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CZ:Proposals/Internationalisation sandbox

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This proposal is presently driverless. Why not become its driver?
You can sign up on its proposal record, which may be found on the driverless proposals page.

Driver: None

Complete explanation

We have already decided that having international CZs is long term goal. There have been many requests for CZ pilots to begin in other languages, but so far nothing has gotten off the ground.

Inasmuch as

1) we are losing competent authors whose first language is not English but


a) we don't have the time, personnel or expertise to begin complete CZs in other languages,

b) we are not interested in opening new and independent Citizendium forks based on linguistic differences (the Wikipedia experience shows how this can be suicidal, as we can judge by comparing the basic differences between Wikipedias);

c) we already are a mixed community composed of native and non-native English speakers who agree to speak English, just like in other learned communities;

I propose a sandbox type setup in which those who will can go ahead and begin articles in other languages, but these will part of existing articles in a Citizendium International subpage until a bona fide project can be set up in that language.

This formula has several original and appealing features. As Citizen Louise Valmoria said, let's keep in mind that this year is UNESCO's International Year of Languages.

  • A fresh start: content first

Unlike most other online (and offline) projects like Wikipedia, this content-based mode of functioning does not start with different sociolinguistic groups offering idiosyncratic views of any given topics, but promotes content-based collaboration, accross language barriers (for instance, we could have, initially, a very active and competent History workgroup in French and another strong mathematics group in Russian and both would de facto benefit the English Citizendium, in these fields)

  • International Citizens will use English, the present day lingua franca, and/or ensure that their contributions reach the core Citizendium, with its constables and editorial boards: an opportunity for CZ;
  • There are no limitations to the number of languages that could or should be "admitted": as long as individual International Citizens or groups (think of University departments, teams of researchers, Schools in various arts and techniques) value how our project is regulated and structured, they will, as it happens generally anyways, ensure that they can communicate efficiently with their peers, in their own field of expertise/hobby/passion, accross language barriers;
  • As a general rule, scholars usually spend 10% of their funds to the diffusion of their work, including translation (when it's not already in a dominant language like English), and CZ is, for them, a privileged place to let ideas (and counterarguments, and enlightened solutions) to develop;


There is a whole Forum board devoted to internationalisation,21.0.html but nothing concrete has come of it, despite repeated requests and much discussion. We are losing the expertise of authors and editors whose first language is not English.

We have a wiki page where people are listing the languages in which they are competent. CZ:International We have no one workspace for internationalisation, discussions are fragmented, newbies join and raise the same already-discussed issues again.

If nothing else, this will help eliminated frustration and will be a positive, concrete and proactive step in the right direction. People can work in other languages with litttle pressure and, because the drafts will be accessible through the core CZ (and subpage-specific searches), we will not risk ridicule if the standard of the foreign-language CZ is not up to that of the English-language CZ at the outset: we will both show that we are open, and that we have, at the same time, a strong commitment to close collaboration and content.


Technical implementation

Technically, at the present time, a Citizendium International subpage can be started for any article; in addition, there is no limitation to the number of linguistic sandboxes that can be started under this subpage.

Searches in a foreign language will return the desired result, in the "page title matches", but with a clear indication; example:

Search entry: Biologie


page title matches:

Biology/Citizendium International/FR/Biologie

Biology/Citizendium International/DE/Biologie

(Supposing that both Francophones and Anglophones also want a high quality and entertaining biology article, which is likely)


(under construction)

The discussions about this proposal raised important questions and even stimulated the drafting of a new (and potentially completary) proposal, CZ:Proposals/A new subpage for translations of approved articles, which suggests a cautious and effective way to promote Citizendium all over the world, so that it will be possible to have, one day, other Citizendiums in other languages.

The purpose of the present proposal, however, is to welcome potential contributors right now.


Thank you!

In my opinion not many people will be active on a private wiki (non public articles) and such an approach will not help bootstrap it by exposition to potential contributors.

