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

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Sat May 28 19:13:42 UTC 2011

Having projects that rely on volunteers does not mean that what they do is
without consequence. The policy of the language committee insists on
requirements. They have to be met. One of the things we consider is the
involvement of native speakers ... In the language committee we are
volunteers as well. What we do is relevant, it is necessary and requirements
are requirements and they have to be met.

On 28 May 2011 18:59, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 05/28/2011 05:02 PM, Mark wrote:
> > 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.)
> Foundations of Wikimedia projects lays in volunteerism. If you want some
> volunteer project to work, you have to make it attractive to
> contributors. Attractiveness doesn't go with enforcing anything. So, if
> some group doesn't want anything from us, I don't think that we could do
> anything about it.
> Whenever we talked about this issues during the LangCom meeting, we
> agreed that we shouldn't do just take it or leave it approach, but we
> agree that in any case we should work according to the wishes of local
> population.
> The most of people usually want to adopt technology. The most of people
> usually don't want to adopt culture. Having in mind the fact that
> technology usually went with colonial and racist culture, they are
> completely right. However, there are necessary levels of culture needed
> for particular technology.
> For example, if some group of people want to have doctors, they have to
> have education at least up to the high school level, no matter in which
> language. If they don't want to have literacy, but want to have doctors,
> they would probably have to be content with not so efficient druids. I
> am perfectly fine with it and Wikimedia movement should accept it.
> In other words, nothing will be enforced and we fully understand all (or
> to be cautions: the most) of those issues.
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