Wiktionary:Votes/2013-11/Proto-Altaic

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Proto-Altaic[edit]

  • Voting on: Allowing Proto-Altaic reconstructions in etymologies of mainspace entries and appendices.
  • Proposed actions:
    • Action 1: Proto-Altaic reconstructions and cognate sets are forbidden in the main namespace and protolanguage appendices.
    • Action 2: Proto-Altaic reconstructions are allowed as protolanguage appendices. Entries in the main namespace can link to them by means of {{etyl}} but should not list possible cognates.
    • Action 3: Proto-Altaic reconstructions are allowed as protolanguage appendices. Entries in the main namespace can link to them by means of {{etyl}}, and are allowed to list possible cognates.
  • If more than one action gains consensus, the one with the greatest impact gets executed.
  • Vote starts: 00:01, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Vote ends: 23:59, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Support action 1: Forbid Proto-Altaic completely[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support Sorry guys, but it's too unscientific for my tastes. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 09:16, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support -- Liliana 16:30, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support Prosfilaes (talk) 03:50, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Oppose action 1: Forbid Proto-Altaic completely[edit]

  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose--Ivan Štambuk (talk) 07:35, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose --Vahag (talk) 08:51, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose --WikiTiki89 14:43, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  4. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Воображение (talk) 22:12, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  5. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose —Stephen (Talk) 09:35, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
  6. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Wyang (talk) 23:11, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Support action 2: Proto-Altaic is allowed in appendices and entries can only link to it[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support --Vahag (talk) 08:51, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support - -sche (discuss) 14:37, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
    If the people who support option 3 were to also voice support for this option, it would probably pass (unless the people who oppose option 3 were to also voice opposition to this option)... - -sche (discuss) 00:22, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    Can't we assume that people who voted for option 3 also voted for this? And that people who oppose option 1 also oppose this? It doesn't work logically the other two ways. --WikiTiki89 01:39, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    re "people who voted for option 3 also voted for this": I don't know. (I don't mean that as a litote, I simply don't know.) The setup of this vote is odd; for example, forbidding Proto-Altaic and allowing it are both options, even though, logically, one of them is presumably the status quo. Or perhaps the status quo is the unlisted fourth option: Altaic theories can be mentioned in etymologies, but Proto-Altaic is not allowed appendices. - -sche (discuss) 02:07, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    Votes are transitive so if you vote action 1 - support there is no need to revote action 2, 3 - oppose. And vice versa action 3 support -> action 2 support. However, this setup also allows you to vote action 1 support, and simultaneously e.g. action 2 support, which would be equivalent to "I'm against Proto-Altaic altogether, but we were to allow it, I'd prefer that it be without cognates". There is no status quo - if none of the actions gains sufficient support, everything is allowed. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 13:57, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    re "if none of the actions gains sufficient support, everything is allowed": Huh? Are you suggesting that if neither of the options for including proto-Altaic pass, the result will be that proto-Altaic can be included? - -sche (discuss) 21:01, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    "If more than one action gains consensus, the one with the greatest impact gets executed." If no action gains consensus - nothing gets executed, which means that Proto-Altaic s allowed in all forms everywhere, as it is currently. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 23:11, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    Ah, so you think the status quo / default is that Altaic is allowed. But it's clear from the BP discussion which preceded this vote that other users think the status quo is that Altaic is not allowed...and I agree with them. The status quo / default is that Altaic (and all other controversial families) are not allowed, and need consensus to be allowed. Now, even if options 2 and 3 fail, we (I say "we", since I too want to see Altaic theories included) might get consensus for or get away with the "unlisted fourth option" I mention above, but you certainly won't get away with e.g. listing cognates in entries if option 3 fails. - -sche (discuss) 07:07, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
    Since there were no previous discussions on Proto-Altaic etymologies and appendices, how exactly do you conclude that the status quo is disallowing it? This vote is meant to regulate both appendices and etymologies in all occurrences, and if no actions gains consensus it can only mean that there is no consensus to either keep or delete them, which means that you can create their appendices and others can list it for RFDO which can fail/pass on an individual basis, or add Altaic etymologies and cognates to entries and discuss their plausibility on an individual basis. Your fourth option doesn't strike me as particularly useful..why would we have Proto-Altaic reconstructions in entries but not appendices which can more extensively discuss them, provide a complete list of literature, discuss alternative theories of origin in more details, have a complete list of the supposed cognates...? --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 12:38, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
