User talk:Leptictidium

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Ave Lepticidie, atque vale! Hic sunt enim ideae meae, quas petis a me. Nam credo te magnae sinceritatis hominem esse. (És la veritat: és un plaer rebre un messatge d'una persona que sap articular idees i no te por d'arguments.)

Now back to English. It really was a pleasure to read your message. I'm sorry you used the word en:fallacy, which has a meaning that doesn't apply (a "fallacy" is, stricto sensu, a logical mistake). Let's see if I can make myself clear. (I'm a bit lengthy, but I wanted to be as precise as possible; I hope you'll forgive me for that.)

1. You said: "Of course Arnomane has not discussed within the vo.wp community which is (logically) biased in favour of keeping all these articles. It is even more biased by the fact that you, main defendant of vo.wp, are one of the few users of that wiki."

Now, here is a good example of a "fallacy" in the technical sense: an argument that contains a mistake (in this case a hidden wrong assumption), so that the conclusions don't follow from the premises. The active users at vo.wp are certainly interested in developing vo.wp and in helping it grow; but they don't have to agree that lots of bot-created articles are the best way to do that. Look at the Lombard case: several users of the Lombard wikipedia were in favor of radical measures, deleting stubs, changing criteria about dialects, giving up the koine dialect that the bot users had developed... It is logically perfectly possible that some vo.wp active user(s) sincerely want to work in vo.wp, and yet don't agree with my opinion of what is best for it. If Arnomane had discussed this problem there, he might have had support (since he didn't, I've started the discussion myself: look at vo:Vükiped:Kafetar). The fallacy: you have a hidden premise here: that all members of a community will necessarily think alike about how to improve their common work. They often don't; that's how communities split. But, assume you happened to be right: assume that everybody at vo.wp had said no to Arnomane's ideas. He could then claim: I tried, and it didn't work. He could then ask the help of Meta admins, or ask a steward's opinion; and then eventually submit his "Radical Cleanup" proposal. In his rationale, he could have discussed the arguments presented by the vo.wp users against his idea, and shown them to be wrong (if they were wrong of course -- they might also be right...). He failed to do any that. This did not look good for his credibility. He was hasty, he avoided proper procedure, he showed no respect for wiki-autonomy. And that is a pity, because, as far as I can tell, he is a good person.

2. (about Fossa): That [= what I said to Fossa -- SM] is but a vulgar ad hominem argument. You try to discredit a person's argument by means of his opinion. What else can I say?

Now, here you didn't commit a fallacy; here, you simply ignored the context. As you recall, in my first message to Fossa, I merely stated the arguments he had raised during the first closure proposal had been answered. He reacted by saying he had better things to do, and for this discussion, his only argument would be "Death to Volapük". Now, it is of course possible that he is exaggerating, but it is also possible that he isn't. He should say himself whether he is being ironical or not. I think it stands to reason that "Death to Volapük" is something a Volapük hater would say, so I think characterising him as a Volapük hater is a natural conclusion. Someone who says "Death to Blacks!" is probably an anti-Black racist, wouldn't you say? Now, of course it doesn´t necessary follow that a Volapük hater -- or an anti-Black racist -- is always wrong, even in their opinions about Volapük or Blacks. If they have arguments to support them, of course. But where are Fossa's arguments? "Spampedia"? That is emotional talk: it simply means, "I don't like your work", not "I have a reason for that". When I politely asked him to provide new arguments, he refused (I quote: "I didn't even vote in the closure proposal, as it appeared futile to do so, let alone put forth some arguments"). So, my question to you: exactly what arguments is my (correct, given his own words) characterisation of Fossa as a Volapük hater discreting? As you see, there waren't any.

3. (You had four points here, which I briefly summarize; please correct me if I'm wrong. (a) Volapük is not the only target, it's simply the first one; if there are other similar cases, they will be taken care of later. (b) Volapük is like Klingon; if Klingon doesn't deserve a Wikipedia, neither does Volapük. (c) Dead languages like Old English, Latin, Greek -- I assume you mean Ancient Greek, not Modern Greek -- deserve Wikipedias because they used to have native speakers, had great literature and still have impact in today's world. (d) Even if there are other shabby Wikipedias, it doesn't mean Volapük has the right to be shabby too.)

Now, here you seem to be reacting to several different points in the discussion, not only my reply to TheK (which you quoted). Notice the context: TheK's claim was that Volapük was not a viable language, because it doesn't have many speakers, therefore it shouldn't have a Wikipedia. My answer: (i) this is supposedly not a closure proposal, so we shouldn't be talking about how many speakers the languages have, but about stubs and whether they should be deleted or not; (ii) since you (= TheK) want to talk about the viability of Volapük as a language, I'll mention others that have also very few speakers: Old English is the obvious example, since there are probably very few people who could even write an article about, say, the history of the European Union or Baroque art -- or, for that matter, even about the life of English peasants during the Old English Period -- in Old English. (Ancient Greek, and Latin -- especially Latin -- have more people who could do that; I think I could, for Latin, tough it would cost me a lot of time; but I honestly don't think you could fill up many buses with such people...). Since the Old English Wikipedia does exist and is actually improving, I conclude that the not-many-speakers argument is not sufficient to make a Wikipedia a bad idea. I also argued that dead languages didn't have native speakers and still can have Wikipedias. I also said Volapük, as a language (not as a literary medium or in terms of its history, but simply as a language usable by humans to express their thoughts) is not worse than the dead languages. That was it: I was arguing against the not-many-speakers argument, I was not arguing against Latin, Ancient Greek or Old English as good languages or as good Wikipedia languages; I wasn't even comparing their literature and history to Volapük. I didn't say dead languages are bad, or don't deserve Wikipedias; in fact, I strongly support the right of dead languages to have Wikipedias (for reasons that I explained in the discussion of the first closure proposal). Therefore, your three points really don't refer to what I said there.
However, in all fairness, they are interesting points. So let me react to them (but note these comments are not meant as a reaction to what TheK said; they are a reaction to the points I saw in your comments and summarized above, which were neither in TheK's comments nor in my reaction which you quoted).
  • Volapük is not the only target. Yes, if Arnomane is a sincere person, it would logically follow that Volapük couldn't be his own target. Fossa is the Volapük-hater, not Arnomane. But my argument against him doesn't depend on how many targets he has: my main claim is that it is not wrong to create articles with bots (which by now clearly is the reason for the proposal), even up to 95% of a Wikipedia. Or, at most, that whether or not this is right or wrong is a community-internal issue, and he didn't bring it up within the community first (i.e., as BirgitteSB said: he violated wiki-autonomy without any strong reason like a violation of WMF principles). So, if there are other Wikipedias who created lots of bot-articles, Arnomane thinks they're wrong, too; and I think they're not wrong, too. It doesn't matter if Volapük is the only one or not; the argument I make is the same anyway.
  • Volapük is like Klingon. Well, in this case, as in the case of Latin, Old English, and Ancient Greek, the history and the literature would make a big difference. If you check Volapük sources (I won't mention them here but you can ask me later if you're interested), you'll see it had about 100 published books (including translations of Dante, the New Testament, Goethe, Andersen, La Fontaine, etc., about 50 different journals (some 20 of which were exclusively written in Volapük), and hunderds of thousands of supporters. It is only today that Volapük has fallen down to only 20-50 speakers and one journal (the Vög Volapüka). Klingon does not compare. So, if you accept historical importance as a justification for a Wikipedia, Volapük is much better off than Klingon. (Note I am not comparing Volapük literature to Latin literature; I am comparing it to Klingon literature.) As for being a "constructed language": Esperanto is also a constructed language and has a good Wikipedia. Constructed languages can have good Wikipedias too. (Note: I am most definitely not against the Esperanto Wikipedia; I am an Esperantist myself and have made occasional contributions to the Esperanto Wikipedia).
  • Dead languages were and are great, and they deserve Wikipedias. I agree 100%: Latin, Ancient Greek and Old English literature is wonderful (Arma virumque cano... Passer mortuus est meae puellae... Hwaet! we gardena...). And they do deserve Wikipedias. My reasons for thinking so -- despite the lack of native speakers, and despite the fact that their discussion pages are usually in other languages, etc. -- can be found in the discussion of the first closure proposal.
  • If there are other shabby Wikipedias, this doesn't mean Volapük has the right to be shabby. I agree with the principle: bad deeds don't justify other bad deeds. I never used this as an argument. In the case of TheK, I was merely pointing out that the not-many-speakers argument is not good (languages with few speakers still deserve to have Wikipedias). As for the spirit of what you say: do we really have a bad deed here? Is the Volapük Wikipedia really so "shabby"? Are bot-created articles, even at 95% of the total number, so "bad"? I challenge this claim. And, above all: shouldn't the Volapük community be the one to decide anyway?

4. You said: I checkd that figure myself. (then you said you found 76% bot-articles in a random sample test).

Your figure is too low: my own calculations (see the last section in the second closure -- or "radical cleanup" -- proposal for details) suggest that about 95-98% of the articles in the Volapük Wikipedia are robot stubs. (Maybe you misinterpreted longish articles like vo:Phoenix (Arizona) as being human-created rather than bot-created? Such articles were also robot-created, like the famous Rambot articles from the English Wikipedia, of which they are translations.) But here notice something interesting: You misread my comment. If you look at the quotation you made, you will see I said links to Volapük stubs are less than 10% of the total (of interwiki links). And that is indeed true. In other words: there are many interwiki links to robot-created stubs that are not in the Volapük Wikipedia. This is because there are lots of robot-created stubs in the English, Dutch, French, Portuguese... (etc.) Wikipedias. I am guessing that the number of such bot-created articles in the other Wikipedias is about 10 times bigger than the number of bot-created articles in the Volapük Wikipedia. So Volapük bot-created stubs are about 10% (my guess) of all bot-created stubs in all Wikipedias, and therefore links to Volapük bot-created stubs are 10% of all interwiki links to bot-created stubs. You can check that yourself if you want. A few examples of bot-created stubs from other Wikipedias: nl:Buchères, en:O'Fallon (Illinois), pt:Alliance (Ohio) (check their history pages). If you look around, you'll find lots of others (e.g. get the name of the bot that wrote each of these pages, go to this bot's user page, and check its contributions at the time these articles were created; of course bots do many things besides creating articles, but if you look through the list you'll eventually find other examples).

5. I said: I don't think anybody here, supporter or opposer, really thinks Arnomane's proposal will do anything to improve vo.wp., and you replied: Yet another fallacy: this time, it is w:Appeal to belief. Besides, "I don't think sth" isn't a particularly strong argument.

Well, you would be right if this had been an argument in support of something. But as you correctly pointed out, it is not an argument: it is a claim. As you certainly realize, a claim cannot be a fallacy (only a flawed argument could); a claim can only be right or wrong. I did not provide evidence for my claim, because I thought it was obvious from the proposal, and it wasn't important to what I was saying; that doesn't make it a fallacy, it simply makes it unsupported. Of course, it could be wrong. If you want to show that, you only have to find comments from any participants showing that s/he thinks deleting 95-98% of vo.wp and transferring the rest to the incubator (an action WF-Warburg suggests may actually be impossible and would be equivalent to closure) will actually help improve the quality of vo.wp. (They may think it is a fair punishment for vo.wp's perceived "bad behavior"; but this is different from thinking it will help vo.wp. And my claim was that nobody thought doing this would help vo.wp.)

6. I said: Another point: in suggesting that bot articles be removed, you're bypassing the opinion of the people involved: those who contribute to vo.wp. Please consider discussing your proposal and your arguments there beforehand!. You replied: See point 1.

Well, my reply is also: See point 1. Obviously. :-)...

7. You said: You have already proved that you strongly oppose any cleanup at vo.wp. With this sentence, you're only asking for this proposal to be evaluated exclusively by a biased community (biased because instead of being neutral, they have all voiced their strong opposition to cleanup), therefore allowing you to decide on this subject on your own. If the other thing is the wiki equivalent of a coup d'état, your proposal is the wiki equivalent of an autocratic dictatorship.

Let me see: you're saying that, since all vo.wp has already voiced their opposition to this proposal, then they would be biased and their opinions don't count? Now, this is not very nice. Consider: if everybody had supported the proposal for radical cleanup, would this mean they are biased, and that their opinions don't count? If you are consistent, you would have to claim that any unanimous decision is in principle wrong. This looks like a reductio ad absurdum to me :-)... And you're missing the essential thing here: in order to oppose Arnomane's proposal, the vo.wp would have to present arguments. And their opposition could afterwards be judged on the base of these arguments. It would be easy to demosntrate that they had been biased later on, at Meta -- if their arguments had been biased. If they presented no arguments, so much the better: Arnomane could then claim they had nothing to oppose to his arguments... See, it would have been so good for his cause if he had tried to discuss his plans in vo.wp first and we, as you claim, had actually rejected him with biased arguments. Yes! This would have made his later proposal at Meta more credible. "I tried, but they didn't give any logical/coherent answers." (Of course, I think we would have given him good reasons, just like the ones in the currect discussion. But we'll never know now, since he didn't try.)

