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Re: Langmaker and FrathWiki (was Re: Wikipedia:Verifiability - Mailing lists as sources)

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  • Benct Philip Jonsson
    ... The problem is that even if I think the form of some articles on FW is suboptimal it is the form their authors have given them, and as such the authors are
    Message 1 of 30 , Mar 1, 2008
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      On 29.2.2008 Sai Emrys wrote:
      > Whereas you assign (primary?) value simply to its
      > existence in its historical *form*, which to me is
      > completely irrelevant. I respect those who have done that
      > work before, and I want to preserve their *functional*
      > contributions (i.e. the information), but I do not value
      > the *form* thereof at all. (And even feel that if
      > preserving the form means it languishing unread or unused,
      > it's being done a disservice.)
      >

      The problem is that even if I think the form of some
      articles on FW is suboptimal it is the form their authors
      have given them, and as such the authors are attached to
      them. Even though in theory anyone can edit any article the
      practice is not to make 'improvements' to what others have
      authored, out of respect for their creative choices. It
      would be a whole other thing if someone *asked* someone
      else to touch up their articles, which AFAIK hasn't
      happened any much.

      That's why I said that an amalgamation project as you
      suggest would require *everyone's* cooperation. Even if one
      doesn't share or understand other people's feelings towards
      their work it behooves one to respect it. Surely the share-
      alike license would allow one to make a new site *in
      addition* to the old sites where one massages their content
      ruthlessly to conform to one's ideas of optimal form, but
      doing so would create chaos and resentment.

      It may be that in this case the good is the enemy of the
      best, but since we are not Vulcans it must be so.

      /BP 8^)>
      --
      Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "Truth, Sir, is a cow which will give [skeptics] no
      more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull."
      -- Sam. Johnson (no rel. ;)
    • Jim Henry
      ... Sai can correct me, but I think by form he might have meant things like different conlangs being documented on half a dozen different wikis , different
      Message 2 of 30 , Mar 1, 2008
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        On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 5:21 AM, Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...> wrote:
        > On 29.2.2008 Sai Emrys wrote:
        > > Whereas you assign (primary?) value simply to its
        > > existence in its historical *form*, which to me is
        > > completely irrelevant. I respect those who have done that
        > > work before, and I want to preserve their *functional*
        > > contributions (i.e. the information), but I do not value
        > > the *form* thereof at all. (And even feel that if
        > > preserving the form means it languishing unread or unused,
        > > it's being done a disservice.)

        > The problem is that even if I think the form of some
        > articles on FW is suboptimal it is the form their authors
        > have given them, and as such the authors are attached to
        > them. Even though in theory anyone can edit any article the

        Sai can correct me, but I think by "form" he might have meant
        things like "different conlangs being documented on half a dozen
        different wikis", "different overlapping lists of conlangs hosted
        on half a dozen different wikis", etc. -- rather than "word choice
        and page layout choices made by conlang authors as they write
        about their own conlangs". Rick seems to value the separation
        into different wikis with their own distinct cultures (I don't really
        see it; if I didn't have web space of my own from my ISP it would
        be a total toss-up whether I chose to write about my conlangs
        on FrathWiki, the Talideon Wiki, the Conlang Wikia or somewhere
        else) per se. You value the way the individual conlangers have
        chosen to document their conlangs. Sai doesn't necessarily devalue
        either of those things, but he sees the possibilty for more synergy
        re: meta-information -- exhaustive taxonomic lists of conlangs,
        encyclopedic articles about the art of conlanging -- if all
        the people working on various wikis were working on one wiki
        together. Almost all of the wikis use MediaWiki software so the
        form (layout and link structure I mean) could be kept intact
        while moving content from one host wiki to another.

        For myself, I'm hopeful but skeptical about Sai's thesis. The fact
        that someone has chosen to host information about their own
        conlang on, say, the Conlang Wikia doesn't necessarily mean they're
        going to take any interest in editing and improving the handful of
        how-to articles about conlaning (as can be seen by looking at the
        edit histories of the few such articles there and how few people
        have worked on them). Why wouldn't the same be true of people
        who contribute information about their conlangs to a new
        megawiki?

        Further, I'm pretty sure that Sai's idea is in practice going to end up
        just adding one more conlang wiki to the existing set -- possibly it will
        eventually be the largest such wiki; but even if most of the contributors
        from the existing wikis move their material to the new one, it's
        far from likely that all of them will choose to do so. Maybe you could
        persuade the admins of Talideon wiki and FrathWiki and some others
        to shut down their wikis after porting over all the content -- good luck
        with that -- but you aren't going to convince Wikia Inc. to shut down the
        Conlang Wikia while they're getting a smidgen of advertising revenue from
        it.

        Perhaps it would work better to figure out which of the existing wikis
        has the largest number of active contributors or the most content
        or both, and focus on a massive improvement effort there that would
        attract people from other, smaller wikis. And maybe subsidize the
        hosting costs of said wiki from the LCS's humongous budget. :)

        > That's why I said that an amalgamation project as you
        > suggest would require *everyone's* cooperation. Even if one

        At a minimum, it would require the cooperation of all the wiki admins;
        but if you acted with ONLY their consent, without the consent of all
        the active contributors on those wikis, you would stir up resentment
        and maybe provoke a real schism, not just a casual division.

        --
        Jim Henry
        http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry
      • Jörg Rhiemeier
        Hallo! ... Yes. The point is that the person most knowledgeable about a particular conlang or conworld usually is *the author himself* - what he says is as
        Message 3 of 30 , Mar 1, 2008
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          Hallo!

