Siberian Wikipedia once again

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Siberian Wikipedia once again

Johannes Rohr-2
Hi there,

the proposal to close the Siberian/Northern Russian Wikipedia edition
has now been discussed for almost half a year. While I understand that
no member of the board will be keen to get involved into this ongoing
row, I feel that some sort of action would be needed.

Personally, I don't have a firm opinion on whether or not this edition
should be closed or should be allowed to continue (I am, however,
quite convinced, that Yaroslav Zolotarev's "Siberian language" is a
non-notable conlang, rather than an authentic representation of
Northern Russian dialects, but that's a side issue for the moment)

However, after peaking into some of the texts available at ru-sib, I
do understand that many from the Russian-speaking wikipedia community
are seriously offended. There are some pages, which can with some
legitimacy be classified as hate-speech, including e.g.

"moskal'ska svoloch' " (an approximate translation would be "Muscovite
scum" or "Muscovite swines", whereas "moskali" is a derogative term
for "Russians")

http://ru-sib.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0_%D1%81%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D1%87

and "moskal'ski vybliadki"

http://ru-sib.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8_%D0%B2%D1%8B%D0%B1%D0%BB%D1%8F%D0%B4%D0%BA%D0%B8

The former has been around since June 2006, the latter has been added
only in March. Both pages are write-protected and, as I wrote, their
content is fairly offensive against Russian.

While I understand that the BoT is not in a position to micromanage or
censor content in individual language editions and that this would be
virtually impossible given the language barrier, I do see some
increasing urgency in addressing this matter. This would not
necessarily mean that the whole edition would have to be closed, but
still, I feel, that someone from the board could and should kindly
approach Mr. Zolotaryov and ask him to take down at least the more
tasteless of his pages.

Thanks,

Johannes

--
http://www.infoe.de/


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Re: Siberian Wikipedia once again

M. Williamson
Of course, Zolotaryov's answer to your allegations would be that while
"moskal'ska svoloch'" may be offensive in Russian, it is not in
Pomorian... I don't know if I buy that excuse, but it certainly has
some weight. What does his Siberian dictionary translate those words
as? If it agrees with the Russians that those are offensive, then
perhaps something can be done; however if the translation is given as
a non-offensive term then perhaps not.

The difference in "severity" of certain terms in closely related
languages, especially the "taming" of offensive words in "peasant
languages" is not uncommon in the world.

For example, the word "damn" is used in Singlish (Singaporean Creole
English) for emphasis of adjectives, as in "he damn kia su lah".
Similar usages can be seen in Hawai'ian Creole English ("Pidgin") and,
I have heard, in Scots.

There is a word in Russian that would sound like a word in English
that is considered extremely racist, but it is not racist at all in
Russian... so if we are going to make any calls on the content we need
to perform due diligence.

Mark

On 02/05/07, Johannes Rohr <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi there,
>
> the proposal to close the Siberian/Northern Russian Wikipedia edition
> has now been discussed for almost half a year. While I understand that
> no member of the board will be keen to get involved into this ongoing
> row, I feel that some sort of action would be needed.
>
> Personally, I don't have a firm opinion on whether or not this edition
> should be closed or should be allowed to continue (I am, however,
> quite convinced, that Yaroslav Zolotarev's "Siberian language" is a
> non-notable conlang, rather than an authentic representation of
> Northern Russian dialects, but that's a side issue for the moment)
>
> However, after peaking into some of the texts available at ru-sib, I
> do understand that many from the Russian-speaking wikipedia community
> are seriously offended. There are some pages, which can with some
> legitimacy be classified as hate-speech, including e.g.
>
> "moskal'ska svoloch' " (an approximate translation would be "Muscovite
> scum" or "Muscovite swines", whereas "moskali" is a derogative term
> for "Russians")
>
> http://ru-sib.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0_%D1%81%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D1%87
>
> and "moskal'ski vybliadki"
>
> http://ru-sib.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8_%D0%B2%D1%8B%D0%B1%D0%BB%D1%8F%D0%B4%D0%BA%D0%B8
>
> The former has been around since June 2006, the latter has been added
> only in March. Both pages are write-protected and, as I wrote, their
> content is fairly offensive against Russian.
>
> While I understand that the BoT is not in a position to micromanage or
> censor content in individual language editions and that this would be
> virtually impossible given the language barrier, I do see some
> increasing urgency in addressing this matter. This would not
> necessarily mean that the whole edition would have to be closed, but
> still, I feel, that someone from the board could and should kindly
> approach Mr. Zolotaryov and ask him to take down at least the more
> tasteless of his pages.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Johannes
>
> --
> http://www.infoe.de/
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>