The Citizendium project has a favor for English. This is quite understandable given its origins and not a problem for me. Moreover some prominent contributors seem to fear that editions in other languages may be of poor quality, probably due to some lack of peer-review. Therefore I suggest launching a French version, as French seems to be just behind English when it comes to languages among CZ contributors (I'm proposing because I can help), and only if at least a few (3?) respected CZ contributors accept to form an editing committee validating each new article or maybe (that's up to them) each revision (version of an article). To avoid reinventing anything this Fr edition will proceed under the rules of the English CZ. Contributors will be encouraged to create new articles as well as to translate and complete English articles.

Please note that P. Gross already asked a pertinent and concise question and, AFAIK, did not receive any answer. By trying to understand I came to the conclusion that a French edition may help Nat Makarevitch 03:48, 15 February 2008 (CST)

Patrice's question was: "Could you define what are the necessary and sufficient conditions to create the "Citizendium en Français", as well as the delay to implement it, as soon as all the conditions are fulfilled?"
(I for one can't stand switching back and forth between loading pages)
My response is that that's what we're trying to decide here, Nat!
Aleta Curry 16:19, 15 February 2008 (CST)

I would contribute to a German sandbox. As I am just writing up my Ph.D. thesis in computer science, I am planning to become a computer science editor in the near future. So there would be at least one Editor for the German sandbox. As I don't think that we should have only one such sandbox (French) and as there are some German natives on CZ:International, I propose a German one. Let's get started! -- Alexander Wiebel 05:46, 15 February 2008 (CST)

Woohoo! Great news, Aleta! Finally there would be a proper place for User:Yuval_Langer/he_bacteriophage to live in! Yuval Langer 08:25, 15 February 2008 (CST)

Yes, well, I wish I could understand that, I'm sure it's a great read. This may sound strange to you, but I can only read a few simple Hebrew words in handwriting. I never learned to read typeface. From the truth-stranger-than-fiction department. Aleta Curry
I don't think it's a great read, that's why I want it to finally live somewhere others may improve it and translate or rewrite the parts I can't. How did you learn Hebrew handwriting? (maybe it's better to move this discussion somewhere else? Where?) Yuval Langer 07:31, 17 February 2008 (CST)
There's a note for you chez moi :) Aleta Curry 14:24, 17 February 2008 (CST)

I support a sandbox version for French authors in an invite only system to see how and indeed if it works. In other words, the only people involved should be the people who have expressed interest, and others must be invited to add to the sandbox, at least until a solid system is established around it. Denis Cavanagh 08:55, 15 February 2008 (CST)

At the moment I think that supporting additional languages wouldn't be an wise investment of resources. We should first focus our energy on building the English one. Christian Kleineidam 12:28, 15 February 2008 (CST)

Count me in for Citoyendium - le compendium citoyen. (le Citizendium français - - le Citizendium de la francophonie - le Citizendium francophone). I agree with Nat Makarevitch that a sandbox-only Fr-CZ will lack the appeal that wikis usually have. The authoritative nature of CZ in general and of approved articles in particular should guide us; approved articles translated to any language should be speedily published. My sub-proposal would be: Create an Eduzendium «fork» devoted to the translation of En-CZ to Fr-CZ, Ge-CZ, and, of course, chinese-CZ ;). All over the world, translation students long to develop their skills in real-life situations. CZ approved articles are amongst the most appealing texts that one can find on the web. (And I know firsthand how difficult it is for teachers to find suitable texts that students will want to translate.) As a CZ author, I would be proud to contribute to the translation of some of those approved articles, such as Life (NB: another revision is under preparation). All this being said, sandbox articles are a realistic solution to keep non-EN contributors. These contributors should be encouraged to find candidate translators and translation schools in their linguistic community to facilitate, via this Eduzendium «fork», the translation of their work to CZ's mother tongue, English, in an effort to join forces, beyond language barriers. We cannot picture an authoritative CZ that would have as many different CZs as there are CZ language versions. The cross-language debates in CZ will bring nice surprises. Such a system would also attract scholarly interest and sympathy from intellectuals in various fields where the "Babylon problem" is well understood (linguistics, sociology, etc.) Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 13:34, 15 February 2008 (CST)

