[Foundation-l] Supporting languages is supporting people

GerardM gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Thu Nov 1 11:58:14 UTC 2007

The localisation is of particular importance for the readers and for the
editors that do not know the language that is chosen as the secondary
language. With the start of the Incubator there is a good place to start a
project and build up enough steam to stand on its own.

There are two groups of people in the WMF; there are those that are of the
opinion that more language support is a distraction and there are those that
are of the opinion that there are too many hoops that new projects have to
jump through. By defining minimum requirements we aim to prevent the failure
of projects and we aim to provide a good user experience for new languages
when the project goes life. In this way we reach out to both groups and both
groups are likely not to be happy anyway. Our argument is that in this way
we aim to optimise the effectiveness of new projects, not only is a language
supported for a WMF project and also MediaWiki supports a new language.


On 11/1/07, Andre Engels <andreengels at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2007/10/31, Nikola Smolenski <smolensk at eunet.yu>:
> > As a mathematician, I believe you will appreciate the metaphor of
> quantum
> > tunelling. The same way a particle can "tunnel" through an energy
> barrier it
> > would otherwise not be able to go through, a project could pass a
> "knowledge
> > barrier", if helped.
> It can, but I don't see how that means that one way of helping them
> (giving them a localized interface) would be superior to another way
> of helping them (giving them a wiki to start with)
> > Localisation is an excellent example of this. We can all agree that
> people are
> > less likely to contribute to a Wikipedia if there is no localisation.
> > Localisation, however, requires a technically competent person to do it.
> If a
> > given community has no such person, or all such persons are too
> preocupied
> > with other matters to do it in their free time, the localisation will
> not be
> > done. It might not be done for years, decades, or - ever.
> >
> > And these years and decades are years and decades during which the
> project
> > won't be developed, or will be developed at a much slower rate.
> So instead we don't allow it  to develop at all? We just sit and wait,
> don't work on other blockades until this one is resolved? That will
> help a language grow!
> I don't disagree that localization is a good thing, although I do
> think its effect is smaller than you seem to think. In my view, the
> first and foremost need is people - have 1 contributor, and the
> project will probably die, have 3 and it's in serious danger, have 5
> and it's likely to live, have 10 and it's ready thrive.
> Still, having a localization would be a good thing. However, the issue
> is: how much importance does it get, and how is it achieved. Currently
> the situation is that it gets foremost importance, and is achieved by
> withholding most other things a project would need or want (like an
> own wiki and an official status) until it has been resolved. To me,
> that's giving much too much importance to just one piece of what makes
> a successful Wikipedia. Let the people from a Wikipedia language
> decide for themselves what is important to their project at which
> moment. Give them ample opportunities to localize their interface, and
> point them towards the possibility, if necessary multiple times, but
> if they still decide they'd rather work on a non-localized interface
> rather than spend their time on localizing it, accept that in the end
> it is their choice to make.
> --
> Andre Engels, andreengels at gmail.com
> ICQ: 6260644  --  Skype: a_engels
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