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
Let's see what we've got here:
A "Board" that appears answerable only to some god; an "Executive Director"
who answers only to this "Board"; a group of "Moderators" who claim (with a
straight face) that they are "independent", but whose "moderations" are
clearly designed to keep the first two in a favorable light; and, dead last,
you have the people who, not so ironically, create the substance of the
thing that makes the first three possible. This setup sounds achingly
familiar. And, like all similar setups throughout history, is set up to
on 10/20/10 12:44 AM, Virgilio A. P. Machado at vam(a)fct.unl.pt wrote:
> I agree with you. You raised some very good points.
> Virgilio A. P. Machado
> At 03:47 20-10-2010, you wrote:
>> ________________________________ From: Austin
>> Hair <adhair(a)gmail.com> To: Wikimedia Foundation
>> Mailing List <foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
>> Sent: Tue, October 19, 2010 12:35:07 PM Subject:
>> Re: [Foundation-l] Greg Kohs and Peter Damian On
>> Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 6:40 PM, Nathan
>> <nawrich(a)gmail.com> wrote: > If it pleases the
>> moderators, might we know on what basis Greg
>> was > banned and Peter indefinitely muzzled?
>> Greg Kohs was banned for the same reason that
>> he's been on moderation for the better part of
>> the past yearnamely, that he was completely
>> unable tto keep his contributions civil, and
>> caused more flamewars than constructive
>> discussion. Peter Damian is only on moderation,
>> and we'll follow our usual policy of letting
>> through anything that could be considered even
>> marginally acceptable. We really are very
>> liberal about thisotheerwise you wouldn't have
>> heard from Mr. Kohs at all in the past six
>> months. I'm sure that my saying this won't
>> convince anyone who's currently defending him,
>> but nothing about the decision to ban Greg Kohs
>> was retaliatory. I'll also (not for the first
>> time) remind everyone that neither the Wikimedia
>> Foundation Board, nor its staff, nor any chapter
>> or other organizational body has any say in the
>> administration of this list. I hope that clears
>> up all of the questions asked in this thread so
>> far. It is not about defending anyone but about
>> the fact that the "I know bannable when I see
>> it" theory of moderation is unconstructive and
>> leads to dramafests. The next ban is the one
>> that will likely cause a real flame war. I
>> suspect *more* people would be on moderation if
>> any sort of objective criteria were being
>> used. The lack of explanation over this bothers
>> me so much because I suspect that you *can't*
>> explain it. It seems to be the sort of gut-shot
>> that hasn't been thought through. Moderate more
>> people based on real criteria, rather than how
>> you feel about them. Birgitte
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org Unsubscribe:
> foundation-l mailing list
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>From what I have seen about Greg Kohs is that he does have some
interesting points to make, but I do see that he is jumping to
conclusions and does seem to have a biased viewpoint.
People want to make their own decisions and have enough information to
do that. We don't want to have important information deleted away
because it is uncomfortable.
Banning him makes it less likely for him to be heard, and these
interesting points which are worth considering are not heard my many
people : this is depriving people of critical information, that is not
fair to the people involved.
Just look at this article for example, it is quite interesting and
well written, and why should it not be visible to everyone on the
Deleting and banning people who say things that are not comfortable,
that does make you look balanced and trustworthy.
The Wikimedia foundation should be able to stand up to such
accusations without resorting to gagging people, it just gives more
credit to the people being gagged and makes people wonder if there is
any merit in what they say.
This brings up my favorite subject of unneeded deletions versions needed ones.
Of course there is material that should be deleted that is hateful,
Spam etc, lets call that evil content.
But the articles that i wrote and my friends wrote that were deleted
did not fall into that category, they might have been just bad or not
We have had a constant struggle to keep our articles from being
deleted in a manner that we consider unfair. Additionally, the bad
content is lost and falls into the same category as evil content.
Also there should be more transparency on deleted material on the
Wikipedia itself, there is a lot of information that is being deleted
and gone forever without proper process or review.
