Steven announced that he will send another mail with arguments in favour of
the approval of Montenegrin. You seem unwilling to consider new arguments.
That's ok, you can do that. I won't.

The question which he was asked was "Why do you think Langcom is wrong
about Montenegrin?". I don't see how you can say he did not answer that
question after these mails arrived.

2018-03-06 6:48 GMT+01:00 Gerard Meijssen <>:

> Hoi,
> These argument has been dealt with in the last week and Steven threatened
> to make this post because he did not get his way. He has been a asked a
> question by one of the other members of the committee that he did not
> answer. As far as I am concerned there is no room for forum shopping, this
> post was known by him to be seen as problematic. It is. It only solidifies
> the shared opinion that there will be no project in Montenegrin.
> Thanks,
>        GerardM
> On 6 March 2018 at 00:28, Steven White <> wrote:
>> *I. The language itself*
>> The proponents of the project have convinced me that Montenegrin is
>> comparable as a language standard to Serbian, Croatian or Bosnian. That, by
>> itself, does not justify the creation of a Montenegrin Wikipedia. Surely
>> it's mutually intelligible with other varieties, so to that extent you
>> could argue that Montenegrin speakers *could *contribute elsewhere (at
>> least if forced, but see points below). That having been said, if we were
>> starting over now—if we had no projects in Serbo-Croatian at all, or if
>> only the macrolanguage project currently existed—it would be very hard to
>> justify treating any of the four differently from each other.
>> If that were the current situation, I'd probably agree with you not to
>> create Montenegrin Wikipedia ... or Serbian, Croatian or Bosnian. But if
>> you insisted on creating the other three, I would require you to create
>> Montenegrin, too.
>> *II. Current facts on the ground*
>> The proponents of the project have convinced me that, at best, it is
>> difficult for Montenegrins to contribute constructively to the other
>> projects. This is true from the point of view of both language standards
>> and content. There are many examples both of NPOV violations on subjects
>> related to the politics of the region and on the use of
>> Montenegrin linguistic varieties being rejected on the other projects.
>> Based on the usual standards of project autonomy, it is very difficult for
>> us to force these other communities to give equal access to the Montenegrin
>> community.  (And to some extent, it's probably reasonable for the Serbian,
>> Croatian and Bosnian projects to prefer their own linguistic standards,
>> even if the NPOV issue itself is still a problem on those projects.)
>> As far as the macrolanguage project itself, I suppose we could hope to
>> reserve that for the use of Montenegrin. But we can't really enforce that
>> position on that community, either. And shwiki is such a mess now that the
>> Montenegrin community would have an easier time starting over than in
>> fixing it.
>> The other result of all this is that a lot of Montenegrins simply don't
>> care to participate; they simply don't want to bother fighting. And that
>> goes toward violating WMF's goal to give everyone access, as per the next
>> point.
>> *III. Rule 3:  "Sufficiently unique" vs. "free and unbiased access"*
>> The long-time position being articulated by members of the
>> committee relies on Point 3 of the "Requisites for eligibility":  "The
>> language must be sufficiently unique that it could not coexist on a more
>> general wiki." It seems to me, though that the rest of the point is being
>> ignored: "The committee does not consider political differences, since
>> the Wikimedia Foundation's goal is to give every single person free,
>> unbiased access to the sum of all human knowledge, rather than information
>> from the viewpoint of individual political communities."
>> The position that "the committee does not consider political differences"
>> is a fine one when we are starting off on a level playing field. But under
>> the circumstances, it is my view that it is not viable to ignore political
>> differences in this case. After all, the current situation is not one where
>> "the viewpoint of individual political communities" is fully equal. Where
>> we are now, in fact, is that every single "individual political
>> community"—except the Montenegrin community—has its viewpoint already
>> entrenched in the system. If we do not consider political differences in
>> this case, we are, in fact, entrenching the viewpoint of some individual
>> political communities at the expense of others. And that expressly violates
>> the remit of the Language Committee.
>> I suppose that instead of creating Montenegrin Wikipedia, we could try to
>> get the other projects to give equal access to the Montenegrin community.
>> Good luck enforcing that, though.
>> I will argue in point V below that it is more politically neutral to
>> allow Montenegrin than to reject it.
>> *IV. Committee position on macrolanguages*
>> The committee's current position allows projects in macrolanguages
