Frankly, I had hoped to kick that question down the road a bit. But Michael's comment
illustrates, to some extent, the concern with people always relying on my summaries and
not digging into the discussion, especially when the discussion in lengthy.
First, let me link to the discussion again:
As I've said before, I think if we were starting off from a blank slate, there would
be a strong argument that we ought to allow a separate Wikisource in Literary Chinese. The
analogy to Latin is actually a pretty good one. To the extent the analogy is good,
it's really no more appropriate (in theory) to force Literary Chinese into a Mandarin
Wikisource (or a Cantonese Wikisource) than it would be to force Latin into a French
Wikisource or an Italian Wikisource.
So much for "in theory", "if we were starting off from a blank slate".
But we're not, and the facts on the ground still make this a far more difficult
decision in practice. I'd really encourage LangCom members to try read through the
lengthy discussion. But I will still provide some key points here.
Concerning the current zhwikisource wiki and its lzh content:
* The current zhwikisource (let's call it that for now) has approximately 300,000
content pages. In the discussion, it has been estimated that at least half, and perhaps as
much as 90%, of that content is Literary Chinese (lzh). (This partly depends how you
count. Some pages in Mandarin, for example, are actually author pages for authors whose
writing is in Literary Chinese.)
* There are currently about 150 active contributors to zhwikisource.
* The current zhwikisource community is adamantly opposed to this proposal. It does
not want lzh content separated out. The community sees it as a part of the continuum of
language that it is curating.
* Some people point out that "zhwikisource", by ordinary Wikimedia use of
codes, is really "Mandarin Wikisource", not "Chinese Wikisource". That
is true enough, in principle. However, excluding Literary Chinese and zhwikisource, there
are five other Chinese Wikisource projects, one independent (Min-Nan) and four on
oldwikisource. They total about 80 content pages, so really play a negligible role.
* I worked hard to try to determine if Chinese political influence was adversely
impacting curation of lzh content on zhwikisource. Nobody provided evidence that there
was a problem.
Concerning the proposal:
* One user in particular is the proposer and champion of this request.
* He has received a small amount of support in the discussion, just about all on the
theoretical grounds that Literary Chinese is as deserving of a separate project as Latin.
* In practical terms, I have tried to determine why the proposer wants a separate
project. The answer I get most often is that "it's a separate language and should
have a separate project". Fair enough. Yet, when I have tried to ask if there have
been particular problems with lzh content on Wikisource, I have not really gotten an
answer. When I have pressed, the user says zhwikisource is not curating lzh material
properly—but when I ask for details, I get none—no evidence, and no description of a
problem. It's not absolutely out of the question that there are language issues
getting in the way. Still, that's not my sense of it.
* Most of the current zhwikisource community feel he's trying to create his own
playground to use. I'm not prepared to support that opinion. I'm also not prepared
to reject that opinion.
A couple of other points that occur to me as I put this together:
* There is no question that LangCom has the authority to approve a separate Literary
Chinese Wikisource project. It is far less clear to me that LangCom has the authority to
order the current zhwikisource wiki to be broken apart against the express opposition of
* It is even less clear to me that it would be a good idea. There is a great risk
that the current community would simply walk away (bad outcome). There is also a great
risk that the current community would move to take over the new wiki and force out the
proposer (bad outcome). Then someone like MF-W would have done a lot of work to split the
project, but with very little in the way of progress to show for it (bad outcome).
At this point, I would respond to Michael's question: No, I don't think that the
Literary Chinese content would be moved out to a new wiki—at least, not so fast, and
perhaps not at all.
One other thing that I just looked up:
* There is one big difference between the Literary Chinese case and the Latin case. zh
is a macrolanguage code for Chinese, and Literary Chinese (lzh) is a member of that
macrolanguage. If you argue that zhwikisource can (in principle) be a Wikisource project
that covers the entire range of the macrolanguage, then lzh content unquestionably fits
there. To contrast, Latin shares an ISO 639-5 collective code with other Romance
languages, but is not part of the same macrolanguage.
After all this, I personally see only two possibilities:
1. We take "zhwikisource" to be defined as potentially pertaining to the
entire macrolanguage, and on those grounds reject this request.
2. We leave lzh content in place for now in zhwikisource. We allow some lzh content to
be added to multilingual Wikisource anyway, with no commitment that in the future such
content will be merged with content in zhwikisource. We will try to avoid duplicating
documents. (There is precedent for that kind of arrangement, though right now it seems to
be limited to content restrictions due to copyright law.)
Sent from Outlook<http://aka.ms/weboutlook>
From: Langcom <langcom-bounces(a)lists.wikimedia.org> on behalf of
Sent: Monday, March 4, 2019 8:06 PM
Subject: Langcom Digest, Vol 66, Issue 2
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2019 01:06:37 +0000
From: Michael Everson <everson(a)evertype.com>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Language Committee
Subject: Re: [Langcom] Requests for new languages: Wikisource Literary
If we have a separate Wikisource for Literary Chinese, then obviously the Literary Chinese
that is on the standard Chinese site should be moved to the new site. With links, of