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  • Voting on: Deletion of all Proto-Indo-European information on en.wiktionary.org
  • Vote ends: January 18th, 2007, 23:59:59 UTC
  • Vote started by: --Connel MacKenzie 21:11, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Discussion: None of the "Proto-Indo-European" information entered on en.wiktionary.org to date seems to meet our criteria for inclusion. Primarily, attestation. Since all of these are hypothetic "reconstructions" they can't (by definition) have written sources cited.
    • Even if the reconstructions did somehow meet our inclusion criteria, they sources available seem contradictory, based on who's methodology is being used to create them.
    • Even if the problems of conflicting "definitions" could be addressed, the sources available are all more recent than any of the copyright free sources we are allowed to use.
    • Even if the copyright questions are answered sufficiently, the hypothetical "roots" ofter no improvement on current etymological explanations. Because PIE is formed from etymological information, it can't be used to authoritatively specify what the etymology is.
    • Even if all the above questions are addressed sufficiently, our target audience (English readers) cannot possibly gain useful information from the PIE constructs. Not only are the roots misleading, suggesting someone actually used the terms at some point, the "PIE advocates" often replace real etymological information with only incomprehensible PIE explanations.
    • Even if all the above concerns are addressed, none of the "PIE advocates" are adhering to the previous convention of isolating the PIE information in the appendix namespace. While this causes considerable cleanup activities for the current administrators, it also conflicts with normal entry titles in the main namespace. The WhatLinksHere cleanup activities are rarely finished before new entries have done still more damage.
    • Even if all the above were followed, it might be too much to expect PIE proponent Wiktionary newcomers to possibly understand or follow any of the previous conventions. Even when it was only "precede with an asterix" the majority were still consistently entered wrong. Again, causing tremendous amounts of cleanup for administrators.


Support removal of all traces of PIE from en.wiktionary.org
  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support Connel MacKenzie 21:11, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support SemperBlotto 22:12, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support Robert Ullmann 22:25, 18 December 2006 (UTC) I have no problem with PIE/PST/PG in the appendices, except that a lot of it (all of it?) seems to be copyvio. CFI already very clearly prohibits them from the main namespace, but since so much effort is being made to twist CFI, it should be stated explicitly in WT:CFI that reconstructed languages cannot and do not meet CFI. Robert Ullmann 13:59, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support Cynewulf 04:55, 22 December 2006 (UTC) Let the scientific community come to a consensus about what PIE is first. w:PIE has 3 cases where different publications disagree. If we put PIE in an appendix, which reconstruction would we use, and why? Is two *duwo-? *dwo-? *duoh? All of them?


