I do not care for Internet Explorer until I can get the ear of a
developer at Microsoft, this should however be doable. I am convinced
that we can get attention at the Mozilla Foundation. But most of all I
want MediaWiki to just work and work well for all languages. You know
how difficult the first editing efforts are. When it becomes really
screwy only a few will preservere. As to economic motivation, when we
can create a cool project we can find money for things like fonts and
scripts. It then becomes a question if someone does it for free or for a
fee. The other cost is that some languages are just not economic and
therefore without merit; this is an argument Microsoft loved to not have
gotten into in many instances...
What we can do as a Wikimedia Foundation is limited. We cannot bring a
computer to every house of this world but we can make our software ready
for the moment when the people from these houses find their way to a
Mark Williamson wrote:
Assuming you're speaking about complex script
rendering, part of this
is dependent on software -- There is nothing that will make Internet
Explorer properly render traditional Mohawk hieroglyphic narrative
script, for instance, unless it is represented as an image. Even if a
font existed, the rendering is simply so complex that it would really
need some programmers to concentrate on it, and there is really no
economic motivation for this.
Hebrew is generally well-supported nowadays in software. Arabic,
Farsi, Hindi, etc. are a little bit farther behind.
But I think in many of these cases, it's not our issue so much as it
is the issue of developers of browers and operating systems. Granted,
we do have problems with BiDi, which Gangleri is always working on.
But even with that, only a tiny fraction of the problems with BiDi
have ever been on our end, many of them simply aren't fixable by us.
That aside, none of the languages of South America that I know of, a
minority of the languages of Africa, and really mostly only the
languages of South and Southeast Asia (ie, excluding languages of
Central Asia, North Asia) are written in complex scripts. This means
that population-wise, if we concentrate on complex scripts, we are
more specifically concentrating on Indic languages, Southeast Asian
languages (Thai, Lao, Khmer, Burmese), minority languages in China
(Tibetan, Mongolian), and Arabic-script languages (Arabic, Farsi,
Urdu, Uyghur, Balochi, S. Azeri). Certainly these are very
population-heavy languages. But I think the root of the issue is
internet access. With many of these languages, it seems that people
are trying to resolve script problems before access is really
widespread, which is certainly lamentable, but at the same time makes
it clear that problems with rendering are certainly not one of the
major reasons for current numbers for most of these languages.
On 05/04/06, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> I have read the thread as it was published so far and I am amazed that
> nobody mentioned one simple reason why people do not edit or add content
> to the Arab, the Farsi, the Hebrew and Assamese projects .. It is too
> bloody hard. When you say "everybody can edit", it is as if it is the
> same effort is involved. I read somewhere where an African president
> said; "we do not have scripts yet for all of our indigenous languages.
> When the yi.wikipedia celebrated its 1000th article Gangleri was thanked
> for his hard work to make this technically possible. When I created some
> Farsi training material on Wikibooks, I needed two browsers to complete
> certain tasks; both Internet Explorer and Firefox were not up to the task.
> Gangleri does a great job, he is imho one of the most valuable
> Wikimedians because he tries to make it possible to have information in
> all languages. To take things to the next level, we need more
> developers; people of all the language families and make sure with them
> that MediaWiki is up to the task. So far we have been self
> congratulatory about how well we do. We profess that we want to do
> better in Africa Asia and South America. We can if we make it a priority.
> For me improving these issues /is/ a priority. http://WiktionaryZ.org
> requires good support for all languages. I am happy that we initiated
> the "Multilingual Mediawiki" project as it will further improve the
> multilingual capabilities of MediaWiki. It will still not do all the
> things that are necessary to make MediaWiki as easy to edit as it is for
> us. For that I need people that speak Hindi Assamese Twi Farsi Arab
> Hebrew and help us define what /their /problem with our software is and
> when we are lucky help us fix these issues.
> Mark Williamson wrote:
>> Hi everybody,
>> While it's sort of obvious, given the digital divide, that the number
>> of articles in Wikipedias is not proportional to the number of
>> speakers, for example Hindi has a much smaller number of articles
>> compared to speakers than most active Wikipedias; German has more.
>> However, something that people may not notice as much is the
>> incongruency between popularity of a particular language version and
>> the number of articles in that version.
>> The most visited Wikipedias, in order, are:
>> 1 English (65%)
>> 2 German (10%)
>> 3 Japanese (6%)
>> 4 Spanish (3%)
>> 5 French (2%)
>> 6 Polish (2%)
>> 7 Chinese (2%)
>> 8 Arabic (2%)
>> 9 Italian (1%)
>> 10 Hebrew (1%)
>> 11 Turkish (1%)
>> 12 Dutch (1%)
>> 13 Portuguese (1%)
>> (all others combined total 1% of visits)
>> On the other hand, the list of Wikipedias ranked by number of articles is:
>> 1 English (1048.7K)
>> 2 German (376.9K)
>> 3 French (261.1K)
>> 4 Polish (223.8K)
>> 5 Japanese (196.3K)
>> 6 Dutch (156.9K)
>> 8 Italian (146.8K)
>> 9 Portuguese (123.8K)
>> 10 Spanish (105.0K)
>> 12 Chinese (61.48K)
>> 17 Hebrew (34.35K)
>> 29 Turkish (19.94K)
>> 37 Arabic (12.03K)
>> What this says to me is that these Wikipedias are not attracting new
>> pages proportional to views when compared with other Wikipedias. This
>> may be because people don't want to write new pages, but it seems to
>> me more likely that people simply don't know they can.
>> How can this be fixed? Perhaps a site notice inviting people to write
>> quality pages or register, or a drive to recruit new Wikipedians from
>> the academic community.