[Foundation-l] hiding interlanguage links by default is a Bad Idea, part 2

David Levy lifeisunfair at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 18:58:00 UTC 2010

Mark Williamson wrote:

> That's not good enough. First of all, people who don't speak a
> language won't recognize the text "see other languages", or even
> "languages". Could you pick the word "ენები" out of a page full of
> text in a foreign language and understand that clicking it would lead
> you to a link to the English version of an article?

Very well said.

Indeed, the interwiki links are pointedly presented in the relevant
languages/scripts, and the readers for whom they're most useful are
among the least likely to comprehend the label under which they've
been hidden.

> The reason your proposal to use geolocation or browser language is not
> good enough is that would still result in reducing the visibility of
> many, many Wikipedias. I think there are many users who would prefer
> to read articles in Catalan whose default browser language is set to
> ES, and geolocation will probably not solve that problem either.

It appears that the idea's ramifications haven't been fully considered
(in part because it's difficult for speakers of one language to
appreciate the needs of another language's speakers).

> I think it is a mistake to hide ANY interwikis. "clutter" is not a
> huge sacrifice for people to make to vastly increase INTERNATIONAL
> usability.

Furthermore, I don't recall _ever_ encountering a complaint about this
so-called "clutter."  But I certainly have seen numerous complaints
about the interwiki links' sudden removal (as many have perceived the

Perhaps a suitable compromise can be devised, but in the meantime, the
only appropriate solution is to display the interwiki links by
default.  It's unfortunate that this fix was reverted, let alone in
the name of "usability."

David Levy

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