[Foundation-l] Conlangs, ancient languages, non-active Wikipedias, non-written languages and priorities

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 13 13:50:29 UTC 2008

Your message here makes little sense to me. 
Everything you list as facts in "what do we have" are
pretty much guesses rather than actual facts and then
you use to make some sort of priority list . . . for
what? "English Wikipedia is definitely our first
priority." What does it mean to be the first priority.
 That WMF shall not lock the database or remove it
from the servers?? I don't know where WMF really make
a judgment on a specific wiki outside those things. 
And even those decisions can sometimes be said to be
decided by "the community".  I am not sure why we
would ever want to prioritize wikis as you have done
since they are not worked on in a top-down fashion.  I
do not understand your purpose.

Birgitte SB

--- Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:

> Conlangs and ancient languages are usually treated
> similarly. The
> issues which are related to them are, also, our
> relation to
> non-written languages, as well as non-active
> Wikipedias (note that I
> am not talking about other projects; treat the word
> "project" as a
> synonym for the word "Wikipedia"). All of them don't
> have a clear
> future at Wikimedia.
> I would like to reformulate those issues in relation
> to our
> priorities. The main goal of WMF and Wikimedia
> community is to spread
> free knowledge. According to that, we need to make
> our priorities and
> to work according to them. It is, also, important to
> treat this issue
> without personal (or whichever) POV, but as more
> neutral as it is
> possible. We should, also, treat those issues not
> only synchronically,
> but with a clear vision of some very predictable
> parts of our future.
> So, I'll write about our priorities as I see them
> according to "some
> very predictable parts of our future" as I see them.
> Before I start, I want to say my POV about all of
> the issues: (1) I
> don't think that conlangs except Esperanto and a
> couple of specific
> conlangs more are too useful. Besides that, I really
> don't like
> wannabe-world languages based on a couple of
> Indo-European languages,
> including Esperanto. (2) Artistic conlangs are, at
> my opinion, even
> lower. (3) I am not interested in developing
> neo-classical languages.
> (4) In this moment non-written languages are not a
> Wikimedia issue;
> some other institutions should take care about such
> languages before
> they become our issue. (5) I already said that if
> for some project may
> be reasonably said that it is not active
> ("reasonable" is a criteria
> about we may talk...) -- then it should be locked,
> but unlocking
> should be allowed if a new speaker of that language
> want to take care
> about that project.
> But, let's see what do we have:
> 1. (Projects in) natural and living languages:
> 1.1. The biggest encyclopedia in the history of
> humans: English Wikipedia.
> 1.2. Very soon, the second biggest encyclopedia in
> the history of
> humans: German Wikipedias.
> 1.3. Well developed projects which are at a good
> path to become the
> biggest encyclopedias in the history of humans, too.
> Generally, those
> are projects which have more than 50,000 articles or
> which will have
> that number relatively soon.
> 1.4. Emerging projects: active projects with, let's
> say at least 5000
> articles and living communities.
> 1.5. Projects which started to exist: projects with
> around 1000
> articles at least and a a couple of active
> contributors.
> 1.6. Not active projects which may become active:
> with less than
> around 1000 articles and a couple of not so active
> contributors.
> 1.7. Not active projects: with less than around 1000
> and without
> active contributors.
> 1.8. Hundreds of living written languages which
> don't have a Wikipedia.
> 1.9. Thousands of living non-written languages which
> don't have a Wikipedia.
> 2. (Projects in) conlangs:
> 2.1. Two useful projects: Esperanto (the only
> relevant conglang
> community) and Volapuk (similarity with English and
> a lot of data
> added by one person).
> 2.2. (Do we have any other non-artistic conlang?)
> 2.3. A number of potentially useful conlangs which
> don't have a
> Wikipedia because of various out-of-Wikimedia
> reasons, usually
> copyright reasons. (Slovio is an example of such
> language; it may be
> read by any educated person which native language is
> one of the Slavic
> languages.)
> 2.4. All other non-artistic conlangs which wouldn't
> get a project
> because of the policies.
> 2.5. All artistic conlangs which wouldn't get a
> project because of the policies.
> 3. (Projects in) ancient/dead languages:
> 3.1. Actually, some of them are not dead (Latin,
> even a Church
> Slavonic, but the later one doesn't have a project,
> Old Church
> Slavonic has). Such are definitely useful: any
> educated Roman Catholic
> (in the Roman Catholic matters) should know Latin.
> 3.2. Some of definitely dead languages, like Gothic,
> Anglo-Saxon...
> 3.3. A number of them which don't have projects
> because of our policies.
> And, I'll try to put them in one priority list, with
