[Foundation-l] English Wikipedia ethnocentric policy affects other communities

Neil Harris usenet at tonal.clara.co.uk
Thu Dec 21 10:42:46 UTC 2006

Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Neil Harris schreef:
>> Gerard Meijssen wrote:
>>> Neil Harris schreef:
>>> Neil,
>>> I have some 170*2 users on the Wiktionary projects all called GerardM 
>>> and RobotGMwikt. With SUL people will be able with one click to see that 
>>> this is indeed the same person on all of these projects. RobotGMwikt has 
>>> probably the most edits on most Wiktionaries. The way things are 
>>> configured are such that I can only have one user. I can promise you 
>>> that I will not change any of these users. If I am forced to do this, I 
>>> will stop running the bot that I have been running for more than a year 
>>> without any complaints as to the naming of these users.
>>> I will again say how much I resent this policy of the English language 
>>> Wikipedia, it is discrimination pure and simple. With SUL it will be 
>>> easy to check WHO it is that is doing the editing. The most charitable 
>>> way I can look on this huha is that when SUL is finally there, this 
>>> discussion will prove to be a storm in a tea cup.
>>> Thanks,
>>>      GerardM
>> Which part of "no-one is asking _anyone_ to change their name" did you 
>> miss in the above?
>> Under any of the most recent proposals aired here, you won't have to do 
>> a thing. Some kind of default disambiguation tag will simply be 
>> displayed next to your username in all the relevant contexts: probably a 
>> number in Arabic numerals.
>> And voila! All your accounts, robot and human respectively, are 
>> disambiguated for those who can't read the Latin alphabet, in the same 
>> way as the hypothetical User:武 (102343), would be, before he decided 
>> (for purely social, human reasons) to change his nick, to be displayed 
>> as User:武 (Takeshi) on Latin-script wikis, without changing his true 
>> username at all: it was, is, and always will be just "武", regardless of 
>> how many wikis he uses it on.
>> Thus, the only requirement for all users would be the need to recognize 
>> strings made from the symbols "0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9", which is about as 
>> culture neutral as it is possible to get, as people from most cultures 
>> already either use, or can recognize the digits of the Arabic number system.
>> And users who don't want to do anything won't have to do anything at all.
>> If this does not satisfy you, perhaps you can come up with a better 
>> solution which will let Latin-only readers distinguish at a glance 
>> between 漢, 源, and 装, (only one of whom is a vandal) and make them 
>> sufficiently memorable that they can remember them distinctly some time 
>> later?
>> -- Neil
> Hoi,
> The notion that the numbers used in the Latin script are universal is 
> also a fallacy.
> Thanks,
>     GerardM
Yes, but it's quite a good approximation to reality. For example, the 
front pages of ar:, am:,he:, ru:, el:, th: and zh: are clear evidence 
that use of ASCII Hindu-Arabic numerals is widespread in common 
practice, even in cultures with their own distinct historic numeral 

And if we really wanted to, we can also represent the same set of 
decimal digits in other writing systems, for example Devanagari 
numerals, since we already have the localization code to do this ready 
to go.

I like Stephanie's suggestion of User:?????? <#2352562> as a display 
format: we could quite easily arrange that User:#2352562 would be an 
alias for User:?????? throughout the system, with ?????? remaining that 
user's true name everywhere.

Thus, for the user "Examplename", User:Examplename would be their user 
page on every wiki, with User_talk:Examplename being their discussion 
page, and so on... but, for wikis where the script used in their name is 
not one of the native scripts for that wiki,

    [[User:Examplename|Examplename]] <[[User:Examplename|#425256]]>

would appear in every context where the machine-generated text


would have appeared before, and "#425256" (or its equivalent with the 
decimal numerals in any other script) would also be usable in the 
software as a synonym for their real-name throughout the SUL universe. 
That is to say:

* User:#425256 would be a redirect to User:Examplename on every wiki.
* Blocking User:#425265 would have the effect of blocking User:Examplename
* Special:Contributions/#425265 would have the same result as 
Special:Contributions/Examplename (and would display "User contributions 
for [[User:Examplename]]" at the top on home-script wikis, and "User 
contributions for [[User:Examplename]] <[[User:#425256|#425256]]>" at 
the top on others...

Note that the numeric tags would only appear on ''system-generated'' 
text: no user would ever be required to use their alternative numeric 
tag in any human context (unless they wanted to, of course).

Net effect:

* for most practical purposes, no visible change on any wiki, except in 
the immediate context of a username with "foreign-script" characters
* no user will need to rename any of their accounts
* no user will need to create any nicknames if they don't want to
* most users won't even notice the change, since 99% of all editors tend 
to have same-script names
* only formerly-unreadable "foreign script" names will appear with 
numeric tags on any given wiki, yet
* either tags or names will work in any computer-input context such as 
blocking or user page display, throughout the entire SUL universe, but 
with the system always giving the true name display priority

Just to gild the lily a bit more, we could also add a bit of latitude 
about what constitutes a "foreign" script: for example, if the community 
on zh: agreed that they could distinguish Latin characters (which they 
can in practice), or the community on en: was to agree that they could 
generally distinguish and remember Greek and Cyrillic characters, the 
software could be configured so that numeric tags could disappear on 
usernames in those scripts within those wikis. Or, contrariwise, if a 
community so desired, numeric tags could appear on all system-displayed 
usernames, even their own.

-- Neil

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