I'd like to request a new Wikipedia for the Norwegian language.
I realize that there already exist two Norwegian Wikipedias, but I
think we need a third,
and possibly a fourth. No, I am not joking. Please read on to see
why I propose this.
The Norwegian language has two official written forms: nynorsk and bokmål.
(Note: The names of languages are never capitalized in Norwegian.)
One should be aware that neither bokmål nor nynorsk is a *spoken*
language in itself
(except in official news broadcasts, poetry and theatre plays), as
they are two separate
*written* forms (Norwegian: "målform") of the same spoken language, *norsk*.
Both nynorsk and bokmål have exactly the same status as official
of Norway. The grammars and vocabularies are distinct, but not
They differ more than e.g. British English from American English, but
are not more
different from each other than e.g. Swedish and Danish, meaning that
if you *master*
one of them, you can also *understand* the other. (Furthermore, all
studied both written forms in school.)
There is also a third way to write norsk, called *riksmål*, which,
although abandoned as
an official form in 1929 because it was considered too conservative,
still has quite a few
The Current Wikipedia Situation
There exists a Wikipedia in norsk: http://no.wikipedia.org/
but since Wikipedia is inherently written and not oral, that Wikipedia
a mixture of
all three written forms of Norwegian, which can sometimes be confusing.
The front page there states:
– Bidragsytere kan skrive på alle norske målformer
(bokmål, riksmål og nynorsk).
– Contributors may write in all Norwegian written language forms
(bokmål, riksmål, and nynorsk).
The articles (even the help and instruction pages) are randomly
written in three different
ways, sometimes even mixed, creating a somewhat chaotic impression.
this certainly makes that Wikipedia difficult to read for foreigners
who have learned only
one written form of the Norwegian language.)
In July this year a separate Wikipedia in pure nynorsk was started:
It has already received more than a thousand articles.
But still there is no Wikipedia in bokmål, nor in riksmål, although
both are used
(together with nynorsk) in the norsk Wikipedia. This situation is not fair.
I request a new Wikipedia in only bokmål, at the address
(The ISO code for bokmål is "nb" [or "nb_no"]. For nynorsk it is
just points to http://no.wikipedia.org/
(I do not know if riksmål has its own ISO language code, and since I
am not a user
of riksmål, I will leave it to others to request a Wikipedia
exclusively for riksmål.)
As I see it, it will not be necessary to translate all articles
between nynorsk and bokmål;
we can use #REDIRECT or similar means to bind them together, since all
are able to read both written language forms (as well as English,
Swedish, and Danish).
But at least the user interface will be pure bokmål in one Wikipedia,
pure nynorsk in the
other, giving users a real choice.
I see the creation of a bokmål Wikipedia as the logical next step to
now that a separate nynorsk Wikipedia has been established and is thriving.
Why not just use the existing Wikipedia?
One could propose to "clean up" the norsk Wikipedia by moving all
nynorsk articles to
the nynorsk Wikipedia, but I am sure that this would require a long
and heated debate
among the users. And what about the riksmål parts? I think it best
to leave the norsk
variant alone (allowing both nynorsk and riksmål there as well as
bokmål), start separate
bokmål and nynorsk Wikipedias, and use links and #REDIRECTs to make it
easier in the beginning.
Another reason to break out of the old Wikipedia for Norwegian, is
that there have been
complaints about certain administrators there abusing their power to
block other users
from introducing changes that contradict the personal views of those
(I have not experienced this, but some indignant users have turned to
me for help.)
Rather than quarreling about this or start accusing people, I thought
I'd offer to start
a new encyclopedia where there will be no censorship (as long as the
texts are in bokmål
and not downright offensive), and where democratic guidelines
regarding content are
adhered to, as well as the principle of neutrality.
Who I am
I am a Web programmer by profession, and I have created several wikis,
both in my
work and in my spare time, although never a Wikipedia before. I am
also an active
contributor to existing Wikipedias, especially the Esperanto variant:
I am very familiar with CVS and other ways of collaboration on
distributed software projects.
I am prepared to do the translation of the interface (should be easy,
since I can base it
on two existing Norwegian Wikipedias). I am also prepared to be an
a bokmål Wikipedia, write guidelines, participate in discussions, and
offer my assistance
to new users. I will gladly accept anybody's help with the
administration, if some of the
norsk (or nynorsk) Wikipedia administrators would like to become