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
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This is a follow up to my proposal that Fan History Wiki join the wMF
family, based on my experiences via e-mail, on the list and on strategy
wiki. This isn't as coherent as I would like.
To give some back story that might not have been as obvious in our initial
proposal, we were interested in joining the WMF for several primary reasons:
1) Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization where we fundamentally
believe in the objectives of the organization.
2) Wikimedia Foundation has credibility that could be extended to our
project, helping us accomplish our mission.
3) Fan History and I feel like we have positive relationships with Wikimedia
Foundation staff, based on our interactions at RecentChangesCamp and in
various chat rooms like #wiki and #mediawiki on irc.freenode.net.
We have certain things that we want to accomplish that have been detailed
elsewhere. We're in the process of looking for and determining if we should
partner with some one to accomplish these goals, what we're looking for in
partnering or being acquired by some one. Our general criteria have been:
1) Non-profit, no-profit or for profit business where the emphasis would be
on helping us to succeed with our mission. Monetization of the project is
fine so long as major content focus and creation is focused around
monetizing. We see our project as fundamentally for a greater good, to
preserve and document the history of fan communities, and we don't want that
made secondary to commercial interests.
2) Financial issues. In an ideal world, we would want one or two or three
of our staffers to get some form of compensation for helping to maintain the
content, enforce policies and helping work towards the mission. We also
want to make sure that the project has the funding to continue indefinetely.
3) Fix and improve our back end. Thankfully, it feels like a fair amount of
this has been addressed in the past two weeks so we're much less stressed
about this than we were.
4) Increase the visibility and credibility of our project. Get more people
That out of the way, time to discuss the process of trying to get acquired
by the Wikimedia Foundation. Simply put, there were three basic steps that
1) Contacted members of the Wikimedia Foundation to ask them if they would
be interested in bringing Fan History into the Wikimedia Foundation family.
Got directed to other people, told not sure who in the organization this
would be best proposed to, got told that the Foundation itself probably
wouldn't be interest, finally suggested I post this on the list because if
community consensus is yes than we can go ahead.
2) Posted the proposal on the mailing list. Good feedback. Suggested I
post it to the Strategy Wiki.
3) Posted to strategy wiki.
Step one is fine. The only problem I might have had with step one was not
getting out right rejected.
The problem is really when it comes to steps two and three. To my
knowledge, all of the projects that are currently part of the Wikimedia
Foundation are home grown; they did not join as part of any aquisition
process. In this regards, our proposal was unique. Steps two and three
are kind of where we got hung up: What is the timeline? What are the next
steps to take after these?
The timeline issue is a big one. For us, this is not that big of a deal
necessarily. We're finacially in a place where we can probably chug along
for a while in that regards. We're not facing issues of possibly being shut
down because of legal problems or scripting problems. We do not have issues
that say this is a last resort option for us to keep us open. In the
future, others may contact Wikipedia where this may be an issue or where the
founders may see this as the only solution.
I tried to ask various people to get a feel for the timeline that we were
looking at to, well, know if WMF was interested in acquiring us or setting
up some sort of official relationship. What I got told by people in the
know on #wikimedia-strategy was that we were looking at three to eighteen
months before we got some sort of official response back regarding whether
this was something that the Wikimedia Foundation community was interested
in. I was left with the impression that unless I was basically agitating
and trying to get support on an almost daily basis, the timeline was
actually closer to eighteen months. EIGHTEEN MONTHS.
And that eighteen months didn't even factor in under what conditions WMF
would want us, what we would have to give up, and if we'd even be willing to
accept WMF's offer if they made that decision. We couldn't get the
information that we needed to know if we even wanted to work with Wikimedia
Foundation for that long.
That puts us in a bind. There are other places we would like to approach.
(And if you have ideas for who would be a good fit, please get in touch with
me.) Is it ethical for us to approach other people and organizations while
we have this on the table with the WMF? If we approach other people in the
mean time, does that signal that our interest in the WMF is dead? We just
don't know. Is it fair to the WMF to basically keep us in limbo for three
to eighteen months? We kind of don't think so.
Outside of the timeline issue, there is the whole procedural issue.
Proposal is made. It is posted to the appropriate places that WMF employees
and volunteers have guided us to. What are the next steps? There really
hasn't been any clarity for us on this. When we've asked in the chat, the
answer is persistence. That's not a step and it isn't particularly
helpful. Persistence how? Post repeatedly to the mailing list? Troll talk
pages of contributors to Strategy Wiki asking for them to vote yes, Fan
History should be part of the WMF?
Looking around at other new content proposals, Strategy Wiki looks like a
place where proposals go to die. There are proposals that have been there a
year, that have no votes, with no comments on them. There doesn't appear to
be any follow up by 1) the person who posted the proposal, 2) volunteers for
the WMF, 3) WMF employees who are working on strategy wiki. This is not
encouraging for several reasons. If you are really excited about your
content proposal and it would be a really good fit, you have the time to
basically put full force into launching the project in the next three to six
months, you've followed the guidelines that I have gotten and the procedure
on the wiki, time and procedure become a huge issue that are potentially
By deterents, I mean that these projects could end up off WMF and you could
lose contributors who can't get past the bureaucracy to accomplish their
goals, are not insider enough to push to get things done, are going to deter
future proposals and may deter future contributions to Wikipedia and related
As some one who has proposed a new project for the WMF (which would really
probably be an acquisition if it happened), some changes need to be made:
1) Clear procedure for what happens step by step in making such a proposal.
