Hello Lars Alvik , Mark Williamson, et.al.,
Doing a quick bit of statistics here: The population size of Norway on 1
April 2004 was 4,582,600. It is usually claimed that about 10 % of the
population are primary users of Nynorsk. That gives a user base of 458,260.
The population has probably grown a wee bit since then, so let's say a
roughly estimated primary user base of 460.000 as of today. There are
currently 3767 articles on the Nynorsk Wikipedia. (3767/460.000*1000) =
8.19. And that has basically all happened since last summer. Unless my
mathematics are completely off (and I am admittedly a bit tired right now),
the Norwegian (Nynorsk) Wikipedia takes a clear lead with over 8 articles
pr 1000 inhabitants.
On Fri, 11 Mar 2005 02:33:36 +0100, Lars Alvik wrote:
>Acually, after a couple of minutes of research i found the the wikipedia
>with best article pr. speaker ratio. Iceland, with 7 articles pr 1000
>inhabitant. Followed closely by no, dk and fi with around 4 articles pr.
>And then follows faroese with around 3 articles pr inhabitant.
Mark Williamson <node.ue(a)gmail.com>, wikipedia-l(a)Wikimedia.org schrieb am 06.03.05 22:23:39:
> I for one think that a smaller community (even a "microcommunity"
> perhaps) is more conducive to the Wiki concept because unlike such
> large communities as Dutch or German speakers, it is very conceivable
> that /every single speaker/ of Saterlandic Frisian could become
> involved in such a Wikipedia.
It certainly would be desirable, but conceivable, I don't so. You know, just like the Hopi, rural East Frisians tend to be skeptical of any new ideas coming from the outside. A Lox Saxon proverb in northern Germany goes "Wat de Buur nich kennt dat freet he nich." (=a farmer doesn't eat anything he doesn't know). Your conception of "/every single speaker/ of Saterlandic Frisian" becoming involved is extremely optimistic. Knowing the East Frisians, I am not sure whether we could convince even one single speaker. And I think you can find similar attitudes among among many smaller ethnic groups. Maybe it's a problem in general if "outsiders" (however committed and well-meaning they might be) are trying to start such projects. Why don't we let the Saterfrisians and the Hopis decide for themselves if they have a need for a wikipedia insteed speculating about what they might want or not. Me, I consider them intelligent enough to request their own wikipedia when they deem it useful.!
After all, they are the only people who can write it. You mentioned the term "linguistic imperialism" here some time ago. Maybe telling language minorities that they need to set up a wikipedia in order to preserve their language could be considered linguistacally imperialistic, too.
> I once had an idea, that we could set up a Hopi Wikipedia, and then
> work on promotion of it on Hopi, get elders and teenagers involved,
> try to get middle-aged people involved as well, and eventually hope
> for 90% community involvement of Hopi speakers. When such a point is
> reached, it is a virtual mirror of the real-life community, except it
> is also working towards building an encyclopaedia.
> Unfortunately I don't have the time or the resources to begin such a
> project, and generally Hopi people are very distrusting of white
> people in such matters (and with good reason, too) and although a
> medium level of involvement may be reached, it might be hard to get
> elders involved in what they see as a possible attempt by whites to
> poison or kill Hopi language and culture.
I was just trying to understand why you're refering to ideas that didn't work in order to convince me that a very similar thing will work well. Sorry, but I don't get it.
> Most of these Wikipedias were requested by people who had the notion
> "I have heard of this language. There is no Wikipedia in it. It should
> be created." but were never followed up after their creation.
That's perfectly right. And that's why I think that some native speakers should express their interest in starting their edition of wikipedia before we do anything. As I mentioned above, they are basically the only ones who can write it and as soon as they are plainly not interested (because they prefer English or German encyclopias or because they prefer doings sports over sitting at a PC in their free time or whatever) more new wikipedias will end up dead or half-dead like too many before.
> In addition, even these ill-requested Wikipedias are picking up speed,
> one-by-one... look at the flurry of activity on ka:, li:, hy:, etc.
> which had previously been inactive for months (li: actually had 0
> pages)! ka: and hy:, two important languages of the Caucasus region
> (Georgian and Armenian), now have over 100 articles and are quickly
> growing more! Unfortunately it seems that such success is limited
> almost exclusively to European languages and more recently Indic
> languages to a certain degree, although African languages (examples
> are Bambara bm:, Wolof wo:, Amharic am:, Lingala ln:) have seen some
> unexpected activity recently.
