Talk:Language proposal policy

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Latest comment: 6 months ago by Liuxinyu970226 in topic RFC Open on Ancient and Historic Languages

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Add Ilonggo and Maranaw wikipedia


Please add the Ilonggo and Maranaw wikipedia to be more language. Thanks! --Cyrus noto3at bulaga (talk) 04:18, 2 February 2017 (UTC)Reply

You need to make requests at RNL, which I see you already started to do. --MF-W 14:52, 2 February 2017 (UTC)Reply

New project


Hello, can somebody create a wiktionary for the There is non at that moment, only that. Thank you kindly! -- Vēnī‧vīdī‧scrīpsī [DM] 19:47, 24 February 2017 (UTC)Reply

"That" (incubator:Wt/cu) is exactly where a Church Slavonic Wiktionary is supposed to be created. Feel free to contribute to it. People need to contribute to that test on Incubator first before there is any chance of an independent subdomain at StevenJ81 (talk) 20:06, 24 February 2017 (UTC)Reply
Hello StevenJ81, how do I need to contribute? I can't see where to create a page, since I'm directly redirected to the Wikimedia incubator. Greetings! -- Vēnī‧vīdī‧scrīpsī [DM] 20:13, 24 February 2017 (UTC)Reply
I do not have a great deal of time at the moment, and will be happy to elaborate more in a day or two. But to make a long story short:
  • On Incubator, you create a Wiktionary page in Church Slavonic the same way you would create a Wiktionary page on any other Wikipedia. The only difference is that the page name has to have the following prefix: Wt/cu/. So you can see that the main page of the Church Slavonic Test Wiktionary is called Wt/cu/главьна страница, instead of just plain "главьна страница" (or, to use Russian Wiktionary as a comparitor, Заглавная страница).
  • Other than that, just continue to create pages. If you need additional information, you can find Wiktionary-specific help on most Wiktionary projects, and Incubator-specific help at incubator:Help:FAQ. Good luck, and thanks for helping! StevenJ81 (talk) 20:22, 24 February 2017 (UTC)Reply
I understand that, but what if I want to create some templates. Do I need to do the same? Because I will need them like every other Wiktionary. And what about MediaWiki:Common.css and .js? They don't exist either. Thank you for helping me. -- Vēnī‧vīdī‧scrīpsī [DM] 20:28, 24 February 2017 (UTC)Reply
You need to create or import templates for this test just as you would in any Wiktionary. (Remember to add attribution when you do that.) Templates would be named Template:Wt/cu/name. As far as Common.css and Common.js go, create them first in mainspace as Wt/cu/Common.css and Wt/cu/Common.js. Then ping me at my Incubator user page and I'll move them into MediaWiki namespace for you. StevenJ81 (talk) 15:30, 27 February 2017 (UTC)Reply

Question on own wikipedia because of cultural differences


How do cultural differences and political hurdles affect the creation of a new wiki, let's say in the case of china and taiwan or ukraine and russia? Any ideas how this works out in practice? Would 2 versions be justified (one in a secure third country), if the political system would be a problem for people making edits? Would be interesting to know. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:38, 21 March 2017 (UTC)Reply

Austrian German


A german editor in the german wikipedia recently blocked a whole ip-rage from Austria for anonymous edits. While I understand the frustration with fake edits by anonymous accounts, this is not well received in Austria, which has a long and rather ambivalent history with germany. So there were talks of forking the german wikipedia. Some of it was fuelled by anger but there were also valid reasons because of different history, culture and langauge traditions that lead to a lot of senseless edit-wars that bind energy and effort and lead to such extreme measures. This could all be avoided with a seperate wiki where the different focus, terminology and language peculiarities could thrive next to each other (Bairisch, too):

  • History Examples: In a lot of history articles persons are referred to as Germans and their language Deutsch which is a misrepresentation of fact that takes hours to edit out (born in city a, now part of country b, earlier part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in a period where it was no longer part of Germany and so on... you get the picture...)
  • Literature and Culture: Germany, Switzerland and Austria (+ Danube States) do have a distinctly different focus on literature (see the genesis and edit discussions over "German Literature" - a lot of energy that could have been better spent with 2 or 3 distinct versions). While Germany's literature was mainly in German, Austrian-Hungarian and Swiss literature was in all languages of the multi-ethnical empire / countries (Schmidt-Dengler et al). This gets sometimes edited out and leads to another sore point and the basis to more edit wars...
  • Links: Austrian German

