Disputatio Vicifontis:Babel/Linguae

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Towards a simpler system[recensere]

Let me state this clear: Pathoschild's User language system is good

I'm going to install it here, but my experience suggests that we plan its introduction very *very* carefully, trying to figure out every problem before some mass categoization or mass transclusion

Now we're going to put on the desktop the main issues. Let me begin

  • I'd like to use a simple 0/1/2/3/N level system. We can use a level "four" where it is wished (or where they are already described elsewhere), but I'm still convinced that when we can exploit three levels we can feel comfortable. Any other levels (5 or *yikes!* 6) are not so necessary;
  • I'd like to reproduce as closely as possible the good old color system: green is certainly NPOV, but is quite dull. It's a matter of taste, so feel free to criticize;
  • User categorization should be a primary goal. Pathoschild's solution looks unsatisfactory to me: would it be better if a user en-N should be categorized only under Usores en-N or under both User en and User en-N?
  • Finally: this system uses a lot of template subpages to fill its userbox template: is it a problem we can fix using labeled sections or are we simply going to copy all of those subpages (maybe this is a false problem, but let me put it).

Add your own concerns... - εΔω 11:59, 22 Februarii 2011 (UTC)

Before I respond, I think I need to understand the it.ws system because I thought it was the babel system not the meta user language system but apparently I'm wrong. :) Please help me understand the it system because it appears quite comprehensive. I looked at it the draft here before I created some of the missing cats but didn't want to work with it until we had more discussion.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 19:38, 23 Februarii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Before you melt down, let me add the topping to your cake: on vec.source I have just developed the first draft of my "DIY" system:
  • ONE BOX (color and categories apply automativcally)
  • ONE SUBPAGE with many labeled sections to get the right messages
here's an example: that's all.
What makes it.source system good but cumbersome is the frankensteinization of meta user language system over the old one: The User language system grants cohesion and simplifies the process to build new templates, but to get Template:User en working I had to overwrite {{Utente|en|M}} inside it, but if I want the formula {{Babel|en}} to work it still has to be so.
What we can do here, on a brand new ground, is getting rid of the syntax {{Babel|en|la-3|de-2}} ecc. to have a clean meta-like system. On vec.source you can see an adaptation of met system to use labeled sections instead of subpages and old multi-color scheme instead of green-only scheme. - εΔω 16:41, 24 Februarii 2011 (UTC)
  • I discussed your system with Pathoschild. He's intrigued and is going to look into incorporating it into the meta system right away. In the interim I'm asked him to import the basics of his system into la.ws so we can try it out.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 09:43, 26 Februarii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ok, so this is the current state of the matter... I'll do the import myself. Just answer my above questions in order to cope with some unresolved matters: I'd like a fededback at least about colors and categorization, the remaining points can be fixed later.
    P.S. I fell flattered if my experiment raised some interest in Pathoschild. - εΔω 16:21, 26 Februarii 2011 (UTC)
    • 1) I think we need to stick to the numbers that Pathoschild has
    • 2) I don't care about colors, do what you want but I think it would be better to get it up and running and then tweak colors, esp. where there won't be hundreds of templates to make the change on
    • 3) I'm not sure what is unsatisfactory on the cats, please explain, I actually think his is better as it doesn't categorize -0 into users who speak the language. I also don't see categorization as the primary point, the primary point to me is knowing whether user x with whom I am interacting or about to interact speaks a language that I speak and how well.
    • 4) You fixed that. Please implement right away.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 09:56, 5 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dear Doug,
I'm on my way to have the system implemented: it's a matter of two pages... but just let me take the time to read an answer (and I hope for a placet) from Pathoschild whom I contacted. - εΔω 07:51, 6 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's fine, I just hope that it is deployed soon as we've had enough waiting on the babel extension to remove all desire to wait for such things. I also hope that it is a joint solution with Pathoschild, as I don't believe we need yet another solution, so in that respect I encourage you to take your time working it out with him.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 12:02, 7 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I read his reply: he's working out a better version which reflects both his and my system: m:Template:User language2. It includes a total of four pages including encouragement to translate missing messages and automatic error messages (almost too luxurious!). I won't wait for it to become official on meta: we'll be the best betatesters. - εΔω 17:38, 7 Martii 2011 (UTC)
Done. Here are Formula:Usoris linguae and its three subpages, nucleus (core), loci (locale) and error (fallback). I'll have to tinker a little with common.css to automatically customize the user boxes, but not today: supper's ready and my sore eyes are cursing at me... - εΔω 18:01, 7 Martii 2011 (UTC)

