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]]
Two quick notes:
- Edit this Wiki: A reminder that the community is invited to help
write the last chapter of The Wikipedia Story, details below
- Final podcasts from Wikimania 2008 are now posted to
WikipediaWeekly.org, descriptions below
"The Wikipedia Story" wiki invites Wikimedia community members to
help write the "next chapter" for Wikipedia. The result will appear
in the hardback book "The Wikipedia Story: How a bunch of nobodies
created the world's greatest encyclopedia" a nonfiction work which
will be released in January 2009 by Hyperion in the US.
Many already know I have been writing this book for over a year, after
being a community member for over five years, attending three
Wikimanias and conducting countless interviews with Wikipedians around
I'm inviting the community to collaboratively write the
last chapter as a demonstration of what the Wikipedians
can do. Details can be found here:
Recent changes: http://is.gd/16B2
Wikipedia Weekly podcasts available:
Episode 58: Wikimania 2008, Jimbo and Reflections
A two part episode:
1. Interview with Jimmy Wales, from the Windsor Palace hotel
2. Final Day-after - Reflections from a van, from Alexandria to Cairo
- Memorable moments
- Wiki-research-L mailing list revival
- Next year in Argentina
- Wikipedia Academy, for newbies
* Phoebe Ayers
* James Forrester
* Austin Hair
* Andrew Lih
* Liam Wyatt
Podcast episodes coming soon:
- Sue Gardner, WMF
- Egyptian organizers of Wikimania 2008
- Patricio Lorente on Wikimania 2009
- Javanese Wikipedia
I'm very pleased - and somewhat shocked - at the raw percentile amount
of support that I've received for Wikipendium. I think this indicates
that the community as a whole is sick and tired of Wikipedia's
problems and frustrated that they continue unfixed after years.
I'd like to clarify on a few points.
Firstly, when I stated that Wikipendium would be a fork of Wikipedia,
I intended it to be more of a social fork than a content fork - i.e.,
I'm not intending to use any Wikipedia content in Wikipendium. Perhaps
the purpose of Wikipendium, you might say, is to provide a valid
social alternative to Wikipedia with higher social and content
_Some_ ways in which Wikipendium will differ from Wikipedia include:
- simplicity and clarity of rules - there will be only three policies,
a "fundamental policy" (basically a constitution), a "content policy"
(essential content standards such as neutrality and verifiability),
and a "community policy" (essential community standards such as
respect and pleasantness);
- a simple governance structure - there will be a Council (basically a
less bureaucratic equivalent of the WMF Board of Trustees) which will
serve as "project leader", "constables" who will serve as maintainers
of social standards, and, of course, the general community;
- people in positions of authority will, except in rare cases, be
required to use their real names as their account names, thereby
increasing accountability of authority and helping avoid abuse.
About me ... well, I'm very flattered that some of my essays and edit
counts were brought up. Let me explain ...
- The PWTELW essay lists just _some_ of the problems I see with the
English-language Wikipedia. Feel free to read it.
- The CWQ essay was badly written; ignore it.
- The RARC essay was a replacement of CWQ, and was written in a better
way. Feel free to read it.
- About my edit counts - I edit Wikipedia infrequently nowadays (no
home Internet connection at the moment) and I have spent most of my
time on Wikipedia since late last year trying to fix the fundamental
problems. So forgive me, but I've had no time to contribute _content_;
I've been trying to make my contribution, and that of others,
Best and friendly regards,
Thomas H. Larsen
I'm sure someone will have suggested this before (in fact i'm betting it is
already implemented in some form) but here goes anyway.
Wikipedia has a lot of great pages about places and many of those pages are
tagged with the co-ordinates of the pages.
With mobile devices with web and GPS becoming more and more common it would
be wonderful if wikipedia had the ability to return pages 'close' to a given
I'm moving my "Geohack" script from the "normal" to the stable
toolserver. That will have many benefits:
* Less clogging of the normal toolserver, as this is one of the most
queried scripts there
* Runs (almost) alone on the new machine
* More stability/reliability
* Multiple maintainers
* New layout! (well, some minor tweaks at least)
The new URL is:
Please see to it that the appropriate templates are changed, at least
on the major wikis. The transcluded pages need to be fixed as well
(language links etc.)
