[Wikipedia-l] Re: One Chinese Wikipedia

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Fri Sep 10 03:40:54 UTC 2004

>As a temporary measure, we are shutting it down right now. Switching
it to read-only, moving it to closed-zh-tw subdomain so people can
salvage their work if it's important.

Because until just now, I was not subscribed to wikipedia-l because I
had no good reason to be, I was not aware of this and nobody bothered
to notify me, which irritates me since quite a few people knew I was
pursuing this project.

>Looking at it, I see exactly 1 user in the past 7 days.  So we are
not stomping on a group of people trying to do something.

Yes, but how many articles? How many of them are unique, or
significantly different from the versions in zh:? And there are 2
registered users; in addition I was planning to get up to 1000
articles and then ask people for support as I had already told many

>If it continues to exist, it would attract an audience even if it is
not a good idea.


>We can leave the issue open for the zh community to decide. I
personally advice for unity.  Similar to "One China, Two Systems", I
propose "One zh, two character sets."

The thing here is this: "One China, Two Systems" applies to HONG KONG,
and not TAIWAN. The "tw" in zh-tw: stands for Taiwan. If it *were* to
apply to Hong Kong, it couldn't be said to be a single language
because the language spoken in Hong Kong is Cantonese.

Wikipedia would be the first major website to pursue a unified zh:,
with IBM, Microsoft, Linux, and just about everybody on the face of
the earth having separate versions for simplified and traditional
Chinese. To have a unified version is not workable.

It is not merely a difference in characters as perhaps some would like
you to believe, but much more than that. It is very easy to convert
traditional characters to simplified, but it is much trickier to do so
vice-versa. zh: is almost completely in simplified chinese.

zh: has in the past had a few different systems for interlinking
articles between the two, and there are hundreds if not thousands of
articles that still use the old systems instead of the current system.

In addition, the entire user interface is in simplified. This makes it
extremely uncomfortable for a person who uses *exclusively*
traditional to use zh:, and it will scare many users away (as
Laurentius admits, sie was at first scared away because of the
dominance of simplified; for every user that comes back after being
initially scared away by this there are perhaps 300 that never come
back). zh-tw:, on the other hand, the last I checked, had a UI
completely in Traditional.

Also, another issue is that currently the article count of zh: is
inflated by the fact that many pages have two versions.

Laurentius is wanting to mischaracterise (no pun intended) the
difference between simplified and traditional chinese as minimal,
which they most certainly are NOT.

If we are to have one dominant version, it should be traditional since
traditional characters are much easier for a simplified user to read
than vice-versa since they already have to learn them to read
classical literature and such.

For example, any random 50 characters you choose in Simplified might
map to any of 100 or so characters in Traditional chinese, as you can
imagine this leads to a great deal of ambiguity.

Also, Laurentius and others are trying to portray events on zh: as
complete 100% consensus that a united version should be kept although
this is far from the truth.

--Jin Jun-shu (Mark Williamson)

More information about the Wikipedia-l mailing list