David's analysis of the state of the SE Wikipedia is quite an accurate one and I would
agree with almost all of his arguments. And - like Mark - I do believe that a
"rethink" should eventually result in the phasing out of the Simple English
Simple: doesn't work well. Of course, that is a fact it shares with many existing but
more or less dormant Wikipedias. More severe however is the "lack of focus and ...
lack of direction", like David put. I would even dare to say it lacks a purpose
altogether, at least one conforming with Wikipedia's general aims.
one reads that it
"has been started as a response to the need for English learners". Fine, but
Wikipedia was never meant as a language course. WP is an encyclopedia, i. e. a place where
knowledge is gathered and can be accessed. Furthermore, Wikipedia is committed to
providing knowledge in people's _native_languages_. Hence, there is no need for a
Wikipedia for those with a limited command of English (or German, French, Spanish ...).
I just don't see why we should continue the Simple English Wikipedia.
wikipedia-l(a)Wikimedia.org schrieb am 29.06.05 01:16:39:
The subject of Simple English Wikipedia has came to the mailing list before,
but after reading talk pages there and seeing the dormancy of Recent Changes
(bar a few persistent users, and the odd anon editor) I feel it is time to
suggest a rethink, or at least look into the direction of Simple English
Simple English Wikipedia currently has 4,157 articles, the vast majority of
which fail to extend further than three sentences in length. There are a few
administrators, Netoholic being the most active of them. There is a small
user base, but unlike some language Wikipedias where this results in a small
and persistent community, the small user base at Simple English often have
their priorities understandably set on the main English Wikipedia.
The SE Wikipedia currently has a lack of focus, and a lack of direction.
Indeed, it claims to cater for multiple groups of people, which simply isn't
"It is focused on readers who tend to be quite different people with
different needs: students, children, and translators."
The description there, taken from
, is too
ambiguous to encourage any regular contributors to the Wikipedia. Whereas
with the main Wikipedias there is a ultimate cause of creator 'the sum of
all human knowledge', Simple English doesn't have a goal, as its not aiming
for anything specifically.
The aims of students, children and translators, to me, is wrong on all
counts. I've read a few articles on Simple English, and the variation and
way of writing is at times so belittiling that I wonder why such a project
exists. This quote from the talk page sums it up perfectly:
"One thing that bothers me about this whole thing is that people act like
this is supposed to writted towards children, talking down to them and such,
when in fact Wikipedia Jr. is there to handle that - this should be aimed at
just reposting English articles in a simplified and standardized version of
English, as opposed to the "baby talk" many of the articles are crammed
Simple: A problem I have with this website is that there is a website like
it that is already here - Wikipedia Junior. I think that this website should
be for people from another country who are learning English, not small
children. This website talks to its people badly."
Simple English Wikipedia is, in reality, never going to be used by babies or
small children - Infact, unleashing such persons onto Wikipedia is dangerous
(as proven by our Recent Changes list :p ). Wikijunior, which is in
development, caters for the young market and has a focus to not talk down to
people. When I read Simple English trying to explain racism, I felt like it
was dumbing me down. Anyone capable of using Wikipedia normally can use
normal Wikipedia, whilst Simple English is not going to be used by 4 or 5
year olds. Children is a bad thing to aim at. Aiming at translators is
similiarly odd, because a translator wouldn't be a translator if their
English wasn't fluent.
Simple English Wikipedia needs to, in my opinion, have a huge rethink. It
should be aimed at persons wanting to practice their English by reading it,
and should be an aid for those learning it as a foreign language. Simple
English should read simply, but not so simply that it puts down the reader.
People contribute to Wikipedias for a reason, and for a goal - Simple
English has no goal, so theres no clear reason for editors to contribute to
it. A look at recent changes shows that.
Without a rethink and a real discussion into the direction, policies and
descriptions of Simple English Wikipedia, it had mayswell be deleted. Simple
English was the second Wikipedia I visited, after main English, and I
believe it will be the same for many others. It doesn't reflect well on
Wikimedia Foundation to have a Wikipedia in such a bad state, and in the
English language - Quality over quantity isn't necessarily always true, but
in the case of having Wikimedia Foundation projects and Wikipedias, it is.
Simple is way too out there to stay as it is; a rethink is needed.
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