[Foundation-l] How to dismantle a language committee

Muhammad Alsebaey shipmaster at gmail.com
Sun Jan 11 17:01:25 UTC 2009

Just an off topic, you do realize that me and the original poster of this
thread are different people, right? I do ask because you kind of mixed our
arguments in the last part of your post. The original poster probably has a
more 'vivid' choice of words than I usually do :) .

On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 4:45 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<gerard.meijssen at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hoi,
> The current policy is really objective; a request for a project will be
> honoured when it complies with a set of prerequisites.
>   - is the language recognised as a language in the ISO-639-3
>   - is the language sufficiently unique
>   - is there a sufficiently large corpus in the incubator
>   - is there a community of a sufficient size so that we can trust the
>   community to do well
>   - are the requirements for localisation met
> When the notions of the main language group are to be considered the
> criteria for new projects become less objective. At this time the fights of
> what is a language are fought in the ISO. This is where people come up with
> what is considered a consensus  on what languages exist. This consensus is
> not universally shared but the best that can be had.
> When people talk about languages, they enter a field where many things are
> taken for granted that are absolutely not straight forward. A language like
> Limburgian does not have one formal orthography. It consists of many
> dialects and it morphs at its edges into what are arguably other dialects
> of
> other languages and yet we have a Limburgian Wikipedia that is doing pretty
> well. When you have a languages like English, a person from Newcastle and a
> person from the Bayou are unlikely to understand each other well if at all.
> Given that Geordie is not considered a language, we do not allow for a
> Geordie Wikipedia. The ISO-639-6 might recognise Geordie as a linguistic
> entity, the ISO-639-6 will recognise at least 25.000 linguistic entities
> but
> does that mean that we want to consider all of them for a Wikipedia ?
> When you talk about the historical and cultural background of languages,
> you
> have to appreciate how that works out in our environment. When you look at
> the Wikipedias in extinct languages like Anglo Saxon and Gothic, the texts
> arguably do not reflect the language that is spoken in the days when they
> were living languages. Gothic was not written in the Latin script and
> fights
> about equivalent issues are being fought on the Anglo Saxon Wikipedia. It
> is
> easy to argue that these Wikipedias do not teach anything that helps
> understand the original texts in those languages. Are these the historical
> and cultural things you want to be considered ?
> Marcus Buck mentioned that in the Arabic world the standard Arabic language
> is seen as an unifying force. This is very much a political statement.
> Given
> that the language policy explicitly states that political arguments are not
> taken in consideration, many if cultural, sociological and historical
> arguments are explicitly left out of the equation. An other recurring
> argument is that new wikipedias detract from the "original" Wikipedia. The
> people who make this argument insist on what *others *can and cannot do.
> When people want to work on Egyptian Arabic, why should they work on a
> Wikipedia that they do not consider their own?
> When you talk about reasonable decisions, what is it that makes something
> reasonable? The fact that people like Mohamed consider Egyptian Arabic as
> ignorant makes clear their position, but is that reasonable ? The language
> committee has only a remit to help new languages move along, This was to
> prevent more dysfunctional projects, projects with no new articles, no
> community, projects asked for by people who think Wikipedia is like a stamp
> collection.
> In the end there are two arguments that Mohamed has that have some
> validity;
> are there sufficiently knowledgeable people in the committee and do enough
> people consider issues with the process. We have already added new people
> and Pathoschild indicated that he is working on proposals for change. The
> current process is well structured, it is at the time of giving eligibility
> that the validity of a language is considered. It is at this time when
> there
> were no objections from within the committee.
> Thanks,
>      GerardM
> Only people who do make mistakes all others have a perfect record.
> 2009/1/11 Tomasz Ganicz <polimerek at gmail.com>
> > 2009/1/11 Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>:
> >
> >
> > > So, there are two conclusions: (1) I may imagine the process which had
> > > happened in relation to EA approval: no one made any serious objection
> > > and it passed. (2) There are two LangCom members introduced better in
> > > the linguistic issues, so the expertise level is raised and I think
> > > that it will be raised more in the future.
> > >
> >
> > Well, I think there should be not only computer-linguists experts like
> > Evertype in LangCom, but you desperately need people who have good
> > knowledge about culture, sociology and history of the main language
> > groups, or at least you should be ready to ask relevant outside
> > experts. I have a feeling that current LangCom completely ignores
> > historical and cultural background related to language problems which
> > is quite often a key to make resonable decissions.
> >
> > --
> > Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
> > http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
> > http://www.ganicz.pl/poli/
> > http://www.ptchem.lodz.pl/en/TomaszGanicz.html
> >
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Best Regards,
Muhammad Alsebaey

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