Monday, August 17, 2009

How about an Old Greek Wikiquote or Wikisource

The language policy is clear; no dead languages are allowed. The only exception is for a Wikisource. For as long as the language policy exists, there was opposition because Ancient Greek is so much like Latin and, there is a thriving Wikipedia for that language.

I have been asked if I would oppose a Wikiquote in Ancient Greek. It is easy to argue that a Wikiquote and a Wikisource are both based on what is already there. One thing I do not want is for either project to have its user interface in Old Greek, The policy says that the modern version of the language is to be used for the user interface and annotations.

There are a few issues:
  • The Ancient Greek user interface makes use of Katharesouva to fill in the concepts not available
  • Ancient Greek is of interest not only to people who speak modern Greek.
The first issue is very much not for me / the language committee to decide, it is for the powers that be at

The second one is something that would work when the annotations are translated and can show up in the language of the user interface of the reader. The question then would be what the default language would be.. I could even imagine that this would be something where quotes are available in other languages as well..

All in all, at this stage it is still not clear to me how to deal with Ancient Greek. I know and respect the people who ask for it but at the same time there are technical challenges that I do not know we can meet.


Stan said...

The language policy is "clear", says Gerard. There "was" opposition, says Gerard.

Gerard, you can be a very difficult person sometimes, but this is taking it too far. The reason the language policy remains as such is **only** because the language committee is not accountable to the community. The opposition to the committee and its policy exists just as it always did, but has been silenced since people saw that to disagree was like talking to a brick wall.

Ancient Greek is **not** a dead language, any more than Latin is, as anyone involved in the world of classics (or religion) knows. It is a classical language, not a dead one. And even if you continue to insist that a classical language *must* be a dead one (which is untrue), it is still quite clear that it serves as an important educational tool to spreading the corpus of knowledge, i.e. the mission of Wikimedia.

There are highly educated people who would like to build a Wikipedia in Old Greek, which would eventually become a Wikimedia gem. It is sad that you continue to prevent that.

GerardM said...

The language policy is a compromise between on the one hand people who do not want any other Wikipedia and on the other hand people who want a Wikipedia for any language never mind if there is a community to support it.

Your opinion is clearly from a position that is in favour of an Ancient Greek Wikipedia. That is fine. You may have noticed that I am putting arguments forward for having a Wikiquote in Ancient Greek.

Any way, giving that the two camps around languages have not changed their position, the policy is functional and this has been proven by the recent creation of five new wikis.

geraki said...

Granted, Ancient Greek is not a dead language but a classical language. That doesn't mean that it can describe the modern world as an encyclopedia must be doing. Trying to do that, you'll find obstacles where that language cannot describe anything beyond the time that has turned from a live language to a classic one. How on earth would someone write an article about a positron, a spacecraft, a recent advance in science in a classic language. That would introduce neologisms such those that can be found in the grc test project at the incubator: Νεοικουμένη for America, Περουΐα for Peru, Κογγὼ Βραζαπολίτικη for Congo-Brazzaville!

Beyond the technicalities there is a more persistent problem, the creation of a community. There is some strange here: A lot of request for the creation of greek projects without the existence of a real base of people to really work on a project. Greek Wikinews at the incubator stalled at 6 or less articles while it is the only proposal with legitimate reasons to be created. The proposal for an Ancient Greek Wikiquote comes after a (probably failed) proposal for an Ancient Greek Wikisource. But Greek Wikiquote already contains Ancient Greek quotes, exactly as Greek Wikisource contains Ancient Greek texts, and none of the proposers did try to work on these projects. I guess that it's a new concept where "success" is defined as the initial creation of a project and not its growth, as it is suggested from the progress of Pontic Wikipedia which has already stalled.

I wish that the language committee create a better protocol to assess proposals for new projects, examining if the proposers that confirm that they are "interested in forming an editing community" are really speakers of the language and that they really intent to edit that project (and not just suggesting that it's a good idea).

Zack said...

The Pontic Wikipedia is "living and thriving" it may not be so active but you know that especially in this period there is no much activity in greek projects.

I have tried to work on el.wq but almost all of the content that has in grc (which is not in any case so much as in hasn't got diacritics (which is very important in grc as you know) and all the grc quotes (with some exclusions) are as the english quotes for example, there is the quote into the original language (in this case grc or en) but there is also a translation in el following the quote. Also there are many people who DO understand grc but they DO NOT understand el so they cannot work on el.wq.

I agree with you that a should not launch since the does its job but I do not think that the wq is the same case.

Finally you should check the analysis of the requests to see that there is a requirement to have three steady contributors active for three consecutive months.