Tim Starling wrote:
On 9/24/05, Tim Starling
I created 5 new Wikipedias in June because I
received a request from a
Wikimedia Board member. If I receive another such specific request, I'll
carry it out. I do that out of loyalty to them, not because I think it
contributes to our mission.
I doubt you'll get another such request since I've been told that new
language wikis is not a Board issue and I shouldn't be taking
decisions on these or asking developers to start them. What people
fail to realise is that if the Board doesn't take these decisions (and
perhaps they're right and the Board shouldn't) - then who is going to
take them? There is increasingly resistance to the Board doing
anything, but also resistance to them delegating any authority they
may have had, which is just leading to stagnation. So, who should be
taking the decision on new language wikis (and also on new projects),
especially when no
has ever been agreed upon?
There's no stagnation, Wikipedia is growing faster than ever. I'm happy
to make decisions regarding how I use my time, and I've done so on many
occasions. I'm hardly going to agree to a policy which puts that
decision in the hands of others.
I'm not asking for the Board to approve new language requests, in fact
I'd be happier if they didn't. I'm just saying I'd honour them if they
Your definition of "Wikipedia" is relevant here. Yes, the English
project does well. When it is you who decides what a good policy is, it
means that we need more people who can and will do things that are
necessary. So that you can decide what you want to do but that it will
not frustrate the things that should happen as the result of accepted
Arbeo M wrote:
If this the current attitude of Wikipedia's
decision-makers on the issue I'll accept it, of
course. However, I think the fact that Wikipedias for
new languages are created solely upon requests from
Wikimedia board members needs to be annouced to the
"general public". Because, at the moment, most users
don`t seem to be aware of this fact (at least I wasn't
as yet). Several pages like e. g.
still create a very different impression, i. e. that
you _can_ actually have a new WP in your language if
you request it, find supporters, convince the
community etc. Given the reality you just informed me
about, that's quite misleading. I guess we should
change those pages so they don't cause people to put a
lot of time and effort into projects that don't have a
change of success.
Of course it's not announced anywhere, it's a bureaucratic black hole.
We cover up the fact that there is no procedure by pretending the
procedure is just really difficult.
The way procedures are created and maintained is the black hole. When
there is a tentative consensus that a procedure is to be used it has one
SPOV. This single point of failure are the people who have to act on it.
It takes a developer to create new language projects. When they decide
not to honour the result of a procedure, there is no come back.
Procedures like the one about new language projects ARE torpedoed in
that way. Saying that there is no procedure is not reasonable because
the new proposals are made to go through these hoops. It is not
reasonable that you suggest that there is no procedure after months of
it being actively being enforced.
Mark Williamson wrote:
Tim, we're not talking about dead languages or
We're talking about languages that are spoken by real, tangible people
as their everyday native language, and which have at least 5
supporters, native speaker support, and no oposition at all.
Specifically, now people are waiting for Ladino, Waray-Waray, and
Neapolitan. You can look any of them up on Ethnologue if you like.
Waray-Waray and Neapolitan have millions of speakers; Ladino has at
least tens of thousands but might have more.
Literate speakers of Neapolitan can all read Italian. Italian is the
language of instruction in state schools in the area. The same can be
said for Ladino with respect to Turkish or Hebrew. Waray-Waray now
rarely appears in print in its local area, having been displaced by
English, both in local schools and in print.
In all three cases, the majority of speakers are accustomed to obtaining
information in a national language. Even if we create it, the Wikipedia
in Waray-Waray or Neapolitan will never be comparable in size to the
Wikipedia in English or Italian. So regardless of what we do, they'll
have to continue to obtain most of their information in the same way.
The function of these wikis, it seems to me, would be pride rather than
education. That's not the function I volunteered to promote when I
signed up with Wikipedia.
There is a law under way in Italy that will have education in Neapolitan
in schools. 89% of schools in Napels have indicated that they will teach
Neapolitan when the law has passed. When you also consider that Sicilian
is doing really well. There is no reason that Neapolitan will not do
well as a project. Continuing the discussion about what the merits are
for these particular languages should be beside the point of this mail.
This threat is about "no more new Wikipedias"
Tim Starling is as well known as Mark Williamson for his POV. They are
at both ends of the spectrum. There is just one difference. Tim is the
one that can create new projects and won't while Mark is the one that
can't create new projects and would. You can say a lot about Mark, but
he tries to involve himself in many projects and spends much effort in
making the smaller projects work. He is putting his effort in where his
In the past projects were started that were silly. Projects for
"languages" like Klingon, problematic are the languages with fewer than
100.000 speakers. But also languages that we really want with tens of
miljons of people are not doing well. For Tim it is a reason not to
create any new projects while it should be a reason for research and
marketing in how to make these projects work.
have many supporters, native speaker support
(especially in the case of Ladino and Neapolitan, where heaps of
native speakers dropped by to show their support), and no opposition.
There are always many vocal supporters, and there are always people who
are silently opposed. Or rather, they are silent until those in power
give in to the lobby and create new wikis, and then they open up with
ridicule and criticism. We've seen it many times before.
-- Tim Starling
This is in my opinion a really nasty argument. It basically says, that
anything can be frustrated because there are people who are silently
opposed. It negated all the need of building a visible consensus or
opinion. In essence, given this as a "reasonable" argument, anything
goes as long as you are able to support yourself.
Basically you say to the people who want these new languages that they
should piss off. That your Wikimedia Foundation is not their Wikimedia
Foundation. That they do not need information in their language.