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]]
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;-)
Dear fellow list subscribers,
Following on the discussion on the two or even four written and standardised
variants of Norwegian, I would like to see how much two language varieties
must differ from one another to be apt for a new wikipedia. Don't get me
wrong: my intention is NOT to dispute the validity of two coexisting
Norwegian wikipedias. Those variants have a long history and tradition of
mutual incompatibility. I just think all of us agree that somewhere it has
to stop - or should we wish a Texan wikipedia? "e freea cundent engcyclep~e
thad annywun can eddit"? - but we might disagree where. Probably you held
this discussion many times before, but I am a relative newbe on this list.
Now I would like to pose my question in a casuist way: Could requests for
wikipedias in Zeelandic and Town Frisian be granted. Neither is generally
considered a seperate language (those some linguists do call them
languages), but Zeelandic is a clearly bordered regional language which
differs about as much from Dutch proper as Nynorsk from Swedish (as far as I
can judge) and is, when spoken, very problematic to be understood for Dutch
speakers, while Town Frisian is a mixed language with a 16th century
Hollandic vocabulary and Frisian grammar and phonetical principles.
Moreover, it goes without saying that these variants (to avoid both the term
"language" and "dialect") are not allowed on nl:, being a standardised
I don't necessarily support requests for wikipedias in those (thogh I would
be willing to contribute), but I would like to know where the community
draws the borders.
Thanks for reading this,
Gebruik MSN Webmessenger op je werk en op school
It would appear that we are breaking the law with respect to copyright
This is a result of our policy about the insertion of copyrighted
material into articles:
"Pages where the most recent edit is a copyright violation, but the
previous article was not, should not be deleted. They should be
reverted. The violating text will remain in the page history for
archival reasons unless the copyright holder asks the Wikimedia
Foundation to remove it."
As a result our database contains large quantities of violating
material. Because this material is completely untagged (just looks
like a normal revert in most cases), someone who wanted to
redistribute the database without substantial liability would be
It is unfortunate that we will not be able to always find and remove
every copyright violation, but when we instruct our editors to sweep
violations they discover under the rug, our actions could easily be
construed as willful infringement.
At a minimum we should instruct editors to tag reverts with a uniform
tag. In the case where the copyvio was only in the most recent version
it would be fairly trivial (though computationally expensive) to sweep
the DB and prune revisions that were copyvio. In cases where there
were other edits after the copyvio there may be no automatic way to
remove the violating text... but at least we should be tagging these
I had an idea the other day while I was on a radio interview.
Someone was making the usual (uninformed) complaint about Wikipedia that
we "pretend to have no authors" -- which is nonsense of course -- but
the undertone (in my opinion) of the criticism was that Wikipedia is
written by a bunch of random morons on the Internet rather than Real
Professionals. As such, it is argued, it's a perfectly fun forum for
people to post their stupid rants, but it is not an encyclopedia.
However, I travel all over the world meeting Wikipedians, and surprise
surprise, most of them are Real Professionals of some sort. And of
course, Wikipedia *is* an encyclopedia.
Now, here's the idea that I had, and there are perhaps some reasons it
is a bad idea, but I think it has more merit than not, so I wanted to
bring it up for feedback and see if it is something we want to start
thinking about and discussing more generally.
Some years ago, Amazon.com instituted a system that they were calling
something like "Real Names intitiative" for user reviews. In order to
increase the public perception of trust in those reviews, they made it
possible (but optional!) for people to go through a process to identify
themselves by their Real Names.
We could do something similar, but also allow for the inclusion of
credentials. People could *optionally* go through a process to confirm
their credentials. When you do this, a small icon appears by your name
in the edit history, and when you click on it, you get to a new tab of
the user page, which contains a list of the confirmed credentials.
What kinds of credentials would be acceptable? This could be totally
open to a community process. Clearly, all sorts of college degrees make
sense, but the wide kinds of expertise that are involved in writing
Wikipedia might call for useful credentials of many kinds.
Examples would include computer certifications such as MSCE or LPI or
Redhat. Our article on [[Amateur Radio]] has surely been edited by
people who have advanced licenses. Published books might count as a
credential. Magazine articles. Awards, recognitions of all kinds.
Positions held in relevant organizations.
Have you won a prize at a dog show? Then this is a credential which
testifies to the public about your expertise in that area.
Such an initiative would have to be done carefully in order to respect
our (fairly anti-credentialist) culture. First, anyone who ever
suggests that a credential gives one precedence in editing gets a bonk
in the head with a WikiClueStick. Second, it should be made clear at
every point of contact with a credential system that it is fully and
The idea is this: people wonder, and not unreasonably, who we all are.
