[Foundation-l] 1.3 billion of humans don't have Wikipedia in their native language

Mark delirium at hackish.org
Sat May 28 15:02:00 UTC 2011

On 5/26/11 3:05 PM, Milos Rancic wrote:
> * If literacy is low and there are no efforts to improve it, efforts
> should go that way.
> * Is it about the language without writing system? If yes, efforts
> should go that way.

I guess I'd say what efforts "should" be taken should depend on what the 
language speakers in question want from us. Are there communities who 
would like to create a Wikipedia in their language but cannot, for some 
reason that we can assist with? Have they requested our assistance? Are 
there other organizations based in the relevant regions that already 
have opinions on and projects in areas like literacy, internet access, 
writing systems, etc.? (If not, is it because of lack of interest, 
political difficulties, or some other reason?)

I'm a bit worried that a more centralized approach will repeat the old 
pattern of Europeans and Americans telling people in other parts of the 
world what they ought to do with their languages/culture/education. The 
19th-century missionaries who inventing writing systems to translate 
their materials and "enlighten the natives" (a legacy Ethnologue is 
associated with) doesn't seem like what we'd want to repeat. I'd much 
rather see us work with initiatives and organizations originated by 
people who are actually from a community of language speakers. Plus, 
Wikimedia as a generic global NGO dedicated to 
education/literacy/development/internetaccess/etc. would be a 
significant mission-creep away from things we're actually good at. (All 
"imo", of course.)


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