I have seen those successes and promising signs, too. And I rejoice every time I seen them. And I'd like to see many more of those and I'd like to see it last, for I am 100% pro-multilinguilism. But again I think you're too optimistic there. Matter of fact - at least according to the way I count it - half of the wikipedias are completely or almost inactive. Even a lot of editions for which 50 or so articles are indicated contain nothing but headlines with blank pages below them or similar rubbish (often pitiful attempts of non-speakers to create at least some pseudo-activity). This is the cold hard truth. Everything else would be wishful thinking. And I we really care about the success of this unique project called Wikipedia we should care about that truth.
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Here we go again! :-)
There are several issues here.
One is the question of *discrimination or equality between the variants*
of the Norwegian language. This has been pointed out by Mark
Williamson earlier in this thread, but seems to be largely overlooked.
On Fri Mar 4 01:30:40 UTC 2005, Lars Alvik said:
> forexample the www.google.no is on bokmål, you have to
> click an extra link to get to the nynorsk version. This is more or less
> what i think no: should be, on bokmål but with a well placed link to
The above remark by Lars Alvik is discriminating and offensive
towards nynorsk users. Why should it be like that and not
the other way around? Is bokmål a superior language?
To better explain the offensiveness of such statements of
superiority, I risk a provocative analogy. To say:
Bokmål is the default Norwegian language, so
asking for "Norwegian" should give you bokmål,
but we can put a link to nynorsk there;
is tantamount to saying something like:
*Men* are the default human beings, so looking up
"human being" should redirect you to "man", but
we can have a well placed link to "woman" on that page!
(The Sami languages are a different kind of problem, because
although they are official languages in some regions of Norway,
the Sami languages do not call themselves "Norwegian", and so
probably do not want to claim the name "Norwegian Wikipedia".)
Incidentally, Lars Alvik's description of the Google interface is not true.
The address www.google.no will give you whichever Norwegian variant
you selected on your previous visit. This is a good model for how the
address no.wikipedia.org can be made to work, too!
A second issue is *which names the inter-wiki links should show*.
To Olve Utne this is a major issue, while who gets to use the
language code "no" is a minor issue.
I see it differently.
In the name of fairness, a wiki which excludes one of the two
official forms of Norwegian, should not be given *exclusive* rights
to the language code for Norwegian. To display the inter-wiki link
"no" as "norsk (bokmål)" is simply incorrect.
To me, it is as simple as this:
"no" is "norsk"
"nb" is "norsk (bokmål)"
"nn" is "norsk (nynorsk)"
This is how the links are displayed in Wikipedia today, and it
looks good to me.
Olve proposes that we change it to be like this:
"no" is "norsk (bokmål)"
"nb" is also "norsk (bokmål)"
"nn" is "norsk (nynorsk)"
I don't see any reason to make such a change. In fact, the
case of equality vs. discrimination is a strong argument *against*
such a change.
A third issue is whether or not to *exclude nynorsk Norwegian*
from the current Norwegian Wikipedia at no.wikipedia.org.
That Wikipedia has so far been a mixed Norwegian Wikipedia,
with a user interface in bokmål, but allowing articles in any
written form of the language. Last year a separate nynorsk
Norwegian Wikipedia appeared at nn.wikipedia.org, so now
there are two completely separate wikipedias which allow
articles written in nynorsk Norwegian. Since nynorsk now
has its own "home", several people have proposed to disallow
it in the hitherto "Norwegian" Wikipedia, effectively changing
the older Wikipedia into a pure bokmål encyclopedia.
A vote is going on about this right now in
If that vote decides to turn that Wikipedia database into an
exclusively bokmål encyclopedia, I say that from that moment on
it loses its exclusive right to the language code "no", and all
links to it should thenceforth use the code "nb".
If the vote decides to keep the mixture of written forms, that
wikipedia shall of course stay at no.wikipedia.org. I have tried
to create a separate, pure bokmål wikipedia at nb.wikipedia.org
to achieve symmetry with the nynorsk one at nn.wikipedia.org,
but so far there has been little support for such an addition.
There are also other issues, related to *non-official written forms*
of Norwegian, but I won't go into those here, as I feel those can
wait until the main issues have been resolved once and for all.