Up and running[recensere]

Here's the good news: the system is up and running! You can see it in action in my user page. As you can se comparing this new system wuth the older one the questions I wrote above are all answered. I'm going to make those boxes looke more like the older ones by tweaking a little the CSS classes, but that's mere a cosmetic change: under the skin flesh and bones are rock-solid. - εΔω 07:51, 8 Martii 2011 (UTC)

The boxes look good the way they are now. Thanks for the work. So, the question I have is should they categorize to "User" as many subdomains do or to the local language as many others do and if the latter, am I correct that this would be "Usores". Currently the only existing categories under "user" are redirects to the corresponding "usores", so I'm going to, at least temporarily, change the categorization of the template. Additionally, I think our categories should organize by 1, 2, 3, etc. and that =0 should not categorize as is the case on meta.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 13:26, 12 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apparently, I previously changes some from Usor to Usores and then later to Usor, no idea why I did this later step except that the en model is to use the singular, not Category:Users en, etc. Anyway, tell me what you think we should use. We can discuss the broader theory of what language should be used for such things later. It doesn't really matter for something like this but we need to settle on something. Looks like I'm to blame for the two non-English choices ironically.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 15:32, 12 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's use Latin: Usor="user"; Usores=Users
I'd wish names like Categoria:Usores en. I'd like subcategories like Categoria:Usor en-2, but I admit that if we want this template to work like it does at meta and if we want to help creating hundredth of categories, we'd better leave the system as is.
My only objection: the "pseudosubcategorization" as in meta works best with 50 to 100 items, but when it includes more than 200 items it hides what follows after item 200.... that isn't the best way to view items (and it's actually an improper use of categorization). --εΔω 19:11, 12 Martii 2011 (UTC)
OK, so "Category:User" then? (meta categorizes to the singular, which is a little strange but keeps things easy in English). Please confirm "Category:User" and I'll begin standardizing the mess I've made.
I realized after I wrote my comments above, that I actually prefer your subcats that you have on it.ws. Also, for some strange reason there seem to be numbers associated with the users that don't correspond in any way to the tags. For example, you are in section 4 for en and I'm in section 1 and in de I'm in section 5 - none of which makes any sense for categorization (I'm guessing it's setting N=1, 4=2, 3=3, 2=4, 1=5 for categorization purposes; but I can't see where in the template code it's doing that).
Also note that the meta code that you imported has =0 uncategorized but you have it the language code that displays in the boxes linked so it will link to a category it's not actually in. (E.g. see my user page, not in "User la" but la is redlinked on the box and would be bluelinked to "User la" but not in it if the category existed.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 22:08, 12 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm sorry, please clarify one more time because Jay read your comments on my page and thought I might be wrong in my interpretation of your comments here and now that I read them again, I'm not sure either. Your statement above "Let's use Latin: Usor="user"; Usores=Users" sounds like you want to use Latin; but your next statement sounds like you're saying that is a problem: "I'd wish. . . I'd like. . . but we'd better leave the system as is. I'm more than happy to go through and fix all the cats, I want to work this, I just want to know which ones to create more of and which ones we need to kill and I don't want to get it wrong and have to do it all over. Thanks.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 18:41, 17 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Er... you're right. This reply of mine was written while two important issues were "pending": whether preserve or edit the "core" of user language template (implying categorization), and whether be bold in using Latin or English... Both issues needed time to deposit in my brain, in the meanwhile I fear I gave contradictory answers... I beg your forgiving pardon.
On second thought, I came to this conclusions: Leaving the system "as is", after you saw it operating on meta, is a thought of the past. If we both don't like that system, let's edit the template to fit our ideas. Once we edit the template core, we are free to decide the names of hte categories as we like.
Given this, I state once again my favour for Latin names. I want to use Latin names
The difference between singular and plural forms refer to the former use of many template called "Usor" creating Categories called "Usores".
The concept of many wikis using the singular form for categories after the English example, a fact that I hadn't taken into account, puzzled me for a while... I investigated a little, noticing that (let's take an example from commons) plural is more fit to concrete countable objects, while singular is preferred for abstract concepts or macrocategories enclosing more specification as subcatgories.
After some scrutiny into it.wikipedia categories and my own experience... Since no more "single" babel templates (justifying "singular form" categories) will exist but there will be just categories and subcategories automatically generated and conceived to group users, I want to use plural forms for both Categoria:Usores en and Categoria:Usores en-2. If you haven't strong objections this is the final step.
Post scriptum: I've been thinking about shaping the appearance of the box to fit these names for some days, but after a failed trial I understood that I need some free hours to work at the same time into both common.css and the template core. I'm still longing for those free hours. - εΔω 20:46, 17 Martii 2011 (UTC)
I don't object at all, as you can see Categoria:Usores en already exists and I created it (twice, I think - Jay deleted it once when it was empty). I will create more cats. I don't understand why some projects use the singular, it doesn't make sense to me, and I think some use the singular for the la-2 variety but not for the basic la variety (i.e. "Usores la" but "usor la-2") which i s really nonsensical to me. The only issue that matters to me is that eventually la-0, en-0, et al. not be categorized in the respective "usores la", "usores en", etc.
Please note my last comment in the above section, the categories seem to be defaultsorting by numbers that are reverse correlated to the language proficiency levels such that z.B. en-N = defaultsort "1". This is hard to explain, but I think you'll understand if you look at Categoria:Usores en and see where you and I are sorted, respectively.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 22:39, 18 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let me explain: some users are categorized under those "singular" categories because they imported here the commons babeltemplate system to reproduce here their commons user page: as soon as our system is ready we'll get rid of that. Just create plural categories for the main languages and they'll be populated when we replace old userboxes with template:Usoris linguae.
Secondly, excluding "zero categories" from generl categorization is a problem that can be solved through parserfunctions, but it's new to me. I can work it out.
Thirdly, defaultsorting by numbers in reverse order is a strange idea by Pathoschild that I never really understood. I see, it's an easy way to avoid subcategories and have all users listed in a general category, but I really don't want it here. Unfortunately Pathoschild used a complex system involving categorization to obtain that trick and to let users categorize their userpages without showing boxes. Either I understand how it works and I edit it to fit our needs, or I replace it altogether. I highly respect Pathoschild's work and I'm no professional programmer, but if I can't mediate between his great ideas and our actual needs, I'll be bold and edit mercilessly. - εΔω 07:08, 19 Martii 2011 (UTC)
I think we should implement the deprecation message they have on meta to say that babel is gone.
At present I don't think la-0, etc are categorizing but they are linking (see my page, I'm not in categoria:usores la but the la-0 on my "box" is linked to it, which is a little strange, though not actually as bad as I was thinking).
I agree we need to modify Pathoschild's system, I also agree subcats are better, though I won't create them until you have the code tweaked. Contrary to the way the babel templates normally work, I don't think we should categorize a user into both "Categoria:Usores la-1" and "Categoria:Usores la" as that violates a basic categorization principle.
The work you've done here is great and I'm glad you were able and willing to do it because I don't have the technical skill.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 08:11, 19 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Partial update[recensere]

