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 know many of you are interested in how Wikipedia's traditional
competitors are doing, especially the unusual event that new print
The Swedish encyclopedia, Nationalencyklopedin, was produced in 20
volumes in 1989-1996 and has since made many transformations as
CDROM, DVD, and online. The original 20 volumes contained 172,000
articles, which have expanded to 460,000 in the current online
edition, which is only open to paying subscribers.
One year ago, a new printed edition appeared, a compact 3 volumes
with only 64,000 short articles. These volumes have the same 3
columns per page, 25 cm tall, as the original 20 set. At the same
time, the website was revised so that 64,000 short articles (I
assume they are the same ones) were made available for free.
Yesterday, we learned of yet another printed edition, this time in
20 volumes, to be sold in collaboration with two newspapers Dagens
Nyheter and Expressen. It appears that these volumes are rather
thin, maybe 200 pages and set in only 2 columns. Although I don't
have any numbers, it seems that this could be the same 64,000
The old print set of 20 big volumes + 3 supplements sells for 700
euro in plain binding or 1100 euro for leather spines (half-calf,
Halblederband). The 3 volumes sell for 190 euro. The new 20
volume compact edition sells for 8 euro/volume (including
shipping) with the first one free, for a total of 150 euro.
The two newspapers belong to the same publisher. Dagens Nyheter
is Sweden's largest morning subscription newspaper, delivering the
volumes with 14 day intervals directly to your home. Expressen is
Sweden's second largest evening newspaper, only sold in stores,
and you get the volume for an extra 8 euro when you buy your
newspaper. Expressen has earlier done this with DVD films and
some minor books, and so has its competitor Aftonbladet. Some
stores might offer a reduced price for the newspaper supplement to
customers who buy other products for more than a certain amount.
My interpretation is that printed encyclopedias and newspapers are
two industries in crisis that are trying to find each other.
Using a highly respected brand for a much smaller new product is a
strategy that has been tried before (e.g. Mercedes-Benz A-Class),
but I'm not convinced it makes any sense in the long run. People
might set their expectations too high and get disappointed. Old
arguments that the Swedish Wikipedia needs to become as good as
Nationalencyklopedin, suddenly got a lot more confused.
Lars Aronsson (lars(a)aronsson.se)
Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
Many articles lack sources. I just happened to look at a biography
of a Swedish journalist, born in 1968. He received some fine
awards, and there is no doubt he is notable enough. But the
article has no sources. Ten years ago, in 1999, for a journalist
born in 1958, I would just look him up in the Swedish "Who's who",
which was published every two years. But that title seems to be
discontinued. Or if another issue is ever published, it comes
with much longer intervals.
Such reference works go the same way as printed encyclopedias and
dictionaries. For a young, ambitious journalist today, being in
Facebook and Linkedin (and Wikipedia) counts just as much as being
in Who's who did ten years ago.
Should I use the journalist's Linkedin profile as a source? I
don't think that is acceptable. All sorts of lies could hide
there. And users could remove themselves from Linkedin or edit
their profile at any time. Old issues of Who's who don't change,
they are a stable reference.
But the fact is, Who's who is/was also based on user-submitted
autobiographies. The editors made a list of people who "should"
be in there, and sent invitations with a form where the person
could fill in details about family, education, career,
publications, awards, and hobbies. I'm not sure how the editors
fact checked the entries. Perhaps the risk of public shame was
enough to keep people from lying.
Printed editions have another advantage for the historian. If a
Swedish person "forgot" to mention in the 1945 edition that they
received a German medal of honor in 1938, perhaps that information
can be found in the 1939 edition. In this era of Linkedin and
Facebook profiles, how can we ever dig up information from the
past, that a person wants to hide?
Lars Aronsson (lars(a)aronsson.se)
Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
It has been a very long time (a year?) since I visited Wikipedia
without seeing any distracting notification on top of all pages. It is
either Wikimania, or a license poll, or steward elections, and now
about where Wikipedia will be in five years.
I do not doubt the need to inform Wikipedia users. I know that the
notification can be turned off (although it comes back if you go to a
different machine, your cookies expire, or the notification changes).
I would still request, however, that more restraint be used in which
notifications are posted and the amount of time they are allowed to be
on. Ideally, there would be no such distractions a half to three
quarters of the time.
This seems like an amazing chance for WikiProjects in almost any area.
Describe how your work supports open education, set a project with
milestones and metrics for success, and submit a grant request:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brianna Laugher <brianna.laugher(a)gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 10:08 PM
Subject: [Internal-l] Talis Incubator for Open Education funding available
To: "Local Chapters, board and officers coordination (closed
subscription)" <internal-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>, chapters(a)wikimedia.ch
Via the Creative Commons blog - http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/17005
Talis Incubator for Open Education
For the latest news follow us on twitter: @talisincubator
Talis understands the growing importance of the Open Education
movement and its potential impact on how education is accessed,
assessed and certified.