          On Sat Mar 1, 2008 10:21 am, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:

          > On 29.2.2008 Sai Emrys wrote:
          > > Whereas you assign (primary?) value simply to its
          > > existence in its historical *form*, which to me is
          > > completely irrelevant. I respect those who have done that
          > > work before, and I want to preserve their *functional*
          > > contributions (i.e. the information), but I do not value
          > > the *form* thereof at all. (And even feel that if
          > > preserving the form means it languishing unread or unused,
          > > it's being done a disservice.)
          > >
          >
          > The problem is that even if I think the form of some
          > articles on FW is suboptimal it is the form their authors
          > have given them, and as such the authors are attached to
          > them. Even though in theory anyone can edit any article the
          > practice is not to make 'improvements' to what others have
          > authored, out of respect for their creative choices.

          Yes. The point is that the person most knowledgeable about
          a particular conlang or conworld usually is *the author himself*
          - what he says is as close to a canonical source as it can be;
          he and no-one else knows what he *intended*. Hence, it is
          good tradition on FrathWiki, KneeQuickie etc. to refrain from
          editing articles on someone else's projects.

          The only case I remember when I edited a FrathWiki page on
          a project I wasn't involved with was when I deleted the
          suggestion on the page on the Oligosynthesis Project that
          the resulting conlang could be a part of the League of Lost
          Languages. I deleted it because the rules of the LLL (which
          is a project which I *am* involved with) require that the
          languages are naturalistic - which rules out any
          oligosynthetic languages. I left an explanation on the
          talk page why I made that deletion.

          > It
          > would be a whole other thing if someone *asked* someone
          > else to touch up their articles, which AFAIK hasn't
          > happened any much.
          >
          > That's why I said that an amalgamation project as you
          > suggest would require *everyone's* cooperation. Even if one
          > doesn't share or understand other people's feelings towards
          > their work it behooves one to respect it.

          Exactly.

          > Surely the share-
          > alike license would allow one to make a new site *in
          > addition* to the old sites where one massages their content
          > ruthlessly to conform to one's ideas of optimal form, but
          > doing so would create chaos and resentment.

          Probably.

          > It may be that in this case the good is the enemy of the
          > best, but since we are not Vulcans it must be so.

          Yes.

          ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
        • Sai Emrys
          ... That is primarily correct, in that that meaning of form is all I meant there. It s true though that I *also* support editing form in the sense of how
          Message 4 of 30 , Mar 1, 2008
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            On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 8:09 AM, Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...> wrote:
            > Sai can correct me, but I think by "form" he might have meant
            > things like "different conlangs being documented on half a dozen
            > different wikis", "different overlapping lists of conlangs hosted
            > on half a dozen different wikis", etc. -- rather than "word choice
            > and page layout choices made by conlang authors as they write
            > about their own conlangs".

            That is primarily correct, in that that meaning of 'form' is all I meant there.

            It's true though that I *also* support editing form in the sense of
            how Wikipedia treats new content within an article. It's fair game to
            be copyedited, laid out differently, combined with other sections for
            better flow, etc.

            So to me 'content' as it were, most basically, is the *ideas* being added.

            However, I should underline that this is distinct for me from "fair
            game" on the description of a language from within itself - that I
            believe should be the author's exclusive purview (as I laid out as
            Grammar, Vocab, & Purpose).

            > Sai doesn't necessarily devalue
            > either of those things, but he sees the possibilty for more synergy
            > re: meta-information -- exhaustive taxonomic lists of conlangs,
            > encyclopedic articles about the art of conlanging -- if all
            > the people working on various wikis were working on one wiki
            > together.

            Correct.

            > For myself, I'm hopeful but skeptical about Sai's thesis. The fact
            > that someone has chosen to host information about their own
            > conlang on, say, the Conlang Wikia doesn't necessarily mean they're
            > going to take any interest in editing and improving the handful of
            > how-to articles about conlaning (as can be seen by looking at the
            > edit histories of the few such articles there and how few people
            > have worked on them). Why wouldn't the same be true of people
            > who contribute information about their conlangs to a new
            > megawiki?

            It wouldn't, necessarily. They could keep on describing just the
            section on their article.

            However, for those who *are* interested in others' languages, or in
            ideas that apply across multiple languages, it would be easier to do
            that - and the benefits *of* that would be available to the
            aforementioned solitary conlanger.

            Essentially, this is a new-media sort of question, and it
            fundamentally gets to one very simple thing: making the barrier
            between thinking of doing good thing x, and being able to do x, as
            minimal as possible.

            Sure it is *possible* to do all these things without a merger. One can
            maintain accounts, and be productive on, a dozen wikis and boards.
            It's just harder, thus the barrier to participation (and maintenance
            cost) is higher, and thus fewer people will being doing less.

            > Further, I'm pretty sure that Sai's idea is in practice going to end up
            > just adding one more conlang wiki to the existing set -- possibly it will
            > eventually be the largest such wiki; but even if most of the contributors
            > from the existing wikis move their material to the new one, it's
            > far from likely that all of them will choose to do so. Maybe you could
            > persuade the admins of Talideon wiki and FrathWiki and some others
            > to shut down their wikis after porting over all the content -- good luck
            > with that -- but you aren't going to convince Wikia Inc. to shut down the
            > Conlang Wikia while they're getting a smidgen of advertising revenue from
            > it.

            "Shut down" I think is inaccurate. It's not a delete, it's a merge.

            Re. Wikia, that is somewhat like the current situation with the Yahoo
            Groups version of this very mailing list...

            > Perhaps it would work better to figure out which of the existing wikis
            > has the largest number of active contributors or the most content
            > or both, and focus on a massive improvement effort there that would
            > attract people from other, smaller wikis.

            That's perfectly fine by me. I didn't say it had to be all merged to a
            *new* place, I just would like to see it merged, period.

            > And maybe subsidize the
            > hosting costs of said wiki from

            This might be possible. Some webhosts have offered significant
            discounts (or even free service) to nonprofits, and in any case
            hosting costs are something that scale very well.

