information that otherwise would not be available to him, more than justifies the trivial cost of keeping the more obscure Wikipedias open.

It is better to have an encyclopedia of poor quality than to have none at all. Kelly Martin 16:26, July 27, 2005 (UTC)

Every language should have a Wikipedia. To me that's one of the best things about this project - many other large sites in the Web only have information in English, German, French and other "big" languages, but few have content in such less known languages as the ones in this proposal's list (sometimes even Bulgarian, my language, fits this description!). The good thing about Wikipedia is that it gives users from around the world the opportunity to create an encyclopedia in THEIR language. If this is not so in the future, Wikipedia would not be what it is today. That's why I'm against this proposal. --Megara 20:42, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Cluttering up interwiki links[edit]

While I certainly don't see the point of having an encyclopedia in, let's say, Anglo-Saxon, I guess it doesn't do any harm either.

With one small exception: the sidebars with interwiki links get rather cluttered up in popular articles, for example en:Germany. The histories of some articles are also quite cluttered with robots inserting interwiki links. If all 3,000 languages that exist ultimately get their on wiki, interwiki links will become quite unusable.

Instead of deleting small wikis, which would certainly be very radical, maybe it would be helpful to limit interwiki links that point to small wikis. For example, each small wiki would be assigned to no more than two big wiki where it can insert its interwiki links:

  • Low German gets to be linked from German and Dutch only
  • Zhuang gets to be linked from Chinese and Vietnamese only

--en:User:Chl 27 July 2005

Yes Chl but from an eventualist point of view, this wouldn't be a good idea either because eventually, there will be 3000 Wikipedias, but all of them will be /complete/ encyclopaedias. Why not crint that priggie when we cackle to it? --Node ue 18:30, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
No, when there is a page in nds, we want it to be seen in other languages too. We do not want to be second class citizens in wikiland. We have been treated as a second class language far too long. No way. HeikoEvermann 18:36, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Chl, you won't have to worry about 3,000 different language Wikis. There's only about 2400 languages left, and by the time Wikipedians get enough natural languages supporters from each of those languages to pass in Requests for new languages, at least 75% of those will have gone extinct. (And ancient languages and conlangs have a higher standard to meet than natural languages, so don't worry about those anytime soon.) Almafeta 03:05, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

The one-man-band symptoms[edit]

A complaint about "one-man band" wikis worded as a "highly personal" policy proposal from one person with the assertion that no one else should edit or add to it... is this page looking for an irony award or something? I vote userfy. --66.101.59.18 00:17, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

Let the seeds grow[edit]

I think we shouldn't eliminate small wikis, but instead help them grow. Especially when we are talking about languages with a relatively small number of speakers, wikipedia could be a good way to preserve such languages. I would like to look at them in the same way we look at endangered species. You don't shoot at them, but protect them. As an example, in the first half of June on italian Wikipedia we started a project aimed to our contributors and readers, in which we invited people to contribute (if they can) to the sicilian Wikipedia. I think we will do something similar also for sardinian and friulan. Every language brings with itself history and culture, an heritage that in some cases is at risk. I want a richer Wikipedia not a poorer one. --Snowdog 07:45, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Ditto. Furthermore, who knows?, maybe tomorrow sicilian wiki will start growing at 10% per month --Blakwolf 11:21, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

"Toytoy is jealous": Reaction of a 'top user' of the Indonesian Wikipedia[edit]

I cannot escape to the impression that Toytoy is actually jealous to the achievement of these so-called 'one man band' members or top users with relatively high amount of contribution. Well everything has to start with one man/person. There is a saying "Necessity is the mother of invention". Well as for the one man Wikipedias, I should say that one day many of them would become useful. Who are we to judge? It is preposterous that a big Wikipedia such as the Indonesian language Wikipedia would be closed because of the efforts of few active users. Please note that the Indonesian language Wikipedia has the potential to serve 250 millions people. Meursault2004 15:11, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

Misguided Proposal indeed. I looked at your reasoning for closing things down. These so called "Tests" cited quality control. Are you some kind of Industrial Engineer? I can't see the objective of these "Tests":
  • Is it such a big whopping problem that wikipedia runs slow? Does anyone have any statistical data to support the premise that shutting down some small wikipedias will speed up other big wikipedias? I doubt it.
  • No relations to their free speech? Oh, I heard that before when people talk about the Genocide in Rwanda. I am afraid you're a bit mistaken there. The spirit of an open internet is to encourage and nurture freedom with the importance of nurture, not shutting it down.
Kortsleting 22:43, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

When does a Wikipedia fail?[edit]

That is just the way Wikipedia works. Very few people will feel like contributing when there seems to be too much work to do. Few people have the determination to actually start a Wikipedia from scratch. When these few people have created a considerably large amount of articles, search engine hits will increase, more and more internet users will actually see the articles and will start improving them (especially so if they find these articles to be biased or of low quality). I do not think you should deem a Wikipedia a failure too hastily. – KovacsUr 09:45, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

Worst proposal ever[edit]

Here's why this is the worst proposal ever. Let's say I'm Norwegian or Danish and I want to learn about the Icelandic town of Ísafjarðarbær. Let's check the English wikipedia:

en:Ísafjarðarbær

Nope, looks like a red link (as of today).

