[Foundation-l] Automatic username transliteration for SUL

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Thu Dec 21 07:56:08 UTC 2006

Stephanie Erin Daugherty schreef:
>> Even "ko-ho-ba-fay-jo-muh" is better than ????????
>> Of course, we could always take the approach of putting them in IPA, 
>> thus annoying everyone equally.
>> -- Neil
> I think the most important part of the objection to "foreign" character 
> sets is that many people on en in particular are unaware of what 
> facilities exist for dealing with them. As people in countries using 
> Latin character sets rarely see, and almost never have to work with 
> anything that's in another character set, they are usually unaware of 
> what tools exists for interoperating with them. This is especially true 
> when abusive users have deliberately taken advantage of this fact in 
> order to make the lives of administrators and of other Wikipedians as 
> difficult as possible, and it's also true for those handful of users 
> that will mix character sets to "look cool" at the inconvenience of others.
> The fact that usernames in foreign character sets pose special technical 
> challenges for users unfamiliar with them, and that mainstream 
> multilingual support is especially lacking in applications with a Latin 
> language family ethnocentricity (in particular large number of Windows 
> applications and Windows itself, at least for en-US locale), means that 
> functions for working with usernames need to be looked at carefully.
> One of the more obvious ways that this can be made to work is to make 
> numeric userids more visible and more useful for various operations 
> where a username may be near impossible to type, and may even be 
> difficult to see. I'd strongly recommend this for usernames using 
> characters outside the ranges that a typical user on a given project 
> will be able to enter with a "normal" input method. Displaying something 
> like  User:???????? <#2352562> would help considerably for those 
> situations, but it needs to work consistently for things like accessing 
> talk pages, accessing contributions, accessing userpages, and accessing 
> logs.
> "Nicknames" or aliases, as proposed by someone else in this thread would 
> also help - they could be constrained to the characters typically usable 
> on a given wiki. I'd also suggest that when showing a "non-native" 
> username, that we indicate clearly what character set or even what 
> language it's in, this will become even more useful once SUL is 
> implemented (hopefully it's going to be part of SUL anyway, dealing with 
> namespace collisions otherwise will be insane.)
> Transliterations would be useful in some situations, but I'd suggest we 
> make this a display option - to be respectful of other cultures means 
> that we should respect their writing and their culture wherever 
> possible. IPA could be handled in the same way, and this would probably 
> be appreciated by at least a few people who would otherwise be confused 
> on how to pronounce a given name.
> Would a format for  usernames with foreign characters like 
> "User:???????? (Arabic) <#2352562>" really be so bad? (This would apply 
> equally to projects where latin characters might not be displayable).
> -Stephanie
At issue is that the function of NOT seeing the characters, hence the 
??????, is a function of your local system. It is easily remedied by 
installing fonts. These are for the majority of languages available as 
part of your operating system. Making this a display option will get you 
into problems too. It would help if we knew what the primary language is 
of the person involved. That is something that is relatively easy to 
address as we have to address it in the "Multilingual MediaWiki". Here 
it is however not compulsory to make this info available.

I want to repeat my question I posted before: Is this the Wikimedia 
Foundation that allows people to edit its project anonymously ? Does 
this whole idea not reek of bad faith ? How hard is it to have people 
install fonts if they object to having to see ??????


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