            We can't commit to anything yet (pending receiving our federal tax
            exemption and making a deal with a hosting company), but it's
            definitely on the list of things we'd like to offer.

            > the LCS's humongous budget. :)

            Ha! Not yet, I'm afraid.

            On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 10:17 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:
            > Yes. The point is that the person most knowledgeable about
            > a particular conlang or conworld usually is *the author himself*
            > - what he says is as close to a canonical source as it can be;

            I fully agree with this, as I hopefully made clear above and in the
            previous suggested layout of subpages.

            > he and no-one else knows what he *intended*.
            > Hence, it is
            > good tradition on FrathWiki, KneeQuickie etc. to refrain from
            > editing articles on someone else's projects.

            I only partially agree with this, in that I believe people should
            *say* what they intend, so that others can use that in order to
            edit-as-in-improve/collaborate on others' projects.

            I see this standoffishness about each others' projects for fear of
            treading on someone's intent is a failure of communication, not a
            *necessary* way to express respect for the purview of others'
            creativity. And I see this as further making conlang projects
            unnecessarily solitary.

            Certainly some conlangers want that and don't want any interaction
            from others, or perhaps only a "ooh pretty" and nothing more
            substantial - and where this is the case, it should by all means be
            respected. But my suspicion is that more people want feedback than
            don't.

            So it's a matter of structuring it such that it systemically
            encourages the good kind of interaction.

            ... which, btw, is why the "Purpose" page as I proposed it is crucial.
            I think this is a very frequently overlooked part of documenting a
            conlang. With just a dry description of the result, it becomes
            impossible to discuss how it may or may not be meeting its goals, and
            how it could do so better. Whereas if you have result AND a purpose
            statement, then people can offer constructive criticism without making
            the error of assuming that their [axiomatic] value-set is the same as
            the creator's.

            See my old post about creating a rubric for conlang evaluation for
            more on this if you like.

            IMO the real issue that underlies the squeamishness about others
            changing form or content is that the author's value-set for their
            creative work would not be respected. And I agree that this is a
            serious issue. But I see it as addressable. Not, as the "Vulcan"
            comment implies, as unimportant.

            - Sai
          • John Vertical
            ... And this may be confusing peeps, because conlang-specific content aside from the internal description as you call it, does not really seem to exist at
            Message 5 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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              >It's true though that I *also* support editing form in the sense of
              >how Wikipedia treats new content within an article. It's fair game to
              >be copyedited, laid out differently, combined with other sections for
              >better flow, etc.
              >
              >So to me 'content' as it were, most basically, is the *ideas* being added.
              >
              >However, I should underline that this is distinct for me from "fair
              >game" on the description of a language from within itself - that I
              >believe should be the author's exclusive purview (as I laid out as
              >Grammar, Vocab, & Purpose).

              And this may be confusing peeps, because conlang-specific content aside from
              the "internal description" as you call it, does not really seem to exist at
              all outside of Langmaker.

              Yes, there is indeed some general linguistic information on Frath etc - and
              while much of that tends to be covered by Wikipedia and actual linguistics
              resorces anyway, I do support the idea of merging *that* information in one
              place. With usual wiki licencing policies this would probably be possible to
              do even without any general consensus, and hopefully without angering anyone
              much.


              >Certainly some conlangers want that and don't want any interaction
              >from others, or perhaps only a "ooh pretty" and nothing more
              >substantial - and where this is the case, it should by all means be
              >respected. But my suspicion is that more people want feedback than
              >don't.

              Isn't *this list* for feedback?


              >... which, btw, is why the "Purpose" page as I proposed it is crucial.

              >- Sai

              A suspicion of mine is that very very few conlangers have anything
              resembling a "purpose" to go with, beyond the basic artlang vs auxlang vs
              engelang division (and in some cases, like me, not even that.) It becomes
              clarified over time as the language itself progresses, it isn't something
              you begin with & keep around as a reference.

              John Vertical
            • Sai Emrys
              ... Absolutely. But it s not the *exclusive* place for that. Why not have these discussions *also* happen in a place where the reference material is right
              Message 6 of 30 , Mar 3, 2008
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                On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 3:32 AM, John Vertical <johnvertical@...> wrote:
                > >Certainly some conlangers want that and don't want any interaction
                > >from others, or perhaps only a "ooh pretty" and nothing more
                > >substantial - and where this is the case, it should by all means be
                > >respected. But my suspicion is that more people want feedback than
                > >don't.
                >
                > Isn't *this list* for feedback?

                Absolutely.

                But it's not the *exclusive* place for that. Why not have these
                discussions *also* happen in a place where the reference material is
                right there on the next page, and all discussion is about the language
                at hand?

                > >... which, btw, is why the "Purpose" page as I proposed it is crucial.
                >
                > A suspicion of mine is that very very few conlangers have anything
                > resembling a "purpose" to go with, beyond the basic artlang vs auxlang vs
                > engelang division (and in some cases, like me, not even that.) It becomes
                > clarified over time as the language itself progresses, it isn't something
                > you begin with & keep around as a reference.

                Oh, certainly. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.

                "Purpose" will most likely be, for artlangs, a fairly aesthetic
                statement. E.g. that they want it to have ___ feel, appropriate for
                ___ culture, etc.

                What I'd point to as an excellent example of this in my recent memory
                is Donald Boozer's talk about Drushek at LCC2. It had a very clear
                purpose, even if he didn't state it in quite such an overt way.

                *With* an understanding of the author's creative intent like that, you
                can have a conversation about how they might go about fulfilling it.
                Without it, you can't because it'd be too presumptuous.

                In any case, I see this as a semi? separate issue from the question of
                merging itself, since it's a question of how (or whether) to encourage
                editing of articles about a language by people other than the author.
                Whereas merging as such is a question of how to combine content
                without loss, ensure it's all accessible, etc.