I also agree with Nat Makarevitch, a private wiki would be of little use for internationalisation. I don't need CZ to write some articles on the subjects I'm interested in and keep them private. No incentive at all therefore for those who want so share their knowledge with the rest of the world. I'd advocate instead the launch from the start of one or two projects such as a German or French CZ. I'm pretty sure we can find some users with the technical knowledge to set up the framework quite effectively. I can help at least on that. Wikis such as Wikipedia were also launched with only a few users, we shouldn't be afraid of doing the same! --Quentin Michon 14:24, 15 February 2008 (CST)
Yes, I quite understand your position. My concern is:
  • would CZ be mocked/publicly ridiculed if the international CZs did not reflect the same high standards as the English-lanugage ones? Not that the individuals aren't competent, I'm not suggesting that, but because of fewer copy editors, content editors at the highest academic levels, high-level translators and grammarians, enough peer review, that sort of thing.
  • Would having a required minimum number of editors to launch in a given language, as Nat has suggested, solve the problem?
  • Would apologia/disclaimers "this is an experimental project and may not yet reflect the same standard of en.CZ" blah blah or some such, do the trick, or would people consider that an insult?
  • Is that type of quality assurance necessary, or immaterial?
Aleta Curry 16:55, 15 February 2008 (CST)

I support the development of some international pilots. Am willing to contribute as an author/translator in French as a pilot project (and probably just as a reader in the German version--has been a while since I have lived in Germany and my lack of exposure to this language in recent years would probably mean I need to brush up my skills). I agree with Pierre-Alain's statement above that well-written Citizendium articles would make wonderfully challenging translation exercises for willing students.

  • Would editors in an international pilot be 'editors' in a subject specialisation, or will we also need experts in linguistics/translation to step in and play an overseeing role? Do we have enough international editors to be able to fork their duties into watching over different disciplines, or in the beginning should we also have native speakers / highly qualified translators and linguists to oversee translation efforts in areas where we don't have subject specialist editors?
As the international projects develop I can envision a similar editors = qualified subject specialist / authors = interested and engaged contributors system developing, but I note that a lot of the people who have put down their initial interest are non-native speakers (like myself). While I am more than happy to contribute to a pilot as an author, as a non-native speaker, I'd be willing to defer to linguistic experts as well as subject experts.
  • I also think that a private wiki would help for initial development; to see if we have enough registered authors willing to pitch in and contribute before making it public.
  • Having written these points I can see Christian's concern that this will deplete our resources and that we should focus on developing the English language version. Still, I think a pilot program to test this feasibility is worth trying, and public awareness that we are actively working on internationalisation might help with recruitment.

In response to Aleta's questions just above:

  • Public scrutiny and criticism of international CZ's may not be a bad thing. There are always PR issues to manage when a project sets out to achieve high standards, but in the lack of registered foreign language authors and editors, actually having the project out there will hopefully attract people willing to help.
  • Required minimum of editors: see my thoughts above as to exactly what role these editors will play in a pilot/development setting.
  • Disclaimers: Drafts in CZ-en have disclaimers; I think if we manage to move articles to the 'approved' status then it would have had the same amount of quality checking.
  • I think that some sort of quality assurance, particularly for approved articles in an international CZ, may be necessary, if only because CZ is marketing itself as an authoritative source and readers will have the expectation that it will be.
Louise Valmoria 17:58, 15 February 2008 (CST)

Firstly, let me say how exciting it is to get some discussion of international versions off the ground.

  • I'm inclined towards a private wiki initially - because it would be best if the people who start it are existing contributors who therefore understand the way it works. This will avoid a lot of disputes. I also think that in the medium to long term it will have a positive effect on the English CZ, rather than diluting it: people coming in to one version of Citizendium may be supported by a version of the page in their own language, i.e. I think there are many people who for various reasons will want to read and contribute to both.
  • Are we going to go down the Wikipedia road of having international versions with different rules? For example, one of the reasons that the English Wikipedia is so big is not just because English is an international language, but because they have relatively looser rules on contributions. The Japanese Wikipedia, by contrast, doesn't allow articles on private citizens, and other versions have their own local rules. I feel that this sort of thing would be a recipe for disaster: we should have the same rules applying to each wiki.
  • A suggestion: it's certainly the case that people keep asking about a version of Citizendium in their own language. Perhaps it would be a good idea for now to have a page with the same short message in as many languages as we can rustle up, informing people that Citizendium is English-only but movements are afoot to launch in other languages.
  • A final suggestion: translation. Perhaps we could simply copy all the English pages to the new wiki to start with. This gives the contributor an extra choice alongside starting from scratch and importing a Wikipedia page: they could opt to translate the English version, replacing it paragraph by paragraph. These 'hybrid' articles would be clearly tagged as such, with an appeal for translation. Not only would this up the page count, but it might also help to avoid the serious problem of international versions making completely contradictory claims (e.g. over who invented the telephone!). John Stephenson 23:35, 15 February 2008 (CST)
Some responses to John S.:
Well, I certainly agree that there should be the same rules for all CZ wikis. Consistency is a good thing.
Where do you propose putting up the message page? Maybe on the CZ International Project Page? Assuming we create one?
You seem to be thinking along the same lines as Pierre-Alain with respect to translating the English language wiki. A suggestion: perhaps you two can start a discussion leading to coordination of this?
Aleta Curry 15:30, 18 February 2008 (CST)

