[Foundation-l] Language Prevention Committee created

Arbeo M arbeo.wiki at googlemail.com
Mon Mar 26 10:38:48 UTC 2007

Thanks for your reply, Jesse.

2007/3/26, Jesse Martin (Pathoschild) <pathoschild at gmail.com>:

> The policy is not at fault for the delays.

> but we still have to get the policy development
> out of the way first.

You mean the subcommittee itself considers [[Meta:Language proposal policy]]
not final? Is that what you're saying? If so, why did it reject requests (e.
g. http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_new_languages/Wikipedia_Ladin)
"in accordance with the Language proposal
for incompatibility with the same?

> I've said this so many times I'm starting to doubt whether it's
> possible, but it should not take much longer. Assuming nobody suddenly
> notices another all-important problem and forces a full halt, we
> should begin processing requests within a week or two.

So what exactly is the problem?

> Although the current delays are unacceptable, please be careful not to
> mistakenly hearken back to the good old days before the subcommittee;

We agree that there's no going back to the old, often chaotic system. I
still think that a language subcommittee _can_ play a positive role in
fostering multilingualism. But unfortunately that's only a potentiality so
far, while the reality is far from it. So let's see to changing that.

> Feedback on the policy would be much appreciated. Is there anything in
> particular you oppose or dislike?

The policy is not bad, especially since it picks up many criteria that had
previously been applied already, in a less formalized manner. Of course, one
could always place a slightly different emphasis here and there but the very
last thing we need now is another endless, tedious policy discussion.* What
we really need now are _results_. What I'm really dreading is a new,
infinite discussion of principles locking out all those fellow Wikipedians
who speak Kabyle, Lower Sorbian and forth for another, dunno, three years.

So I'd suggest to work with what we have. Let's apply the Language proposal
policy _judiciously_, not prohibitively. Especially, let's not expect
potential new Wikipedians to do things that are not part of the policy and
then wonder why highly promising new projects never come to live. Let's
always bear in mind that proposers of new Wikipedias from remote regions of
the earth might not necessarily have ten years of Internet experience and be
wiki-savvy and that many of them don't understand English as well as you and
I. Let's support them proactively. Let's never forget that there's tens of
millions of people out there who are currently excluded from our treasure of
free knowledge because they cannot understand any of the languages we're
using at the moment.

And above all: Let's put aside un-wikilike nitpicking and boldly say:
"Yes, you can. Go ahead. Welcome aboard, good to have you here!"

Have a good day everybody

* Just one small suggestion. Policy says under section "Conditional approval":
"At least five active users must edit that language regularly before a test
project will be considered successful." I'd set a lower requirement (e. g. 3
users) here for small languages (under, say, 100,000 speakers or so) in
order to make the policy non-discriminatory. While it might be fairly easy
for communities like the Kabyle to round up a start-up team of five editors,
it is probably disproportionately difficult for small language communities.

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