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Difference between revisions of "Wikitravel talk:Language version policy"

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[[User:Upamanyuwikitravel|Upamanyuwikitravel]] • <small>( [[User_talk:Upamanyuwikitravel|Talk]] )</small> • <small>( [[User:Upamanyuwikitravel/Travel plans|Travel]] ) •</small> 05:25, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
 
[[User:Upamanyuwikitravel|Upamanyuwikitravel]] • <small>( [[User_talk:Upamanyuwikitravel|Talk]] )</small> • <small>( [[User:Upamanyuwikitravel/Travel plans|Travel]] ) •</small> 05:25, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
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==  Turkish Wikitravel ==
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We will [http://wikitravel.org/en/Wikitravel:LanguageTr.php finished] and [http://wikitravel.org/shared/Language_Expeditions/Archive archived] Wikitravel Tr project.How open [http://wikitravel.org/Tr/Ana_Sayfa Turkish Wikitravel]  internet page?
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[[User:Hasan travel|Hasan travel]] 11:44, 4 August 2009 (EDT)

Revision as of 15:48, 4 August 2009

This policy is still a work in progress. Fixes, clarifications, or modifications are especially welcome. --Evan 13:05, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

What's special about English? I think the rule about go-betweens should be: For every two languages, there should be a go-between between them, or a third language which has a go-between to each of them.

Well, the main reason English is special is that there's already an English Wikitravel.
Once there's a French Wikitravel, and an Arabic Wikitravel, what if some Wikitravellers want to start a Berber Wikitravel? They might find a go-between to French and Arabic, but none to English. -phma
OK, so, that makes some sense. I think the main point here is that we'd like to make sure someone who groks our goals, policy and style is carrying that over to the language version, and vice versa. When French or Arabic Wikitravel is well-established, it'd make sense to allow go-betweens to go-between to those communities, too. Probably in the future when we have a formal organization, the real reporting will be to the non-profit that's running Wikitravel. --Evan 14:47, 21 Dec 2003 (PST)

We'll need phrasebooks for the other languages. Inverting a phrasebook is trivial, except for the pronunciation. Writing English pronunciation in French is as difficult as the reverse. Here's a 3-D minimal set: sin, thin, tin, seen, teen, sing, thing. Can you write their sounds in French, or any language other than English, so that they are all distinct?

No. I can't! I can't I can't I can't! I am completely helpless in the face of this daunting task. Don't even ask me how to do pseudo-phonetic pronunciation guides for Cantonese, because I will be at a 100% loss.
I can'tonese either :) Try Bopomofo. I could do one in Greek, but it wouldn't be as elegant as the Greek pronunciation guide in English will be once UTF-8 is up. -phma 17:55, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

Also someone will have to translate additions to one language into others. That way, if a Pelonian visits Bertcad and writes about the zoo, the Almonians will know about the zoo, too. -phma 16:08, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

Yes. I think that'd be more of a decentralized task, though. --Evan 16:50, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

Contents

Romanian Wikitravel Expedition

As Romanian is the most advanced in progress of becoming a foreign-language Wikipedia, there is already a Wikitravel:Romanian Wikitravel Expedition. Hope to see more languages soon! Ronline 04:18, 20 Dec 2003 (PST)

Language

Moved from travellers' pub by Evan

Perchè falar immer american ????

As far as I can tell, this is written in 3-4 languages (Italian, Portuguese, German and English?) and kinda means "Why speak in American?"
There's two answers to that: one is that we started as an English-language travel guide, and we're targeted to English-speaking travellers. We've talked about setting up different international guides -- the Romanian Wikitravel has gone the farthest, but still isn't operating -- and I think it's a good solution.
Second, for why we specifically use American English, see Spelling. --Evan 14:23, 12 Dec 2003 (PST)
So, I've started a page on how we can have multiple language versions of Wikitravel. It's at Language version policy. It'd help if people take a look, make sure that it's fair, and change anything that should be changed. --Evan 12:44, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)
Frankly, I am not comfortable with this privilege given to English... Quite unreasonable if you want to make it international project (of course, quite reasonable if you mean to creat a English-mainly project with other langauges as subordinate). I am willing to see a wikitravel in Chinese anyway. I am not against English being the privilege version, I myself work on English wikipedia too, but I think we should at least give the equal status to all of the languages (at least on the surface), the wording in this policy sounds quite overbearing. (Just like, it's okay if you are black, but you have to first do some makeup to make yourself whiter :P) BTW, is this the sister project of Wikipedia? ;) --yacht(Talk) 18:09, 31 Dec 2003 (PST)
No, we're not a part of Wikimedia, but we're friendly with Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
I don't think there's any hostility to anyone starting a travel Wiki in another language; personally, I think it's a great idea, and I think there's opportunities for partnership.
But if someone wants to use the Wikitravel name, Wikitravel servers, and Wikitravel sysadmin labor, I think it's pretty fair to expect that they share most or all of our principles, goals and values.
The real requirements here are: we don't want dead Wikitravels, and we want to be at least somewhat interconnected. Is that really so overbearing? --Evan 18:29, 31 Dec 2003 (PST)
Sorry, I don't want to be offensive, I apology for it if there is any. I am not a native English speaker (maybe "overbearing" is inappropriate). It just reminds me again that English is a privilege language in the world, just like what I have to do now. I never said there's any hostility to anyone starting a travel Wiki in another language, I just said I am not comfortable with .... We have no choice but to use English to discuss the whole policy of Wikitravel, which makes non-English speakers a little sensitive over this language issue. I am just oversensitive. :( I totally agree with what you said.
About this "What if there are copyright violations or other illegal content? What if the guide's goals evolve to something much different than ours? How will we know?", I don't think that's a big problem, 'cause we can just do what wikipedia is doing now to make sure there is no copy violation. Sysops of native language speakers will help to watch the articles in that language. Wikipedia hasn't experienced serious copyright problem, has it? --yacht(Talk) 20:04, 31 Dec 2003 (PST)

