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

Benjamin Lees emufarmers at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 21:17:31 UTC 2010

 On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 4:08 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com>wrote:

> On 24 June 2010 15:04, Ziko van Dijk <zvandijk at googlemail.com> wrote:
> > - Scope and name: Maybe it would practically make no big difference
> > whether the project is called "simple" or "for kids". Poor readers and
> > adult beginning readers (natives or not) tend to read texts that are
> > meant for children anyway. It could make a difference in promoting,
> > though. A scope question can also be whether certain kinds of explicit
> > images are allowed.
> I strongly disagree. There is a big difference between simple language
> and simple concepts. Children need simple concepts (basically, you
> can't assume as much prior knowledge because they haven't had time to
> learn things that adults consider to be common knowledge). Adults that
> are just learning a language need simple language because they haven't
> learnt complicated vocabulary yet.

Said what I was going to say.  One problem I've noticed with the Simple
English Wikipedia is that they seem not to have truly decided whether
they're for children or for ESL adults.  There are irreconcilable
differences between these two groups in terms of background and conceptual
understanding, as you said, which bleed into issues of what content is
acceptable for a given age group: far beyond explicit pictures, you need to
decide how to cover topics like sex, religion, death, war, and rape--if they
should be covered at all for that age group.

I think a single project devoted to "children" would fail unless it was
well-segmented: material designed for a 6-year-old should be very different
from material designed for a 12-year-old (in terms of what we expect them to
know, what we expect them to be able to grasp, and what content is

On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 4:30 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:

> If you don't have a strong background in a field then drinking from
> the fire hose of full-complexity concepts is hard no matter if you are
> a child or not. If you do have a reasonable background a simplified
> article will be patronizing and, worse, not especially useful.
I don't think there's anything wrong with making assumptions about what a
person of a given age is likely/expected to know: school curricula are based
upon such assumptions, after all.  Children who find "kiddie books"
patronizing and useless can choose to access the "grownup" versions
instead.  It has been ever thus with precocious youth.  But I certainly
agree with you that we shouldn't expect kids to know/be able to grasp less
about everything; we should expect kids to know more about things that kids
tend to know more about.

I hope the study that the Board is commissioning consults with educators who
teach at any age levels we might think about creating new projects for.

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