In my eyes there is a connection between the two topics, the banning
of people and the deleting of information. Both are depriving people
from information that they want and need in an unfair manner.
Instead of articles about obscure events, things, and old places in
Kosovo you have a wikipedia full of the latest information about every
television show, is that what you really want?
I think there should be room for things in places that are not not
notable because they are not part of mainstream pop culture, we also
need to support the underdogs of Wikipedia even if they are not
mainstream, Mr Kohs definitely has something to say and I would like
like to hear it. And the Kosovars have something to say even if the
Serbs don't want to hear it. The Albanians have something to say even
if the Greeks don't want to hear it, etc. There are many cases of
people from Kosovo and Albania driven out of Wikipedia and depriving
the project of important information because they are not able to get
started and the contributions are so far way from the dominating
political viewpoint of the opposite side that they don't even get a
chance to be heard.
We need to make a way for these people to be heard and to moderate the
conflicts better, that will make Wikipedia stronger and more robust.
[crossposted to foundation-l and wikitech-l]
"There has to be a vision though, of something better. Maybe something
that is an actual wiki, quick and easy, rather than the template
coding hell Wikipedia's turned into." - something Fred Bauder just
said on wikien-l.
Our current markup is one of our biggest barriers to participation.
AIUI, edit rates are about half what they were in 2005, even as our
fame has gone from "popular" through "famous" to "part of the
structure of the world." I submit that this is not a good or healthy
thing in any way and needs fixing.
People who can handle wikitext really just do not understand how
offputting the computer guacamole is to people who can cope with text
they can see.
We know this is a problem; WYSIWYG that works is something that's been
wanted here forever. There are various hideous technical nightmares in
its way, that make this a big and hairy problem, of the sort where the
hair has hair.
However, I submit that it's important enough we need to attack it with
actual resources anyway.
This is just one data point, where a Canadian government office got
*EIGHT TIMES* the participation in their intranet wiki by putting in a
(heavily locally patched) copy of FCKeditor:
"I have to disagree with you given my experience. In one government
department where MediaWiki was installed we saw the active user base
spike from about 1000 users to about 8000 users within a month of having
enabled FCKeditor. FCKeditor definitely has it's warts, but it very
closely matches the experience non-technical people have gotten used to
while using Word or WordPerfect. Leveraging skills people already have
cuts down on training costs and allows them to be productive almost
"Since a plethora of intelligent people with no desire to learn WikiCode
can now add content, the quality of posts has been in line with the
adoption of wiki use by these people. Thus one would say it has gone up.
"In the beginning there were some hard core users that learned WikiCode,
for the most part they have indicated that when the WYSIWYG fails, they
are able to switch to WikiCode mode to address the problem. This usually
occurs with complex table nesting which is something that few of the
users do anyways. Most document layouts are kept simple. Additionally,
we have a multilingual english/french wiki. As a result the browser
spell-check is insufficient for the most part (not to mention it has
issues with WikiCode). To address this a second spellcheck button was
added to the interface so that both english and french spellcheck could
be available within the same interface (via aspell backend)."
So, the payoffs could be ridiculously huge: eight times the number of
smart and knowledgeable people even being able to *fix typos* on
material they care about.
Here are some problems. (Off the top of my head; please do add more,
all you can think of.)
- The problem:
* Fidelity with the existing body of wikitext. No conversion flag day.
The current body exploits every possible edge case in the regular
expression guacamole we call a "parser". Tim said a few years ago that
any solution has to account for the existing body of text.
* Two-way fidelity. Those who know wikitext will demand to keep it and
will bitterly resist any attempt to take it away from them.
* FCKeditor (now CKeditor) in MediaWiki is all but unmaintained.
* There is no specification for wikitext. Well, there almost is -
compiled as C, it runs a bit slower than the existing PHP compiler.
But it's a start!
- Attempting to solve it:
* The best brains around Wikipedia, MediaWiki and WMF have dashed
their foreheads against this problem for at least the past five years
and have got *nowhere*. Tim has a whole section in the SVN repository
for "new parser attempts". Sheer brilliance isn't going to solve this
* Tim doesn't scale. Most of our other technical people don't scale.