Possibility for content from other languages

I do a pretty fair job of reading and translating from the following languages to English (though not the other way around); is there some way I can make myself available to people who could contribute far more easily in one of these languages than in English, and I could translate to English?

  • Spanish - close to fluent
  • Romanian - read well, but not a fluent writer
  • French - read decently, although with some limitations
  • Catalan - read decently, although with some limitations
  • Italian - read decently, although with some limitations
  • German - read decently with the aid of a dictionary

I suspect I'm not the only one who could do this. Even if we are still using only English and Romanian as full-fledged projects, why not line up a few other translators and accept content in other languages for the specific purpose of translation into English (and Romanian)?

206.124.153.89 01:01, 3 Jan 2004 (EST)

Content for the first month

So, I'm concerned that the requirements for the first month are kind of demanding. I'd like to hear what people working on the Romanian Wikitravel think about them. Would 2 months be more reasonable? I still think that getting a Wikitravel ready for contributions is the most important first task. Is that fair? --Evan 15:48, 9 Jan 2004 (EST)

Looking at Romanian Wikitravel's progress until now, I think the one-month deadline is pretty fair and generous - I mean, surely if a team of contributors is committed then they will be able to translate all of the Wikitravel namespace articles (help, etc) and the front page, and write at least about 100 articles, as well as make go-between contributions and whatever else is in the Language version policy. However, I think making this a rigid part of the policy is not all that good, as it does discourage people from forming multilingual versions of Wikitravel. I think that the requirements are not too demanding (at Romanian Wikitravel we will meet them probably ahead of time), but they shouldn't be something that every Wikitravel must abide by.
I see that there's been a proposal for German and French Wikitravels, and they would be great, but the progress is somewhat stagnant - and I think the problem mainly lies in the five contributors rule. At Romanian Wikitravel, we've had 5 contributors sign-up, of which two seemed to drop-out when the project started. After that, we had one more user come from Wikipedia to do some light editing. It's really only been me and User:Danutz as well as User:Jmabel who've done the bulk of the articles, yet there's still been some good progress (we have two phrasebooks, nearly 70 articles, etc). So, I think as long as we have 2-3 or even 1 committed contributor to a language version, the version should be launched - it's more important, for example, to have 1 user who is very committed and who contributes heaps to the Wikitravel in English (and, judging by this, could basically conduct a multilingual version of Wikitravel by himself in its formative stages) than have 5 users which are just light editors.
In final, Romanian Wikitravel, just like Romanian Wikipedia, has had great success, so the rules aren't too tough to meet, but maybe they just are a little too rigid (again, they haven't been a problem for us, but they could potentially be a problem for other Wikitravellers seeking to form language versions). Cheers, Ronline 03:04, 10 Jan 2004 (EST)
Well, I've been looking over the Romanian version, and I have to say I'm worried about the help, style, and about pages. There are some done, but most don't yet exist. And we hit the one month date in a couple of days. --Evan 18:10, 25 Jan 2004 (EST)
Yes, I understand your point. I've realised too that the main Wikitravel: namespace articles are not there yet. The very important ones are done (like creating a user account, making a new page, etc), but the rest aren't. On the other hand, the Romanian Wikitravel does have some valuable articles. So, I'll try as hard as possible to translate these help articles - it's just that they're hard to do because they have to be translated very precisely or otherwise the meaning will differ (whereas with travel articles, you can be a bit more liberal on structure and meaning). Ronline 19:58, 25 Jan 2004 (EST)
Don't kill yourself overdoing it. The main thing is that the help, about, & style pages are the main ways to make sure that readers can become constructive contributors. I'm glad you're working on them, though. --Evan 22:13, 25 Jan 2004 (EST)

Different names for different language versions

So, there's a discussion going on on the nascent Wikitravel francophone about using a different name for that language version. The idea generally being that "Wikivoyage" would be more understandable and recognizable for French speakers than "Wikitravel".