8. You said: Once again, you have to resort to pointing out the flaws of other Wikipedias in order to hide Volapük's. The short stubs in Dutch wikipedia are more than compensated for by the great number of long, useful articles. This isn't quite the case in Volapük, is it?.

Now, Leptictidium, you're beginning to sound offensive ("resort"?; "hide"?). But OK, let's see. The point made in my comment is something like: if you are against bot-created articles, you should want to delete them everywhere were they're plentiful. You say you are; you're submitting a proposal for the Polish Wikipedia. So you're going to try to do this for as well, right? After all, if bot-created articles are bad, then the exitence of longer articles doesn't justify them. If John commits a crime, he should be punished, even if he also did good things. After all, as the rationale says: the proposal is not to end the wiki, just to delete the useless stuff. So nl.wp should be a good case too. In fact, the great English Wikipedia, with its tens of thousands of bot-created articles, should also be "cleaned up". Only the bad articles are deleted after all, right? As far as I can see, this is a valid conclusion.
But there's another point in what you said, different from what I was trying to say to Certh: you're saying that lots of long articles justify lots of bot-created stubs, while the absence of long articles means bot-created stubs are bad. In other words: it's the proportion of bot-stubs to long articles that you consider as the definitional factor. So you're not entirely against bot-created articles; you just think there should be a quota (say, not more than 10%). Am I right? Well, then, here we have a difference of opinons. Since I don't think bot-created stubs are bad, I don't think there's any necessary limits to the proportion of bot stubs to long articles. To avoid misunderstandings, please note: I'm not seaing bot-created articles are better, or even as good as long articles: I am saying that they are not bad, and that they should not be limited. Of course it would be better if all those stubs were long articles full of information; but if they are short stubs, that doesn't make them bad. They have little information, but they are good enough (not "wonderful", just "good enough, OK-ish, more or less") as long as this information is: (a) accurate, (b) relevant (all Encyclopedias include this information), and (c) well-presented (i.e. readers can understand and use it).

9. You said: Bot-created articles aren't bad by themselves. They can be useful for creating and maintaining articles nobody is likely to work on, but only for those cases. When bot-created articles become the norm instead of the exception, that is when they become bad.

I note you're not discussing a possible "fallacy" in my comment, you're actually directly responding to it. Good, that's OK. You've confirmed that what you think is bad is the proportion of bot-created stubs to long articles. OK, that's your opinon, I respect it. I disagree, for the reasons I summarized in point 8. above. If you would like to comment, I'd be interested to in your answer.

10. I said: in fact, there's a TV program here in the Netherlands who wants to do a little 2-minute report on Volapük because of the Vükiped -- wouldn't it be bad coverage if they had to report that non-Volapük users forced Volapük users to delete articles?.... Your comment: Maybe that was not what you wanted to convey but that has blackmail written all over it: don't attack vükiped because that will give you a bad reputation. Choose your words better if it was not your intent to blackmail proponents.

Now, maybe that is not what you wanted to convey, but your comment has offense written all over it! :-)... Look at the context from which you took this quotation. You see, it's dangerous to interpret quotations out of context (If I took your "that has blackmail written all over it" out of context I could try to use it to claim that you were making an ad hominem against me... but the context clearly shows you're not doing that.). If you look, you'll see Aphaia had just mentioned that she had seen a discussion in a Japanese discussion group in which the Volapük Wikipedia was highly criticized; this was bad publicity for the WMF, and the PR committee wanted to avoid that. So something should be done about vo.wp. What I said then would mean something like: wouldn't it be even worse publicity if a TV program said the WMF was forcing a certain Wikipedia to delete stub articles without consulting the community in question? (Considering that the program would be about how the WMF is giving space for languages with few speakers to flourish with Volapük as an example, how could I avoid to mention the possibility of forced deletions?...) If you want more details on this case, I wrote about it -- including a suggested transcription of the little 2-3 minute program (unfortunately in Dutch...) -- on Aphaia's talk page (see here). To summarize: maybe the Volapük Wikipedia can be good publicity for the WMF after all.

11. I said (summarizing): we're not simply one anymore, we're at least 5, perhaps more. Your comment: Five contributors instead of one hardly improve the situation. fr:Verlan is used by many more people yet nobody tries to create a Verlan wikipedia, do they? Granting the privilege of having a Wikipedia to any group of twenty people who speak a language they have invented is nonsense - think of the potential number of tiny Wikipedias that could imply. On the other hand, all Volapük contributors understand other languages far better than they understand Volapük - actually, I have seen none who surpasse Vo-2 level. What is the point in keeping a Wikipedia in a language that virtually nobody speaks as a first language, knowing that people will tend to look up the article in a language they understand better?

I notice again you're not pointing out a "fallacy" in my argument, but actually reacting to a comment. OK, that's fair. Your main point is: small user communities (say 5) don't deserve Wikipedias, because then there would be too many projects. Well, about this I could say: (a) that already is the case: there are lots of WMF projects with fewer than 5 active speakers. Just look through the smaller projects and you'll find lots of that. And: why exactly is this bad? If there would be 20,000 projects, including one in Verlan (since there is one in Simple English, I am also surprised nobody has tried to get one in Verlan), why would this be bad? (b) The guidelines for new projects (I'm quoting from memory) talk about a viable community, i.e. one that can take care of the administrative tasks (i.e., I assume: combatting vandalism, organising the work of other users, etc.) and can go on creating articles and discussing them. 5 people are certainly sufficient to that (to have an example from, look up the discussion on the talk page of the article on genetic algorithms involving me, Robert and Malafaya). In other words: it does work, so why claim it's not big enough to work? (Now, a small note: even if it were true that it would be nonsense to give a Wikipedia to "every group of twenty people who created a language", this still wouldn't include Volapük -- none of us created it, it existed already before any of us were born.)
You also make another point -- a point which has nothing to do with the comment you quoted, but which deserves an answer anyway: besides being very few, all Volapük contributors understand other languages better than Volapük, so what's the point of giving them a Wikipedia? Now, this is a question I have written a lot about in the discussion of the first closure proposal, especially in the section: Why should Wikipedia have versions in 'small' languages? (see here). Basically: there are lots of "apparently useless" Wikipedias, since their potential users and the project community members are (a) very few (e.g. Inupiaq, Hawaiian, SeSotho -- the latter has many speakers but very few Wikipedians) or (b) speak other languages better or just as well as their project language (e.g. the dead languages like Latin, Ancient Greek, Old English; and the dialectal Wikipedias like Lombardo, Zeeuws, Võro, etc. whose users all speak the standard languages of their countries: respectively Italian, Dutch, Estonian). My claim: this doesn't make the idea of a Wikipedia for them bad: their Wikipedias should simply have different goals than the bigger projects like en.wp or de.wp (whose goal is to be a "repository of all human knowledge). In fact, defining their goal is part of why they're interesting, and gives a good space for creative ideas. (Note that this is just a summary; please read also my comments from the first closure proposal, in several different points, if you're really interested in this topic.)

Phew! That was a lot of work. Now, I hope I have satisfied your desire to know my reactions; I am also waiting eagerly for yours. It's very good to talk to someone who actually does present arguments! Of course, you have mostly misread me, and your arguments, claims and reactions usually miss the point I was trying to make in my comments; but you do articulate them, and you do try to use logics and to give answers and new arguments of your own. That is so refreshing, after people like Arnomane (to say nothing of Fossa)!

Oh, I forgot: you want proof that vo.wp will solidly improve. Of course I can't give you that: nobody can predict the future. But let me reassert what I had said in the discussion of the first closure proposal: if, after a period of two years (a time span I took more or less at random: I simply chose the time it took for the German Wikipedia to grow from 0 to 100 000 articles) the Volapük community has not increased sufficiently and the overall quality indicators of the project haven't improved significantly, I will myself abandon the project and submit another closure proposal. Nobody can guarantee that vo.wp will improve, just like nobody can ever guarantee that any new project will develop well. You have to try. I can, however, offer circumstancial evidence that the project is improving: the number of users has increased, new articles are being written by humans (look up the articles in the category: vo:Klad:Yegeds vipabik = desirable articles, based on the List of articles here at Meta), old articles are being corrected (if you look at my contributions at the Volapük Wikipedia, or those of Malafaya, you'll see we've been spending a lot of time correcting mistakes in stubs; a number of anonymous users have also given some help), and new goals are being set. Again: I can't guarantee that this is going to become even better, or even remain like this, in the future; maybe it won't. But then again maybe it will. Who knows?... The history of Wikipedia itself shows that unexpected things do happen. Only time will tell.

As for moving the messages to the proposal page: well, you're free to do that if you want, but it looks to me like adding a lot to an already quite big page. I suggest that you (or I) just mention this exchange and place the appropriate links there. What do you think?

Do you also like Albanian? Shqip është nje gjuhë shumë e bukur, mua më pëlquen shumë të flas shqip... Thanks for your wishes! I wished the people at the proposal discussion were as polite as you are.

Leptictidium, eh? I was once a free-time fossile hunter. I even found a few trilobites in a field trip once. I'm more into invertebrates like Opabinia and Sanctacaris (on which I wrote Volapük articles: see vo:Opabinia and vo:Sanctacaris), for the reasons Stephen Gould has made obvious. I'm no specialist though, far from it. Just a linguist.

Have a nice evening too! I'm eagerly waiting for your reactions to my comments here. Again, thanks a lot for this opportunity!

--Smeira 03:15, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Reply II[edit]

Oi Leptictidium! Português também? Que maravilha, é bom ver gente interessada em línguas. Estou gostando mais desta conversa do que da discussão na página da proposta. Mas bem, lá vai. (Back to English: the world language...)

Volapük bias?[edit]

There are other active Wikipedians there, though less so than Malafaya and I. Check also the contributions of: vo:Geban:Hillgentleman, vo:Geban:Zifs, vo:Geban:Robert (he's the author of an article on genetic algorithms, by the way), vo:Geban:Chabi, and vo:Geban:LadyInGrey. Even if they aren't there every day like Malafaya and me, they can be easily reached and would be called up to give an opinion if Arnomane had brought up the topic there first. (I could also mention vo:Geban:HannesM, who hasn't contributed in a while but who mentioned on my talk page that he had personal reasons for that and would soon come back; and vo:Geban:Manie, who hasn't been around for quite a while because he got more interested in his Afrikaans wiktionary project, but who certainly would have come back to give his opinion on Arnomane's project if we asked him to.)

But there is the main point I raise: even if all these people had agreed to reject Arnomane's project, it doesn't follow that they have a bias. They might simply have a reason for that, supported by arguments. As I said before: unanimous decisions are not necessarily biased. Everybody here probably would agree that racism is bad, and this doesn't mean we're biased. (And having said that, my experience with these people does not suggest that they would have all agreed in rejecting Arnomane's proposal. In fact I would myself be quite curious to see what they'd say, given all the complaints, justified or unjustified, that these stubs have generated.)

Fossa the Volapük hater[edit]

Yes, Fossa could have non-emotional arguments. That's why I said guess, not know. If someone had said: 'Death to Blacks!', I think it wouldn't be very hard to guess what kinds of "arguments" s/he would have for saying this (from everybody's experience with racism: everything from "Blacks are naturally inferior", "Blacks are born criminals", etc. to the milder "I'm not against Blacks, I just think that races should be segretated"). Of course I can't guarantee this is what such a person would give as his/her arguments, but, as they say in English, that would certainly be the way to bet. Now, as in any guess -- naturally weaker than a claim -- there is a significant amount of chance of error. This hypothetical Negro-hater might actually say something we wouldn't have expected. So could Fossa. But I'd still say: that was the way to bet. And s/he can always mention which arguments s/he has (other than the ones already mentioned in the first closure proposal), thereby showing my guess to be wrong. S/he would still have violated civility rules though, as you agree.

Of course, your point (if I understand it correctly) is slightly different: you're saying (I think) that I was unnecessarily impolite. My claim that "we all could guess" Fossa's arguments may be right in the sense I explained in the previous paragraph, but it might still be impolite. Here maybe you have a point: I could have behaved like a robot (a bot? :-) and pretended I didn't have any (I think justifiable) bad feelings about Fossa's "Death to Volapuek" (sic). All I can say here is: I'm human too. (For a similarly clear case of a Volapük hater who even expressed his/her hate feelings in all words, look up the "contributions" of User:Elephas in the discussion of the first closure proposal. In Elephas' case you could certainly say my reactions were sometimes angry; and I'll agree, I sometimes lowered myself almost to his/her level.)

