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?
I think this is a debate/discussion that has been a long time coming.
We need to have this.
Many may not realize this, but there is a HUGE disparity between the
stub ratio (related to average article length) in the different
For a little visual demonstration of the fact:
http://ceb.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random (Random page on Cebuano
Wikipedia, with the "stubbiest" stub ratio) -- clicking randompage 10
times, I got 9 different stubs about communes in France and one about
a place in the Philippines
I think that there has been too much emphasis on article count in the
past, causing people to think that it is much more important than it
really is and wanting to inflate it by adding hundreds or even
thousands of "hollow" articles with little information on semi-obscure
topics that probably won't be read at all by anyone ever, and if they
are, will not be useful.
Now, I know I sound critical with that sentiment, but hey, who am I to
say that it could not be useful to have those stubs?
But I do think we should discuss it... is it better to have 1000 stubs
or 100 long well-written articles?
And also here's a little nudge to everyone... why not go to
Special:Shortpages or Special:Random on your favourite Wiki and expand
some articles? How about it?
Refije dirije lanmè yo paske nou posede pwòp bato.
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Due to an attacker mass-abusing accounts with weak passwords, passwords
that are the same as the username can no longer be used. Affected
accounts can reset their password by e-mail to something more secure.
Please report the change back to your various communities in case
someone needs help...
- -- brion vibber (brion @ wikimedia.org)
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v220.127.116.11 (Darwin)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
MediaWiki.org has just been a victim of the 'Commons deletion issue'. An
image from the Crystal icon set that was prominently used in many
navigational pages, including the main page, was deleted from Commons and
suddenly MediaWiki.org is full of broken images. The deletion was valid (it
was a duplicate file) but the fact that the actions on SiteA can affect
SiteB so radically is really rather worrying...
A technical solution would be for people deleting files on commons (for this
kind of reason) to replace the page with a redirect page, and for these
redirects to be resolved by MediaWiki when linking to a shared file. This
won't solve all problems of course, but it would help for this kind of
situation (or e.g. a GIF being replaced by an SVG). Of course, I'm sure
there are many ways this could be abused as well...
I don't know if anyone has any suggestions to deal with this kind of
problem, or even if it has already been recognised as an issue. The
non-technical answer is, of course, to copy the commons images to the local
wiki, but that kind of defeats the point of commons, doesn't it?
- Mark Clements (HappyDog)
I would like to discuss an approach that is a modification of the way
Scholarpedia works. I am very conservative in my views of modifying the way
things already work. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But I
think this approach has some relevance.
The idea is that all contributions go into a status pending bin. They
furthermore appear anonymous until they are actually accepted. Registered
users can sign up as "curators" to as many articles as they like, and they
are allowed to vote as to whether or not that contribution is accepted.
Because the suggested text appears anonymous at first, it will be judged on
its actual merits rather than ad hominem. After it has been accepted it
shows up in the history log with the author's user name, if they have one.
This follows the idea that we want more edits on lower quality pages and
fewer edits on higher quality pages. The number of edits per page increases
faster than the number of pages. This means that low quality pages are
becoming high quality faster than we can add new ones. Thus, this approach
is relevant for articles that have already achieved a high degree of
maturity. For example, those few thousand that have been classified by the
Wikipedia Editorial Team as either FA, A, GA and possibly B.
Because we slow down the rate of change of these articles (but do not stop
it), they are only likely to get better and not worse. We sometimes see a
phenomenon where a featured article will lose featured status. That's a sad
sign that good articles change too fast relative to their maturity. This
also encourages editors to think about their contributions, and also to
contribute to articles that are not already mature.
I would be interested in hearing what other Wikipedians think about this
approach. What are the downsides and what are the upsdies that I did not
We have been working on a procedure for the closure of projects for some
time. The reason for this is that the language committee has been asked to
do this for several projects. It is not something we liked to do as it will
not gain us any popularity. However, we hope that having a proper procedure
will help us all.
- Language committee deals primarily with language issues.
- The process will take at least a month, this should allow for a
resolution of the issue in the meantime without getting any official
- We define a need for a "Meta Arbitration Committee", we have not
defined it as such
- When it is within the remit of the language committee to decide for
the end of a project, it will be possible to appeal a decision by the "Meta
- When it is accepted that a project is to end, there will be a
proposal to the board for consideration
- Requesting the end of a project is not a zero sum game, it can go
the other way and result in sanctions against the person, group, project
PS In the ideas of the Language committee the Kanuri language would go to
This month: April 2007
Current First Monday
Assessing the value of cooperation in Wikipedia
Since its inception six years ago, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia
has accumulated 6.40 million articles and 250 million edits,
contributed in a predominantly undirected and haphazard fashion by
5.77 million unvetted volunteers. Despite the apparent lack of order,
the 50 million edits by 4.8 million contributors to the 1.5 million
articles in the English–language Wikipedia follow certain patterns.
This paper demonstrates the accretion of edits to an article is
described by a simple stochastic mechanism, resulting in a heavy tail
of highly visible articles with a large number of edits. There is a
crucial correlation between article quality and number of edits, which
validates Wikipedia as a successful collaborative effort.
Also this month!
Visualizing the Overlap between the 100 Most Visited Pages on
Wikipedia for September 2006 to January 2007
This paper compares the monthly lists of the 100 most visited
Wikipedia pages for the period of September 2006 to January 2007.
searchCrystal is used to visualize the overlap between the five
monthly Top 100 lists to show which pages are highly visited in all
five months; which pages in four of the five months and so on. It is
shown that almost 40 percent of a month's top 100 pages are visited in
all five months, whereas 25 percent are highly visited only in a
FN M: 0091 9822122436 P: +91-832-240-9490 (after 1300IST please)
Konkani Wikipedia (under incubation) needs your help!
Doing interwiki links to be-x-old: is now possible; however, both
wikipedias now have "Беларуская" as the name for the language. I think
there should be an extra specification to distinguish the two, just
like nb: does not have 'Norsk' any more, but is called 'Norsk
Does anyone who knows Belarus have good idea for the separate names?
My own guess does not get further than a translation of "Belarussian
(official)" for be:
Andre Engels, andreengels(a)gmail.com
ICQ: 6260644 -- Skype: a_engels