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;-)
... at least not for the past three months or so.
In the past you only had to drop the name of some
language you'd heard of and a new wiki for that
language was created right away. This surely wasn't a
very intelligent approach, for it left us with quite a
number of inactive Wikipedias.
Nowadays, it's the opposite extreme: there are heaps
of requests that have been discussed very thoroughly
by the community (cf.
Some of them are pretty well-qualified and supported
by numerous native speakers willing to contribute.
However, not a single new Wikipedia has been set up
for quite a while now.
Some time ago there had been a remark that it was hard
for our developers to recognize which new language
proposals can be considered as accepeted by the
community (and therefore created). That's why I made a
separate page intended to list languages that
unambiguously qualify for a new wiki (cf.
Since this can be a controversial question I only
placed those cases there that are 100 % unequivocal
(at least 5 supporters, at least 2 native speakers,
ISO code, no objections, etc.).
I then also mailed to wikitech-I asking for the
creation of the Neapolitan WP (in which I have no
personal interest whatsoever), just to start with the
one that seems to have the highest number of editors
waiting to get started. I got only one reply and that
one was not really helpful.
A few days ago, user ILVI filed his request for the
installation of the Ladino Wikipedia (another one that
qualifies without any doubt) at wikitech-l. He got no
reply at all.
Before any misunderstandings might arise: I know that
our developers are extremely busy (and AFAIK unpaid,
too - good gosh...). I was just wondering if somebody
has an idea how we could remedy this situation and
maybe have, like, one new WP per month (so we don't
lose too many potential new contributors)?
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As part of a college class I am in, we are required to, along with at
least a few other students, do 10 hours of community service. We are
allowed to present our ideas to the class for others to join our
My thought is to use Wikipedia as a community service project. Pledge
to spend those 10 hours (ideally non-consecutive) editing, cleaning,
and writing for Wikipedia.
I'm set to propose this idea to my class tomorrow. Has anyone done
something like this before, and what are you opinions on it?
Some documentarists who came to Wikimania last month are interested in
developing ways for community members to develop their own
documentaries and shorts from their raw footage. (~20 hours of film,
including many interviews) They are also developing a piece of their
own, but are increasingly excited about the idea of a "wikimentary" --
seeing what the community would do with the material.
On top of their material, Fuzheado captured a number of interviews
with Wikimedians around the world, we have full video capture of
around 20 sessions, we have a Public-Domain micro-documentary from
Soufron, et al...
Some early discussion about a wikimentary :
There are lots of technical and interface issues to work out, some of
which touch on boundaries we are already pushing when we share and
collaborate on images and sound files. What audio/video projects on
the projects should be alerted to this?
++SJ , filmmaker wannabe
At one of the wikipedias, the one in Swedish, a discussion has arisen if it
would be possible to elect admins on a term of, say, one year. Admins whose
actions often are questioned would then have little chance of getting
re-elected, and choosing not so perfect admins would not be such a big
problem as it currently is.
At a previous stage, soneome at svwiki said that this would simply not be
possible, since it is so difficult to get someone de-admined. Today there is
a functioning structure of stewarts, and I wonder - if svwiki started this
system, where admins aren't elected forever but for a term of a
predetermined time, would "the international" object? Would stewarts get
tired of demand after demand from svwiki to take the admin rights from
admins whose one year term run out, or would it be seen as OK?
It is difficult to puch the question, as long as we don't know if the
argument "it would not be allowed" is correct or not.
For your review and or comment! :)
* Is the Wikipedia Neutral? - an (early draft) extension of A Case
of Mutual Aid: Wikipedia, Politeness, and Perspective Taking to
tease apart what is meant by something being neutral, and is it
the right term to describe Wikipedia efforts:
Claims of neutrality and accusations of bias are common themes of
contemporary discourse about the media, government, education, and
technology. In this essay I extend earlier work on the
collaborative culture of Wikipedia (an on-line and free
encyclopedia) to specifically focus on the fundamental but often
misunderstood notion of neutrality.... This essay is inspired by
earlier debates on neutrality of technical standards, literature on
bias in technical systems, my present fascination with this
Wikipedia norm and a change in my belief that while an important
concept, the label of neutrality was an unfortunate coinage in the
On 28/09/05, Phil Boswell wrote:
> "Mark Ryan" wrote:
> > Multilinugal error messages have now been implemented on the Wikimedia
> > squids. I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this a
> > reality over the past couple of weeks. I was keeping a running list of
> > everyone who had helped, but I lost track of everyone :)
> Kudos to you and your helpers!
> Can you remind us of where we can see these messages *without* requiring a
> WP failure?
Well, as I just discovered looking for something else, you can always
"use the source, look":
Rowan Collins BSc
(Which can be implemented on some other Wikipedias, too.)
Just to inform you that we (re-)staretd our work on that issue again.
Any interested person can see progress of our work at
http://conversion.vikimedija.org/ . In this moment we don't have
informations in English, but we would have it soon.
We have two goals:
1. To finish SrConversion which Zhengzhu almost finished (for reading
only). This is PHP-based code.
2. To make TCP server and change some parts of EditPage.php (for
writing). We intend to make the server in Python (not in C).
My name is Dennis Dikkerboom and since a couple of days I'm the new
ambassador of the Frisian Wikipedia. Since the new version of wikimedia (3th
of July) changed the format of dates and times to an American style, like
this: 22:10, 2005 jul 4 (UTC). We wondered if we could change it somehow
back to the original style, like this: 23.02, 1 jul 2005 (UTC).