[Foundation-l] LangCom meeting report

M. Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Tue May 17 12:10:26 UTC 2011

Thank you for the informative message. If it is possible, may I be made an
observer on the langcom list? Do I need to apply for such a position?


2011/5/17 Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>

> As you should know, thanks to Wikimedia Germany, Language committee had
> its first real-life meeting from May 13th to May 15th during the
> Hackathon in Berlin [1].
> The meeting was very successful. We've made numerous conclusions. They
> need to be verified by LangCom members who didn't participate, but I
> don't expect substantial changes.
> LangCom members who participated are: Amir E. Aharoni, Antony D. Green,
> Gerard Meijssen, Michael Everson, Miloš Rančić, Oliver Stegen (via
> Skype), Robin Pepermans, Santhosh Thottingal.
> Below is the short report from the meeting. Many of the items inside of
> the list below require longer description or even creation of documents.
> You will be informed after the creation of every document.
> A number of the conclusions below assumes that Language proposal policy
> [2] will be changed. (I'll make the proposal to LangCom, then LangCom
> will discuss and decide, then it will be sent to the Board for approval.)
> The report is by order of importance for the community. (Or at least as
> I see what is the most important.) All of the issues below are general.
> We've discussed about some particular issues and you can see them at the
> page [1].
> == Incubator extension and redirects ==
> We will soon have implemented Incubator extension on Incubator. The
> extensions is written by Robin Pepermans (a LangCom member and Incubator
> admin) and it will make Incubator more useful for those who create new
> projects.
> In relation to this issue, Incubator projects will get their own virtual
> codes. For example, http://xyz.wikisource.org/ will be a redirect to
> http://incubator.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ws/Xyz.
> If technically possible (I'll send the list of the codes to Mark and he
> will discuss with other admins is it possible to implement without
> problems), all ISO 639-3 codes will get such redirect to the Incubator
> page which would have the text similar to "Wikipedia in this language
> doesn't exist. If you speak this language, feel free to start it!"
> This will be implemented in a couple of steps. I'll write the proposal
> at Meta, inform you here and after fixing issues if any, that will be
> implemented step by step.
> The final product will be Incubator with all small projects, but with
> virtually all infrastructure needed to see that project as normal
> Wikimedia project.
> The main goal of that is to allow many languages to have their own
> projects, although they don't have enough manpower to keep the whole
> project in function (many of their technical needs would be covered by
> Incubator admins).
> I've got a number of the same questions in relation to this issue: If
> they have virtually everything, why would they create new articles to
> become independent project? I answered with the question: Why you create
> new articles on your own projects?
> The point is that it is not likely to expect that a language with less
> than 100,000 speakers will every have sufficient number of people
> interested in Wikipedia projects to become a separate one. At the other
> side, of course, we still have many possible projects which could be
> separate at some point of time.
> == Observers ==
> Language committee has introduced observers. Anyone who wants to see
> what Language committee members are discussing on their list are able to
> be ask LangCom for that. It is not likely that any member of this list
> wouldn't get such access.
> Sj is our first observer.
> == Monthly reports ==
> Robin Pepermans said that he will write monthly reports of LangCom's
> work to inform Wikimedia community.
> == Macrolanguages ==
> There are a couple of cases in which macrolanguages need to get their
> own project. It could be about very small population which wants to have
> common Wikisource, let's say; or it could be about a kind of unified
> orthography used by a couple of closely related languages.
> In all cases communities have to want that. All cases will be handled on
> case by case basis.
> In other words: While it changes Language proposal policy, this is not a
> general rule, but making a field to cover some specific cases in which
> macrolanguage project is the most sensible solution.
> == Simple projects ==
> While some Simple English projects have no reason to exist (Wikiquote,
> for example), LPP will be changed to allow other simple language
> projects to exist if necessary requirements exist.
> We haven't finished this discussion, but at least the rules are:
> * Language should be the world language.
> * There is a reliable published specification of "simple" (or
> equivalent) language.
> Under present rules, counting that both languages have reliable
> published specification, French would get simple project, while German
> wouldn't because French is used as world language. However, we haven't