So, my question: If there are cultural differences that lead to unnecessary edit wars over cultural differences - is a one language version enough - and if yes, is there any chance, an austrian german wikipedia could be created, as it is formally a distinct german based language (ISO and EU)? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:38, 21 March 2017 (UTC)Reply

Wikipedias must have separate languages. As w:Austrian German says, it is a dialect of German, and doesn't have the separate language code required to get its own Wikipedia.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:22, 23 March 2017 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia main extensions group


For your information, recently the message group for the main extensions used on Wikimedia had grown over 5500 messages, despite several rounds of cleanup. Explicitly wanted changes can be seen on the group definition file, but big changes can happen inside extensions when developers add or remove messages. I'm now trying to make the group more human: gerrit:345293, gerrit:345297. Nemo 10:09, 29 March 2017 (UTC)Reply

Why ISO discrimination?


I would like to ask why the languages without ISO codes are discriminated on Wikipedia, a place where in theory people take care of diversity and democracy... (The same policy applies to the musicians without the official CDs - are they worse than those who have sold millions of albums? Should they be banned and forgotten forever because they had no luck? Same situation actually.) prz_rulez (talk) 14:19, 31 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

The "language" without an ISO code that you're talking about is Montenegrin, and Wikimedia has decided not to have multiple Wikipedias for the same language. We have left it up to ISO--in practice, the Library of Congress and the Summer Institute of Linguistics--to decide whether or not two dialects are the same language.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:06, 31 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
@Prz rulez: You can see those examples of languages that without ISO codes:
List of RFL requests inside
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

... and others, how do those proposals senseful? Because we can wait for a code? Because they're just language? This rule is fair, as it can hold up vandalism such as from CasetteTapeMaster. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 06:49, 1 August 2017 (UTC)Reply

No, this rule isn't fair, it's never fair if a couple of people decides for one whole group. If it wasn't about very few enthusiasts, but some Trump-alike businessmen, we would for sure have the situations of briberies in order to get the ISO code. But these enthusiasts often have no real power. Besides, that's sort of unfair to leave such a hard task resting on their shoulders, without any help. If Wikipedia, quote unquote "doesn't want to create new language entities", then why they can't simply call it a dialect and leave them doing their thing? I've always thought that it's in the interest of Wikipedia to have more articles in more and more languages - but it seems that I was wrong... Oh, and justifying such discriminative practice due to a couple of trolling idiots is a really weak borscht. prz_rulez (talk) 15:26, 02 August 2017 (UTC)Reply

