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

David Levy lifeisunfair at gmail.com
Sat Jun 5 19:03:27 UTC 2010

Sue Gardner wrote:

> The folks here on foundation-l are not representative of readers.

Many novice users have expressed confusion, frustration and
disapproval.  This isn't a representative sample either, but it's the
only reader feedback that we have (to weigh against the user
experience team's hunch).

> The job of the user experience team is to try to balance all readers'
> needs, which is not easy, and will sometimes involve making decisions
> that not everyone agrees with.

Agreed.  But we've established that the usability study did not
include this issue.  So while it's difficult to determine the extent
to which users have been adversely affected, there is no evidence that
*any* users were adversely affected by the previous setup or benefited
from the change.

This is not to say that no improvement is possible.  We simply don't
know at this juncture.  What's so unreasonable about the request to
restore the longstanding behavior (with the additional option to
collapse the links) until evidence of an actual problem (and net
benefit of the change) exists?

> People here have given some useful input, but I think it's far from
> obvious that the user experience team has made a "mistake.".

Setting aside the issue of whether the change was beneficial (which
would require formal research to accurately assess), I strongly
believe that implementing it on the basis of speculation (with no
advance consultation with or notification to the community, despite
the existence of a beta test program) was a mistake.

I also find it extremely troubling that the team has interpreted
interwiki link usage data from the English Wikipedia as applicable to
all Wikimedia wikis (given the intention to deploy this setup across
the board).  I would be shocked to learn that the interwiki links
don't receive substantially more use within other Wikipedias
(particularly the smaller ones, whose articles often contain less

David Gerard wrote:

> I notice that Howie Fung avoided answering my question: What would it
> take for this decision to be reversed?
> Also, you may be able to answer the question of what would happen if a
> wiki showed community conensus to remove this. Would the foundation
> forcibly keep it in place?

I also wait the answers to these questions.

David Levy

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