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

Stephen Bain stephen.bain at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 01:50:44 UTC 2008

On Feb 9, 2008 3:49 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter <putevod at mccme.ru> wrote:
> After we have heard the opinions of two language subcommittee members
> (both of whom I highly respect), I would like to ask the community: Are
> the preservation of cultural diversity and minority languages (secondary)
> Wikimedia goals?

I don't see that as distinct from our primary goals: preserving
languages and cultures is a necessary consequence of creating content
within the Wikimedia projects. If a community has created a reasonable
amount of content in editions of Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikisource and
so forth, they have effectively preserved a reasonable slice of their
language and culture.

I absolutely think that this fact should be acknowledged and
cherished. The Wikimedia projects represent the first really viable
avenue for this kind of activity on a large scale. Traditional
reference works, and traditional efforts and linguistic and cultural
preservation, cannot hope to achieve what the Wikimedia projects can
in this regard.

I feel it would be verging on hyperbole to say that this is a
once-in-humanity opportunity, but really it is. We happen to be the
ones who are first in the game in terms of producing free content at a
global level.

I also agree with what Danny has said. Giving people access to *the
sum of all human knowledge* cannot possibly mean giving people access
to knowledge in only a handful of widely-spoken languages.

Stephen Bain
stephen.bain at gmail.com

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