[Wikipedia-l] Re: One Chinese Wikipedia

Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales jwales at wikia.com
Fri Sep 10 11:17:03 UTC 2004

Mark Williamson wrote:
> 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
> people.

The more unique or significantly different articles, the worse the
problem to be sure.

> The thing here is this: "One China, Two Systems" applies to HONG KONG,
> and not TAIWAN.

I know, and I should not have used that terminology.  I was only
drawing an analogy but that particular analogy is fraught with peril.

> 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.

Opinions appear to differ on this.  Most people appear to think that a
unified solution is workable, although it is also acknowledged that
there are significant challenges.

IBM, Microsoft, and others face a different situation and so this
analogy doesn't strike me as compelling.  If you're simply producing
content for outside consumers, you want to make it as comfortable for
them as possible.  But in this case, we are also trying to deal with
the needs of *producers* of content, and also trying to generate
certain conditions "on the ground" that support a strong community
creating good NPOV content.

> 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.

Absolutely, I do understand that it is not merely a difference in

> 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.

I would support the creation of two urls pointing to the same content
with different UIs.  The UI issue can be resolved without splitting
the community.

Alternatively, I wonder if the UI could be further customized to make
it more "international".

> 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.

Well, it is up to the community to decide, and of course the community
as well ought to respect and work with minority viewpoints to try to
reach solutions that resolve problems.

The simple answer of "split into two wikis" doesn't strike me as the
right one.  But this is not something for me personally to decide; I
am unqualified.

The reason I asked Tim Starling to shut down the zh-tw was:
(1) it was only created by accident
(2) only one person was actively using it
(3) that person does not seem to be representative of a broader community
(4) there are huge and permanent implications of splitting up the two, and
such a decision must not be taken lightly

I will not stand in the way of a split, but it needs to be considered very
carefully, and "softer" solutions used wherever possible.


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