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
I've decided to take a different approach to the one I have been
taking on the subject of our new expert board member. I'm going to
make a constructive suggestion (perhaps I should have started with
It is self-evident that the WMF board needs to make decisions about a
wide range of subjects and that often those decisions will require
some knowledge and experience of the subject in question. It is also
self-evident that the community is not likely to select board members
that, between them, have knowledge and experience of all the subjects
required. This is why there are expert board members, to fill in the
So, the need for experts is beyond question. I am, however, going to
question the need for them to be on the board. The rest of the board
do not, to my knowledge, abstain from voting when the subject for
discussion is not one they are an expert on. This means the expert has
just one vote of many, so that vote being based on expertise is
largely irrelevant. The expertise is useful because the expert uses
that expertise to advise the rest of the board, which means many votes
become based on expertise.
There are two main things a board member can do to shape the way the
foundation works. They can speak up in discussions and they can cast
their vote. I believe I have shown that the speaking up part is far
more significant for an expert than the voting part. For that reason,
I suggest that the vote be taken away from expert board members, they
don't need it. Experts should sit on the advisory board where they can
advise members of the community who sit on the board of trustees.
This would allow more community involvement, but would also allow more
expert involvement. At the moment we can only have four experts since
we don't want experts to outnumber the community and having too many
people on the board makes it inefficient. If the experts were moved to
the advisory board, there would be no real limit to how many of them
we could have. Those that have expertise relevant to whatever is on
the agenda for a given board meeting could be invited to that board
meeting, offer their advice, and then the community members could
vote. This is the key thing - the members of the advisory board need
to actually be used. At the moment I believe the advisory board is
largely dormant. If the board of trustees consulted the relevant
members of the advisory board more, there would be no need for experts
to be on the board of trustees.
To summarise, my suggestion is to abolish all the expert seats on the
WMF board of trustees and replace them with community selected seats
(either direct elections, chapter selections or some other method
entirely). The advisory board would then be filled with experts on all
the subjects required, which the board of trustees would then
routinely consult. This would, of course, need to happen over time -
the damage to continuity that would happen if that were done in one go
right now wouldn't worth it.
I think we agree on what needs to happen. The only thing I am not
sure of is where you would like to see the work take place. I have
raised versions of this issue with the Open Library list, which I copy
again here (along with the people I know who work on that fine project
- hello, Peter and Rebecca). This is why I listed it below as a good
group to collaborate with.
However, the project I have in mind for OCR cleaning and translation needs to
- accept public comments and annotation about the substance or use of
a work (the wiki covering their millions of metadata entries is very
low traffic and used mainly to address metadata issues in their
- handle OCR as editable content, or translations of same
- provide a universal ID for a work, with which comments and
translations can be associated (see
- handle citations, with the possibility of developing something like WikiCite
Let's take a practical example. A classics professor I know (Greg
Crane, copied here) has scans of primary source materials, some with
approximate or hand-polished OCR, waiting to be uploaded and converted
into a useful online resource for editors, translators, and
classicists around the world.
Where should he and his students post that material?
Wherever they end up, the primary article about each article would
surely link out to the OL and WS pages for each work (where one
> (Plus you would have to motivate why a copy of OpenLibrary should
> go into the English Wikisource and not the German or French one.)
I don't understand what you mean -- English source materials and
metadata go on en:ws, German on de:ws, &c. How is this different from
what happens today?
On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 1:18 PM, Lars Aronsson<lars(a)aronsson.se> wrote:
> Samuel Klein wrote (in two messages):
>> >> *A wiki for book metadata, with an entry for every published
>> >> work, statistics about its use and siblings, and discussion
>> >> about its usefulness as a citation (a collaboration with
>> >> OpenLibrary, merging WikiCite ideas)
>> I could see this happening on Wikisource.
> Why could you not see this happening within the existing
> OpenLibrary? Is there anything wrong with that project? It sounds
> to me as you would just copy (fork) all their book data, but for
> what gain?
> (Plus you would have to motivate why a copy of OpenLibrary should
> go into the English Wikisource and not the German or French one.)