Aleta, you seem very optimistic about the possibility of Citizendium in other languages. I don't know if I share your optimism. I think it's too early to tell. My concern here is: if Citizendium never launches in other languages, this initiative would be a waste of people's time, it would create frustration (what would they do with those articles?). --José Leonardo Andrade 08:32, 19 February 2008 (CST)

José, your concern is valid in some sense. But if you think like this the whole work on citizendium may be a waste of time. Who knows if we ever reach a reasonable size really enabling us to serve as an encyclopedia. So, I think let's try it. The citizens also kind of try the citizendium. -- Alexander Wiebel 08:45, 19 February 2008 (CST)

That's why I think it's better to focus on the English edition for the moment. There are other things you can do on a wiki besides writing (e.g: uploading images to articles that don't have them, formatting text...). --José Leonardo Andrade 09:01, 19 February 2008 (CST)

Thought about this - my first impression was negtive, too much of a diversion. But then I wondered - why shouldn't we have some articles here on Citizendium in another language, and actually I couldn't think of a good reason. I would be very much against setting up other language versions at this stage of the project - but see no reason why all our articles need be in English. We may not have mechanisms for approving them, but leave that down the line. I would suggest not putting effort into setting up a lot of rules/mechanisms or trying to hyperboost content. But would favour letting someone write an article in French or any other language if they so wish (provided there are some others who can check)Gareth Leng 09:58, 19 February 2008 (CST)

Well, Jose, (where are you people finding accent marks, I want to know?), it's my nature to be optimistic, though I don't know if that's the right word here. It's not a question of whether this will or will not work out in the longterm, because CZ itself may not work out. I started this page because I perceived there to be an interest, without any concrete movement.

I'm coming to the same conclusions Alexander and Gareth are, that is, is there any reason not to relieve people's frustration by having some foreign language articles at CZ? Answer='no'.

The main argument seems to be that it will deplete resources. But will it? It seems to me that most of the people weighing in on the forums have said that they are not able to write in English, not that they want to write in English and in another language too. It is perhaps these people we need to prepare a place for.

If people are bi-lingual and comfortable writing in English, won't they continue to do that most of the time?

Aleta Curry 15:19, 19 February 2008 (CST)

Hi Aleta, will you please sign up "officially" as driver of this proposal on CZ:Proposals/New? Otherwise, lacking a driver, it will be shunted off to CZ:Proposals/Driverless tomorrow! Them's the rules. --Larry Sanger 20:27, 19 February 2008 (CST)

Well, I don't know. For one thing, I'm not really familiar with the proposals system. For another, if the international community isn't willing to take it on, maybe it should be moved into the great beyond? Aleta Curry 23:53, 19 February 2008 (CST)
I'm not familiar yet with the proposal system, but I'm willing to try and learn the mechanics. I accept your invitation, Aleta. Any co-drivers? S'il vous plait? Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 11:17, 20 February 2008 (CST)

I want to comment that we wouldn't need a Korean version of the Citizendium for a long long time. As you can see with Wikipedia, Koreans are not interested in building the wiki - primarily because there are Korean search engines & web portals that provide encyclopedias. Despite the fact that Korea's one of the most wired countries w/ one of the fastest internet, they're too immersed in,, etc. Their web culture is too concentrated on blogging, forums, and fast internet chats/text messaging. I hear most people see little use of the e-mail there. So it's quite different. (Chunbum Park 08:10, 22 February 2008 (CST))

