On Wednesday 31 October 2007 11:40, Andre Engels wrote:
It is wrong to suggest that the User Interface is
not a vital component
of a successful Wikipedia. With some regularity projects are voted to be
closed down. They are typically programs that do not have a good
localisation, they are typically programs that do not have a community.
They are typically Wikipedias that have been started prematurely.
So? I think you're having it backward now. Yes, projects that are
voted to be closed down typically do not have a good localisation. Why
is that? Not because the lack of a localisation causes the lack of a
community, but the lack of a community causes the lack of a
localisation. Localisations are there on projects where someone has
worked on localisation. That implies that there is someone working on
something, and projects where someone is working on something are
usually not closed down. Projects that have over 50 articles on
different plant species are also usually not voted down. Projects that
have a bureaucrat are usually not voted down. Projects that have an
active village pump are usually not voted down. Why require a
localisation, but not 50 plant species, a bureaucrat or an active
As a mathematician, I believe you will appreciate the metaphor of quantum
tunelling. The same way a particle can "tunnel" through an energy barrier it
would otherwise not be able to go through, a project could pass a "knowledge
barrier", if helped.
Localisation is an excellent example of this. We can all agree that people are
less likely to contribute to a Wikipedia if there is no localisation.
Localisation, however, requires a technically competent person to do it. If a
given community has no such person, or all such persons are too preocupied
with other matters to do it in their free time, the localisation will not be
done. It might not be done for years, decades, or - ever.
And these years and decades are years and decades during which the project
won't be developed, or will be developed at a much slower rate. If the goal
of the WMF is producing free knowledge, and the WMF pays for hosting of
Wikipedias in order to produce that knowledge, then it may also pay for a
localisation (which would otherwise not happen) in order to achieve the same
goal. This may enable free knowledge to be produced at a faster rate (for
example, a Wikipedia may get 10 new articles per year before localisation,
and 50 articles per year after localisation), thus fulfilling the goal of the
Of course, I am not suggesting that the WMF should immediately start paying
for localisations of desolated Wikipedias. But, when it wants to lift a
Wikipedia off the ground, it may well consider localisation of interface,
documentation or even initial contents, and in some cases such a
consideration will have desirable results.