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

John Vandenberg jayvdb at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 02:08:28 UTC 2008

On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 7:21 AM, Chad <innocentkiller at gmail.com> wrote:
> FWIW: Has anyone even asked the smaller wikis if they _want_ to use
> standardized Babel templates (or any community, for that matter?).

I have just recently started working on a smaller project, Latin
Wikisource, and (surprise surprise) there were no Babel templates.
This project was started in November 2003.  A new user asked what was
going on:


Usually my first edit on a non-English wiki is to add a Babel box to
inform the local community that I can only easily read English.  I
often find that the templates don't exist.

ar.ws : no {{Babel}}; {{User en}} works, but {{User ar-0}} doesnt.
az.ws: no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} works, but {{User az-0}} doesnt.
bg.ws: no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User bg-0}}
cs.ws : an admin told me they dont have user boxes, so I removed them
from my user page out of respect.
da.ws: no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User da-0}}
de.ws: {{Babel|en|de-0}} works
el.ws : {{Babel|en|el-0}} works
es.ws : no {{Babel}}; {{User es-0}} works, but {{User en}} does not
et.ws : no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User et-0}}
fa.ws : no {{Babel}}; {{User fa-0}} works, but {{User en}} does not
fi.ws : no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User fi-0}}
fo.ws : no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User fo-0}}
fr.ws : no {{Babel}}; {{User fr-0}} works, but {{User en}} does not
he.ws : {{Babel|en|he-0}} works
hu.ws : no {{Babel}}; but {{User en}} and {{User hu-0}} both work
ja.ws : no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User ja-0}}
kn.ws : no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User kn-0}}
lt.ws : {{Babel}} exists, but neither {{User en}} or {{User lt-0}} do.
mk.ws : no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User mk-0}}
nl.ws : {{babel|en|nl-0}} works
pl.ws : {{babel|en|pl-0}} works
pt.ws : {{babel|en|pt-0}} works
ro.ws : no {{Babel}}, {{User en}} or {{User ro-0}}

French Wikisource was a surprise - they are one of the largest
Wikisource projects.

Anyway the point is that smaller wikis usually don't have a proper
Babel system, and this is a stumbling block for collaboration.

> For all we know, the various wikis _like_ their babel templates and don't
> want some extension deciding things for them. I'm all for interwiki
> cooperation, but let's ensure it's actually cooperation and not
> the Meta/Foundation-l community deciding something for the rest
> of the projects.

The Babel extension provides new functionality, and does not override
local setup.  Each wiki will have the option of adopting the new

I think a Babel extension to manage and standardise these templates is
a suitable solution to an actual problem.  Meta templates are fine,
however this is only a viable solution if other projects can inherit
templates from meta or another wiki dedicated for that task (such as
BetaWiki).  One concern with the {{user language}} approach on meta is
that it is not backwards compatible with {{Babel}}.

Looking forward (to address the concerns that this extension is short
sighted), the Babel extension could be extended to include other very
common strings that have, over time, proven to be a useful UI element
that needs to be internationalised in order to assist users who work
on wikis that are in a language that the user does not understand.


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