Classical Chinese Wikipedia

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Classical Chinese Wikipedia
Type of site
Internet encyclopedia project
Available in Classical Chinese
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Slogan(s) 文辭雅正 學問淵深
Commercial No
Registration Optional
Classical Chinese Wikipedia
Traditional Chinese 文言維基大典
Simplified Chinese 文言维基大典

The Classical Chinese Wikipedia (Classical Chinese: 文言維基大典; pinyin: Wényán wéijī dàdiǎn; Written vernacular Chinese: 文言文維基百科; pinyin: Wényánwén wéijī bǎikē) is the Classical Chinese edition of Wikipedia, run by the Wikimedia Foundation. It started on 31 July 2006, coincidentally the Qixi Festival[1][2] (7th day of the 7th month on the Chinese calendar). As of October 2013, the Classical Chinese Wikipedia had a total of articles, mostly related to the History of China.


Editors are mainly Wikipedians who have studied Classical Chinese, thus resulting in the slow growth of editors with very few readers. With the increase of articles related to the History of China, there are over 500 users as of May 2007, including those with no ability in Classical Chinese but are interested in the language. There are 10 active editors (Registered/signed in users who made 5 or more edits in a month) as of August 2013, according to the statistics provided by the Wikimedia Foundation.[3]


  • 31 July 2006 - Creation[4][5]
  • 4 April 2007 - Number of articles over 1000
  • 4 November 2012 - Number of articles approximately 2780
  • 27 December 2012 - Number of articles approximately 2820
  • 6 April 2013 - Number of articles approximately 3009

Subtitle / Slogan

The Classical Chinese Wikipedia has a subtitle: 文辭雅正 學問淵深[6] (Wéncí yǎzhèng, xuéwèn yuānshēn). It means, "Correct diction, profound knowledge".

Naming and Logo problems

Just like Chinese Wikipedia, there was a need to have an official name for Wikipedia in the Classical Chinese language. There were suggestions to use 百科 (bǎikē, meaning 'encyclopedia') as part of the name, which is also in use for Chinese Wikipedia. The names Erya (爾雅, ěryǎ) and 大典 (dàdiǎn, literally 'great dictionary', meaning 'encyclopedia') were also considered. Finally, the official Classical Chinese name of Wikipedia, 維基大典 was adopted.[7] The name 爾雅 ěryǎ is adopted for the Classical Chinese edition of Wiktionary.

At the start, the logo of the Classical Chinese Wikipedia had been in English. Later, the official name and slogan was inscribed into the logo.[8] The logo is written right-to-left, akin to traditional Chinese writing styles.


See also , and

There is only one administrator (有秩 Yǒu zhì) in Classical Chinese Wikipedia, ,[9] a Hong Konger. He is elected by Wikipedians with 18 supporting and zero opposing,[10] meeting the criteria of having at least 10 supporting and at least 70% majority.[11] He also has an alternative user name, Kongming Jushi, (Chinese: 孔明居士; pinyin: Kǒngmíng jūshì; literally: "Householder/layperson Kongming"), which he uses to address himself and to sign off when replying to talk pages. He admires Zhuge Liang,[12] who had the style name of Kongming.

He contributed to the vernacular Chinese edition of Wikipedia with the username of and is awarded various service awards.[13] He also contributed to the English Wikipedia.[14]

Articles posted in Classical Chinese Wikipedia are classified in three categories, using the flagged revisions policy from German Wikipedia.[15]

Classification of pages

The Classical Chinese Wikipedia follows the way German Wikipedia classifies its pages. The German Wikipedia classifies its pages into eight main portals on the .[16][17] The Classical Chinese Wikipedia classifies its pages into four main portals, namely (jing, Science), (shi, History), (zi, Philosophy) and (ji, Arts), displayed on the .[18][19]

Unique traits

Classical Chinese Wikipedia is portrayed as a book or an encyclopedia instead of an online encyclopedia and the terms used are usually archaic, though there are instances where the internet or scientific terms cannot be avoided.

For example, the article about Science is titled as (gezhi), which is the term for Science used in Ancient China, which stands for 格物致知 (gewu zhizhi). 科學 kexue, the modern term for Science, derived from Japanese[20] is redirected to the page. While in the article, it states that at the end of the article, "Known as kexue by people today".[21] However in its categories, the term kexue cannot be avoided.[22] It uses ancient terms as much as possible, and the moderm term will be used if not possible.[23] For instance, a mathematician is known as 疇人 Chóu rén instead of 數學家 shuxue jia, while Economics is known as 計學 Jì xué instead of 經濟學 Jingji xue.

Chinese honorifics

See also and Chinese honorifics.

