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

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 5 23:06:32 UTC 2010

I used the interwiki links all the time in this manner at work, and still do. It was one of the things that turned me on to Wikipedia and caused me to start contributing, and eventually to register an account. 

As others have said, if the interwiki links had not been visible by default, I likely would not have discovered the feature, or discovered it only much later. 

An interesting thing is that even if the interwiki articles were poor, or incomplete, there was usually enough context provided to pick out the key terms in the field in the relevant languages, providing a starting point for further research and confirmation in and outside of Wikipedia. Extremely useful.

Even today the articles that are of the most practical benefit to me are very often C-Class or stubs.


--- On Fri, 4/6/10, J Alexandr Ledbury-Romanov <alexandrdmitriromanov at gmail.com> wrote:

> From: J Alexandr Ledbury-Romanov <alexandrdmitriromanov at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] hiding interlanguage links by default is a Bad Idea, part 2
> To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Date: Friday, 4 June, 2010, 9:27

> Me three for using the interwiki
> links as a way of finding the word or
> phrase I'm looking for in another language (along with
> Wiktionary). Not only
> do they assist me in finding translations of the words or
> phrases I am
> looking for, they also give me context and relevant
> material for languages
> I'm comfortable using. They are also particularly useful
> for languages where
> I am not at all comfortable (e.g. Modern Standard Arabic)
> where I get
> results with images of the subject that confirm that I have
> found the right
> noun I need.
> Sometimes I get false positives, but unlike with my various
> dictionaries
> which I now rarely use, I can usually figure out pretty
> quickly that I have
> not got the translation I need.
> I'd be interested to know what the default languages I
> would get based
> computer profiling. Geolocating would put in me in Morocco
> (official
> language Modern Standard Arabic, though French is commonly
> used), browser
> configuration would give French, and Wikimedia system user
> preferences are
> set in English, simply because I predominantly use the
> English Wikipedia and
> English Wikinews; I'm far too lazy to have to translate the
> Wikimedia
> terminology in my head when navigating in French, German or
> Russian.
> AD
> 2010/6/4 phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki at gmail.com>
> > On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 12:10 AM, Gregory Maxwell
> <gmaxwell at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > Sort of tangentially, ... am I really the only
> one that frequently
> > > uses the Wikipedia inter-language links as a big
> translating
> > > dictionary?  I've found it to be much more
> useful than automatic
> > > translation engines for mathematical terms (both
> more comprehensive
> > > but also in that it makes it easy to find the
> translations for many
> > > related terms).  The hiding doesn't make
> this any harder for me, but
> > > it would make me a lot less likely to discover
> this useful feature.
> >
> > Of course not,  I do this all the time (I even
> wrote about it), but I
> > don't have any idea how many non-wikipedians use the
> interwiki links
> > in this manner. On the list of research projects I
> wish someone would
> > get around to: I would love to know more about
> unexpected/atypical
> > uses of the projects like this... I guess the
> reference desk is a
> > similar feature, an unexpected service cropping up in
> the middle of
> > the encyclopedia. I wonder what others there are.
> >
> > -- phoebe
> >
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