Most of you would be aware of some of the discussions that have occurred
around Wikipedia in the Norwegian languages. Since the last round of
discussions on this list, there has been a lot of internal debate, as
well as what seems to be a fairly widely accepted agreement following
This e-mail intends to, after a brief recap on Norwegian language and
wikipedia issues, take those interested through the latest development
and will stake out the road ahead. It is also intended to inform the
international community about the current agreement on no.wikipedia, so
as to prevent misunderstandings in the future.
Finally, we will mention an unfortunate reaction to the vote by a small
number of users at the Norwegian Bokmål/Riksmål (no:) wikipedia who want
to disregard the result of the voting and are planning to create a
_third_ Norwegian wikipedia with the sole mission of mixing the contents
of the two current Norwegian versions.
== A short language history of Norway ==
Spoken Norwegian ("norsk") (ISO 639-2 alpha-2 code "no") is in a fairly
unique situation compared to most other languages of the world in that
it has two widely accepted written standards, Bokmål (ISO 639-2 alpha-2
code "nb") and Nynorsk (ISO 639-2 alpha-2 code "nn"). By national
legislation they are both regarded as official written forms of
Norwegian. In addition, many people still make a distinction between
Bokmål and its precursor which still is in use, Riksmål.
Briefly speaking, Bokmål and Riksmål are descendants of the Danish
written language. Until the 1800s, Danish was the only widely used
written language in Norway as a result of four centuries of union with
Denmark. With increasing independence came a wish to norwegianise the
Danish standard, with Knud Knudsen at the forefront for changing parts
of the vocabulary and orthographics. Thus, Riksmål, and later Bokmål,
resulted. These forms together are today probably used by about 90% of
Norway's population, or somewhere around 3,500,000 people.
Parallel to this development, a new written standard was created by Ivar
Aasen. He travelled extensively throughout Norway, and based his new
language, landsmål, on the grammar and vocabulary of dialect samples
from around the country. This was later renamed Nynorsk. Modern Nynorsk
differs significantly from modern Bokmål, and may be linguistically
looked upon as as different (or as similar if you like) as Swedish is to
Danish. For English or Dutch/German speakers, the differences may be
likened to those between (Lowland) Scots and English or Low German and
Dutch. Today it is estimated that about 500,000-600,000 people have
Nynorsk as their first written language.
More information about the Norwegian language history can be found in
English, German, French, Spanish or Portuguese on the website of the
Norwegian Language Council:
== A short history of Wikipedia in Norwegian ==
The first Norwegian wikipedia started 26 November 2001 on the subdomain
no.wikipedia.org. As most wikipedias, its contributor and article count
started really picking up around the end of 2003. At the time, it
accepted all written standards of Norwegian, although the amount of
Nynorsk was minimal. There were already several debates about the
feasibilty and appropriateness of keeping the two languages united on
one Wikipedia. On 31 July 2004 a Wikipedia for Nynorsk was created.
The creation of nn:, however, split the community at no: wikipedia. Many
felt that given that Nynorsk now had its own wikipedia, no: should
become a Bokmål/Riksmål Wikipedia only. Others disapproved and claimed
that there was no need to change and that it should continue its
language policy of accepting all and keep its interwiki link name of
Nynorsk Wikipedia soon proved a success, as it within the next few
months gathered several people who had felt uncomfortable in the
(mainly) Bokmål environment at no:. The name displayed in interwiki
links became "Norsk (nynorsk)" (languages are not spelt with upper case
in Norwegian). To date it continues to be one of the fastest growing
wikipedias, with a steady article increase, now at over 6000 articles
and >50 editors with more than 10 edits since arrival.
== Votes ==
The issue of no:'s language policy has come up time and again, and a
vote was held in March ([[:no:Wikipedia:Målform]]) as to which policy to
adapt. Independent of the method of the tally (whether or not to include
new contributors etc.) there was a majority for switching to a
Bokmål/Riksmål only language policy (50% for Bokmål/Riksmål, 43.2% for
Bokmål/Riksmål/Nynorsk/Høgnorsk, and 6.8% for the official variants
Following this result, there is now going to be a vote on which
interwiki link name will most appropriately reflect the current language
policy of no:. The result of this vote will most likely be either "Norsk
(bokmål)" or "Norsk (bokmål/riksmål)".
