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]]
I would like to invite you to join a chat about the relationship
between the Wikimedia community and the Open Access movement in
scientific publishing. This will explore issues of licensing, content
sharing, technology, and hopefully result in mutual commitments to
In a nutshell: December 17, 2006; irc.freenode.net; 21:00 UTC; #openaccess
for more (including a link to a web interface for accessing the IRC
channel). I would appreciate it if you would add yourself to the "I
want to attend!" list on the page, so we have an idea how many people
Peace & Love,
DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.
How can anybody say that Yury Tarasievich and his project is about
language, not about politics, after such a letter? No facts, just
insults and speculations.
> You are an entity, yes, set out to destroy the existing Belarusian
> language and culture and replace it with your version -- okay, your
> right. But get yourself your own blessed language code for that.
This speculation with such aggressive words doesn't help your case, it
can only make your case worse. I don't even hope any more that you
understand that your outrageous insults are absurd. You just dig a pit
for yourself by your own hands.
> Some years ago I witnessed a creation of one of such sites you call
> "proofs". So, there was 1 tech and 1 editor, who re-edited everything
> incoming (like 90+% or even 99% in standard Belarusian and Russian)
> into his flavour of "classic". It was politics. Thousands pages (and I
> mean real thousands, there was sort of 4800 or so) of pages. And...
> grant money. I could add -- near to zero interest, excepting the
> indexing bots.
Another great example of lies. Where could they get any incoming in
"norm" if people just don't write in it?
Scholarships are available to help defray the costs of attending Wikimania
2007, which will be held in Taipei, Taiwan from August 3-5. The deadline for
scholarships has been extended to April 15, 2007; please apply soon.
You can find more information here:
and an application form here:
Registration and our Call for Participation are also both open:
Wikimania is the annual conference of the Wikimedia Foundation. It provides
a chance to meet the global community of contributors to the Wikimedia
projects, share ideas and research, and make new friends. All are welcome to
attend and present, but you must be a current editor of a Wikimedia project
to qualify for a scholarship.
Send questions to wikimania-scholarships(a)wikimedia.org or
Please translate and widely distribute this notice to your communities.
Wikimania 2007 scholarships committee and program committee
We are really happy to hear that LangCom doesn't want to delete
be-x-old. There was a problem with editing that Wiki because the
database was locked (because of a developer error). Now the database is
unlocked and we can write there again. Anyway, interwikis are broken.
What can we do to make interwikis work again?
Thanks for info!
Please provide info about the reason to move existed be.wp.org community
somewhere instead of creating new bel.wp.org for our community? We don't
want such results of separation that we can observe now. We should
revert this change and create a new domain for new Belarusian community.
Is it possible?
Please, hear the voices of Belarusians. Don't make a road of war between
it was very unfair pace to remove Belarusian Wikipedia to the domain
1) it is the result of 3yrs volunteers work. it would be hard task to
change interwikis, to renew medias
2) Belarusian Wikipedia isn't written in old grammar. both grammars are
allowed to use in that variant of wikipedia.
the difference between grammars is less than between American and British
3) creators of wikipedia only in official belarusian grammar have insisted
on getting three-letters ISO-code domain bel.wp.org, leaving two-letters
ISO-code for Belarusian wikipedia. Belarusian language is one.
so, i strongly reccomend:
- to move Belarusian Wikipedia back to be.wikipedia.org
- to give for belarusian wikipedia in official grammar domain
bel.wikipedia.org and move it there
waiting for your kind reply
Dear all, I received the following message regarding censorship from a
fellow Wikipedian (from the Yiddish Wikipedia) commenting on the
chilling effects of censorship (in this case religious censorship).
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: willi boy <boywilli(a)gmail.com>
Date: 25-Mar-2007 10:53
To: Mark Williamson <node.ue(a)gmail.com>
i saw your comments on the mailing list. this censorship think is
frightening can we maybe make use of the new times in wikimenia
foundation like the resignation of danny and the hiring of bastiqe
because this will eventually hit the yiddish wiki as well since most
speakers are religious.
Refije dirije lanmè yo paske nou posede pwòp bato.