    If one wishes to include a reconstructed language that many, perhaps most, linguists say there is no evidence for the existence of, one needs consensus. How do you conclude that the status quo is that anyone can add to Wiktionary any hypothetical, unattested language that many linguists say there is no evidence for the existence of? How do you conclude that Wiktionary is obliged to explicitly ban every not-widely-accepted theory? That would be a novel but illogical and untenable obligation.
    At the moment, a majority of voters oppose letting entries list cognates (even when only the voters who voted on that specific issue, not those who voted to ban Proto-Altaic entirely, are considered), so that in particular will be right out unless people change their votes or new voters arrive. - -sche (discuss) 18:19, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
    All words are allowed, real and reconstructions, unless there is a general policy forbidding them, or a specific conclusive discussion for their deletion such as the failed RFD or RFV. You need a consensus to forbid something, not the other way around. You cannot delete entries just because you don't like the theory behind them.
    In essence, it doesn't matter at all whether a protolanguage is controversial or not. The majority of reconstructions in noncontroversial protolanguages are controversial. What matters is its value. And more controversy can only bring value, because it usually means that many people are debating it and are interesting in the topic. Wikipedia doesn't exclude articles just because they are talking about a discredited or obsolete theory.
    You're invoking status quo but there can be none because this was not previously discussed. And even if it was, it can be challenged at any time. Should none of the actions gain sufficient consensus, that doesn't mean that Proto-Altaic entries and etymologies need to be deleted without due process such as RFD. Which will then ultimately mirror the outcome of this vote, which, in the hypothetical scenario of no action gaining consensus, will mean that it's kept.
    I'm understand that Proto-Altaic is perceived as a "joke" by some, but there indeed exists vast amount of scholarship behind it, dictionaries are published by major publishers, reconstructions are continually being bettered... Of course, some theories are more developed than others, but this vote specifically deals with Proto-Altaic, and passing it (in either action) would not open the doors of Hell to any other imaginable protolanguage out there, nor forbid it. We already host original research (see Category:Proto-Balto-Slavic noun inflection-table templates and many reconstructions which CodeCat refuses to even tag as such), so hosting Proto-Altaic as well wouldn't be an earth-shaking development.
    I don't see how it is logically possible that action 3 oppose gains a sizeable support, and that simultaneously neither action 1 support nor action 2 support don't. That would certainly be an interesting development. So far I only see one such vote. I think that we can assume that opposition to a stronger statement implies support of the weaker statement, unless explicitly voted otherwise. Ideally these votes would be set up with grouped radio buttons governed by conditionals in a decent GUI, so such outcomes are really remnants of the defective platform that doesn't properly guide voters. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 22:27, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
    At this point, we're just restating our clearly incompatible views. It would be helpful if other users would weigh in. I am particularly interested in others' views of the issue mentioned in the last paragraphs of our two comments: currently, a majority of voters oppose listing Altaic cognates in entries (6 users specifically oppose listing cognates in entries, 1 other user supports forbidding proto-Altaic altogether, while only 4 users support listing cognates in entries); if that does not change before the end of the vote, can entries nevertheless list Altaic cognates? - -sche (discuss) 22:52, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
    I'm not sure what our implicit status quo was, but we certainly didn't have an explicit one, and Ivan does not give any convincing arguments IMHO for why we should treat option 3 as the default. If this vote makes it clear that a large majority of editors opposes listing supposed Altaic cognates in mainspace entries, then editors clearly must not do so, whether or not there's a specific vote outcome that does pass. (Also, I disagree with Ivan's seeming assertion that he set up this vote magically perfectly and the only problem is a stupid UI and/or stupid voters. It is impossible to set up a vote magically perfectly, and one of the strengths of our free-form voting platform is that it can't prevent people from expressing their nuanced views.) —RuakhTALK 01:12, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
    re "people who oppose option 1 also oppose this": I assume you mean "people support option 1". In that case, yes, it would be logical to assume that people who oppose any mention of proto-Altaic also oppose this option, good point. - -sche (discuss) 02:09, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
    Yes, thanks for correcting me, that is what I meant. --WikiTiki89 02:26, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support If it's always marked as controversial. Mr. Granger (talk) 03:09, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support I'll add my vote here just in case, but let it be known that I prefer action 3. --WikiTiki89 03:34, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Oppose action 2: Proto-Altaic is allowed in appendices and entries can only link to it[edit]

  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose -- Liliana 16:30, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Support action 3: Proto-Altaic is allowed in appendices, entries can link to it and list cognates[edit]

