On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 1:15 AM, Asaf Bartov <abar...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> 4. What does interest me, as a grantmaker, is where to draw the line
> between the Rapa Nui end of the spectrum and languages that, with some
> active promotion, could well become useful and much-needed reference
> sources in some cultures.  In other words, *what are the prerequisites for
> a viable Wikipedia in a given language?*  At least good odds for one.
> Instinctively, I think those prerequisites would be some combination of:
> - number of literate speakers with Internet access (audience)
> - number of literate speakers with Internet access, education, and spare
> time (prospective editors)
> - availability of secondary sources in that language
> - availability of news sources in that language
> - reasonable way to type the language into a computer

After a general response about "can", here is more practical one.

I have pretty good clue about what's reasonable to do and what's not.
For my presentation in Haifa I did quite good work in data mining
Ethnologue's database. During this week I'll familiarize with what I
did previously and start to organize data. (Likely on a wiki which
I'll create for myself, but the data could be easily transferred to
Meta or any other Wikimedia project when we realize where the home of
such project would be in the future; also, organizational work and
discussion should take place on Meta, of course; also, should check
relevant existing pages.)

Basically, there are few groups which should be our focus:
* Languages with more than 10,000 of speakers with positive attitude
toward language and accessible electricity. (If there is electricity,
some internet exists.)
* Smaller languages with highly positive attitude among speakers.
Although I am quite skeptical about languages below around 10,000
speakers, there are non-moribund languages with much less speakers.
Electricity also counts.
* Smaller languages inside of OECD countries. That could be about
regional languages (continental continuum of Germanic languages is the
most important example), but I am mostly thinking about native
languages of countries like Australia and Canada are, as well as about
remains of colonies of France, UK, Netherlands and US. Here we could
get strong support from particular governments (like it's in WM FR

The purpose of this brain storming is also to create targets. I don't
think that WM ID should go into a random part of West Papua and try to
make contact with native people. There are languages with more than
one million of speakers without Wikipedia and those people live in
areas with electricity and internet access. (From what I remember, the
largest language has more than 10 millions of speakers, but Indian
government treats it as a part of Hindi.)

We'll need months or even a year to prepare things in the right way.
We can create targets based on Ethnologue data, but their data are not
that reliable. It should be checked... And then we could list the
targets for the chapters.

I wouldn't say that lack of sources or newspapers in particular should
stop us from doing the job. I wouldn't say that lack of orthography
should stop us, neither. We should list the obstacles and if we are
not capable to do something alone, we should call other organizations
to help us. It could be about resources -- including money --, it
could be about expertise. If particular group has strong positive
attitude toward their native language and they have technological
minimums to work on Wikipedia, we should do our best to help them.

I am also talking here not about Wikipedia as the necessary first
project. Having good Rapa Nui dictionary on English Wiktionary is
quite good solution for that case. Which, in turn, reminds me that we
should adopt OmegaWiki.

And, finally, I have to say that I really appreciate your input
because of realistic approach. I do think that it's more possible than
you think, but it's always good to have someone who is a bit more
skeptical :)

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