>> sometimes, but expresses a clear bias in favor of having projects in
>> individual component languages rather than in macrolanguages.  It is clear
>> that this position is not absolute. Still, ruling against Montenegrin goes
>> *against* that trend, rather than for the trend.
>> *V.  Language codes, LoC/SIL and LangCom's neutrality*
>> Surely, the main reason we rely on SIL's decisions around language codes
>> is that they are the official standard-keeper, and we are not. But as part
>> and parcel of that, by relying on SIL's decisions, we are putting the
>> burden of sorting out linguistic considerations from political ones on SIL,
>> not on ourselves. Now, we are all aware that sometimes, at the borders, we
>> might prefer to see things differently from the way SIL does. That is why
>> there is now a procedure in place for situations where language codes don't
>> exist. But unquestionably the existence or non-existence of a language code
>> represents a strong default position on how LangCom should act. Indeed, we
>> normally require a supermajority to allow projects that don't have
>> ISO 639–3 codes.
>> In the past, part of the argument against Montenegrin has been "SIL
>> [Ethnologue] describes it as just another name for Serbo-Croatian". Fine.
>> Then, it was a politically neutral decision to reject Montenegrin,
>> and would have been a politically "motivated" position to accept it.  Now,
>> the situation is reversed. Now, it is a politically neutral decision to
>> accept Montenegrin, and a politically "motivated" position to reject it.
>> I am fully aware that many of you believe that Montenegrin's winning of a
>> code was a political, rather than a purely linguistic, victory. There are
>> academics who don't agree with that, but suppose that it is true. Let that
>> be SIL's problem (or the Library of Congress's), not ours. When we choose
>> to disagree with SIL, I think we have to justify that.
>> Finally, let me add that the Montenegrin community managed to get action
>> not only at SIL, but actually at LoC first, getting the first change to ISO
>> 639–2 in about five years. Again, maybe that was a political victory. But
>> personally I don't think we ought to putting ourselves in a position where
>> we are second-guessing all these experts.
>> *VI. The Incubator test*
>> The rules for allowing a test on Incubator are less stringent than the
>> rules for approving a project. Accordingly, there has been a test project
>> on Incubator since December. At this point, it is probably the
>> highest-quality project we have in Incubator now, including the ones just
>> being approved.  There are about 65 editors (33 with over ten edits each)
>> and 1,200 main space pages in the project.  Pretty much none of them are
>> the 1–2 sentence pages we often see on Incubator projects. Of the ten pages
>> I just checked, nine had references, and the other was a list page. Solely
>> on the basis of whether the community is working to create a serious
>> encyclopedia project consistent with WMF's goals, I'd say that this
>> community is very deserving of recognition.
>> *VII.  Appearance of neutrality and fairness*
>> Say what you will about the rules, a situation where Montenegrin doesn't
>> get a code appears profoundly unfair.  Superficially, this situation is not
>> much different from supporters of Ancient Greek complaining that Latin has
>> a project, but they don't, because the rules changed at a certain point.
>> But the intense political rivalry in the Balkans makes this a much less
>> trivial case; after all, supporters of Ancient Greek don't try to interfere
>> with the use of Latin on Latin Wikipedia. This case is simply one that I
>> don't think we can justify by falling back on the rules.  I'd far rather
>> "bend the rules" in the direction of fairness—particularly because I don't
>> even think this would be bending the rules. I think the rules can easily be
>> interpreted to allow Montenegrin, rather than to reject it.
>> *Conclusion*
>> Several people have said to me that Montenegrin is more similar to other
>> Serbo-Croatian varieties than US and UK English are to each other; would I
>> insist on separate projects if they happened to have separate language
>> codes? No, I wouldn't. But that's because on the whole, the various
>> English-speaking communities around the world do manage to co-exist with
>> each other quite well—and tend to blunt each other's excesses a bit, too.
>> Sadly, that's not the case here. It is difficult, though not quite
>> impossible, to justify Montenegrin Wikipedia solely on the grounds of
>> linguistic uniqueness. But based on every other criterion we are supposed
>> to evaluate, if we were starting over now, we'd either have only one
>> Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia, or we would have separate projects for Serbian,
>> Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin. Since we can't stuff the other three
>> back in the bottle, the right thing to do now is to accept Montenegrin
>> Wikipedia.
>> Respectfully,
>> Steven
>> Sent from Outlook <>
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