                Also, this is not quite what I had in mind as a more probable normal
                scenario; again probably just due to failure of clarity on my part.

                First, people could help each others' presentation. Not everyone has
                e.g. John Quijada's skill in that regard, yet they may well have just
                as much skill in conlanging per se. Why should their creations not get
                the same treatment, where possible, so that they have the attention
                they deserve?

                Second, people could help categorize and standardize each others'
                content simply to make it, again, more accessible. Suppose you want to
                look up a (say) naturalistic artlang that has clicks and translation
                of the Babel text. Doing so now is difficult; you have to rely on
                someone knowing someone who's done it. If it were categorized well, it
                wouldn't be.

                - Sai
              • Eugene Oh
                ... The problem is probably pithily summarised in a word: fear. Not outright I m-afraid-he ll-kill-me-if-I-touch-his-page kind of way, but in a
                Message 7 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                  On 05/03/2008, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > True. What we need is a stronger culture of discussion and assistance
                  > among users of the various conlang-related wikis. The way it is,
                  > little use is made of the opportunities the wiki technology offers.
                  >
                  >
                  > > Second, people could help categorize and standardize each others'
                  > > content simply to make it, again, more accessible. Suppose you want to
                  > > look up a (say) naturalistic artlang that has clicks and translation
                  > > of the Babel text. Doing so now is difficult; you have to rely on
                  > > someone knowing someone who's done it. If it were categorized well, it
                  > > wouldn't be.
                  >
                  >
                  > Yes.
                  >

                  The problem is probably pithily summarised in a word: fear. Not
                  outright I'm-afraid-he'll-kill-me-if-I-touch-his-page kind of way, but
                  in a am-I-getting-it-right or maybe a what-if-it-isn't-what-he-meant
                  way, which pretty much overrides any possibilities wikitech gives us.
                  I've faced the problem myself, having edited so many Pedia articles
                  that the first time I came across Frath I had an urge to edit (or at
                  least copyedit) many of the articles therein, but kept hesitating. For
                  the above reason.

                  I think even if there were an explicit purpose, it wouldn't help much
                  with encouraging edits. Who's to evaluate fulfilment of said purposes?
                  I tried it once with my friend, with whom I shared intimately my
                  knowledge, vision etc. about my conworld (Ilethes), and we promised to
                  add information to each other's pages we could think of. Much of what
                  we added ended up being shelved anyway because details didn't fit, or
                  because there was something else like that already, or due to any
                  number of reasons.

                  In any event there was even that bit of a tentative step towards
                  mutual editing, I think, only because we were comfortable with and
                  confident in each other enough (we practically discussed our conworlds
                  every day on the phone for a few hours each time, and eventually we
                  merged them--though sad to say updating has trailed off). An example
                  of how mutual editing wouldn't work with such intensely personal
                  creations would be how (I am sure) no one would absolutely dare to
                  touch any of Ms Caves' work on Teonaht. The temerity! (:

                  Slightly tangentially, I like to think that my friend and I sparked
                  off the previous round of updating on Frath that propelled the wiki
                  from 400+ pages to the current >1000, and be secretly proud of it.
                  Haha. Mini-ego.

                  Eugene
                • Jörg Rhiemeier
                  Hallo! ... FrathWiki has discussion pages for exactly this purpose - however, they are hardly used. ... Yes. A presentation of a conlang ought to begin with a
                  Message 8 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                    Hallo!

                    On Mon, 3 Mar 2008 23:43:18 -0800, Sai Emrys wrote:

                    > On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 3:32 AM, John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
                    > wrote:
                    > > >Certainly some conlangers want that and don't want any interaction
                    > > >from others, or perhaps only a "ooh pretty" and nothing more
                    > > >substantial - and where this is the case, it should by all means be
                    > > >respected. But my suspicion is that more people want feedback than
                    > > >don't.
                    > >
                    > > Isn't *this list* for feedback?
                    >
                    > Absolutely.
                    >
                    > But it's not the *exclusive* place for that. Why not have these
                    > discussions *also* happen in a place where the reference material is
                    > right there on the next page, and all discussion is about the language
                    > at hand?

                    FrathWiki has discussion pages for exactly this purpose - however,
                    they are hardly used.

                    > > >... which, btw, is why the "Purpose" page as I proposed it is crucial.
                    > >
                    > > A suspicion of mine is that very very few conlangers have anything
                    > > resembling a "purpose" to go with, beyond the basic artlang vs auxlang vs
                    > > engelang division (and in some cases, like me, not even that.) It becomes
                    > > clarified over time as the language itself progresses, it isn't something
                    > > you begin with & keep around as a reference.
                    >
                    > Oh, certainly. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.
                    >
                    > "Purpose" will most likely be, for artlangs, a fairly aesthetic
                    > statement. E.g. that they want it to have ___ feel, appropriate for
                    > ___ culture, etc.
                    >
                    > What I'd point to as an excellent example of this in my recent memory
                    > is Donald Boozer's talk about Drushek at LCC2. It had a very clear
                    > purpose, even if he didn't state it in quite such an overt way.
                    >
                    > *With* an understanding of the author's creative intent like that, you
                    > can have a conversation about how they might go about fulfilling it.
                    > Without it, you can't because it'd be too presumptuous.

                    Yes. A presentation of a conlang ought to begin with a few sentences
                    outlining the "purpose" of the language. For example, my FrathWiki
                    page on Old Albic begins thus:

                    ] Old Albic (native name Elbirin 'Elvish') is the oldest Albic language
                    ] attested in writing. The oldest surviving text fragments date back to
                    ] the 7th century BCE. Old Albic was the language of the British Elves
                    ] prior to the Tartessian War and the Celtic takeover in Britain.

