signpuddle entry disappeared?

Steve Slevinski slevin at SIGNPUDDLE.NET
Fri Sep 28 21:12:35 UTC 2012

On 9/27/12 3:28 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:
> Wow, what has happened here is really interesting, and it's something
> that's been on my mind for a long time.

Hi Maria,

I really appreciate the thought and reflection you've put into 
understanding SignWriting and SignPuddle.

> In the SLLING list there was a discussion about HamNoSys and SignWriting -
> and sign linguists were criticizing SignPuddle Dictionaries for not being
> traditional 'dictionaries' in the linguistic sense (1 lexeme: 1 entry)-
> and they are right - but this does not mean that SignPuddles are not a
> rich resource in themselves.

I use some words differently that linguists. I am very happy with the 
SignPuddle corpus, which is not a linguistic corpus.

> They store written sign language entries not
> just by linguists but by common folk, and this makes all entries in
> SignPuddle an invaluable resource - since for a writing system to be truly
> a writing system it needs to be accepted, and written by a community of
> language users.
Agreed!  I hope to encourage people to write, learn from others, and 
develop their own unique style.

> If SignPuddle was a linguistic database, it would lose its
> uniqueness. What makes SignPuddle so strong - paradoxically is what
> linguists criticize as weak - the way data is entered into Puddle in such
> a non-academic way : i see this a major strength :)

The way the data is entered creates many possibilities.  In the future, 
I would like to normalize the data by removing meaningless spelling 
differences.  This process would have to be semi automated with human 

I agree that alternate spellings should be kept.  Spelling mistakes are 
interesting but should be marked as containing an error.

> I see the public SignPuddles as editing tools for anyone using SignWriting
> who wishes to write and store SignWritten entries in a particular
> language.
> However my question now: are the public SignPuddles truly public? To have
> an editor in a public SignPuddle 'respelling' and deleting entries to me
> indicates that they are not very public.

This is one of the great reasons to integrate with MediaWiki.  These 
types of issues can be discussed directly where they are happening. 
SignPuddle only has a limited rights hierarchy.  We have backups and 
recovery, but we do not keep extensive logs.

> It might be a good time to
> re-think what the aims and purposes of Public SignPuddles are. I can
> understand that an editor would have to remove 'mistakes' etc..but the
> mistakes are his/her interpretation of mistakes - at this early stage the
> development of a writing system..mistakes may very well NOT be mistakes,
> just different ways of writing the same thing..sometimes very different
> ways but still the variance of writing would provide data which is
> valuable for anyone studying the evolution of a writing system such as
> SignWriting.

This ultimately becomes a bureaucracy problem.  I do not believe this 
type of problem is widespread in the puddles.  Again, MediaWiki has the 
needed features built in.  A sign language Wiktionary can handle this 
nicely.  Most of SignPuddle Online should be open and inviting.  A few 
of the puddles are private.

> Maybe what could be done is that the public SignPuddles remain or become
> truly public, so that all entries are allowed to stay there..BUT then of
> course I understand that the actual editors (with their different reasons
> and targets for using SignWriting) cannot use these the Public SignPuddles
> as they are, but they would take whatever they wish from the public
> SignPuddles to their semi-private puddle (that can be viewed but not
> edited).

The public puddles should always be open and available under an open 
license. Private puddles can be initialized using any of the open puddles.

> this is another clear indicatin that signwriting is becoming widespread.

Yes indeed.  Faster and faster.

I've recently had some success integrating SignWriting with CSS. 
SignWriting Rich Text that behaves like text is not far away.


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