I have asked and received permission to forward to you all this most
excellent bit of news.
The linguist list, is a most excellent resource for people interested in the
field of linguistics. As I mentioned some time ago they have had a funding
drive and in that funding drive they asked for a certain amount of money in
a given amount of days and they would then have a project on Wikipedia to
learn what needs doing to get better coverage for the field of linguistics.
What you will read in this mail that the total community of linguists are
asked to cooperate. I am really thrilled as it will also get us more
linguists interested in what we do. My hope is that a fraction will be
interested in the languages that they care for and help it become more
relevant. As a member of the "language prevention committee", I love to get
more knowledgeable people involved in our smaller projects. If it means that
we get more requests for more projects we will really feel embarrassed with
all the new projects we will have to approve because of the quality of the
Incubator content and the quality of the linguistic arguments why we should
approve yet another language :)
NB Is this not a really clever way of raising money; give us this much in
this time frame and we will then do this as a bonus...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: LINGUIST Network <linguist(a)linguistlist.org>
Date: Jun 18, 2007 6:53 PM
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831. Mon Jun 18 2007. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Eastern Michigan U <aristar(a)linguistlist.org>
Helen Aristar-Dry, Eastern Michigan U <hdry(a)linguistlist.org>
Reviews: Laura Welcher, Rosetta Project
The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University,
and donations from subscribers and publishers.
Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyer(a)linguistlist.org>
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 12:49:35
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
As you may recall, one of our Fund Drive 2007 campaigns was called the
"Wikipedia Update Vote." We asked our viewers to consider earmarking their
donations to organize an update project on linguistics entries in the
English-language Wikipedia. You can find more background information on this
The speed with which we met our goal, thanks to the interest and generosity
our readers, was a sure sign that the linguistics community was enthusiastic
about the idea. Now that summer is upon us, and some of you may have a bit
leisure time, we are hoping that you will be able to help us get started on
Wikipedia project. The LINGUIST List's role in this project is a purely
organizational one. We will:
*Help, with your input, to identify major gaps in the Wikipedia materials or
pages that need improvement;
*Compile a list of linguistics pages that Wikipedia editors have identified
"in need of attention from an expert on the subject" or " does not cite any
references or sources," etc;
*Send out periodical calls for volunteer contributors on specific topics or
*Provide simple instructions on how to upload your entries into Wikipedia;
*Keep track of our project Wikipedians;
*Keep track of revisions and new entries;
*Work with Wikimedia Foundation to publicize the linguistics community's
We hope you are as enthusiastic about this effort as we are. Just to help us
get started looking at Wikipedia more critically, and to easily identify an
needing improvement, we suggest that you take a look at the List of
Many people are not listed there; others need to have more facts and
added. If you would like to participate in this exciting update effort,
respond by sending an email to LINGUIST Editor Hannah Morales at
hannah(a)linguistlist.org, suggesting what your role might be or which
entries you feel should be updated or added. Some linguists who saw our
on the Internet have already written us with specific suggestions, which we
share with you soon.
This update project will take major time and effort on all our parts. The
result will be a much richer internet resource of information on the breadth
depth of the field of linguistics. Our efforts should also stimulate
students to consider studying linguistics and to educate a wider public on
we do. Please consider participating.
Editor, Wikipedia Update Project
Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831
There is a request for a Wikipedia in Ancient Greek. This request has so far
been denied. A lot of words have been used about it. Many people maintain
their positions and do not for whatever reason consider the arguments of
In my opinion their are a few roadblocks.
- Ancient Greek is an ancient language - the policy does not allow for
- Text in ancient Greek written today about contemporary subjects
require the reconstruction of Ancient Greek.
- it requires the use of existing words for concepts that did
not exist at the time when the language was alive
- neologisms will be needed to describe things that did not
exist at the time when the language was alive
- modern texts will not represent the language as it used to be
- Constructed and by inference reconstructed languages are effectively
We can change the policy if there are sufficient arguments, when we agree on
When a text is written in reconstructed ancient Greek, and when it is
clearly stated that it is NOT the ancient Greek of bygone days, it can be
obvious that it is a great tool to learn skills to read and write ancient
Greek but that it is in itself not Ancient Greek. Ancient Greek as a
language is ancient. I have had a word with people who are involved in the
working group that deals with the ISO-639, I have had a word with someone
from SIL and it is clear that a proposal for a code for "Ancient Greek
reconstructed" will be considered for the ISO-639-3. For the ISO-639-6 a
code is likely to be given because a clear use for this code can be given.
We can apply for a code and as it has a use bigger then Wikipedia alone it
clearly has merit.
With modern texts clearly labelled as distinct from the original language,
it will be obvious that innovations a writers needs for his writing are
This leaves the fact that constructed and reconstructed languages are not
permitted because of the notion that mother tongue users are required. In my
opinion, this has always been only a gesture to those people who are dead
set against any and all constructed languages. In the policies there is
something vague "*it must have a reasonable degree of recognition as
determined by discussion (this requirement is being discussed by the language
subcommittee <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_subcommittee>)."* It
is vague because even though the policy talks about a discussion, it is
killed off immediately by stating "The proposal has a sufficient number of
living native speakers to form a viable community and audience." In my
opinion, this discussion for criteria for the acceptance of constructed or
reconstructed languages has not happened. Proposals for objective criteria
have been ignored.
