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

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 10:37:56 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 1:51 AM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes.  We should definitely lay the groundwork well, as Ziko says.  But
> there are good projects underway today and doing this, in spanish,
> french, and dutch.  Some of the organizers of those projects have
> contributed to the Wikikids proposal on meta.  We can start by
> directing energies there, finding out what Vikidia has learned running
> projects in French and Spanish, what their standards for
> project-creation are, and how we can help them.

If we want to go this way, our task will be complex. I don't think
that we should be afraid of it, but I think that the most of
participants are underestimating its complexity.

There are a number of important questions to be answered before start
of such project:
* Do we have a consistent pedagogical platform for creating such project?
* How can we be sure that we will have enough relevant pedagogues per
project? Would we pay them? Or would we create projects with other
organizations to have them payed?
* Who will be the main editors of the project? Children of any age? Or
parents? If parents, I am deeply concerned which social and
ideological groups we would attract.
* Is it possible to have such Wikipedia-like project, where
communities are doing self-regulation? My assumption, based on 6.5
years of Wikimedian work, is that it is not possible. (To be more
precise: Project per se could be successful in gathering editors, but
it will end as Simple English Wikipedia or as Conservapedia.)
* Would it be better to find volunteers or hire someone to create a
project similar to the printed edition of German Wikipedia? First to
create "illustrated Wikipedia for children", then to create Wikipedias
for every age of cognitive development.
* Do we have any clue how crowd sourcing will work with ages between 8
and 15? Even though it would be regulated by pedagogues.
* How group dynamics would look like inside of the project with 8
years old and 15 years old?
* How many pedagogues are able to drive this kind of project? In our
civilization, pedagogues are product of Industrial Age education and
they are doing Industrial Age teaching, which is in collision with
open culture. I think that the right time for relatively open, mass
collaboration project will be when those born in 1995, generation
grown up on Wikipedia and open culture, become pedagogues. Around
2020. (I am not saying that there are no pedagogues able to do this.
However, we don't need a couple of pedagogues, we need strong
pedagogical basis to have possibility to create such kind of project.)
* etc.

We are all amateurs in cognitive development. My two exams in this
field makes me an expert on this list. And we don't need just
professionals, but extraordinary professionals. And those
professionals have to be introduced well in Wikimedia culture.

> But the teachers there also asked for a simpler-language project in
> Spanish, and a simple project in English to help students with
> language learning.

In Serbian we say "you are mixing grandmothers and frogs" :)

I would add one more important implementation of simple-like project:
Controlled language [1] project. It would allow much easier
translation between languages.

But, those are three different implementations. We would need
"Wikimedia for children", "Wikimedia for learning languages" and
"Wikimedia for machine translation".

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_natural_language

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