*We have no resources and still run on almost nothing*.
($14m might sound like enough money to run a popular website, but for
comparison, I work as a sysadmin at a tiny, tiny publishing company
with more money and staff just in our department than that to do
*almost nothing* compared to what WMF achieves. WMF is an INCREDIBLY
- Other attempts:
* Starting from a clear field makes it ridiculously easy. The
government example quoted above is one. Wikia wrote a good WYSIWYG
that works really nicely on new wikis (I'm speaking here as an
experienced wikitext user who happily fixes random typos on Wikia). Of
course, I noted that we can't start from a clear field - we have an
existing body of wikitext.
So, specification of the problem:
* We need good WYSIWYG. The government example suggests that a simple
word-processor-like interface would be enough to give tremendous
* It needs two-way fidelity with almost all existing wikitext.
* We can't throw away existing wikitext, much as we'd love to.
* It's going to cost money in programming the WYSIWYG.
* It's going to cost money in rationalising existing wikitext so that
the most unfeasible formations can be shunted off to legacy for
* It's going to cost money in usability testing and so on.
* It's going to cost money for all sorts of things I haven't even
thought of yet.
This is a problem that would pay off hugely to solve, and that will
take actual money thrown at it.
How would you attack this problem, given actual resources for grunt work?
Most of the templates in our project, imho are just more clutter.
The number of people who know how to use any particular template, can
probably be counted with a box of marbles. However when others see the
templates, they just shy away, they don't bother to try to learn them.
If we want to make things easier for editors, we should scrape templates
entirely. What they add to the project is not worth, what they detract.
As we prepare to ring in the New Year, we're happy to announce that each
of our current four Wikimedia Foundation Board members up for
reappointment have been unanimously reappointed and will continue in
their positions in 2011. In addition, the Board has completed the first
ever evaluation process, and during that time, we thought hard about
some of the details around the appointment process. After completing the
evaluation process we've voted to adjust the bylaws to extend all
Trustee appointments to two years.
In the past, community-elected and chapter-nominated trustees held
positions for two years before reelection or renomination was necessary;
however, Board-appointed Trustees and the Community Founder Trustee
needed to be reappointed every year. We've decided to amend Article 4,
Section 3 of the Wikimedia Foundation's bylaws so that all Trustees are
equal. We recognize that it's important to all of us that all terms are
equal no matter what "seat" a member holds. This amendment will
officially begin January 1, 2011, however, Stu, Jan-Bart, and Jimmy have
volunteered to take on a one year term. Their terms will expire on
December 31, 2011. Matt's and Bishaka's terms will expire on December
As written in the bylaws, the Board of Trustees consists of three
members selected by the Wikimedia Community, two selected by Wikimedia
chapters, four members through appointment by the Board for specific
expertise, and a Community Founder seat. We currently remain a full
Board with all 10 Trustees currently serving.
Looking back at the last year, we've accomplished a lot as a Board and
as a movement. 2011 will prove to be both exciting and challenging as we
really move into implementing the five-year strategic plan we all worked
so hard together on this year. We're looking forward to bringing
Wikimedia to more people in more places all over the world. Thank you
all for your commitment to keeping Wikimedia going and happy 10 years
and 2011 to you all.
Member of the Board of Trustees
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
FYI. The first Wikipedia meetup / workshop in Sri Lanka is a
milestone for the entire movement. :)
00 91 9328712208
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ravishankar <ravidreams(a)gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 11:45 AM
Subject: [Wikimediaindia-l] Tamil Wiki workshop in Eastern University, SriLanka
To: "Discussion list on Indian language projects of Wikimedia."
Tamil Wikipedians from SriLanka conducted a Tamil Wikipedia Workshop
at Eastern University of Srilanka on 28th December.
Around 55 people including lecturers, employees, students, visitors
from nearby institutions participated.
This is the first organized Wiki meetup / workshop in SriLanka and we
plan to conduct more such workshops in near future.
Photos from the event:
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