building an authoritative dictionary is considerably
harder than building a (de facto) authoritative encyclopedia.
What reason is there to think that? My any measure of editor hours, or
the amount of money it would take to replicate the effort, or the
maintenance load going forward, I'm sure that even a three shelf foot
encyclopedia is harder than a 100,000 word dictionary.
We are not *teaching* encyclopedia articles.
What is the difference between delivering the text of an encyclopedia
article and teaching it? Encyclopedias are not written to be
accompanied by a lecturer, tutor, or teacher. We even teach how to
write them, to students, in schools, and the students often if not
almost always get academic credit for their work:
Knowing any language is a privilege, and suggesting that there is any
reason to narrow the Foundation's focus away from language instruction
seems completely absurd to me.
Wikimedia should be busy getting even better at its
main thing: wiki articles.
Why? We are already the best at that. Why not make the wiki articles
in Wiktionary better by not just playing audio recordings of words,
which volunteers (not the Foundation) already provide, but meeting
that initiative by recording utterances and predicting whether they
are intelligible pronunciations, and doing the same with recording
gadgets in Wikipedia's pronunciation articles? http://j.mp/irslides
I'm serious that I think the Foundation should hire all my Google
Summer of Code students to support doing that, because it will take
about that many people to set it up so that volunteers can complete
the work for all languages, not just English.
There is no reason that the Foundation can't both pay to translate
Wikipedia articles and pay to up Wiktionary's language instruction
game at the same time. That would have made sense ten years ago, and
the budget is much larger now. We are at a juncture in aligning our
long term strategy to the mission, so I hope both projects get funded.
If it has to be proposed budget-neutral to be compelling, then get rid
of the mobile app and mobile web versions except on platforms where
they are genuinely easier for editors, not just readers, to use.