Well, I had to switch to a sandbox to proceed to a furious "trial and error" session using my userpage as an example of the resulting changes. I have to stop but here's a first report of my tweaking microedits.

  • Pathoschild uses two templates: the first is just a shell, the "core" is the real thing. The first template is used to automatically pass parameters and is used for error messages. the real purpose of this matrioshka defies my scrutiny.
  • I heavily edited the core to force categorization as we like it, but it was very difficult without modifying dramatically the intricacies of the code. I achieved the result by moving the subcategorization from core to shell.

That was a trick I wouldn't do without crossing the line between "reshaping a little what was already done" and "beginning to tread new paths". Imagine a user comparing Pathoschid's code to ours: when the differences become so many and so striking that a synchronization between both codes is more expensive than an independent developement I think it's time to stop and ponder quietly what's best.

I happened to think that some of the subtler features could be sacrificed to meet simplicity, and that's another reason to stop and sleep over it. Be advised that I haven't yet touched the CSS classes in common.css. That'll be another hopefully simpler page, but involving more dramatic changes in the code.

P.S. You want only "commons style" subcategorization? No problem at all, maybe it will make things easier. - εΔω 17:21, 19 Martii 2011 (UTC)

Subcategories achieved[recensere]

I did it. As I wrote above it was easy, but I lost the "[[:categoria: Usores {{{1}}}]]" inthe left cell of the box. I don't like it. The more I work on this two templates, with intertwined parameters, the more I tell myself it ain't necessarily so[1]. - εΔω 17:43, 19 Martii 2011 (UTC)

As hoped: a little rest let me find the solution: it is really easier than expected when you don't have the clue obscured by too many former edits.

