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

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 22:30:05 UTC 2010

I would like to add:

The internal links used on our projects help avoid many of the
problems of not understanding something. As a 13 year old reader of
Wikipedia some seven years ago, if I did not understand something, I
could always click on the link to a page that would explain it to me.
If I were reading the article on [[Earth]] that Ting's quoted and did
not understand what "terrestrial planet" meant... well, there's a link
right there to help me out. Again, young != stupid.


On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 3:26 PM, Mark Williamson <node.ue at gmail.com> wrote:
> Miloš,
> 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)
> -m.
> 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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