Both versions will run in parallel for a while, then the normal
toolserver and the old stable server (stable.ts.wikimedia.org) will be
turned into redirects.
Welcome your new stable overlords!
I am formally proposing that Wikipedia be forked and that a new
compendium of human knowledge, Wikipendium, be created as an
independent alternative with a more pleasant, respectful, productive,
constructive community with simple, clear rules and an unbureaucratic
and responsible governance structure.
I believe, along with many others, that Wikipedia community members
are frequently unjustifiably hostile towards viewpoints other than
their own and towards the users who hold these viewpoints. In
addition, I feel that Wikipedia has become too bureaucratic,
ineffective, and indecisive and has placed the values of quantity and
openness, while important, over those of quality and reliability
respectively. I believe that Wikipedia's continued rejection of, and
discrimination _against_, experts is outrageous and must be amended,
but in a far less elitist and arrogant way than Citizendium has
The official proposal may be found as a blog at
http://wikipendium.blogspot.com/ . All people who are interested are
invited to participate in discussion there.
Best and friendly regards,
Thomas H. Larsen
I have two questions related to each other.
I would like to know if there is a simple way to get the Static HTML from the Wikipedia Articles i.e. extraction as HTML files.
In this regard I managed to put the Text Table into a MySQL database. It can give me the Wiki Text – which I could then parse. However I found the Wikipedia Syntax more complicated than what I had used when contributing to Wikipedia myself. Is there some place where the complete syntax is specified? At least if I have the specification I can think about working on a parser.
Thanks a lot.
Espacio para todos tus mensajes, antivirus y antispam ¡gratis!
Regístrate ya - http://correo.espanol.yahoo.com/
17 messidor an CCXVI (le 5 juillet 2008 d. c.-d. c. g.), 00 h 10 : 23,2 °C...
Why I can't connect (for a week) to the South-African
Wikipedias (isiZulu, seSotho..), even with a new password ?
On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 2:36 AM, Niklas Laxström
> On 02/07/2008, Casey Brown <cbrown1023.ml(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> We try to use very few with our system on Meta-Wiki.
> It is still using one per language, which means hundreds of them. Now,
> which is easier: copying hundreds of templates periodically, or
> installing an extension that can be updated the normal way. Especially
> for wikies outside of WMF which do not use many bots, if any.
You still aren't understanding me... I'm *love* the idea of an
extension to do this, I would rather we install it/one with the best
features first (especially if it's Wikimedia-wide).
>> One of my main problems with the babel extension is that I don't think
>> it gets rid of the *huge* number of categories that need to be created
>> (otherwise you have ugly redlinks).
> There is already a switch to have less categories, requested by me for
> example. What comes to creating the category pages... this is the
> first time I see anyone bringing it up.
A boolean (true or false) indicating whether main categories
featuring all users who specify a level for that language should be
added to a xx category; defaults to true.
How are they added to the category? Ordered by ability, then
alphabetically... or just alphabetically?
>> The system on Meta-Wiki greatly
>> reduces the number of categories, but I've been told that the
>> extension's developer was completely against any changes to the
>> extension (I didn't hear it directly from him).
> It looks like you are spreading FUD about the extension AND the
> developer without checkking the facts first. I would be offended if I
> were the developer in question.
> Niklas Laxström
Please check *your* fact first. :-) I am *for* the extension, I just
wish it were tweaked to be more efficient. I'm surprised no one is
yelling "enwiki-centric" because the levels were in-fact based off of
enwiki... Furthermore, I put the information in parenthesis *so* he
wouldn't be offended, I have no reason to believe that what I told was
incorrect considering I heard it from a pretty reputable source.
Note: This e-mail address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails sent to
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