[Foundation-l] Preservation of cultural diversity and minority languages

Andrew Whitworth wknight8111 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 9 00:20:07 UTC 2008

On Feb 8, 2008 6:24 PM, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hoi,
> The costs you are talking about are peanuts. Small projects do not cost us
> much.

It was a symbolic point. If other organizations want to share our
servers, they can share in our costs. If people want the WMF to be
pursuing all sorts of secondary goals, then they should be willing to
pay, even if the price is only a pitance.

> What it will cost is a big blue eye for the Wikimedia Foundation
> because its relevance will be seen as reduced. Apparantly you do not see
> that by excluding languages you exclude the points of view that these
> languages and their associated cultures provide.

And you do not see that the points of view of a culture can be
expressed in any language. We can write about aboriginal POV in
English, or Inuit POV in Spanish. We aren't restricted to "one
language, one world view" per project. The true value of our projects
is that we can communicate information about a culture in many

> When the WMF does not want to host the less and least resourced languages
> anymore, there is no need for WMF hosting. There is no need to be treated
> like a beggar.  There are other organisations happy to take over any
> community that does not feel at home anymore in the Wikimedia Foundation.
> The question will be, will these communities be granted  the right of
> departure ??? How do you think the WMF will be perceived when communities
> start leaving  because they do not want to be treated as second class
> citizens ???

I have thought about this, and that's why I advocate that we do not
create projects which are destined to become second class. A little
bit of quality control at the beginning can prevent big PR disasters
when those projects fail. In fact, if we are worrying about public
perception of the WMF decreasing after a fork or a split, then we
should increase our scrutiny and decrease the amount of new language
projects we create in the first place.

Instead of creating new projects, having them fail, and then be
absorbed by some other nameless organization, I'm saying we
proactively create that second organization, and task it with putting
these small languages in the forefront. Turn small languages into the
first-class citizens by having a foundation that caters specifically
to them.

--Andrew Whitworth

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