For many years now, the Ancient Greek Wikipedia has languished as a Wikimedia project in the “incubator”, where it appears it is doomed to stay forever, according to current Wikimedia policy.
Unlike the Latin Vicipaedia, or the Sanskrit Wikipedia, the project did not launch before the Wikimedia Language Committee imposed an absolute ban on what it terms ‘Ancient and Historical languages’, other than for the Wikisource archive project. Their policy states:
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 languagesWikinedia Language Policy: Specific issues
This policy was imposed because people were requesting Wiki projects for languages which do not have modern communities of learners and users, in the way that Latin, Sanskrit and Ancient Greek do.
A number of attempts to launch the Ancient Greek Wikipedia have been made, but it has been repeatedly declined and remained in limbo. On the other hand, the Wikimedia Language Committee supports and promotes Wiki projects in a number of constructed languages, including Esperano of course, but also Lingua Franca Nova. There is no ban on constructed languages getting Wiki projects, although they do have to show that there is a community of users who may employ the language.
Yes, there can be wikis in artificial languages. There are already wikis available in Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, Interlingue, Lojban, Volapük, Novial and Lingua Franca Nova.Wikinedia Language Policy: Specific issues
This is inconsistent and unfair. It makes no sense to ban one group of languages on the basis they have “no native speakers” and then allow another group, despite those quite obviously being designed to have no native speakers. while both groups of languages include active users of those languages.
It is also potentially discriminatory against minority groups, given that specific cultural, religious and ethnic groups may be particularly attached to the use of these ancient languages.
There is of course a need for any ancient language community to show that they are able to maintain a Wiki project. There is no point in having Wikis for truly dead, unused languages. But Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit are not in that position; they remain languages with widespread minority use.
As matters stand, the Language Committee write the language policy, and are only answerable to Wikimedia’s Board of Directors. It seems to us that this policy should be rewritten to allow Ancient Greek language Wikipedia to be launched, and a request has been made on the Wikimedia policy discussion forum. Since the matter is at present entirely in their hands, whatever the outcome of that discussion, we would kindly ask them to reconsider the matter.
2 thoughts on “All we are saying is Give Greek a chance”