Wicipedia Cymraeg: A few milestones

Map of Wales, from Atlas Ortelius by Abraham Ortelius. Original edition from 1571 - Image by Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Dutch National Library
Map of Wales, from Atlas Ortelius by Abraham Ortelius. Original edition from 1571 – Image by Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Dutch National Library

Blog by Robin Owain, Wikimedia UK Manager

In December 1996 I uploaded around 150 of my published poems on a website, ”Rebel ar y We” (‘Rebel on the Web’), available to all, free of charge. In 2005, after my son’s illness, I changed the title to ”Rhedeg ar Wydr” (‘Running on a Glass Roof’). A few months later a revue was published by the Welsh Books Council in their magazine ”Llais Llyfrau”, which recognised that this was the first time a Welsh book had been placed on the web, the first Welsh e-book.

I urged other writers to publish on the web, rather than through a publisher; the middleman, the censor. The uproar which followed was not nice, especially by one publisher in North Wales who saw it as the beginning of the end! “Hundreds of pounds are at stake!” he wrote (”Golwg”, 16 March 2000), and for the next 10 years I was ‘sent to Coventry’ by the media. In an interview on BBC’s Radio Cymru around 2010 a listener phoned in and rudely chastised me by saying, “Don’t speak through your hat! Of course you can’t get a book to move down a phone-line and appear in another place!” And, yes, that was only 6 years ago! How things have changed!

Contributing ‘free information for everybody’ was my battle-cry, and the reason I started editing Wikipedia, with my first edit as User Llywelyn2000 on 7 June 2008, when cy-wiki already had a grand total of 16,000 articles. Today it has 81,400.

After the birth of en-wiki, it took around two years before her Welsh sibling, cy-wiki, appeared (July 2003). That first article was – and yes we are myopic! – ‘Wales’ with ‘List of Welsh people’, ‘Squirrel’, ‘David R. Edwards’ and ‘Owain Gwynedd’ quickly following.

Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell
Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell

In July 2008, I began to discuss on cy-wiki how we could reach out to public bodies in Wales, and develop further and faster through funding. The National Library and the Welsh universities were mentioned, and by January 2015 we had had a Wikipedian in Residence in both institutions.

At that point cy-wiki had 20,000 articles, and a development plan was created (April 2012) and £65,000 funding received from the Welsh Government, topped up by Wikimedia UK. I was appointed Manager of the project ‘Living Paths’, many new editors were trained, and content released on an open licence. In a sense, it opened the closet!

Of all the experiences in the last 8 years, the one which really sticks is the second meeting of the Welsh Language and Technology Advisory Committee. On 9 July 2012 I had arranged to meet the Minister Leyton Andrews, and together with the Chair of Wikimedia UK at that time, Roger Bamkin, we met him at his office in Cardiff. His answers to all seven of our requests were “Yes I can!” or “Yes we will!”

Within weeks I become a member of his advisory board, and it was in the second meeting that one of his main officers, Gareth Morlais, announced that Google had just informed them that the main criterion which determined whether or not their projects (Google Docs, Google Drive, Maps etc.) would be translated into another language was… the number of articles in that language’s Wikipedia. And that really struck home! All eyes turned towards me, and the weight of such responsibility became heavy and awesome!

Robin Owain receiving an award at WikiConference UK 2013 - Image by Mike Peel
Robin Owain receiving an award at WikiConference UK 2013 – Image by Mike Peel

Other mile-stones, through my dragon tinted spectacles, include:

  • 9 April 2004  the 1,000th article.
  • 1 July 2008 Discussion on cy-wiki regarding ‘reaching out’ to other institutions and bodies.
  • 20 November 2008 20,000th article  (‘Cycling in the 1984 Summer Olympics‘)
  • 23 April 2012 I launched the main cy-wiki ‘Development Plan’.
  • 30 June 2012 Rhys Wynne and myself co-organised the first Editathon in Wales (at Central Library, Cardiff).
  • 9 July 2012  meeting with Leyton Andrews.
  • 21 December 2012 first Welsh ‘bot’: BOT-Twm Crys (transl: ‘Shirt Button’), creating redirections from Latin names of moths and butterflies to Welsh articles.
  • December 2012 Two meetings: editors of the Welsh encylopaedia (”’Gwyddoniadur Cymreig”’) and the second with Andrew Green, Head Librarian and Dafydd Tudur, Digital Access Manager at the National Library of Wales. Both Roger Bamkin and Ashley, representing Wikimedia UK were also at the meetings.
  • September 2013 I started the @WiciCymru  Twitter account.
  • December 2013 I helped coordinate Wikimedia UK’s ‘EduWiki’ down in Cardiff,  with Gareth Morlais opening the conference on behalf of the Welsh Government.
  • January 2014  Aled Powell appointed as Wici Cymru’s Training Organiser, as part of the ‘Living Paths’ project.
  • January 2014 Marc Haynes appointed as full time Wikipedian in residence at the Coleg Cymraeg (Welsh language ‘federal’ university).
  • January 2015 Jason Evans appointed WiR at the National Library of Wales.
  • Autumn 2016 9,500 new articles on living birds through our partnership with the nature group ‘Llen Natur’ (a branch of ‘Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd’) bringing the total number of articles to 81,000.
  • Autumn 2016 13,000 images taken from Commons appear on Llen Natur’s ‘Dictionary of Species’, turning it into the biggest Illustrated Dictionary of Species Wales has ever seen!