Let's check the Icelandic wikipedia:

is:Ísafjarðarbær

Yep, there it is. Now, if I were Norwegian with perhaps a smattering of Icelandic education I could read it, and also translate it into English if need be. Same goes with every small region in the world that most people except for people of that country have never been to.

IOW, your proposal is a proposal for Wikipedia to shoot itself in the foot. Glad to see the debate's been closed already.

I think it's been two months since this proposal and it looks like the English Wikipedia now has a stub article on the town. Where did it come from? Translated from Afrikaans, one of the Wikipedias down at around 5000. 'Nuff said. 211.202.17.124 18:50, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Plurality on this planet[edit]

Dear Toytoy, please consider plurality and reconsider your suggestion... There are more than 3 000 languages on this planet. I peronally think that for a small language like Estonian that you mention in your discussion (and I am not Estonian), 10 000 articles is the same as having one million articles in English. I speak ten languages, ToyToy, and one of them is indeed Estonian. I personally think that this and any other minority language in this world have their right to exist, even more so in the Internet and in an open-source project such as Wikipedia.

If there are only a few articles, who cares? Why would it bother you? Or me? Why would it bother me if there are only n users for such-n-such language (that I do not even speak, nor do I use their pages). Maybe to some minority users even ten articles in their own minority language are worth more than one million articles in a world language such as English, French or Spanish.

This world needs plurality and tolerance. Please, reconsider your suggestion.


This proposal served as a wake up call on my involvement in wiki. As mention in the proposal, it is not a prudent action to be too depend on foreign resources and money. And also it is wiser to have back up, in case future proposal such as these, do get through. I be looking towards supporting local resources based on copyright belong to the author. I have been lax earlier and will be monitoring situation in wiki more closely.Yosri 10:09, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

What's the point of an Esperanto encyclopedia?[edit]

Maybe the following anonymous question asked at the esperanto wikipedia is worth of mention in this context.

>You might consider this a troll, but I don't...

What's the point of an Esperanto encyclopedia? Esperanto is so narrowly-used that it really doesn't provide any benefit to anyone that isn't already reaped from native-language encyclopedias. Again, what's the point?

>I suppose there is no generally valid answer to your question. Everybody has his own views and experiences. Esperanto is a part of my cultural horizon. Using esperanto I´m capable to express myself more freely then in any other foreign language and I feel myself nearly as comfortable as in my mothertongue. And believe it or not; I acquired a considerable part of my knowledge about various areas of interest (above all literature, live and history of other peoples etc.) via esperanto. I've got acquainted to interesting men and women from different corners of the planet, we talked to each other on equal footing (a japanese told me: esperanto is a sort of linguistic handshake; everybody has to make a move towards the other) and all this changed the way I look at the world; I learned to think more in a global context, in a more balanced way. Learned to appreciate the value of foreign cultures (and not only of the so called big ones - every language opens the door to a cultural universe of its own) and at the same time I pay much more attention then before to the cultural values and traditions of my own country.
I've always been hungry for information (like many wikipedians, I presume) , I love good literature. I read much, in German, English, Italian, Norwegian and esperanto. Sometimes I find informations on a certain topic in Italian, informations I could not find in English, sometimes I look for something in German and find it in Esperanto. And of course the best information on topics related to esperanto, its poetry for instance, is available in esperanto. So what's the point of resigning to look for informations in an esperanto encyclopedia? Mo

(And by the way don't 26,500 articles speak for themselves?)

Dear anonymous visiter:
Believe it or not, Esperanto has its own culture, artistic works, music, and NATIVE SPEAKERS. Yes, there are several hundred people that speak Esperanto natively as their first language. (Mom and Dad meet, and are from different nationalities, but both speak Esperanto. Therefore Esperanto is the language spoken in the household.) Some native Esperanto speakers are editors on this Wikipedia. So, if you are saying that this Wikipedia is not worthwhile because there are not many native speakers and other national languages are more worthwhile, you might also want to ask the same question of the folks at the Cherokee or Nauruan Wikipedias, after all, they are narrowly-used, and most people that speak Cherokee or Nauruan also speak English, right?

And that is the point of Esperanto. It allows me to work and communicate with folks from France, Brazil, China, and South Korea, and make good friends which would have been impossible to make before. It allows me to see things from a more global perspective than I would with "just English." And it allows a second language that's simple to learn that does not supplant other languages. Read the Manifest of Prague (in English) to give you a good idea why Esperanto is important.
--Yekrats 11:49, 2. Auxg 2005 (UTC)

If a language is used by a sufficient number of speakers who regularly edit and improve articles, Wikimedia doesn't give a flip if its' English, Dutch, Zulu, or Klingon. 'notability' is not a standard for including a language. Almafeta 10:09, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

I think your proposal is a BAD IDEA and a Catch-22[edit]

I am a frequent contributor to the Esperanto Wikipedia, and occasional contributor to the English Wikipedia (if you discount my interwiki stuff). Since the Esperanto Wikipedia was disparaged as having "one-man band syndrome" with 7.6% of the edits being made by our top user. If you look at our stats page, we've got a pretty nice "contribution curve" with no robots among the top 15 users and no single user far ahead of the others (according to the last wikistats from May).

