[Foundation-l] LangCom meeting report

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Tue May 17 12:21:44 UTC 2011

Dear Milos,

Thank you for the exhaustive report. May I react to one specific
point? I did not totally understand the rules about "simple"
languages. It reads as if the concept of simple language versions has
only to do with lingua francas, so that the benefittors are people who
are no native speakers. I believe that the concept is in fact larger,
the benefittors are also young people, people who have difficulties to
read, people who are handicapped in any way. So also small or
regionally confined languages such as Hungarian would benefit from
such a Wikipedia.

If I interpret it right, Germans can come to the incubator and build
up a Wikipedia in Simple German? With a reasonable chance to become
later recognized?

Kind regards

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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Ziko van Dijk
The Netherlands

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