And the milestones will continue long after I’m gone, for I, certainly am not important. We are all Amazonian ants building a fine nest, where the whole is much greater than its parts. But I’m really honoured to be a part of something good, free, open, organic, where every language is respected as being a part of that wider spectrum.

Cy-wiki, is part of the conservation of that rich diversity, where my little language and way of life are respected and recognised within the big picture.


Yn Rhagfyr 1996, rhoddais dros 150 o fy ngherddi ar y we am ddim i bawb mewn casgliad o’r enw Rebel ar y We a newidiwyd yn 2005 i Redeg ar Wydr. Ychydig yn ddiweddarach cychwynais gylchgrawn digidol i blant, o’r enw Byd y Beirdd, gan alw ar feirdd roi eu gwaith hwythau ar y we am ddim i bawb. Erbyn heddiw, gallem alw Rebel ar y We yn e-lyfr, ond doedd y gair hwnnw ddim ar gael am ugain mlynedd arall! A hithau’n 2016, a’r gyfrol yn 20 oed, chlywais i ddim am unrhyw ddathliad o fath yn y byd! Cyhoeddwyd dros fil o e-lyfrau ers hynny, ond ychydig iawn sydd am ddim. A mi eith y pen-blwydd heibio, mi wranta, heb ganhwyllau, balwnau na cherdyn pen-blwydd! Cyn troi at brosiectau Wicimedia, dyma osod llwyfan am y cyd-destun: meddylfryd rhai Cymry yn y cyfnod cyn eu laniso.

Chredwch chi ddim y cicio a’r gweiddi ym mhlentyndod y we Gymraeg! Er i bob un o feirdd Byd y Beirdd lofnodi cytundeb ysgrifenedig yn rhoi eu hawl i gyhoeddi’r cerddi, gwaeddodd un perchennog gwasg yng Ngogledd Cymru: “Mae cannoedd o bunnoedd yn y fantol!” (Gweler Golwg, 16 Mawrth 2000) gan gyhoeddi fod perygl mewn cyhoeddi “amaturaidd” pan nad oes arian yn newid dwylo! Roedd yn gweld ei golled ariannol ei hun yn bwysicach na hawl llenorion Cymru i gyhoeddi eu gwaith eu hunain, yn bwysicach na’r Gymraeg. Diolch byth mae’r hen feddwl negyddol, cyfalafol hwnnw’n brysur ddiflannu! A phe bai wedi gofyn i’r beirdd pa un oedd bwyicaf – dyblu nifer y darllenwyr neu wneud ceiniog neu ddwy, dw i’n gwybod yn iawn beth fyddai’r ateb: mai sgwennu i’r gynulleidfa oedd bwysicaf! A mynegwyd hynny gan Selwyn Gruffudd ac eraill. Fel y dywedais gannwaith: “o’r llenor i’r darllenydd”, gan hepgor y sensor yn y canol.

Cyhoeddwyd adolygiad o Rebel ar y We yng Ngwanwyn 1997 yn Llais Llyfrau (Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru) a nodwyd mai dyma’r gyfrol Gymraeg gyntaf i’w rhoi ar y we. Mi sgwennais yn Golwg (6 Ebrill 2000): Pe bai pob cyhoeddwr llyfrau heddiw yn rhoi pob llyfr a gyhoeddwyd ganddynt AM DDIM ar y we byddai hynny’n ymestyn einioes y Gymraeg am genhedlaeth neu ddwy. Mae’r rhyngrwyd yma i aros… ac mae’n dyngedfennol ein bod yn ail-ystyried ein syniadau confensiynol am gyhoeddi, yn ei sgîl. Mae’r chwyldro ar y teledu – a’r monitor – ac mae’n rhaid i’r Gymraeg fod yno!

Pan fewngofnodais am y tro cyntaf ar y Wicipedia Cymraeg (cy-wici) ar 7 Mehefin 2008, roedd na tua 16,000 o erthyglau ac mae’r nifer hwnnw wedi codi, bellach i dros 81,400. Yng Ngorffennaf 2003 y teipiwyd y gair cyntaf ar cy-wici ar yr erthygl ar y Gymraeg; yn fuan ar ôl hynny y daeth: Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Rhestr Cymry, Gwiwer, David R. Edwards ac Owain Gwynedd. Y mis hwnnw roedd yr en-wici dros ddwy oed.

Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell
Left to right: Robin Owain, Marc Haynes and Aled Powell

Yng Ngorffennaf 2008 dechreuais drafodaeth am nawdd a datblygu cy-wici drwy bartneru gyda chyrff erall. Roedd llai na 20,000 o erthyglau ar y pryd a datblygodd y drafodaeth yn weithgaredd unigolion y tu allan i WP ee cysylltu gyda Bwrdd yr Iaith, Prifysgol Cymru a’r Llyfrgell Genedlaethol. Datblygodd hyn yn gais am nawdd a chafwyd £65,000 gan Lywodraeth Cymru a lansiwyd y prosiect ‘Llwybrau Byw’. Fe’m penodwyd yn Rheolwr Cymdeithas Wici Cymru, gyda Wikimedia UK yn gwneud y gwaith papur o ddydd i ddydd. Ar ddiwedd y flwyddyn parhaodd y cytundeb a dw i’n dal yn fy swydd.

Ceir llawer o fanylion ar gerrig milltir eraill ar y dudalen Wicipedia Cymraeg ar cy-wici. Ond o’m rhan i, mae’r canlynol, wedi’u serio ym mêr fy esgyrn. Efallai mai un o’r profiadau mwyaf cofiadwy oedd hwnnw pan oeddwn ar banel ymgynghorol TG/Cymraeg y Llywodraeth yn 2013; tra’n trafod sefyllfa’r Gymraeg o fewn Techoleg Gwybodaeth, cyhoeddodd Gareth Morlais fod Google wedi’i hysbysu mai’r nifer o erthyglau ar Wicipedia oedd yn penderfynu sawl miliwn o ddoleri y bydden nhw’n ei wario ar gyfieithu eu prosiectau i’r Gymraeg a ieithoedd eraill. Mi chwysais litr neu ddwy o sylweddoli’r fath gyfrifoldeb oedd arnom! Dyma gerrig milltir eraill:

Robin (chwith), Carwyn Jones, Prif Weinidog Cymru, a Linda Tomos, Prif Lyfrgellydd y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol. Cyfarfod yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol 2012.

Mi fyddai’n cymharu Wicipedia’n aml i nyth morgrug Amasonaidd, a braf ei weld yn tyfu. Brafiach yw gweld newid ym meddyliau pobl, lle ceir meddwl rhydd annibynol heddiw, a’r syniad o rannu’n bwysicach na’r hyn a fu yng Nghymru cyhyd – cyhoeddi er mwyn arian. Os mai dymuniad y person yw gwneud arian, yna awgrymaf eu bod yn newid eu swydd a bod yn fancar neu’n llawfeddyg. Ond os mai’r rheswm dros olygu ydyw fod y llenor yn dymuno rhannu ei waith, neu drosglwyddo gwybodaeth neu argyhoeddi eraill, yna wici ydy’r lle, neu wefan agored arall, sy’n rhydd ac am ddim. Dwn i ddim pwy yw llawer o’r morgrug hyn, gan ein bod yn aml yn defnyddio ffug enw. Mae llawer wedi gwneud argraff arna i, yn bennaf, ‘Anatiomaros‘, Eleri James a Les Barker. Petha bach ydy morgrug ond mae eu gwaith diflino wedi creu’r storfa gwybodaeth Gymraeg mwyaf a fu erioed yn y cosmos, a’r fynedfa iddi am ddim! Gwnewch y pethau bychan – ar ei orau!

Rydym ar drothwy gweld datblygiadau’r 6 mlynedd diwethaf yn dwyn ffrwyth ar ei ganfed; bu’n waith caled, diddiolch, nid-am-arian, a hynny ar adeg pan oedd llawer o’n pobl yn anwybodus am bethau digidol, yn draddodiadol gul hefyd. Anghofia i byth sgwrsio gyda Wyn Roberts (Llansannan ers talwm) am lyfrau ar Radio Cymru, minnau’n sôn am Rebel ar y We, a’i fod mewn gwirionedd yr e-lyfr cyntaf yn Gymraeg. Wedi deg munud o sgwrsio, dyma rhyw hen wag o Ben Llŷn yn ffonio ac yn dweud wrtha i: “Peidiwch a siarad drwy’ch het, ddyn, wrth gwrs na fedrwch chi ddim tynnu llyfr i lawr gwifren ffôn!” 2010 oedd hynny, nid 1910!

Mi ddyfynaf fy nhad i orffen, dyfyniad allan o lyfr Aled Eurig, Tân a Daniwyd (Argr. W. Walters a’i Fab, 1976):

Hyn yw angen mawr Cymru heddiw: gweithwyr caled, gweithwyr cyson, gweithwyr adeiladol, gweithwyr creadigol, gweithwyr positif – gydag argyhoeddiad dwfn o werth yr unigolyn, a chariad tuag at gyd-ddyn yn ogystal â thuag at Gymru.

Trafod ei waith yn y 1960 yr oedd yn yr erthygl, ei waith fel ysgrifennydd Arfon o Gymdeithas yr Iaith a sefydlydd Tafod y Ddraig ond gallasai’n hawdd fod yn disgrifio yr hyn sydd ei angen arnom ni fel cenedl heddiw.

Ymlaen!

Sidebar