[Foundation-l] Belarusan Wikipedia

GerardM gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Thu Mar 29 12:48:33 UTC 2007

First of all this is an unusual situation. The language committee has been
given the task to decide things that have to do with languages. We have
published what our basic guide lines are. A language has to have some status
and based on this we make a decision.

For the Belarus language uses the code be and bel are available. There was a
group of people who high jacked these codes and did not allow people to use
the official orthography. There was a really vibrant incubator project for
the Belarus language as officially written in Belarus. Given the guide
lines, the old project was parked under a different code that is conforming
to the standard.

When you say that there is a dead lock in the creation of projects, you are
mistaken. There is a message file for Belarus and this is what is required.
We do allow for languages to be started in the Incubator, but we cannot
promote them to full projects until there is a message file. This is
probably some four minutes of work per language. Until there is a message
file, and the first amount of effort has gone in localisation, people can
work in the Incubator. The only thing that is dead locked is the promotion
to full project status.

When you state that it would be preferable that people collaborate, you are
right. People did choose not to do that. Might was right, and possession was
2/3 of ownership. This mentality is inconsistent with the way the Wikimedia
Foundation works and consequently there was a need for a solution to this
knotty problem. It is sad that it had to be this way. Given that it has not
been deleted has more to do with the fact that we allow for a procedure that
is to be written of an 'global arbitration committee'  and with the wish
that people finally decide to collaborate than with the fact that we should
allow for political wikipedias. Politically motivated projects are anathema
to the Wikimedia Foundation.


On 3/29/07, Johannes Rohr <jorohr at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> I don't know if this is the right place for my complaint, but I was
> taken by complete surprise by what has happened to the Belarusan
> Wikipedia, i.e. the replacement of the existing bewiki (in "classical"
> orthography by the incubator project in ("normative" orthography).
> For one, there has, as far as I see, no formal request to close the
> existing bewiki
> (cf. http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proposals_for_closing_projects ).
> To me it seems that the closure of a large, active
> wiki must not go ahead without a prior proposal and debate.
> Second, given the deadlock in the new languages creation process, I am
> more than surprised, that for the new bewiki an exception was
> possible.
> Third, the most desirable path to be taken would have been to have a
> single bewiki which accepts both variants, just as enwiki accepts both
> British and American English. Have there been serious efforts in this
> direction, prior to the current decision? A Belarusan user says at
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Special_projects_subcommittees/Languages#Lack_of_transparency
> ,----
> | That was the only cause, by which it was used mostly in be.wiki; but
> | both systems were allowed to be used, and so-called "current" variant
> | was also used there by minority which preferred it, and they didn't
> | have any obstacles to contribute; administration welcomed contributors
> | in all grammar versions.
> `----
> If this is true, I don't see, why the closure of the old bewiki was
> inevitable.
> Even if the two camps cannot be reconciled, I don't believe that the
> closure of the existing project was necessary. The proponents of the
> Belarusan normative wikipedia had requested bel.wikipedia.org rather
> than be.wikipedia.org. Both projects could have existed in
> parallel. This may be an ugly solution, but the current one is even
> uglier.
> Next, what strikes me is an apparent lack of transparency. At
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_new_languages/Wikipedia_Belarusian_normative
> I read:
> ,----
> | The normative Belarusian Wikipedia has been created at
> | be.wikipedia.org, with the alternative Belarusian Wikipedia moved to
> | be-x-old.wikipedia.org by decision of the board of trustees on
> | recommendation by the language subcommittee.
> `----
> I would say, that those who take such a drastic decision, that risks
> to deter a large number of committed authors, should be required to
> deliver a full explanation of their decision. The above brief
> announcement is clearly insufficient.
> And lastly, if I understand the announcement at
> http://be.wikipedia.org correctly, the old bewiki has been frozen, but
> no decision has been taken concerning its future. This is just totally
> incomprehensible to me. If langcom and the board of trustees make a
> dramatic and far-reaching decision, they should make a /full/
> decision, not a halfhearted one, which essentially leaves the existing
> conflict open.
> Forth,
> --
> http://www.infoe.de/
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