[Foundation-l] Reconsidering the policy "one language - one Wikipedia"

Samuel J Klein sj at wikimedia.org
Thu Jun 24 13:36:44 UTC 2010

Hi Ziko,

On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 8:41 AM, Ziko van Dijk <zvandijk at googlemail.com> wrote:

> In the discussion, the question of creating a Wikipedia in simple
> German came up.

This would be useful.

> As we know, to-day Wikimedia language committee policies prohibit a
> new Wikipedia in a language that already has a Wikipedia.

To be more precise: the language committee was tasked with determining
when to start new language projects.  It was never asked to consider
other sorts of new projects.  So either "simple German" is a new
language, or it's out of the current scope of the committee.

Overall, we've never decided whether a "simple" or "children's
encyclopedia" should be a separate project with its own root domain,
or another set of 'languages' that show up as an interlanguage link or
as FOO.wikipedia.org .

> The existence of a Wikipedia in simple English refers to the fact that it
> had been created before that policy of 2006.

Simple English is quite useful, and used for groups developing their
literacy skills at all ages, including many communities learning
English as a Second Language.  Presumably the same could be true of
any other language.

> There are a number of ideas and initiatives to create online
> encyclopedias in "simple language", in and outside the Wikimedia
> world. Wouldn't it be suitable to reconsider and try to give those
> initiatives a place? Who else is more capable to create and support
> such encyclopedias than we are?


My thoughts:
* I would love to see similar projects in at least German, French,
Spanish, and Dutch -- languages in which there are already communities
working on encyclopedic knowledge in simplified language.
* We should have a new process for requesting a simple-language
version of a project.
* We should resolve standard practice for naming them, and decide if
this should be a new top-level Project (like wikikids) or a variation
on the normal language code.

Considering the historical role of the children's encyclopedia, we
might consider rescoping "simple" as "for children" -- this could help
to increase participation and use, and clarify the role of these


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