Don't worry about accents, Aleta. Your proposal raises another question related to constables and to the moderation work they perform. Who would watch how the authors behave and if necessary place those templates if the constables don't understand the language? --José Leonardo Andrade 10:37, 23 February 2008 (CST)

Details badly needed

As Proposals Manager I stipulate that it cannot move on to the Executive Committee until certain specific questions are answered: are we allowing people to have non-English language user pages? Will the pages themselves be in the main namespace? Will they have their own namespace? Should we set up multiple wikis, one for each language, a la Wikipedia? (Is this feasible? Who can we find to do the work on our servers?) Will we have any language-specific management? (I can't operate very well in languages other than English, but I have studied and can converse on a basic level in German, French, and Russian.) Also, what exactly do you mean, in practical terms, when you vote on whether this should be "public" or "private": what are you asking the tech crew to do? Is there any understanding that the articles should be translations of, or in any way correspond to, the English language versions? Etc. Even if the proposal is fairly simple and unambitious, such basic questions still need a simple answer before we can move forward.

The driver must take the lead in expanding the proposal so that these questions are answered--hopefully in a way that reflects the views of the interested community. At some point, also, you should e-mail Citizendium-L and alert the general community about where you are in your deliberations. Also, mail Citizendium-World, please. It still exists, even if it's unused! And make sure there's a link from the Forum board about internationalization to this page. --Larry Sanger 12:16, 21 February 2008 (CST)

Seems to me the details are still being discussed, Larry.
You're right about needing information about the technical aspects. Is there a specific place/person(s) to ask?
Yes, there's a post on the Internationalization forum with a link to this page. I've just edited it to make it easier to spot.
Aleta Curry 15:12, 21 February 2008 (CST)
I attempted to sent mail. One is being held pending review, the one to CZ world has been rejected because I am not allowed to post to that list. Aleta Curry 15:35, 21 February 2008 (CST)(edited to add: I'm working on it!)


Initial language-specific editors have to be chosen from the current lot of (English) editors. At a later stage they may be encouraged to invite more editors for different specializations knowing that particular language well. Another point of importance will be to choose the appropriate fonts specific for the respective languages. Supten Sarbadhikari 03:48, 22 February 2008 (CST)

I've posted a related proposal to the new proposals page which I think should be rather easy to implement and, therefore, seems like a good thing to begin international CZ with. Any drivers? Jens Mildner 03:06, 23 February 2008 (CST)

This proposal could propel the project of creating Eduzendium teams, and I like that.

The role of the English language

In the context of the present proposal, I think it is important to agree on the fact that the lack of constabulary oversight (also see my comments in the private / public tally), and of editorial boards, e tutti quanti, forces us to think of this Citizendium International initiative as a project which will require from all new authors and editors a good command of the English language and a willingness to use it whenever necessary. This might not be a bad thing at all (I'll expand on this below).

Researchers accross the world recognize that English is the lingua franca, we recognize experts, ergo... There should not be any fear to demand English as a second or third language.

But let's take some good article as an example, like biology, again. Do we suppose that the French or the Indonesians have such a high opinion about their culture that they would reject the biology article written in en-cz and start from scratch? Conversely, do we suppose that editors and authors in the en-cz are so sure that they're on the right track that they won't ask what other ethnolinguistic groups can bring?

No and no, of course. I think that we're dealing, actually, with a great opportunity for recruitment. Here in Montreal, Quebec, bilingualism is widespread. Still, clever and knowledgeable people to whom I suggested joining cz failed to do so, not because they can't write in English, but because it a too rough start.

The role of workgroups

We have thematic workgroups; we encourage collaborative writing; each workgroup is better equipped to deal with new authors who would feel more comfortable writing first in their own language (but who would accept, like most academics in the world, to use the English language because/when it is necessary; see above). Worgroups would necessarily be the best (collective) judges of the coherence of the newcomer's contributions with the whole, and especially with core articles. And it would follow quite naturally that meaning would flow from one language to the other, and a third one, etc.