This is a pretty powerful argument, and it makes a lot of sense to me. However, before going forward, I wanted to make some devil's advocate arguments against it.

  • One of the key benefits of having language versions of Wikitravel is that we get strong "brand recognition" from people in other language communities. If all the language versions are called "Wikitravel", we get a lot more recognition than if they're called different things. "Wikitravel? Yeah, I've heard of that. Oh, there's a Japanese version? Neat!" The more established language versions lend some of their reputation to ones people haven't heard of.
  • Most of our language version policy is about pulling the different language versions together as close as possible -- hopefully closer than the different language versions of Wikipedia.
  • Web site names don't really have to make sense. Like, I'm sure "Yahoo!" and "Google" don't mean anything in French or Chinese, but people understand what they represent.
  • The domain name is "wikitravel.org", so it kind of makes some sense to call the sites hosted there "Wikitravel".
  • When and if we decide to do trademark registration, it'll be easier (and cheaper!) to get an international trademark on one word rather than 100.

That said, I kind of support the idea of "Wikivoyage". However, I wonder if there'd be a way to get the best of both worlds by including Wikitravel in the subtitle. Like, maybe, "Wikivoyage, le Wikitravel francophone". --Evan 14:12, 12 Feb 2004 (EST)

Personally, Wikitravel suits me, but as I am fluent in English, I am biaised. Yann 15:06, 12 Feb 2004 (EST)
It would be a big mistake calling the French Wikitravel "Wikivoyage". The domain name is www.wikitravel.org, that's how people know it, and Wikitravel in French is simply a French language version of the Wikitravel - it is not a separate travel guide. By making it Wikivoyage, it would seem like a separate travel guide and would need a separate domain name. It would be very confusing, since Wikivoyage also means something in English. Really, I'm taking this seriously because it would be bad for it to go on - even Wikivoyage, le Wikitravel francophone would not be too good. Why can't we stick with "Wikitravel en français" - then we would have "Wikitravel în română", "Wikitravel Eesti", "Wikitravel Latviesu", etc. Anyway, if you guys want to change it to Wikivoyage it's fine, but it is a very big move and we need to consider the consequences. Ronline 00:43, 13 Feb 2004 (EST)

"Wiki(something)" in another language

So, it came up before, but I'd like to discuss again the possibility of using another name for Wikitravel language versions. For example, the idea of using "Wikivoyage" for fr: was floated.

The upside is that the idea (wiki + travel) gets across quickly to native speakers. The downside is that there's less cohesion between language versions.

I'm leaning towards something like "Wikivoyage -- le Wikitravel francophone" or something along those lines. I think that it'd be appropriate for ro:, too, but I don't know the word for "travel" in Romanian.

We can start out with just changing the names at first, and look into registering the domains afterwards.

Any big feelings on this? --Evan 02:53, 21 May 2004 (EDT)

In the case of Romanian, I think we should stick with Wikitravel. Romania is an increasingly English-knowing country and one where English is common... in music, in products, in neologisms, etc. Therefore, I think people would understand Wikitravel and it isn't really worth changing to a Romanian name due to domain-name and all the other issues. Just by the way, the name would be Wikicălătorie in Romanian or perhaps Wikiturism. "Travel" is "călătorie" or "călătorii" in the plural. I think that "Wikiturism" (Wikitourism) is more understandable in the Romanian context, as Wikicălătorie sounds strange and would probably be more ambiguous in Romanian rather than less! I used to be quite against such changes (even in French, for example), but, thinking more about it, it could potentially be a beneficial change. I mean, yes, it would mean extra problems with registering and domain names, but it could form a better, more localized image for Wikitravel. "Wikiturism" would actually be quite nice in Romanian, and it's understandable in English too, so it wouldn't be too "painful" a change. What do others think? Ronline 10:21, 21 May 2004 (EDT)
In some languages it makes a lot of sense to use another word. Especially if English is not so widespread in these language communities. If people don't understand the name it will be hard for them to find it. In some languages the word "travel" might also contain unfamiliar sounds (like r or v), which makes it a word that doesn't spread very fast! So, let it depend on the community, and of course, on the site itself it should be clear that Wiki-whatever-word-is-chosen-instead-of-travel is part of the bigger Wikitravel project. :) Guaka 15:39, 15 Dec 2005 (EST)

Administrator privileges

So, up until now, it's kind of been an unstated rule that the go-between for a new language version would become an administrator on that wiki. In addition, on fr:, there was a nomination and election and one of the group was chosen to do administrative stuff. I've been the only person making admins so far, since up until version 1.3.x of Mediawiki, you needed direct access to the database to do it.

