[Wikipedia-l] Conflict between two Wikipedias

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Wed Apr 13 01:26:34 UTC 2005

Hi all,

I think it should be made internationally known (in the Wiki
community, that is - currently it's restricted to people who know
Romanian) that there is currently a problem between the Moldovan (mo:)
and Romanian (ro:) Wikipedias.

According to the Academy of Sciences in Moldova, the two languages are
identical. The Moldovan government says the languages are separate,
and about 1/3rd of the Moldovan population claimed on the last census
that they speak "Moldovan" rather than "Romanian".

For a long time there had been a possible pending addition of a redirect to mo:.

But there is another issue here: 10% of Moldovan people, and 1% of
Moldovan and Romanian people combined, use the Cyrillic alphabet to
write their language.

Cyrillic was the official alphabet in Moldova during the USSR, but
after independence the official script was changed to be identical to
Romanian with a few notable differences, mostly in spelling (the most
important one is that â and î in Romania are both î in Moldova).

To add to the confusion, Cyrillic is still the official script for the
language in the de-facto independent nation of Transnistria, where
Moldovans are a minority. However, Transnistria is not recognised as a
sovreign nation by the UN or any of its members (and the government of
Taiwan), so it isn't generally considered on the same level in such
problems since it doesn't have de jure independence.

Cyrillic was in fact the first script ever used to transcribe the
Romanian language, and only in the past couple of centuries has that
changed mostly to Latin for largely political regions, and now
Cyrillic is seen by many Romanians and Moldovans as a "communist"

000---------------->The conflict is:

mo: has existed for a really long time, but until recently it had no
content whatsoever except a message in the Latin alphabet directing
users to ro:. I added the Cyrillic version of the message, but then
there was a small controversy between myself, OldakQuill, and Danutz
(from ro.wiki) over the situation and the message was first changed
and then deleted, as actual content was added to the Wiki in both

However, after the joining of a second Cyrillic-capable user, it was
decided at mo: to get rid of all Latin-alphabet content since it was
identical to the same articles at ro:. The mainpage was moved to a
Cyrillic title, and a language list and welcome message in Cyrillic
were added. Existing Latin articles were changed to interwiki

A few months later, I got a private message from Ronline (from
ro.wiki), who seemed to me much more logical and reasonable than
Danutz. I thought we would soon achieve consensus but there is one
sticking point.

Since the official alphabet of the "Moldovan language" is Latin, and
the majority of Moldovans use that alphabet, Ronline says that either
mo.wiki should be bi-scriptal, or a separate domain entirely should be
created like "mo-cyr:" or "mo-cyrillic:" for the minority Cyrillic

My position was that since the Moldovan and Romanian languages are
identical, the Moldovan Wikipedia should only have Cyrillic content
since all Latin content would be a duplication of ro.wiki content.

A prominent message on the mo.wiki mainpage, in the Latin alphabet,
states "If you prefer to view content in the Latin alphabet, please
click here" (with a link to ro.wiki). Ronline says this is
unacceptable as it implies that Latin is a second-choice or minority
script for the language, while I say that a great deal of people
desiring separate "Moldovan" content would be searching for Cyrillic.

It is my belief that a seperate subdomain is not only inconvenient,
but also unnessecary because the current solution provides for all
visitors to mo.wiki - if they want to read content in Cyrillic, they
continue, and if they don't, they click a link.

There was some discussion of a biscriptal solution.

I am in favor of a biscriptal solution, if it is implemented on ro:.
At the same time as many of his Romanian compatriots insist that
Romanian and Moldovan are the same language (which I must say, I
largely agree with), he suggests that mo: host entire articles in the
"Moldovan language" written in the Latin alphabet. I suggest that, due
to the near-identicality of "Moldovan" and "Romanian", a biscriptal
solution should only be on ro: (remember, 1% of speakers of the
Moldovan/Romanian language[s] use Cyrillic, and some of them call the
language "Romanian") to avoid duplication of content. However,
according to Ronline this is unacceptable because "Nobody writes
Romanian in the Cyrillic script". Most of the other people at ro: will
agree: many will say (although Ronline has not, Danutz did) at the
same time that Moldovan and Romanian are one language called Romanian,
that some people write "Moldovan" in Cyrillic, but that nobody writes
Romanian in Cyrillic. Also, anti-Russian/anti-Communist feelings would
make it hard for Cyrillic to coexist on ro:, and there is some chance
that the existance of a Cyrillic version would drive potential
Wikipedians away.

As it is now, only myself and two others have made significant content
contributions to mo:, most of it has been in Cyrillic, and what was in
Latin was just identical to the article text on ro.wiki.


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