> Lars Aronsson (lars(a)aronsson.se)
> Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
> foundation-l mailing list
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
The autoreview feature for FlaggedRevs does not work in the Hungarian
Wikipedia because of a configuration problem with a group name. This
causes a lot of extra work for the patrollers, and a lot of extra
waiting for everyone else for their edits to appear.
It has been about forty days since I filed a bug about this; in the
meantime, I asked twice for help on wikitech-l (not to mention the
several personal emails and IRC messages I and other Hungarian editors
sent). After my first wikitech-l mail, there was a short and
unsuccessful attempt to fix the problem without actually understanding
what we asked for; before and after, in those seven weeks, nothing
This is very disappointing. To fix the bug, one would need to replace
all occurrences of 'confirmed' with 'trusted' in the huwiki flagrev
config file - that takes about 20 seconds. If one wanted to be
thorough about it and move users from the old group to the new, one
would need to construct an appropriate SQL query - maybe 5 more
minutes. There are about a hundred patrollers on hu.wikipedia
(including admins). If we suppose they only have to work one extra
minute a day each (a very unrealistic lower estimation), that adds up
to about sixty hours. Which is about a thousand times twenty seconds.
Is staff time really a thousand times more valuable than volunteer
time, so that no one can be bothered to make this trivial fix, even if
many hours of other people's time could be spared? I'm aware it is
summer, and Wikimania is going on, and everyone has a lot on their
hands, but even so I can't believe none of the people with shell
access can find a minute to make the fix.
Letting the time of the most active community members go to waste like
this is not only very discouraging them, and not only does it
undermine their trust in the revision flagging system (which proved to
be a very valuable anti-vandalism tool, but it was always hard to get
enough people involved), it also creates a rift between WMF and the
local community. People perceive that the foundation does not respect
their volunteer work at all, and it is only quick when it is creating
problems (their previous contact with WMF was when someone shot down
the statistics script that ran with community consensus, without as
much as a question or comment), and not when it should be solving
If you want to broaden participation and involve more people into
meta-projects, start with actually caring about issues like these. And
now please, please find someone to finally fix bug 19885.
I wasn't there, but I'll echo Erik, Ting and Jerry - from everything
I've read, the organizers did a great job and really represented the
Wikimedia community well. Thanks for your hard work and
congratulations on a job well done.
Omidyar Network Commits $2 Million Grant to Wikimedia Foundation
SAN FRANCISCO and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ --
Omidyar Network today announced a grant of up to $2 million over two
years to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that
operates Wikipedia, one of the world's top 5 most visited websites.
The Wikimedia Foundation has also appointed Matt Halprin, a partner at
Omidyar Network, to its Board of Trustees.
The grant will support Wikimedia's key goals: to bring free
educational content to every person on the planet, to engage and
empower more people to author that content and to continually increase
the quality and breadth of the information provided through
"We are very grateful for Omidyar Network's support. I am also
delighted to have Matt joining us," said Michael Snow, chair of the
Wikimedia Foundation Board. "His extensive experience with online
communities, trust, and reputation, will make him an excellent
addition to our Board. Matt also has a background in strategy
development, which will be particularly useful for us as we embark on
the collaborative strategy development project, Wikimedia's top
priority for the coming year."
"The Wikimedia Foundation is a critical player in the growing social
movement toward greater transparency and openness. I am honored to be
serving on the Foundation's board," said Matt Halprin, Partner,
Omidyar Network. "Wikipedia reaches and engages millions of people
every day, enabling information sharing in a collaborative, online
platform. Omidyar Network sees great potential in Wikipedia as it
continues to expand in emerging geographies, where this social impact
will be magnified even further."
Before joining Omidyar Network, Halprin was most recently Vice
President of Global Trust and Safety at eBay. Prior to eBay, Halprin
served as a Partner and Vice President at the Boston Consulting Group,
where he worked with technology clients on strategy issues.
In addition to direct financial support, Omidyar Network will dedicate
internal resources and engage its network to support Wikimedia's
strategic planning process, communications work, and recruiting.