(user and appreciator of both Norwegian written forms
and of both Norwegian wikipedias)
Scríobh Lars Alvik
>Sorry mac, but you can't ignore the fact that bokmål is written by the
>largest share of the norwegian population, around 90-80%. If no: could
>be a serverside redirect to nb: but with a portal frontpage, sure i
>would go for that, but i don't think it's technicaly possible.
I disagree. I do not have Norwegian, but I think the fact that 90% of the
country speaks a particular language is irrelevant as far as what subdomain
it is allowed to reside on.
Let me illustrate. Let us say that rather than seperate ga: (Irish) and
gd: (Scottish Gaelic) subdomains being set up, a single subdomain had
originally been set up, which we will call :gx. This was meant for the
"Gaelic" language. There might be some justification for this, some
dialects of Irish are somewhat interintelligble with some dialects of
Scottish Gaelic. Now, the ratio of Irish speakers to SG speakers is,
according to the en.wikipedia articles, about 4:1 (260,000 vs 59,000) -
roughly similar to the ratio of bokmål to nynorsk speakers, from what I
Now, given the logic that you're attempting to use in the no: situation, we
would simply let "gx" remain the named the "Gaelic" wikipedia, but only
allow Irish articles there, because after all, it is the language spoken by
the largest share of the Gaelic-speaking population. This probably looks,
and quite rightly so, ridiculous to those who look upon the situation from
outside. Yet, this is the "solution" that you're proposing for the no:
I think the fact that most Norwegians prefer bokmål should be irrelevant.
If 99.9% of Norwegians spoke it, it's still cannot exclusively claim to be
"Norwegian", and I think that it's ridiculous that it should get the
reserved domain for that language. Personally, I think the #1 solution
no: Portal page to :nb and :nn. Links to article pages here redirect to :nb
nb: Wikipedia bokmål
nn: Wikipedia nynorsk
I can't see how anyone would have a problem with this. Anyone who types in
"no" can get to their preferred variety with a single click, and there is no
language confusion or feelings of unfairness on either side.
- Craig Franklin
An idea. I'll try to be short.
Wikipedia has a lot of information, and it is heavily crosslinked. But it's
not indexed. I mean an index of people, and index of places and an index of
things. And events. And countries. And lakes. And whatever. Each index is a
table (in database terms), with a few required fields. You could the add a
page (or a part of it) to an index (or more indexes) by specifying theese
required fields of an
index (probably in the wiki source).
Using this you could look up things/people that happened, borned, died
or whatever on a given day. Or things that happened in Tokyo. Or list
books or movies that have wiki pages about them. Possibilities are
quite broad. Look up pages that are in multiple indexes, "events" and
"presidents of the world" for example.
"indexers" would be wikipedians who index things. Make and index, like
"countries" or "operating systems" or "mysteries". And then collect things
into that index. And specify the attributes of that index. There are pages
like this, I know, for database systems for example, but you see this is a
different level. You could create an index of abbreviations for example...
(I don't have much time to discuss it, but if anyone finds it worth working
on, please let me know. Later I might join in. Have a nice day.)
--- Delirium <delirium(a)hackish.org> wrote:
> Daniel Mayer wrote:
> >Thus helping to preserve an endangered language by hosting an encyclopedia
> >in it also directly furthers our goal. This would not include non-famous
> >conlangs since those are largely original research.
> This would be an argument for having good articles like [[en:Hopi
> language]] (and the equivalents in de:, ja:, zh:, fr:, etc.) --
> information about languages written in a language that people can read.
> Merely preserving a language that nobody reads by writing an
> encyclopedia that nobody reads in it isn't really furthing the goal of
> disseminating information to people.
A great deal of information and cultural heritage is contained in the language
itself. This goes way beyond what any set of articles in other languages can
ever hope to accomplish.
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I am very happy to announce that Kennisnet is willing to underwrite/pay
for the creation of wikidata and the ultimate wiktionary. This will
allow us to host relational data within a Mediawiki environment.
Wikidata will particularly enhance projects like Wikispecies and
Wiktionary where a lot of the relevant data is relational in nature. The
details of this project can be found here:
Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a
free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single
person on the planet in their own language. Asking whether the
community comes before or after this goal is really asking the wrong
question: the entire purpose of the community is precisely this goal.
I don't know of any real case where there is a genuine strong tension
between these two things, either. That is to say, the central core of
the community, the people who are really doing the work, are virtually
all quite passionate on this point: that we're creating something of
extremely high quality, not just goofing around with a game of online
community with no purpose.