If we give priority to quality over quantity, I contend that this is the predictable course of events. Many technical and policy problems will vanish, instead of escalate "à la wikipedia".

Citizendium International subpage

A Citizendium International subpage in the articles could be a technically interesting solution. It would show that cz is committed to communication between cultures. Quite the opposite of the mere accumulation of links to dozens of corresponding, but not coherent articles in other languages, as in Wikipedia. The subpage system offers an opportunity to contain the internationalization of Citizendium within limits, by revolving around meaning, around articles and clusters of articles.

Pierre-Alain Gouanvic 03:29, 25 February 2008 (CST)

I quite like the idea of a Citizendium International subpage. It not only uses our existing subpage concept, which is in effect there to provide a backbone for the integration of knowledge anyway, but will ensure that writers will still be able to communicate with their article workgroups across language borders. I'm not sure exactly how many resources we have, but many have commented that internationalisation could potentially deplete the writers that we already have. International subpages could also resolve the issue of which language to trial first. Contributions can already begin in the languages that writers are familiar with and willing to work with.
Integrating cross-language communication this way could also help highlight potential differences from the outset, rather than learning varying and occasionally contradictory 'facts' from isolated language servers. Sometimes I learn more from Wikipedia's other language servers than I do from the English, especially about geography or local history. If we keep working together under general subject workgroups and not have individual language workspaces, perhaps this will strengthen our collaborative work.
Louise Valmoria 06:05, 25 February 2008 (CST)
Ohhh--wow! So much to comment on! First, sorry for coming back to the discussion late, it's been crazy busy here.
It was very interesting reading Pierre-Alain's analysis in light of Supten's suggestion above, which is that the international editors have to be chosen from among the current crop of English-language editors.
Pierre-Alain suggests, and Louise supports, the idea of a Citizendium International subpage. I agree wholeheartedly, and hope to add some food for thought as I go along.
Jens has suggested an alternate proposal, which is that an easy way to start would be with translations. While I do not object at all, I think this idea only provides a partial solution to the set of problems I was attempting to tackle with this Internationalisation proposal.
  • I remain concerned that the majority of people who are keen on CZ International do so because they do not have the same level of language skill in English that they have in their native tongues, and some do not feel comfortable communicating in English at all. This has nothing to do with expertise, and the problem with merely having official translation pages is that these folks still get left out.
  • In addition, there exists the same problem which exists on the English-language board: for some people, it is more fun to *start* one’s own article rather than simply try to improve upon one’s own work. I mean this to apply to stubs more than anything else—Pierre is quite right—why would anyone want to reinvent some of our best articles in their own language just for the chauvisim of it? Our best approved articles should just be translated outright.
  • It also does not solve the problem of esoteric and culture-specific topics for which there may be no English-speaking experts at CZ (yet?) and/or for which the experts may be willing to contribute to CZ but cannot do so in English. This is not quite the same idea as in my first bulleted point above, and it relates to Pierre-Alain’s point about the universal nature of English as the world’s foremost ‘’lingua franca’’. What I’m trying to say is, the world’s foremost authority on Indian Cinema can probably read and write in English to a competent degree, so the issue is simply whether or not she is willing to do that, and whether or not we will ‘’’require’’’ her to do that. However, the world’s foremost authority on Classic Thai dancing for the Royal Siamese Court may not read and write in English at all, making all the argument moot, and simply leaving CZ at a tragic loss, if that person was willing to contribute. (Clumsy examples, perhaps, but the first ones that came to mind.)
Having said that much, I do think the translation angle is an important one, and we might be able to dovetail it into Pierre-Alain’s idea. The CZ subpage setup allows us to have…what…three different levels? So we could have general format for what goes onto the subpage, AND a listing of sub-subpages with translations and other stuff.
I think we've pretty much determined that what we don't want is
  1. a collection of substandard articles
  2. a collection of CZ International pages/workgroups/whatever, all with their own rules; and
  3. CZ Internationals should be complementary rather than competitive or contradictory
Aleta Curry 22:59, 29 February 2008 (CST)
If I understand correctly, you propose a subpage (tab) per language. It is an idea I also had, in stead of unrelated separate language wikis. The aim is to translate the English article in the other language at first. Then authors could add to or suggest edits in the foreign language part of the article, then re-translate (or find a translator) the additions and edits back into the existing English (main) page. If someone prefers to write in his/her non-English native language, and there is as yet no English (main) page, he/she may write in a subpage in his/her native language, with a request for translation on the English (main) page. In this case, the article will be translated to an English (main) page. In this way a common standard is upheld for all languages, and contributions from other cultural backgrounds could benefit the International (English) perceptions as well. We currently have authors and editors roles. Could we define a Translator role? Some may like to mainly translate, but could also be authors for some articles. We could attract, or start a campaign to find volunteer professional translators, who can use CZ as a medium where they can practice their profession and have peer reviews on the translations, just like the articles have for their content. I can, for instance, translate from German into English for my Workgroup. A professional Translator could edit it, without having to do the complete work himself/herself.
Lando Leonhardt Lehmann 16:14, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like the way to go - Ro Thorpe 18:42, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I have just arrived to CZ so I still am on my first steps and learning all mechamisms of the pages, etc. I have been reading this page and I agree with the proposal of having other laguages as subpages to start with. This would allow us to check the quality of what is coming. It is important to remember that to become a member of CZ one has to apply in English, this at the very beguining, so all will be able to comunicate on this language, furthermore there is no reason for the articles quality to be inferior in other languages as the writers are the same, actually I guess it is the opposite, I myseld can write much better in Portuguese than in English. I think that, because this is as smaller comunity of higher cultural level, and always will, for it is much different from Wikipedia, contributors will be willing to profit from the opportunity of learning from its pairs from other countries rather than getting isolated. I think my own experience writing in WP is interesting so I'll talk a little bit about it. I registered in (Portuguese) WP six months ago. I can read Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and English almost as if my mother language, and I also understand French pretty well. Furthermore as I am dealing with a subject I know, so it is possible to check Dutch and German wikis too. When I came to WP, all orchid genera pages were create as a sketch only saying "it is an orchid genus". As soon I started working with genera articles and uploading photos to Commons several contributors of other language wikis got in touch with me and the result is that, we are working together, helping each other with the articles and exchanging information (mostly Dutch, German, and Portuguese versions) furthermore, we all correct the other wikis as we find mistakes or unaccuracies there. Right now there is no orchid expert working on English, French, Spanish and Italian wikis, we also try to keep the info on these in accordance with the rest. Thus, what I wish to express here is that the opportunity to have other languages contributors has a lot to add and very few to loose. I know of several excellent Portuguese contributors who are just waiting for a Portuguese versiton of CZ to como on board, for many of them are not brave enough to face other language writing they do not master, and do not want to write poor English language articles like I do. Dalton Holland Baptista 19:41, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