20 years ago on 27 august 1989, 700 000 of moldovans (of a 4 millions
popoulation) went to the center of Chișinău (the capital of Moldova) to the
*Piața Marii Adunări Naționale*, the biggest square in the city, and shout
"limbă alfabet" (language and the alphabet) and for country independence,
that event is called "Great National Assembly" (Marea Adunare Națională)
which declared it's language "Moldavian" and it's script "LATIN".
(here are a documental movie about this event
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BSfmhLOxO0, in the 4th part you can find
Please respect that wish and delete the cyrllic mo.wikipedia.org that claims
to be our language, and remove/change the name of our language written in
cyrllic "Молдовеняскэ" on your first page wikipedia.org.
Thank you wikipedia.
I just heard about an unconference event called "RegioWikiCamp". I
imagine it will be of interest to lots of folks living near Germany
(if you are not all conferenced out after Wikimania!).
"It will be from September 25th to 27th. The event is located in
Furtwangen the middle of the beautiful Black Forest in Germany. It is
organised by the European Regiowiki Society, location host is the
faculty of Digital Media of the Furtwangen University of Applied
I see that some of the attendees include WMDE, Wikia and Semantic
MediaWiki, so it must not be a completely unknown event, although I
didn't find it mentioned on these lists yet.
They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:
please allow us to introduce a project we have been working on for
about a year now:
Explaining the importance of the open-source movement for a free
internet or the importance of Wikipedia (i.e. free content in the form
of factual knowledge) here would be like carrying coals to Newcastle.
The question, however, is why has *subjective* open content been
neglected so far? In the realm of user reviews and ratings we have
pretty much forfeited to closed systems like Amazon or Ciao.
That's why we created OpenCritics.com. The idea of OpenCritics is to
develop an open platform for freely licensed reviews. Published
reviews are then not only available for visitors of certain websites,
e.g Amazon, Ciao, etc. but can be copied freely. This also helps
against the trend towards internet monopolies.(Please find an
explanation and more advantages of this on:
We started off with movie reviews; book reviews and more will follow.
The ratings are published both on all participating websites as well
as on OpenCritics.de (in German, other languages will follow).
Who we are:
Our office, the development and my computer are financed by a private
limited company. Eventually, I would be pleased if our company could
move into the direction of a non-profit organization and funding
through donations. However, I do have doubts about that since this is
even difficult for Wikipedia.
The second best (realistic) alternative is to do what many
Linux-distributors, companies like Zend etc do: The content will
remain free and open while the project is financed by consulting and
support for commercial users.
We are still a small team, mainly in our office in Hamburg ,with very
different backgound (juristic, webdesign, journalistic and two
How to help:
We are especially lacking a prominent team-member known even outside
the world of free-internet-geeks who could help us let the little
project rise above the attention threshold. Maybe you have an idea who
we could contact?
In the meantime we are happy about every blogentry (example:
German]) and appreciate critical feedback!
Many of the list regulars might remember the global sysop proposal that had
been brought up around May and June 2009. The idea ultimately fizzled,
because there was simply not enough support to actually have a global,
non-opt out sysop group. Since then, a new proposal has been drawn up, which
is currently running, that allows communities to opt-in to a global sysop
wikiset, which would allow users in the global sysop usergroup to act as
sysops only on those wikis. However, the issue with this is that no project
has actually bothered to opt-in, so the process has been dead for the better
part of a year. Meanwhile, the stewards have had to combat an increasing
amount of vandalism on the small wikis, and even though global rollbackers
can help some, blocking vandals and deleting nonsense pages ultimately
becomes the job of just a few of the active stewards.
The situation could be easily remedied if there were a global sysop group;
there are a good number of trustworthy global rollbackers who would be
excellent global sysops. I drew up a proposal to automatically opt-in "small
wikis" (as defined within the below proposal) into a global sysop wikiset.
Global sysops would have full administrator tools on those wikis, but would
use them only in response to blatant vandalism. Please take a look at the
third link and give your opinions about the proposal on the talk page.
2008 Proposal: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Global_sysops_(2008_proposal)
Current process (opt-in), inactive:
User:NuclearWarfare on all WMF wikis