[Mediawiki-i18n] [Wikitech-l] Making inter-language links shorter

Shimmin suburbanpanther at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Apr 20 07:58:41 UTC 2013

A couple of thoughts occur to me.

The solution on github seems to be Javascript-reliant, which can run 
into script-blocking issues.  I don't know what proportion of visitors 
might be using computers with script-blocking, and what proportion of 
those would think/know how to/have permissions to overcome it.  Or using 
computers/browsers where JS is inclined to break.  It might be 
completely minimal, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

For a GeoIP solution, this relies on good information about what 
languages are relevant to GeoIPs.  Do we have such a good set of data?  
I'm thinking particularly of language communities outside their 
traditional homelands, Cantonese in Liverpool for example. Also, 
language density is a complicating factor.  If you use a list of 10 
languages based on GeoIP, then in some areas it's more than enough, 
while in others it's a fraction of the local languages.  I'm not sure 
what the best way to overcome that one is.

I'm also concerned that a measure like this will tend to reinforce the 
dominance of major languages on the net.  People will not necessarily 
take that extra step to check the language list just in case their 
language is on it, especially for lesser-wikified languages; adding an 
extra step always pretty much makes things more unlikely.  I wonder 
whether the huge list we see at present encourages people to search for 
their own language, while a small list that doesn't immediately show it 
is less encouraging.  The many wiki-readers who don't edit will 
presumably not have any preferences saved, so would potentially have to 
set their language choices every visit - or might simply not bother if 
it's unlikely to offer many articles anyway.  So they would simply read 
the English/French/Russian articles, and the minority wikis would be 
further neglected and the language further undermined.  This is 
obviously all speculation; I'd be interested to see any hard information 
on this.  It's a different set of problems from those of interlang 
editors but one worth considering, particularly as you're talking about 
making this the default.  Minority languages have a hard enough time as 
it is...

In terms of link ordering, it would perhaps make sense for articles 
related to a particular language to emphasise those links (either in a 
"Relevant to this article" section, or by formatting of some kind)?  So 
articles on French people, things and places might highlight French - 
although of course there's other French languages to consider so that 
could get complicated.


On 19/04/2013 10:05, സുനിൽ (Sunil) wrote:
> I suggest the list of languages should be displayed according to the 
> size/quality also
> On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 3:43 AM, Yuri Astrakhan 
> <yastrakhan at wikimedia.org <mailto:yastrakhan at wikimedia.org>> wrote:
>     There are a few things (IMO) that should be done to langlist ordering:
>     * Group by alphabet
>     People who understand latin alphabet should get a list of all
>     latin-using languages listed/sorted together. Cyrillic is a
>     separate group, and so are various asian and middle-eastern
>     languages. I have seen other sites do this (e.g. Google, but I
>     can't quickly locate an example right now). Having all languages
>     bunched up together make going through them extremely painful -
>     one has to skip all the scripts not understood.
>     * Each wiki site has different ordering requirements - like Hebrew
>     and Hungarian wikis want English as the first link, or 'nn' uses
>     'no','sv','da' before all others. See pywiki
>     <http://svn.wikimedia.org/svnroot/pywikipedia/trunk/pywikipedia/families/wikipedia_family.py>
>     - interwiki_putfirst
>     * Lastly, but IMO - most importantly, we should honor user
>     settings or browser settings. If my browser sends *Accept
>     Language: en-US,en;q=0.8,ru;q=0.6*, it would be good to show
>     english & russian at the top, followed by others.
>     All this can (and should) be done in javascript, without affecting
>     servers.
>     And for historical reasons: bug 2867
>     <https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=2867>... i filed
>     it in 2005, it has over 60 votes (highest count in bugzilla if i'm
>     not mistaken)...
>     --Yuri
>     On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 9:57 PM, Brion Vibber <brion at pobox.com
>     <mailto:brion at pobox.com>> wrote:
>         I was traditionally in favor of keeping the full language list
>         visible,
>         but.... it's just too damn big in many cases and is hard to
>         search through
>         on any device. On touch devices it's difficult to pick a
>         correct item from
>         the list as all the links are adjacent (though if you zoom
>         it's ok).
>         Definitely we need something improved, and if we're going to
>         improve it we
>         need to do it for the default or we're failing to serve 99% of our
>         readers...
>         I'm not sure about the current demo; one thing that bugs me is
>         that there's
>         a very small tap/click target for getting the full language
>         list call-out.
>         Clicking on "Language" just hides/shows the short list, it
>         doesn't do
>         anything. Clicking the "settings" gear icon next to
>         "Languages" brings up a
>         call-out with language-related settings.... none of which help
>         you get to
>         another language version of the wiki.
>         On the mobile site we've collapsed the whole thing to an
>         "Other languages"
>         section or button (depending on if you're in beta mode) at the
>         bottom of
>         the article, and this seems to have gotten good usability
>         responses from
>         mobile users.
>         On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM, David Gerard
>         <dgerard at gmail.com <mailto:dgerard at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         > On 18 April 2013 20:43, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com
>         <mailto:dgerard at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         > > On 18 April 2013 17:50, Pau Giner <pginer at wikimedia.org
>         <mailto:pginer at wikimedia.org>> wrote:
>         >
>         > >> Please let me know if you see any possible concern with
>         this approach.
>         >
>         > > My first thought is of how upset people were when the
>         first version of
>         > > Vector hid the language links by default. I would suggest
>         being sure
>         > > there will be little or no similar objection.
>         >
>         >
>         > (hit send too soon, sorry)
>         >
>         > A simple solution that would avoid a similar reaction is: do
>         not do
>         > this by default - make it only for logged-in users who want
>         it that
>         > way.
>         >
>         > Possibly for default users, you could put the
>         heuristically-calculated
>         > likely preferred languages at the top. But keeping the rest
>         of the
>         > list below, right there on display, will (I predict) be
>         favoured, as
>         > advertising the many languages of Wikipedia is a
>         strongly-held value
>         > of many Wikimedians.
>         >
>         >
>         > - d.
>         >
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