Ziko van Dijk wrote:
In principal, I tend to be as liberal as Gerard: Let
people do what
they like to do. On the other hand, practically, I strongly advice
people to think twice about starting a project that has little chance
to grow out to a respectable encyclopedia.
While I do agree with everything that you write, is there really
any mechanism why people should "think twice"? Is there any
downside at all for an individual who asks for a new language of
Wikipedia to be started, after that version fails? We don't
really have a list of people who started failed projects. If I
don't propose a Lebanese Wikipedia, my neighbor might do so. If
it fails, the Wikimedia Foundation will be more ridiculed over its
inflated number of 250 languages, but my neighbor doesn't suffer.
Maybe it's the Foundation that should think twice before granting
more languages? It is the one to suffer, not the individual.
I wish that new languages could be handled in a more wiki way,
where the threshold to start is lower, and where the upside and
downside are more connected: you start it, so the failure is yours
or the success is yours.
I think the name "Wikipedia" should be saved for those that have
more than 10,000 or 50,000 articles. Before that stage, everybody
should be free to start a "candidate reference wiki" in any
language or dialect, hosted by WMF or elsewhere. We now have 35
languages with more than 50,000 articles and 80 languages with
more than 10,000 articles. Any of these numbers (35 or 80) is
more useful than the 264 languages that are currently listed as
As it works now, anybody with an ISO language code and some
wishful thinking can get the trademark "Wikipedia" on their hobby
project, and the failure will belong to the Wikimedia Foundation.
With my scheme, anybody can start a hobby project of their own but
the name Wikipedia would be something you deserve after spending
some real effort.
Lars Aronsson (lars(a)aronsson.se)
Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se