Proposal talk:American English Wikipedia

    From Strategic Planning

    There isn't anyone that speaks english from America that wouldn't be able to understand a page written by a British person on and vice versa. I see no point in this other than to split up the English speaking user base almost in half to two different sites. As for the "help preserve American culture" I can't think of a more bias footing to start an encyclopedia... Other than the Conservapedia which you may want to look into. Adamdon89 00:47, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    - I think that if the fork splits English Wikipedia, then it shouldn't fork in English and American English, but into British English and American English, as English is a very general term, including both American English and British English.

    In the case of an American English and British English Wikipedia we would most likely see one of two scenarios; A - Having mass duplication of articles that would be copy/paste verbatim of each other. or scenario B - Having a dominant(probably American English) site that would make visiting the other redundant due to the sites being the same, other than the fact that one has more articles on it.
    As for English being a "general term" Do keep in mind that American English is not a language, but "is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States." That quote being from the American English article it's self.
    It would be a very sad day to see the English Wikipedia spit up into British and American. And what of the other dialects? Such as South African English, Australian English, New Zealand English, Scottish English and so on. Have we to say good bye to these users too? It's the fact that English has became such a universal language on the internet that makes the English Wikipedia so great. you get input from all over the earth. Not just the USA or Britain. Adamdon89 02:10, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I totally agree. I'm German and I would have no option than to turn to the Am. English Wikipedia. Also: "Arguments about spelling, grammar, and cultural biases occur frequently on English Wikipedia and would be diminished by such a split." I think anyone who visits wikipedia should have the knowledge about the different spellings and grammar in the UK, Australia and South Africa. In addition to that, there should not be any cultural biases on Wikipedia.

    Wikipedia has more than 2 million articles because it has users from all over the world and not just the US. E.g. if I think about the article of the European Parliament. If we would have had an American English Wikipedia, it would be poorly mentioned there compared to the British (therefore European) English Wikipedia. --Trickymaster 16:35, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Good point, keeping one Wikipedia per language is good, as it causes the all the worlds customs to be combined. --Mikkim64 02:52, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Would you care to submit a proposal to eliminate the existing national forks? --Gmaxwell 03:09, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I do hope that's just a poor taste joke. Adamdon89 03:18, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I do believe this "modest proposal" is strictly in the Swiftian mode.--Pharos 14:04, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    To Gmaxwell: I think there should be no national forks, but I don't think there are any yet (maybe I'm wrong). If there are this proposal should definitely be made. AdrienE 16:03, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    A good thing might be extracted from this bad idea

    The fragmentation of the English language, for which we can mainly blame Webster, is a right pain. The principal variants are American and Commonwealth (aka "British") and the differences so minor that considering them separate languages would be nuts. However... maybe Wikipedia could act as a sort of Academie Anglaise - a forum for re-uniting the language into a single Standardised/Standardized English. Since English looks like being the world's common language forever more this would be doing the world a massive favour/favor. 15:03, 27 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Worst proposal ever

    because we should create a Canadian English fork instead! :D No, seriously, worst idea ever. 03:39, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    May I point you toward the reader feedback extension at the bottom of the proposal page? :) -- Philippe 03:40, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There's no "reject" option. 03:41, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    not even a "bad idea" option - reader feedback is only towards priority, impact and feasability, so all feedback is propably considered as "oh what a nice idea" -- 14:42, 21 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    IMHO this would ultimately lead to the end of the wikipedia project. It would open doors for every nation to establish their own wikipedia regardless of which language they are speaking. 53 english wikipedias alone. --Sebastian.Dietrich 14:56, 21 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    I thought this proposal crude... at first

    At first, I was immediately against this proposal. On second thought, essentially agree with all the stated benefits of this proposal.

    With this proposal I foresee fragmentation and the dominance of American-Wiki. Article duplication would occur but would be so minimal as to be insignificant. Only major articles would be duplicated and I imagine a vast majority would not. Those are the worse things that would happen.

    From personal experience I do not believe existing neutrality would be diminished. Neutrality on Wikipedia is theoretical and practically, a fiction. Currently national and interest groups congregate to specific articles and projects, forming bands that guard against edits challenging the prevailing world view on those pages. This is the case with almost every country, national, and its related articles. Presentation of facts become contentious and the drive for consensus sacrifices quality.

    The benefits from this proposal far outweigh any of the disadvantages. As noted, splitting would decrease cross-cultural conflicts and increase neutrality across languages. I can imagine American-Wiki having an article on Australia and so would Australia-Wiki, where the latter would be free to present their specific world view unchallenged, especially if challenging it is to no avail. ( I am still reeling over such an experience this morning.)GMJ 05:21, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    English is the language,American or British doesn't matter

    What I see as the greatest disadvantage of this, is losing the ability to educate the audience with the full knowledge.When Wikipedia splits into another American edition,the chance of getting knowledge fully is lost.Why aren't we going together in sharing the knowledge?When Wikipedia gets split, several editors may edit several editions and English users will have to roam through same named articles with different content, in several Wikis to get the full knowledge.I see this, unjust! Pasanbhathiya2 08:37, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Splitting the English-language wikipedia would be a big mistake

    The English wikipedia is the very proof that wikipedia can achieve great things, I don't see any good reason to split it because it would mean reducing the number of contributors.