                    Wherein the words "Albic", "British Elves" and "Tartessian War" link
                    to pages which tell the reader what they mean. So the reader gets
                    the information that Old Albic is an artlang representing the native
                    language of a fictional human ethnic group with a culture inspired
                    by the Elves from _The Lord of the Rings_, etc.

                    With such information, the reader can value whether the language
                    lives up to what it is intended to be.

                    Without such information, the reader has no gauge to judge the conlang
                    against, and will think, "Oh, and what's the point of it all?"

                    > In any case, I see this as a semi? separate issue from the question of
                    > merging itself, since it's a question of how (or whether) to encourage
                    > editing of articles about a language by people other than the author.

                    Yes; this question is to be considered no matter whether Langmaker
                    and FrathWiki are to be merged or not.

                    > Whereas merging as such is a question of how to combine content
                    > without loss, ensure it's all accessible, etc.
                    >
                    > First, people could help each others' presentation. Not everyone has
                    > e.g. John Quijada's skill in that regard, yet they may well have just
                    > as much skill in conlanging per se. Why should their creations not get
                    > the same treatment, where possible, so that they have the attention
                    > they deserve?

                    True. What we need is a stronger culture of discussion and assistance
                    among users of the various conlang-related wikis. The way it is,
                    little use is made of the opportunities the wiki technology offers.

                    > Second, people could help categorize and standardize each others'
                    > content simply to make it, again, more accessible. Suppose you want to
                    > look up a (say) naturalistic artlang that has clicks and translation
                    > of the Babel text. Doing so now is difficult; you have to rely on
                    > someone knowing someone who's done it. If it were categorized well, it
                    > wouldn't be.

                    Yes.

                    ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                  • Jörg Rhiemeier
                    Hallo! ... Right. After all, with most conlangs and conworlds, the author is the only expert on the project in question, and others fear that by editing the
                    Message 9 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                      Hallo!

                      On Wed, 5 Mar 2008 01:06:07 +0800, Eugene Oh wrote:

                      > On 05/03/2008, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > True. What we need is a stronger culture of discussion and assistance
                      > > among users of the various conlang-related wikis. The way it is,
                      > > little use is made of the opportunities the wiki technology offers.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > > Second, people could help categorize and standardize each others'
                      > > > content simply to make it, again, more accessible. Suppose you want to
                      > > > look up a (say) naturalistic artlang that has clicks and translation
                      > > > of the Babel text. Doing so now is difficult; you have to rely on
                      > > > someone knowing someone who's done it. If it were categorized well, it
                      > > > wouldn't be.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Yes.
                      > >
                      >
                      > The problem is probably pithily summarised in a word: fear. Not
                      > outright I'm-afraid-he'll-kill-me-if-I-touch-his-page kind of way, but
                      > in a am-I-getting-it-right or maybe a what-if-it-isn't-what-he-meant
                      > way, which pretty much overrides any possibilities wikitech gives us.
                      > I've faced the problem myself, having edited so many Pedia articles
                      > that the first time I came across Frath I had an urge to edit (or at
                      > least copyedit) many of the articles therein, but kept hesitating. For
                      > the above reason.

                      Right. After all, with most conlangs and conworlds, the author is
                      the only "expert" on the project in question, and others fear that by
                      editing the page, they would cause more harm than good, at least when
                      it comes to content (as opposed to obvious spelling or formating errors
                      where one can easily guess what the author intended). On Wikipedia,
                      there are usually many people who know about the subject in question
                      and can clarify unclear statements or correct factual errors. On
                      FrathWiki, things are different because the only one who definitely
                      knows the "facts" is the author of the project. What a reader *can*
                      do in such a situation is to leave a note on the discussion page,
                      though, which, alas, doesn't happen frequently.

                      > I think even if there were an explicit purpose, it wouldn't help much
                      > with encouraging edits. Who's to evaluate fulfilment of said purposes?

                      While there may be instances where an objective evaluation may be
                      possible, in most cases it is not. We are talking about *art* here,
                      and art is free - there is no "right" or "wrong" - and changing
                      someone else's work amounts more or less to vandalism. What you
                      called "fear" I would rather call "respect" - respect of other
                      people's works. You may voice your opinion on someone else's
                      conlang (and you could do that, on FrathWiki, via the discussion
                      page), you may suggest improvements to the author, but you may not
                      change it, at least not with the author's consent.

                      ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                    • Sai Emrys
                      ... How about something like this: Every page that is about a specific conlang or otherwise a matter where this concern over author s creative purview is
                      Message 10 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                        On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 1:01 PM, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:
                        > > I think even if there were an explicit purpose, it wouldn't help much
                        > > with encouraging edits. Who's to evaluate fulfilment of said purposes?
                        >
                        > While there may be instances where an objective evaluation may be
                        > possible, in most cases it is not. We are talking about *art* here,
                        > and art is free - there is no "right" or "wrong" - and changing
                        > someone else's work amounts more or less to vandalism. What you
                        > called "fear" I would rather call "respect" - respect of other
                        > people's works. You may voice your opinion on someone else's
                        > conlang (and you could do that, on FrathWiki, via the discussion
                        > page), you may suggest improvements to the author, but you may not
                        > change it, at least not with the author's consent.

                        How about something like this:

                        Every page that is about a specific conlang or otherwise a matter
                        where this concern over author's creative purview is relevant, carries
                        a template at the top specifying what the appropriate participation
                        level is for that page.

                        The default is something like:

                        {{participation}} "Everyone is welcome to make edits to this page to
                        clear up prose and presentation. If you have any comment on the
                        content itself, please first see this conlang's [[/Purpose|statement
                        of purpose]] and then make them on the [[Talk:Articlename|talk
                        page]]." <!-- Author: please see [[Participation levels]] for other
                        options. -->

                        There would also be options like:

                        {{participation 1}} "Everyone is welcome to make edits to this page to
                        clear up prose and presentation. Before making any edits about the
                        content itself, please first see this conlang's [[/Purpose|statement
                        of purpose]]."

