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

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Sat Jun 5 19:59:31 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jun 5, 2010 at 11:47 AM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 5 June 2010 19:40, Aphaia <aphaia at gmail.com> wrote:
>> What is the good reason usability team thought data from English
>> Wikipedia visitors' behaviors and alone were enough to design for all
>> other 200+ languages' readership? It looks me an obvious mistake in
>> opposition of your statement.
> Indeed. There appears to be *no* community or reader groundswell in
> favour of hiding the interwiki links by default.
> Where are the fans? So far I see Aryeh in favour. Is there anyone
> else? On foundation-l or the blog?
> If this is such a good idea, where are the voices in favour, outside
> the Foundation staff?

To be fair, it's not like there's a real good mechanism for giving
such opinions on discrete aspects of the skin (or anything else). I'd
imagine about all there is besides listening to us whinge is
clickthrough data (like reading tea leaves), the small usability
studies, and the feedback from the Vector Beta.

Let me repeat: On all of these questions that have been hotly debated
this month: the logo, the search box, the other languages links,
flaggedrevs.... we don't have a good way of figuring out what the
users think. Hell, we don't even have a good way of figuring out what
*we* think. Sue's right, Foundation-l is a tiny vocal minority and
those of us commenting may or may not represent anyone other than
ourselves. Same goes for the blog readers/commenters, who one expects
may care more about Wikipedia than most of the casual readers out
there. And I sure wouldn't presume to be able to magically synthesize
the internet, read all of the comments about wikipedia out there, and
give you an answer to such a (rhetorical?) question as "where are the
voices in favour"?
(and I do know enough about formal usability to know that usability
studies can be more useful than they seem at first glance, but this
problem of synthesizing widely held opinions & figuring out their
relative weight is something all large communities & sites have).

But even given all that, we all have valid opinions and points to make
too. We have a tradition in this community of making decisions based
on the quality of arguments made, not the sheer numbers of people
involved in voting for one option or another, and I think to lose
sight of that -- whether in usability or anything else -- would be
bad. At the end of the day, I deeply respect the usability team for
*trying new things*, even if we change it back later, and for trying
to make good decisions with the arguments and data at hand. I see no
bad faith here. Just a lively debate about what to do to make the best
possible Wikipedia experience for everyone concerned, even when
everyone concerned may use the site in wildly varying ways.

-- phoebe

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