- This task is somewhat similar to T158730, but from the end-user perspective. The end-user here is a person, or a group of people, who want to create a project in a new language, most often a Wikipedia.
- If I subscribed you to this task, I believe it will interest you. If it doesn't please feel free to unsubscribe yourself, and accept my apologies.
The current process for creating a wiki in a new language is fully documented at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_proposal_policy , but I'll write something brief and practical here:
- Make sure you have a standard ISO 639 language code. Don't proceed if you don't.
- Add a language to translatewiki.net (technically, to UniversalLanguageSelector's langdb and translatewiki.net's LanguageSettings.php)
- Translate the most-used MediaWiki messages. (About 500.)
- Add a language to Incubator, by creating a main page at Wp/languagecode (and replace "Wp" with another project code if it's not Wikipedia).
- Get a lot of people to write a lot of articles. The current threshold for approval is not precisely defined, but a rule of thumb is ~5 people working for three months, and several hundreds of articles.
- Get the Language committee to approve the project, if the above things were done.
- The Language committee assesses the fulfillment of the above points, and asks for approval from a third-party expert who knows the language.
- If all of the above is done, create the project. Task T158730 and the page https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Add_a_wiki describe this long and mostly-manual technical process.
This process could be better.
- Adding a new language to translatewiki.net usually works well, although there were several complaints of languages that took months to get added. Usually it should take just a couple of days if the ISO code is valid. Perhaps something could be improved in this process.
- Getting to the import threshold is a bit harder, however:
- The Most-used messages list is close to to the import threshold of ~490 core messages, but doesn't correspond to it directly, because some of the most-used messages come from extensions. This may cause a situation in which a project has all the most-used messages translated and fulfills all the other Language Committee requirements, but doesn't actually have the message imported from translatewiki.net to the core MediaWiki code repository, so the project in this language will not have proper localization unless somebody verifies that the language was added to Names.php and the import worked. I usually do it for projects that are about to be created, but there's no proper procedure here, and this could be more automatic. See also: T234753: Update list of most often used messages for MediaWiki core at Wikimedia: 2019.
- The Incubator is hard to use. It should be possible to start a new independent test wiki for each new language instead of putting them all in one site with cumbersome prefixes. For a much more detailed explanation of this, see: T228745: Allow creating an independent "incubator wiki" instead of hosting all new wikis in one Incubator wiki with prefixes
This proposal doesn't include any suggestions to change to the eligibility criteria that appear in the Language proposal policy. It is only about making the creation process smoother.
The biggest known technical hurdle to implementing this is, again, T158730, but it's certainly not the only one.
Thanks for reading so far. This is a big idea. It will take a long time. This is just the initial exploration. Everybody's thoughts are welcome.