  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 07:35, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support Everything must be clearly marked as controversial, though. --WikiTiki89 14:43, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support Ditto WikiTiki. Воображение (talk) 22:12, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support —Stephen (Talk) 09:35, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Oppose action 3: Proto-Altaic is allowed in appendices, entries can link to it and list cognates[edit]

  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose --Vahag (talk) 08:51, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose -- Liliana 16:30, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. Firstly, it would create a lot of unnecessary duplication of content if the same cognates were listed in all of the supposedly-cognate entries. Secondly, the longer the text devoted to Proto-Altaic is, and the more it lists languages which are agreed to exist (e.g. Japanese) or have existed (e.g. Old Japanese), the harder it becomes to convey that it — all of it: the existence of Proto-Altaic itself, and any listed cognancies — is controversial. The more cognates are listed, the more likely it is that a non-linguist user's takeaway (sense 5) will be "this Turkish word foobar is related to Japanese fooba". I think a compact mention that "proponents of the controversial Altaic theory derive this word from a Proto-Altaic root *foobar" is better. - -sche (discuss) 18:39, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  4. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per -sche. —RuakhTALK 20:28, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  5. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Mr. Granger (talk) 03:09, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  6. Symbol oppose vote.svg OpposeΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:10, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  7. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:23, 13 December 2013 (UTC) I am not really sure. This vote does not have a rationale. Of all the reasoning that I have seen on the vote page (and there is not much), the one that I find most appealing is that of -sche from 18:39, 22 November 2013. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:23, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Abstain[edit]

  1. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain In principle, the question shouldn't be whether we present widespread minority theories, but how we do; but in practice, I'm not sure I trust us to do a good job of it. (After all, it's hard to present a putative Proto-Altaic etymon in a way that makes clear that it's not just the etymon that's disputed, but the entire language it's ascribed to. And since the editors who would add such etyma are probably not neutral with respect to the theory, we can't necessarily expect them to give their 100% toward keeping that clear.) So it might be better to do without. —RuakhTALK 07:45, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
    Perhaps, but individual editor's motivation is irrelevant as long as they closely follow sources and their edits reflect NPOV. Proto-Altaic isn't disputed actually (you won't find anyone claiming Proto-Altaic is wrong because...) - the general criticism on long-range etymologies and protolanguages is not them being right or wrong but unfalsifiable due to the fact that regular phonological correspondences reflecting common ancestry become indistinguishable from chance resemblances due to the deep time frame. It's like string theory of historical linguistics - all-encompassing, beyond the grasp of most critics, but much less elegant. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 05:42, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
    Re: first sentence: Yes, absolutely. I just think that it's very hard to follow NPOV for this sort of thing, and that when you already have a certain POV, it can be extra-hard.   Re: "disputed": I'd say it's disputed. The null hypothesis is that there's no relationship, and obviously that's the right null hypothesis to have. (Given a random set of language groups {X, Y, Z}, the probability that they form a genetic grouping is quite small.) So even if no one says "we can definitively accept the null hypothesis", they still dispute the Proto-Altaic hypothesis when they reject all of the putative evidence put forth in its favor. —RuakhTALK 08:21, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
    As I said in the Beer Parlor discussion: there is fundamentally no difference between this and any disputable etymology of established protolanguages, or of ordinary words. In both cases we compile various scholarly opinions, giving prominence to newer works and the most cited sources. Regarding the second part - no, all languages are genetically related. The controversial part is to what extant the relationship is recoverable. The default position is "unknown relationship" not "no relationship". --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 08:59, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
    Re: all languages being genetically related: That's a red herring. English and French are related (since they're both Indo-European languages), but they do not form a genetic grouping. There was no Proto-Franglais. The term "Proto-Altaic" doesn't refer to the last common ancestor of the supposed Altaic languages, it refers to the putative language that was the ancestor of all and only those languages (with some fuzziness, of course, in that there's a range of sub-theories about exactly which languages are included). —RuakhTALK 01:34, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
    They do form, just not them exclusively. "Last common ancestor" is an oft-parroted phrase, but in practice every protolanguage is an idealized abstraction composed of different chronological stages that doesn't represent any actual vernacular. Nobody is denying Proto-Altaic, Proto-Nostratic and so on by denying all of the evidence in their favor - they do it on the basis of principles grounded on some statistical considerations. There is really nothing to refute - you can either accept such theories, or ignore them. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 10:08, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
  2. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain for now. I haven't formed an opinion yet. May change my vote later. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 03:54, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Decision[edit]

  • Only option 2 is supported, and it has consensus. "Proto-Altaic is allowed in appendices and entries can only link to it." DAVilla 09:18, 31 December 2013 (UTC)