Understandably, there has also been a debate as to whether the subdomain
should change from "no" to "nb", as this is the correct representation
of Bokmål according to ISO 639-2. However, there is some resentment
towards such a move and currently a general acceptance in letting the
Bokmål wikipedia stay at "no". The alternative some have suggested is a
server-side redirect from "no" to "nb", in the same way that "nb" today
is a server-side redirect to the equivalent page on "no".
== Summary of the problem ==
Unfortunately, a small group of users (who all write Bokmål/Riksmål) are
ignoring the results from the vote, and are claiming they want to
re-establish a wikipedia for all written standards of Norwegian. They
claim they have been in touch with people centrally in Wikimedia
(developers? stewards?) and that they have so far received positive
comments. With this email, we would like to state the fact that there
have been no official decisions about creating a third Norwegian
wikipedia containing both Bokmål and Nynorsk, it is merely an unofficial
initiative from a small group of users which started a sign-on list at
[[:no:Bruker:Norsk_Wikipedia]]. A spontaneous list with signatures
against this activity was immediately created at
[[:no:Wikipedia-diskusjon:Fellesnorsk]]. The process of creating a third
Norwegian wikipedia has not gone through a voting process in any of the
two existing Norwegian wikipedias (no: and nn:) and can not be
considered as a decision by the Norwegian Wikipedia community.
We believe the creation of a third wikipedia under the Wikimedia
foundation would have a serious and unfortunate impact on the existing
wikipedias in Norwegian, no: and nn:, and would undermine Wikipedia's
reputation in Norway. This being said, we are all for extensive co-
operation between the four Scandinavian language wikipedias (including
Swedish and Danish), as evident by the recent creation of
[[:meta:Skanwiki]], the Scandinavian meta-pages, and the use of featured
articles from neighbour wikipedias.
== Conclusion ==
Hopefully, this letter will help people better understand the
complicated language situation of the Norwegian Wikipedia community, so
as to give a background on which discussion can take place on this list
in the future, such as the inevitable debate following a possible
request for a re-establishment of the common (and third!) Norwegian
>From the community of no.wikipedia.org and nn.wikipedia.org,
Bjarte Sørensen [[:meta:User:BjarteSorensen]] (Administrator/bureaucrat on nn:)
Lars Alvik [[:no:User:Profoss]] (Administrator/bureaucrat on no:)
Øyvind A. Holm [[:no:User:Sunny256]] (Administrator on no:)
Onar Vikingstad [[:no:User:Vikingstad]] (Administrator on no:)
Jon Harald Søby [[:no:User:Jhs]] (Administrator on no:)
Chris Nyborg [[:no:User:Cnyborg]] (Administrator on no:)
Guttorm Flatabø [[:no:User:Dittaeva]] (Administrator on nn:)
Gunleiv Hadland [[:meta:User:Gunnernett]] (Administrator on nn:)
Jarle Fagerheim [[:nn:User:Jarle]] (Administrator on nn:)
Øyvind Jo Heimdal Eik [[:en:User:Pladask]] (Administrator on nn: and no:)
Kristian André Gallis [[:nn:User:Kristaga]]
Vegard Wærp [[:no:User:Vegardw]]
Nina Aldin Thune [[:no:User:Nina]]
Thor-Rune Hansen [[:no:User:ThorRune]]
Claes Tande [[:no:User:Ctande]]
Arnt-Erik Krokaa [[:no:User:AEK]]
Rune Sattler [[:no:User:Shauni]]
A recent pretty large discussion about this issue was made, and about
everyone agreed what current mo. all in cyrillic must be moved to
mo-cyr. and on mo. should remain only two links to ro. and to mo-cyr.
On the main page wikipedia.org our language name are still in cyrillic
Or maybe there is another list, a higher instance where i can call ?
Where is present some administrators of wikipedia who can take some
real actions ?
After some days is a New 2006 Year, and we still have such a problems ?
Merry Christmas, and let's hope what the New Year will bring to us
some really correct changes.
