Wikisource talk:Language domain requests/Rules for voting

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See also New rules proposal.

Wikisource has adopted language subdomains as an official policy. There are three basic possibilities in setting the criterion for each language domain request: a liberal policy, a conservative policy, or a moderate policy.

These various possibilities are discussed here on the talk page. Feel free to add to the discussion, to make alternative suggestions, and to modify the suggested policy based upon the results of that discussion.

Liberal policy[edit]

This is the policy that was followed in several other Wikimedia projects, namely when language subdomains were created en masse for Wikibooks, Wikiquote, and Wiktionary.

Prior to this, those projects worked the same way Wikisource did until recently: There was a special "Main Page" for each language within the main domain, and a "Portal" page listing all of them (like Wikisource's current Main Page). Anyone could create a language main page at any time.

When the subdomains were created en masse for these projects, for both large and small languages all at once, it created some confusion. For many, both the "local" main page and the independent subdomain remained active together. Links from language Wikipedias might list one or the other. The "Portal" was a confusion of links to a "local" main page for some languages, a subdomain for others, even though stub main pages already existed for nearly all active langugages. Over time, though, this confusing situation was sorted out and corrected.


  • Easy-to-use and completely even-handed for all languages. Want to make the first contribution to a new language in Wikibooks? Simply locate the URL of you language subdomain ("reserved for language X") and start typing!


  • Short term confusion (possibly many months, or even up to a year) between "local" main pages verses language subdomains, until everything gets "cleaned up" (portals, language Wikipedia links, deletion of pages in the wrong language).
  • Vandalism: Subdomains are created even if there are no active users to monitor vandalism and trolls in that language.
  • No sysops: Subdomains are created without sysops who can delete pages that are pure vandalism, and without bureaucrat who can appoint sysops.

Conservative Policy[edit]

Perhaps partially because of the situation that ensued upon the creation of language subdomains at Wikibooks, Wikiquote, etc., the newest Wikimedia project, namely Wikinews, was formally directed by the board to try to develop a policy that set clear criterion before each and every language subdomain would be set up.

An additional reason for this directive was the nature of Wikinews: While a Wikibooks or Wikiquote can serve a positive function as a repository for information, even if it sometimes sits idle, this is not the case for a Wikinews. If a Wikinews is not updated dozens of times each and every day, even initially, then it serves no useful purpose and creates a very poor image for the vitality of the project.

Thus, the purpose of the policy at Wikinews/Start a new edition was to assure that when a new language is launched, it would have an active community dedicated to keeping it up-to-date from the very start.

The policy for Wikinews/Start a new edition has developed over time in its details, though the basic idea has remained the same, and is the basis for the draft policy kept at: Policy for wikis in new languages. The current Wikinews version states:

At least 5 people speaking the language have to express an interest in a language edition in order for it to be created. Of these, at least 3 have to be regulars in an existing Wikimedia project in that language -- regular means, at least 3 months of presence and at least 200 edits. To speed up the process of checking the votes, please point your Meta user page to the Wikimedia project you are working on, or your vote may not be counted! Please do not sign in support for a language you do not speak, or you do not intend to contribute in.
When a developer decides to implement a Wikinews edition, all signing users with valid user pages will be notified. Additionally, a message will be sent to the mailing lists foundation-l and wikinews-l, as well as to the Wikipedia Village Pump in that language.

When enough people have signed up, the project is sent to "New language pre-launch":

These are recommended, but not mandatory procedures for preparations to follow before creating a new language edition of an existing Wikimedia project. The instructions are separated by project...
Translate or write local language equivalents of the following pages:
n:Wikinews:Main Page - a presentable Main Page for the project. Be especially creative here - no need to duplicate the exact layout of an existing edition.
n:Wikinews:Mission statement - mission statement of the project, note that this contains material from the Wikinews page here on Meta which may already have been translated.
n:Wikinews:Article flags - simple templates for flagging problem articles
n:Wikinews:Administrators - a page for nominating sysops
n:Wikinews:Water cooler - a place to discuss all kinds of issues, also known as the Village Pump on Wikipedia.
n:Wikinews:Submit a story - a simplified story submission process for newbies.
n:Wikinews:Neutral point of view - a key policy. Note that you can use the existing Wikipedia NPOV policy as a template.
You may want to create:
n:Wikinews:Original reporting for a basic policy on original reporting
n:Wikinews:Credentials and related pages for accrediting Wikinews reporters
Please create these documents here on Meta and then put a note on m:Wikinews/Start a new edition when it is done. As a naming convention, please use [[xy.wikinews Main Page]] or [[Template:xy.wikinews NPOV]], where xy is your language code. Templates and links can be broken while the pages are constructed here on Meta.

Analysis: Clearly, the "pre-launch" aspect is meant to make gauge how much true interest there is in creating a new language Wikinews. Additionally, having the main infrastructure pages ready in advance makes it more likely that the project will take off from the start as an active project, and not remain idle for any length of time.


  • Helps to make sure a project gets off to a good start with an active community and basic infrastructure pages from the very beginning.
  • Takes care of the problem of vandalism and spam at inactive wikis.
  • Note that languages on Wikisource (unlike a brand new project such as Wikinews) already have some of the basic infrastructure pages listed at "pre-launch." Nearly every active language already has a usable "Main Page" of its own that can be copied to its language domain from the very start.


  • This is appropriate for Wikinews, an ambitious project that requires a very high level of constant participation. But a project that also functions as an archive for useful texts doesn't need such a high level of participation to justify its very existence. In fact, not creating when there is some initial interest may actually reduce the chances that a community devoted to archiving materials in that language will develope at all in the future. Less than five devoted users may be enough to get a useful Wikisource language going.
  • A Wikisource in any language with a decent Main Page can be a tool that is immediately useful as a repository for texts, even without the initial translation of various technical help and policy pages. Most of these (like NPOV policy, or "How to edit a page") can simply be left, initially, as links to the relevant pages in the Wikipedia of that language. They can be adapt them to Wikisource later, without causing any problems in the meantime.

Moderate Policy[edit]

A moderate policy might not favor creating language domains en masse, but nevertheless allow it (and encourage it) when there is enough interest to get a project started (with less demanding criterion than Wikinews).

Additionally, we need to take the fact that Wikisource is already an active project into account. Initial texts, active users and even small subcommunities already exist, making it easier to justify language domains for those that request them.

The ititial policy suggestion at Rules for voting is a version of a moderate policy for the creation of language domains.