                        {{participation 2}} "This is a collaborative conlang; everyone is
                        welcome to participate. However, please first see this conlang's
                        [[/Purpose|statement of purpose]] and [[/Rules|rules of
                        participation]]."

                        {{participation 0}} "This is a controlled page. Please treat it as the
                        private space of [[User:Username]]. If you have any suggestions,
                        please leave them on the [[Talk:Articlename|talk page]]."

                        {{participation 1 naturalistic}} "Everyone is welcome to make edits to
                        this page to clear up prose and presentation. Before making any edits
                        about the content itself, please first see this conlang's
                        [[/Purpose|statement of purpose]], and bear in mind that this is a
                        [[Naturalistic artlang]]."

                        Etc - so one can specify both the level of interaction desired (with
                        something appropriate for almost everyone), the purposes or value-set
                        of the language, the rules if there are any special ones (a la
                        Kalusa), and (where applicable) the "schools" of conlanging which the
                        author agrees with for this language.

                        (The latter is essentially a way of making 'purpose' a bit templated,
                        so that one doesn't need to reiterate the shared statements of value
                        and can just say how this *particular* language differs from e.g. ye
                        generic naturalistic artlang. There would hopefully be several such,
                        giving more essay-form statements of purpose for various approaches
                        and styles of conlanging. None claiming to be The One True Way, just
                        different in ways that are still not completely unique.)


                        This way, there can be a reasonable default, and the author can be
                        encouraged to write up their purposes and thus encourage / allow
                        others to participate in a meaningful way, while still giving them the
                        ability to show what their limits are.

                        Respect vs fear is, of course, a continuum. Again, IMO this is very
                        much about communication and recognizing that people have differing
                        value-sets. Make clear the boundaries and the valuation from which to
                        work, and things flow more smoothly.

                        - Sai
                      • Eugene Oh
                        ... ... That is a great idea, Sai, and in fact, we probably should have thought of it earlier, but kudos to
                        Message 11 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                          On 05/03/2008, Sai Emrys <sai@...> wrote:

                          > How about something like this:
                          >
                          > Every page that is about a specific conlang or otherwise a matter
                          > where this concern over author's creative purview is relevant, carries
                          > a template at the top specifying what the appropriate participation
                          > level is for that page.
                          >
                          <snip very appropriate and laudable suggestions>
                          >
                          > This way, there can be a reasonable default, and the author can be
                          > encouraged to write up their purposes and thus encourage / allow
                          > others to participate in a meaningful way, while still giving them the
                          > ability to show what their limits are.
                          >
                          > Respect vs fear is, of course, a continuum. Again, IMO this is very
                          > much about communication and recognizing that people have differing
                          > value-sets. Make clear the boundaries and the valuation from which to
                          > work, and things flow more smoothly.
                          >
                          >
                          > - Sai
                          >

                          That is a great idea, Sai, and in fact, we probably should have
                          thought of it earlier, but kudos to you! In light of that, perhaps the
                          Main Page of Frath is also due for a makeover -- to make it more
                          welcoming, maybe, to aspiring "editors". I've been kind of wondering
                          for a rather long time how Pedia did its alternative languages thing
                          in the sidebar, and whether we couldn't do the same with Frath's,
                          instead of just having "this page in Piscean/Satirocitan/etc.", for
                          example.

                          I'd like to help, but have no knowledge about programming, and am not
                          confident will come up with something everyone's satisfied with (dang,
                          people might even dislike what I can give), so if anyone has the time,
                          or doesn't find me a pain in the ass... (:

                          Eugene
                        • Sai Emrys
                          ... I d suggest that a conpedia actually ought *not* copy wikipedia in this. Essentially, Wikipedia strives to be language-agnostic - serving moreorless
                          Message 12 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                            On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 7:20 PM, Eugene Oh <un.doing@...> wrote:
                            > I've been kind of wondering
                            > for a rather long time how Pedia did its alternative languages thing
                            > in the sidebar, and whether we couldn't do the same with Frath's,
                            > instead of just having "this page in Piscean/Satirocitan/etc.", for
                            > example.

                            I'd suggest that a conpedia actually ought *not* copy wikipedia in this.

                            Essentially, Wikipedia strives to be language-agnostic - serving
                            moreorless (hypothetically!) the same content to everyone in their
                            native (or perhaps auxlingual) tongue.

                            We, on the other hand, are very much language-gnostic. And, let's be
                            honest - aside from a very small set of things that serve as standard
                            translation texts, nobody will be reading the entire wiki in a
                            particular language.

                            So, rather than having a WP-style
                            different-domains-for-different-languages format, I would suggest
                            in-article parallelism.

                            So, if an article about a language is available *in* that language, we
                            have a standardized two-column format. Sorta like you'd find in e.g. a
                            original-and-translation Bible at the most detailed (with footnotes on
                            translation quirks and all), or other parallel-translation text more
                            commonly.

                            If an article is one of the very few for which we have more than one
                            translation - e.g. Babel Text, Hamlet, or one of the more standard
                            form primers - then we set up something special. Maybe one translation
                            per page, parallel with the version of source used. Maybe even (this
                            would take a bit of wikiwizardry but is doable) something where
                            someone can select any given two translations to see 'em side by side.

                            (For reference, I have in mind something like e.g. halyihev and
                            tsiasuk-pron on ZBB frequently posting parallel translations in their
                            conlangs.)

                            In any case, the point - just as with the categorization etc - is to
                            not have such a translation languish unseen. And pragmatically, that
                            means it should be seen together with the English version, because
                            English is the real IAL of our era.

                            This would have the additional benefit of making all instances of this
                            an extension of the primer, for people who want to learn the language.

