Abkhazian independence marches on

Today, the independence ambitions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were further validated when Nauru recognised their sovereignty for Russian humanitarian aid worth $50M, Telegraph writes. This brings the count to a whopping four after Russia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Nauru is known for its economic difficulties ever since it mined off and sold all its guano, and has been trying to find alternative sources of revenue for decades.



Interesting blog post by Gene McKenna: Bullypedia, A Wikipedian Who's Tired of Getting Beat Up. The topic is Wikipedia's treatment of newbies, and some supporting evidence has been collected in this on-Wikipedia experiment.

In a related item, I asked a few friends whether and how the Kick Ass Curve, a construct originally proposed for assessing coolness of programming languages, could be applied to people's Wikipedia careers. An insightful response came from Alexia Death, and here it is:

Nope. Wickipedi[a] does not start with "this sucks" phase. It starts with "WOW, awesome. I can do things here!" evolves to "Ok, there's some catches, but I can cope." and ends in "This place is f*cking nuts. I quit."

Evidently, Wikipedia's culture has descended into a Manichean battle between "us defenders of Wikipedia" and "them newbies, presumed vandals". Because only people who aren't chased away speak up in Wikipedia, there is a bias encouraging misidentification of newbies as vandals and chasing them away before they become visible. Moreover, people who chase away newbies get socially rewarded for "standing up to them vandals".


Forking is one of the earliest traditions of Wikipedia

It is news to many people, but Wikipedia has been forking from the very beginning. One of the earliest forks, and a reasonably successful one at that, is the Enciclopedia Libre Universal. The ELU forked from a Spanish Wikipedia in early 2002, about a year after Wikipedia's official launch, and while people on both side of the chasm have been occasionally raising the discussion about merging, it has so far remained only an object of discussion.

It might be illuminating that Wikipedia's related article, [[Enciclopedia_Libre_Universal_en_EspaƱol]], mentions as the first factor that "may contribute to a merger" the creation of Wikimedia Foundation. This event happened years ago in the middle of 2003 and, interestingly, may have been prodded by ELU's split as can be seen from an old speculative list post and Mister Wales' followup confirmation.