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

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Sat Jun 26 18:50:09 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jun 26, 2010 at 5:18 PM, Ilario Valdelli <valdelli at gmail.com> wrote:
> In Italian Wikipedia, for example, we have had long time ago a project
> with the aim to create a structure of any article of physics with a
> section for "easy readers".
> The project has failed because the most difficult point for a
> physician is to explain a complicated concept with easy concepts (and
> not necessary with easy words).

Explaining without technical terms inside of the introduction is good
idea, but it is not good idea to explain all aspects in simple
language. For example, I see nothing problematic in the article
Photosynthesis on en.wp [1] or with the Second law of thermodynamics
[2], although I am not a biologist nor physicist.

In the first case, it is hard to me to follow the article from the
section "Light reactions". In the second case, it is hard to me to
follow the article from the section "Available useful work". But, the
fact that my knowledge about those phenomena is not so good doesn't
mean that those articles should be dumb enough to explain to me all of
the things. If I want to understand photosynthesis and the second law
of thermodynamics, I should spend enough time in understanding other
concepts. Wikipedia in English has everything needed for understanding
those two concepts.

So if someone is willing to understand photosynthesis or the second
law of thermodynamics, he or she has choice: (1) to be content with
introduction or (2) to learn everything needed to understand both of

*Some* professions have ordinary language-like registers. Law is one
of them. But, there should be an encyclopedic article (or more of them
or book...) which describes that registry.

Explaining not obvious phenomena is not possible without learning in
layers. The fact that there are very complex and hard to understand
science fields means exactly that: there are complex and hard to
understand science fields. Some people doesn't like that fact, but it
is the problem of that person, not the problem of scientists.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis
[2] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics

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