But honestly, would you have reacted much differently if Fossa or Elephas had aimed their "comments" at you, or at a topic you care about? Some of the words you used in your first comments on my talk page suggest to me that some of my opinions also caused a certain "emotional" reaction in you (no offense intended: I'm just mentioning what I think may have happened); maybe you'd also not have reacted like a robot to a Fossa-like claim about you or your favorite topics?

The four points: reactions[edit]

Comparing Volapük and other languages[edit]

Well, there are lots of interesting threads to follow in what you say about language and culture. As a professional linguist myself (I'm a specilist on South American (Amazonian) languages), let me say that the issue of language and culture is very complicated: it's not so much that language needs culture, but that language and culture both develop together so you usually don't find one without the other (eggs can't exist if there are no hens either). I understand your point about the shared cultural context (specialists might call it shared pragmatic assumptions, or also en:John Searle's concept of background); but let me say that the extent to which this actually hinders communication in real cases is an empyrical question, easy to test, despite theoretical expectation. In my contacts with Volapükists, I never had any problems understanding them or being understood by them. (Of course, using English would have been easier, but that doesn't mean that using Volapük wasn't also possible and comfortable. And, as in all languages -- even those you don't know as a native -- there are a few things that are better or more aptly said in Volapük than in English...)

Concerning dead languages: note that your argument would also work for them in today's world. Of course the ancient native speakers of e.g. Old English would all have shared background and culture, and would communicate wonderfully with each other; but nobody in today's world can claim to have such a command of their cultural background. Historical sources are simply not plentiful and detailed enough to allow anybody in today's world to develop this kind of competence. And even if they were, one could claim that, by missing the experience of having contact with real native speakers, this person would still be theoretically inferior to them in his/her knowledge of their cultural background.

Let me address the idea that "Volapük has no culture". There are two ways in which this could be claimed to be false:

  • Volapük has a history, with lots of publications, interesting characters, a tragic history with Shakespearean overtones, all well worth a book (one of my very far-away projects is to write such a book on Volapük history, by the way). It also has a literature (not a great one, no Shakespeares, but still): about 100 books, between translations and originals, some 50 journals (about 20 exclusively in Volapük, a few of which went on being published monthly for over 20 years), and occasional publications in other venues. I think the whole text corpus of Volapük literature would run around 500 000 words or so (that's a guess again :-) -- it will be the main target of Volapük Wikisource project I submitted a while ago, and which has now been conditionally approved. This history and literature is a shared background between all Volapük speakers; in fact, it often is the main reason for someone to become a Volapükist (it played an important role in my own case). Even though this is certainly less than the whole gamut of the "shared cultural background" (pragmatic pressupositions, etc.) of native speakers of a language, this is certainly not "zero". Just like Esperantists have "culture-specific words" like kabei (a verb: "to work passionately for a while in favor of Esperanto as a member of the Esperanto movement, then suddenly disappear without leaving a trace or explaining why"; based on Kabe, or Kazimierz Bein, a Polish Esperantist who did exactly that in the beginning of the 20th century), Volapükists also have "culture-specific words" like "cifal" (something like 'high chief', actually 'cif' = "chief" + '-al' 'highest order, chief of', a word which is difficult to translate accurately and which is used to name the leader of the Volapük movement -- curently vo:Brian Reynold Bishop, living in England). In fact, the whole structure of the late 19th-century Volapük movement, with various degrees ("tidel", "löpitidel", "plofed", "kademan", "guvan", one or two "prizes" and "medals", etc., each with their rights and privileges, somewhat reminiscent of a Massonic lodge or of a chivalry order) that survive, with changes, to the present day, is also part of what I would like to call a "Volapük culture", a "Volapük heritage" if you will, shared by Volapükists.
  • The other way in which Volapük can be said to have a culture is that it, of course, was created, developed and brought to maturity within a certain pre-existing culture, that of its inventor vo:Johann Martin Schleyer and its early supporters: the Western Culture, more specifically its Northern/Central European version. Volapük fits well with other products of late 19th-century (vo:Andrew Drummond, who wrote a hilarious fiction book on the Volapük Movement titled A Hand-book of Volapük, mentioned to me once similarities in structure and ethos between the Volapük Movement and early idealistic movements in Europe like communism; Mark Orkrand, in his book on the history of the Esperanto movement, mentioned the same about Esperanto). Several things in the grammar, and especially in the vocabulary of Volapük show also its roots in (Northern/Germanic) Western Culture, which can be claimed to be the yet another background shared by Volapükists.

Last but not least, your claim about Volapük is, mutatis mutandis, also applicable to all constructed languages. You would probably like to ask the opinion of Esperantists about whether or not they have an 'Esperantist Culture', or a 'shared cultural background' that allows them to understand each other easily and without confusions despite coming from countries all over the world. Being myself an Esperantist, I can also guarantee that, just as in the case of Volapuk, I have never had any problems in understanding or being understood by other Esperantists, even when using English would have been 'easier'. (Another item of Esperanto cultural trivia: speaking a language other than Esperanto to another Esperantist, even when both have the same native language, is frowned upon and called krokodili = "to crocodilize"...) In fact, quite a lot has been written by Esperantists on Esperanto, its culture and its legitimacy; you could ask people from the Esperanto Wikipedia. Yekrats, one of their admins who is also participating in the debate on the radical cleanup proposal, has strong opinions on Esperanto culture, as I recall. You may find them interesting.)

Now, on to the:

The other detailed points[edit]

1. I fully agree that human contributions are the most important thing to have in a Wikipedia. Without any humans, there is indeed no point. But I do think that bots can contribute in significant ways by creating stubs, even at the 95% level. To wit: bots are great for creating articles/stubs -- no matter how many -- which contain information that, though accurate, relevant, and useful, is very repetitive and rather boring. The point is not simply that nobody in nl.wp would really find nl:Buchères so interesting as to want to write a really good article about it -- which is probably true, I agree. It's also that information about Buchères is also relevant for a reference work like an encycopledia, and should eventually be there; or else there would be gaps in the coverage. Since the information in question is statistical, it can be handled relatively easily by letting bots create articles. If nobody later on improves such a stub... still there is one less gap in the coverage. If the information is accurate, then anyone who someday might, for whatever reason, want to know where Buchères is and how many people lived there at the time of the 1999 French census, s/he will be able to. If the stub didn't exist, this would not be possible, and the resulting Wikipedia would be slightly less good that it could be. To give a different dietary real-life example: if you eat all kinds of food and some vitamine supplements, but there is one little element missing, say one obscure mineral salt, the consequences may not be terrible; it might not make you sick, you might not even really notice, most of the time, that, say, some organ somewhere was working slightly less efficiently than it could; still you would be slightly better off if this element was included in your diet and the organ in question was working better.

2. I agree that Ancient Greek and Latin have more varied and deeper cultures than Volapük, and that these cultures have had more impact on us and are, for us, more worthy of being preserved than Volapük (though I think there is much more interesting work in Volapük than I think you give it credit for; see my comments on Volapük culture above; cf. also the Esperanto culture.). But there's an interesting assumption in what you say here: is the goal of the Latin Vicipaedia the preservation of Latin culture? (Ditto for Ancient Greek or Old English?) Is the preservation of a culture or language the, or at least an, argument for opening a Wikipedia project? In the discussion of the proposal, everybody talks about viable communities (of speakers or Wikipedians, whichever your prefer) and the goal of building a great encyclopedia, not about preserving the culture of the language in which the project is developed. If preservation is the goal, then there surely would be no reason for the Turkish Wikipedia to have an article on ca:Tiurana. Now, I'm not saying this is not the goal; in fact, if you check what I said about 'small language' Wikipedias in the discussion of the first closure proposal here at Meta, you'll see I suggested something similar as a possible goal for them (basically: small-language Wikipedias, unlike larger projects like en.wp, could, by their very nature, never aspire at being a "comprehensive repository of all human language"; that would be simply unfeasible). But I am saying that nobody is mentioning this as an important point in the discussion thus far.

Having said this: if "preserving and documenting culture and language" is an important goal for a Wikipedia -- and it may very well be so --, then how do you decide when a culture is "sufficiently important" to be preserved? Anthropologists would say any human culture is important, even if the remaining members of this culture are very few (some of the dying languages I work on in South America -- e.g. Akuriyó or Karihona -- have only 15, 10 speakers; others have 5, 4, even only 1 remaining speaker; this means full culture documentation is no longer possible, since only what those few individuals remember can still be documented, and that's certainly less than there was before; still it's supposed to be a worthy goal). Historians would say that any dead culture is implicitly interesting in its development and quite worthy of historical attention and preservation: the extinct Anasazi in New Mexico, the Mayan cultures in Central America, the prehistoric but nameless indigenous cultures that once existed along the Amazon river (see Anna Roosevelt's book Amazon Indians for a good introduction to the topic), all of them had little or no impact on Western Culture and its development till 2007, yet they -- i.e. whatever remains there are of them -- are all (historians would claim) worthy of documentation and preservation. Historians would also say that all historical movements are equally interesting and worthy of preservation, though not necessarily equally important for today's world: the Communist movement certainly had much more impact, but that doesn't mean that the much less important Esperanto (or Volapük) movements aren't worthy of preservation.

And, as I said before, I don't think Volapük culture is as poor as you claim. Johann Schmidt's original poem Esepülobs libi (= we have buried freedom), for instance, was an early anti-Nazi protest (written in Germany, during the Nazi period; isn't it great that Hitler couldn't read Volapük? :-). The same author wrote two short novels: Man labü klotem blägik (= The man in black (clothes)) and Dom in klerätalusüt (= The house on the church alley). vo:Albert Sleumer wrote scientific articles (mostly on comparative religion and historical topics); see "Yegeds nolavik" (scientific articles) in his bibliography in the multilingual Wikisource here. vo:Ralph Midgley (the current guvan or administrator of the Volapük world -- not the cifal or high chief, who is Brian Bishop) also wrote one: Ab sol nidon ai plu (= Yet the sun still shines). There are also a number of short stories and poems is also quite high; just browse through the "poems" category and the "short stories" category in the multilingual Wikisource. And this is far from being the whole corpus: it's just what I've managed to upload there thus far. Also, the above are in today's Volapük; the earlier dialect, "original Volapük", has a lot more (though I've thus far uploaded very little, you can get an idea of how much original work was done by browsing the table of contents of journals like Kosmopolan, from Australia). If we're talking about the culture, not simply the language, then Volapük journals in other languages also count (look at the table of contents of Volapükel Nedänik = The Dutch Volapükist).

Of course, all this is much less than English, or than Latin and Ancient Greek, and, nowadays, even less than Esperanto. But it's far from "nothing", and I would claim that this literature, plus the historical importance of Volapük, certainly make it a worthy language -- if preservation and documentation are sufficiently good goals for a Wikipedia project.

On your last comments: I certainly agree that getting more contributors from this discussion would be great. In fact, getting more people interested in developing vo.wp was actually the main original reason for beginning to upload city stubs. I'll go further: I agree indeed that a good community is much more important than these stubs; so, although I stand by what I said above about bot articles being good, and completeness of coverage being a good idea (I really do think so, and I am prepared to argue in favor of it), if deleting stubs will get more people interested in developing vo.wp and helping it flourish (if, say, some people say they will do it on this condition), then I'll accept the deal. In fact, I will myself personally delete the stubs, as many of them as necessary -- if the result will be that, say, ten, even five new very active contributors will join the vo.wp community. (Would you do that, for instance? ;-). If this doesn't happen, though, I think the above bot-stubs-are-not-bad and completeness-of-coverage arguments would still make me prefer not to delete them. (But I would be happy, as I suggested today on the discussion page, to increase the quality of these stubs with my bots. If little stubs like vo:Buchères can be increased in quality to the level of articles like nl:Buchères with the help of a bot -- a feasible goal, since this is what the Dutch themselves did for nl:Buchères: it is a bot-created article -- I think this would take at least some of the strength from the "this is just crap" (emotional) claim I often see in the discussion.

4. (since we agreed on 3.): You suggest that 10% of all stubs is still very high for Volapük, compared to the expected value of 100 / 253 = 0.4% per project. Now, given my opinion on bot-created articles (for which I argue elsewhere here) as not being bad, I don't think any fraction of the total number of stubs would be bad. But, for the sake of the argument, let's assume it would be. What percentage would you find "acceptable" for a given Wikipedia? The average of 0.4%? The same percentage of the total of good articles that the Wikipedia in question has? (So if xx.wp has 5% of all good articles in all Wikipedias, it has the "right" to have 5% of all bot-created stubs?) I wonder what the fairest solution would be here. In any case, my percentage value -- 10% -- is a guess; it may well be that it really is only 1%, or less. (Do you happen to know of some quick way in which we could estimate, for every given Wikipedia, how many stubs were created by bots -- and also how many of these stubs were later improved, by bots and/or humans, into better articles? Both numbers would be interesting and would give us more data on which to base suggestions and arguments.)