On starting the sv: Wikitravel, I made the new User:Alers an admin just to get things started. Strangely, after that, I got requests from another user for me to make him an admin, and a request from User:Alers to give him bureaucrat status -- the ability to make new admins. This struck me as strange, since none of the other Wikitravel language versions have someone who can make new admins. I have no problem making new admins, and hopefully I've been responsive in doing it. And, y'know, being an admin just isn't that big a deal on Wikitravel. We have so few, and those people who are admins just don't do that much (except delete stuff that's on v.f.d.).

Here's my feeling on the matter: the Wikimedia culture really leans on admins much more than we do. Consequently, there's a lot of features in our software that only admins can use (blocking users, protecting pages, deleting pages). I would like admins to know how seldom we use those features before they become admins. Otherwise, they're just going to see the buttons that say "delete", "block", "protect", and figure it's OK to use them.

For this reason, I'd like to hold onto the "bureaucrat" bit until a Wikitravel language version is relatively mature. What's the general opinion on this? Am I being too paranoid? --Evan 21:16, 9 Oct 2004 (EDT)

I think having a couple of admins six hours apart (so that when one is at work or asleep the other is available) is good. There is no need to have instant admin creation; the only time admin creation would be delayed too long is when you are on a trip and can't get to a computer for a few days. -phma 23:42, 9 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Inactive version policy

While French and German are steaming along nicely, the Romanian Wikitravel hasn't had a new article in half a year and the Swedish one is pretty much stillborn. According to the policy, an "inactive" version is supposed to be shut down, but "inactive" isn't defined... and neither is the rationale. Is there one? Sure, a 40-page wiki isn't terribly useful, but it doesn't do much harm either and is much easier to get going again than an archive mothballed on Evan's server somewhere. Jpatokal 08:45, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

Bump — Evan, not sure you saw this earlier... Jpatokal 21:41, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)
I didn't. The section "Problems with multiple languages" describes some of the problems with unmaintained, non-English sites. The inactive version policy is there because security of a wiki Web site depends on having an active community. If there's no active community, we have a big security hole. Not only that, but we've got our "brand" over a dead, ugly, static site. It's better to have it gone than to have it suck.
We have yet to inactivate a site, but it's going to happen soon. I've notified the go-betweens for ro: and sv:. It's time to get these moving or get them taken off. --Evan 10:40, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
Security hole...? I can understand taking away unused admin rights, but I still don't understand why we need to shut down (as in take offline) a version just because it's not growing at the moment. If a wiki is dormant, all it takes is for somebody to stumble on it and take an interest, and boom, it can take off again. If you're worried about vandalism or whatever it's easy enough to take a peek at the Recent changes every week or so. Jpatokal 11:39, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
Perhaps you haven't read anything about SoftSecurity. You should. Security == community in the wiki world.
You seem to be under the mistaken belief that each language version is a Web site. It's not; it's a project to create a world-wide travel guide in that language. As such, it requires an active community. The wiki is a means to that end. If the community is dissipated, there's no point in keeping the tools of the project around.
People don't stumble into dormant wikis and start them up again. Dormant wikis stay dormant; nobody participates in a community that doesn't exist. I think there's ample evidence of this in Wikimedia sites and elsewhere.
And, yes, there are security considerations: if there are any bugs in the software, they can be abused before anyone with an interest in the site sees them. Also vandalism, copyright vios, etc. Once a week isn't enough.
What's the benefit to the rest of the Wikitravel community in keeping around a dead wiki? Why should we continue to lend our name to a site that doesn't have interest or support?
Most of all, they look terrible, and they cost maintenance effort that could go into other things. The inactivity policy has been part of the deal since day zero. I think everyone who signed up to work on the Swedish Wikitravel, say, knew the score before they started working on it. --Evan 07:37, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)
Evan, I may disagree with you on occasion, but I don't treat you as an idiot. I'd appreciate you extending the same consideration to me.
So. The first principle of SoftSecurity is AssumeGoodFaith, so we should assume that people stumbling into dormant wikis are people who want to do good, not vandals, hackers and terrorists. Also remember that the first principle of Wikitravel is the traveller comes first: we're not trying to "benefit... the rest of the Wikitravel community", we're looking to help travelers, and if a dormant Wiki's page answers somebody's question or otherwise helps them on their way then it's still doing good.
Issues of philosophy aside, I think that the practical step to do now would be to contact the other admins (you have their e-mail addresses, yes?) and ask them what's up. Did the go-betweens ever reply?