--
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Re: Siberian Wikipedia once again

Johannes Rohr-2
"Mark Williamson" <[hidden email]>
writes:

> Of course, Zolotaryov's answer to your allegations would be that while
> "moskal'ska svoloch'" may be offensive in Russian, it is not in
> Pomorian...

I know he would reply something of that kind, however in the context
of this verse, it makes little sense to assume any non-offensive
meaning:

The first line "Skoko es' v belom svete svolochnykh moskalov"
(appr. "How many swinish Muscovites (Moskals) there are in the wide world")
is followed by

"poshti vse voni nas nenavidiut", which translates as "Almost all of
them hate us"

"Trudovykh i vol'gotnykh sibirskikh ludiov" ("industrious and free
Siberian people")

> I don't know if I buy that excuse, but it certainly has
> some weight.

It may have some weight when judging the severity of individual
swearwords used in colloquial speech. In colloquial Russian,
expressions like "fuck your mother" are used quite freely and they
certainly don't have the same offensive character as they would have
in German or English. But in this very case, the whole context makes
it quite clear, that this excuse doesn't catch.

> What does his Siberian dictionary translate those words
> as?

His dictionary may translate it as whatever he needs at a given
moment. His language is undocumented outside is own work.

There are, of course, records of real historic Northern and Siberian
Russian dialects, some extensive research has been undertaken at Tomsk
university, right in the city where Zolotaryov lives. However, when
asked to comment on Zolotaryov's work, the dean of Tomsk University
delivered quite a devastating verdict on it. While his language
incorporates some authentic elements (mostly the phonetics), much of
the rest is made up or taken from other sources, such as Ukrainian
(from where he has taken the names of the months), Belarusian,
Mongolian, Tatar etc.


> If it agrees with the Russians that those are offensive, then
> perhaps something can be done; however if the translation is given as
> a non-offensive term then perhaps not.

I highly doubt, that any wordlist existing at Tomsk University or
elsewhere would translate "svoloch" else than "swine" or "scum".

If Zolotaryov would seriously claim that this was a neutral
expression, this would be a completely childish game. Since there is
no objective point of reference for the language he has invented, he
can make just about any claim concerning the meaning of a particular
expression. There is no way to verify or falsify it.



> The difference in "severity" of certain terms in closely related
> languages, especially the "taming" of offensive words in "peasant
> languages" is not uncommon in the world.
>
> For example, the word "damn" is used in Singlish (Singaporean Creole
> English) for emphasis of adjectives, as in "he damn kia su lah".
> Similar usages can be seen in Hawai'ian Creole English ("Pidgin") and,
> I have heard, in Scots.
>
> There is a word in Russian that would sound like a word in English
> that is considered extremely racist, but it is not racist at all in
> Russian... so if we are going to make any calls on the content we need
> to perform due diligence.

The point is, that in contrast to your example, Zolotaryov's
"Sibirskoi govor" is not a natural language. It is a conlang,
developed and controlled by him. Therefore, there is no independent
point of reference.

One suggestion would be to ask real linguists, with real expertise in
Siberian and Northern Russian dialects for comments and accept their
verdict regarding the perceived offensive character of certain
expressions.

Another suggestion would be to ask Zolotaryov for sources for his
poetry. Personally I highly suspect that both "poems" are his original
works rather than authentic Siberian poetry, else he would have
provided references.

Thanks,

Johannes
 

--
http://www.infoe.de/


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