5. If you really think so (and I have no reason to doubt your honesty), then you are indeed a counterargument to my claim, and I therefore take it back: it is not true that nobody on the discussion page thinks Arnomane's proposal is the best for the Vükiped (a little Volapük culture trivia here: Vükiped, besides being the easiest "transposition" of the word Wikipedia to Volapük, given its phonology and its syllable-formation rules, also happens to have a meaning in Volapük: vü-kiped or "inter-conservation", roughly something like "that which we conserve among us". A nice find by the guy who founded the Wiki, long before I came to it. I don't think anybody could have done better than that! :-). I think I could still claim that most probably do; but I don't want to open a new can of worms with that, the point is not so important for that.

So the real point here becomes: is it really the best thing for the Vükiped to be stripped of its bot-created stubs? I think what I said above applies: if it is true that, by doing this, the Vükiped would acquire (say, from the people in the proposal) another 10, maybe even 5, very active contributors, then I would agree unconditionally. Having more people to work with surely beats having lots of (useful, relevant and accurate) stubs -- bot-created or not. What exactly is the chance that this might happen?... Now, if this does not happen: would the radical stub-deletion procedure actually be better for the Vükiped, in the long run? I really not sure. I will come back to this point below, but first I want to touch on another topic I see in your comment.

The topic is: there seems to be a logical inconsistency in your beliefs, judging by what you wrote. How can you simultaneously believe: (a) that "it is utter nonsense to give a Wikipedia to a 20-people group" (your reason for supporting the first closure proposal; note that the 20-people limit is not necessarily true, since anybody could learn Volapük -- 50, 100, 200 people or more -- as another Catalan Wikipedian, Loquetudigas, had said in the discussion of the first closure proposal), and (b) that Arnomane's proposal -- radical stub deletion -- is "the best choice for [the future development and flourishing of] the Vükiped"? It seems to me that, if you really believe (a), and if you really think the Volapük Vükiped will only be at best a 20-people community, then you should also believe that the Vükiped will never flourish, that it has no future (at least not as a Wikipedia project) -- in which case any attempt to improve it is simply a loss of time. Or am I wrong?

Now, back to what I was saying: if it doesn't bring any new active contributors into the vo.wp community, is radical stub deletion really the best for the future of vo.wp (assuming it has one)? Aside from the bots-stubs-are-not-bad (not worse than human-made stubs anyway) and completeness-of-coverage claims (which I insist are true and can be used as arguments), there is also the possibility of a different solution, like the counter-proposal I made today in the discussion: these stubs could be improved (via bots), so that e.g. vo:Buchères would end up looking like nl:Buchères (perhaps with a different layout for originality's sake), or maybe even better. Isn't this -- improving, even via bots -- a better direction to go than simply deleting?

Also: having 100 000 articles has, as you correctly pointed out, attracted attention and therefore new active contributors to vo.wp -- something we all agree is good. Note: having many articles did attract new contributors; it would seem that having fewer articles would decrease the effect, and therefore attract fewer contributors, if any. In other words: doesn't having a large number of articles seem to be a more likely attractor for new active contributors than having a low number of articles? In the months preceding the start of the massive stub uploading, no new active contributors (as I recall, no new users of any kind) showed up; during the uploading, little happened in the first stages, but the number of edits by anonymous users and the number of new user accounts started increasing at some point (maybe after 50 000? I can't remember), and at around 100 000 articles some new active users started showing up. Isn't this "attraction" a desirable effect that would be lost after Arnomane's radical stub deletion? (In fact it was what first made me overcome my original ethical qualms and doubts and decide to start the whole thing; my first thoughts and explanations can still be found in the archives of my vo.wp talk page. I swear I didn't start this only because of the mesmerizing magic of soaring numbers! :-)

Also, consider the effect of this deletion on the morale of the current vo.wp community. I, and also Malafaya, have put a lot of effort in correcting the obvious errors that the bot script created (basically because the format of the sources where the original information was taken from -- other Wikipedia pages -- was not always 100% consistent, so it wasn't always interpreted correctly by the bot) -- errors that e.g. Yekrats and other people had pointed out during the first closure proposal. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of such errors have already been corrected by us (sometimes also by the other active users, and often also by anonymous users) in the period between the two proposals. Besides, further attempts at improvement were going on: e.g., adding coordinates to all stubs (in dms and decimal formats; also coordinate templates, with links to little pop-up maps and also to Magnus' Map Source page, duly translated into Volapük). To see all this work -- months! -- thrown into the garbage can would be, well, rather sad. (This is another reason why I would prefer to improve them to the nl:Buchères level: this would be the same kind of correction/improvement that has been one of the tasks we've been doing for a while in vo.wp, only more intensively.)

7. Ah, unanimity again. Well: first, I don't think that the vo.wp community is composed of people who necessarily have the same viewpoint on any issue, including the bot stub question. You say so; but have you really asked any of the others? I haven't yet; they haven't protested, it's true, but most of them showed up only after it was a fait accompli. (I didn't ignore them; they simply weren't around when I first decided to do this, so there was nobody to consult.) And, again: even if they all agreed that it was a great idea, that doesn't mean they are biased; it just means that they agreed. Whether or not they are biased depends on what reasons they have for agreeing. To give a very, very exaggerated example: Hitler (always the guy to use in examples of morally extreme cases!...) wasn't necessarily biased because he wanted to kill all Jews. Conceivably (barely!), he might have an excellent reason for wanting to do that. But it turns out that he didn't -- all the "arguments" in Mein Kampf are simply unsupported claims --, and that is what makes him biased (to put it mildly; personally, I'd prefer "a delusional paranoid"). So: it's not the opinion of vo.wp, whether unanimous or not, and whatever it is, that would make vo.wp biased; only the absence of any good reasons, the absence of any consistent valid arguments, could do that.

Note that pretty much every Wikipedia project has made decisions that are not shared by all other projects. The Germans don't want to have articles on every character of every major work of literature (to say nothing of sitcoms or comics); their stylesheet, if I'm not mistaken, recommends that characters be treated in the main article, not in separate articles. Now, the English Wikipedia disagrees: they consider it OK to have articles on e.g. en:South Park characters like en:Eric Cartman or en:Kyle Broflovski. Conceivably, if this topic had been raised at Meta, for all Wikis to vote on, the English viewpoint would have a better chance of winning, since en.wp has more users than de.wp. But this doesn't mean that the decision of de.wp to follow a different rule was biased -- not even if this decision was taken unanimously. This because the de.wp users might have good, logical reasons for having made this decision (and so might the en.wp users for theirs; English and German wp users might simply assign different degrees of importance to reasons that are, all in all, good and logical). If they do -- if they defend their decision with arguments -- who could accuse them of being biased, even if they were unanimous?

Another example: the English and the Esperanto Wikipedia clearly have some differences in their criteria for notability. The en:Category:Esperantists contains fewer people than the eo:Kategorio:Esperantistoj; this means that Esperantists are more notable to the Esperanto Wikipedia than they are to the English Wikipedia. It's quite possible that the user community of eo.wp would unanimously agree to accept lots of articles on Esperantists that the user community of en.wp would squarely reject on notability grounds. Does that mean that the eo.wp is 'biased' against notability criteria -- they want to weaken it and allow lots of 'useless junk' and 'crap' (oh, why do people like to hurt other people with words?...) into their Wikipedia? Nooo, of course not: it simply means that many more people who played or play some role in the history of the Esperanto movement are notable to the Esperantist community than to the English-speaking community as a whole -- which to me is a quite acceptable conclusion, without any moral implications. The French are more interested in French culture than the Chinese, so there are more articles on French cultural items in fr.wp than in zh.wp; the Esperantists are more interested in the history and structure of the Esperanto movement than the majority of English-speaking people, so there are more articles on Esperantist in eo.wp than in en.wp. Is this a bias? If it is, then any preference ('I like chocolate ice-cream better than vanilla ice-cream!') is also a bias; the term becomes then meaningless.

8., 9. Yes, this is indeed simply a difference of opinions. Stubs of all kinds -- bot-created or not -- do tend to look phone-book like: just the most important information. And they are indeed not very interesting reading. But I still claim they are useful, and that this is sufficient to justify their existence. (A telephone directory has the right to exist, doesn't it?) Of course, this begs the question: but this is an encyclopedia! An encyclopedia is a different thing! Here I will refer you back to what I wrote in the first closure proposal. To summarize: the goal of Wikipedia projects in "small languages" (either total of speakers or total of Wikipedians/users, whichever number you consider more important) cannot be the same as that of en.wp or de.wp: a "repository of all human knowledge". Given their small communities, that's simply impossible. So: the usual definition of an "encyclopedia" should not be used as the only (or even the highest) standard to judge them. (If you accept "document, preserve and help the language/community prosper" as a good reason/goal for the existence of a Wikipedia project, as I discussed above, then consider this: the Volapük community has never had a phone directory in Volapük. Its mere existence is a step forward for this community, a significant increase in the amount of information they can find in this language if they want to. Here's an example of one reaction: I remember I once read a message in an Orkut discussion group about Volapük that I occasionally visit from a beginner Volapükist from Brazil who was thrilled ("encantado" was the word he used, as I recall) when, in a google search for the name of his little home town in Santa Catarina, Brazil, he found as one of the first hits a stub in the Volapük Wikipedia -- a little three-line stub which, at that time, had a little map but no coordinates and no pop-up map as it now does. I really felt gratified about all those stubs when I read that.)

Having said that, I will however agree that there is sufficiently much room for opinions to differ here. To a certain extent, it is indeed a matter of taste.

10. Hm, you have quite a good point there. The reason for my "negative" approach was probably that Aphaia had used negative words him/herself, when talking about the Japanese group in which the Vükiped was criticized for the bot-created stubs. The idea was "isn't it worse to say that WMF is forcing projects to delete articles just because they don't like the format and size of these articles" or something like that, but I agree that it could have been more positively presented. Hm, I wish I had thought about that before I wrote this. Thanks for the tip.

11. On "natural-born" languages: I reiterate my arguments above (in point 2., as I recall; this thing is getting more difficult to scroll up and down...) But the Esperantists are good guys to ask about that: they've written a lot about "natural-born" languages and whether Esperanto, with an author, a date of birth, and a community basically formed by second-language speakers (though there are some native Esperanto speakers, they're a very small minority, even in the Vikipedio), is or is not equivalent to one of them. Their arguments are usually, mutatis mutandis, valid for Volapük; I therefore refer you to them.

You also mention the "diversion" argument, which I had also heard before (and discussed in the section of the first closure proposal that I mentioned above): people who contribute to a "frivolous" project are prevented from contributing to a "real" project. (In fact, another surprisingly nice supporter of the first closure proposal, a de.wp user called Julius, with whom I had a conversation more or less like this one, even made me feel good by suggesting I should be working on articles on Volapük topics in de.wp instead of in vo.wp... he also thought I was "losing my wiki-time".) But notice one thing: this argument would also imply that dialectal wikipedias (like the Lombard project, or the one in Zeeuws, or the one in Võro) are a loss of time, because their users all speak well the standard languages of their countries (Italian for Lombard, Dutch for Zeeuws, Estonian for Võro). Of course there are some people in some cases who don't really speak the standard language (this is true for Italian dialects like Lombard, but not really for Dutch dialects like Zeeuws and, so I've been told, for Võro), but these are usually people in far-away villages who are unlikely to be either Wikipedia users or contributors in any language (this argument was actually mentioned in the Lombard closure proposal). Also, consider the case of Norwegian, with its two "systems" or "dialects": Nynorsk and Bokmål. As any Norwegian will tell you, Nynorsk and Bokmål are quite different, but sufficiently similar that any Norwegian who prefers to use one can still read and write the other quite well. By your argument, this should make one of the corresponding Wikipedias a waste of resources (presumably nn.wp -- Nynorsk -- the smaller of the two): all their users could be contributing to no.wp (Bokmål). The "diversion" argument could even be used to claim that projects in languages like Dutch or the Scandanivan languages are also mostly "loss of time", since almost all speakers of these languages know English quite well and could use and contribute to the English Wikipedia instead. (In the Dutch case, I can attest that from personal experience: it is indeed very difficult to find a Dutchman who really speaks no English, or even only very bad English, though of course even good speakers of English in the Netherlands often show signs of influence from their native Dutch). Or, come to think of it, ahn... how about considering that all Catalan contributors to ca.wp are really being "diverted" from contributing to the bigger es.wp project -- since they all (I assume) have a native or near-native command of standard Spanish? Are all these projects then a "diversion" of human resources, and should they be abolished? No, I think, and I'm sure you'll agree, too.