I feel a need to step in here, which I was hoping not to do. The vandalism—the "trolling idiots"—really have nothing to do with the situation.
Please read again LPP#Requisites for eligibility. The Wikimedia Foundation simply has not wanted to be in the business of determining what is a language, what is a dialect, and so forth. WMF has felt that the standards organizations—in practice LoC and SIL—are the ones with the expertise to determine this. Accordingly, WMF's basic attitude has been that if the standards organizations are willing to give a code, WMF will not argue the point; similar, if ISO is not willing to give a code, WMF is not planning to argue the point. It is up to individual language communities to make their cases to the standards organizations. Communities that are not able to get an ISO code are always able to create projects elsewhere on the web, such as at the Incubator Plus on Wikia.
You might then say, "Why does WMF feel this way? Why not just open this to anyone?" And the answer is that in the past, this became a free-for-all. And the result of that was that many of the wikis that were consequently created ended up as not representing meaningful, serious projects, but rather only silly or biased or vanity projects. Not all did, of course, but many did. So WMF decided not to allow that to continue, and instead decided that ISO 639 codes were the best reliable, third-party source for determination of what constitutes a language and what doesn't. And on the whole, that's probably accurate.
All of the above having been said: LangCom realizes that there are cases on the edges where the ISO-code situation is perhaps more as much political than as scholarly, and where the ISO-code decisions are therefore perhaps not entirely fair are not entirely in alignment with how WMF would ideally define languages for its own purposes. Accordingly, LangCom is discussing a policy change that will be a little more open than this. Now, until and unless that policy change is adopted, I do not want to say more. I will say that the presumption will remain that ISO-code decisions are accurate; the bar for a language community without its own ISO 639–3 code is going to be quite high to get an approval. But in certain cases it will be allowed.
As far as I'm concerned, Requests for new languages/Wikipedia Montenegrin 5 can stay in place until a decision is made about this new policy, and then a decision is made on whether Montenegrin qualifies under the new policy. My guess is that it will not:
  • At the moment it will be considered a variety of Serbian, and one where the mutual intelligibility is close to 100%
  • The fact that ISO did decide that Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian are separate languages, yet doesn't recognize Montenegrin as one, is going to be a negative factor
    Has the Montenegrin community, or preferably the government of Montenegro, ever formally petitioned for a language code? (On SIL's website, I couldn't find a formal attempt to get Montenegrin a code.) Before you start complaining about the fact that Montenegrin has no code, do that first. Really. Don't write letters to the Library of Congress, make a formal submission.
But I could be wrong about all this, and the situation could certainly change over time. So I suggest that User:prz_rulez be patient, and everyone else not be so accusatory, and let's see how this evolves over time. StevenJ81 (talk) 16:23, 2 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
I will add: If there is an active code request at SIL—and you'll have to show some documentation of it—we will allow you to have a test at Incubator, even if you do not have a language code. The risk, of course, is that if the code request is rejected, we will delete the Incubator test (moving it to Incubator Plus or to any other place of your choice). The place to make such a request is I:RST. But I will be the deciding administrator there, and I will say no unless you can show that there is a formal code request open at SIL. StevenJ81 (talk) 19:17, 2 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
The word "fair", in English, does not mean "you get what you want". I'm glad you can attack the reputations of people who have spent their lives trying to document rare dying languages because their studies have led them to conclude that Montenegrin is a dialect of Serbian.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:28, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
@Prosfilaes: Perhaps the word "fair" wasn't quite right there; I tried to rephrase above. If that's still not quite right, please understand the following:
My intention was not in the least to attack anyone's reputation—I admire SIL's work greatly. But it's no secret that SIL's processes are not always transparent, and it's certainly clear that there are cases on the boundary that could legitimately go either way. If you look at ISO 639–3 § Criticism, you will see that there are expert linguists (which I am not) that express criticism of the 639–3 process. So the whole point here is that while in general everyone is willing to rely on SIL and ISO 639–3—even happy to do so—there may be a few cases right on the borderline where LangCom may want to allow a language/dialect that does not have an ISO 639–3 code. So it is making a narrow provision to allow that in rare cases. StevenJ81 (talk) 13:29, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
Also, in the particular case at hand: I went back to SIL's website this morning.
  • Ethnologue describes Montenegrin as an alternate name for Serbian. And based on all of the standard criteria (things like mutual intelligibility and such), there is every reason for Ethnologue to do so.
  • I also checked whether there had ever been an application to give Montenegrin its own ISO 639–3 code, and the answer to that is "no". In the absence of such an application, and given the point above, there are no grounds to complain that SIL has acted in anything other than a reasonable and appropriate manner.
My conclusion is that until and unless Montenegro (or the Montenegrin language community) applies for a code,[1] it has no right to complain about not having a code, and no right to complain about not getting a Wikipedia of its own. And I'd be pretty surprised if LangCom would grant one of its exceptions in a case where there has never been an application for a code. After all, no application for a code can be taken as a tacit acceptance that Montenegrin is really a version of Serbian. StevenJ81 (talk) 16:15, 3 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
@StevenJ81:, the complaint about "fair" was not targeted at you. Most of the criticism on Wikipedia seems directed towards the idea of a standardized list of languages with immutable tags, which seems material. I don't mind Wikimedia feeling it needs final control on what languages it supports, but I do worry that very few of the controversial languages actually do reach a new group, instead of being a variant of a standardized language wherein all the speakers speak the standardized language.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:50, 4 August 2017 (UTC)Reply
Just wanted to chime in and state that I think the ISO rule is fair. The 639-3 category is comprehensive, so it's not a very demanding or exclusive criterion. It relies on a widely accepted standard to clear up the endless confusion over language and dialect. While I think other policy points are debatable, the ISO rule should remain in effect. Xcalibur (talk) 06:05, 23 September 2017 (UTC)Reply


  1. This would be an ISO 639–3 code from SIL, not a 639–2 code from the LiIbrary of Congress.

Proposal to alter requisite for eligibility #4


(redacted, see: Talk:Language committee/2017#Proposal to alter requisite for eligibility #4)

Better version of code requirement

2. The language must have a valid ISO 639 (-1, -2, -3, -6), BCP 47, or LinguistList code.
  • If there is no valid language code, you must obtain one. The Wikimedia Foundation does not seek to develop new linguistic entities; there must be an extensive body of works in that language or dialect. The information that distinguishes this language or dialect from another must be sufficient to convince SIL, IETF, or Linguist List to create a code.