Users communicate with each other in talk pages using Chinese honorifics. The second party can be addressed as 君 (Jūn), while a user addresses oneself in terms such as 吾 . Also, Wikipedia addresses Wikipedians as 子 (zi) or 爾 (er), polite forms for 'you', for instance when editing a page.

Main Page

The Main Page is known as 卷首 (Juànshǒu),[24] 卷 meaning 'volume/book/roll', 首 meaning 'first/head'. Juànshǒu means "forward section of the book/publications/frontispiece", and is an ancient Chinese term.

Loading a random article

The tool of loading a random article is known as 清風翻書 Qīngfēng fān shū. The term originated from a poetry written by , an official of the Qing Dynasty, with the two lines:[25] "清風不識字 何必亂翻書?" Qīngfēng bù shí zì, hébì luàn fān shū.

In one of his petitions, he wrote the word "陛下" bixia (Your Majesty) wrongly. Instead, he wrote 陛 as . Yongzheng Emperor dismissed him immediately. He later sent people to investigate about him and found the two lines of the poem. Based on this, Xu Jun was wrongly accused. The imperial court insisted that 清風 qīngfēng refers to the Qing (清) Dynasty, and thus the poem reads, "(Since) the Qing (Dynasty) are illiterate, why bother flipping books (i.e. read/study)?" Xu Jun was accused of committing the crime of defaming the imperial court, thus sentenced to death.

In fact, the story is, Xu Jun was studying by the window while a gentle breeze (清風) resulted in the pages of the book being flipped. The purpose of the poem is to depict, "The gentle breeze is illiterate, so why bother to flip books?" This is an example of Literary Inquisition.

The tool is known as 清風翻書 in Classical Chinese Wikipedia, such that it is useful for people who are bored to come across an interesting article in an encyclopedia. Instead, it is portrayed as flipping a random page from a book out of boredom, for people who do not like to study.

Page to view sources of a protected page

The View Source link is known as 案 Àn, which means 'bases/proof', literally 'case'.

When one mouses over to the View Source (i.e. 案) link of a protected page, a line of words will pop up:

(translation needed)

In English Wikipedia, on a View Source page of a fully protected page, the instructions state,

"You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason:
This page is currently protected and can only be edited by administrators.
You can view and copy the source of this page.

However, in Classical Chinese Wikipedia, on a View Source page of a protected page, the instructions state:[26]

literally, Your right/power has yet to be reached, due to/with reasons (for not being able) to edit this page:
The page is being banned/restricted (and) cannot be written.
You can view and copy the source code of the page.

Log in page

"Log in" is known as 登簿 (pinyin: Dēng bù).[27] 登 literally means 'step afoot/check in/enter' while 簿 literally means 'account/register'.

In the , password is known as 符節 (fujie), which means Fu (tally). In the past, a fu is a tally stick as a proof to be authorised to exercise powers on behalf of the Emperor.

Revision history page

Revision history is known as 誌 Zhì, literally annals/record. As mentioned that the Classical Chinese Wikipedia is portrayed as a book and terms used are archaic, we firstly assume that Wikipedia is an ancient book and whatever changes or edits we make to a page of the book, we are required to record down officially the exact date, time, and the changes made.

If we assume the situation to be so, then even vandalism is recorded down automatically without the user's will.

When one mouses over to the View History (i.e. 誌) link, a line of words will pop up:

literally, Emanations in the revision history, providing of copies, and amendments/edits of vandalism.
(Poor translation)

The Undo link is known as 悔 huǐ, literally 'regret/repent'.

When one tries to undo a page and there happens to have an edit conflict, a line of words will be displayed to the user.

In English Wikipedia, the line of words reads:

The edit could not be undone due to conflicting intermediate edits; if you wish to undo the change, it must be done manually.

In Classical Chinese Wikipedia, the line of words reads:

literally, (Due to) differences during the trial, this (version of the) trial cannot be reverted.

Assuming a few people are editing a page at the same time, and want to submit the edits. However there are different versions of the edits, causing a dispute between editors. They officially record their disputes in the revision history. A trial is conducted to resolve the dispute or conflict, but there will be an order to seal the conflict, prohibiting the trial to be disclosed.

Poetry appreciation

The Classical Chinese Wikipedia contains a section for readers to appreciate Chinese poetry and to add on to self-cultivation.[28] The poetry exhibits the beauty in them and benefits readers.

Comparison between Chinese and Classical Chinese Wikipedia term

The following are comparisons of Wikipedia terms used between Chinese Wikipedia and Classical Chinese Wikipedia.


Namespaces are known as Míngzì kōngjiān in written Vernacular Chinese.

