[Foundation-l] Allow new wikis in extinct languages?

Marcus Buck me at marcusbuck.org
Wed Apr 2 22:13:18 UTC 2008

Much discussion, few outcome.

So I tried to write down my very personal opinion about which languages 
should be accepted for new projects and which not. Read it, if you like, 
under: <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Slomox/Languages>.

I took Sater Frisian as a case, which was recently approved by the 
Language Subcomittee. So, we can presume, this language fulfils the 
criteria of the current policy on Language approval. Sater Frisian has 
some 1000 to 2000 speakers (some sources have numbers up to 5000, but as 
the policy asks for "native" speakers, speakers fully able to speak the 
language, we should stick to the bottom end). I took the number of 1000 
speakers as a basis for my thoughts. 1000 speakers is few, but not that 
few, that a language with 1000 speakers has no chance to survive. So the 
premise of my thoughts is: any language with 1000 real speakers ("real" 
meaning, that you can speak the language fluently; for example I 
wouldn't say, my English is fluently, far away from that, so 1000 
speakers who can speak their language far better than I can speak 
English) should be able to get its own Wikipedia. Let's make the check: 
Volapük will fail. Ido, Novial, Interlingua, Interlingue (all having 
their own project) too. Esperanto has more than 1000 real speakers. 
Klingon, Toki Pona, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon will all fail. Latin, Greek and 
Sanskrit have more than 1000 fluent speakers and would be eligible. All 
natural languages approved so far have more than 1000 speakers. With the 
sole exception of Norfuk/Pitkern with some 600 speakers. But my proposal 
allows for exceptions from the 1000 speakers rule, if there are good 
The 1000 speakers rule only applies to unique languages, so Brooklynese 
wouldn't be accepted. My proposal has no additional provisions on 
deciding whether dialects are unique languages of their own or not. This 
means there's no difference to the current policy based on ISO code and 

I weighed the wish of the proposing community for progress in the 
proposal and the foundation's need to only accept viable projects. So I 
defined exact numbers on how long a test project should run at least, 
how much editors there should be at least and how much content they 
should have created before the project can be approved. I tried to rise 
the barrier as low as possible, cause I know many proposers of projects 
are disencouraged when there is no progress.
For every type of project I defined specific requisites, cause the 
projects have different goals and work differently. For example for 
Wiktionary and Wikisource I set no 1000 speakers rule as for Wikipedia 
(and Wikinews and Wikibooks). See the link above for more details.
I added rationales to all requisites to make them a bit more transparent.

Marcus Buck

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