[WMCEE-l] Some toughs about the scope, selection of participants and official language of the CEE Meetings.

Tomasz Ganicz polimerek at gmail.com
Sun Oct 1 18:46:18 CEST 2017

2017-09-30 22:22 GMT+02:00 Mykola Kozlenko <mycola-k at ukr.net>:

> Hi,
> I will comment on it as the discussion already started here.
> 1. Underrepresented communities. From the experience of past years, few
> countries are almost completely missing: Lithuania (quite absent offline
> but somewhat active online), Slovenia (same as Lithuania), Bosnia (Bosnian
> language community, while Serbian-language community is more active),
> Cyprus (only few people active) and Montenegro (no signs of any active
> community), with Romania, Croatia and Kazakhstan semi-active. Plus some
> minority languages for which we never made any serious outreach.

Yes. That correct and actually - I think good move for next organizer would
to make an attempt to contact them. But rather not thinking about it in
terms of countries - but rather communities of editors of Wikimedia
projects. There is an issue how small communities to potentially include
and which not. For example - in Poland except Polish community we have
Silesian and Kashubian langauge Wikipedia communities, but there are very
tiny and IMHO it doesn't make sense to include them officially. For Russia
- it was already accepted to include Bashkarostan but we got a question
from not yet officially recognized group - Erzya language User Group - to
be included, and we rejected them because they were not on original grant
proposal list. You may expect more such groups to emerge in due future, not
only in Russian Federation but also in other places.

Anyway - my POV after CEE Meeting in Warsaw is - that we must switch from
selection based on countries to selection based on language/project's
Wikimedia communities.

2. I think that it is important to keep at least 2 scholarships for smaller
> communities. The fact that these communities are small means that they are
> unable to provide scholarships to their members like bigger chapters (WMPL,
> WMEE etc.) do. Giving only one scholarship make these communities quite
> dependent on one person (having one leader is not always obvious, it might
> cause severe conflicts if people disagree with this leader or, on the
> contrary, may create a strong dependence if people lead this leader decide
> on anything international).

To be honest  - no matter if is is going to be one person or 2 persons - it
does not change anything in decisions to be made. There is also an issue
what to do if one language/country community has more than 1 affiliated
entities - at the moment there are at least 3 such cases in our region.

Bear in mind - that my idea - is to have quite a number of scholarship to
be selected by scholarship committee - the committee might designate these
scholarship taking into account several factors - of which one of the most
important might be diversity. So - if the given small UG or chapter cannot
afford to send second representative on its own - that person can apply for
scholarship. A pool of scholarships under committee decision can be also a
chance for very small communities not having any affiliated entity to come.

3. I think that there are more disadvantages than advantages of this.
> People able to make synchronised translations of Wikimedia terms may be
> extremely hard to find: we need them to be highly proficient in Russian
> (pretty easy to find in, say, Armenia, but hardly available, say, in
> Greece) and not to make mistakes with Wikimedia terms (WMF tried hiring
> non-Wikimedia translators, they failed to translate even simple Wikimedia
> terms like "chapter" and wrote translations that were rather hard to
> understand). This is unlikely to be beneficial to more than a dozen of
> people (those who speak Russian better than English, given the CEE
> demography there are no more than 5 countries with such situation), but
> this is likely to frustrate more than a dozen (those who don't speak
> Russian or associate it with not that happy Communist past of the region).
> And well, I am a bit surprised to hear about Albanians who prefer Russian
> to English, this seems very uncommon. Having met CEE people at a number of
> event, I recall meeting just a couple of people who were not from Russia
> AND preferred speaking Russian to speaking English. I think we should
> carefully evaluate if there is a significant need for such translation.
Well - As I understand the "political" concerns of WMUKr - it is still true
that quite a number of participants - speak better Russian than English -
not only from Russian Federation - but - yes - also from Armenia and
several other former Soviet republics. In the survey we have just announced
- there is a question how much English is a barrier for participants - so
we will have soon more precise  data about it, but the data will be only
for current participants. We don't know how many haven't arrived due to
language barrier.

And the language is just a language - doesn't make sense to blame language
as such for current political issues of the country where it is most

Technically - organizing professional simultaneous translation is not a big
issue - at least in Poland there is a numerous companies providing this -
the service includes translators and technical equipment. We did it once
for our GLAM conference - translators costs were donated by our host
institution - Muzeum Narodowe - and it worked pretty well. The cost was
similar to the cost of expanded wifi we paid for CEE Meeting in Warsaw. In
order to help translators to translate wiki-terms, we simply provided them
a glossary:



simultaneous translation does not need to  be perfect - it is enough that
it is basically useful.

I guess we should have 2 translators - from English to Russian and from
Russian to English, so the translated track could be translated both ways.

Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
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