    Plus what about English-speakers from other countries, not only Canada or Australia but also people for non-English-speaking countries who contribute to or simply read the English wikipedia?

    Knowledge is the same everywhere, and thus accessibility should be the only reason to create another wikipedia. Creating to wikipedias that share the basically same language makes no sense at all. AdrienE 15:57, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Very bad idea

    For people around the world who know some English but spoke better other languages this proposal would be a pain in the neck and besides, is something useless.

    The most important guideline using Wikipedia should be languages (all languages) must be tools for global understanding and this proposal is against this guideline. --Fev 16:41, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    I tend to disagree with this

    I won't call it a bad idea, as I'm AGFing it here. This is a neat idea, but it would split our articles, and we'll have a problem like we do now, where other language Wikipedias have less content than the English (which will become the "US English" version, I'm willing to bet) Wikipedia. We wouldn't want that to happen. Most editors of the Wikimedia projects (according to the editing statistics by the WMF) are from the U.S. This would then concentrate the editing of those "forked" encyclopedias to the US one, only. We wouldn't want that to happen. So, I'd be inclined to oppose this, but, once again, neat idea. It shows we're here to brainstorm it. Cheers! An English Wikipedia editor, ESanchez013 19:02, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Alternative to proposal: Semantic Wiki Markup + Preference Setting

    Instead of forking English Wikipedia (which I think is a very bad idea), how about this: In the event a word has different spellings in American English and British English, we can use semantic Wiki markup to include both spellings. On a user's preferences page, (s)he can specify her/his spelling preferences. This would most likely be done by removing the "en - English" value and adding locale-specific English values (e.g.: en_US - English (United States), en_GB - English (Great Britain), etc.) to the Language setting under "Internationalisation" (see Special:Preferences). This would at least take care of wikipedia:American_and_British_English_spelling_differences. This could possibly be expanded to different words that share meanings, such as hood/bonnet, trunk/boot, apartment/flat, cookie/biscuit, etc. -- Christopher C. Parker t c 20:49, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    That seems unnecessary. Too much work with little gain. I may be a big advocate of British English, and in my dream future, American English have become extinct, I would still oppose splitting up the wikis and some sort of feature to overlay the differences in English. No one would benefit from any of this.
    This entire proposal (not the technical one, the American English wiki one) seems to a matter of bitterness, that some articles uses "favourite" rather than "favorite". --Svippong 16:17, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It would be much simpler to have a template that could insert a u or toggle between ct and x based on a user preference. But I don't think even that is necessary. I go to Wikipedia to expand my horizons and learn about new, different things, not to stay in a nationalist comfort zone.--HereToHelp 18:01, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Eventually I suspect that we'll see all the different language versions of Wikipedia re-merge into one, with user translations of pages similar to those we see on this wiki. You would then select your language on the interface, and it would auto-display any given article in your chosen language if that that translation existed (you'd probably also give the option of auto-displaying secondary and tertiary language options if your main option didn't exist). But that is faaaaaaar in the future. At least it's further than our current 5 year time table for proposals. Gopher65talk 16:04, 21 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Request for new language

    For those in support, please have a look at m:requests for new languages, for current policy, produre, and organization of processing new requests for new languages. Dedalus 13:54, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    the problem as I see it

    The problem is one of coverage. At present I edit wikipedia, and English users across the world can see the most up to date version of what I have added to the article on bears, or albatrosses. Split into two or more language versions and after I have edited in my particular version of English no one else's language version has been updated. British English readers will know that bee-eaters sometimes eat plant fibres, but American readers would miss out - unless I went to the time consuming step of adding it to each version. Considering that the differences between the languages are so small the payoff is tiny and doesn't outweigh this cost. Sabine's Sunbird 22:57, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


    essentially you want something like, but without some of the big words used in

    USA and the rest of the world

    This proposal is another good example of how some Americans from USA (our friends from Canada are also Americans ;-) ) consider the rest of the world : they are simply not interested by what's going on outside their own States. Sad, very sad, for them and for the rest of the world ! Mike-tango 03:21, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Where do we stop?