Post proposal. Contact people who support your position to vote in favor of
it using talk pages on Strategy wiki. After one hundred votes vast in favor
with no more than half that total in opposition, project moves to
development stages where WMF staff will be in contact with the person making
the proposal. Something like that.
2) Clear timeline of what happens and when so that people can plan
3) Expectations regarding exclusivity of proposal to the WMF during the
proposal process. Can people propose it elsewhere or seek acquisition by
others while there is an open proposal on Strategy Wiki?
As for where Fan History's proposal to join WMF stands now, we're not sure.
The mailing list conversation died. Strategy wiki's only commentary has
been regarding getting us off the blacklist for Foundation projects.
With our last board meeting falling a little later in the year than
usual, and coming close to holidays, I'm a little late in giving this
brief report on what happened. As you know, the board approved the
audited financial statements for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, and those
were posted on the Wikimedia Foundation website a couple weeks ago.
As the organization has gotten settled in San Francisco, this has become
a smoother process than in years past. It's not just that we're on solid
financial ground (that's good, though even in the past we haven't been
in immediate danger financially), but also as we've established the
necessary infrastructure, we're better at tracking our finances and
addressing issues that may need to be resolved in the course of an
audit. The stress level around the audit is low enough now that although
I had to miss the audit committee conference call (where I normally
participate as an observer), I still had confidence that Veronique and
Stu and everyone else would bring it to a successful conclusion. (That's
my personal stress level I speak of, I won't claim there's no stress
involved for Veronique.) Thanks to Veronique and her team, as well as
the auditors, for their work. Thanks also to the volunteers on the audit
committee for their service. One other thing the board reviewed out of
the committee's work was a risks analysis that is being put together of
the top risks and mitigation strategies for addressing them, which will
become part of the strategic planning process.
Speaking of which, strategic planning was the biggest single item on our
agenda, and tended to be a thread running throughout the rest of the
meeting as well. With help from the Bridgespan team, we worked through
some preliminary strategy questions to discuss priorities and setting
goals. We don't have concrete results from that to share, in part
because the overall process is still in an early stage, but it was a
good exercise for us in thinking on a strategic level and preparing for
the more challenging decisions ahead. One thing that did come out of it
is that we reviewed the guidance that the nominating committee was given
in the search to fill the one remaining vacancy on the board, and
provided some additional input for them as a result.
One note I would add is the valuable contributions of the newer members
of the board in bringing a more complete set of views to the group. SJ
and Arne many of you know, and their emphasis on the health and
potential of the community and chapters was important. I also really
appreciated what Matt Halprin had to offer, especially in two areas:
One, his capacity for strategic thinking and helping to keep us focused
on strategy issues instead of drifting off-track, and two, his
experience with other nonprofit boards and their practices was a good
perspective to add. Their strengths help compensate for the fact that
Jimmy wasn't able to attend the meeting, and I anticipate they will make
us a good working group through the strategic planning process.
The board also conducted a sort of general review and evaluation, not
just of the financial situation but the state of the organization and
the work being done by Sue and the staff. We think Sue is great as our
Executive Director and has done a terrific job getting the organization
to this point, where we're healthy and have the space to develop our
capacity for achievement in the years ahead. And I can't say enough
about the work the staff are doing, so I'll just share this one
anecdote. Since the board meeting overlapped with the first week of the
fundraiser, it's fortunate that we have the new office where there's
more than one meeting room, otherwise I don't know where the board would
have met. That's because the fundraising team would spend all day
working together in one of the larger meeting rooms. This would involve
as many as 6-8 people, and you wouldn't know that they eat or take
breaks from casual observation, although we did make sure they at least
got the leftover pizza from our lunch at one point. They've worked hard
to keep the fundraiser operational, not to mention considering a lot of
feedback and making improvements. It's easier when you see what things
are like in the office, but I hope we appreciate the dedicated staff and
their support for the work of the Wikimedia movement.
Per the new posting limits <
each user is limited to 30 posts per month, after which they are put on
moderation. Anthony has reached 30 posts. He has been placed on moderation
for about the next 19 hours or so (until about Midnight UTC, or whenever one
of us happens to be at a computer around that time).
Continued input on these policies, either publicly or privately, is always
In a message dated 11/29/2009 12:55:01 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> The media, in the United States at least, has a constitutionally
> guaranteed right to not be fair.>>
My use of the word "fair" was to be applied to ourselves, not to the media.
It is not fair for us to decide that because someone else might do
something, that we must do something pre-emptive.
Anybody might do anything. That doesn't mean we *must* take action on
something that may occur. That is the slope to which I was referring. And that
is the fairness or lack thereof that I see in this situation.
Is pedophilia the sole property against which we have this supposed (but so
far completely undocumented) procedure? Numerous times this so-called
policy has been requested only to be redirected to in some cases, statements
that say the exact opposite. Funny isn't it? Memory is a tricky thing.
In a message dated 11/29/2009 5:45:02 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> But then, if Ryan could do it, anyone, including an
> investigative journalist could have done it.>>
But you're assuming that they could then apply "guilt by association" which
would throw egg on our face and I'm not sure that's a very fair slope to
try to climb.