I kind of overpass the doldrums, so I can now participate to this discussion.
Thanks @Astinson_WMF for this long comment. I’ll try to answer to it, but I may miss some part, and I am sorry if you feel I missed the most important idea.
About the axis of evaluation for decision and the idea of shaping our idea as business cases, that’s a way of thinking we are not accustomed to. It is quite hard to think at the same time about the content, the editors, the audiences, the network, partners and ourselves. I mean, we are part of the process, part of the producers and part of the readers, but most of us (contributors in general, not only wiktionarians) have a narrow perspective on our projects.
We may need some relay or material to understand how to build projects and to “articulated itself in global spaces” as you said. Meta is an unknown territory for most of the contributors.
Well, I made a document to present and teach how to contribute to French Wiktionary, with 180+ slides, made for a 6hours training. One of the first comment on this document by the community was by a sysop who said he learned a lot. So, we have to consider that contributors have an incomplete and subjective knowledge of their own project. I think building this kind of document is a good step to build a better analysis, for the writer of it and for the readers. Also, we documented our knowledge and activities in a monthly newsletter since three years. We translated some issues in English but we had zero feedback so we stopped the translation. This is also a tool to have a better knowledge of local activities. Still, as part of a wikiverse, we could connect locally during some editathon for those lucky enough to live close to a wikipedian nest, but it is quite difficult to know the global trajectory or actuality.
We also built a tremendous user group that promote a common activity with little success and had led to some discussions about the strategy. Sadly, one of our common interested during the last two years was Wikidata Lexeme project and we tried to participate in the process in vain. It stayed as a trouble area, where a lot of people lost their time or mind. I hope we could build another activity on something more positive in the future.
Well, to challenge your questions:
The potential contributor community that may be interested in Wiktionary is the people speaking endangered languages. They may not have enough knowledge of their languages to write an encyclopedia but a dictionary is a great entry point. Lot of field linguists collect words and sentences as they study languages - that was my training in an amazonian fieldwork - and those community will be ecstatic to be able to save their languages in a collaborative project, adding words, meanings, sentences of examples, pictures and sounds. In 2015, I wrote an IEG proposal to support this idea, but it was not the right timing. Atikamekw in Canada the following year had a better success. And recently, the endangered language Shawiya was the first language that opened in first a project that is not Wikipedia, and it’s a Wiktionary. If contribution was easier, Wiktionary could be used for this large community.
We have very interesting outreaches, and some awesome partnerships are in course, despite being largely confidential out of French Wiktionary community. Four examples:
- The Comité de cartographie français (French comity for cartography) offers their glossary of about 800 entries to Wiktionary. We included this content in 2018 and we are setting up a training to let them maintain the content themselves.
- A publisher have printed a dictionary based on Wiktionary content with a proofreading and editorial process that included a Wiktionarian, Lyokoï. Part of the selling price will be donated to Wikimedia France. It went out in September 2019 and had a large press coverage.
- France ministry of Culture is funding an ambitious project to build a RDF dictionary for French, named Dictionnaire des francophones. It includes French Wiktionary and other resources. It will be online in March 2020. They hired me for two years has the product manager to build the ontology and lead the development.
- In the course of Dictionnaire des francophones project, a Wiktionarian in residence will have a one-year full-time position in a university, starting in January 2020. To be more specific, it will be at the Institut international pour la Francophonie, in Lyon 3 University, France. The scope of this residence will be to facilitate the reuse of the data by documenting some templates and helping contributors to be more consistent using lexicographic terminology, and also to support the activities of the Institute, with editathons about Francophonie and collection of data such as pronunciations of visiting student from Africa.
Wiktionaries may be more used in the future with those project and because the content is very often quoted in press and in socio-commercial networks such as Twitter. 2019-2020 will be a major turn for Wiktionary…but mostly for French Wiktionary as the other communities are not very much into this kind of initiatives.
Lexeme is not very interesting for Wiktionary. A separate Wikibase under CC BY-SA could have been, and the English Wiktionary community is still thinking about having a dedicated wikibase. Lexeme is mostly interesting for Wikidata and for reusers such as Google. Well, with the project I am building now, we will have a SPARQL endpoint to dig into French Wiktionary data, so we will not try to have another one in the wikiverse, but at some point, it maybe sounds odd that French Wiktionary rely on an external service rather than on a Wikibase.
This post is already very long, and sorry for that. I think it is very interesting to talk about projects difficulties and how to diffuse what we do, but the core of the conversation was initially on the Wishlist Survey. We may open a secondary thread at some point.