[Mediawiki-i18n] [Design] Making inter-language links shorter

Federico Leva (Nemo) nemowiki at gmail.com
Wed Apr 24 20:13:29 UTC 2013

I think this is one of the most amazing achievements the ULS will allow 
us, thanks Pau.

Pau Giner, 18/04/2013 18:50:
> As part of the future plans for the Universal Language Selector, we were
> considering to:
>   * Show only a short list of the relevant languages for the user based
>     on geo-IP, previous choices and browser settings of the current
>     user. The language the users are looking for will be there most of
>     the times.
>   * Include a "more" option to access the rest of the languages for
>     which the content exists with an indicator of the number of languages.
>   * Provide a list of the rest of the languages that users can easily
>     scan (grouped by script and region ao that alphabetical ordering is
>     possible), and search (allowing users to search a language name in
>     another language, using ISO codes or even making typos).

The interface is IMHO fine: if done well, this supersedes any problem of 
link sorting and (hopefully) also any temptation to just collapse the 
list of languages (a bad thing in every and all cases).

The problem is the selection of languages. Will the languages shown by 
default those that ULS shows under "most common languages"?
	There's a fundamental difference here compared to interface language 
choice: that the user doesn't know in advance what language to look for, 
because the article may exist or not. Search, in this case, is often 
useless, unless you're in the "wrong language" and you want to go to the 
"right language", which is an important usecase but not the only one.
	If I'm presented with the list of all the "common languages", I will 
occasionally be bothered by a long list of annoyingly useless dialects 
of Italy, but it's so rare and person-dependent problem that it's indeed 
not worth looking at. The problem is rather with the languages that I 
will most likely not "know" but are always of some value, like Latin, 
Spanish, Portuguese, French. I don't want to look for those languages 
one by one with the search, nor to skim for them in multiple lists; 
grouping by script is completely useless for Latin script, so many 
languages use it (even ancient greek is more commonly studied in Italy 
than most latin script languages).
	In short, I think the list of languages shown by default should 
probably be more "generous" than with the ULS standard, and that all the 
(main) languages of the same *family* should be shown in it.


More information about the Mediawiki-i18n mailing list