In essence, to be clear about it:
- We can get a code for reconstructed languages.
- We need to change the policy to allow for reconstructed and
We need to do both in order to move forward.
The proposal for objective criteria for constructed and reconstructed
languages is in a nutshell:
- The language must have an ISO-639-3 code
- We need full WMF localisation from the start
- The language must be sufficiently expressive for writing a modern
- The Incubator project must have sufficiently large articles that
demonstrate both the language and its ability to write about a wide range of
- A sufficiently large group of editors must be part of the Incubator
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Olli <ollinpostit(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Wikipedia christmas calendar?
What about a wikipedia christmas calendar? It can maybe preview some
articles or something similar. Then it can be multilingual.
What do you think?
*(am I using wrong mailing list?)*
In a message dated 10/31/2009 8:51:29 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> where sensationalised rumours get spread because of
> a lack of accurate information.>>
I think it's a little pre-mature to say that it's a sensationalised rumour
speading because of a lack of accurate information. What we know so far is
someone said "was he fired?" and now we know he has a last day posted. It's
a little odd to work for only a few months at a job though. So "fired"
wouldn't be a bad guess. "Quit in a huff" could be another guess.
I would like to collect more information about the situation of online
encyclopedias in China Mainland. I am now browsing a litte bit around
with Google Translator, but it remains difficult to get an impression
concerning the following questions:
* how the collaboration process differs
* how good is the content
* how liberal is the content (not contamined directly or indirectly by
Does someone of you knows more?
Ziko van Dijk
According to an article on the BBC website, it is now possible to have a URL
that is completely in the script used for a language. This means that a
Russian URL would be completely in the Cyrillic script and it would not need
to end with .org.
I would like the Wikimedia Foundation to get the necessary domains to
support the scripts that we have language versions in. The BBC article
explains that people do find the need to move from one script to the other
as problematic and cumbersome. Obviously, we can have the necessary mapping
from our current Latin based URLs to the ones in other scripts. This will be
an important feature because we want people to easily move between our
In a message dated 10/31/2009 12:24:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> As I said above, he wouldn't be working a month's notice if he had
> been fired. "Resigned by mutual agreement" is more likely. I guess
> either a) he didn't fit in in the office, b) the job turned out to be
> not quite what he was expecting or c) he had some kind of major change
> of plan. None of those options really makes for a good rumour.>>
Let me suggest another scenario.
Dear employee, you're fired, however, please don't tell anyone that you've
been fired, go away and don't show up, and we'll keep paying you for another
month. If you open your mouth, we won't.
So it's also an assumption that he's "working". At least in the office.
This is a request-for-comments (RFC) about an idea that had surfaced on
#wikipedia at the time about creating an open web directory similar to
http://www.dmoz.org/ only world-editable and with a more convenient interface.
This was motivated after I was referred to the "Wikipedia is not a web
directory" section of:
History of Web Directories:
I'm not sure how many of the younger folks here are very familiar with the
history and motivation behind web directories, so I'll explain a little to the
best of my knowledge.
Back when the Internet and the World Wide Web started to become popular,
search engines were much less accurate than Google, or the search engines that
now compete with it, using similar algorithms. As a result, it was often hard
to find stuff on the Internet using Lycos or different search engines. As a
result, people have actively used web-directories and especially yahoo.com
(which started as a hand-maintained directory by two Stanford students, and
grew into a successful Internet company), as a way to find resources that were
considered high-quality by human editors.
Yahoo and similar directories organised the content in a tree of categories,
with some stuff like "symbolic links", etc. Part of the problem with Yahoo was
that it was closed for edits only by human editors, which caused it to quickly
grow out-of-date. As a result, it was eventually surpassed in
comprehensiveness and accuracy by dmoz.org:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Directory_Projectdmoz.org gained some notoriety after Google periodically mirrored it as the
Google directory (with some enhancements like sort-by-page-rank and a faster
load time, and a better search). Eventually, Google removed it from their
front page and search results in favour of Froogle and other stuff which were
in my (possibly non-representative) opinion much less useful than their
Directory, and dmoz.org went into much greater obscurity. Soon afterwards, the
English wikipedia and other wikimedia projects started gaining a lot of
momentum, popularity and page rank, which caused it to rank high among many
search engine searches (although to the defence of Google and other search
engines, one should note that they do seem to have a diversification
algorithm, which makes the search results not be dominated by a single source
- whether wikipedia.org or whatever).
Why a Web Directory:
While I enjoy the English wikipedia a lot (and have contributed to it - see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Shlomif ), I still think that web
directories have been having (or possibly and unfortunately "had been having")
their advantages and appeal. The primary reason is because they list any site
of interest, including many that would be considered as not "notable" enough
for inclusion under the relevant "External Links" in the Wikipedia, but still
may prove of interest. They also serve a similar purpose to the wikipedias'
category pseudo-trees of allowing to find similar articles of interest.
