First, I want to respond to the structural questions, among them some
which I didn't mention:

In short, we can because we have organizational infrastructure,
capable to work with local people and bring them to edit Wikipedia and
other Wikimedia projects. That's not the rocket science.

Working with others: Of course! We are not the body which standardize
characters, neither we are an academic institution capable to describe

However, standardization and language description are not the actions
which create content in particular language, which makes languages
living. It's about writing texts in those languages. Writing
encyclopedia, books etc. is about creating content.

Balazs, we are not reinventing the wheel; it doesn't exist. Sounds
unbelievably? It sounded to me, as well, some five years ago. Besides
loose connection between linguists on Linguist list, Ethnologue is the
most important global institution. And it did nothing more than
translating Bible and quite bad description of the main
characteristics of the languages. Everything else is scattered all
over completely disconnected university departments all over the

Our civilization is pathetic? Yes, I know.

Unbelievably, but we are the only global movement capable to do that.
That's where our responsibility lies. We can, others can't.

== Structural issues ==

But we have significant structural issues which we should address:

* As I mentioned above, 1 active editor for a language with 10,000 of
speakers and 10 active editors for a language with 100,000 of speakers
is not enough. We need to raise participation for an order of
magnitude. To do that, we can't rely on Internet hype. Even if miracle
happens, it is not sustainable. We have to work with real people, to
go all over the places where our chapters exist and show those people
how they can contribute to Wikimedia projects.

* After the initial hype, which is responsible for ~200 language
editions of Wikipedia, during the best years we were getting ~10 new
editions. If we want to cover 3000 languages, we'll need 300 years for
the job.

* If we switch the number above and say that we want to get 300 new
editions per year and to finish the job in 10 years, it would mean
that we'll have 25 new language editions of Wikimedia projects per
month on average. That's possible in relation to the field work, while
quite problematic for our own inertia.

If we have 25 groups -- I am not talking here about chapters, but
about sub-chapter groups as well -- which have one event per month in
order to create one language edition of Wikipedia (that's not one time
job, but we can wait for one year to start counting this), we could
have 25 new language editions per month.

And we have chapters or quite organized groups in many places where
language diversity is significant enough: India, Indonesia,
Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Australia, Canada, Mexico,
Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Russia. If we have two
groups per each of those countries, we can do the job. And I am not
counting possibility that we could get new chapters in other
linguistically diverse countries, like Thailand, Nepal and Papua New
Guinea are.

At the other side, it would be significant strike to our capabilities
to approve those projects. We have issues at every step and it usually
takes a lot of time to get one project running.

== Ideas and experiences ==

I would like that we are talking mostly about this topic. I think that
some of the problems are not real problems and that others are serious
obstacles. But whatever I think, whoever detects a problem, it would
be good to start thinking how to solve it. Various experiences are
also important. But I would like to get them in more generalized way.

* We have the problem of declining number of participants. We could
deploy various methods how to overcome them. There is no one
particular reason for the declining number of participants. Some of
the reasons are beyond our abilities (Facebook is more fancy), some of
them are structural and hard to tackle (general trend of having more
academic knowledge, harder and harder for newcomers), but some of them
are realistic (people who don't know that they could participate in
writing encyclopedic materials).

And even I would think that it's possible to work on overcoming
declining participation on German Wikipedia, Hubert has shown that
it's possible. I used to count on Molotov cocktails, not on heavy
artillery :)

Hubert, there is hint for you: Few years ago Language committee has
reserved all ISO 639-6 codes [1] as possible names of Wikimedia
projects (triggered by usage of, which is, in fact,
a valid ISO 639-3 code). While nothing in particular has been
discussed, there is obviously a field for some types of Wikimedia
projects based on dialects.

* We have chapters in the regions where a lot of languages are spoken.
What about incorporating inside of the next annual plan monthly visits
to various parts of countries and working on creation of the new
language editions? What about sharing experiences from those efforts?

* A number of languages don't have proper representation in Unicode;
thus we should work with Unicode in relation to that. A lot of
languages don't have orthographies, thus we should help those people
to have their own orthographies.

* Amir, when Serbs got their own modern orthography, public schools
was just in the initial creation. Serbia was a country with ~95% of
illiterate villagers. In fact, the first ruler of modern Serbia was
illiterate (but clever enough to start the process of introducing
literacy). Contemporary literacy assumes computer usage. We can get
literate elites of those societies to write on Wikipedia, for the
beginning. Their Enlightenment Age is now. And we should shift our
thoughts from "it would be impossible to us" to "it is possible to

* Nemo, the right approach is: those projects failed and there are
reasons for that. What are the reasons? How can we fix it in future
cases? How can we revive failed projects? I don't accept "not
possible" answer :)

* Hubert, I'd like that we create a common place for sharing ideas,
approaches and experiences from those approaches, based on particular
cultural context. We won't get a lot at the beginning, counting that
we should start working as soon as possible. But after time passes,
we'll build considerable resource and organizational structure for
doing the job. Experiences from your work with dialects of Austria is
very important. Although it can't be transferred to New Guinea as-is,
it would for sure open many questions and give us a clue how to solve

I'd like to keep this discussion for few days more here, then I'll
transfer the sum of our discussion on Meta.


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