About over-burdening English language resources

There's one point that I need to make here. Many of those who say "nay" below do so because they feel that the concentration of effort needs to be in the English-language wiki.

As I understand it, these folks are concerned about stretching our already-thin human resources in English.

Well, my point is still that this is not about stretching resources of English speakers who just happen to speak another language as well. It's about including people who don't speak English. To some degree, it is also about people who *could* write in English but simply would rather not, and Pierre-Alain has spoken to that, and I don't know that those are the majority.

For the most part, people like me, who could dabble in another language, are not going to. People who are competent in another language but write more comfortably in English will continue to do most of their writing in English, particularly as the novelty wears off.

The nitty-gritty creation and maintenance of International CZs will be by people whose native tongue is not English. I think they deserve a place; I think that's fair.

I do not believe that this will damage the English-language wiki at all.

Aleta Curry 23:26, 29 February 2008 (CST)

We have had a couple of authors come here recently whose native language is not English, but likely have something to offer us; they're having a bit of trouble finding translators and such at the moment. While at the moment the translation exercise would stretch our English native speakers, we do need to put something in place to accommodate foreign language authors--I am particularly thinking about the impact of recruiting and word-of-mouth at the moment.
Planning-wise, things would need to happen in stages, setting up the groundwork for an eventual International CZs whose creation and maintenance will be handled by non-native speakers. While we do need to keep in mind existing resources at this stage, I think Aleta has a point that we should also look to the future of a place for those whose native tongue is not English.
Also, it's the International Year of Languages (UNESCO link) and if we pull our heads together and come up with a coherent plan of action, we could even raise awareness by linking the CZ International project can be added to the list of IYL 2008 projects. Something to consider. Louise Valmoria 00:42, 23 March 2008 (CDT)


(feel free to help maintain and change this section)

Please add your vote to the yea/nay *and* to the public/private columns.



