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

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 22:26:07 UTC 2010


I am inclined to agree with you. As someone who is not so far removed
from his own adolescence, I can attest that I've always found
"Children's writing" to be incredibly condescending and even
demeaning. Perhaps I was not a typical child, but ever since about 7
years of age I really hated those books that talked down to children
as if we were dumb. I have heard (and I am not an expert) from many
people the idea that you will get what you give, meaning that if you
treat an adolescent as if they were a criminal, they will often become
a criminal; it seems to me that if we treat children as dumber
versions of adult human beings, they will grow up to be just that.
(again, I'm not an expert)


On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 11:28 AM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 2:41 PM, Ziko van Dijk <zvandijk at googlemail.com> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> Recently there has been a controversy on Wikipedia in German about
>> extra articles in simple language. Authors of its medical group wanted
>> to create sub pages suitable for children, believing in an urgent
>> need. [1]
>> In the discussion, the question of creating a Wikipedia in simple
>> German came up.
>> As we know, to-day Wikimedia language committee policies prohibit a
>> new Wikipedia in a language that already has a Wikipedia. The
>> existence of a Wikipedia in simple English refers to the fact that it
>> had been created before that policy of 2006.
>> 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?
> Wait!
> Writing dumb articles because of thinking that children are dumb is
> dumb. And not just dumb, but deeply ageist and discriminatory.
> Considering, for example, Piaget's [1] theory, timeline of cognitive
> development is:
> * The earliest usual learning of writing is around 5.
> * At around 8 children are able to read without problems.
> * At around 10 children cognitive system is almost the same as adult.
> * Between 13 and 15, depending on climate, life conditions and
> culture, and not counting extremes, cognitively there are no children
> anymore, there are young adults. Cognitively, the only difference
> between them and 10-20 years older humans is in experience and
> knowledge.
> That means that the target for writing "simple" Wikipedia is for
> children between 8 and 10.
> So, I would like to see scientific background *before* mentioning
> "simple" or "junior" or whatever project: For which age should be,
> let's say, Junior Wikipedia? For all minors? For primary school
> minors? One article for those old 7 and 15 years? Considering Simple
> English Wikipedia, this is purely pseudoscientific attempt. Wishful
> thinking of creating family friendly project with dumb language.
> But, I am not trying to say that WikiMedia Junior won't be useful.
> Yes, it will be very useful if it would be driven well. However, I am
> deeply skeptical about crowd sourcing of such thing. It will finish as
> Simple Wikipedia, which main purpose is having fun by reading random
> articles on parties -- at the best. At the worst, it will finish like
> Conservapedia with dumb language. Actually, with many dumb languages.
> If we really want to go this way, the only relevant approach is by
> finding relevant pedagogues who would lead child contributors. Such
> project has to be very well structured, with year or two of relevant
> work before going online. However, I see this as very unrealistic at
> this moment.
> [1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Piaget
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