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
It occurs to me that when people donate money to something, it is to
some degree with an expectation that the recipient entity grows to
eventually gain a certain kind of financial self-sufficiency. Is this
not also the case with Wikimedia and many charitable donations to it?
On dewiki there is a discussion whether the Ombudsman commission does
fulfill its mission.
Some months ago there was a checkuser action which was questioned by
some users and the Ombudsman commission was asked to investigate the
case. The only dewiki member of the Ombudsman commission did recuse
himself from the case. The other members can't be reached or don't
I have two questions.
Q1) All media files that have been licensed under the GFDL and allowed
to relicense under CC-BY-SA were relicensed by
[[wmf:Resolution:Licensing update approval]]?
Q2) Now, I know, we can't import text licensed under not CC-BY-SA but
only GFDL. How about media files? Can I upload a media file licensed
under not CC-BY-SA but only GFDL?
Sorry for my poor English. Thank you.
I'm taking Stevertigo off moderation. He has agreed by private email
not to continue the dispute resolution mailing list thread. Stevertigo
is a long-serving and trusted (if passionate) member of the community.
-- Tim Starling
Bad news is that I was right almost a year ago about trends of new
Wikimedians. Relatively good news is that the statistics may be
interpreted as not so bad ones. Good news is that WMF started to act
in relation to those problems around half a year ago.
I went to en.wp stats  and I've seen that:
* Number of new Wikipedians is lowering since March 2007. May 2009 is
the worst month since March 2006.
* Fortunately, numbers of active and very active Wikipedians are
stable since the second half of 2007.
* The problem is that curves for active and very active Wikipedians
look like just prolonged curve of the number of new Wikipedians.
But, I wanted to be sure that this is the trend on other large projects.
* German Wikipedia : worse than English in the sense of new
Wikipedians, however, very stable in the sense of active and very
* French Wikipedia : Somewhat better than German, but it just shows
the earlier phase of German Wikipedia.
* Chinese Wikipedia : Almost the same as French.
* Russian Wikipedia : Shows even earlier phase. Lowering number of
new Wikipedians just began.
Then, I wanted to see if there are some problems in general
demographics. So, I've found demographics pyramids of USA , Germany
 and France  (from 2005). If we assume that our target groups
are between 15 and 24, just number of German contributors may be ~10%
less (note that the population groups are now ~5 years older). In the
case of French contributors we should expect ~5% less contributors,
while in the case of USA we should expect ~2% more contributors.
But, this is not all. We should add another variable. A significant
number of the initial "new" Wikipedians (by "initial" I assume the
raising period, in the case of en.wp, it is up to March 2007) were
older. So, younger than them were also inside of the initial group.
But, is the number of older Wikipedians so big that we may expect just
16% (de.wp), 46% (fr.wp), 60% (en.wp), of the peak number of new
Wikipedians (statistics from de.wp: January 2006=1960 new, May
2009=320 new; see others from the charts)?
* If our dominant groups are 15-24 years old and if we say that they
consist 80% of Wikipedians, we should expect that the number of new
Wikipedians compared to the peak should be: de.wp ~30%, ~35% fr.wp,
* If our dominant groups are 15-29 years old, then the numbers are
~25%, ~30%, ~35%.
* If our dominant groups are 15-35 years old, then the numbers are
~15%, ~20%, ~25%.
(Note that you may move up lower age level and you'll get
approximately the same results.)
In the best scenario, just de.wp is in the dangerous zone. In the
worst scenario de.wp is far inside of the unsustainable development,
while fr.wp and en.wp are still staying relatively well. (However,
again, note that fr.wp and en.wp look a lot like the earlier phases of
In all cases we need to think seriously how to educate younger
generations about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaEN.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaDE.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaFR.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaZH.htm
 - http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/ChartsWikipediaRU.htm
 - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pyramide_Etats-Unis.PNG
 - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pyramide_Allemagne.PNG
 - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pyramide_France.PNG
The Wikimedia Foundation was originally envisaged as a membership
organization. Per my recollection, everyone who ever edited would become a
member. That didn't happen for legal reasons, however, I believe in the
spirit of it being a membership organization. Unfortunately we now subscribe
to the recentist perspective that only those that maintain a certain pace of
editing are eligible to vote. We ignore, not only new editors who do not yet
have 600 edits, but all editors who have 600 edits but have contributed to
the projects in other ways recently, or have lapsed into just using the
projects as a useful information resource.
I highly doubt that a statistical analysis was carried out which found that
editors that don't meet this requirement skew the results. I also highly
doubt that editors that don't meet this requirement are incapable of
comprehending the statements created by those seeking election, ranking them
and making a perfectly valid choice that increases the power of the result.
In my view, the only reason to limit voting to editors with a certain number
of edits is to limit the effects of ballot stuffing. However, technical
measures can easily counteract this effect. Additionally, the more people
you allow to vote the more effective your anti-ballot stuffing
countermeasures will be, as the larger number of votes mutes the effect of
those who vote for the same person from several ip addresses.
Thus, I must conclude that this rule was created arbitrarily. And if it was
voted on, I seriously consider the result of that vote suspect, given
One of the great frustrations of Wikinews for me is that it doesn't
have a system for identifying and pointing users toward opportunities
to get out into the offline world and do original reporting. A
fine-grained cross-project opt-in geonotice system could be a
Here's how I imagine it working: there is a new opt-in geonotice (in
addition to the current one that reaches everyone in the specified
geography). For the opt-in geonotice (which would hopefully be able
to reach across projects, since many causal Wikinewsies visit that
site only rarely) any trusted user could add new items to let nearby
people know about reporting or photography opportunities. For these
opt-in notices, we would not need to lock down the ability to add
items like we do for the current geonotice system (it's a fully
protected page), since people who opt-in will expect a bit a noise.
So, for example, I would set a notice that Senator Chris Dodd is
holding a public discussion about health care reform on such-and-such
date in Hartford, Connecticut. I mark this as a photo opportunity and
a reporting opportunity. The system sets a default radius (or better
yet, users specify the radius they want to be notified within) and
everyone within x kilometers of Hartford who has opted in to the
notice gets a watchlist message pointing to more details. I can
imagine a wide range of tips and events that could be spread to the
right people with such a system.
This would do a couple things: it would draw in new users to Wikinews,
and given enough participation it could provide a resource that is
useful for professional journalists. Journalists are eager to figure
out useful ways to tap the knowledge of amateurs, and a widely used
geography-based tip-line is something that Wikimedia still has a
chance to be the first organization to do well. I think finding a way
to play a major part in the ongoing changes in the journalism world
ought to be a high priority for the Foundation.
-Sage Ross (User:Ragesoss)