I've just posted notices on the Swedish and Romanian Wikipedias warning that "their" Wikitravel language versions are in danger of being shut down. Hopefully we'll get a new community to work on the articles and can pick some new admins from there. Jpatokal 10:41, 14 May 2005 (EDT)

Sorry to restart this, but I noticed that you said, "inactive" isn't defined.... My read of this page says that there are at least three ways a version can be "inactive":
  1. The pages necessary for new users to get acclimatized (help, goals, policies, style guidelines, etc.) aren't started and aren't being worked on after 1 month
  2. There's no go-between
  3. "activity [...] drops to practically none"
I agree that the last one is vague. I think I was thinking in terms of number of edits and rate of edits when I wrote this, though. --Evan 23:47, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Community vote

I think this dormant Wikitravel policy isn't very appropriate. Neither is the rule to have at least 5 persons. Wikipedia wouldn't have nearly 200 languages, of which a great deal is quite active, if there were a stupid rules like these. I think there should be a properly announced multilingual community vote before a Wikitravel is being shut down. Guaka 15:31, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)

The entire policy was written by one person. And while I'm at it, I'm reading "Database dumps and other data needed to get the language version started on another server will be made available." I've asked this several times before, but, why aren't there database dumps available for active Wikitravels? I would really like to have a DICT version for my laptop and soon for my mobile... Guaka 15:34, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Too many separate issues here... I think the 5-person rule is necessary to avoid versions that die after launch (like this one), and I'd like to strengthen it so that people who sign up must give their e-mail so they can be contacted. On the other hand I'd like to make the path from "having 5 people" to "launching a version" clearer, by spelling out the critical interface & policy files that must be translated first. Jpatokal 21:50, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I don't think it's fair to pick on sv:; it was our fastest-launched language version and we had a lot of great people working on it. I can't say what happened to deaden it so fast, but I do know that the technical problems we had last November happened right on the tail of their launch. There were problems with sv: even in early Dec, and I don't think the community ever really recovered. I'm quite unhappy about it-- it was a great effort with a lot of interested people. --Evan 23:07, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)
But there were 5 persons? And what is so dead about it? People are still working on it according to its recent changes. Just let it go on... Guaka 11:08, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Yes, there were 5 people. You can see here: Wikitravel:Swedish Wikitravel Expedition. As for the deadness: no go-between, and no go-between reports. The help, policies, and style guideline pages necessary to get new contributors productive are non-existent. I just don't see it as an active community. --Evan 13:02, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I'd like to propose another idea (actually, it's just a rephrasing of Jani's previously stated idea, a little more formalized).
I suggest that for an otherwise "inactive" wiki, we can have stewards who don't necessarily speak the language in question, or aren't able to support and promote a community, but can "keep an eye" on inactive wikis and help those who have renewed interest to "re-connect" with the rest of the wikitravel community.
The "steward" would take over for the inactive "go-between" until there's a language speaker ready to take that job.
In other words, a "steward" can guide guide anonymous or new users of a Wikitravel language version to become go-betweens, to keep us updated, etc. They can also prevent the most obvious vandalism and abuse with regular visits to the otherwise inactive wiki.
As for database dumps, here's my concern: we don't currently distribute a full-site dump because I'd like to do it in a way that conforms to our copyleft and our privacy policy at the same time. If we dump the entire database we expose, among other things, the passwords and email addresses of contributors. If we don't dump the entire database (like Wikipedia does), history information, real names, and other important stuff, from the point of view of the license, isn't included.
Rather than giving out huge SQL dumps, I'd rather provide a tarball of simplified HTML and images that mirror operators (and others) can use. There's work going on for this in MediaWiki 1.5, and I'd like to make it available once that version is installed.
I know I should probably put more time and energy into regular full-site dumps, but I have to admit that I spend a lot of time working on keeping the site running. I'm sorry I haven't been able to meet your requirements for a DICT version of Wikitravel(s), but I'll try to get it going soon. --Evan 23:00, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I'm getting the feeling you care more about the license text than the lawyers at CC... Guaka 11:08, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Another note: we do seem to lose some momentum with the 5-person rule. I think it's been unusual when we've had the full complement of 5 people actually log in and start working on the new language version. And I think that waiting the N months necessary to get 5 signups has been a part of that drop-off.
At the same time, having lots of colleagues makes working on a new wiki fun. It keeps people going, and as they say, many hands make light work.
I wonder-- are there any suggestions to change this rule so that we can get to the goal of the rule (an active community working together and supporting each other)? The best I can think of right now is five active members after 1-2 months or something along those lines. Other suggestions? --Evan 23:59, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)
In less than 6 months I've created a new Wikipedia with currently over 800 articles, with only 2 other active contributors... The second person knew about the project, but the third only came by when we got started. Oh, I figured I could contribute on an Italian and Portuguese Wikitravel, so now there are 5 people to work on those... Guaka 11:08, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Excellent! I'll post up the language files for translation, and we can get started working on selecting a go-between. Also, what do you think about the idea of having non-speakers act as go-between until the community gets back on its feet? --Evan 12:50, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Rolled back editorial in project page