Why should the world listen to us about anything? People think, and not
unreasonably, that credentials say something helpful about that. As it
turns out, we mostly do know something about what we edit, and although
we never want Wikipedia to be about a closed club of credential
fetishists, there's nothing particularly wrong with advertising that,
hey, we are *random* people on the Internet *g*, but not random *morons*
Hi all. The file SchapelleCorbyInCell.jpg which is used in article
[[Schapelle Corby]] has been flagged for removal. I am surprised at this
as it had previously been tagged with "non-free permission to use".
I was the one who obtained permission to use this image (and two others)
from Mercedes Corby, Schapelle's sister. I had intended to get the status
of the images clarified but I must admit I had not considered it a high
priority as I felt we had at least the equivalent of fair use.
Anyway I now reproduce part of the conversation between Mercedes Corby and
myself in which she allowed permission for the images to be used:
I said "I'd like to use a picture in the [Wikipedia] article. Would you be
able to provide a picture of Schapelle that can be legally used in the
Wikipedia article (ie, without copyright concerns)? If such a picture is
available just email it back to me".
Mercedes Responded (in part): "Attached is a photo taken at Schapelle's
cell. This was taken by our camera.. Also if you are able to find the
photo on the web of Schapelle, brother James and 2 freinds Katrina and
Ally that was taken by Mums camera at the Brisbane airport so that one is
fine to use aswell."
Attached to the email from Mercedes were 2 of the 3 images I uploaded to
Wikipedia, the 3rd being the mentioned group image which I did locate.
After reviewing the wording of my request and Mercedes' response it is my
contention the pictures are licenced under the GFDL.
Robert Brockway B.Sc.
Senior Technical Consultant, OpenTrend Solutions Ltd.
Phone: +1-416-669-3073 Email: rbrockway(a)opentrend.net http://www.opentrend.net
OpenTrend Solutions: Reliable, secure solutions to real world problems.
Contributing Member of Software in the Public Interest (http://www.spi-inc.org)
Dear fellow list subscribers,
li: is in very great danger. We are only three, and we have to cope with an
apparently intelligent an extremely aggressive vandal, who contantly changes
his IP addresses and contantly comes up emptiing pages. He simply wants our
project to be completely destroyed! And I'm not kidding.
We must take an emergency measure: block ALL open proxies. Only that can
prevent the guy from constantly returning and practicing his infamous deeds.
But we don't know for heaven's sake how to do that. If anyone of you does,
could s/he PLEASE tell me as soon as possible how?
With desparate regards,
Nieuw: Beeld en geluid met MSN Messenger 7.0 http://messenger.msn.nl/
--- Jimmy Wales <jwales(a)wikia.com> wrote:
> I had an idea the other day while I was on a radio interview.
I personally don't like the idea, because it does create a sense of
"I have a PHD in Astrophysics and you don't so stfu" that I don't
think would be conducive to the exercise of wikilove.
I would say that userpages are a great place for this sort of
information. If you have a degree in Engineering from CalTech, put
the year you graduated. If you have 12 years experience in laying
Italian marble, say so. If you're been working for the Japanese
Consulate in Los Angeles for 9 years, write it down.
I think that very little of the world's knowledge and expertise is
accurately captured by academia's diplomas.
If you're a veteran helicopter pilot, you training coming from Desert
Storm and now you're an instructor at a military base, I would say
your degree and certifications are probably rock-solid.
If you are making cheese and have been taught by your father, who was
taught by his father, who was taught by his father and forebearers
and ancestors all the way to the 11th century, you may not have a
high school diploma, but you probably know more about cheese than a
recent agronomy phd.
I would say that there is a perception that if "William Thurmond Sr."
edits an article, it will be more authoritative than if "pixidust"
edits it. Yet "pixidust" may understand 17th century scottish
litterature better than Thurmond Sr. Heck, she may really be Ann
Margaret Bershire, Ph. D. and Professor of Linguistics at Cambridge
University, who prefers to let loose on WP as "pixidust" because she
doesn't want to get the cold shoulder from her high and mighty crusty
I would also say, as someone pointed out, that the very lack of
prominent information about authors leads people to contribute who
don't want to be in the limelight of controversy, something which I
think is the plague of most other online content systems.
I think that when professionals come in to look at wikipedia and see
the articles in their area of expertise, and see the quality of the
writing, the clarity in which ideas are expressed, and the
accuntability of the system, they immediately realise that this is
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail - Helps protect you from nasty viruses.
> Now that we've seen all this, can someone tell Aphaia he has to keep his
> hands off from the test wikis? I'm sure he will go on erasing the work of
> others when he isn't told that by someone like Jimbo, Angela, Tony or
First, "he" is a "she", fyi :)
Second, she didn't erase anything, but merely listed articles on VfD - which is *not* the same as deleting.
Third, on foundation-l, she and the author of the pages agreed that there was a misunderstanding - so good faith on both parts.
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