[Foundation-l] Ideas from Limburg

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Wed Mar 31 22:24:09 UTC 2010


Recently a friend noticed a sudden improvement at Translate.wiki,
concerning Wikipedia in Limburgish (li.WP). All remaining untranslated
items (28,18%) have been translated in one time. This is quite

When he told me about, I looked up again what I had written about
(small) Wikipedia language editions in my handbook (in German):
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Ziko/Handbuch-Titel . I then, in
2008, found li.WP relatively good, but there were also some
difficulties, for example the lack of a technical vocabulary.

When I now checked Wikimedia Statistics again, I was stunned by very
impressive figures. For example, during 2009 the number of editors
with 100< edits a month increased from 13 to 37. I believe that li.WP
is nowadays the best among those of small Germanic languages. Nearly
all articles have encyclopedic quality and show a lot of pictures,
maybe sometimes a little too many.

When I examined the background I found out that most of the
li.Wikipedians indicate their real names and many are women. With
permission, here what Gebroeker:JennySteen wrote to me:

'I started editing in November 2008. Because I knew nobody I asked
friends to join. Most of us study at the university of Mestreech. […]
We meet nearly every week in a local café and talk in Limburgish to
keep our language skils fresh.'

Jenny explains about the unusual appearance of the site: 'We did not
like the original colours because they where cold and ugly. User pages
now have nice orange tones, and talk pages a green background that
helps to keep aggressiveness down.'

Jenny: 'When there is a conflict I talk to the person in the café. It
may happen that we ask a guy to stop visiting and editing for a week
or two, and after he has cooled down he is welcomed again to sit with
us.' On the other hand, if someone did well: 'We copy and paste lovely
icons on the user page, like flowers and kittys. Unfortunately there
was a case that someone misbehaved to a new user, and we had to take
those icons away.'

But there is still a problem: maintaining a Wikipedia language edition
means also doing a lot of technical stuff. The gals from Limburg would
love to see users from other language editions supporting them with
MediaWiki extensions, geolocalisation and the not so easy aspects of
categorization. http://li.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebroeker:JennySteen


Ziko van Dijk

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