[Foundation-l] Moldovan Wikipedia

Robert Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Fri Nov 9 18:53:06 UTC 2007

GerardM wrote:
> Hoi,
> First of all there were people contributing to the mo.wikipedia. This is
> conveniently forgotten.
> When for political reasons a project is closed, something that I find
> objectionable in and of itself, and when the language committee does not
> consider political arguments at all, it makes in my mind perfect sense to at
> least inform you that the arguments used to close a project down are not
> accepted at all when considering the start or restart of a project.
> Again, the fact of the matter is that a vote does not remove the politics
> from the issue. When there is an existing state of war, you present the
> perfect argument why this vote has been a flawed instrument.
> Again, the procedure followed is problematic. I disagree utterly with the
> proposal and the fact that this project was closed at all in the first
> place.
> Thanks,
>     GerardM
Wading into this argument (and trying to duck the arrows already flying 
around), this is a contentious issue in part because most people 
involved with Wikimedia projects generally want to stay apolitical in 
terms of the major issues involved.

Most of the issues presented regarding the Moldovan Wikipedia go back to 
WWII era politics and later Cold War era policies, and it is important 
to keep that in mind. (I'm trying very hard not to invoke Godwin's law 
here, but it is tough and strangely applies as an exception in this 
case!)  In addition, it pushes hard on the line in terms of defining 
what exactly is a language, and at what point does a people distinguish 
itself with a unique identity.

The primary criticism that I felt was valid in the whole mess was the 
fact that only non-native speakers were even involved with creating 
content for the Moldovan Wikipedia, including one particularly 
argumentative individual who was an American that was blocked from 
en.wikipedia due to flame and edit wars, and moved on to smaller wikis 
like the Moldovan Wikipedia because he could be a "big fish" there.  I'm 
not sure where he picked up Romanian or Moldovan as a language, but he 
was also quite active on several other language editions of Wikipedia as 
well, and was one of the leading opponents of closing down the Moldovan 
Wikipedia.  In short, I don't really consider most of those opposed to 
closing down this edition of Wikipedia to be all that credible, as has 
been the general concensus on this issue when brought up on Meta.

One positive aspect about closing this Wikipedia, as well as the Klingon 
Wikipedia, is that the process of creating a new language edition has 
become much more formalized, where some standards regarding what should 
be dismissed and what would be allowed have been established.  Shutting 
down and cleaning up this Wikipedia edition is really something of 
trying to clean up mistakes that happened in the past, in spite of some 
very good intentions, and trying to be wary of those who would take a 
situation such as an underused Wikipedia language edition (or any other 
Wikimedia project) and try to turn that project into their own private 

IF, and only if, there are some strong native speakers of Moldovan 
(regardless of political motivations) or those who have a genuine 
interest in preserving the language from a linguistic viewpoint want to 
get this going again, they can go through the new project creation 
process that other languages are currently going through.  In this 
regard, preserving the db dump is a good idea if any future group really 
desires to get involved, but I fail to see why given the current climate 
of the supporters that it needs to be preserved, especially when there 
are significant objections that have been raised by native speakers of 
the Romanian language, and people who live in Moldovia.

-- Robert Horning

More information about the foundation-l mailing list