A lot of techno-geeks are now saying "Category trees are dead! Tags are the
future". It is true that traditionally the filesystems of popular operating
systems such as UNIX (e.g: Linux, Mac OS X, etc.), DOS/Windows, etc. are
organised in a directory tree and not a tag, which inspired a lot of Internet-
stuff to be similar (as the protocols mirrored the semantics of the UNIX file
system). However, there are many good reasons (besides ease-of-implementation)
why they are organised in a hierarchy, instead of in free-form tags. (You can
see the Google Reader feeds-organised-in-tags or the Flock browser huge tag-
based bookmarks menu for why they sometimes fail). Not to mention that like in
wikipedia, a certain resource can be tagged with more than one category like
Isaac Newton ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton ) belongs to "17th-
century English people" , "Fellows of the Royal Society" , "English
So I still think the idea of a web directory appeals to me.
The problems with ODP/dmoz.org:
As someone who used to be a dmoz.org editor, I found two main problems with
1. Too much red-tape: an editor could only edit the categories he was given
permissions for, and not anything above. There were some meta-editors who can
edit anything and can also give permissions for more categories which take
time, but I still have been thinking that the best thing would be a wikipedia-
like "everyone can edit everything unless explicitly forbidden" thing.
Another thing I didn't like about this red-tape and authority was an incident
where as I edited the Perl "FAQs, Tutorials and Helps" category and added a
sub-category of "Tutorials" where I placed some stuff. Then when an editor
reviewed my work when I asked for another category, they didn't like the fact
that one of the texts for the mission statement only reflected my thoughts,
and so deleted the category and moved everything I wrote their to the parent
category. This naturally was a destructive change that made me frustrated, as
I would have been happy to change the mission statement or guidelines of the
category after the fact.
2. The UI was lacking: there were many forms required to review, submit and/or
edit a single link, the editing server was kinda slow, there was very little
AJAX, and editing in general was much less convenient than the wikipedia edit
link which gives a gigantic textarea with a convenient and concise syntax.
For a long time I felt guilty about not dedicating enough time to edit
dmoz.org, and had reminders to edit it occasionally (which I tended to ignore)
but eventually passively stopped editing. I now realise I could not be blamed
for my lack of enthusiasm.
Note that I still feel that dmoz.org is a useful resource which is often fun
and useful. As great as the Wikipedia is, I still think there's a place for a
high-profile web-directory. Maybe this is one of the trends that will become
retro, like push technology which was considered a fad was re-incarnated as
RSS/Atom feeds which seem to have gained a lot of popularity, and even proved
to have some business potential.
The Challenges of a more open / more free web directory:
I'm not sure that a wikimedia-sponsored web directory is a good idea yet. But
here are some thoughts about the challenges:
1. The three S's: Spam, spam, spam. A web directory is likely to be a huge
spam target and will need good anti-spam controls. However, I personally think
that while spam should be a factor we take into consideration, it should not
prevent us from creating new and exciting user-contributed web sites.
One of the reasons I hate spam is not so much that I am bothered by it
arriving in my inbox, but rather because it makes some people paranoid. My
personal web-site contains an <a href="mailto:email@example.com"
rel="webmaster">shlomif(a)iglu.org.il</a> E-mail at the bottom of each page, but
lately most sites I visited either had it obscured under many ways, or even
just had a contact form. Some people have even told me that I should hide my
web address to reduce the amount of spam I receive because "prevention is
better than the cure".
I'm sorry, but I'd rather not destroy paradise just so I can save it. I'd
rather see some spam on blogs and in E-mail than destroy their
usability/accessibility, and by corrollary think that a more open web-
directory should not have fear of spam as the main obstacle in its way.
2. We may wish to build upon the existing data of the ODP which is syndicated
as machine-readable data under this licence:
The Free Software Foundation describes the ODL as a non-free license, citing
the right to redistribute a given version not being permanent, and the
requirement to check for changes to the license.
Whether something is indeed free/open or not is a term of much debate as I
mention here in a somewhat different context:
Whether the interpretation of the FSF to the freeness of the licence is
correct here, and whether it matters much in this case (as RMS himself was
quoted as saying that commercial games can have "non-free" art and plots as
long as their engines are free and it was OK ethically and morally). Still it
may prove to be a problem if we want to gain some public acceptance for the
3. Shouldn't we try to convince dmoz.org to remedy the two problems I've
mentioned, rather than starting our own competing and diverging effort?
Like I said earlier, I'm still very sceptical about whether this idea will
work and be a good one. At the moment, I'm unemployed by choice, but still
have many other endeavours and different priorities and so cannot commit to
dedicating a lot of time to this wiki-directory. I'm already active in the
English wikipedia, the English wiktionary, used to edit the English wikiquote
and would like to work again, and naturally have my own web-sites and blogs
(not really wikis, though I have comments there), which often take greater
precedence and interest. So my expectation is that if such an effort is
started, it will need to grow organically in a similar way that wikinews or
wikibooks or some of the popular topical Wikia wikis have gained public
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
"Star Trek: We, the Living Dead" - http://shlom.in/st-wtld
Chuck Norris read the entire English Wikipedia in 24 hours. Twice.