The community does not come before our task, the community is
organized *around* our task. The difference is simply that decisions
ought to always be made not on the grounds of social expediency or
popular majority, but in light of the requirements of the job we have
set for ourselves.
I do not endorse the view, a view held as far as I know only by a very
tiny minority, that Wikipedia is anti-elitist or anti-expert in any
way. If anything, we are *extremely* elitist but anti-credentialist.
That is, we seek thoughtful intelligent people willing to do the very
hard work of getting it right, and we don't accept anything less than
that. PhDs are valuable evidence of that, and attracting and
retraining academic specialists is a valid goal.
There may be some cases of PhDs who think that no one should edit
their expert articles, but there are many many more cases of
completely unqualified people who think the same thing. It doesn't
matter: if someone can't work in a friendly helpful way in a social
context, that's a problem for them and for us, and we'll always have
to make some very complex judgments about what to do about it.
I'm 100% committed to a goal of "Britannica or better" quality for
Wikipedia, and all of our social rules should revolve around that.
Openness is indispensible for us, but it is our *radical* means to our
Building an online encyclopedia at least as good as the Encyclopaedia Britannia is a very respectable aim I can fully identify with. Promoting and preserving minority (or less widespread) languages is another one that I endorse just as much. In many cases they might complement each other very well. If that is the case we'll have Wikipedias with "added value".
However, my conviction is that the these two separate goals do not necessarily always go hand in hand. Cases in which a language has too few speakers or is used as a language of first choice too infrequently to bring about an encyclopedia "Britannica or better" certainly do exist. This is an evaluation I think we all can agree on. And it's a fact that we'll simply have to realize now that no longer every new Wikipedia becomes an immediate success (like it was broadly the case in the early years) and sadly quite a few plainly fail to become what they are supposed to be (a comprehensive and reliable source of information).
What we need to do now is to clearly distinguish between the creation of premium encyclopedias and the advancement of languages. And we need to keep in focus what comes first, just like Jimbo pointed out. Being pessimistic about the prospects of a proposed Wikipedia for a language of, say, 5,000 speakers (who might all be at least as fluent in a more widespread language) should no longer be mistaken for being against that language or the promotion thereof.
Contrary to what has been written by others I fear that generously granting new editions for smaller languages can very well harm the project as a whole. The first time I heard about Wikipedia was on a German TV program. All I thought was: "Everyone can change it and write whatever they wants? It's another one of those anarchistic web projects and it I'm sure it will never amount to anything good. (Especially as there were some acceptable encyclopedias staffed with professional editors on the internet already)" But of course I was curious, too and checked it out one of the next days. And, surprisingly enough, I actually found the piece of information I was looking for. In the following time I came back now and then because the first impression had been a good one. Some day I actually tried and wrote a couple of sentences myself. Later I registered and even later I suscribed to this list and so forth. Not out idealism or the like. Just because I had gotten the impression that!
Wikipedia is a project which is running well and which I can benefit from. Now please imagine this first encounter would have been with the Nauru or Muscogee edition. I just would not have found anything useful for me and I would never have come back to Wikipedia at all. Of course, every edition of Wikipedia must go through it's early stages. But our problem now is that many of them have been stuck there for ages and I fear quite a number will perhaps never leave that stage. And it is my conviction that a 100+ practically inactive Wikipedias certainly do not raise the project's reputation.
The only useful encyclopedia (I'm repeating myself here) is an encyclopedia were you find the article you need. To assure that you it takes literally tens of thousands of articles. An encyclopedia were most inqueries fail or produce unsuffincient, unreliable information is outright useless even if it is a nice community project. Again, it taken tens of thousands of articles. Let us face the fact that currently for probably most of the world's languages we can't generate them in an online project totally depending on unpaid volunteers.
I would therefore recommend that:
1. Whenever we evaluate new language proposals we should assess if they have the potential to yield a 5-digit number of articles.
2. We should require every new language proposal to be supported by at least two or three native speakers in order to assure there is some demand within that language community (instead of first setting up a new Wikipedia and then trying to convince native speakers).
3. We should require people interested in setting up a new Wikipedia to provide 20 basic encyclopedia articles before we establish that edition in order to have some start-up basis and to avoid "zero" article Wikipedias.
4. New constructed and extinct languages should not be allowed except proponents provide sufficient arguments that their language has a special potential for an extensive high quality online encyclopedia.
5. We should discuss new avenues for the advancement of small languages (minority, extinct, constructed) within Wikimedia, apart from Wikipedia.
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