[Foundation-l] How to dismantle a language committee

Mohamed Magdy mohamed.m.k at gmail.com
Sat Jan 10 20:57:44 UTC 2009

Hi all,

I would like to propose the dismantling of the language committee and
creating a new one (not including Gerard, of course).

Because it is chronically malfunctioning.
Manifested in:
# Gerard is forcing all his opinion, anything else is going nowhere.
# Other members don't really care and leave it, unfortunately for us, to

I read about how unfair the LangCom before but I didn't really care because
it wasn't affecting a language I care about. Then came the dreadful proposal
for a dialect Wikipedia in my dialect, Egyptian dialect. At first, I wasn't
sure in the beginning if I should support it or not, then I became sure if
this should happen, it shouldn't happen on a platform like Wikipedia (for
many reasons laid out in detail in the proposal page). I don't care if Ghaly
and company (the people who made the proposal) started that on an
independent website (Wikia or on an own domain for their campaign) but on
Wikimedia, we should do the right thing (I hope). The proposal was approved
(Gerard requires that you have the relevant ISO code and everything from
there could be done, he is a bit annoyed now becuase of all the current
proposals for dialect Wikipedias which were brought up by the Egyptian
dialect Wikipedia proposal) and the technical team had no option but to
create the wiki because Gerard gave it his blessings and the foundation
didn't say a word (I heard that people were happy at Wikimania (Florence?)
because of that proposal but I fail to understand why the Egyptian people
there didn't express their opinion about it (it was in Egypt :!).

Trivia (I like structure but..):
* Gerard is talking about how good the localization of the Egyptian dialect,
well, that is a natural thing when the localization is a matter of
copy-pasting Arabic translation and converting it to a slang form or English
words in Arabic (nothing wrong at all in that of course, we do it all the
time, but we don't do it for the sake of looking hip (there is a certain
language charisma we have in Egypt, that is, if you can speak English and
mix English with Arabic to look cool. don't know if other countries have
it), we do it only to introduce new words that we are unable to find their
equivalent in Arabic (e.g. Acetylcysteine which is أسيتيل سيستئين in Arabic,
basically English (latin) in Arabic).

* May be ISO is wrong: why people are taking ISO codes as absolute,
don't-discuss matter? in our case, we have 22 dialects of Arabic and the
pathetic decision to call them languages of the supposedly "Macro" language
Arabic, that is nonsense and it should be amended, not the blind (if not
stupid) opinion of making all these sorts of dialectical projects (
http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/documentation.asp?id=ara). I tried to contact
the ISO, they say to contact the local office in my country (
http://www.eos.org.eg), and as always, they have dead emails, don't know
about the phone numbers, I'm not even sure that anyone there would listen to
a word of mine, besides, I wish to see changes before my expiry date is due.

* Gerard have the false delusion of protecting the freedom of Egyptians and
taking us out of illiteracy into the light of knowledge by making a new
Wikipedia in slang and dialect. well, you are *wrong*, you are doing quite
the opposite and other people are helping you alas. hope you understand that

* Wave of ignorance: a new wave of ignorance are upon us and I don't like
Wikipedia being part of it.

* Did you know that when I tell people about this new Wikipedia, the
consiperacy theory of the west dividing us is brought up? like it wasn't
enough that the ar.wiki isn't appreciated because of the several issues we
have. no, now we have another big issue created because of the carelessness
of some people. arz.wiki is a regression, making people think of Wikipedia
as an enemy is a regression.

* Did you know that what was rejected before, is being done on that
arz.wiki? I'm talking about Arabic in latin characters Wikipedia. they have
no objections there if you write Arabic in latin (a big no no in ar.wiki or
any another respectable venue). dialect writing/Arabic in latin writing is
for fun only, nothing serious.

* They have a template on arz.wiki which is placed on articles copied from
ar.wiki that says ~"this article needs more egyptianizing" like the one on
uncyclopedia "this article needs to be more uncyclopediac" or something like
that (sorry for the lack of links).

* I think it would be doable to make a tab that Egyptianizes (or any other
dialect) the Arabic article, that is, if we have some sort of conversion
memory, that is if the dialect is stable (or standard), the dialect differs
from a place to another, from a muhafazah to another (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhafazah). if anyone knows the technical
method we could make a trial instead of the great mess of dialect
Wikipedias. I'm not too sure about this compromise yet.

So, to sum it up:
# Dissolve the current committee and make a new one of people who care.
# Make all the discussions of the committee public and allow community
members to comment and the committee really reads what they have to say.
# Make sure that Gerard isn't on the new committee.
# Treat ISO codes flexibly, they could be amended, they could be ignored if
# Undo the arz.wiki.

Pardon the long email, but I had to say what I have on that important issue,
may be the new year would bring something else besides massacres.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list