I feel that this allows more languages to be added. Lojbanist (talk) 23:16, 31 March 2018 (UTC)Reply

I see you've renamed your account. Once again, there's absolutely no evidence that ISO 639-3 is not sufficient for Wikimedia's purposes; there have been but few languages really eligible but for an ISO 639-3 code, and those have managed to gain ISO 639-3 codes. This should be driven by at least one and preferably multiple projects whose main problem is the lack of an ISO 639-3 code.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:27, 1 April 2018 (UTC)Reply
I think you will find LangCom opposed to this idea. Consider the following, with respect to languages for which there is not a valid ISO 639–3 code:
  • All ISO 639–1 codes have corresponding ISO 639–2 codes.
@StevenJ81:   Oppose The Serbo-Croatian has a deprecated ISO 639-1 sh, and an ISO 639-3 code hbs, but it really doesn't have ISO 639-2 code. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 15:26, 16 January 2019 (UTC)Reply
  • All ISO 639–2 codes have corresponding ISO 639-3 codes, with the exception of those marked as collections.
    By definition, "collections" are not languages, and not even macrolanguages. They are collections of languages. As such, they are not eligible for projects in their own right. Their constituent members certainly are. (There are some active projects with collection codes, but they are grandfathered. At some point we will try to move those to different language codes.)
    Some of the resulting ISO 639–3 codes become macrolanguages. That subject is a complex one that I will not elaborate on here. But either the macrolanguage itself or its constituents will always be eligible.
  • ISO 639–6 was withdrawn, so it really has no status. Moreover, certain 639–6 codes represented language variants that LangCom and WMF most assuredly do not want to allow routinely as separate projects, such as script variants and historic variants.
    Disclaimer: We would probably use the ISO 639–6 code for Wawa if a project were ever created. But that's because its ISO 639–3 code is www, which would cause no end of problems to implement.
  • Under certain circumstances, LangCom is (in theory) willing to entertain a project for a language having no ISO 639–3 code, but having a BCP 47 code. See Language committee/Voting policy. Such languages would require a 2/3 affirmative vote to be allowed, and in practice such languages will not get the 2/3 vote unless they first try to get an ISO 639–3 code but fail.
  • Linguist List doesn't assume that everything that it tracks is a language.
StevenJ81 (talk) 21:52, 4 April 2018 (UTC)Reply

Flaws of ISO-639-3

  • The three-letter codes themselves are problematic, because while officially arbitrary technical labels, they are often derived from mnemonic abbreviations for language names, some of which are pejorative. For example, Yemsa was assigned the code [jnj], from pejorative "Janejero". These codes may thus be considered offensive by native speakers, but codes in the standard, once assigned, cannot be changed.
  • The administration of the standard is problematic because SIL is a Christian missionary organization with inadequate transparency and accountability. Decisions as to which proposals for new language codes should be approved are made internally at SIL, without very little outside input. LinguistList, the only people who SIL runs proposals by, have created their own extended version of ISO-639-3, and they're a public mailinglist instead of a secretive group trying to convert isolated tribes to Christianity, so why can't we use a combination of ISO-639, LinguistList, and IETF codes instead of just the ISO codes?
  • Languages and dialects often cannot be rigorously distinguished.

