[Foundation-l] Please delete mo. wikipedia

Marcus Buck me at marcusbuck.org
Wed Oct 13 12:41:37 UTC 2010

  An'n 13.10.2010 03:29, hett Gerard Meijssen schreven:
> It has been suggested that a solution should be able to pass muster at the
> language committee. I am seriously in favour of an end to this extravaganza.
> However, I have not seen a proposal that would pass muster of the members of
> the language committee.
> Let me be specific; a solution needs to allow for a transliteration of the
> Romanian language Wikipedia into Cyrillic. Preferred is a round robin
> transliteration. Remember, a Wikipedia is granted to a language not a
> country.
Really interesting news! After all the years where you and other 
language committee members have exclaimed "We only process proposals for 
_new_ projects. We are not involved in closing projects or resolving 
language conflicts!" when did this change? A link to the discussion 
where this change was decided would be very useful.

We are yet again at the stage that the question "which language is this 
about?" appears. I feel I have to make some clarifications. "Romanian" 
and "Moldovan" are national varieties of the same language. National 
varieties are not the same as dialects. Dialects are things like 
Geordie, Scouse or Kentish. These are language differences that have 
developed over a period of hundreds or a thousand of years by local oral 
tradition. Dialects can vary widely and there are fluent transitions 
between "dialect" and "language" (e.g. Scots is considered a language of 
its own by many linguists although it is treated like a dialect by many 
English people). National varieties on the other hand have not developed 
locally by oral tradition. They originated in the adoption of a 
standardized language by a country. In the 19th century a standardized 
language evolved among the educated speakers of Eastern European Romance 
languages. This standardized language was adopted as a base for written 
language in all regions where Eastern European Romance languages where 
spoken irrespective of the fact that the standardized language usually 
differed from the local dialects. The standardized language in theory 
was identical everywhere. But some small differences (usually in the 
lexicon) existed, e.g. when dialectal terms were adopted into the 
standardized language or when laws used differing terms to regulate 
things that are otherwise similar.

That's in no way special to Romanian/Moldovan. The same happened with 
British vs. American English, German vs. Austrian vs. Swiss German, 
French vs. Canadian French, Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish 
vs. Mexican vs. Argentinian etc. Spanish, Dutch vs. Flemish Dutch etc.

The discussion we are having is not about Romanian vs. Moldovan. It's 
about Latin vs. Cyrillic. It's only about the characters you use to 
write it down not about the content of the words.

What are the options?
- keep the status quo
- just change the URL from 'mo' to 'ro-cyrl'
- delete mo.wp
- re-open the Cyrillic wiki for editing
- create an equal rights latn-cyrl conversion on ro.wp
- create an unequal rights conversion from latn to cyrl at ro-cyrl.wp

== Status quo ==

- nothing needs to be done by anybody

- everybody keeps dissatified
- no meaningful content available for users who want to read Cyrillic

== Change the URL ==

- the request that started the thread is satisfied, the wiki can no 
longer be mistaken to propagate the existence of a Moldovan language 
different from Romanian or to propagate that "Moldovan is Cyrillic"

- no meaningful content available for users who want to read Cyrillic

== Delete mo.wp ==

- the wiki can no longer be mistaken to propagate the existence of a 
Moldovan language different from Romanian or to propagate that "Moldovan 
is Cyrillic"
- the Latin script users would welcome the abolition of a project that 
many of them perceive to be a remnant sting of Soviet cultural 
imperialism in the flesh of the Romanian language

- no meaningful content available for users who want to read Cyrillic

== Re-open the wiki ==

- gives the Cyrillic users the chance to build their own resource

- redundancy with ro.wp, doubling the effort
- there are almost no users who want to fill the project with content
- the Latin script users will get upset
- it will take a looong time until a useful resource comes out of it

== Equal rights conversion on ro.wp ==

- full participation chances for Cyrillic users
- all content fully available to Cyrillic users

- risking a revolt among ro.wp users and risking to loose a good part of 
the community, possibly risking a fork
- much extra work to be done by a community largely unwilling to spend 
work on it

== Unequal rights conversion off of ro.wp ==

- all content available to Cyrillic users

- no participation chances for Cyrillic users
- still unpopular among Latin users

 From a strictly Wikipedia-ideological and politically unideological 
point of view the equal rights conversion would be the right thing to 
do. But given the fact that that could totally blow the whole and very 
active community of ro.wp and given the fact that we would risk this for 
a less than 1% minority, a minority we have no proof of that they would 
take the chance to participate if we gave it to them or that they are 
even interested in the content, I think we would be ideological 
dumbasses if we would accept this risk.

@FoundationStaff (one of whom is hopefully reading these discussions on 
I hope the Foundation is interested in this discussion too. Bringing 
knowledge to the people of the world and stuff. So, what's the 
Foundation's position on this? The current lack of any action from the 
Foundation's side suggests that it opts for "status quo". So what's the 
Foundation's rationale for not serving the Cyrillic users? (Oh, and 
please don't answer with "limited resources, other important stuff to 
do". That would be a weak response. Any of the above options should be 
technically implementable in a single working day and I think it's worth 
to spend one working day if that means making Wikipedia available to 
177,000 additional people.)

Marcus Buck

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