If you accept "document, preserve and help flourish" as a motive for a Wikipedia, the reason why all these projects are justified is obvious: these are all different communities, cultures, etc. who clearly are worthy of documentation, support, etc. But even if you don't accept this argument, there is another reason why these projects should -- I think -- exist: the passion of their users, and the possibility of generating interesting new ideas and concepts. After all, people have their interests and preferences, their passions -- hell, that's why I am working at vo.wp rather than at eo.wp, pt.wp, or en.wp (OK, I'm writing en:Tiriyó language and en:Tiriyó people also, but I spend much less time there than on vo.wp), or why -- I presume -- you work (more) on ca.wp than on es.wp. I assume that those who would be motivated to work on a Verlan Wikipedia would not be so interested in working at fr.wp; no Verlan Wikipedia would probably mean that they, or most of them, wouldn't be working on a Wikipedia project (I guess they'd be trying to get their Verlan thing started at Wikia instead). That's what the Klingon people did, I think; apparently, they didn't go back to en.wp but moved to Wikia (?) together with the Klingon project. By the way, how about the Simple English project? Isn't it a 'diversion of human resources' from en.wp? Shouldn't it be closed, so that its members go back to en.wp? I don't think so.

Why? Let me use the question you asked myself: should a Spanish highschool class with 30-50 pupils who invent a new, well-articulated language be allowed a Wikipedia project for their project? My answer is (maybe surprisingly): maybe yes. If their passion is great, if they are willing to put on the work necessary to make it happen, that goes a long way towards making me want to support them (what I really don't like are projects where nothing happens). If, furthermore, new ideas and concepts come from such projects -- creative answers to the question "where should our project go?", new ideas that could benefit other projects or even the Wikimedia community as a whole -- then I would give a clear "yes". Here's an example of what I have in mind: because of the first closure proposal, I created the List of Wikipedias by sample of articles here at Meta, to suggest a different criterion for judging the development level of Wikipedias -- the number of articles, used at the List of Wikipedias, is clearly a flawed parameter. I claim (and a few people have agreed) that this is a clear contribution to the Wikimedia community as a whole: there is a new idea, with a number of results ready for inspection, on how to judge Wikipedia projects. So: if a project developed by this hypothetical class of Spanish highschool students produced some similar new idea, potentially useful to the Wikimedia community and to other projects, I'd say their project was fully justified.

In other words: it's not which language, how many people (speakers or Wikipedians) that I find the most important aspect, but more or less something like: how interesting is the result? Are there new contributions? Do we learn something interesting from it?

Of course, this is only my opinion. I am ready to defend them on consistency grounds; but if your tastes are different (say, 'I think a Wikipedia project should only try to produce a good, en.wp-like encyclopedia in a good, reasonable, non-frivolous language; anything other than that isn't a good goal'), well, that's it. (We could still discuss the criteria: what is a "good goal" and why? which are the criteria?; but it would take a looong discussion, and a loong time to go all the way back to the Wikipedia projects... I might try it, but I don't know if I'd have any chance of succeeding.)

Oh, in your last paragraph you mention that an Inupiaq project is OK because Inupiaq has native speakers and a Wikipedia would be beneficial for them (while presumably other projects wouldn't), while Volapük doesn't. That is a point, but if this is your only criteria, then you exclude dead languages again, since they, like Volapük, don't have native speakers. You see, it's not a single criterion that decides here, we need a set of criteria. Latin, Old English and Ancient Greek, Volapük and Esperanto, dialects like Lombard, Zeeuws or Võro don't do well on the "number of native speakers who can't use other projects" criterion (Inupiaq does a little better); but Latin and Ancient Greek, perhaps also Old English do well on the "has a big literature that influences the modern world" (but now Inupiaq doesn't do well). Now big languages like English, German etc. -- and perhaps "big dead languages" like Latin, who are elsewhere documented -- don't do well on the "document, preserve and help flourish" criterion (they don't need it) -- here Inupiaq, and I'd claim also Volapük, do much better. The "active community" and "interesting/creative results" criteria don't depend on the language itself, but on the individual users who dedicate time to the projects; it's impossible to use these criteria without at least letting the projects run for some time to see what turns up. So, none of these criteria is per se sufficient to decide; you have to evaluate every language (natural or artificial, "frivolous" or not), in fact every project, according to all of them (and probably others I haven't thought of yet...)

Passion and interest are important factors, Leptictidium. Yes, a Portuguese entry is more readily accessible to me than an entry in Volapük. But the affective value of being able to get it in Volapük too is very satisfying, more so than in the case of Portuguese, which, as my mother tongue, is too matter-of-fact, everyday-like to me. Ask the Esperantists if they would rather read articles from Wikipedias in their native languages instead of articles from the Vikipedio only because the articles in their native languages are presumably more readily accessible and "more useful" to them. Ask also the Latinists, or the users of the Ancient Greek and the Old English Wikipedias. Ask even the users of the dialectal Wikipedias -- say, those who are at least as fluent in the standard language as they are in the dialect they preferred: there are lots (the majority?) of Lombard, Võro and Zeeuws users who are natively proficient in Italian, Estonian and Dutch. Why aren't they reading/writing equally useful articles in these Wikipedias? Assuming you're as proficient in Spanish as in Catalan (and if you aren't, then choose a user of ca.wp who is, or who is more proficient in Spanish than in Catalan), why should you prefer to read an article from ca.wp rather than an -- at least equally useful -- article from es.wp? You see -- it's not so simple :-)...

Now, in your very last paragraph, you mention again the point that what vo.wp really needs is more users. I agree with you. I also think that Volapük is much more than standard stubs on German cities (which is not the same as saying these stubs are nothing at all... they are something. As I said above, Volapük had never had a phone directory before...). But frankly, I had tried to find more contributors in other ways before, as I said in the explanations on my Volapük talk page. I went to Volapük discussion groups, I sent mail to the last extant Volapük newsletter, Vög Volapüka (The Voice of Volapük), I sent e-mails to specific Volapükists; I placed Ralph Midgley's Volapük-English dictionary on the Volapük Wikibooks (see the "vödabuks" at ); I uploaded and am still uploading lots of original Volapük texts of all kinds to the multilingual Wikisource (check out the Volapük home page there); I wrote good articles in vo.wp about Volapükists and Volapük topics (e.g. vo:Arie de Jong -- this one was good enough for someone from en.wp to translate it into en:Arie de Jong --, vo:August Kerckhoffs, vo:Johann Martin Schleyer, vo:Johann Schmidt, useful lists like vo:Lised Volapükaklubs ma fünadät = list of Volapük clubs by date of founding), vo:Volapükagasedem = list of Volapük journals and newsletters); and I sent e-mails around about all these things; yet I never got a single new contributor from any of these things. After I had uploaded many city stubs, however, lots of new users, including some active users, appeared: Malafaya (who found vo.wp because of an interwiki link), LadyInGrey (whom I first met in the Multilingual Wikisource, where she's an admin), HannesM (from Southern Tirol in Northern Italy, who found us accidentaly and then noticed I had used the Italian names of cities from his region instead of the -- according to him more legitimate -- German names...) -- all of which, as you said, were at first not Volapük speakers. So far, all those repetitive little stubs were the only thing I did that actually had an effect. I'm open to new ideas, of course. Do you have any suggestions as to what I could do to attract more contributors?

No problem if you write a lot -- I write even more. (My wife just left the room to go to sleep; she looked over my shoulder, read a little of what I was writing and of what you had written -- it was open in another window -- smiled and said: 'addicted fanatics, both of you'...) The important thing is that you're making a lot of sense, and I hope I am too.

Welsh, ahn? My first Celtic language was Breton :-), though I never really became fluent in it. I tried Irish later on, learned enough to read simple stuff (say, stubs from ga.wp, or simple fairy tales for children), and then quit due to all kinds of personal reasons... Maybe later. I have an outsider's interest in translation theory, but I've never worked in it. (Lexicography, a topic I'm closer to in my work -- documentation projects involve writing bilingual dictionaries -- comes closer to it: in languages that have a very different kind of morphology and word formation, defining what a dictionary head should be can be a daunting task...)

I'm also quite glad with this conversation. The effort of writing this stuff is clarifying some points of my opinions to myself. It's more useful than the proposal discussion. (It's also more relaxing to first come here and then go there; I end up feeling more benevolent towards my fellow humans, even to Fossa.) What can I say? Thanks!

Let me know what you think about all this stuff! (If we continue for a while, we'll have enough text for a book; an interesting one, I hope :-)...

--Smeira 01:46, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Reply III[edit]

Hi Leptictidium! Ave atque vale! Video te magno amore laborare in pagina la:Leptictidium, quae nunc optime videtur! Hmmm... Forsitan laborabo etiam in Vicipaedia latina, nam pagina la:Trilobita tam parvula est ut me ad scribere stimulet... But I must admit my first priority in the paleontological realm (whenever I get a chance, got knows when...) is a good article for vo.wp on en:Anomalocaris, that fascinating Cambrian predator. There's enough on the web and in books that I'll have to do some serious research first.

I also had a lot to do: preparing New Year's Eve -- lots of fireworks to watch -- and also a birthday party (mine actually; I was born on Dec. 31), writing on the proposal and in a couple of blogs... but honest to God, the most important reason why I haven't answered you earlier is that I tried, but three times -- three times! -- I had the near-complete text wiped out of existence by some computer problem (once by my fault, the other times not at all). This is therefore the fourth attempt at replying... I'm hoping there is no curse and this one will actually see completion.

Our differences are becoming easier to compare; I think I will go ahead and use only subsections, taking from here and there in your text, rather than going point by point. I hope I won't be misrepresenting you in any way (as you pointed out, this can happen!)

So off we go!

Volapük bias[edit]

Only fifty-sixty edits? Is that per user, or the total? Note, at any rate, that these users have not been contributing to the Vükiped for the last couple of years; they've showed up and started editing about 3-4 months ago. So it's really 50-60 edits per 3-4 months (= 1/4 to 1/3 of a year), which yields (3x50=150, 3x60=180, 4x50=200, 4x60=240... if the same rate is maintained, and that's a big if...) 150-240 edits per year, or an average interval of 365/240 - 365/150 = 1.5 to 2.4 days per edit per user (is it per user?). What's the threshold for an active user? Anyway, looking at vo:Patikos:Contributions/LadyInGrey, I see about 200 edits from October to November (though she may not last into this year...); looking at vo:Patikos:Contributions/Chabi, I see about 100, again since October. (vo:Patikos:Contributions/Manie also has over 500 edits in the last couple of years, but Manie seems now more interested in other projects and may not really go on being a frequent editor -- he's been more or less absent for a while now.)

Now, you wondered if some people in vo.wp might be biased in the sense of defending Volapük in cases in which they wouldn't do it for a different language. Now, of course vo.wp users would in principle care about Volapük more than they care about languages whose Wikipedias they aren't involved with; so they might not notice, say, closure proposals for these languages. But aside from that, I honestly don't see a reason for assuming a bias. The most 'passionate' person there is my little self, and even though most of my Wiki-time is dedicated to Volapük, I have also added comments to the Lombard discussion (suggesting that at least some of the stubs might be better improved than deleted), I voted in favor of the Limburg wiktionary once, and I even voted against Volapük in one occasion (I supported the Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Volapük Wikiquote -- because I know nothing about Wikiquotes and I don't think I'd have the time to learn and make it into anything meaningful.) Malafaya also did -- and he also has other wiki commitments (he was very active in helping the Georgian Wikipedia get started; he also contributes to the Ido Wiktionary -- Ido being another constructed language, like Esperanto and Volapük); I don't think he's a Volapük fanatic in any sense. HannesM came to vo.wp because he noticed I had chosen the 'wrong' names for the cities in his home area, Südtyrol/Alto Adige; he's interested in local causes, and he's also an Esperantist and an Idist (with active accounts in these Wikipedias, as I recall); he doesn't look to me like a fanatic either. Robert came from the Volapük yahoo group, he hasn't been in wikis for very long; but thus far I don't see any signs of Volapükocentrism in him ;-). LadyInGrey is very committed to the Multilingual Wikisource; Chabi is all over the Iberian peninsula (he has accounts in the Catalan, Aragonese, Asturian... Wikipedias); I don't think they have strong linguistic preferences either. Hillgentleman is sometimes strong in the defense of his political beliefs, I'll give you that; but he's also active in his home wiki, zh-yue.wp, and I haven't seen any sign of Volapük-über-alles in his behavior. HappyDog and Zifs haven't spoken much here; I don't really know what they stand for. But precisely because they're usually silent in discussions, here and elsewhere, I'd be surprised if they were Volapük fanatics.