I rolled back some editorial that was added to the page. I always find that style schizophrenic. If you want to change the policy, just change the policy (and hope it sticks!). If you want to comment, comment on the talk page. --Evan 23:35, 21 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Well, yeah. I found the original style a bit odd as well. I changed the way it was put down. Guaka 11:08, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Great. I don't think there's a big problem with a three- rather than five-person rule. --Evan 12:55, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Thoughts on our language version policy

I'd like to see what we can do to get our language expeditions up and going. I want to get more language versions up in 2006, and I want to brainstorm about how to do it.

Let me first say that I'm still unexcited about the idea of just starting wikis and hoping someone starts contributing. I'd like to still get to the conditions that would make a wiki successful and integrated with the rest of Wikitravel, but I think there may be some other ways of getting there. The conditions I'd like to see are:

  • Translated interface
  • Translated help/about/guidelines/policy files
  • Regular(ish) reports on what's going on on the site

Here's what I'd like to suggest as to how to get there.

  1. Stop requiring a go-between. This seems to be the number one impediment to getting a site started. Getting 3-5 people to sign up for a new expedition is pretty easy, but it's really hard to get someone to step forward to be the super-responsible point of contact.
    Also, becoming a go-between is like the kiss of death for Wikitravellers. It seems like the biggest way to drive away people who are very committed to the site.
    Instead of requiring a go-between, I'd like to instead suggest that we require a go-between report. No one person has to do the report: it can be done collectively, or by one or another admin, or pretty much any particular way. I'd also like to start having a monthly English go-between report, which might be nice to read for people who normally use the other language versions.
  2. Use DB messages for customizing the interface. Translating the language interface file has turned out to be a roadblock for launching new wikis. But Mediawiki has a feature that lets administrators edit interface elements (like the prompts for "about", "discussion", etc.) through the Web site itself. If we enable this feature, I can edit the language interface file as a first pass (by replacing "Wikipedia" with "Wikitravel" and "GFDL" with "cc-by-sa 1.0"), and administrators can further modify the interface through the database.
    This feature is turned off on wikitravel.org right now for performance reasons, but I think for low-traffic new wikis, it would be OK. I can probably do something to copy the database messages to the language interface file on a weekly basis or something, and when the site stabilizes (and gets more busy), we can turn database messages back off again.
    The main problem with this idea is that, if we don't require a go-between, there's no natural choice for an administrator. So it might take a while before someone's in place to do the job of fixing the interface.
  3. Use the new language for the Expedition page. We should try to write the Expedition pages in Spanish, Chinese, etc. so that monolingual (or rather non-English-speaking) readers following links from other Web sites can understand the project and get involved. I'm not sure how we could do this so that English readers could understand, too, but I think it's worth a try, since the main audience is speakers of the new language.

I'd love to hear people's ideas about these changes. If we make these changes, it would mean launching a few of our stagnant Expeditions in the next few weeks. --Evan 18:59, 16 Jan 2006 (EST)

I think the problem is one of unseriousness on the part of people who sign up. That getting a go-between is hard is a symptom, I think, of the fact that some of the signers no longer have an interest in Wikitravel, but rather were merely voting for their favorite language. Alternatively, they just got bored of waiting for the 3rd person and ran away. In case it's the latter, I think a mechanism for contacting the signers is needed in order to prod them into action once the right number of volunteers is reached.
In any case, I think there needs to be some demonstration that there are 3-5 people currently available people ready to work. If there is only one or two people, they are destined to burn out unless they are truly determined. -- Colin 02:32, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
I agree with Colin. Launching a successful new version needs a dedicated core of people, and the people who sign up should provide their e-mails and somehow commit to actually doing something. I found the Dutch Wikitravel to be a bit rushed and the current state of things a few weeks after launching doesn't look very promising (not a single edit in the last 4 days). Jpatokal 03:49, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)

Automatic translation

So, another thing I've been thinking about lately is automatic translation between language versions.

Automatic translation is notoriously bad at capturing subtleties of language -- auto-translated works typically have lots of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or give literal translations where more idiomatic terms might be used. Wiki, however, is particularly good at letting lots of users fix grammatical and spelling mistakes as well as awkward or incomplete phrasing of ideas. So I think auto-translation and wiki editing might be a match made in heaven.

In particular, a lot of the information we need to share between language versions is going to be pretty easy for translation software -- things like phone numbers, addresses, prices, etc.

