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

Sam Korn smoddy at gmail.com
Sat Dec 23 13:26:47 UTC 2006

On 12/22/06, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
> When you excuse what should not be excused,

which I don't...

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.

Sounds a good idea in principle to me.  I'd like to hear more.

It was suggested that
> people were given a number. This is imho dehumanising and I am dead
> against it.

Even *in addition* to a username?

It was suggested that people can install fonts to improve
> their effectiveness, you call it black mail which is really "helpful".

If that was opaque, it was sarcasm.  Sorry, I do that when I'm getting
annoyed and I apologise.  None the less, it is not a case of "can" but
a case of "must".

> 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.

Well, the arguments are valid.  So are the arguments against.  We have
to work out a balance between the two.

> 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'm actually prepared to see how this will work.  I'm not certain how
much of an impact SUL will have, so I'm quite happy to wait and see.
But I am concerned about the possible problems this can bring to

Incidentally, I have made a suggestion at
and I'd be interested in feedback.

> 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 :)

Unfortunately, there are users on en.wikipedia who are unwilling to
work with users who haven't established themselves on en.wikipedia but
rather on other wikis.  I wish this were not the case, and hope SUL
might help resolve it.  Fingers crossed.

> 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.

Apologies for this.  I was intending it in a small way.  You didn't
need much encouragement to continue using the word in a different
context, however.

You accuse me of not reading what
> you say.

Well, not understanding, anyway.  You keep saying that SUL solves all
my problems, which it doesn't, so either you've got a complete failure
of logic or you don't understand my arguments.

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.

No, I understand your arguments completely.  I also agree with them
and, as I have said countless times before, I agree that the current
policy is wrong/misguided.

I think you aren't hearing my arguments because you have a bee in your
bonnet about en.wikipedia.

And it is a complete overreaction to label this policy "evil",
"ethnocentric" or "racist".  They may be bad policy, but those labels
are offensive and unnecessary, as well as being untrue.

> 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.

I presume then that you concede that en.wikipedia doesn't have any
significant advantages in fighting vandalism, for example, than other

I will join with you in praising the multi-lingual nature of
MediaWiki, which deserves great praise.

What Anthere has suggested is good, but won't work on its own, naturally.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list