[Foundation-l] Fwd: Pt-Portuguese Wikipedia

Virgilio A. P. Machado vam at fct.unl.pt
Tue Mar 23 15:30:18 UTC 2010

The ability to speak Portuguese is really not a 
requirement to participate in a serious 
discussion about many problems concerning the 
Portuguese Wikipedia. There are millions of 
people who speak Portuguese, but are total or 
functional analphabets. I would not consider that 
they meet the requirements needed to engage in 
such a discussion. On the other hand, there are 
many people who might not speak Portuguese, but 
are the most knowledgeable about the Portuguese 
language. Ain't that a shame? Now, go figure.

I agree with the statement that "decisions like 
this should be made by people who know the 
language variants and their differences". People 
of average intelligence should be able to make an 
informed decision, if those variants and 
differences are clearly stated and explained to 
them. They will then be in the know, too.

The concept of "outsiders" is more difficult to 
grasp. If "outsiders" means people who don't 
"know the language variants and their 
differences", I'm afraid that will exclude a very 
large percentage of the most active editors of 
the Portuguese Wikipedia and a lot of them will 
not be capable of making an informed decision any time soon.

Leaving the decision to the speakers of 
Portuguese is perhaps a statement inspired in 
self rule and democracy, but those concepts are 
hardly understood, much less applied, in the 
conditions most speakers of Portuguese live in 
this very day. As for the practices in the 
Portuguese Wikipedia I'll already address that 
topic on another occasion. One might consider, on 
the other hand, that the generalization of such 
policy would make irrelevant all international 
organizations. The Wikimedia Foundation happens 
to be an international organization, by its very 
nature and basic principles. The fact that there 
have been posts made to this list, about the 
subject, by an international group, also goes to 
show that the problem and the solution concerns 
more people than strictly those who speak 
Portuguese. That would be a complete and total 
disaster, for reasons already explained.

If one truly believes in self rule and democracy, 
the assertion that "it seems that the majority of 
speakers does not want to split." is a real 
mystery. If those questions got to be decided by 
majorities, we all would probably end up with a 
single Wikipedia... in Chinese. Please, spare me 
of the fixation on to split or not to split. That 
might not be the question. Again and again I see 
people avoiding the issue of clearly identifying 
the problems, looking for appropriate solutions, 
and proposing and supporting informed decisions.

The notion that "Outsiders can assist by giving 
advice." brings to mind so many examples of 
"foreign advisers" that I shudder at the thought. 
After a childish epithet, all that was needed was 
a paternalistic one. Writing from a country with 
almost nine hundred years and being part of a 
nation much older and greater, I'm afraid I'll 
have to ask you to spare my humbler and less 
literate countrymen and women from that 
embarrassing position. Let me assure you that we 
take pride in honoring our hospitality traditions 
and love to talk with our equals and people 
without pretenses, mostly if they happen to be false.

There is merit in proclaiming that the problems 
that arise from differences should be minimized, 
although it's kind of difficult to decide on 
"how" until it is clearly and completely known "what".

As for decisions imposed by outsiders on the 
community, that again all depends on how 
outsiders and community are defined, but no 
matter which way you look at it, that's exactly what's been going on.


Virgilio A. P. Machado

At 20:24 22-03-2010, you wrote:
>Thomas Dalton hett schreven: > On 22 March 2010 
>19:01, Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam at fct.unl.pt> 
>wrote: >   >> Perhaps the reason the issue keeps 
>popping up is >> that, although it has been 
>extensively >> «discussed», it has not been 
>properly addressed, much less solved. >>     > > 
>I think the reason it has never been addressed 
>is that nobody outside > the Portuguese 
>community can see a problem. It all seems to be 
>a lot > of fuss about nothing. That means the 
>wider Wikimedia community will > never accept a 
>two-wiki solution and the most obvious 
>one-wiki > solution is the one used by the 
>English Wikipedia, namely: stop > complaining 
>and just write encyclopaedia articles. We're not 
>going to > indulge a community engaged in a 
>childish argument about nothing. >   I hope you 
>speak Portuguese. Cause decisions like this 
>should be made by people who know the language 
>variants and their differences and not by 
>outsiders. Leave the decision to the speakers of 
>Portuguese. Anyway it seems that the majority of 
>speakers does not want to split. Outsiders can 
>assist by giving advice. E.g. how to minimize 
>the problems that arise from the differences. 
>But outsiders shouldn't impose decisions on the 
>community. Marcus Buck User:Slomox 
>foundation-l mailing list 
>foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org Unsubscribe: 

Prof. Virgilio A. P. Machado            vam at fct.unl.pt
DEMI/FCT/UNL                    Fax:   351-21-294-8546 or 21-294-8531
Universidade de Portugal                or 351-21-295-4461
2829-516 Caparica                       Tel.:  351-21-294-8542 or 21-294-8567
PORTUGAL                                or 351-21-294-8300 or 21 294-8500
Faculdade de Ciencias e Tecnologia/UNL (FCT/UNL)

(Dr. Machado is Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the
School of Sciences and Engineering/UNL of the University of Portugal)  

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