[Foundation-l] Language Prevention Committee created

Arbeo M arbeo.wiki at googlemail.com
Sun Mar 25 16:01:21 UTC 2007

Hello everybody!

On 11/13 last year the formation of a subcommittee concerning the approval
of wikis in new languages etc. was announced on this list.

Back then, I was pleased to see that a few users committed themselves to
taking care of multilingualism issues in Wikimedia's projects.

Today, I am disappointed to see that the committee is inoperable.

It is a pitiful fact that since its creation the language subcommittee has
achieved virtually *zero *as to the advancement of multilingualism (which is
a central pillar in Wikimedia's mission to spread knowledge worldwide).

Even without counting the huge number of requests for new languages the
subcommittee simply swept away upon its formation, despite the fact that
some of them had previously been approved by the Community (cf.
requests are just piling up big time and nothing ever happens (cf.

One of the main arguments in favor of having a small group of specialized
people instead of the whole community decide certain things would be to make
things run more efficiently, in other words: speedier. Yet what's really
happening is exactly the opposite: we're about to see *the longest period
without a single new Wikipedia ever!!*
What has happened?

Has the number of requests for new languages dropped significantly? - Not
really. Wikipedia's reputation around the world is steadily rising and more
and more people from various regions of the globe want to start an edition
in their own language (but we don't let them).

Are the requests sloppier than they used to be? - Quite the contrary! The
quality of most requests is higher than ever before (just have a look at how
requests looked three years ago, let alone the Incubator activities) and
editors are now preparing new editions with a lot of conscientiousness (yet
we don't value that).

So what *is *the reason for this total deadlock? In plain words, I would say
it is *a language subcommittee not caring enough *about our fellow users who
want to increase the value of Wikimedia's projects and help us on our
mission for free knowledge by providing content in additional languages.
What good is a language committee that never ever enables new languages?

What do I mean by "not caring enough"? - I mean that obviously the
subcommittee or most of its members 1. seem to applying the (all-in-all
sensible) rules they set up too morosley (i. e. not for the benefit of but
rather against multilinguistic progress) and 2. seem to be failing in
adequately supporting people who want to start new wikis. Because if it
weren't that way highly promising projects like the e. g. Kabyle, Sakha or
Crimean Tatar Wikipedias would long be up and running and would be valuable
new members of the Wikimedia family of projects by now.

What's even worse is that the subcommittee members themselves don't agree on
which rules are in force (cf.
http://langcom.wikimedia.org/wiki/Archives/2007-03-23). Pathoschild holds
that full localization is not mandatory before final approval (and luckily
he still seems to remember what Wikipedia is all about and that we're
supposed to be an open project, even to those who don't happen to have a
computer science diploma), Berto d'Sera takes a "localization or death"
stand and GerardM writes something secret.

Dear Language Subcommittee Members, please stop preventing multilingualism
and start enabling and supporting it!

Thank y'all for taking the time to read this!


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