English Wikipedia Chinese Wikipedia Classical Chinese Wikipedia
Project page

Help page

User page

Zhāi / Yònghù
File page
Wénjiàn / Dǎng'àn

Template page

Portal page

Special page

Classical Chinese edition of Wiktionary

Visit .

The Classical Chinese edition of Wiktionary is known as 維基爾雅 (pinyin: Wéijī ěr yǎ; literally: "Wiki Erya").[29][30] However, interestingly, it is not affiliated to the multi-lingual Wiktionary ( It is located in Classical Chinese Wikipedia itself.

The vernacular Chinese edition of Wiktionary is affiliated to the multi-lingual Wiktionary and records vernacular Chinese terms and explanations in vernacular Chinese. Also, entry pages are also linked to other languages where a Chinese entry is explained in another language other than Chinese. Moreover, words from other languages can be searched in Chinese Wiktionary for explanations in Chinese. Thus, Wiktionary is indeed a multi-lingual dictionary.

The Classical Chinese edition of Wiktionary records Classical Chinese terms and are explained in Classical Chinese according to ancient dictionaries. Ancient terms may be profound, a character has various meanings and ambiguity, and the purpose of Weiji Erya is to benefit Wikipedians and entries are recorded. Modern, scientific and technological terms are also recorded because of Western influence today.

However, only meanings of characters or one-character term are recorded in Weiji Erya. Hence, the Classical Chinese edition of Wiktionary functions as a 'single-character dictionary' (Chinese: 字典; pinyin: zìdiǎn; literally: "Character-dictionary").

The Classical Chinese Wiktionary is under the Wikipedia namespace in Classical Chinese Wikipedia. Therefore, "Classical Chinese Wiktionarians" are also or are in fact Wikipedians. Strictly speaking, it is not affiliated to the multi-lingual Wiktionary, thus entries are still articles in Wikipedia. It is still managed by Classical Chinese Wikipedia administrator.

The (Categorising characters according to their radicals)[31] is provided for people who cannot type the character.


The Classical Chinese Wikipedia retains most of the Chinese culture, tradition and history in the articles and other pages.

It uses and is written in Traditional Chinese characters exclusively. It does not use Arabic numerals but uses unified Chinese numerals.[32] However, due to the limitations in technology[33] of writing scripts in vertical writing format, the Classical Chinese Wikipedia could only publish Classical Chinese poetry and certain articles/pages in vertical writing. At the same time, it adopts modern Chinese punctuation to replace the traditional way of annotating without any punctuations (simplified Chinese: 句读; traditional Chinese: 句讀; pinyin: Jùdòu).

Year numbering system and type of calendar used

In the articles created, the type of calendar (e.g. Gregorian calendar, Chinese calendar) used is not unified nor consistent, and the year numbering system also vary.

However, [34] for anything related to the Chinese history or Chinese, it must be displayed in the regnal year of the Chinese era name or other numbering systems, e.g. the Sexagenary cycle, to be linked to the Gregorian year. For instance, [[五八一年|開皇元年]] ( [[581|Kaihuang 1]] ).[35] For Western-related topics, the Gregorian calendar or year can be displayed. For instance, [[五八一年]] ( [[581]] ). But the Chinese calendar/year can also be used.

As for Chinese topics, the day and month of dates before 1 January 1912 (establishment of the Republic of China) shown must follow the Chinese calendar.


As there are fewer people proficient in Literary Chinese writing than those proficient in Modern Chinese, and that majority are used to reading Modern Chinese, with the fact that there are many people not knowing much about Classical Chinese, resulting in the quality of quite a number of edits not reaching the Literary Chinese Standard. This causes limitations in the development of the Classical Chinese Wikipedia. In addition, biographies of living persons cannot be written on Classical Chinese Wikipedia.

Most of the articles are short articles. Due to the lack of Classical Chinese talents and Wikipedians, most of the articles did not have sections. Certain articles cannot be expanded to be more informative or having citations in pages. The development of the Classical Chinese Wikipedia is slow and certain features of Wikipedia cannot be implemented.


See also the ineffective straw-poll page on Chinese Wikipedia, , but contains opinions and discussions of the topic.

Classical Chinese Wikipedia received several negative feedback and criticism from the Chinese Wikipedia community, some asking for the removal of it.


The user or Crazy Ghost (疯鬼) thinks that it should be removed because an encyclopedia gives readers some references and allows readers to gain new knowledge, and "almost no one would visit the Classical Chinese Wikipedia" for references of contemporary information that the vernacular Chinese edition contains nor gaining new knowledge in the present world.


Classical Chinese is an archaic register of Chinese with grammar and vocabulary drawn from classical works.

Classical Chinese is a member to the family of Chinese languages. For other members, some Wikipedias have seen established among Wikimedia projects.

See also


External links