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

Lodewijk lodewijk at effeietsanders.org
Sat Jun 5 11:19:38 UTC 2010

Hi all,

thank you for your summary, Guillaume. I would like to add to this a
question based on Jon's insightful email:

the research you did on clicks etc, was apparently only on the English
Wikipedia. Would it be an option to first do more research on how the links
are used on the other projects? Out of the >700 projects to choose from, you
unfortunately picked one where the clicking is most likely to be very
different from all the other projects. Usually that is not a good basis to
build decisions for all 700 projects on. Besides that, it seems you measured
logged in users (since you mention comparing monobook vs vector, it seems
that you measured people who switched before the Big Switch?) Perhaps you
want to actually do research on how anonymous users work.

And to be honest, I find ~1% actually quite a *lot* for this kind of links.
Considering the huge number of people who do not speak a language besides
English, or who rather stay there because they started there for a reason
(and why would you then go to the German article on Pocahontas if the
English Wikipedia suits you well).

Would it be an option to put the language links back to as they were for
now, and then do some more research first on how people outside the English
language behave, how anonymous users behave and have a discussion about that
in the community first? Because I strongly believe this topic is *so*
important to all the smaller languages (they draw their community from these
links, after all), that we should involve that as well into the discussion.
The links are not just there to help the specific visitors of the English
Wikipedia, but they are there as well to help the tswana Wikipedia to
develop over time to a serious size. Please remember that our mission is to
bring the sum of human knowledge to *all* people in the whole world. Not
just the readers of major languages.

I do however recognize that linking the whole huge list might not be an
optimal way of helping these communities, but I am not sure either that
focusing on large and to the reader relevant languages will be.

best regards,


2010/6/5 Guillaume Paumier <guillom.pom at gmail.com>

> Howie,
> Thanks for your detailed message. I appreciate your efforts of trying
> to listen to the feedback from the community. However, even after
> listening to the discussion in the office today, and after reading
> your message, I still fail to understand the logic behind these
> decisions. I'm going to try and summarize your paragraphs into a few
> sentences; please tell me if I got something wrong
> In a paragraph, you explain it is your belief that in Monobook, the
> long list of languages made it difficult for the user to identify this
> area as "a list of languages".
> In the following paragraph, you say you tracked the clicks in the
> sidebar in Monobook, and found that less than 1% of users clicked on a
> language link. You then explain you hid the list of languages because
> this number showed it wasn't used.
> Perhaps I'm just beating a dead horse, but, looking at these two
> arguments, a fairly reasonable hypothesis to make is that users don't
> click on the languages links *because* they don't realize it's there.
> A fairly reasonable design decision would be to try and make it more
> discoverable, and you could measure the impact easily by seeing if
> more users click on the language links.
> Instead, you chose to hide the list completely. I still fail to see
> how this decision could be an attempt at fixing the issue you had
> discovered.
> Maybe users don't think of a traffic jam as "a list of cars". But
> showing an empty road hardly makes things better.
> --
> Guillaume Paumier
> [[m:User:guillom]]
> http://www.gpaumier.org
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
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