Saturday, February 18, 2006

White spelling

When you consider Wikimedia projects, one of the leading guidelines is the NPOV. The Neutral Point Of View is one of the most important things in dealing with differences of opinion. Particularly for Wikipedia it is really relevant. It gets the sting out of many arguments because what you can quarrel over is limited. Prove your point and show that it is a fair representation.

Getting into an argument about NPOV on a Wiktionary is different because you define a concept well and when someone is of the opinion it means that you define another concept. Technically they are DefinedMeaning in WiktionaryZ. So today I had one of these NPOV situations. Something to do with my mother tongue.

The official spelling is published in what is known as the "groene boekje". The latest version was published in 2005. There are a few problems with it; it is a proprietary list so organizations like Open Office cannot get it to build new spell checkers, it is also not available as a list of Expressions for WiktionaryZ. The datadesign is such that it allows for spellings that are correct according to an authority.

The other big problem is acceptance. Yes, it is the official spelling, but what if people and certainly big publishers do not accept it ? There is a new movement called "Witte spelling" that intends to create an alternative that is less confusing. This will result in a list of words spelled correctly according to this list. It results in a "green" and a "white" spelling. When we get the witte spelling as a resource, we can create a spell checker for Open Office, we can inform about the correct spelling according to the while spelling..

From a NPOV point of view, doing it in this way is problematic. The official spelling gets underrepresented, but how can we do it justice as it is proprietary? In several way the official spelling becomes less relevant..

If anything this is a great example that making what is supposed to be a standard proprietary, is a self defeating strategy.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since my native language is Dutch too, this concerns me. I had never heard of this "witte spelling", but if it is open and thus can be used freely it is superior to what the "Groene boekje" does. So we should get people to reject the proprietary spelling and get wide support for this "Witte spelling".