[Foundation-l] [Wikitech-l] Implementing the Babel extension

Andrew Whitworth wknight8111 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 2 15:42:30 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 11:05 AM, mike.lifeguard
<mike.lifeguard at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't see how "there are few other templates which could possibly benefit
> from this" - isn't that a major issue with license/warning/information
> templates and help pages? Indeed, this is a key complaint from third-party
> reusers. "Where are the welcome templates? Why isn't there any help
> documentation in the wiki?..." As well, for those working cross-wiki,
> learning the set of local templates is next to impossible - a standardized
> set of translated warnings and informational templates would be golden.

But those templates you name aren't standard, they are radically
different on different projects. Think about the differences in
warning users between en.wp, en.wb, en.wv, etc. Think about the
different information that must be conveyed to new users on each
project with {{welcome}}. There is no way to standardize this
information in any meaningful way, without asking all our projects to
just be more like wikipedia.

Now, I won't disparage the idea that standardized user-welcome and
user-warning templates would be nice for under-populated small wikis,
and I'm sure the SWMT would love these. However, there are going to be
a lot of exceptions for larger and more-established wikis that do not
want to share message templates with meta/en.wikipedia.

In contrast to these special exceptions (which could easily be
implemented in a separate extension), the babel templates are
universal and do not need to make "special exceptions".

> There is a fairly easy solution if we want to have a consistent set of babel
> templates across all wikis: Special:Export on the templates at meta,
> Special:Import on each wiki, and create the appropriate categories. Granted,
> there are >700 wikis, but this can be scripted. I would argue that babel
> templates, license templates, certain warning templates and a good set of
> help pages should all be translated and synced in this way.

This whole idea seems so unfeasible in comparison to the proposed
extension. Basically, you're saying it would be easier to:
1) Write a script to perform the necessary exports and import them to
>700 wikis *(for varying technical definitions of the word "export"
and "import")
2) Run said script at least once, plus additional times to account for
new languages that need to be added later
3) Use the same script, or a new version of it, to update template
translations on all 700 wikis, if the text of a template is updated,
retranslated, improved, or otherwise modified.

If the problem is sharing templates cross-wiki, then this is not the
solution. People like the SWMT may have needs which are sufficiently
specialized that they should have customized extensions or technical
solutions (and I support this 100%, the SWMT should be given anything
they ask for). The babel templates problem is separate and distinct,
however, and should not be lumped into the same solution as all our
other needs and desires.

--Andrew Whitworth

--Andrew Whitworth

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