Wiki for standards
A wiki for standards has first been proposed in August 2004 by Robert Horning (see Wikistandards for the original proposal). This propsal is being revived in modified form due to interest which was expressed at a conference for language standards in Berlin (Dec 12-13, 2005) . A significant number of people from the language standards community have indicated here on Meta that they are interested in actively supporting this effort.
Interest from the language standards community
Just a few of the people who have expressed interest in working on a Wikistandards project run by Wikimedia:
- Professor Alan K. Melby, Brigham Young University, member of the Board of Directors and chair of the Translation and Computers committee, American Translators Association and many other affiliations, see his CV
- Donald A. DePalma, President and CRO: Common Sense Advisory, Inc.; author: Business Without Borders, member of the Board of Directors of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), chair of the Language Standards for Global Business Summit, more: www.commonsenseadvisory.com/about_us
- Keiran Dunne, Assistant Professor of French, Pennsylvania State University
- Dr. Jennifer DeCamp, principal engineer at MITRE Corporation, a federally funded Research and development Center, where she provides software testing and advice on foreign language technology. She has worked with localization issues since the 1970s.
- Peter Reynolds, Lionbridge Technologies, involved with the XLIFF and Translation Web Services standards.
- Tex Texin, Internationalization Architect, Yahoo, Inc. Tex Texin has been providing globalization services including training, strategy, and implementation to the software industry for many years. See this for some details.
While this interest is strong, it is important that the project can go ahead quickly before the momentum is lost and the effort splits into several smaller ones, which would defeat the purpose.
Rationale and purpose
The purpose of Wikistandards will be to discuss standards and to formulate drafts on the wiki. Informative encyclopaedic texts would be written on Wikipedia. As it is of importance for a standard to be known and thereby to be a Standard, many people at the conference indicated their willingness to translate these articles to other languages for other Wikipedias as well. The terminology involved with standards would get its place in WiktionaryZ (the name suggested to replace "Ultimate Wiktionary").
Wikistandards itself will be a new project in its own right. It does not fit into Wikibooks since the discussions and drafts will be original works developed by the standards communities. There will be a portal dedicated to language standards, but hopefully, we will get other standards communities interested as well. Wikistandards will also make use of content in our other projects.
One reason why a wiki like this makes sense is because the Wikimedia Foundation is known for its NPOV, it is not part of academia or the business world and, as importantly, we have a great track record in managing large amounts of content. We can hope for great synergies between the standards community and the Wikimedia community.
On the most basic level, Wikimedians will help the standards experts to learn the ropes, and to structure the wiki in a way that makes sense. But we also have a very real need for being involved in or close to standardization processes, particularly language standards, as we will make increased use of them in our projects.
On the Unicode website, Wikipedia is the only website that is singled out for its use of UTF-8. With the WiktionaryZ project, supporting standards will become even more important as we will have ALL languages and people from ALL locales using one database. We are discussing using standards like CLDR (Common Locale Data Repository) for localization and TBX (TermBase eXchange) for exporting terminology. In the future we may even make use of TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) to integrate WiktionaryZ with industry standard computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. Other standards will be relevant for relation types and other meta data.
In the process of standardization, Wikimedia will only set one standard of its own: a standard of freedom. Any standard we use in our projects must be fully documented, free to use and free to implement, or we do not consider it a standard in the first place. What better way to ensure that than by being involved, as a neutral party, in the standard process?