No, I honestly can't see anyone here who'd be biased towards Volapük (other than by the fact that they like it -- which isn't really a bias as long as you don't start making false claims or using invalid arguments). That's, by the way, my lithmus test: someone is biased when s/he uses or supports false (or at least unsupported) claims and/or uses invalid arguments, and will not react logically if this is pointed out to him/her. (This would fit Arnomane, I think, better than anyone in vo.wp: he doesn't react to my points; he seems to be saying: you're wrong, and if you don't agree 100% with me, you're bad. In his blog he says I will 'argue in any way that suits my plans' (which plans? world domination, of course! Bhwah-hwah-hwah-hwah-hwah...) and vows never to 'step back until Smeira admits a 100% bot Wikipedia is the worst idea he ever had' (would you perhaps say this has blackmail written all over it if I had written it, Leptictidium? :-). I really don't know how to reach him. If you'll allow me a slightly -- well, maybe quite -- emotional description, it's as if he were James Bond, I were an agent from CHAOS, and he had to fight me at any costs for the sake of the free world... I truly find this sad, because, as I've said before, everything I've seen about him on de.wp suggests he's a good person.)

Now, take the we-have-worked-so-hard argument that you mention. I agree with you 100% there: it is not a logical argument, it is an emotional argument. It is equivalent to begging for clemency from the judge: O Caesar magnanime, a te peto: serva laborem nostrum! About whether vo.wp is good or bad, it adds nothing. I hope this was clear -- in the nature of the argument itself, and in the fact that I placed it at the end of my comment (I think I was the 'official' introducer of this argument, though Malafaya also has mentioned it independently). What it can do -- what I hope it does anyway, in case I haven't written it up in a stupid way, as in the case of the RTL-4 interview -- is to provide some support for our bona fides. This because on this page it is sometimes implied, or even almost said (Arnomane's blog is I think almost explicit) that we have a hidden agenda. If we've worked so hard correcting stubs and improving them -- then maybe this is really all we want to do, not something else that remains unmentioned. And honestly, this is true! The counter-proposal I made in the section BirgitteSB started -- to improve these stubs so that they look like the ones from nl.wp or pt.wp, which were also done by bots -- shows (if you believe us -- and I hope you do) that we plan to go on working on them. Not as a hedge to hide our 'plans'! :-)

Now, since we both agree on the Fossa case now, the next topic is:

'hide' and 'resort'[edit]

This is really an introduction to the next topic, but there it goes. I don't think that the misunderstanding comes from a difference in culture; rather, it seems to come from the experience with a (rather aggressive) discussion on the proposal page. By what psychologists often call priming, a subject may tend to see certain kinds of associations rather than other kinds because of the context (e.g. the stimulus he was exposed to). Take 'hide', for instance. It can have 'bad' associations (you 'hide' what you don't want others to see because you're 'ashamed') but also 'good' ones (you 'hide' treasures, you have 'hidden powers' or 'hidden qualities'), both in Portuguese and in English; and, I suppose, also in Catalan. Now, given the rather aggressive climate in the discussion, 'bad', unfriendly interpretations are easier than 'good', friendly ones. (Arnomane has misinterpreted me along these lines a couple of times already on that page.) I can imagine the same happening between two Brazilians on opposite sides of the discussion; I think also between to Catalans. (A real cultural difference would be, for instance, if the German culture -- at least on de.wp -- were more tolerant of the use of aggressive words: crap, rubbish, Death to Volapuek etc. If this is the case -- and I don't know that it is, I don't have that much experience with de.wp --, it doesn't mean they're bad, simply that they don't pay much serious attention to these words. Now these Germans might be really -- culturally -- surprised at how other people feel offended at words that, for them, are easy to ignore.)

Here, before leaving to the next (related) topic, I mention I'm not always sure if by 'culture' you always mean 'shared knowledge about the world' (between members of the same culture), or also 'amount of good work done in the language' (art, literature, oral tradition, sayings, legeds...). In terms of 'shared knowledge' about the world, Volapük -- and also Esperanto -- can be said to partake of the "Western Culture", since it is a clear product of (Northern/Germanic) Western culture and therefore an heir to its cultural heritage. (Note, by the way, how local cultures may be "part" -- and also "not part" -- of overarching cultures: Parisian culture -- "Paris n'est pas la France!" -- is (and isn't) a part of French culture, which is (and isn't) a part of Western culture...) If one counts this "Western Culture" heritage, the claims about Esperanto or Volapük culture become again more difficult and subjective.

Language, culture... and Wikipedias[edit]

In "Volapük and other languages", and in point 2. in the "other points", you make the point that Volapük culture isn't "enough". (In fact, even Esperanto culture -- though you'd still support eo.wp -- you consider 'minimal and mostly linguistic'. As an Esperantist, I would disagree; I think Esperanto culture is actually quite strong, even in non-linguistic aspects: shared history, shared ideals (even with divergences between Finvenkistoj and Raumistoj), meetings, conferences, political and cultural activities of every kind... just check the number of "fakaj organizajoj" - Esperanto associations that have nothing to do with Esperanto itself but are dedicated to e.g. stamp collectors, workers' interests, humor, mathematics and science, etc... I think eo.wp people like Yekrats or Chuck Smith or Arno Legrange would have a lot of arguments against this 'minimal'. (But since you're willing to grant a constructed language like Esperanto "enough culture" to deserve a Wikipedia project, I see you have a 'moderate' position on the issue. Some people seem to claim Esperanto has no culture, and no hope of ever getting one. Just ask Yekrats... Of course, I don't agree with that at all.)

You also point out I misread you (sorry! :-|) with respect to the future of the Vükiped. Maybe I'm misreading you again, but... there it goes. On the one hand, you say Volapük hasn't "enough culture" to make "presenting this culture" in a Wikipedia very useful. This doesn't seem to depend on the number of speakers and/or contributors to the Vükiped. On the other hand, you also say that the situation would improve (to the point that the Vükiped might flourish) if the situation of the community changed (i.e. if it increased to... how many? 50? 100?). Isn't there a contradiction here? Or do you perhaps suggest that a sufficiently large user community would create "sufficient culture" and make presenting it in the Vükiped useful? (No offense implied anywhere here -- I'm really curious about your opinion on "community size" vs. "enough culture".)

And of course there's this question of "enough culture". You said 10-20 years plus a little something later on wasn't enough to create a culture worth presenting. Esperanto is a little better, because although it has fewer years of life it had more speakers throughout this ears and managed to build "enough culture". In my "Reply II" to you, I mentioned a number of Volapük publications; I think you're underestimating the amount of original Volapük publications about topics other than Volapük itself: poems, short stories, articles on scientific topics, history, political statements, jokes, legends... as one sees in the Volapük Wikisource and even, for instance, by browsing tables of contents of journals like oldwikisource:Kosmopolan or oldwikisource:Volapükagased pro Nedänapükans. I think this corpus is bigger than, say, the surviving original Old English corpus. To me this all seems to be enough -- plus the fact that speakers of the language have existed throughout the whole lifespan of the language and have remained in contact with each other, though these contacts became quite restricted -- a trickle -- between 1900 and 1930 and between 1960 and the late 1980's). But of course this is all subjective. What we need is an objective parameter. How exactly do we measure culture (is it the corpus? or the "shared knowledge" between speakers?), so as to say that Esperanto already has "enough" (though it is still minimal and mostly linguistic) but Volapük doesn't? I know, this is probably impossible to answer. But since important aspects like your opinion on the Vükiped, or many people's decision to vote in favor of or against it depend on that, perhaps we should try. Do you have any suggestion as to an objective parameter? Say, original corpus size? And to where the line should be drawn between "enough" and "not enough"?

And now, perhaps the most important question of this section, the one I really would like to know your opinion about: why exactly does a Wikipedia need its language to have "a culture"? Usually (I don't necessarily agree with it, but usually), Wikipedias are defined as attempts at producing a "repository of all human knowledge"; they're in many languages because some people would have less or no access to it if it were written only in languages other than their native language(s), or so I've been told by some people. It's therefore a practical need: do people need texts in language L in order to "explore the world" of knowledge (as Jimbo Wales put it on the discussion page), or don't they? What do you think?

Now, without knowing your answer to the above question, I'll just accept your definition: if I understand you correctly, la.wp, the Vicipaedia, is a good project because it "presents it and makes it readily available in a way as similar as possible to the original". You said that "Wikipedia is not a charity for endangered languages", so a new Wikipedia should (am I assuming correctly?) make the contribution of "presenting a new culture". But how exactly is this done? By the choice of topics for articles? But clearly la:Leptictidium (or la:Trilobita, which I just might be working on at some point in the future...) are not themes that native Latin speakers -- the ancient Romans of the classical period -- would consider culturally relevant (as I recall, the Romans thought that fossils were some frivolous kind of lusus naturae). What would Cicero or Seneca -- or even Ammianus Marcellinus later on -- think about la:Galaxias or la:Macbeth? Their presence in the Vicipaedia has more to do with our present interests -- the interests of the post-Enlightenment Western Civilization -- than with Latin culture. They exist because the Western Civilization contains (for many reasons) a number of people who are interested in Latin and want to use it in as close a way as possible to its usage in its Classical period, not because these topics have anything to do with Latin culture. (A Vicipaedia that really reflected Latin culture and knowledge would have to contain many scientifically wrong facts -- e.g. that the sun moves around the earth, and so on.) Vicipaedia users might claim the articles are written as if they had been written by/for real Classical Latin speakers; that Cicero and Seneca could have read these articles, and could even have written them if they were alive now and were introduced to modern topics; but both things would clearly be cases of cultural change. In their own cultures, without external influence, they wouldn't even know, or care, about such topics. (And Macbeth would of course have been impossible as an anachronism: it didn't exist in the Classical Latin period.)

Furthermore, what does 'presenting the culture' mean? As far as I can tell, it means imitating the classical style -- in grammar, stylistic choices, range of topics and quotations etc. -- as much as possible. But the only way to do this is by studying the surviving corpus of Latin texts (and secondary research and scholarship done on these texts). In the absence of a real native speaker of Latin, this is the only alternative. Especially because the Vicipaedia is written, it would seem that linguistic culture is what is really presented -- any other aspects of culture would be left out both because of the medium of Vicipaedia (written language) and because there would be gaps in our knowledge of it -- no native members of the culture alive today. The final result is very similar to the work done in constructed language Wikipedias. If I improve la:Trilobita, I will need to check on questions of usage and style according to our current understanding of how classical texts were written, so that the final result is as good as la:Leptictidium; which is exactly the same kind of procedure I followed while writing vo:Opabinia. Except for the obvious larger historical importance of Latin, there isn't much difference between the Latin and Volapük Wikipedias as to how texts should be created.

And, last but not least, if 'presenting the culture' is a valid argument in favor of a Wikipedia (so that the Vükiped wouldn't be "useful" because it might 'not be able to do that'), how come there is a Simple English wikipedia? The only justification for it I can see is being a way to allow beginner-level students of English to have material they can read; there is no 'new culture' being presented there. Wouldn't you agree that, regardless of how you estimate the size and worth of the Volapük literature/culture, it is nevertheless better than that of Simple English? (So Wikipedias are a bit stranger than they look at first, it seems...)

Gaps in knowledge[edit]

You say interesting things here. Let me however say that covering a gap in knowledge is not something we do only if there is no more information available; it's something we do when, well... when there's a gap. The question to me is not whether or not stubs could have been enlarged and improved; in most cases, the answer is yes, they could. (There is no material reason why en:Charles Sprague should be so small; I have found further information on this Volapükist and am putting it in vo:Charles Ezra Sprague. In fact, in the case of vo:Arie de Jong, I am happy to see information from my Volapük article has been translated and added to en:Arie de Jong.) Note that Liesel, one of the supporters of the proposal, went on and improved the German stub de:O'Fallon (Illinois) by adding a summary of the history of the place -- presumably because I mentioned it as an example of a 'worthless stub' in de.wp (nothing has happened yet to the ones I didn't mention :-).

The fact that stubs vo:Amsterdam is small simply reflects the lack of Volapük contributors that might be interested in improving it -- just like la:Amstelodamum. (Interesting la.wp thought it worth mentioning the "negotia quae coffem et cannabinem vendunt" -- in such a short stub, it sounds more like something from our culture than something that presents the Latin culture; correct me if I'm mistaken, but didn't they see it as a kind of medicine, so they probably wouldn't mention it in such a short stub?) The same happens with important topics in all small projects -- should fiu-vro:London be deleted from the Võro Wikipedia? The question is not why the stub isn't larger when there's enough information to improve it -- that's usually the case for most stubs -- but whether or not the Wikipedia would be (slightly, infinitesimaly) better or worse without it. Would you propose la:Galaxias for deletion just because it's a short stub on a topic on which there are millions of sources of information and which could therefore be improved to become a thousand times better than it currently is? I still maintain: a Wikipedia is slightly better (has one fewer gap, has a little more useful information) with an article like vo:Amsterdam than it would be without it.

