The current policy is really objective; a request for a project will be
honoured when it complies with a set of prerequisites.
- is the language recognised as a language in the ISO-639-3
- is the language sufficiently unique
- is there a sufficiently large corpus in the incubator
- is there a community of a sufficient size so that we can trust the
community to do well
- are the requirements for localisation met
When the notions of the main language group are to be considered the
criteria for new projects become less objective. At this time the fights of
what is a language are fought in the ISO. This is where people come up with
what is considered a consensus on what languages exist. This consensus is
not universally shared but the best that can be had.
When people talk about languages, they enter a field where many things are
taken for granted that are absolutely not straight forward. A language like
Limburgian does not have one formal orthography. It consists of many
dialects and it morphs at its edges into what are arguably other dialects of
other languages and yet we have a Limburgian Wikipedia that is doing pretty
well. When you have a languages like English, a person from Newcastle and a
person from the Bayou are unlikely to understand each other well if at all.
Given that Geordie is not considered a language, we do not allow for a
Geordie Wikipedia. The ISO-639-6 might recognise Geordie as a linguistic
entity, the ISO-639-6 will recognise at least 25.000 linguistic entities but
does that mean that we want to consider all of them for a Wikipedia ?
When you talk about the historical and cultural background of languages, you
have to appreciate how that works out in our environment. When you look at
the Wikipedias in extinct languages like Anglo Saxon and Gothic, the texts
arguably do not reflect the language that is spoken in the days when they
were living languages. Gothic was not written in the Latin script and fights
about equivalent issues are being fought on the Anglo Saxon Wikipedia. It is
easy to argue that these Wikipedias do not teach anything that helps
understand the original texts in those languages. Are these the historical
and cultural things you want to be considered ?
Marcus Buck mentioned that in the Arabic world the standard Arabic language
is seen as an unifying force. This is very much a political statement. Given
that the language policy explicitly states that political arguments are not
taken in consideration, many if cultural, sociological and historical
arguments are explicitly left out of the equation. An other recurring
argument is that new wikipedias detract from the "original" Wikipedia. The
people who make this argument insist on what *others *can and cannot do.
When people want to work on Egyptian Arabic, why should they work on a
Wikipedia that they do not consider their own?
When you talk about reasonable decisions, what is it that makes something
reasonable? The fact that people like Mohamed consider Egyptian Arabic as
ignorant makes clear their position, but is that reasonable ? The language
committee has only a remit to help new languages move along, This was to
prevent more dysfunctional projects, projects with no new articles, no
community, projects asked for by people who think Wikipedia is like a stamp
In the end there are two arguments that Mohamed has that have some validity;
are there sufficiently knowledgeable people in the committee and do enough
people consider issues with the process. We have already added new people
and Pathoschild indicated that he is working on proposals for change. The
current process is well structured, it is at the time of giving eligibility
that the validity of a language is considered. It is at this time when there
were no objections from within the committee.
Only people who do make mistakes all others have a perfect record.
2009/1/11 Tomasz Ganicz <polimerek(a)gmail.com>
2009/1/11 Milos Rancic <millosh(a)gmail.com>om>:
So, there are two conclusions: (1) I may imagine
the process which had
happened in relation to EA approval: no one made any serious objection
and it passed. (2) There are two LangCom members introduced better in
the linguistic issues, so the expertise level is raised and I think
that it will be raised more in the future.
Well, I think there should be not only computer-linguists experts like
Evertype in LangCom, but you desperately need people who have good
knowledge about culture, sociology and history of the main language
groups, or at least you should be ready to ask relevant outside
experts. I have a feeling that current LangCom completely ignores
historical and cultural background related to language problems which
is quite often a key to make resonable decissions.
Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
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