I think it's worth noting that there have been only 3 language hoaxes in Wikimedia history (that I'm aware of) and only one of them was approved and created as a Wikipedia.

- The earliest hoax was a person or group of people who filled the Nauruan Wikipedia with text in a conlang or fake language. The Nauruan Wikipedia already existed at that point, so this wouldn't have been prevented by the current LPP anyway
- The Siberian Wikipedia
- Some users attempted to create a Seri Wikipedia in what is clearly not Seri and is rather some fake language or conlang. It is still in the incubator (!) but was never approved.

Yes, caution is a good idea, but essentially we are limiting digital access to linguistic communities that are often already marginalized, due mostly only to the bad-faith actions of the Siberian Wikipedia clique 12 years ago. Note that Siberian isn't even in Ethnologue. There has to be a better way.

I hope the members of the language committee can find a balanced middle ground that empowers minority language communities while also giving the appropriate weight to considerations of possible bad faith attempts to create projects in the wrong language or fake languages. (It does give me pause that in the Seri case, if it had made it to approval, the fake Seri users could have caused harm to a real language community).

On Thu, Aug 22, 2019, 6:21 AM Steven White <koala19890@hotmail.com> wrote:
I'm happy to wait for your proposal, Amir.  Still, if there is something that is going to require LangCom approval, there needs to be something in the proposal that compels LangCom to act within a reasonable time frame. Yes, we're volunteers, but so are the people who are creating the projects in Incubator (etc.), and they deserve not to have to wait a year. 

I will also add that as long as I'm not so frustrated with the system that I can stay active, I do watch the active tests on Incubator. Yes, it's possible for me to be fooled by a hoax, as I don't usually read the languages involved. Still, as long as Incubator/Beta/Old Wikisource are being monitored, it needs to be a pretty robust hoax on the concerted part of a reasonable number of contributors in order to make it all the way to the point of approvability.

Finally, then, is the tradeoff between avoiding hoaxes and being responsive to new-project communities.  The chances that such a community is a good-faith community that is being hurt by delay are probably much greater than the chances that such a community is a hoax community. So while I think we need a chance for our due diligence, we should not be allowed an arbitrarily long time to do that due diligence, either.


Sent from Outlook

From: Langcom <langcom-bounces@lists.wikimedia.org> on behalf of langcom-request@lists.wikimedia.org <langcom-request@lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 8:00 AM
To: langcom@lists.wikimedia.org <langcom@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Langcom Digest, Vol 70, Issue 12

Message: 1
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2019 08:52:07 +0300
From: "Amir E. Aharoni" <amir.aharoni@mail.huji.ac.il>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Language Committee
Subject: Re: [Langcom] Proposed amendment to LPP (was: Final approval
        for     four projects)

Sorry, no.

No verification at all and simply assuming good faith after some arbitrary
time is asking for trouble. There already were cases of hoaxes in the past.
Not many cases, but they did happen, and we're talking about a whole site,
even one case is major trouble.

HOWEVER, I absolutely do recognize that we have unnecessary and harmful
bottlenecks in the approval process, and because of that I'm working on
another proposal that will ease up at least some of these bottlenecks.

I've just came back from Wikimania, and I'm immediately going for a
vacation until the end of August, but after that—expect surprises,
hopefully good ones.

Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי

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