> finished this discussion yet and I think that we should cover regional
> lingua francas (or cultural, technical etc. languages used not just by
> native speakers) as well (if so, German and Swahili would qualify).
> However, the second rule won't be discussed. Proposers of simple
> projects have to present reliable and published specification of
> "simple" or equivalent language, as English has.
> == Proposals for closing projects ==
> Robin has made Proposal for closing projects [3]. We discussed briefly
> and in general we agreed about the next:
> * Anyone can propose project closure.
> * A member of Language committee who wants to deal with it (we'll mark
> it inside of the "Task" column of the members table at Language
> committee page on Meta [4]) brings that on discussion to Language
> committee.
> * Language committee won't vote about it. Recommendation to the Board
> will be sent by the LangCom member which is interested in that issue.
> * Board will make final decision; likely the same as recommendation
> would be.
> Before implementing the full Incubator extension and redirects it is not
> likely that we would react in the cases of inactive projects. After
> that, it is likely that we would send back all of inactive projects to
> Incubator.
> == Change of Board decisions ==
> Board approval will move from the "approval" point to the "eligibility"
> point. That has two important consequences:
> * If Board really doesn't want some language on Wikimedia servers
> because of political reasons, it could block it at the right time, not
> after contributors made significant efforts to create the project.
> * All projects with previously approved project[s] will be [almost]
> automatically approved. ("Almost" in the sense that, for example, Old
> Church Slavonic won't get Wikinews, as well as Belorussian will get just
> one Wikisource, after communities of two existing Wikipedias agree to
> work together.)
> == Asking LangCom for opinion ==
> Board will be able to get formal *private* answer from LangCom if
> necessary. As LangCom's opinion is likely to have significant influence
> on Board, LangCom doesn't want to be publicly responsible for random
> decisions.
> Community is able to ask members of LangCom for anything relevant on
> "Talk:Language committee" page [5], as it always was.
> == Membership in LangCom ==
> Some kind of yearly confirmations should be introduced; actually, yearly
> verification that members are willing to continue to stay for another
> year on board. However, we didn't discuss it enough, as we didn't have
> time for that. It will continue on list.
> The other issue is that we (or at least I) will ask two to four times
> per year for new members. However, you should note that we don't need
> any new member, but new members which are able to have substantial
> contribution to LangCom.
> == Renaming wikis ==
> There are a number of wikis to be renamed, as they don't have proper
> codes. They should be renamed with some exceptions. For example:
> * Alemannisch Wikipedia, with the code "als" should be renamed to "gsw"
> (or split into single languages, as Alemannic German is a
> macrolanguage). If moved, it will keep "als" for a couple of years and
> then the code will be virtually transferred to Albanian Wikipedia, as
> "als" is ISO 639-3 code for Tosk Albanian, which is the standard
> Albanian, also.
> * Min Nan Chinese presently has code "zh-min-nan". Its ISO 639-3 code is
> "nan". As "zh-min-nan" is not used by any Wikimedia project, Min Nan
> Wikimedia projects will be able to keep virtual code "zh-min-nan" forever.
> == Languages support issues ==
> * Thanks to Santhosh, Gerard and others, we have webfonts in MediaWiki.
> That basically means that if someone wants to read some page, usually in
> a language which doesn't have proper support on contemporary operating
> systems, MediaWiki would be able to give needed font to the browser.
> Thanks to Siebrand, this will be implemented on Translatewiki [6] soon
> as a step to prepare it for WMF servers deployment.
> * Amir should make report on two issues:
> ** problems in RTL/LTR support; and
> ** problems with sorting in Hebrew, Arabic and Myanmar.
> == Other issues ==
> There are a couple of other issues discussed during the meeting about
> which I would like not to talk before they happen. All of them are about
> improving language related issues on Wikimedia projects.
> == Your input ==
> Feel free to suggest anything relevant here or at our talk page [5].
> While some things need time to be changed, good ideas are always welcome.
> Other members of LangCom and others who participated in our discussions
> can add here what they think that is relevant and I forgot to say.
> [1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_committee/May_2011_meeting
> [2] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_proposal_policy
> [3] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proposals_for_closing_projects
> [4] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_committee
> [5] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Language_committee
> [6] http://translatewiki.net/
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