User:Wegge/Election of linkname on no

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Notes about the Skanwiki cooperation, especially in the election to find a new link name on


The beginning of Skanwiki[edit]

The concept of Skanwiki is one of cooperation and consolidation within the four wikipedias in the closely related Scandinavian languages. It was first applied to a specific setup of interwiki links on the Nynorsk Wikipedia, where it is used primarily for a separate Scandinavian interwiki section before the general alphabetic one.

The Skanwiki pages on meta[edit]

Later on, the term Skanwiki was also applied to Scandinavian Wikipedia co-operation in general, and there is now a Scandinavian meta page project hosted here on meta with that name (see Skanwiki). Given that the four major written varieties of Scandinavian languages, Swedish, Danish, and two varieties of Norwegian (bokmål/riksmål and nynorsk) are all mutually intelligible, it makes sense to promote as close a relationship between the respective wikipedias as possible (sv:, da:, no: and nn:).

Skanwiki is a natural meeting place for Scandinavian wikipedians. Tinget is the common discussion forum, while Skanwiki/Skandinaviske ressurser contains one of the most complete list of links to dictionaries and other reference sites of use for all Scandinavian encyclopaedians.

Skanwiki/Utvalgte artikler coordinates the continuous work of displaying featured articles of neighbour wikipedias on the main pages, as exemplified by the display of da, no and sv featured articles on nn:. This project was one of the first Skanwiki achievements, and all but the Swedish wikipedias are currently implementing this.

Friendships between individual wikimedians are already forming across the interwiki borders thanks to Skanwiki, friendships which hopefully will fuel our advance towards our common goal; the representation of all human knowledge in the Scandinavian languages.

A short language history of Norway[edit]

Spoken Norwegian ("norsk") (ISO 639-2 alpha-2 code "no") is in a fairly unique situation compared to most other languages of the world in that it has two widely accepted written standards, Bokmål (ISO 639-2 alpha-2 code "nb") and Nynorsk (ISO 639-2 alpha-2 code "nn"). By national legislation they are both regarded as official written forms of Norwegian. In addition, many people still make a distinction between Bokmål and its precursor which still is in widely use, Riksmål.

Briefly speaking, Bokmål and Riksmål are descendants of the Danish written language. Until the 1800s, Danish was the only widely used written language in Norway as a result of four centuries of union with Denmark. With increasing independence came a wish to norwegianise the Danish standard, with Knud Knudsen at the forefront for changing parts of the vocabulary and orthographics. Thus, Riksmål, and later Bokmål, resulted. These forms together are today probably used by about 90% of Norway's population, or somewhere around 3,500,000 people.

Parallel to this development, a new written standard was created by Ivar Aasen. He travelled extensively throughout Norway, and based his new language, landsmål, on the grammar and vocabulary of dialect samples from around the country. This was later renamed Nynorsk. Modern Nynorsk differs significantly from modern Bokmål, and may be linguistically looked upon as as different (or as similar if you like) as Swedish is to Danish. For English or Dutch/German speakers, the differences may be likened to those between (Lowland) Scots and English or Low German and Dutch. Today it is estimated that about 500,000–600,000 people have Nynorsk as their first written language.

More information about the Norwegian language history can be found in English, German, French, Spanish or Portuguese on the website of the Norwegian Language Council:

The history of bokmål and nynorsk in nowiki[edit]

The first Norwegian wikipedia started 26 November 2001 on the subdomain As most wikipedias, its contributor and article count started really picking up around the end of 2003. At the time, it accepted all written standards of Norwegian, although the amount of Nynorsk was minimal. There were already several debates about the feasibilty and appropriateness of keeping the two languages united on one Wikipedia. On 31 July 2004 a Wikipedia for Nynorsk was created.

The creation of nn:, however, split the community at no: wikipedia. Many felt that given that Nynorsk now had its own wikipedia, no: should become a Bokmål/Riksmål Wikipedia only. Others disapproved and claimed that there was no need to change and that it should continue its language policy of accepting all and keep its interwiki link name of "Norsk".

Nynorsk Wikipedia soon proved a success, as it within the next few months gathered several people who had felt uncomfortable in the (mainly) Bokmål environment at no:. The name displayed in interwiki links became "Norsk (nynorsk)" (languages are not spelt with upper case in Norwegian). To date it continues to be one of the fastest growing wikipedias, with a steady article increase, now at over 7000 articles and >50 editors with more than 10 edits since arrival.

The poll for a new linkname[edit]

The issue of no:'s language policy has come up time and again, and a vote was held in March (no:Wikipedia:Målform) as to which policy to adapt. Independent of the method of the tally (whether or not to include new contributors etc.) there was a majority for switching to a Bokmål/Riksmål only language policy (50% for Bokmål/Riksmål, 43.2% for Bokmål/Riksmål/Nynorsk/Høgnorsk, and 6.8% for the official variants Bokmål/Nynorsk only).

Following this result, a vote was held on which interwiki link name will most appropriately reflect the current language policy of no:. The result of this vote was in favor of a change from "Norsk" to "Norsk (bokmål)" and is currently the name displayed in conjunction with the no code.

Foreign observers[edit]

Due to its controversy, two observers were recruited from the Danish Wikipedia. This was possible because of the close ties between the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish languages. Before the poll started, the observers commented on the technical issues of the poll. Some minor adjustments to the duration of the poll were made. Also a provision for handling disputes (bring in more Skanwiki admins) were put into place. Luckily, these measures were not needed, as the poll itself went without a hitch. Two votes were rejected because of a lack of the requisite number of edits (20) before the set date (1 April).

The poll ran from 29 April to 12 May, both days included, and in that period, the observers took turns to keep an eye on the election page. A recommendation about the handling of not elegible votes were given during the poll, when it became a question. Apart from that, it was a pretty easy task. At the end of the election, the final result was verified by the two observers.

This system worked well and can hopefully be copied in the future.