In the past year, the Esperanto wiki has passed some major milestones. We've surpassed the 20- and 25,000 article mark, garnering some good press from the Esperanto community. Wikipedia is probably one of the top 3 sites in the Esperanto language. We recently implemented a Featured Article of the Week and a Collaboration of the Week, and have a really good group dynamic that has formed. There is a focus on article-quality. New users are coming in, reading, and contributing. We might have never got here if such a policy was in place.

Your proposed policy for closure seems too nebulous and can only hurt Wikipedia rather than help it. Of course, you have proposed it as a policy, but the only benefit I've found that you propose is that you feel the overall quality of wikipedia will improve if several international wikis are cut. The only disadvantages of our current having many smaller wikis you propose is percieved criticism.

Language diversity is important to most of us Esperantists, because you never know when that little idea from a minor-league dialect is going to be important. You never know when the next great Wikipedian is going to come in through a small language. Remember, all Wikipedias were embarrassingly small and struggling as they started. I don't know of any Wikis that could have survived your criteria when they were small.

Surpressing the little languages does us no good. Little languages take very little space and use very little bandwidth, yet they have the potential to attract enthusiastic people to take the reins. So, I think we can think of the little languages like "advertising". If they sit dormant for a month or two without growth, the next great contributor may be just around the corner. If we close a wikipedia because it's "not growing fast enough" or "not having a large enough user base" compared to others, then we cut off their potential of getting to the point where they can grow fast and attract new users. You say that at a minimum, a Wiki has to be able to be used by people, but how does a wiki get there without being small first? What happens if they are pruned before they have a chance to grow? It's a Catch-22.

Furthermore, all of the press coverage I've seen about Wikipedia that mentions its internationalization does so in a positive light.

Please, let's abandon this bad idea. -- Yekrats 19:23, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

"Surpressing the little languages does us no good. Little languages take very little space and use very little bandwidth, yet they have the potential to attract enthusiastic people to take the reins. So, I think we can think of the little languages like "advertising". If they sit dormant for a month or two without growth, the next great contributor may be just around the corner. If we close a wikipedia because it's "not growing fast enough" or "not having a large enough user base" compared to others, then we cut off their potential of getting to the point where they can grow fast and attract new users. You say that at a minimum, a Wiki has to be able to be used by people, but how does a wiki get there without being small first? What happens if they are pruned before they have a chance to grow?" Me too agree with the precedentt contributor. And I find this ideavery bad one! and totally unconsistent to THE SPIRIT AND PHILOSOPHY OF WIKIPEDIA. (Eliott)

Wikipedia is a mean to learn other languages[edit]

(maybe you 'll say I first have to learn English... BUT)

Wikipedia is a mean to learn other languages. I enjoy reading articles in Romanian, it helps me to learn this language. Reading articles in german or in english makes me see another points of view. And I really enjoy reading the esperanto and interlingua Wikipedias : it's so funny to understand nearly all what is written (as a latin-european, it's easier for me). Interlingua is a language that many people can understand without a special formation. (I think all people speaking a latin language).

I don't have to defend Esperanto (Vivu Esperanto!), it has been already done before me. That's a language that everyone is able to learn in a few months! Isn't it great? An esperanto Wikipedia has to exist because of the philosophy of both Wikipedia and Esperanto.


And I've read someone who wrote about some traditional languages : "All people speaking this language who can access to Wikipedia learned a "standard" language at school (english for ex.)". In my opinion, knowledge and cultural exchanges should be accessible to anybody, as well to people who didn't study a lot... in the language that they better know.


(I'm sorry I couldn't express myself as well as I wanted... I would prefer writing in french or, why not, esperanto? )

Laika 21:01, 7 August 2005 (UTC) (France)

This may have gone unnoticed...[edit]

But this was a very funny saga. --Lotsofissues

Merge[edit]

We're talking about merging all the articles, yes? Preserving all content in the process? Not some bizarre Deletionist effort to close a bunch of wikis? Mathiastck 09:01, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Response by Pérez[edit]

  • As contributor to the catalan wikipedia I think to clouse a wikipedia will not be the end of human civization in whole, but that will be the end of some civilizations in the world. There are very much languages that have only a few speakers, not the catalan of course, and may be that languages have not more that one or two contributors to wikipedia; if wikipedia clouse may be that language will dead. In the case of catalan the, I think, the little number, or the big number of contributions of only one contributor is because we have had one very active contributor: Llull whose contributions finished on march, 30 2005. I think is not a good idea to clouse a wikipedia. Pérez 18:24, 6 August 2005 (UTC)