Nice extention of my dietary metaphor -- not really a 'mistake'; since you say 'Precisely' after it, I think you'll agree it's not wrong; it simply has implications -- if you extend the metaphor -- that support your viewpoint. Indeed, if only one element is missing, the consequences are slight and the problem is negligeable; when lots of things are missing, it's much worse. But let me extend it a little further. If the solution that is proposed for the condition is to further remove precisely the one element that was abundant in the diet, I don't think this will make the patient's health improve :-). And I am setting limits. You see, I had imposed on myself (during the first closure proposal, not now, as Arnomane keeps claiming I did) a period of two years, regardless of the result of any proposals. If in these two years the patient doesn't get healthier -- i.e. if it doesn't develop a larger community; if the new users disappear and I see myself as the only contributor again, in the end as in the beginning -- then I'll myself submit another closure proposal and quit the project. I don't want to keep treating it forever!... But it seems that lots of this one element have attracted some purveyors of other elements -- more than the two proposals could have, more than anything else I had tried before. For the time being, this one element is my only hope (however small) of future health for the patient! :-)


I am indeed touched by your offer to help out with the Vükiped in case the proposal comes through and all stubs are deleted. I had not expected it; you genuinely surprised me. You are a clear asset to any Wikipedia, no matter how you want to participate; if now there is a reason why I won't be totally depressed if this proposal is accepted, it's the idea someone from the winning side would still come and help do something. (Should this be the case: here is my reccommendation of a good introductory course in Volapük: Ralph Midgley's Volapük Vifik). I do believe your sincerity; you do think the proposal is the best for the Vükiped. Thank you! :^)


Now, this is a serious point. This (the possiblity of seeing the whole stub thing as 'advertising') was the main reason why I hesitated for a while before starting it, the main qualm I still have about the whole thing, the only real problem I see in it. Against the idea of 'advertising', I can only say in my defense that: (a) there is no commercial purpose; (b) no message is spread: no "eat burgers at McMeira", not even "Learn Volapük" or "Contribute to the Vükiped!"; (c) other quasi-advertising activities can also be seen elsewhere in Wikipedia (CD-ROM versions of Wikipedia given away as 'publicity', WikiReaders, etc.), for the purpose of 'attracting new contributors' (a goal mentioned in the Three-year plan here at Meta); and (d) that it has indeed attracted some new contributors and may well attract more. It is, I know, a borderline case. In that respect, I can fully (and painfully) see the viewpoint of the others. I hope the result will compensate any hard feelings (and my self-imposed period of two years for results sets a limit to them).

On the question of spamming: I must say, in full honesty (I swear on a stack of Bibles, I swear on my 5-year-old daughter's health), I never ever considered interwiki links when thinking about the whole thing. My idea was to have Volapük move upwards on the List of Wikipedias, which would have attracted the attention of "language freaks" like myself, who would then perhaps go on to en.wp and read about Volapük, become interested, and show up. It never occurred to me, till this was mentioned in the first closure proposal, that interwiki links might play a role in that. I thought of something more like the library bulletin board we had in my university (Rice University, in Houston, Texas): a place where I could put, say, a poem I wrote, or a call for contributions to a student's conference; but definitely no commercial advertising. When the whole interwiki link question came up, I was thoroughly surprised: I never saw it coming. (You already know my opinion on it anyway, from the proposal discussion: (a) there mare many more interwiki links to stubs on other Wikipedias than de.wp, because there are more (bot) stubs outside of vo.wp than inside, and (b) if a certain project doesn't like links to them, it can have them removed -- the most logical "solution" would be to remove links to any bot-created stubs anywhere, and the vo.wp ones would also disappear, so nobody would have to start new proposals for cleaning other projects.)

Quality in Wikipedias[edit]

I agree quality should be demanded from all Wikipedias (though I'm not sure if it is one of the fundamental principles; aren't wp's in principle free to do whatever they want, even if quality doesn't increase? do you have a link to a page where policy is stated on this issue?). My issue here is with the point that bot-stubs decrease quality. Inasmuch as they bring in information -- little, but correct and relevant -- they actually increase the quality. Of course, they increase it only slightly; and a human-improved version of a stub would increase it A LOT more than the short stub itself. But I challenge the idea that a stub actually decreases the quality of the Wikipedia it belongs to. How could it, if it is readable, relevant, and accurate? What people must mean is that a better, human-improved article would be better, which I agree with; but that doesn't make the stub a negative addition. I claim that deleting the stubs in the Vükiped will actually decrease its (admittedly still meager) quality somewhat; and if the Vükiped increases in quality later on, it won't be because of this deletion, it will be because of further additions to it by active users. Volapük articles on Pokémon or South Park characters would increase quality -- and so would stubs on these topics; the increase would be much smaller, but it would be positive. By contrast, any deletion of stubs that are not incorrect, poorly written or irrelevant to an encyclopedia will decrease quality, no matter how small the deleted stubs are.

Possible negative effects on Wikipedia?[edit]

If a group of 15-20 people got a Wikipedia for promotional uses, i.e. if most articles said something like "Speak our language! It's great!" then I'd certainly agree with you: they shouldn't. (Didn't something like this happen recently with the Wolof Wikipedia? I heard someone had tried to use it to promote some association that is defending the language, and it was pointed out to them that this was not acceptable.) But what if instead they managed to make a Wikipedia much like the Vicipaedia, or the Vikipedio? Would it be worth it? (Yes, I'm getting closer and closer to saying Wikipedias should always be judged on the basis of criteria about the results that the user community can achieve, never criteria about which language it is, how many people speak it or don't speak it. I hadn't thought it all through before, but this seems to be the way I'm tempted to go.)

Of course, the WMF has to be able to afford that. If hundreds of Wikipedias with a hundred articles each would cost too much, then that's clearly impossible, and shouldn't be done. A limit should be set, criteria should be defined, and projects that aren't developing well (only vandalism, no activity, no new pages, nothing interesting happening, etc.) should be swiftly closed. My claim is only: this shouldn't simply be based on the language itself. (Since there is a Simple English project, why not a Simple Spanish one? Or a Simple Russian? Or... :->) More likely on the size of the user community, and more crucially on what they can achieve -- or have achieved after a test period (say, two years? :->). This all within the possibilities of WMF: if anything costs too much, then let it go. (If the Vükiped did cost too much and inconvenienced others by significantly decreasing their resources, believe me: I'd go delete stubs as quickly as possible.)

Is there damage to Wikipedia's reputation? The larger Wikipedias (say the top 15?) are the ones responsible for the reputation of "providers of free knowledge for everyone"; certainly the Võro, Latin, or Lombard Wikipedias aren't doing that -- they have too small a target public and too few articles for this (see all the discussion about what the goals of small-language projects should be). So Wikipedia's reputation should be based on these larger projects -- and it should be judged by looking at them, the only ones that can realistically aspire at being a "repository of all human knowledge". Or else, someone could claim the Võro, Hawaiian or Old English projects "have a negative effect on the free-knowledge-for-all mission of all (?) Wikipedias". The very size of the List of Wikipedias, and the fact that most of its projects are too small to be really significant "providers of knowledge", should already undermine Wikipedia's reputation. In sum: the "encyclopedic" reputation of Wikipedia must be based on the larger projects, say the top 15. Or else it's very easy to undermine it.

Cifal Bishop[edit]

Yah, I have already sent him e-mails about the Vükiped -- about a year ago, or so. Cifal Bishop is not a very computer-oriented person: he may never have been in a wiki or even seen one. I got an answer from him to the Volapük group at yahoo, and some others from our Guvan, vo:Ralph Midgley. It seems that Robert's coming may have been a consequence of that (though I also talked directly to him). I have published his recent edicts on Wikisource (check the list of dalebüds = edicts), but it seems he didn't notice. I understand that: Wikis are, even in these internet-enlightened days, not really part of the popular culture... (He is, by the way, also a Latinist, and an active participant in Latinitas Viva events. His user name in the Volapük group at yahoo is Brennus Legranus...). Anyway, maybe it's time to try again. I'll see if I can get something published in the last remaining Volapük journal, Vög Volapüka (= the Voice of Volapük)...


Yes, I think this is about everything... How many languages do I speak decently? (Do you know Douglas Hofstadter's claim, in his book en:Le Ton Beau de Marot, that he was pilingual -- he spoke pi languages, i.e. 3.14159... 1 for English + .9 for French + .9 for Italian + .115 for Polish + .005 for Russian + .004 for Chinese + ...). I guess I'd have to hedge too. Let's say, in how many languages could I have this conversation with you? Comfortably, in English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, possibly Esperanto, Volapük, Italian and Russian (though I have a hell of a time with Cyrillic keyboards; I'd probably beg to use Latin letters instead); uncomfortably but still possible, in Catalan and Romanian (lots of mistakes due to interference from other Latin languages). Lower levels of fluency (I wouldn't try this discussion... but I might ask for directions on the street, and start short conversations and small talk; I tend to understand newspaper headlines but not the full text) for Swedish, Latin, Greek (modern). I would also add the South American languages I'm a specialist on, and which I can speak at a 'foreigner-speech' level: Tiriyó and Bakairi. Lower than that: enough to read simple texts and participate in simple exchanges: Irish, Breton, Albanese; perhaps the same, but after a while without any contacts with the language: Hungarian. That's about it, I think. If it looks impressive, think that I've probably had more time: if you're dealing with exams, you're probably still a student, whereas I am (if all goes well, if no accidents happen... my boss frowns upon my Volapük time, for instance...) going to become associate professor (on a test basis for a while, later on as part of a tenure-track position) this year. I've just had a little more time...

Dixi! :-)

--Smeira 16:22, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Reply IV[edit]

Happy New Year (belatedly) too! I hope everything went fine with this new beginning for you. You may have noticed that I translated your la:Leptictidium into vo:Leptictidium as a new year's present (and a welcome gift) to you. Now the link under the image in your vo.wp user page leads to a real article -- and the first on a prehistoric mammal in vo.wp.

Alas, as you certainly know, not all is going well in the proposal... I would really like some advice. I feel I am now getting too emotional about Arnomane, and my last few replies show that clearly. Since you are on his side but are less "angry", perhaps you could give me some advice. What would you do know, if you were me? :-)...

(Also, as an update, Yekrats proposal looks to me like the way to go. It finally gets to the real point of contention and avoids side issues like interwiki links.)

Hm, it looks like our differences of opinion are diminishing, and becoming easier to write about. This message is much shorter than the previous ones. Could it be that there'll be consensus at then end? :-)...


Well, if 'everyone is biased', then I agree we are biased; so are the supporters of the proposal. But how is this different from 'having an oppinion' then? And, if everyone is biased... how are discussions even possible? :-) I think even people with strong opinions (I, for instance, or you) can be (relatively... everything is relative) unbiased if they are willing to discuss civilizedly with other people and take their arguments seriously, and also the possibility that these arguments may change his/her opinion. Although in some sense such a person is 'biased', as you point out, to me s/he would be already 'pragmatically unbiased' = 'a useful participant in a discussion'. Isn't that enough?

Improving bot stubs & "hard work"[edit]

It seems to me feasible to improve all vo.wp stubs so that they look like nl:Buchères, not like vo:Buchères (the model I'm working on is in vo:Geban:Smeira/Voböp); of course, via bots. Would this already count as 'improving them' to you? On the USA stubs and "telegraphism": I think there are human-created stubs that are just as bad. It's not the nature of the creator (bot) that makes the text "telegraphic", rather it's the kind of statistical information that was chosen (nl:Buchères reads better to my taste, though it was also created by a bot. Look also at a bot-stub on an American city in the Dutch Wikipedia: nl:O'Fallon (Illinois). They have used other kinds of statistical information, and the text looks also better. Would you say this is better? A little better? Sufficiently better?...

On restricting the creation of new articles to ensure the improvement of the old ones: I see your point (in fact, the issue was raised in vo.wp and Malafaya said something similar). I wouldn't have problems with that. (Wow! did we just agree on something?...)

Languages and their (measurable?) cultures[edit]

Since cultures have so many definitions (an anthropologist once, or so I've heard, listed more than 80 in an article, counting only definitions given by professional anthropologists...). What you propose for constructed languages is that the majority of their culture be already non-linguistic ('shared knowledge', 'viewpoint on the world', 'traditions' etc.). I suppose some of the things I mentioned -- e.g. the hierarchy in the Volapük movement, the existence of symbols (flags, buttons, stamps, anthems, etc.), the existence of culture-specific words (that's linguistic, but I think the meanings of words are often more in the culture than in mere semantics; the meaning of "sardanya" is more in the Catalan culture -- the 'shared knowledge' -- than in the dictionary of the language) -- go in this direction. You will claim there's not enough of that yet for Volapük. Perhaps not even for Esperanto. I don't see a good measure for these non-linguistic elements other than listing them (what would this list look like for e.g. Catalan or Portuguese culture?), and even then that's not really a good measure because many of the items would be disputed and many "ineffable" things would be left out. I really don't know what to do (and most anthropologists wouldn't either :-) here other than claim instinctive feeling: I feel Volapük (and certainly Esperanto) have enough to qualify as cultures. Cultures that come from Western Europe, that are installed there, but which have gone beyond that already. But it's a feeling, and you'd be in your right not to accept that. Conlangs work as languages between speakers, and their native cultures become blurred into a common "conlang" feeling-of-proximity (oh, you're a Xist? me too!...) -- they don't disappear of course and become active again when the speakers go back to their own language communities. It's a bit like being an immigrant's child: you shift between communities and cultures as you go from home to work (though conlangs are of course less frequently present in their speakers' lives). But again you're in your right not to accept that. Sigh!...

