[Foundation-l] How to dismantle a language committee

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Sun Jan 11 23:26:42 UTC 2009

The problem seems to be not the lack of a linguist's knowledge. We
Wikimedians are not sure or unanimous about what to expect from a Wikipedia
language edition, and what languages (language communities) we trust to
conform to our expectations.

My thoughts about the questions discussed here:

- The language comittee could be organised differently, with more rules
about communication and decision making and also majority rule instead of a
veto for every member.

- I don't think that Gerard deserves the aggression I have noticed here.

- Wikipedia can not be a solution for all problems of the world. Language
planning is difficult and includes also the implementation of a language
(acquisition planning, status planning). I do not believe that creating an
encyclopaedia should be at the beginning of this long way.

- Our present day rules for new proposals would outlaw language editions
already existing and doing well, like Esperanto ("constructed"), Latin
("ancient") or Luxembourgish (dialect). It would be a pity if a Wikipedia
language edition does not exist for the only reason that a rule prohibits

- Labeling languages and forbidding them is not a good point to start. It
should not be said "this is a dialect, we don't want ist", but looked
whether there is an actual linguistic community that already uses the
language for purposes similar to Wikipedia (scientific, popularizing texts).

- And, as already said, the decisive point is what we expect from a
Wikipedia. For some the Wikia of "Lingua Franca Nova" would have been a
great Wikipedia, for others it shows that a Wikipedia in it would have been


P.S. Maybe I should go on with translating my handbook about multilingual
Wikipedia to English.

2009/1/11 Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>

> On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 9:34 PM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 12:10 PM, Tomasz Ganicz <polimerek at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >> 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.
> >
> > Actually, it is a misunderstanding of Michael's knowledge. His
> > expertise is, for example, making an orthography for a random language
> > [without orthography]. In fact, we need exactly his kind of linguists.
> > As I mentioned, we are working on raising expertise quality inside of
> > LangCom.
> And just to be more precise. After a couple of years of interacting
> with people in relation to Wikimedia projects, I realized that it is
> not so possible to get a random academician and put them into some
> Wikimedian working body. Usually, those persons are not so interested.
> I see that we have two more options for finding persons with relevant
> level of expertise:
> * to find Wikimedians with this kind of expertise; or
> * that some interested academician contacts us.
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Ziko van Dijk

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