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.
As you should know, thanks to Wikimedia Germany, Language committee had
its first real-life meeting from May 13th to May 15th during the
Hackathon in Berlin .
The meeting was very successful. We've made numerous conclusions. They
need to be verified by LangCom members who didn't participate, but I
don't expect substantial changes.
LangCom members who participated are: Amir E. Aharoni, Antony D. Green,
Gerard Meijssen, Michael Everson, Miloš Rančić, Oliver Stegen (via
Skype), Robin Pepermans, Santhosh Thottingal.
Below is the short report from the meeting. Many of the items inside of
the list below require longer description or even creation of documents.
You will be informed after the creation of every document.
A number of the conclusions below assumes that Language proposal policy
 will be changed. (I'll make the proposal to LangCom, then LangCom
will discuss and decide, then it will be sent to the Board for approval.)
The report is by order of importance for the community. (Or at least as
I see what is the most important.) All of the issues below are general.
We've discussed about some particular issues and you can see them at the
== Incubator extension and redirects ==
We will soon have implemented Incubator extension on Incubator. The
extensions is written by Robin Pepermans (a LangCom member and Incubator
admin) and it will make Incubator more useful for those who create new
In relation to this issue, Incubator projects will get their own virtual
codes. For example, http://xyz.wikisource.org/ will be a redirect to
If technically possible (I'll send the list of the codes to Mark and he
will discuss with other admins is it possible to implement without
problems), all ISO 639-3 codes will get such redirect to the Incubator
page which would have the text similar to "Wikipedia in this language
doesn't exist. If you speak this language, feel free to start it!"
This will be implemented in a couple of steps. I'll write the proposal
at Meta, inform you here and after fixing issues if any, that will be
implemented step by step.
The final product will be Incubator with all small projects, but with
virtually all infrastructure needed to see that project as normal
The main goal of that is to allow many languages to have their own
projects, although they don't have enough manpower to keep the whole
project in function (many of their technical needs would be covered by
I've got a number of the same questions in relation to this issue: If
they have virtually everything, why would they create new articles to
become independent project? I answered with the question: Why you create
new articles on your own projects?
The point is that it is not likely to expect that a language with less
than 100,000 speakers will every have sufficient number of people
interested in Wikipedia projects to become a separate one. At the other
side, of course, we still have many possible projects which could be
separate at some point of time.
== Observers ==
Language committee has introduced observers. Anyone who wants to see
what Language committee members are discussing on their list are able to
be ask LangCom for that. It is not likely that any member of this list
wouldn't get such access.
Sj is our first observer.
== Monthly reports ==
Robin Pepermans said that he will write monthly reports of LangCom's
work to inform Wikimedia community.
== Macrolanguages ==
There are a couple of cases in which macrolanguages need to get their
own project. It could be about very small population which wants to have
common Wikisource, let's say; or it could be about a kind of unified
orthography used by a couple of closely related languages.
In all cases communities have to want that. All cases will be handled on
case by case basis.
In other words: While it changes Language proposal policy, this is not a
general rule, but making a field to cover some specific cases in which
macrolanguage project is the most sensible solution.
== Simple projects ==
While some Simple English projects have no reason to exist (Wikiquote,
for example), LPP will be changed to allow other simple language
projects to exist if necessary requirements exist.
We haven't finished this discussion, but at least the rules are:
* Language should be the world language.
* There is a reliable published specification of "simple" (or
Under present rules, counting that both languages have reliable
published specification, French would get simple project, while German
wouldn't because French is used as world language. However, we haven't
finished this discussion yet and I think that we should cover regional
lingua francas (or cultural, technical etc. languages used not just by
native speakers) as well (if so, German and Swahili would qualify).
However, the second rule won't be discussed. Proposers of simple
projects have to present reliable and published specification of
"simple" or equivalent language, as English has.
== Proposals for closing projects ==
Robin has made Proposal for closing projects . We discussed briefly
and in general we agreed about the next:
* Anyone can propose project closure.
* A member of Language committee who wants to deal with it (we'll mark
it inside of the "Task" column of the members table at Language
committee page on Meta ) brings that on discussion to Language committee.
* Language committee won't vote about it. Recommendation to the Board
will be sent by the LangCom member which is interested in that issue.
* Board will make final decision; likely the same as recommendation
Before implementing the full Incubator extension and redirects it is not
likely that we would react in the cases of inactive projects. After
that, it is likely that we would send back all of inactive projects to
== Change of Board decisions ==
Board approval will move from the "approval" point to the "eligibility"
point. That has two important consequences:
* If Board really doesn't want some language on Wikimedia servers
because of political reasons, it could block it at the right time, not
after contributors made significant efforts to create the project.