                            > I'd like to help, but have no knowledge about programming, and am not
                            > confident will come up with something everyone's satisfied with (dang,
                            > people might even dislike what I can give), so if anyone has the time,
                            > or doesn't find me a pain in the ass... (:

                            Experiment. ;-)

                            Create a new page to use as a sandbox, copy whatever you want to edit
                            into it, and then link to it from somewhere people will see once you
                            get something you like (or you get stuck). Try asking on wikicommons
                            or metawiki if you have questions about how to *do* something per se.
                            See if there's something on Wikipedia that looks like what you want
                            and copy it.

                            I'm hardly a wikiwizard, but I've managed to do things - usually by a)
                            trying naively, b) searching for an explanation or FAQ about it when
                            that doesn't work, and c) shamelessly copying something similar and
                            then just trying random things in a harmless place until it does work
                            like I want it to. FWIW, the most complicated things I've done on
                            Wikipedia are <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Constructed_languages>
                            and <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:WP_conlangs>.

                            I had no idea how to do either when I started - as you can see if you
                            look at the (many) revisions on the history pages before I got
                            something that worked. ;-) Most of that is the same process - try,
                            copy, try again, edit, view, edit, view, add new thing, repeat.
                            Eventually you'll just osmose the stuff. :-P

                            - Sai
                          • ROGER MILLS
                            On the general subject of editing-- I don t think ANY authorial errors (including egregious mis-spellings and bad grammar, html boo-boos or even ovbious typos,
                            Message 13 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                              On the general subject of editing-- I don't think ANY authorial errors
                              (including egregious mis-spellings and bad grammar, html boo-boos or even
                              ovbious typos, not to mention content) should be corrected without notifying
                              the author and obtaining consent, or allowing him/her to make the
                              corrections herm-self.
                            • Sai Emrys
                              ... Then you could indicate this is your preference. I m just trying to point out that this preference varies, and we shouldn t try to treat everyone as if it
                              Message 14 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 8:56 PM, ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...> wrote:
                                > On the general subject of editing-- I don't think ANY authorial errors
                                > (including egregious mis-spellings and bad grammar, html boo-boos or even
                                > ovbious typos, not to mention content) should be corrected without notifying
                                > the author and obtaining consent, or allowing him/her to make the
                                > corrections herm-self.

                                Then you could indicate this is your preference.

                                I'm just trying to point out that this preference varies, and we
                                shouldn't try to treat everyone as if it didn't - that way some people
                                (like perhaps you) will feel infringed upon by even modest edits,
                                whereas others might want that kind of help or for that matter even
                                more in-depth direct collaboration - vocab creation, discussion about
                                how well it meets its goals, alternate ways to implement something,
                                etc.

                                Personally, I fall in-between - for my projects (eg NLF2DWS), I want
                                to be able to control the most core idea, but beyond that I very much
                                enjoy and appreciate all feedback I get. Sometimes that feedback is
                                about something that's not quite what *I'm* doing - which is fine, of
                                course, and still inspirational, just not exactly enough on topic. And
                                sometimes it's not at all the way I had in mind of doing something,
                                but turns out to be much better than what I was thinking of.


                                In any case, we should have a way for people to *state* their
                                preferences and have them respected, and have a reasonable default
                                that represents the majority and is easily changed. That way no
                                assumptions need be made.

                                - Sai
                              • Eugene Oh
                                ... I suggest having a toggle that works in the same way as the other languages links in Pedia. (Which reminds, I noticed the other day there was no page for
                                Message 15 of 30 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                  On 05/03/2008, Sai Emrys <sai@...> wrote:

                                  >
                                  > So, if an article about a language is available *in* that language, we
                                  > have a standardized two-column format. Sorta like you'd find in e.g. a
                                  > original-and-translation Bible at the most detailed (with footnotes on
                                  > translation quirks and all), or other parallel-translation text more
                                  > commonly.

                                  I suggest having a toggle that works in the same way as the "other
                                  languages" links in Pedia. (Which reminds, I noticed the other day
                                  there was no page for Kēlen, only its Conlang 12 relay text page,
                                  which brought to mind the many, many languages out there that are
                                  fascinatingly well-developed but aren't on a wiki or such collective
                                  resource -- Verdurian being a prime example -- and also the question
                                  if it would be right to do any more than create a reference link stub
                                  on Frath etc.)

                                  >
                                  > If an article is one of the very few for which we have more than one
                                  > translation - e.g. Babel Text, Hamlet, or one of the more standard
                                  > form primers - then we set up something special. Maybe one translation
                                  > per page, parallel with the version of source used. Maybe even (this
                                  > would take a bit of wikiwizardry but is doable) something where
                                  > someone can select any given two translations to see 'em side by side.
                                  >
                                  > (For reference, I have in mind something like e.g. halyihev and
                                  > tsiasuk-pron on ZBB frequently posting parallel translations in their
                                  > conlangs.)
                                  >
                                  > In any case, the point - just as with the categorization etc - is to
                                  > not have such a translation languish unseen. And pragmatically, that
                                  > means it should be seen together with the English version, because
                                  > English is the real IAL of our era.
                                  >
                                  > This would have the additional benefit of making all instances of this
                                  > an extension of the primer, for people who want to learn the language.
                                  >

                                  An additional function perhaps, to the wiki software that says "Add
                                  your own translation" besides "article", "discussion", "history" and
                                  "edit? Perhaps the new translation'd appear in the toggle box that I
                                  suggested above.

