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

Platonides Platonides at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 22:21:09 UTC 2010

Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> Now, mind you, I don't necessary support getting rid of the
> interlanguage links.  I'm mostly objecting to the reasoning being
> brought forward for that point, which seems to be mostly:
> * Some unknown number of users might somehow end up at a wiki they
> don't understand and not be able to find the wiki they really want.
> Maybe.  Except we have no data to suggest that this happens with
> non-negligible frequency.  The evidence apparently indicates that few
> people use the interlanguage links.
> * Lots of people have complained, therefore it must be a bad change.
> * Interface clutter isn't important anyway.
> The last two arguments are completely wrongheaded.  The first might or
> might not have merit -- but no one has even attempted to propose what
> evidence we could gather to check it (I think).  Most of the people
> making the first argument seem to assume without question that there
> *must* be a lot of people using the interlanguage links for this, or
> at least a significant number.  This is not the way to conduct an
> informed discussion.

It was requested somewhere on this thread to publish the data of the
interwiki usage before CollapsibleNav and after.
The difference should give an estimate of people which would have used
it but was unable to find it out (as opposed to those who found it but
needed an extra click for that).
Since I was asked "how would I search now?" when showing the new look, I
can understand that people don't find the interwikis, which are less
prominent than the search bar! How many? I don't have enough data. I
consider James and Casey reports quite important, since they will be
people actually reaching us, which reports are a tiny percentage of
affected people (even from the community, but specially from the large

> In the absence of further data, the only real argument I saw for
> restoring the interlanguage links by default is to show how
> international Wikipedia is and raise awareness about how many other
> languages are supported.  In this case they aren't actually meant to
> be clicked on, so a low click rate isn't a problem.  They're more of
> an advertisement.  This is a fairly reasonable argument -- the huge
> size of the language list is a plus, not a minus, from this
> perspective.  I don't know if it outweighs concerns about clutter,
> though.  Maybe.

That's an interesting point. I was also wondering how it related to the
accuracy perception. A fluent wikipedian probably consider an topic
better (or improvable) if it has many interwikis. Or many FAs. As
opposed to an interwikiless article, which is deemed of poor quality.

These are probably automatisms we aren't aware of, so I don't see how it
could be measured.

Gregory wrote:
> Sort of tangentially, ... am I really the only one that frequently
> uses the Wikipedia inter-language links as a big translating
> dictionary?

Add me to the list of people which hover the interwikis to find out a

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