[Foundation-l] English Wikipedia ethnocentric policy affects other communities

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Fri Dec 22 15:23:11 UTC 2006

When you excuse what should not be excused, you position yourself where 
you do not want to be. In this threat Anthere made an interesting 
suggestion; she suggested to provide some metrics to mark people as to 
being known good. This was instantly rejected.  It was suggested that 
people were given a number. This is imho dehumanising and I am dead 
against it. It was suggested that people can install fonts to improve 
their effectiveness, you call it black mail which is really "helpful".

In a previous post I have stated that with "you" I address people who 
think that the arguments used to defend this policy are valid. If you 
do, and you have stated that you do not, imho you do indeed discriminate.

When only one user appears in Thai, you will have to check him out in a 
same way as when a user appears in Latin script. That seems obvious to 
me. With the suggestion of Anthere, you might even know that the person 
is a known good on the th.wikipedia.org by looking at some graphic 
indicators... and consequently believe that as he does no evil there, he 
will do no evil on en.wikipedia.org. This still allows you to check him 
out like you will also check out every now and again what other known 
goods do.

I did mention the presentation at the Belgrade conference because it 
expressed publicly by a bureaucrat of another Wikipedia project how 
difficult/near impossible it is to get traction in the English language 
Wikipedia. Wikipedia has its prominence because of its value system. By 
presenting barriers to the entry and by not being responsive to POV 
issues raised Wikipedia and what it stands for is undermined. But read 
the presentation .. I could read it, it is in English :)

Again about discrimination, it was you who used this word first. In some 
ways it is not helpful to use a word like this because it does prevent 
people from looking at the arguments. You accuse me of not reading what 
you say. David Gerard provided me with silly questions. I am not so sure 
that you have been reading the arguments that I have been using all 
along. This whole thing has been presented as an attack against the 
"evil" en.wikipedia while it is only but not less so an attack against 
an evil en.wikipedia policy.

I do not mind that much of the development is driven by big brother 
en.wikipedia. It has produced one of the best environments for web 
content. The support for other languages in MediaWiki is second to none 
(and yes it can be improved upon). Wikipedia is extremely valuable to me 
and I will defend what I perceive as its core values. We agree that the 
current policy is wrong. What is needed is an acceptable alternative. 
 From my perspective what Anthere proposed is the best I have seen so far.


PS At OmegaWiki you CAN have your user name in any script. You only get 
edit rights when you provide Babel information.

Sam Korn schreef:
> On 12/22/06, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Sam Korn schreef:
>>> I don't understand what you mean.  If you're saying that you intend
>>> that everyone who wants to occasionally HELP OUT the wiki by doing RC
>>> patrol should install all these fonts for languages they don't
>>> understand, you're living in a world completely disconnected from
>>> reality.  We don't make huge demands of our users before we allow them
>>> to fight vandalism.  Indeed, all they need to do is provide a user
>>> name and a password.
>>> What about the non-tech-savvy people?  What about those who edit from
>>> public computers?  Do you intend to discriminate against them?
>> What about them? Is it an excuse to discriminate against people who use
>> their standard user name?
> No, of course it isn't and if you bothered to read what I've written
> you'd know I think so.  That you don't can only suggest that you can't
> be bothered to read what I write, else you'd know that I DON'T SUPPORT
> EN.WIKIPEDIA'S CURRENT POLICY, just that I understand its reasoning.
>> I think you do not appreciate that
>> discrimination is exactly what this is about. You are quite happy to
>> discriminate against people who use their Single User Login. It must be
>> all right because it makes things easy for you.
> So you're accusing me of discrimination.  This is completely absurd
> and offensive.  Again, if you bothered to read what I've written,
> you'd see that I'm trying to find some way of reconciling the problems
> en.wikipedia has with the implementation of SUL.
> You appear to be fixated on damning en.wikipedia.  You seem unable to
> comprehend why en.wikipedia has instituted these policies, because,
> apparently, SUL is going to wash them all away.
> Please demonstrate you are trying to understand my points.
>> So if people do not install fonts they see blocks or question marks.
>> This will effectively have the effect that people will eventually want
>> to install fonts. That is not a bad thing.
> Yes, blackmail is a wonderful way to get things done.  I applaud you.
>> As to public computers, it is
>> reasonable to ask the proprietors of these public computers to at least
>> install the fonts that come with the operating system that they run.
> I'd agree.  But it's still not fair to these users if the owners won't.
> And we seem to be drifting from the issue.
>> Well no, when you have ผู้ใช้:ธวัชชัย and ยชชธช้:ใผ you can notice that there
>> is a difference. The find function of your browser will be quite able to
>> discriminate between the two.
> And when only one appears?  Because I'm obviously going to keep all
> foreign names on my clipboard to paste into the find box every time,
> am I not?
>> Without fonts installed you will not be
>> able to make this distinction this way. If making things easy is an
>> excuse for discrimination then by all means.
> Again, you're accusing me of discrimination, when all I'm doing is
> pointing out legitimate concerns.
>> But do not be surprised the
>> extend that people outside of the English language Wikipedia community
>> find it problematic to discuss issues where POV is an issue. At the
>> Belgrade Wikipedia meeting this was exactly one of the issues raised. I
>> am sure you can find the presentation where this was expressed.
> Do you want to explain what relevance this has to the rest of the
> thread?  It's lost on me.
>> By being less then welcoming, by approaching people as suspect you kill
>> the goose that lays the golden eggs.
> You really haven't heard a word I've said, have you?
>> Yes, there is vandalism to an
>> extend that we do not have elsewhere, but at the same time the resources
>> of the English language Wikipedia are equal to none.
> This is interesting.  Would you care to tell me what these resources are?
> Certainly development is driven by en.wikipedia's needs to some
> extent, but these needs are often replicated in other wikis before too
> long.
> Now, this post has been less than entirely civil, and I apologise.
> But I now understand why David, having had a similar conversation with
> you, felt you were saying "fuck you" to him.  You dismiss others'
> concerns without a shred of logic and don't listen to them at all.
> This is rude and inconsiderate.

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