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;-)
I was wondering what is the current status of the explicit copyright
assignment to the wikimedia foundation. Is it possible to do so
instead of the non-explicit copyright assignment for any original
wikipedia contribution ? Is there any official procedure and form to
assign copyright to the foundation ?
Thanks a lot for any feedback,
-- Alexandre Dulaunoy (adulau) -- http://www.foo.be/
-- "Knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance
-- that we can solve them" Isaac Asimov
I went to check on the state of my contributions to
chr.wikipedia.org<http://chr.wikipedia.org>this morning and found the
Main Page and 19 others have had their content
replaced with a Speedy Deletion notice accompanied, in many but not all
cases, by something along the lines of "Wrong language". Now it's true that
much of the content in the Cherokee (better, Tsalagi) Wikipedia has been in
English, and many of these pages doubtless needed culling, but to eliminate
the Main Page (part of which was in Tsalagi) or several others (e.g. Europe
ᎡᎶᏆ <http://chr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%8E%A1%E1%8E%B6%E1%8F%86> and United
States Supreme Court<http://chr.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Supreme_Court>)
where the process of Tsalagisation was underway) strikes me as vandalistic.
I have reverted the main page (several of whose sections should probably be
eliminated and the rest fully tsalagised) and will look at restoring others
that may have hope.
I've been talking up Wikipedia in Tsalagi groups (e.g. Yahoo groups like
Tsalagi and AniTsalagi_Language) trying to get folks to give up their
Cherokee National fonts long enough to acquire Unicode so they can
participate here, and I have been in negotiation with the Seattle Public
Library to get them to add Cherokee Unicode fonts so I (and others) can
participate here from the public access terminals, and I'm sorry but
18.104.22.168 <http://22.214.171.124>'s approach here is costly. In
particular the speedy deletion of the Main Page of a Wikipedia that does
have content strikes me as reprehensible, and to do so without replying to
the disagreements voiced in the Talk Page is I don't know, what's a good
Haruo = dzidzelalic @ chr:
Meet the Whole World Halfway — Learn and Use Esperanto!
http://www.scn.org/~lilandbr/lang_tax.html — http://lernu.net
There will be almost 70 presenters at Wikimania : academics and
researchers, teachers, professional translators, librarians and
archivists, sociologists, economists, entrepreneurs, programmers,
artists. Many of these are Wikimedians; almost as many are not.
I. Wikimania proceedings preview
II. Wiki discussions in the proceedings
III. Writing (and media) contest reminder
== Wikimania proceedings preview ==
You can see abstracts and full papers for the various presentations
here, in the wiki proceedings of the conference. Unlike many
proceedings, these are available now, though they are not yet
== Wiki discussions in the proceedings ==
You are invited (encouraged, even) to comment on each presentation,
and to start discussions and ask questions, on its proceedings talk
page. Someone in each session will make sure to ask any questions
posed on the wiki, during the session itself.
If you have written down wikimedial thoughts elsewhere on the web, or
have your own work you wish you could have presented at Wikimania (but
didn't submit in time / are being held captive by a saltwater
taffygnome), be sure to add a link to thoes thoughts from related
To start discussions not covered by one of the sessions, or during the
Hacking Days early next week, please add sections to the Wikimania
== Writing (and media) contest reminder ==
This is the last weekend to nominate great articles, news stories,
wikibooks, quote and definition collections, and primary sources, for
the Wikimania writing contest. Please nominate your all-time
favorites; don't be shy. Did I mention this is a multilingual
contest? The predominance of English- and Dutch-language nominations
is simply shocking.
Likewise for the parallel media contest, for images, music, and video.
You still have time to upload content not currently on Wikimedia
projects and enter it into the contests; some of the categories are
yet sparse and ripe for conquest (only 2 audio and 1 video submissions
so far... it will be sad if we have to give *both* video awards to
Raul's DNA microarray thriller)
In the networked hands of Lufthansa,
"Let all the pretty flowers bloom" Toytoy.
I think Mao said something like that once.
The way I see Wikipedia is just one Encyclopedia with many language
versions. To deny other languages on the basis of not enough members
contributing, or not enough fast growth is to deny a voice to the few
who when added up all together make up a big part of this encyclopedic
Let all the pretty flowers bloom, it adds to the beauty of the garden,
to take these away makes it look like a bed of silk flowers, pretty to
look at from a distance, but up close the spirit is dead. Let the
minor languages coexist with the others, each language brings a shade
of color, and especially, there's beauty of expression and culture
that can only be expressed in one's own mother tongue.
14:20, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Apology, but you obviously did not read what I wrote. Please read it again.
I also totally support all the language wikipedias blooming and never asked for any to be closed (but for a bunch of minor artificial languages admitedly which I think could belong somewhere in our projects, but NOT as encyclopedias)...
...but for me an encyclopedia is a flower... and a person is a flower as well.
If you let only flowers of a unique color, of a unique size and of a unique flowering period bloom, then you get a very beautiful but also very flat and boring flower bed during one month, and a carpet of crushed and drying petals the rest of the year.
When the color of a flower is not pleasant to your eye, you could just avoid having on in your garden, or avoid looking at it. But destroying it is just not a good solution.
And what I observed on meta was exactly that : the proposal did not please, it could have been left aside without caring, without giving it any more attention. What I object to is that the proposal was "closed", not to be discussed any more by *anyone*, threatened to be *deleted*, and the author treated like a *paria*. This reminds me of 1984. Unique thought and careful removal of people faces on pictures. To avoid anyone disturbing the perfection of a consensual flower bed.
I do not put glyphosate in my garden to remove all weeds.
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