[Foundation-l] Frustration with the conversion engines issue

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Thu Apr 2 13:39:33 UTC 2009

Dear Aryeh,

Your idea of "converting on the fly" would not work in many cases. Take for
example the ß in German WP. Swiss (registered) readers can decide via their
Preferences to see only ss and never ß, because the Swiss do not use ß.
That's ok. But vice versa, not every ss is to be converted to ß.

The Germany-Germans write for example "Masse" (a mass, with a short "a") and
"Maße" (measures, with a long "a"). The Swiss write "Masse" and "Masse" for
both. Now, imagine that a Swiss editor writes "Masse", the conversion engine
would not know whether this should be converted to "Maße" or not. Only a
person who knows German is capable to decide.

So in the source text the Swiss editor would have to write "Maße", although
he as a Swiss is not accustomed to do so. He usually writes "Masse", and if
it is not a Swiss-related article, he will tolerate if later a
Germany-German edits the article and changes to "Maße".

I would find it an improvement if the ß-conversion would not be only a
gadget in the Preferences, but if this could be realized also for non
registered users/readers, as the Serbian WP gives such a choice (Latin or
Cyrilic) to the readers on the Main Page.

Now, from what Ting and others told me about the conversion problems in
Chinese and other Wikipedias, I can imagine that the possible benefits are
relatively limited.


2009/4/2 Aryeh Gregor
<Simetrical+wikilist at gmail.com<Simetrical%2Bwikilist at gmail.com>
> Why couldn't that be converted on the fly as well?  Choose one variant
> as the canonical one, and store only that in the database.  Anyone
> wanting to use other formats would have the text in the edit box
> automatically converted to their preferred variant on the fly, and
> converted back when they saved.

Ziko van Dijk

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