Here's the idea: next to each link for other language versions of Wikitravel would be a link to an automated translating tool like Google Language Tools. So on Dubai, next to the link to Japanese Wikitravel, would be a link to an automated translation. The reader could use that information to update the English Dubai article. it might also be possible to translate only the wiki markup, but I haven't got that to work yet.

The other place this could be useful would be for starting up new Wikitravel language versions. If we fill in articles with auto-translated text, we have a leg up getting started. We could theoretically mark auto-translated pages as, say, {{auto}} until they've been checked by a human.

Ideas? Is this nuts? --Evan 19:39, 16 Jan 2006 (EST)


I am a bit sceptical, but it could be worth a try to see how it goes. In my experience with these translators, it very much depends on the language (French to English, quite understandable; Korean to English, sounds like some weird modern-style poetry with no relation to (what I imagine) the original says. I think it also depends on how well written the original is. Humans can cope quite well with slang, bad grammar and computer shorthand, but these really confuse the computer translator.
I can understand enough German to be able to translate German-->English. Is there an easy way to tell/mark foreign-language pages that have considerably more detail than the English version. Maybe they could be marked with a call for translators?Brendio 20:19, 16 Jan 2006 (EST)
I think the translation of proper nouns - names of places, businesses and so forth, would also pose a major problem. It's ok if the automatic translation gets small bits from the article text wrong (even though, as Brendio said above, they're not likely to be that small if the languages are too different). Imagine, however, what would happen when translating street and hotel names in all listings, for instance. Some "West Side Hotel at Baker Street" could become something like "Hôtel Coté Ouest à Rue Boulanger" in French - maybe so misleading that it might be easier to "manually" translate the listings than fixing the awkward version. Unless there is a way to avoid this kind of thing, I'd say there's still a long way to make automatic translation usable in those cases. The whole idea is really exciting, though. Rmx 23:07, 28 Jan 2006 (EST)
Yeah, reminds me of when I first knew that I was moving to Germany and knew absolutely no German at the time. I tried out one of the automatic web-page translators. I very confused by the constant appearance of the word attaining in many different, and seemingly odd, places until I worked out that the English verb "to attain" translates as Erlangen in German. Brendio 19:00, 29 Jan 2006 (EST).
I totally agree with all the above re: issues with automatic translation *but* I really think that wikis + auto translation is a great combo for getting a lot of text from one happy-human readable form to another. Think about it: wiki + at lets machines do what machines are good at (ie the grunt work) and humans do what humans are good at (the contextual details). I don't think any one is arguing that we run wikitravel en through bablefish and be done with it, but it makes good sense to me in two cases in particular:
  1. jump starting new language versions. Something is better than nothing, and it's a great way to 'ask for edits'.
  2. creating a new source for data-mining current articles. This happens informaly on talk pages a lot when non-english content is added to a guide. It would just stream-line the process. Majnoona 20:08, 10 Feb 2006 (EST)
An example:


I take it that a disclaimer will be added, similiar to that for the CIA factbook imports, and that it will not be removed until the page has been completely revised, and also checked against the original by someone bilingual (in the two languages concerned naturally). Do you plan to make this completely automated, or will it be an option that someone can manually choose for a page. How will you decide which language to translate from and to? Simply the version with the most info? From the language of the destination? Or a mixture of many different language versions. Anyway, worth a trial on a few pages to see how it works.
Just to clarify -- in the first situation mentioned above, the translation would probably be from English and there would be disclaimers all over the place. In the second situation, it would be up to a contributor to go an look at the other language versions available and decide what to move over. The links would just make this easier/more obvious.
I agree with the idea of a trial-- I'm going to go ahead and add some example links to a couple of pages-- feel free to add a few too. Maybe we can just link to those examples from the discussion here? Majnoona 13:23, 12 Feb 2006 (EST)
Hey, just had a different thought along these lines. Would it be possible, through some sort of tagging alluded to in another discussion somewhere (too tired to remember at the moment), to maintain certain language-non-specific facts centrally for automatic use in other language versions? For example, info such as photos, general hotel info (address, phones numbers, price—anything that does not depend on language) is kept on the common site, and then the language-specific details (photo captions, directions and description of hotels etc.) is added as a separate tag for each language. Do you get my idea? I may have to reread this in the morning to see if it makes sense.—Brendio 19:48, 11 Feb 2006 (EST)
I think I get what you're saying and I think it has super cool potential! I'm not sure if it would be done by tags though... Majnoona 13:23, 12 Feb 2006 (EST)

Hey... I just noticed this. I think making it easier to get to automatic translations is an absolutely fantastic idea! I really don't see any downside to it at all. -- Mark 23:18, 17 Feb 2006 (EST)