* All projects with previously approved project[s] will be [almost]
automatically approved. ("Almost" in the sense that, for example, Old
Church Slavonic won't get Wikinews, as well as Belorussian will get just
one Wikisource, after communities of two existing Wikipedias agree to
== Asking LangCom for opinion ==
Board will be able to get formal *private* answer from LangCom if
necessary. As LangCom's opinion is likely to have significant influence
on Board, LangCom doesn't want to be publicly responsible for random
Community is able to ask members of LangCom for anything relevant on
"Talk:Language committee" page , as it always was.
== Membership in LangCom ==
Some kind of yearly confirmations should be introduced; actually, yearly
verification that members are willing to continue to stay for another
year on board. However, we didn't discuss it enough, as we didn't have
time for that. It will continue on list.
The other issue is that we (or at least I) will ask two to four times
per year for new members. However, you should note that we don't need
any new member, but new members which are able to have substantial
contribution to LangCom.
== Renaming wikis ==
There are a number of wikis to be renamed, as they don't have proper
codes. They should be renamed with some exceptions. For example:
* Alemannisch Wikipedia, with the code "als" should be renamed to "gsw"
(or split into single languages, as Alemannic German is a
macrolanguage). If moved, it will keep "als" for a couple of years and
then the code will be virtually transferred to Albanian Wikipedia, as
"als" is ISO 639-3 code for Tosk Albanian, which is the standard
* Min Nan Chinese presently has code "zh-min-nan". Its ISO 639-3 code is
"nan". As "zh-min-nan" is not used by any Wikimedia project, Min Nan
Wikimedia projects will be able to keep virtual code "zh-min-nan" forever.
== Languages support issues ==
* Thanks to Santhosh, Gerard and others, we have webfonts in MediaWiki.
That basically means that if someone wants to read some page, usually in
a language which doesn't have proper support on contemporary operating
systems, MediaWiki would be able to give needed font to the browser.
Thanks to Siebrand, this will be implemented on Translatewiki  soon
as a step to prepare it for WMF servers deployment.
* Amir should make report on two issues:
** problems in RTL/LTR support; and
** problems with sorting in Hebrew, Arabic and Myanmar.
== Other issues ==
There are a couple of other issues discussed during the meeting about
which I would like not to talk before they happen. All of them are about
improving language related issues on Wikimedia projects.
== Your input ==
Feel free to suggest anything relevant here or at our talk page .
While some things need time to be changed, good ideas are always welcome.
Other members of LangCom and others who participated in our discussions
can add here what they think that is relevant and I forgot to say.
There's a bit of discussion about deleting old versions of fair-use
files in the Hebrew Wikipedia and it may be interesting to other
projects as well.
The main questions is: Should old versions of fair-use files be
deleted? The two main points that support the deletion are that it
saves space on the server and that keeping a version of a non-free
file violates the fair use policy, because the old version of the
image can be viewed, but is not actually used in any relevant article.
The first point, about saving server space, is probably irrelevant,
because to the best of my understanding, space is a cheap asset in the
first place, and the file is not actually deleted, but only has its
description in the database changed to hide it from non-sysop users,
so the deletion actually adds to the server load, although not much.
(Correct me if i'm wrong.)
But what about fair use validity? Since i am not a copyright lawyer -
and really don't want to be one - this is something that should be
answered by more knowledgeable people.
Also, are there policies about this in other projects? Commons is
irrelevant and i couldn't find anything about it in the English
Wikipedia. If from the legal point of view old versions of non-free
files should be deleted, then it probably should be implemented in all
projects. (I would hate it and i apologize in advance for opening this
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
"We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace." - T. Moore
Back in September we had an open community IRC meeting, where we
introduced the new Trustees and talked about various issues. It was
pretty successful and we discussed afterwards making such "community
meetings" a regular event.
I'd like to revive this idea :) I've made a proposal for having
community meetings on the first Saturday of the month:
Which would make the first upcoming meeting on February 5.
I proposed 17:00UTC as a time, but please discuss good days/times on
the talk page if you are interested in attending; we'll need to rotate
I envision this as not really a Q&A session like the staff office
hours, but rather as a chance for community members to get together
and talk about important issues in a structured way. To that end,
please add your proposed agenda items to the wiki. It would also be
great to have some volunteers to take notes/moderate.
Of course this is just an experiment -- but there seemed to be a lot
of interest in having such meetings, so I'd like to try it out. Let me
know what you think and if you'd be interested.
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers
<at> gmail.com *