> explanations.
> 1) 1.1. English Wikipedia is definitely our first
> priority. This is
> not because I like English, but because of the fact
> that it is a
> lingua franca of the contemporary world. If you have
> some knowledge
> written in English, you may easily have that
> knowledge in other
> languages, too. However, this project may take care
> about itself.
> 2) 1.2. German Wikipedia is at the same priority as
> the next group,
> but it share one characteristics with English one:
> it may take care
> about itself.
> 3) 1.3. Well developed projects are, also, often a
> lingua franca of
> some region, or even more widely. Their importance
> is similar to the
> importance of English Wikipedia in that sense.
> Because of those
> projects we need to have the Volunteer Council: to
> give them
> possibility to take care about themselves.
> 4) 1.4.-1.5. Emerging and starting projects are our
> next priority:
> They need a lot of technical and other help to
> become a stable, well
> developed projects. Their importance lays at the
> fact that a lot of
> people are talking those languages.
> 5) 1.6. Of course, our next priority should be
> Wikipedias which have
> some activity. If we see that some people are
> interested in Wikipedia
> in their language, we should encourage them to
> participate in the
> project.
> 6) 1.7. Not active projects are important, too. At
> some time someone
> came to us and asked for the Wikipedia in their
> language. We should
> try to find some people who are interested in
> writing project in that
> language. But, it goes out of the scope of online
> community and it is
> a matter of WMF and their contacts.
> 7) 1.8. The same is for the written languages which
> don't have
> projects. People who are speakers of some language
> and asks for the
> project in their language are very important: it
> means that they would
> be maybe able to go into the more stable state in
> the near future. At
> this point I really support Gerard's position that
> MediaWiki messages
> should be translated: It doesn't just allow other
> speakers to read MW
> messages, but it shows to us that a person is (or
> persons are) really
> willing to create their project.
> 8) 1.9. The last group, non-written languages, are,
> again, a matter of
> the WMF. It should be incorporated into the
> international efforts to
> make written forms of non-written languages.
> 9) 2.1.-3.1. Useful conlangs should be the next
> priority. At least,
> some number of humans are able to communicate in
> those languages. And
> we should allow them to write their encyclopedias.
> However, in this
> category are only *really* useful conglangs, like
> Esperanto is.
> However, again, Volapuk became a useful one, too --
> because of its
> similarity with English and a work of one person.
> This is the category
> for useful ancient/dead languages, too, like Latin
> is. Also, if
> Klingon (or whatever artistic language) becomes
> enough widespread to
> be useful -- it should go into this category.
> 10) 3.2.-3.3. Definitely dead languages are the
> next. If we have
> resources, and there are people who are willing to
> do some
> neo-classical work -- it may be useful (somehow).
> 11) 2.2.-2.4. Non-artistic conlangs are the next.
> There are a lot of
> them; some may be useful for scientific purposes or
> even for
> communication ;)
> 12) 2.5. Then, here are artistic conlangs, too. If
> someone wants to
> enjoy while making an encyclopedia in an artistic
> language and we have
> resources -- why not to allow that. Maybe such
> languages would be used
> for real communication sometime in the future.
> *  2.3. (and similar) Of course, the only type of
> conlangs (artistic
> or not) which are out of the scope of our interests
> are copyrighted
> languages.
> And the point is the question: Where are we now? Hm.
> While we are
> doing partially other tasks, the answer is simple:
> We are now in the
> process of making Volunteer council, which means
> that we are finishing
> the third global task out of 12.
> And, what to do? Of course, we should analyze our
> possibilities,
> first. Maybe it should be one of the first tasks of
> the VC. I am sure
> that the most of use will accept to take care about
> projects up to the
> priority 7. However, WMF and VC should give to us an
> analysis of our
> possibilities. If we need to spend $10 and 10
> working hours (usually,
> steward's working hours) per year for one new
> project in an artistic
> language (priority 12), then I think that it is
> reasonable. However,
> if we need to spend $50.000 and a lot of working
> hours per year for
> useful, but not so important Volapuk Wikipedia,
> instead of giving
> $10.000 per one African language for making five
> relevant
> encyclopedias in their languages: I am definitely
> for the second
> choice.
> So, this was my contribution to relatively connected
> issues about we
> are talking a lot. I tried to move discussion from
> arbitrary choices
> to a bigger picture. Of course, I don't pretend for
> a perfect
> construction. I just hope that we may move toward
> more rational talks
> than arguing for one or another option.
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