imo there are a whole bunch of organizations and projects much better aimed
and developed towards this question; I'd rather map them and contact the
most developed ones instead of reinventing the wheel.


PS: This "because we can" reasoning is very very thin btw. (source?)

2014-04-20 5:46 GMT+02:00 Milos Rancic <>:

> There are ~6000 languages in the world and around 3000 of them have
> more than 10,000 speakers.
> That approximation has some issues, but they are compensated by the
> ambiguity of the opposition. Ethnologue is not the best place to find
> precise data about the languages and it could count as languages just
> close varieties of one language, but it also doesn't count some other
> languages. Not all of the languages with 10,000 or more speakers have
> positive attitude toward their languages, but there are languages with
> smaller number of speakers with very positive attitude toward their
> own language.
> So, that number is what we could count as the realistic "final" number
> of the language editions of Wikimedia projects. At the moment, we have
> less than 300 language editions.
> * * *
> There is the question: Why should we do that? The answer is clear to
> me: Because we can.
> Yes, there are maybe more specific organizations which could do that,
> but it's not about expertise, but about ability. Fortunately, we don't
> need to search for historical examples for comparisons; the Internet
> is good enough.
> I still remember infographic of the time while all of us thought that
> Flickr is the place for images. It turned out that the biggest
> repository of images is actually Facebook, which had hundred times
> more of them than the Twitpic at the second place, which, in turn, had
> hundred times more of images than Flickr.
> In other words, the purpose of something and general perception of its
> purpose is not enough for doing good job. As well as comparisons
> between mismanaged internet projects and mismanaged traditional
> scientific and educational organizations are numerous.
> At this point of time Wikimedia all necessary capacities -- and even a
> will to take that job. So, we should start doing that, finally :)
> * * *
> There is also the question: How can we do that? In short, because of
> Wikipedia.
> I announced Microgrants project of Wikimedia Serbia yesterday. To be
> honest, we have very low expectations. When I said to Filip that I
> want to have 10 active community members after the project, he said
> that I am overambitious. Yes, I am.
> But ten hours later I've got the first response and I was very
> positively surprised by a lot of things. The most relevant for this
> story is that a person from a city in Serbia proper is very
> enthusiastic about Wikipedia and contributing to it (and organizing
> contributors in the area). I didn't hear that for years! (Maybe I was
> just too pessimistic because of my obsession with statistics.)
> Keeping in mind her position (she said that she was always complaining
> about lack of material on Serbian Wikipedia, although at this point of
> time it's the encyclopedia in Serbian with the most relevant content)
> and her enthusiasm, I am completely sure that many speakers of many
> small languages are dreaming from time to time to have Wikipedia in
> their native language.
> Like in the case of a Serbian from the fifth or sixth largest city in
> Serbia, I am sure that they just don't know how to do that. So, it's
> up to us to reach them.
> English Wikipedia has some influences on contemporary English language
> ("citation needed", let's say). It has more influences on languages
> with smaller number of speakers, like Serbian is (Cyrillic/Latin
> cultural war in Serbia was over at the moment when Serbian Wikipedia
> implemented transliteration engine; it's no issue now, while it was
> the issue up to mid 2000s).
> But it's about well developed languages in the cultural sense. What
> about not that developed ones? While I don't have an example of the
> effects (anyone, please?), counting the amount of the written
> materials in some languages, Wikipedia will (or already has) become
> the biggest book, sometimes the biggest library in that language; in
> some cases Wikipedia will create the majority of texts written in
> particular language!
> While we think about Wikipedia as valuable resource for learning about
> wide range of the topics, significance of Wikipedia for those peoples
> would be much higher. If we do the job, there will be many monuments
> to Wikipedia all over the world, because Wikipedia would preserve many
> cultures, not just the languages.
> * * *
> There is the question "How?", at the end. There are numerous of
> possible ways and there are also some tries to do that, but we have to
> create the plan how to do that systematically, well, according to our
> principles and goals and according to the reality.
> What we know from our previous experiences:
> * The number of editors has declined and, at the moment, without a
> miracle (or hard work, but I assume the most of our movement is used
> to miracles, not to hard work), the trend will continue. Contrary to
> that, number of readers has increased. Unfortunately, in this case a
> miracle is not necessary for that trend to end.
> * If we count languages with relevant statistics for editors per
> million, the top of them belong either to the highly motivated
> communities (Hebrew), either to the rich countries with harsh climate,
> which makes writing on Wikipedia as a good fun (Estonian, Icelandic,
> Norwegian, Finish), either to the community which belongs to the both
> categories (Scots Gaelic). And it's around 100 users per million.
> If a community has 100,000 of speakers, it would mean that the
> community would have 10 editors with 5 or more edits per month. In the
> cases of the languages with 10,000 of speakers, it would mean 1 editor
> with 5 or more edits per month. That won't work.
> I'd say that Scots Gaelic could be a good test (Wikimedia UK help
> needed!). It's a language with ~70k of speakers and if it's possible
> to achieve 100 active editors per month, we could say that it could
> somehow work in other cases, as well.
> * Besides preserving languages and cultural heritage, we want to have
> useful information on those Wikipedias. That's a tough job for many
> communities because of various issues: from the lack of reasonable
> internet access to the inherent cultural biases.
> But we have some tools -- Wikidata as the most important one -- to
> create a lot of useful content.
> But the entrance level is very high. Editors have to know to use
> computers well, as well as to think quite formally. That's serious
> obstacle in areas without well developed educational systems.
> * Good news is that we have chapters in three countries with a lot of
> languages: India, Indonesia and Australia (though, it's about very
> small languages in Australia; though, Australia is much richer). So,
> we have organizational potential.
> * There are, of course, a lot of other issues. Many of them, actually.
> But if we wouldn't start, we wouldn't do anything.
> * * *
> As you could see, I wrote this not as a kind of plan, but as the set
> of open questions. I'd like your input (first here, then on Meta):
> What do you think? How can we start working on it? What do you think
> it would be the most efficient way? Ways? Any other idea?
> I'd call you to give wings to your imagination. To be able to solve
> that, we need bold ideas. At the other side, I'd appreciate people
> with more organizational skills to give their input, as well.
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