[Wikipedia-l] Re: Gothic Wikipedia

Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales jwales at wikia.com
Sun Sep 19 13:01:09 UTC 2004

Mark Williamson wrote:
> The reasons you work on the project can't justify helping to build an
> encyclopedic resource for a fledgling community of native speakers who
> will start growing into such a resource in the next couple of years?
> Just curious, but what exactly are the reasons you work on this
> project, and what requirements must a language meet to be justifiable
> in terms of them?

It's important for all of us to all remember that we are all
volunteers, and "I don't feel like it" is always a valid reason for
not doing anything at all.

I share Tim's concerns about small wikis, and some more besides.  For
example, we don't have a big problem with wiki spam on large busy
wikis, but it is a problem that is only going to grow worse, and small
wikis without active communities will be ripe targets.

There was a time when we tended to say yes (accidentally or otherwise)
to just about every proposed language.  But the simple fact of the
matter is that we've already done all the easy cases of general
interest, and the languages that we don't have are all going to need
some scrutiny.

I express no opinion on Gothic; I simply don't know enough to know.
But I do make these observations... (1) while there appear to be
somewhere between several hundred and several thousand speakers, to my
knowledge *none* of those speakers use Gothic as their primary
language or would have difficulty finding encyclopedia information in
a language that they do understand (2) therefore, this is more of a
linguistic research matter, so I wonder if perhaps what is really
wanted is a wikibook type of place where speakers can share texts in
the language, write texts in the language, write textbooks to help
others learn the language, etc.

The same argument could be given for other dead languages, but it's
important to remember that we don't have to be consistent, when there
are historical factors (historical to our project) involved.  Reading
about the moon landings in Latin is a fun curiosity, not a necessity
for our project, and presumably the Latin wikipedia might have such a


More information about the Wikipedia-l mailing list