[Foundation-l] A dangerous precedent

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Fri Dec 28 09:04:17 UTC 2007

Milos asks what the language committee has to say about the issues that are
raised. As always I speak on a personal title.

The language committee generally grants a conditional approval for languages
that have an ISO-639-3 code. When the language is not a dead language, ie
when the language is actively used and can be used to communicate the
concepts of the modern world, a project like Wikipedia makes sense. For the
not dead languages we require a user interface in that language. Currently
the most important messages of MediaWiki have been identified. For a first
project these have to be all localized, for a second project we require a
comprehensive localization of MediaWiki.

Consequently, we are happy to grant conditional approval to both constructed
languages and minority languages. This allows for the start of a test in the
Incubator. When the project shows a lively community with a small corpus of
well written articles, we typically check if the language is properly
written and is indeed that language. There are no exact numbers and articles
that are only stubs are ignored. When there are too many stubs a next phase
just does not happen. Typically a project is granted a next phase by
consensus in the language committee.

The reason why I think the current situation is appalling is because there
has been a vote for closure for the Volapuk Wikipedia only a month ago. The
method chosen for "change" is one where people impose their will on another
project. This is done without consulting the existing Volapuk community.
People have created profiles on the vo.wikipedia and vigilante style start
marking articles for deletion without even knowing the first thing of the
language. This kind of behavior will have you blocked on any project and
rightfully so.

All kinds of preconceptions are aired in this discussion many of them are of
no relevance. When people are of the opinion that Latin, Esperanto, Volapuk
are not relevant, they should just ignore these languages and do the things
for the languages that are relevant to them. When people are of the opinion
that bot created articles are no good, they have to realize that the English
language Wikipedia, most of the Wiktionaries all contain many articles that
are bot generated. Bots are used on all projects, this is a well established
practice in the Wikimedia Foundation.

The opinion that many bot generated articles are plain stupid is one that I
share. However, when you want to improve the practice and the quality of bot
created articles, you start by engaging the people concerned in a
discussion. What you do not do is ask for Admin rights for a project without
even bothering to create a profile on a project. This is destructive
behavior and unbecoming of any Wikimedian.

In the past I have argued for a global arbitration committee. However, in
this case a more reasonable, consensus seeking behavior would have negated
even the need for an escalation towards such a body and also much of the


On Dec 27, 2007 10:23 PM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:

> BTW, doesn Lang SubCom has anything to say about this? I saw Gerard's
> vote, but I would like to see a statement, at least informal, of Lang
> SubCom members. I didn't see how articles were looking on Lombard
> Wikipedia, but if they were like articles on Volapuk Wikipedia, I have
> to say that tendencies in our community are extremely worrying.
> Up to those two cases, I was thinking that it would be good to have
> one community at the global level which would be able to make some
> decisions. After those two cases, I am really in doubt. It seems that
> language borders are not giving only nationalisms, but a free space of
> imposing crazy decisions of wounded vanities, too.
> On 12/27/07, Birgitte SB <birgitte_sb at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > --- Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > On 12/27/07, Daniel Arnold <arnomane at gmx.de> wrote:
> > > > This is *only* about the way choosen to create the
> > > Volapük Wikipedia.
> > >
> > > Besides my comment on Meta: Generated articles are
> > > more then valid
> > > (please, add sources in all articles!). I may see
> > > that one or
> > > combination of the next may be the reasons for
> > > demanding such nonsense
> > > action: (1) someone is afraid with so much articles,
> > > (2) someone
> > > doesn't like to see that a small community is able
> > > to make the same
> > > number of articles as big ones, (3) someone is
> > > preparing field for
> > > removing all bot-generated articles and forbidding
> > > such actions. In
> > > all cases, please go firstly to the English, French,
> > > Italian and
> > > Polish Wikipedias.
> >
> > "(3) someone is preparing field for removing all
> > bot-generated articles and forbidding such actions"
> > appears to be accurate.[1]
> >
> > Birgitte SB
> >
> >
> [1]http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Proposals_for_closing_projects/Radical_cleanup_of_Volap%C3%BCk_Wikipedia&diff=prev&oldid=807967
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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