Note also that precisely this extralinguistic culture is what will be at best partially present in the contributors to dead-language projects like la.wp. But anyway: is an independent culture a necessary precondition for a Wikipedia? After all, an encyclopedia is supposed to be a source of all kinds of knowledge, not simply of cultural knowledge in the language in which it is written: the Britannica does not attempt to "represent English culture"; maybe it does anyway, but it's not its raison-d'être, and if it didn't it wouldn't be any less of an encyclopedia. I think the original rationale for Wikipedias in many languages was that some people don't understand English and couldn't use or contribute to en.wp, not that other cultures should present themselves with other projects. Or am I wrong?


Yes, that's the thorny issue. I may be wrong here; I try to defend myself here, but I have a harder time than elsewhere on this page. Let's see...

  1. No commercial purpose is not a valid justification: I agree. It just means: I'm not trying to take advantage of people. I don't want their money. (This simply excludes certain kinds of motives that we associate with 'advertising').
  2. Implicit messages are spread: well, anything has a meaning. Does Norwegian on the 13. place at the List of Wikipedias also spread the message: Contribute to no.wp!? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. But would "advertising" describe it?
  3. Quasi-advertising should be adressed: well, I don't think it's wrong for Wikipedia to show itself to other people. The line between "informing about what we are doing" and "making propaganda for what we are doing" is maybe very fine; maybe it is all in the intention, not in what exactly is done.
  4. The ends justify the means: I have a hard time with this one. It is pragmatically sound, and it can save lives. I suppose it has to underlie my attempt at getting more Wikipedians in vo.wp via the List of Wikipedias. I could claim what I did wasn't advertising, but even if I'm right many people disagree, and I know they disagree and would be worried (even if I think they're wrong), so I must believe that despite their concerns it's still worthwhile; and the only thing that would make it worthwhile to distress other people is if the results were good enough. Sigh... Let me put it this way: the Machiavellian principle is something we have to swallow, because it does solve problems. But it's so easy to exaggerate that it should always be handled with the utmost care.

Volapük links[edit]

A good online dictionary of Volapük is in the Volapük Wikibooks: English-Volapük and Volapük-English. If you want to see some easier texts, you could have a look at Flenef Bevünetik Volapüka (= International Group of Friends of Volapük) Website: there are some interlinearly glossed texts, and also texts at various levels of difficulty, that could help get you started. The best Volapük dictionary is Volapük-German: the original Wörterbuch der Weltsprache by Arie de Jong, the Volapük reformer. But this book, though Public Domain, is not available online. (I'm entering the entries in the Volapük Wiktionary -- but I'm still at the end of letter "F"... so the dictionary is not yet ready for use.) A useful wordlist that is online is Arie de Jong's [[1]]: the supplements to his Wörterbuch der Weltsprache, also Volapük-German. Not complete, but quite useful. I hope this helps! :-)


I understand what you mean about 'learning the same language again'. My way to put this feeling is: I had the impression I was 'prolonging a certain painting a bit further, seeing the colors change in delicate and unpredictable ways at the borders as I unveiled the new areas of the painting that are being revealed; but it still is one big painting'. It's as if Portuguese-Spanish-Catalan-Occitan-Italian-Romanian (and even French, the outlier) told the same story, with some parts only available in Portuguese and others only in Romanian, but most parts present in various forms and flavors -- here a masculine, there a feminine -- everywhere. And I would go even further: comparing Indo-European languages: Romance, Germanic, Russian and Slavic (and the Slavic painting is in some senses more intricately interwoven than the Romance one), Greek, Albanian... I see the contours of an even larger painting, where many of the transition points have been lost, but where it still seems that the woman on this corner was connected somehow to the child on that other corner and to a flower on that other corner -- maybe it was a mother and a daughter walking around a field of flowers? but so much is missing...). This becomes sharper in contrast with non-Indo-European languages: the Cariban and Tupian language of South America are very obviously different, in many ways, from Indo-European, to the extent that, if you come back from months immersed in them to any Indo-European language, say Albanian, you suddenly have the feeling that you're back home. "Ah! I know this painting! The kinds of colors are familiar, and totally different from the ones I just came from!". Something like that...

I hope you've had a good time in the meantime -- despite the tone of the proposal discussion. All the best!

--Smeira 23:05, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


Gratias tibi maximas ago! :-).... --Smeira 11:04, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

No hurry, Leptictidium -- get well first. (My daughter is also down with a flu...) After all, this is not a paid job :-)... --Smeira 23:35, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

My new reply, too :^)[edit]

Phew! I am fine now (after a cold that forced me to bed for a day and a half...). And as you say it seems they aren't going to delete vo.wp stubs; though Yekrats' comment about everything starting again in two months makes me feel uneasy. I'd like to imagine that was the end, but... as in those old zombie movies I mentioned in my last comment there... was it?

Hey Leptictidium, if you're ill, then probably the best thing to do is really to lie in bed and forget about all these online disputes and Wikipedia philosophies! I'll write some thoughts of mine here, but don't feel compelled to answer: getting well is much more important, as is your univeristy exams. "Cap al futur, amic!"

Well, let's avoid the bias discussion then. I'm ultimately an optimist who wants to believe (most? some?) people will eventually question the basis of their dearest beliefs out of love for truth; but I may be wrong...

Bot stubs[edit]

Does the Viquipèdia have many stubs, bot-created or otherwise? Depending on how united a community you people are, you could just have a general talk and decide on priorities. A radical solution would be to stop creating new articles until at least a certain percentage (50%?) of stubs are improved (by now you probably have at least a stub on each major and even each middle-level topic; it probably wouldn't harm breadth-of-coverage to concentrate on depth-of-coverage for a while). A less radical solution would be to set up a Improving Articles project with the most enthusiastic writers collaborating to improve articles (some wikis have "collaboration-of-the-week" efforts targeted at improving the articles they consider most necessary in an encyclopedia; this Improving Articles initiative could be a more focussed, more targeted version of that, perhaps with a list of best candidates for improvement that people should work on as soon as possible, etc.). In such situations, it would help a lot if people looked away from number-of-articles and tried to get other numbers to help them feel that good work is being done: say, average article length. Do you think there is any chance this idea could fly in the Viquipèdia community?

As for the Vükiped... unless we grow a lot and quite fast, I agree that we won't be able to improve so many articles by hand. But, at least IMHO, this is not necessaribly bad: stubs are also worth something, even if unimproved. And there is also bot-improving: as I mentioned on the proposal page, I am working (when I find time!...) on a way to automatically improve articles like vo:Ambérieu-en-Bugey so that they end up looking like vo:Geban:Smeira/Voböp. This looks feasible.

At this point, I think the gravest problem is not the stubs themselves -- they're good enough as far as they go -- but the fact that so many of them give the Vükiped what you might call a "thematic imbalance": lots of information on geography (places) but much less on everything else. We keep adding other articles: I am especially fond of the history of Volapük and Volapük literature, so I hope to be able to add more articles on Volapükists (I was working on vo:Charles Ezra Sprague, an American Volapükist and Civil War hero, when Arnomane's proposal started...). We've also been working on the List of Articles every Wikipedia should have, each on their own interests (Malafaya and Robert like musicians), etc. But unless we grow really fast, I don't see how this imbalance can be reverted. Is it bad? For the kind of Renaissance Project I mentioned in one comment on Yekrats' Meta:Proposal for Policy on overuse of bots in Wikipedias (where I mentioned the Pragmatic and the Aesthetic schools of Wikipedia-building), it is. For the "make-information-available" vision, it is not so bad: it just means that geographic information is easier to offer in an automated way. I can live with that. I hope...

Culture and language[edit]

To me, the Britney Spears Esperanto club simply belongs in two cultures: Esperanto culture and Britney Spears fan-culture. Imagine a German Britney Spears fan club: because they like Britney Spears, there's a lot they'd have in common with other Britney Spears fan clubs, e.g. in the US. But they'd also be different, in specifically German ways: both linguistically (they'd speak German to each other and publish their monthly newsletter in German; when singing her songs, they'd have a German accent; etc.) but also culturally (Germans seem to be more detailed in their way of organizing things like clubs than many other peoples...). So would, I think, an Esperanto Britney Spears fan club.

Oh, the "Xist" thing was not about Marxism. I was just making the point that people who like conlangs have a feeling of "sharing something" that other people don't share ("oh, you're an Esperantist/Volapükist/Interlinguist/Idist/... = Xist? So am I!" -- the kind of initial conversation they might have).


On no.wp being high on the list of Wikipedias: I agree totally that it reflects the work of the no.wp people to build an encyclopedia, not at trying to spread propaganda for whatever goal, e.g. their language. They did not intend to. But it would seem that the position has this effect -- intentionally or not. And the reason is, I think, the way people interpret number-of-articles as measuring quality. From my perspective, the Polish Wikipedia is not as good as the others there -- in fact, the much smaller Hebrew Wikipedia may, from certain perspectives, be better than it. Yet it is there, high up in the table, which gets an automatic commendation, the interpretation that they "deserve" to be there. Vo.wp hasn't started that: the parameter is simply not really accurate.

Now: yes, when I added the articles, I wanted to attract people, and I thought putting Volapük high in the table would be a way to do that. (I tried other things... we've discussed that already.). So: yes, there was an intention, a deliberate effort, to make the Vükiped go up that table. And the reason was: to attract more collaborators. Which may perhaps have worked, somewhat -- we'll have to see.

So: is this "propaganda"? This is a derogatory word, used to punish bad behavior. The prototypical case involves self-agrandizing, or trying to get rich, by spreading something quickly (e.g. spam). This was not the case here. But is it like "religious propaganda"? The Mormon missionares who gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon when they came to visit a couple of months ago were doing "propaganda" in some sense, but they were also idealists who sincerely believe in what they were spreading, not simply ill-intentioned people peddling snake oil. Are they also doing "propaganda" and should they be stopped? They're certainly not forcing me to anything, nor are they using any morally wrong methods; I suppose it all depends on what you think about Mormonism.

Think also about WMF itself. From what I read about the Polish Wikipedia, I hear they released a CD-ROM version, they hold press conferences, they go to the media to tell everybody that the Polish Wikipedia is doing well, that it is growing and becoming better all the time. And thereby also attract new contributors. Is this propaganda? If CD-ROMs are distributed to create interest in people who might not know about it, if interviews are done for Polish magazines and on TV for the same purpose -- is this bad? Note that we deal with deliberate efforts here, not simply a spontaneous consequence of the work of Polish Wikipedians.

Of course you may find this all bad -- and I couldn't counterargue, because it all boils down to which moral principles you consider holy. All I will say here is: it's not an obvious question, not black-and-white, and my intention -- attracting new contributors -- does, IMHO, do a lot towards making the strategy acceptable. Despite 32X's claim, I wasn't trying to get my 15 minutes of fame. To me, this makes a big difference.

Have a nice day, Leptictidium! Please take good care of yourself!

--Smeira 14:38, 23 January 2008 (UTC)


Quina pàgina de discussió! Amb el major dels respectes, crec que hauries de dedicar menys temps a deslluir i entrebancar els esforços que es fan als altres projectes. Tampoc és positiu titllar altres usuaris de mentider (...that was an utter lie) quan no ho és (em refereixo a Metapub#Vükiped opens the gas with bots... yet again). També vull comentar-te que en llegir la queixa de Metapub em donava la impressió de que a Viquipèdia en català estem molt emprenyats per aquest tema (ja dic, és la impressió que m'ha donat, com si estiguessis molt enfadat), i la imatge vers :w:ca i els seus usuaris se'm despren negativa. Suggereixo més calma i comprensió. A reveure, i bon rotllet ;) -Aleator (talk) 17:20, 20 April 2008 (UTC)


Hello, Lepictidium. I came across your user page and I thought I could correct your Latin: to express superlative grade in Latin, you have tree possibilities: ex + abl., inter + acc. or just genitive, in your case: either ex omnibus animalibus or inter omnia animalia or just omnium animalium (bellissima). I hope you do not mind. Bogorm 07:17, 27 April 2009 (UTC)