So, it seems (if I interpret Jimbo's mail on wikitech and the discussion
here correctly) that most of us would like *some kind* of category
scheme in wikipedia. I do, too! But, we seem to differ on the details
So far, I saw three concepts:
1. Simple categories like "Person", "Event", etc.; about a dozen total.
2. Categories and subcategories, like
"Science/Biology/Biochemistry/Proteomics", which can be "scaled down" to
#1 as well ("Humankind/Person" or something)
3. Complex object structures with machine-readable meta-knowledge
encoded into the articles, which would allow for quite complex
queries/summaries, like "biologists born after 1860".
1. Easy to edit (the wiki way!)
2. Still easy to edit, but making wikipedia browseable by category,
fine-tune Recent Changes, etc.
3. Strong improvement in search functions, meta-knowledge available for
1. Not much of a help...
2. We'd need to agree on a category scheme, and maintenance might get a
3. Quite complex to edit (e.g., "<category type='person'
occupation='biologist' birth_month='5' birth_day='24' birth_year='1874'
For a wikipedia I'd have to write myself, I'd choose #3, but with
respect to the wiki way, #2 seems more likely to achieve consensus (if
there is such a thing;-)
Magnus Manske wrote:
>I don't know if you've seen my test page, but just below the title,
>there's a line "This is the stable version. The current working version
Perhaps choosing words that less drastically separate the two versions
will make it psychologically easier to bridge the gap that makes readers
"This is the public version. An updated, editable draft is [[here]]."
I think this would still get across the point that one is more stable
and reliable, without creating an atmosphere that denigrates the ongoing
No matter what I change "My preferences/math" to, I always get the same
thing, which is mostly PNGs. I've checked on the blahtex web pages that I
can use MathML in my Firefox but the preferences on wikipedia.org don't seem
to do anything. I haven't found anywhere an explanation of why the
preferences/math tab does nothing, not in the preferences tab, not in the
help for the preferences tab, not in the discussion pages.
Can anyone explain to me what's going on, and possibly update
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Preferences#Rendering_math and even
Daniel Mayer wrote:
>So showing stable versions by default will *kill* one of the best aspects of Wikipedia; its
>ability to record history as it happens. It will also encourage needless forking of articles with
>stable versions whenever its subject is in the news. Not because doing that is best for covering
>the subject, but *only* to be able to report on the current events (no stable version = live
>version is displayed).
How would marking a revision as stable cause a fork of an article when
the subject comes up in the news? Editing would still be done from the
For that matter, it should be standard practice to unflag the stable
version if current events make it too obsolete. And if there is no
stable version (for most of our articles at present, there shouldn't
be), then everyone gets the editable version by default regardless.
>For these reasons and others, I am **EXTREMELY** against hiding the live version behind stable
>ones on Wikipedia. If that is what they want, then there will be plenty of mirrors that will only
>display stable versions of our articles. Or they could simply choose to view stable versions by
>default; either by clicking on a 'View stable version of this article' link for selected articles
>or logging in and setting their preferences for that.
Trying to twist the arms of casual readers into doing any of this is a
fool's errand. If they're on Wikipedia already, they're not going to do
the work to figure out which sites mirror our stable versions (as
opposed to outdated unstable versions) and navigate to those sites. And
using low-quality content to try and lure people to sign in for the
better stuff is one of the mistakes that turned AOL into the butt of so
I have proposed the structure of a Wikipedia Ombudsman at:
This proposed policy/structure would seek to deal with complaints arising
from administrator and ArbCom conduct, which have been unfortunately quite
plentiful in recent times (IMO, there have been quite a lot of users who
feel they have been wronged by "the system").
Please write any comments or suggestions on the talk page.
Recently the concept of having stable versions of Wikipedia's pages
has been gaining foothold rapidly. Most supporters of this idea
portray this as a rather small change, which would help make Wikipedia
more reliable and help it be taken more seriously in academic circles.
It is understandable that this idea is tempting, since vandalism and
decay of article has gotten a lot of focus recently, but I do not
think that this is the easy, safe change many seem to think it is.
