Amir E. Aharoni wrote:
But i am particularly curious not about the technical
about people's experiences - if there are any - with the actual
When I became involved with English Wikipedia it had fewer than 50,000
articles, and many of them were stubs. [[Special:WantedPages]] was very
useful in finding things to write about. It is currently disabled, and
has not been updated since last October. It counted the number of red
links to a title, and listed the 50 with the most links. Wikifying, was
an important task for any editor; they were encouraged to create links
to anything that might reasonably be expected to have an article. This
feature should be made more prominent in the smaller wikis.
For example, i can quite easily imagine teachers in
saying: "Why should we write encyclopedia articles or textbooks in our
local language? Textbooks should be written in English / Russian /
French / Spanish / Portuguese." Did anyone have to cope with that?
It's not just teachers. Some governments and religions have actively
suppressed minority languages. In Canada the residential school system
was nothing less than cultural genocide. The practice has stopped, but
its effects remain. The dominant colonial languages are still seen as
the means to make a better life for oneself. To those who hope to feed
their families cultural matters take a back seat.
I am not even talking about countries where it is a
language preservation; for example, in regions of Russia such as
Tatarstan or Sakha most people know Russian and many know Russian
better than their regional language. In this case, writing a Wikipedia
in Tatar is not an immediate educational necessity, because Russian
textbooks are accessible to people. It is rather a question of
preserving the local culture; i strongly support that, but there are
For some languages the script that was developed by anthropologists a
century ago was more suited to the needs of anthropologists trying to
impose Greco-Roman grammatical concepts where they didn't belong.
I am rather talking about countries in, for example,
people don't necessarily know English or French well, but where
education nevertheless functions mostly in a foreign language. Do
people there even imagine that it's possible or desirable to write an
encyclopedia in their language? Given all the technical tools and
support, will they actually think that it's worth doing it?
Our techies can easily solve questions of tools for writing these
languages. We need to ask the people what is important to them about
their language. Forget about translating the details of nuclear physics
or modern mathematics; if native English speakers have difficulties in
these subjects in their own language it won't be any easier in these
other languages. An article about basic agricultural techniques may be
more to the point.