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;-)
Hi all, and certainly those of you with technical gifts,
Since yesterday, we recieve most of the interface text in older versions.
That means that we constantly read Dutch and English words and phrases,
along with some wrong, now-corrected, Limburgic ones. First, we thought it
was a co-effect of the software mainenance they anounced on en:, but since
it seems to endure, I would like to see this solved. I am pretty sure that
this is not intentional man's work, since we could not find anything in the
Thanks in advance,
MSN Webmessenger overal en altijd beschikbaar http://webmessenger.msn.com/
A little announcement by Lilo, the director of PDPC and the head of
staff of freenode. For those who do not know... Freenode is ... our irc
Freenode is short on their last fundraising and would welcome any help
from those who use irc, likes it (ircholics) ....
The fundraising page is http://freenode.net/fundraiser.shtml
For those who wish to support freenode, please paste the little text
below on your project pumps or news page. Thanks in advance for freenode.
* '''24 June 2005 : Please help'''. [[w:Peer-Directed Projects Center]]
runs [[w:freenode]], an interactive service which helps Wikipedia and
the FOSS community. Their annual fundraiser ends July 1, and they're
about $8,500 short. [http://freenode.net/fundraiser.shtml Their
fundraising page]. From Lilo, the director of PDPC and the head of staff
of freenode. Please spread the word... freenode is very helpful for us.
The subject of Simple English Wikipedia has came to the mailing list before,
but after reading talk pages there and seeing the dormancy of Recent Changes
(bar a few persistent users, and the odd anon editor) I feel it is time to
suggest a rethink, or at least look into the direction of Simple English
Simple English Wikipedia currently has 4,157 articles, the vast majority of
which fail to extend further than three sentences in length. There are a few
administrators, Netoholic being the most active of them. There is a small
user base, but unlike some language Wikipedias where this results in a small
and persistent community, the small user base at Simple English often have
their priorities understandably set on the main English Wikipedia.
The SE Wikipedia currently has a lack of focus, and a lack of direction.
Indeed, it claims to cater for multiple groups of people, which simply isn't
"It is focused on readers who tend to be quite different people with
different needs: students, children, and translators."
The description there, taken from
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Simple_English_Wikipedia, is too
ambiguous to encourage any regular contributors to the Wikipedia. Whereas
with the main Wikipedias there is a ultimate cause of creator 'the sum of
all human knowledge', Simple English doesn't have a goal, as its not aiming
for anything specifically.
The aims of students, children and translators, to me, is wrong on all
counts. I've read a few articles on Simple English, and the variation and
way of writing is at times so belittiling that I wonder why such a project
exists. This quote from the talk page sums it up perfectly:
"One thing that bothers me about this whole thing is that people act like
this is supposed to writted towards children, talking down to them and such,
when in fact Wikipedia Jr. is there to handle that - this should be aimed at
just reposting English articles in a simplified and standardized version of
English, as opposed to the "baby talk" many of the articles are crammed
Simple: A problem I have with this website is that there is a website like
it that is already here - Wikipedia Junior. I think that this website should
be for people from another country who are learning English, not small
children. This website talks to its people badly."
Simple English Wikipedia is, in reality, never going to be used by babies or
small children - Infact, unleashing such persons onto Wikipedia is dangerous
(as proven by our Recent Changes list :p ). Wikijunior, which is in
development, caters for the young market and has a focus to not talk down to
people. When I read Simple English trying to explain racism, I felt like it
was dumbing me down. Anyone capable of using Wikipedia normally can use
normal Wikipedia, whilst Simple English is not going to be used by 4 or 5
year olds. Children is a bad thing to aim at. Aiming at translators is
similiarly odd, because a translator wouldn't be a translator if their
English wasn't fluent.
Simple English Wikipedia needs to, in my opinion, have a huge rethink. It
should be aimed at persons wanting to practice their English by reading it,
and should be an aid for those learning it as a foreign language. Simple
English should read simply, but not so simply that it puts down the reader.
People contribute to Wikipedias for a reason, and for a goal - Simple
English has no goal, so theres no clear reason for editors to contribute to
it. A look at recent changes shows that.
Without a rethink and a real discussion into the direction, policies and
descriptions of Simple English Wikipedia, it had mayswell be deleted. Simple
English was the second Wikipedia I visited, after main English, and I
believe it will be the same for many others. It doesn't reflect well on
Wikimedia Foundation to have a Wikipedia in such a bad state, and in the
English language - Quality over quantity isn't necessarily always true, but
in the case of having Wikimedia Foundation projects and Wikipedias, it is.
Simple is way too out there to stay as it is; a rethink is needed.
I have a question: why do we have separate Wikipedias for Malay and Indonesian?
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differences_between_Malay_and_Indonesian
, "The differences between Malay (Bahasa Melayu) and Indonesian
(Bahasa Indonesia) are comparable to the those between British English
and American English."
If this is the case, then why does our policy on English differ so
sharply than our policy with Malay/Indonesian?
Don't people realise that we're dividing labour? If they had
col-laborated on a single Wikipedia from the very beginning, the
Malay/Indonesian Wikipedia would probably have at least 15k articles
SI HOC LEGERE SCIS NIMIVM ERVDITIONIS HABES
QVANTVM MATERIAE MATERIETVR MARMOTA MONAX SI MARMOTA MONAX MATERIAM
ESTNE VOLVMEN IN TOGA AN SOLVM TIBI LIBET ME VIDERE
Scríobh Mark Williamson:
>I would discourage this. Unless you really don't have an opinion, why
>not vote for your preferred candidates? If you don't have a preference
>and you don't like any of them, I can understand.
But I do have an opinion. The positions of all the candidates seem to be
essentially identical, "we love Wikipedia and NPOV". I see no dramatic
proposals on the topics of copyright, promotion, hardware or managing
growth. The candidates all propose to increase community input to the
board, but don't say exactly how they will do this. They all talk about
guiding the board, but offer no suggestions as to what direction they will
guide it in. Nobody, in particular, has expressed an opinion on the Chinese
In summary, I voted blank.
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