  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Ptcamn 00:41, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
    Quite frankly, this is insane.
    • The criteria for inclusion shouldn't apply here. The purpose of attestation is, if I understand correctly, to prove that a word exists and is in use, as opposed to being a non-notable, Urban Dictionary-type neologism. Even though they are reconstructed, PIE forms are still definitely notable, verifiable and worthy of inclusion.
    • The sources agree for the most part, the disagreement being in the details. But even when not dealing with reconstructions, sources can and do disagree on etymologies. We should do what Wikipedia does, listing the arguments for each and citing sources.
    • Historical linguistics is older than Connel seems to realize. There are, in fact, public domain resources on PIE. Not that this is relevant, because we should be able to cite sources as verification just as easily as Wikipedia can.
    • I don't even understand this argument.
    • The average dictionary reader probably doesn't care about etymologies whatsoever. I fail to see how they would get any more useful information about an etymology tracing an English word to a Nahuatl word or to a Malayalam word than they would from a PIE etymology. (Someone did actually use the terms at one point. That's the whole idea.)
    • There are always going to be newcomers who don't know the rules. Even if PIE is banned, there'll still be newcomers who won't know that rule and who create PIE entries.
    Please stop pretending that PIE isn't of any value. Connel seems to be labouring under the delusion that PIE itself is just a fantasy, which is ridiculous. Dictionaries like the OED and the AHD think it's worth including, but I suppose we know better than them. Wikipedia is proud of going above and beyond what conventional encyclopedias can do. I'd want for Wiktionary to do the same, but here and elsewhere, Connel shows that he wants to retard it.
    • As to your last comments above, I started a WT:VOTE here to solidify the overall Wiktionary consensus. I understood a strong consensus to exist against the various P-I-E forms. My feelings are about what a dictionary should be: something that briefly makes clear the meaning of a word. We don't include "word history" sections, not because they don't further understanding, but because they are not brief (while an etymology section typically is.) But the circular nature of the P-I-E forms do nothing to further a reader's knowledge. Instead, it leaves them at a theoretic, circular dead-end (an appendix entry that points back to the word and perhaps several others.) To make things worse, it does so by introducing terms that are unfamiliar to all but the smallest minority of dictionary writers while alienating all dictionary readers. Do you honestly think of "clearly expressing where a term came from" as "retarding Wiktionary?" I steadfastly disagree. The point of writing Wiktionary is to convey as much topical, useful information as possible, briefly. The P-I-E information does not help that effort in any way. --Connel MacKenzie 05:52, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
    • that's, like, your opinion. I do come to dictionaries when looking for the etymology of a term. Just because you are not interested in something doesn't make it unworthy of inclusion. Dbachmann 16:32, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
      • I do not understand why you (both) feel personal attacks are needed, or helpful. As I said, I started the vote to solidify the existing consensus. I absolutely love a good etymology - but I haven't seen a good one added to en.wiktionary.org in over a year. I enumerated (quite clearly!) the problems I've noticed so far with the P-I-E nonsense, at the start of the vote. User:Ptcamn expressed his interpretation of why some of my arguments do not match his POV. Frankly, I think his arguments have no merit whatsoever. But then, neither do the personal attacks. --Connel MacKenzie 04:44, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose DAVilla 06:33, 19 December 2006 (UTC) Belongs in the Appendix: namespace, at the very least. Edit: What we need is a discussion on how large a role, if any, they should play in the etymology. DAVilla 16:58, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose henne 09:33, 19 December 2006 (UTC) I am unable to estimate how valuable the PIE information is to a Wikt user, but I think it would be a shame to remove it completely. Even when most entries only consist of backlinks to the words they are reconstructed from, this is also the case with most verb forms and plurals.
  4. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Jeffqyzt 15:57, 20 December 2006 (UTC) ...but it should not be in the main namespace; an appendix is appropriate.
  5. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose V-ball 16:48, 21 December 2006 (UTC) Appendix. V-ball 16:48, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
  6. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, clearly an insane proposal. We do want etymological information in Wiktionary (Wiktionary:Etymology), which in cases of IE words will involve citation of PIE forms. MacKenzie & Ullmann chose to bully me over my additions of etymological entries, and now tried to solve this by a vote (incidentially without notifying me of the vote, preferring to threaten and block me instead) rather by discussion and consensus (I have asked them several times to civilly contribute to Wiktionary_talk:Reconstructed terms), which in my view is most unwikilike behaviour. I am open to have a separate "Reconstructed:" or "Appendix:*" namespace. I find the "Appendix:Proto-Indo-European root X" impractical for technical (linguistic) reasons, but hey, nobody even bothered to inquire about these, why bother when I can be bullied & blocked instead, and etymological entries "eradicated". Dbachmann 16:30, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
    Yet even after numerous corrections and explanations, you continued to blather on about your way being the only possible correct way things could be done? Most of what's in the Appendix:Proto- space predates your stunt, does it not? These votes are to some extent for your benefit, to formalize the long standing practices. Unwikilike, indeed. --Connel MacKenzie 09:13, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
  7. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Kipmaster 16:33, 22 December 2006 (UTC) Appendix, as suggested by next vote.
  8. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. This is crazy. Naturally a dictionary should try to be concise, but the hallmark of a dictionary is not its brevity (just look at the OED) but the fact that it is focused on words as words rather than as a concept (Wikipedia). We should naturally try to fill every channel of a word as it pertains to language use, hence why this is a wiki. I don't know where you came up with the idea that the PIE entries have no use. I'm a sixteen year old I find these highly useful as a TCK, especially when one is trying to come up with an idea of how a language and a culture diverged (or what the common features are). People don't just come to wiktionary just to augment their vocabulary, but to gain insight into language as a whole. That is exactly why I use wiktionary, etymonline and wordreference and have practically thrown away most other online dictionary sites like dictionary.com and so forth. John Riemann Soong 16:50, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
  9. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Beobach972 17:31, 24 December 2006 (UTC) If there are any copyright violations, those should be deleted for being copyright violations, not for being PIE roots. With regard to the location of the roots, I agree with Williamsayers79, they should not exist as entries in the main namespace, but they should be in appendices. (Beobach972 17:32, 24 December 2006 (UTC))
    That ignores the fact that the P-I-E research is too young to possibly be in the public domain. If we were to start our own branch of GFDL P-I-E, it would be yet another theory of construction (and quite certainly Original Research.) --Connel MacKenzie 04:49, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
    Dude, idea-expression dichotomy. The PIE roots are the ideas, they're not copyrightable. The definitions are. We can rewrite them. That's not original research, as long as we cite our sources so its not plagiarism. John Riemann Soong 03:35, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
    No dude, that argument holds for ideas you know. As a native speaker of English, you know certain words equate to specific concepts. Referring to a reference book to make sure you didn't miss an adjective or noun meaning is one thing. Referring to an outside source to show a word is not an adjective is another. But for a hypothetic language, you have to first get the root idea from another copyright source, or make it up yourself. With the latter specifically prohibited by NOR, the only alternative left is systemic copyright violation. --Connel MacKenzie 07:48, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
    That is quite fallacious. Just because the only source is available from a restricted source doesn't make expressing those ideas in a new way illegal. For example, consider all the books written about other copyrighted books, without the consent of their authors. Just because I have to acquire the root idea from a copyrighted source doesn't make that idea copyrighted! And for example (if I really had no life), I could try to "learn" PIE (as people do for Klingon) and memorise all the roots in my head. I know this is a fruitless endeavour, because there's no point trying to learn a protolanguage. But on the other hand, it's possible to have a fair knowledge of PIE roots. John Riemann Soong 02:21, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
  10. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. This is extremely important information and it belongs here. —Stephen 05:33, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
  11. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose EncycloPetey 22:46, 26 December 2006 (UTC) Relegate to Appendices, OK; Delete outright and altogether, no.
  12. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Ncik 21:02, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
  13. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose of course. Widsith 09:50, 9 January 2007 (UTC)


