Resources and investments also imply labour. There are several instances
where the choice for spending time of our paid for programmers is dedicated
to things that are nice to have. Often the choice is made because of what is
seen as of a big relevance to the "big" projects ie languages. Even though
MediaWiki is exceptional in the amount of languages we support, the fact
that a fifth of the languages that have a Wikipedia indicates that contrary
what we say MediaWiki does not support 250 languages. People invest in their
Wikipedia and we do not cherish this investment by ensuring that the
localisation is seen as vital.
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. Yes, there are Wikipedias
that are doing fine, the issue is that many people are upset by Wikipedias
failing. We lose support for adding new languages with more projects
What we aim for in new Wikipedias is project that provide good information
to the people. We should not expect people to read any other language. A
Wikipedia is there to provide people with knowledge and for this an
appropriate user interface is essential. As long as the User Interface is
not localised it is not yet ready to go life for the people to find
information in their language.
On 10/26/07, Dovi Jacobs <dovijacobs(a)yahoo.com> wrote:
I happen to agree with Gerard that the Wikimedia Foundation does indeed
support languages through the very act of supporting Wikipedias. I also
agree that the foundation should be more proud of this fact and announce it
happily. If we are doing something so positive, why not let people know
about it, and why not even include it as one of our goals? It may not be our
primary goal, but it certainly plays a supporting role towards reaching that
goal ("the sum of all knowledge"). It is yet another gem in the WMF's
That being said, I don't really understand what, specifically, Gerard is
asking for. In what specific ways does the foundation need to "adapt" in
order to meet the needs of smaller languages? "Resources" and
usually imply money, but in what specific ways does Gerard think money can
be used to support smaller languages? Please elaborate.
Finally, Mark Williamson's comment:
> I imagine it would be easier if those people
would be allowed to get
Wikipedias instead of having to wait for years.
This is as opposed to Gerard: "we insist on a good user experience so a
localised user interface is a must."
Experience proves that Mark is right: Many of today's successful
Wikipedia's began without much of a local interface at all. Instead, people
just got to work, and the interface got translated bit-by-bit along the way
by admins, in exactly the same way a Wikipedia gets built as a whole by
Not allowing people to simply "get to work" on a Wikipedia, and requiring
that there be "several hoops to jump through before a new language gets its
own project" actually works against smaller languages.
Instead, just let people get started! If the project fails, simply freeze
it until speakers of the language come along who want to try to build it
To conclude, if there are positive ways that money could be used to
support smaller languages, then the foundation should consider doing so. But
regardless of monetary issues, people should be allowed to get to work on
smaller wikipedias without too many hurdles.
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