[Foundation-l] Simple Wikipedia: different projects

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Fri Jun 24 09:40:45 UTC 2011

On 06/22/11 1:46 PM, Milos Rancic wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 22:24, Lodewijk<lodewijk at effeietsanders.org>  wrote:
>> 2011/6/22 Milos Rancic<millosh at gmail.com>
>> There are at least three serious issues in creation of such projects, if
>>> they are not defined strictly linguistically:
>>> * Scope. Which age do we cover, approximately? Any valid theory would be
>>> useful, but it should be defined. According to Piaget, less than 15 [in
>>> Northern France]; according to the age when we could be sure that child
>>> knows to read, more than 7 or 8. Which knowledge is appropriate for that
>>> range of age? What's appropriate for one 8-years old and what's
>>> appropriate for one 14-years old?
>>> <https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l>
>> <snip some very interesting remarks based on this age assumption>
>> I think you assume too quickly that only young people would benifit from
>> "simple" texts. In the Netherlands we have 1.5 million "low literate adults"
>> (people having trouble to read&  write) and I think the Netherlands actually
>> is having quite low percentages in that field compared to many other
>> countries. These are not even people who speak Dutch as a secondary
>> language. Besides that there are indeed many children who might also benifit
>> from this content, and also non-natives (consider for example people from
>> Wallonia or Surinam (if non-native Dutch) who would like to look up
>> something in Dutch for some reason.
> You are then talking about Wikipedia as Simple English Wikipedia is.
> My position, but not shared with other LangCom members, is that we
> should allow any Wikipedia in simple language if there is a reliable
> and published specification of that language (and other regular
> criteria are met).
> I have a friendly advice for you (and I hope that Michael and Gerard
> wouldn't kill me because of that): If you are able to create really
> valid community and your language is not considered as a world one (as
> the case with Dutch is), and you really want to create Wikipedia in
> simple language: (1) Create it inside of the main Wikipedia's
> namespace. (2) Ask developers to install Incubator Extension when it
> becomes a bit more mature. (3) Ask IETF for the language subtag
> (something like "nl-simpel" or "nl-eenvoudige" or whatever you think
> it is appropriate). (4) Ask Language committee for redirect.
> I suppose that we would need a year or two to full implementation of
> the Incubator Extension and redirects. I also think that no one from
> LangCom would object such arrangement. Having the whole nl.wp
> community behind such project is one thing, having a separate
> community is another. If supported by nl.wp community, I wouldn't have
> anything against not having scientific basis.

By attaching enough bureaucratic requirements to an idea you can insure 
that anything fails.  What is this scientific basis? No other Wikipedia 
has had to face that challenge.  Leave it up to the people involved in a 
simple project to develop their specifications as they go along.  
Demanding that before they start is an effective way of blocking the 
project before it starts. Wikipedia as a whole never achieved its 
success by imposing such barriers on editing.

Simple writing is more difficult than writing for a general audience. If 
there is a small group of Dutch speakers ready to put something of the 
sort together, preferably with a couple of educators among them, let's 
encourage them to get on to it sooner rather than later.  If such a 
project dies from neglect that's no big deal.  If language educators see 
this as a viable model it may be just the thing that draws them.


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