Liaison reports/Russian/January-August 2008
Progress in general
We've made huge progress on the Russian version throughout this year, and I'd call it one of the more active versions, one of the best integrated versions with Shared and :en, and perhaps the most thoroughly administrated.
New contributors is always a curious question on :ru. Fantastic and seemingly dedicated users have just wandered off with nary a word, occasionally someone will pop in, be very interested, make a bunch of good edits, and then leave after a couple days. Then we do now and then get great contributions from an anon, or just "experimenting" edits, which are anyway good for building up the hierarchy.
The biggest challenge for this language version will be to simply attract more search hits. I'm no expert on how to do this, but I figure that the bigger our article count grows, the more we will have interlinking between articles, and more possibilities for search hits.
On the administrative side, we're simply blessed to have Sergey, who is newly an administrator, working on the project. He's by now very familiar with the relevant policies, and does a ton of work on both administrative "duties," policy translation, interwiki work, and he's writing solid travel info for various destinations—including Saint Petersburg, which I hope will be our first top-notch huge city collection of articles (I've got some great city maps in the pipelines for the city too, courtesy of CIA cartographic snooping during the Cold War).
Focus since last report
As always, the continuing translation of policy articles from :en is a focus, albeit a slightly less important one, now that the most important ones are already translated.
We've, well, mostly Alexander Klyuch, created a good base of 5-8 articles that are of real high quality. (Come to think of it, it might be useful to link all of these from the Russian Main Page.)
We've also been moving forward unsystematically, but pretty quickly on developing a regional hierarchy for the world. That's been more systematic since the en:Wikitravel:Regions Map Expedition has gotten underway—I'm translating virtually all new regions maps & creating pages for them as they are developed for :en. (Hopefully sir Cacahuate will get those svg files up soon, so I can grab all his maps for the Russian version.)
In addition, we also provided the material for one of the first big interwiki translations yet—en:Yakutsk, which will be the featured Off the Beaten Path destination for December on the English version.
Focus during the next period
Mostly continuing the above tasks.
IWBN if we could rustle up an experienced English-Russian translator, so we could translate some star articles to build up our search engine cred, but for that we'll be relying on luck mostly.
I keep putting these two tasks off, but I really should create a Russian portal to Wikitravel:Shared, and a meta article explaining what our relationship with IB is, and how that relates to ads (and how to turn them off, if they bother a contributor).
Another hugely important (and just huge) task will simply be finishing the Russia regions hierarchy. I'm intending to redo a bunch of maps, and hopefully that will attract some more attention to the site.
The Russian version has one BIG and really important technical need, and that is the translation of terms on the listings editor into Russian. This will facilitate more useful contributions than anything else we could possibly do (short of making friends w/ Prime Minister Putin, and having him do a series of public announcements requesting that Russians log on to Wikitravel and perform their national duty in creating a top-notch guide to the world in Russian). What is the hold up? All the term translations are available right here.
The Russian version is really healthy, moving forward at a fast clip, and will pretty quickly surpass the depth and breadth of a lot of the slower-going language versions. As always, we need more contributors, not sure how to make that happen. But the ones we have are fantastic.