(please say why)

  • Christian (not feasible at the moment; too much depletion/dilution of resources)
  • Warren Schudy (Not worth the distraction.)
  • Stephen Ewen (a bit premature)
  • Robert (agree with Stephen; too premature at this phase, but this isn't a long-term "nay".)
  • Paul see Christian.
  • DavidGoodman 23:34, 21 February 2008 (CST) The priority should be to get the main one better established.
  • Ruth Ifcher 21:40, 29 February 2008 (CST) (I think ,at this time, all our efforts are needed for the English Citzendium.)
  • Ro Thorpe 10:12, 10 March 2008 (CDT) (Just waking up...)

Keep it private

(feel free to add comments)

  • Denis (language not specified) (suggests participation by invitation initially)
  • Aleta (language not specified)
  • Pierre-Alain (French) (private articles, started from scratch or from WP, will be expected to become public and approved by the existing editorial board which is - at present - English speaking; requires translation (and perhaps an Eduzendium translation effort); English is the lingua franca anyways) Please see my recommendations in Make it public.
  • Louise (French, Spanish) (prefers public in the long term, but can envision an initially private system to gauge interest and participation from existing registered authors)
  • Warren Schudy (initially private as a pilot.)
  • John Stephenson (ditto)
    • Also, we were a private wiki when CZ originally launched, and that wasn't much of a problem
  • Christian Liem (recruitment through word-of-mouth)
  • Stephen Ewen (oh, too many reasons to summarize!)
  • Robert (language not specified) reasons are below:
    • There's no element of QA to ensure translational neutrality
    • There's no formal process to review foreign-language applicants (especially those who do not have ESL)
    • There are not enough language speakers who can also proofread and perform editorial review (even in the english version)
    • Funding (additional server space? hosting? data services? traffic costs?)
    • The challenges presented currently are not even well (or at all) solved on the English version
    • Drafting all policy pages in another language will be a problem; should the rules be the same?
  • Gareth Leng 11:39, 19 February 2008 (CST) For now. Go public when there's a few good examples to show off.
  • Supten Sarbadhikari Initially private, after 1000 articles Public.

Make it public

(please say why)

  • Nat (French) (private space will not be useful; it will not attract contributors; no growth)
  • Pierre-Alain (French) (for promotional purposes and to guide new Citizens / Citoyens, only translations of approved articles and further discussions and work on those should be public, conditionally to ulterior back-translation for discussion and approval in the En-CZ, under its editorial policy and constabulary oversight; might require an Eduzendium translation team; until a Fr- or Ge-CZ have their own editorial boards and constables)
  • Quentin (French, German) (ditto Nat, no point to private space, we don't need that, in essence it wouldn't change where we are now. Should not be afraid to start small.)
  • Sylvain (French) (We do not have enough people to create a project whose size would be correct. Making it public will provide us advertising and autors)
  • Yuval Langer (Hebrew) (Private space won't attract contributors; Public space marked with all the "this is not an approved version" signs won't hurt the PR image of The Citizendium; Private space is not the true nature of a wiki and Citizendium is a wiki)
  • Jens Mildner (German) (It's all "beta" here, why not do international "alpha" versions?)
  • Alex (German) (ditto, disclaimers will do the trick)
  • Olier Raby (French) (ditto)
  • Ori Redler 09:28, 24 February 2008 (CST) Of course.
  • Ruth Ifcher 21:44, 29 February 2008 (CST) (If we are ready to do this, we should be ready to make it public.)
  • Nicolás A. Ramírez (There's a LOT of people (autors and readers) who has issues with spanish Wikipedia. Those issues don't exist here at Citizendium... that kind of people should know.)
  • Philippe (French) (it's the only way to attract authors, and starting small is not related with starting with bad articles).
  • Patrice (French) (I don't need Citizendium to write private articles.)

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