[Wikipedia-l] Languages: crossing a border?

Brion Vibber brion at pobox.com
Mon Apr 5 04:38:06 UTC 2004

On Apr 4, 2004, at 21:26, Erik Moeller wrote:
> I realize that Brion is a fan of languages, and since he sets up those
> wikis he pretty much decides what is acceptable. Shouldn't those 
> languages
> undergo some basic public approval process first, though, so that we 
> can
> determine whether there is really any value in creating them? In my
> opinion, Wikipedia should not be a promotional vehicle for other 
> people's
> pet projects.

The value of a Wikipedia project wiki comes in several ways:

First, there's the long-term goal of being a useful informational 
resource for the public.

Second, there's the short-term enjoyment we Wikipedians get from 
working on the project.

Third, there's spill-over in getting people involved. Grabbing people's 
interest for one project can get them interested in another one, or 
more generally in the Free/Open Source ideals.

Certainly there are people who have derided the existence of the 
Esperanto-language Wikipedia, but having it has brought a number of 
people to Wikipedia in general, such as myself, who might not have been 
called to it otherwise. I started patching the old UseMod wiki to 
better support Esperanto and Unicode, and ended up pretty much 
maintaining the software and server config.

Will an Esperanto-language Wikipedia really educate lay readers in the 
future better? Maybe, maybe not. But as a recruiting tool it's 
certainly been a success, and I'd rather not begrudge that chance to 

-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)

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