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

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Mon Jun 7 07:42:09 UTC 2010

Andreas Kolbe wrote:
> 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.
There is another way in which the interwiki links are useful.  We need 
to remember that an article in one language is often developed without 
reference to the corresponding article in a different language.  They 
are written quite independently from each other, and thus can give 
different perspectives on the same subject, or highlight different 
aspects of the same subject.  In a controversial topic the differences 
could be startling.

Given the availability of translations that are just a click away, not 
even a native English speaker has to fear that clicking on an interwiki 
link will produce an unintelligible page. There could even be value to a 
double list which gives the option of viewing the other language article 
in its original form or in its machine translation.


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