[Foundation-l] elections

Robert Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Sat Apr 7 19:07:25 UTC 2007

Guillaume Paumier wrote:
> Hello,
> On 4/6/07, Brion Vibber <brion at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> The voting period was long, but there was very little time between the
>> finalization of candidates and the beginning of voting. One consequence
>> of this was that translators had not completed translation of candidate
>> statements at the time the voting began.
>> There should be more time ahead to prepare.
> Indeed. Though translators really do their best, it is very difficult to
> achieve translation of all candidate's statements. Last time the statements
> were *suggested* not to exceed 1,000 characters [1]. Some rules must be
> changed.
> I suggest the following extra rules :
> * For the pre-(s)election candidates, only a *short presentation* (~50
> words) ; easy and fast to translate, even for many candidates. These
> statements may be translated only in « big » languages, i.e. those of the
> most developed projects.
> * For the final candidates, *no more than 150 words*. These statements
> should be translated in as many languages as possible.
> * All statements *must* be written in simple words, simple sentences without
> any idioms.
> * All candidates *must* write their statement in all languages they speak.
> They know what they want to say better than anyone, so it's better to have a
> rough translation by themselves that will be refined later than a
> well-written serious mistranslation.
> To the future candidates: respect the work of translators. Last time, some
> candidates largely exceeded the characters limit. Their statements were
> however translated because the translators felt a moral obligation to
> translate them. Though, such an attitude from candidates shows a disrespect
> to our volunteer translators. So, if you long to be a community
> representative, first respect the community by following these simple rules.
> Thanks.
> [1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Election_candidates_2006/En

I disagree with these suggestions here as the only solution.  I 
understand that for translators, it is ideal if you have as little to 
translate as possible.  Lengthy statements obviously would be a problem 
to translate for what are arguably volunteer translators, so certainly 
an effort to keep such position statements concise ought to be encouraged.

At the same time, there are significant issues with real meat that will 
be brought up this time around, and I expect that candidates will all 
want to express opinions on many of these topics.  By limiting the 
position statement to only 150 words or even 50 words, they might not be 
able to respond to challenges, or even address what may end up becoming 
major issues in this campaign.

As has been addressed already on this mailing list, issues about fair 
use, trademark policy, fundraising, and perceived America-centrism may 
all become issues.  Other issues including chapter relations, project 
expansions (or limits) and the scope of the various WMF projects may 
also come up.  And I have just scratched the surface over issues that 
could be discussed that would be very legitimate points to be debated.

I'm not sure how much of this can or ought to be done through the 
translators, or if perhaps a babel-fish type automated translation might 
to be substituted for some of this debate.  I know that isn't perfect, 
but I am trying to suggest some sort of general accommodation be made 
here.  Certainly a NPOV "voter's guide" could have some of the key 
points you are suggesting here, with links to other pages that would go 
into further depth on candidate positions.  And priorities should be 
made over what parts ought to be translated first.  In this regard you 
could suggest having a short, medium, and long policy statement that 
would have decreasing levels of translation, with the highest priority 
to simply list all of the candidates and explain the voting rules in a 
given language.

More information about the foundation-l mailing list