                                  >
                                  > > I'd like to help, but have no knowledge about programming, and am not
                                  > > confident will come up with something everyone's satisfied with (dang,
                                  > > people might even dislike what I can give), so if anyone has the time,
                                  > > or doesn't find me a pain in the ass... (:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Experiment. ;-)
                                  >
                                  > Create a new page to use as a sandbox, copy whatever you want to edit
                                  > into it, and then link to it from somewhere people will see once you
                                  > get something you like (or you get stuck). Try asking on wikicommons
                                  > or metawiki if you have questions about how to *do* something per se.
                                  > See if there's something on Wikipedia that looks like what you want
                                  > and copy it.
                                  >
                                  > I'm hardly a wikiwizard, but I've managed to do things - usually by a)
                                  > trying naively, b) searching for an explanation or FAQ about it when
                                  > that doesn't work, and c) shamelessly copying something similar and
                                  > then just trying random things in a harmless place until it does work
                                  > like I want it to. FWIW, the most complicated things I've done on
                                  > Wikipedia are <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Constructed_languages>
                                  > and <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:WP_conlangs>.
                                  >
                                  > I had no idea how to do either when I started - as you can see if you
                                  > look at the (many) revisions on the history pages before I got
                                  > something that worked. ;-) Most of that is the same process - try,
                                  > copy, try again, edit, view, edit, view, add new thing, repeat.
                                  > Eventually you'll just osmose the stuff. :-P
                                  >

                                  How's not so much the problem, since, as you said, experimentation can
                                  usually solve much of the snags. Can empathise with what you had to go
                                  through to pick up the wiki software; while editing Pedia had to
                                  endure much of the same. Was looking more for people willing to
                                  collaborate/give opinions on structure, layout, design, content. Added
                                  benefit being that work could probably continue apace even if, say, I
                                  landed a major job giving me an hour of free time every day. (: Though
                                  you're right, the sandbox thing could probably do very well.

                                  Something I realised, though, is that many of the templates and
                                  automated functions that make Pedia seem to work like a breeze require
                                  administrator privileges on the server. Tried to copy certain
                                  history/geography/linguistic templates and boxes from there, before
                                  realising that the important code was all in a back page and the box
                                  itself contained only references to such as I could not access. So boo
                                  there, and which explains why I mentioned coding/programming.


                                  On 05/03/2008, ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...> wrote:
                                  > On the general subject of editing-- I don't think ANY authorial errors
                                  > (including egregious mis-spellings and bad grammar, html boo-boos or even
                                  > ovbious typos, not to mention content) should be corrected without notifying
                                  > the author and obtaining consent, or allowing him/her to make the
                                  > corrections herm-self.
                                  >

                                  I'm guilty of that. Correcting spelling, I mean. I just did it twice
                                  in the past week, or something like that. Whoops. Though I think
                                  probably typos, spelling errors or straightforward grammar errors
                                  (heck, any straightforward errors -- i.e. no hidden implications)
                                  could probably be corrected at will, and the author would probably be
                                  thankful the edit wasn't referred to him for a missing plural, say, or
                                  a missing </b> tag (which is pretty darned obvious on the page ;) ).


                                  Eugene
                                • Jörg Rhiemeier
                                  Hallo! ... Yes, that could be useful. ... Correct. One must distinguish between languages an article is written *in*, and languages an article is written
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                    Hallo!

                                    On Tue, 4 Mar 2008 19:00:54 -0800, Sai Emrys wrote:

                                    > How about something like this:
                                    >
                                    > Every page that is about a specific conlang or otherwise a matter
                                    > where this concern over author's creative purview is relevant, carries
                                    > a template at the top specifying what the appropriate participation
                                    > level is for that page.

                                    Yes, that could be useful.

                                    On Tue, 4 Mar 2008 20:18:47 -0800, Sai Emrys wrote:

                                    > On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 7:20 PM, Eugene Oh <un.doing@...> wrote:
                                    > > I've been kind of wondering
                                    > > for a rather long time how Pedia did its alternative languages thing
                                    > > in the sidebar, and whether we couldn't do the same with Frath's,
                                    > > instead of just having "this page in Piscean/Satirocitan/etc.", for
                                    > > example.
                                    >
                                    > I'd suggest that a conpedia actually ought *not* copy wikipedia in this.
                                    >
                                    > Essentially, Wikipedia strives to be language-agnostic - serving
                                    > moreorless (hypothetically!) the same content to everyone in their
                                    > native (or perhaps auxlingual) tongue.
                                    >
                                    > We, on the other hand, are very much language-gnostic. And, let's be
                                    > honest - aside from a very small set of things that serve as standard
                                    > translation texts, nobody will be reading the entire wiki in a
                                    > particular language.

                                    Correct. One must distinguish between languages an article is written
                                    *in*, and languages an article is written *about*. The Wikipedia
                                    sidebar links to articles on the same subject in different languages.
                                    So far, we don't have a German FrathWiki, a Spanish FrathWiki, etc.
                                    Much less, a FrathWiki in any of the conlangs presented on FrathWiki.

                                    > So, rather than having a WP-style
                                    > different-domains-for-different-languages format, I would suggest
                                    > in-article parallelism.
                                    >
                                    > So, if an article about a language is available *in* that language, we
                                    > have a standardized two-column format. Sorta like you'd find in e.g. a
                                    > original-and-translation Bible at the most detailed (with footnotes on
                                    > translation quirks and all), or other parallel-translation text more
                                    > commonly.

                                    If the author chooses to present it that way, fine. Others may feel
                                    more comfortable with putting the translation on a separate page.

                                    ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                                  • Sai Emrys
                                    ... How about them *actually* being two pages ( real page is just English, a standardly-named subpage of it is its translation), and then how they are
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                      On Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 9:22 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> wrote:
                                      > If the author chooses to present it that way, fine. Others may feel
                                      > more comfortable with putting the translation on a separate page.

                                      How about them *actually* being two pages ("real" page is just
                                      English, a standardly-named subpage of it is its translation), and
                                      then how they are presented is a matter of configurable preference?

                                      Or, for the anonymous browser, something that can be frobbed directly
                                      on the page?

                                      I don't know how difficult this would be as it exceeds my knowledge of
                                      wikimagic, but it works in my head. ;)

                                      - Sai
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