Great! Here are some more examples: Talk:Gelnhausen Talk:Lyon Talk:Dubai Talk:Cologne. I think I'm starting to like Systranbox[1] better than the babelfish[2]...
I think if folks are going to take advantage of this, that we'll need a way to highlight these links beyond sticking them on the talk pages... Majnoona 11:55, 18 Feb 2006 (EST)

Copyright between versions

Sorry if someone has raised this before, but I have to ask. As we start new language versions, the users of the new language normally go back to the older versions and simply translate some pages (Welcome, Help, Community Policies etc.) from one ore more "older" languages, and this might happen with "content" articles too. It just seems the natural thing to do. As to copyright, however, translations are normally seen as derivative works, and although the traslated articles are still within wikitravel.org, the history of edits and authors is normally lost. IMHO, that seems to be against the attribution requirement of cc-sa-1.0, but it looks like it has happened in all language versions and was not seen as a violation of the license. Also, I can't really think of a practical way of inserting the attribution on the (past) translated articles. I'd very much like to hear your views on this topic. Rmx 07:42, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

I'd like to figure out a way to make this work automatically. I agree, it's an issue. Until we've got some sort of automated system, perhaps translators could note on the Talk: page which article they translated from, and about what date? --Evan 09:54, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)
We really have to figure out a way to "upgrade" the license as soon as we possibly can. The longer we wait the more painful it's going to be AFAICT. -- Mark 13:07, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

Changing policy, moving global policy to shared:

So, based on some ideas from User:Hansm and others, I'd like to make some changes to this policy to put the different language versions of Wikitravel on a more even footing.

  • I'm going to change the archaic language on this page about why we make language versions of Wikitravel. I don't think it's cogent any longer, and I don't think it's very inviting for non-English-speaking Wikitravellers.
  • I'd like to reformat it in terms of what a language community's responsibilities are to the rest of Wikitravel, and what support they can expect from the rest of the Wikitravel community. The technical points on starting a new language version will go later.

This will principally be a change in format, not in policy. I'll look forward to corrections and discussions here.

Additionally, I'd like to discuss some changes in how the language versions interact. On policy changes, I think the keys one are:

  • Let's move multilingual coordination pages (like new language expeditions, lists of language versions, go-between reports) to a language-neutral site like Wikitravel Shared.
  • It would be nice to make some go-betweens "bureaucrats", so that they can make admins in their language versions directly.

Comments welcome and encouraged, especially from the members of the community from non-English Wikitravel versions. --Evan 12:39, 2 July 2006 (EDT)

I second this idea. Let Shared be the common base for multilingual coordination pages. I suggest that the affected pages on en: (such as go-between reports) are moved to Shared so we can start working on them ASAP. As for the bureaucrat issue - another good idea. Riggwelter 17:30, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
Agreed. I suppose the conclusions of the related discussions on Wikitravel talk:Technical infrastructure policy also apply here and we should go on with the moving. -- Ricardo (Rmx) 13:17, 1 August 2006 (EDT)

"Go-between" name change

So, "go-between" is an awful name for what this job is. It's hardly ever used in English, and I doubt that it's a very accessible term for non-English speakers. It's also clumsy and abstract.

Is there another good word for what this job is? I'm not crazy about "ambassador", since that's got the implication of separation. What about liaison? It's hard to spell, but it gets across the idea of linking communities. --Evan 11:04, 6 July 2006 (EDT)

Yeah, I've always sort of stumbled over the "go-between" name... Liaison isn't any harder to spell than, say, "geographical hierarchy" ;-) and it's a...uh, succinct (had to look up the spelling on that one!) term for the job. Majnoona 11:54, 6 July 2006 (EDT)
Liaison sounds fine. But can you be a liaison? "Hello, I am NN, I am a liaison"? Riggwelter 17:31, 9 July 2006 (EDT)

Go-betw...Ahem, liaison reports

...must make a monthly report'...add to logbooks. Perhaps time to update this part too? I suggest the monthly report is reduced to...say...a quarterly report? Plus - why the log books? If we move it to Shared, I think it would be perfectly OK to have the reports under its own article name in the Shared: namespace and bin the log book entry requirement. Riggwelter 17:37, 9 July 2006 (EDT)

Well, a monthly report seems OK to me (perhaps 1 in 2 months would be better), but why aren't there any volunteers for the English WT? And I have two other suggestions at well-
  • For any lanuage version of WT, at least one admin should be a native speaker of the language
  • At least one B'crat (I keep forgetting the sp!) should be able to speak the language (even babel-1 level is OK, I suppose)

Upamanyuwikitravel( Talk )( Travel ) • 05:25, 10 May 2007 (EDT)

Turkish Wikitravel

We will finished and archived Wikitravel Tr project.How open Turkish Wikitravel internet page?

Hasan travel 11:44, 4 August 2009 (EDT)

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