Lojbanist (talk) 01:08, 24 June 2018 (UTC)Reply

Again? You've beat this drum before, and nothing has changed. Wikimedia has ignored ISO 639-3 a couple times, like nds-nl and nds-de, and merging dialects, but in general, ISO 639-3 has worked fine. People can ask for any language they want, and if some language not encoded in ISO 639-3, that SIL refuses to encode in ISO 639-3, is nonetheless deemed eligible, then an IETF code or local code will be found for it. Likewise, if there's an actual community that wants a Wikimedia project but finds the ISO 639-3 code offensive, adding IETF and LinguistList codes won't help anything, and I'm sure Wikimedia can figure out an alternate code.
There's no actual problem; most of the time ISO 639-3 works just fine, and there's no alternatives that could replace it and work better.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:04, 27 June 2018 (UTC)Reply
I'm a member of the IETF-languages list, and it doesn't encode languages in practice; once Michael Everson (the maintainer) threatened to, in order to get SIL to encode it in ISO 639-3, but ISO 639-3 did in fact encode that lect of Sweden as a separate language. In practice, IETF-languages encodes dialects and writing standards, not anything Wikimedia needs to worry about.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:04, 27 June 2018 (UTC)Reply

Start allowing ancient languages


In this page it’s written: “Only Wikisource wikis in ancient or historical languages are accepted, because resources in such languages continue to be important to the world, even in the absence of native, living speakers of those languages. Where possible, such languages should be bundled with the modern equivalent Wikisource project (such as Old English with English), though that is not required.” There is already a Wikipedia in latin, and a Wikipedia in Old English, which are not very small. In my opinion, ancient languages should be allowed for all Wikipedia projects, however with stricter policies to make sure there is a large enough community to expand those wikis. Best regards, Dino Bronto Rex (talk) 14:39, 26 December 2019 (UTC)Reply

I will move this to the talk page of the language comity. Dino Bronto Rex (talk) 14:42, 26 December 2019 (UTC)Reply
[This is the link to the discussion in the language committee tale page], best regards, Dino Bronto Rex (talk) 14:47, 26 December 2019 (UTC)Reply
@Dino Bronto Rex: You might want to see Requests for comment/Start allowing ancient languages? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 22:42, 27 May 2021 (UTC)Reply

A question about fictional languages and proto languages


In this page, it’s written: “Notwithstanding the existence of an ISO 639–3 code, fictional languages are not eligible for projects. Proto-language reconstructions are not eligible for ISO 639-3 codes, so are not eligible for projects.“ Proto languages don’t have in iso 639-3 code, but some fictional languages (like Sindarin) do. Does this sentence mean that fictional languages that do have an iso 639-3 code are eligible for Wikipedia projects? Thanks in advance, RiverThames27 (talk) 08:13, 29 May 2020 (UTC)Reply

I see why you don’t want wikimedia projects in proto language, but if a fictional language has a large enough vocabulary and a large amount of speakers, I don’t see why it can’t have it’s own wikimedia projects (if people are willing to edit it of course). RiverThames27 (talk) 09:23, 29 May 2020 (UTC)Reply
The word "notwithstanding" means no, fictional languages with an iso 639-3 code are not eligible for Wikimedia projects. Fictional languages don't have a large enough vocabulary and don't have enough speakers. Having the Klingon Wikipedia beside the English Wikipedia made some people think neither were serious. There are several websites that will let you run a wiki for free; you're welcome to run a wiki in any language you want there.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:20, 29 May 2020 (UTC)Reply
Yeah, I understand. Makes sense. Thanks for the reply. RiverThames27 (talk) 11:13, 30 May 2020 (UTC)Reply

LPP#Artificial languages


Please add Kotava within this section, we now have Kotava Wikipedia that is fall under this umbrella. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 06:46, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

It's not necessary to list everything. --MF-W 13:44, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Data & KPIs on approved projects


Hi, I asked a question here about the criteria for admission. Not the actual criteria actually because I understand that the language committee is free to interpret what "active" means and there's no clear cut definition of acceptance but I'd love to get data on approved Wikipedia. Is such a thing available? A455bcd9 (talk) 16:47, 30 June 2021 (UTC)Reply

RFC Open on Ancient and Historic Languages


Hi all, and especially @Amire80, Antony D. Green, Maor X, GerardM, Janwo, Jon Harald Søby, Yupik, MF-Warburg, Evertype, Satdeep Gill, Sotiale, and Vito Genovese: there is an RFC open at Start allowing ancient languages concerning the requirements disallowing Wikis for ancient and historic languages. Some committee members have engaged, but I am not sure everyone has had the chance to do so yet. Nevertheless, there is now a fairly developed and hopefully sensible suggestion which we would like the Committee to look at. --JimKillock (talk) 23:19, 5 September 2021 (UTC)Reply

@JimKillock This RFC is now rejected. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:22, 7 January 2024 (UTC)Reply
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