Wikipedia was started as an alternative to the stagnating Nupedia,
which had the same goal as Wikipedia - to make a free encyclopedia -
but tried to do this through the traditional means of experts and peer
review. Nupedia failed because there were few editors, no fresh supply
of new editors, and difficult to make changes. Wikipedia's wiki model
changed that by making every reader an editor and making it easy for
them to edit, and after that followed an exponential increase in the
number of articles, which has lasted to this day. One explanation for
this could be as follows: For any encyclopedia it is reasonable to
assume that the number or readers is proportional to the number and
quality of articles. By making every reader an editor, Wikipedia added
a proportionality between the number of readers and the article
creation rate, that is: The rate of article creation became
proportional to the number of articles, a recipie for exponential
By marking a version of an article as stable, and presenting that
version to normal visitors, we are breaking down the coupling between
the number of readers and the number of editors. The whole point of a
wiki, and the key behind Wikipedia's incredible growth, is that every
reader is an editor, and in light of that it isn't a good idea to
create seperate views of an article for readers and editors. Any
reader reading the stable version instead of the current version will
be one less potential editor to improve the current version. One could
hope that people who find faults in the stable version would go to the
draft version to implement improvements there, but simply saying that
a version is stable will discourage edits, and people who still want
to make edits will be further discouraged by those edits not being
seen by the main public, but hidden away in some draft version of the
article. Thus, this will discourage positive edits for the same reason
it will discourage vandalism: It becomes slightly harder to edit, and
more importantly, the results aren't immediatly visible on the main
version of the article (the one most people read).
Regarding vandalism and bad pages, the wiki answer to these is that we
have lots of people to fix those problems for the same reason the
poblems are there. There will be more vandalism the bigger Wikipedia
grows, but so will the number of people who can spot and fix that
vandalism, for the same reason. This is inherently scalable, so there
should be no need for any change the way we deal with this just
because the wiki has reached a given size. Wikipedia is by no means
finished. There are still millions of articles waiting to be created,
fleshed out and polished, and many already existing articles that need
to be improved. We should therefore continue to make our readers edit
our articles. Not because the wiki process is sacred in itself, but
because it has proven to be the fastest way to create an encyclopedia.
PS: The quality isn't a big problem according to some sources, such as
PPS: I apologize for breaking the thread, but I wasn't on the list when
it started, so I couldn't find a way to tie this message to the
It seems that for the stable version feature, there is much support for
having a stable version, but not as much for displaying it by default.
1. Have stable versions, but not as default, like on my test page 
2. Once that runs for some time without problem, we turn on stable
versions as default *for a week* and see what happens
If the number of (non-vandal) edits drops like the new market used to,
we keep it like #1. However, if there is no significant reduction in
edits, we turn on #2 for, say, a month, or three month. If there's no
ill effect either, we keep it on.
Additionally, of course, the decision to try this would be optional for
every wikipedia individually.
That solution should satisfy everyone concerned about the project,
though it might not satisfy those who want a wiki, just a wiki, nothing
--- Fred Bauder <fredbaud(a)ctelco.net> wrote on WikiEn-l:
> I can see us raising a few hundred thousand dollars by contributions.
> I can't see a few million.
> I can see contributions supporting 100 servers. I can't see them
> supporting 2,000.
> I can see a top 20 website supported by contributions. I can't see
> one of the top 5.
It sure would be a fun ride to see how far we could go before having to submit to the dark side of
the force. :)
LUKE: ... Is the dark side stronger?
YODA: No...no...no. Quicker, easier, more seductive it is.
</tongue half in cheek>
Having ads would have many benefits and drawbacks that need to be explored *WELL before* events
force us into exploring that option. Having ads would enable us to much more easily support the
websites and further our charitable goals but, we may, if we are not careful, lose our soul in the
process; Not to mention much of the community and good will we have generated.
A financial crisis would present us with both danger and opportunity concerning ads. The subject
of ads on Wikipedia has been taboo for so long that I fear we won't be able to correctly deal with
such a crisis since we never have considered the issue closely enough.
So we should open a dialog to discuss the pros and cons along with exploring the best way to
mitigate bad vs ill effects of having ads. One idea I like is for us to set-up nupedia.org as a
mirror with ads that would host stable versions of Wikipedia content. All excess revenue from that
venture would benefit all the ad-free wiki sites and the foundation.
Yahoo! DSL Something to write home about.
Just $16.99/mo. or less.