  1. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain --Williamsayers79 09:02, 19 December 2006 (UTC) don't delete it, appendix it, there should not be a slew of entries for all PIE words, however to remove all trace may be a bit hasty!
  2. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain Cerealkiller13 10:19, 21 December 2006 (UTC) I think that Ptcamn makes a point in that Wiktionary already includes information that the average reader could not possibly care less about, such as etymologies. As previously stated, venerable dictionaries such as OED seem to value such hypothetical constructs, and I wonder if Wiktionary can't aspire to something as noble as such an institution. I think that doing so would not prevent us from our goal of being Webster's Quick Reference as well. Wikipedia has extensive articles on both logic and Lindsay Lohan. I certainly believe that PIE can improve connections between words in that there are many cognates which cannot be made simply on the basis of attested words. Certainly PIE and similar words are of a different class than attested words, but they have merit for a dictionary nonetheless. And while I'm admittedly not terribly well informed about copyright rules, wouldn't using a word attested to in numerous articles/books on the subject and then citing them be within the proper limits? As I am not a sysop, and thus will not be the one dealing with all of the incorrectly done PIE words, should it be decided to keep them, I am not having my opinion count towards a decision, but I'd really like to have them kept in some fashion, be it appendices or whatever.


One week away now. No point in withdrawing, as it represents a community opinion that we should agressively incorporate systemic copyright violations. --Connel MacKenzie 18:52, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Certainly there is a way to include the information without violating copyright? A list of cognates, a short or paraphrased basic meaning, the speculated spelling... which of these could be copyrighted, if not all three come from a single source? DAVilla 17:49, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
None of the PIE information that conceivable could be included in Wiktionary could come from general knowledge. It is all only specialized technical data from one of three works. Including PIE means systematically using one, or all three, of those highly technical resources. Including PIE means systemic copyright violation. Isn't that obvious? --Connel MacKenzie 01:05, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
No, it is not obvious. IANAL either, but I do not think that those terms by themselves can be copyrighted. The question remains whether it is possible to describe them without doing (<-what’s the right word here?) plagiarism. In the worst case, the only thing we can do is mention the article/work where they are described, nothing else. henne 11:57, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
"Committing" I think is the word you wanted there. --Connel MacKenzie 08:16, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, thanks. And just imagine for a while that I am a PIE expert and think WIKT is a nice project worth investigating my time in, and I want to contribute all my knowledge to the Appendix. You wouldn’t want to stop me, would you? And if not Wiktionary, where would this information belong... ( seems to have been someone like this, see the appendix’ history.) henne 19:27, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I think that is a very good example of the sort of vandalism that has left such a bad taste regarding P-I-E in my mouth. Please note carefully that none of that contributor's edits to P-I-E terms were done in the Appendix namespace...rather they were all done in the main namespace where (at that time) they were (more) explicitly prohibited. When the pages were moved, the history that links to the edit no longer identifies where they entered them, directly. Looking at the resulting pattern in mostly alphabetic sequence of that editor's contributions, I am inclined to think they had someone's text open, and were copying directly. But that is my guess (that it was concerted copyright violation); I have no idea what a court would decide in such a case, as court decisions seem to be random. The question remains, should en.wiktionary needlessly take on that risk for terms that categorically are highly dubious, scientifically disputed (with conflicting competing theories) and universally copyright-suspect? I think that contributor's edits are an absolutely perfect example that en.wiktionary.org cannot expect any P-I-E edits that aren't being stolen from elsewhere, with or without proper attribution. --Connel MacKenzie 21:26, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Rats... I wish I had known about this early enough to make it 4/14/2. Angr 18:35, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


  • Proposal rejected by community, 4/13/2. No action being taken as a result of this vote. --Connel MacKenzie 08:16, 22 January 2007 (UTC)