Gerard Meijssen ti 2005/3/10 EP 05:22 sia-kong:
What we have to consider when we talk about our
wikipedias, is that no
two projects have the same content. Translations exist, but the majority
of the articles written contain info that makes it particular to the
language and reflects a culture.
I'd like to interpret the part about "reflecting a culture" along a
specific line: "reflecting the encyclopedia needs of the particular
readership." For example, the English article on "area" would surely
mention the SI units but also Imperial units now outdated in many
places. The equivalent Southern Min article would also deal at length
with the SI units but be less interested in Imperial units. It might
note, for example, the decline of their use in most Anglo-influenced
countries and ex-colonies -- but without presenting a lengthy and
largely irrelevant table on interconversions. It would also mention
which empire we are talking about when we say "the Imperial units" (the
Mongolians?). More to the point it would also mention other types of
units used in Southern Min-speaking regions, notably the "kah" (used in
Taiwan) and the "pheng" (Taiwan and some other places). Both of these
would be unlikely to be mentioned at all in the English article (whose
editors are not likely to be familiar with such local units). (Of
course now that I have mentioned them, someone might well add them in
English, but maybe not.) In short we always emphasize certain facets of
knowledge and de-emphasize others, and cultural considerations are among
the criteria used to decide which way to go. More radically, one might
even argue that cultural factors limit the range of what we know we can
emphasize or de-emphasize.
One reason why the idea of "One English Encyclopedia to Rule Them All"
(a la Tokien) is deeply flawed.