We have as much responsibility to usability as we do to political
The best solution would handle both.
The worst solution would hurt usability and encourage language
What are the parameters of the situation?
(and its minor variants wikipedia.org
) is and will forever remain the primary url.
2) Wikipedia is currently owned by an American company; it was started in
English; the English Wikipedia is orders larger than any other, English is
the lingua franca of the current times and of the Internet. All these may
change but are true now.
3) We desire all the language Wikipedias to be on equal footing.
Note that, for 3) to mean "equivalent in content", there would have to be
some mechanism to compensate for real-world differences in the degree of
participation in different languages. There will always be more English than
Icelandic speakers, etc. A perfect such mechanism would be expert-quality
That out of the way, let me suggest that changing URLs should only be a
minor component of dealing with 3, not a primary focus. More effort should
be put into building the cross-link capabilities, perhaps with some
automatic dictionary translations. The wikipedias should all be running the
same software. There should be the option of having Recent Changes show
changes from any array of the languages, so that for a French contributor
fluent in English, his Recent Changes (and thus his Wikipedia, to a large
degree) looks like a French-English Wikipedia.
I really think focussing only on the URLs is making us miss the big picture.