Aimed at individuals or small groups, the Talis Incubator for Open
Education provides angel funding and other forms of assistance for
ideas and projects that have the potential to further the cause of
Open Education through the use of technology. All we ask in return is
that you donate or ‘open source’ the intellectual property generated
back to the communities that could benefit most from your work.
1. Write a proposal outlining your Open Education related project
or idea, making a bid for funding of between £1,000 and £15,000.
2. After reviewing and making sure your proposal meets the
guidelines, submit it to incubator(a)talis.com.
3. A proposal review board made up of independent thought leaders
and Talis representatives decide which projects get funding.
4. For successful bids, Talis awards you the funds and organises
any other help you have asked for.
5. Complete the project according to the schedule outlined in your proposal.
6. Talis helps you to make sure your work is disseminated amongst
they also note "We also welcome applications from outside the UK,
however we regret that we can only consider and award amounts in GBP
(£), so if you are from outside the UK please account for exchange
rate fluctuation, and make sure you can receive funds paid in GBP."
Looks a bit interesting!
They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:
Internal-l mailing list
Are we still squabbling over semantics?
Let's get back to the main thread here. There is no doubt that the pages
will be filled by all types of people from our Wikipediacs to those who
want to provide an honest bio. Thousand upon thousands of articles will be
written and unfortunately there is absolutely no way to determine any
veracity. I say that each Article be prefaced with a modified Caveat Emptor and a
strong disclaimer urging readers to further seek the degree of truth
Siebrand send this e-mail to the contributors to translatewiki.net. As
localisation is an integral part to our success, I forward this to you.
Those who already contribute to our localisation I thank and those who are
capable of supporting MediaWiki by helping in the localisation effort I urge
to lend a hand.
In the end this is a rally intended to help us provide a better service to
our readers and editors.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Translatewiki.net staff <translatewiki(a)xs4all.nl>
Subject: Translatewiki newsletter - A new translation rally has begun
Hello, dear translatewiki.net user.
This is our e-mail newsletter for August 2009. It intends to keep you
updated on translatewiki.net's developments, and is also aimed at reminding
you to visit http://translatewiki.net at least once every month to update
the language(s) you have been contributing to in the past, so that the
localisations will stay up to date. Because our shortage of staff time, it
has been 6 months since we have sent out our last newsletter. We hope to
make it worth your while :)
Translation Rally: Contribute 500 MediaWiki translations and share in 1,000
In the last week of 2008 we had our first translation
All translators that would contribute more than 500 translations to
MediaWiki would share the 1,000 Euro bounty. To our astonishment 35 users
managed to reach this milestone.
Sponsored by Stichting Open Progress <http://openprogress.org>, with a grant
from Vereniging Wikimedia Nederland <http://nl.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mainpage>'s
"International Projects" fund, we are able to have another translation
rally<http://wiki/Project:Rally-2009-08>with about the same
conditions. The Translation Rally has already started
and will run until 18 August 2009 24:00 UTC. See the project page for
Niklas Laxström <http://wiki/User:Nike> (aka Nikerabbit), founder of
translatewiki.net, has entered into the Google Summer of Code
2009<http://code.google.com/soc/>program and has already been making
improvements <http://wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code/2009/schedule> to the
MediaWiki Translate extension. We are very much looking forward to no longer
having to open new tabs to edit messages, for example. Translatewiki.net
staff remains being most committed to the site's translators.
We welcome feedback about this newsletter. Please let us know by sending a
reply to this mail. We will try to accommodate your wishes.
You are one of over 1,500 people receiving this e-mail because you have
registered with http://translatewiki.net, the wiki localisation platform for
translation communities, language communities, and open source projects.
This newsletter will be sent at most once every month.
You can opt-out by visiting translatewiki.net, logging in, and checking the
box 'Do not send me e-mail newsletters' at the bottom of the tab 'User
Profile' in your preferences - although we hope you will not. If you have
multiple accounts with the same e-mail address, you have to opt-out for all
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Given the recent Board Resolution on BLPs, I'm in the process of
structuring a Biographies of Living Persons task force, to work
together to come up with some firm recommendations and guidelines for
dealing with the issue, to be made to the Wikipedia community,
Foundation board and staff.
In that respect, I'd like to solicit members of the community to take
part in this project. If you are interested, please send me a brief
email summarizing what your involvement in BLPs in the past has been
and your own opinion as to why BLPs are such a problematic area. You
can email me direct at cary(a)wikimedia.org. Initially, this task force
should focus on the English Wikipedia, but its recommendations may
also be applicable for other projects; so anyone with an interest may
I'm putting this out there now, because my availability over the
coming weeks before Wikimania will be somewhat limited, so forgive me
if you respond with interest immediately and I don't get back to you
right away. I expect development of this task force to go into high
gear in September.
Thank you for your interest.
Very truly yours,
Volunteer Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation
Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
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