    Maybe Scottish, Northern Irish and Irish, Welsh, Yorkshire, and not forgetting a Texan Wikpedia.--Andreasegde 21:08, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Scots is, actually, English-based language distant form standard English :) We have Wikipedia in Scots. --Millosh 21:17, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Very true, but I think they where referring to Scottish English not the Scots language/Scots_leid --Adamdon89 23:08, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Whats that rubbish about

    The proposals for new languages posted untill now are really ridiculous. I dont know whats the use of splitting editions into many smaller editions just because its pluricentric language? Some Words are just known around one center, so just use them. Everything has got at least one word which is used in the whole english-speaking area. I have never heared of americans beeing unable to read articles, which were written by Australians. This point is a bit strange. -- 14:11, 17 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Language policy

    As long as American English is not considered a separate language in the ISO-639-3, a request like this will be denied under the existing policy. Thanks, GerardM 15:03, 17 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Yup, I made that point over on the Canadian English Wikipedia proposal. They aren't accepting any new wikis unless they have a their own ISO-639 code. Gopher65talk 01:04, 22 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    writing vs. pronunciation

    Splitting the English language Wikipedia into two or more written versions would be, imo, silliness and a detriment to the entire project. Enough reasons have been given already.

    However, for some articles two (or more?) different versions of the audio might be warranted. In particular, articles with many polysyllabic words would be easier to understand read by someone from one's own side of the Atlantic, because having emphasis on the "right" syllable would be a help. Perhaps in some situations an Australian version might be worthwhile.

    (Will most articles have been recorded in the next five years?) --Hordaland 18:06, 21 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Strongly disagree

    Such a proposal doesn't even deserve consideration. Why don't we have a Malaysia English Wikipedia too then? For editors who use both American and British Wikipedia, editing would be burdensome as you would have to go to both encyclopedia. My opinion is that this proposal is not feasible and impractical. Bejinhan 10:11, 25 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


    Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:05, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    Language conversion system

    Please, take a look at the talk about a Language conversion system mentioned on wikitech list. The use of that system is more acceptable than the creation of a new wiki just because of variants of some language... 12:10, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    I love this!

    Personally, I love the idea of dividing a Wikipedia project based on a wish to be able to read two slightly different Wikipedias, but why stop at only the UK and US? I think we should also include (Australia), (New Zealand), (South America), (Ireland), (Guyana), and en-ja.wikipedia (Jamaica). Let's add that to the list of previously deleted Wikipedias by consensus, such as and, since Moldovan Romanian is very different from Romanian Romanian and Siberian Russian is very different from Russian Russian! But now that I think of it, why stop at just countries? There are regions of countries with very different dialects! The South generally has a different dialect than much of the United States. How about an Wikipedia? Also, New Yorkers have a different dialect from the rest of the US. I also propose And since England itself has some very diverse dialects, let's split up into,,, and (North Ireland). Rednecks also pretty much speak their own dialect, so how about (Appalachia)? Now that we have English split up, let's focus on other languages, such as Japanese. If you're fluent in Japanese, you will find that Japanese people speak many different variations of Japanese. I propose we open up a for Tokyoites, for people in Osaka, and so forth. Let's also look at Arabic. According to this proposal, there is another proposal for an Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia, but why in the world stop there? There are 26 different variations of Arabic! Surely each of those deserve their own Wikipedia, and I'm sure each variation of Spanish does as well. With all the forks in languages out there, I'm sure we can come up with thousands if not tens of thousands of Wikipedia projects. But I don't believe that will be a problem, and will especially not set back any editors willing to write actual content instead of just port things back and forth.

    On a serious note, I don't think a language conversion system would work because, for example, a computer won't be able to convert "Coldplay is a British alternative rock band" to "Coldplay are a British alternative rock band" and vice versa without incorrectly converting many other sentences. Very sincerely, Eugeniu B 00:24, 22 September 2009 (UTC).Reply[reply]

    If I'm not wrong, the computer will do the automatic conversions, and you can always override the behavior for special cases using the syntax explained at zh:Help:中文维基百科的繁简处理 [1]. It already works for the Chinese Wikipedia! ;-) Helder 01:01, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
    You may be thinking of something else. What I'm talking about is using the same Wikipedia project, just converting things in real time to American English or English English, as Christopher C. Parker suggested. Eugeniu B 01:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm talking exactly about this: the Language conversion system can give this functionality using the same project, without dividing the wiki into 'en' and 'en-gb'. Since most part of wikitext of an article is common for both languages (like it is also for 'pt' and 'pt-br'), it will allow us to use -{en:center;en-gb:centre}- markup if needed in some specific article, or just create Conversion tables in the MediaWiki namespace for sentencies/words which are always translated to the same sentence/word in the other variation of the language. This is like is done for Chinese Wikipedia, in real time! Helder 14:32, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


    This is a matter for the English Wikipedia not for Wikimedia strategy. And on the English Wikipedia it has been rejected many times before and will probably continue to be rejected. However we could merge this with Proposal:More multi dialect wikis WereSpielChequers 11:31, 3 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]