CSS update[recensere]

Look at my userpage to have a glimpse of the current look and feel of babelboxes generated by Formula:Usoris linguae. I'm almost satisfied. Now, if anyone want them to look more like commons, en.wikipedia or other wikistyles, just notify and I'll try to fulfill your wishes.

We're almost done[recensere]

Now the dirty part... First the good news:

  • If a user wants to stick to the good old babel table with its header, footer, and so on, I'm not going to create a template for this: I'm going to write down the code of that box and let users copy it and adapt our templates int it.

Then the bad news:

  • Replacing the Formula:Babel with an alert nessage is the easier part, but given the current scarcity of traffic in this project we'd better replace manually every outdated box we find in user pages with our new system. Just give me time to prepare the final touches
    • Preparing a pseudotemplate for the "babel table" in Template:Babel
    • Finding the traces of older "commons" system
    • Finding every older "en.wiki" box

and we're on our way to getting our hands on many user pages (unless a bot could do this,but I'm afraid it would take less time operating manually than instructing the Bot to make many different changes). - εΔω 16:42, 20 Martii 2011 (UTC)

First: the pseudotemplate[recensere]

here's the code stripped from Formula:Babel

{| name="userboxes" id="userboxes" style="float: {{{align|right}}}; margin-left: 1em; margin-bottom: 0.5em; width: 248px; border: {{{border|#99B3FF}}} solid 1px; clear: {{{clear|right}}}"
! style="background-color: {{{color|transparent}}}; text-align: center" colspan="10" | {{{header|[[commons:Commons:Babel|Babel]]}}}
|- style="vertical-align:top;"
<!--new Usoris linguae boxes go here -->
| style="background-color: {{{color|transparent}}}; text-align: center" colspan="10" | {{{footer|[[:Categoria:Usores|Quaere usorum linguas]]}}}

If a user has it, let's preserve it.

After some time I devised this solution: A template preserving the above descripted appearance (but with <div> rather than table code), giving header and footer.In the middle, instead of "User" parameters to match the ancient codes "en|fr-3|zh-2|ja-1" I put free space, mere {{{1}}}, {{{2}}} and so on, which can be filled with our Usoris linguae boxes. here's the code and here's the example in practice.
I'm afraid this ca be confusing, in fact it forces a different behaviour (users from other wikis are accustumed to {{Babel|en|fr-3|zh-2|ja-1}}). At this point I need some concsensus or at least an advice:
  • Shall we trash Template:Babel to use only userboxes (which don't need a box to align to the right)? Or..
  • Shall we preserve the template adapting its use to our boxes as I tried above?
In both choices we'll have to patrol new userpages. In the first one I can simply turn the template into an alert message, in the second one we'll have to adjust new user pages to our system, or at least warn users to make it themselves. I wait, but in the meantime Formula:Babel now shows an alert message. - εΔω 17:01, 21 Martii 2011 (UTC)

Second: retrieving data[recensere]

here's a Whatlinkshere of Template:Babel

And here's a prefix indexing of [[Template:User... and [[Formula:Usor; italics is used for redirects

  • Formula:Usor de<-- Formula:User de
  • Formula:Usor de-1<-- Formula:User de-1
  • Formula:Usor en <-- Formula:User en <-- Formula:User en-N<-- Formula:Usores en
  • Formula:Usor en-0<-- Formula:User en-0
  • Formula:Usor en-1<-- Formula:User en-1
  • Formula:Usor en-2<-- Formula:User en-2
  • Formula:Usor en-3<-- Formula:User en-3
  • Formula:Usor en-4<-- Formula:User en-4
  • Formula:User es
  • Formula:Usor fr<-- Formula:User fr
  • Formula:Usor fr-2<-- Formula:User fr-2
  • Formula:User it-2
  • Formula:Usor la-0<-- Formula:User la-0
  • Formula:Usor la-1<-- Formula:User la-1
  • Formula:Usor la-2<-- Formula:User la-2
  • Formula:Usor la-3<-- Formula:User la-3
  • Formula:Usor la-4<-- Formula:User la-4
  • Formula:Usor pl<-- Formula:User pl
  • Formula:User pt
  • Formula:Usor sv<-- Formula:User sv

Nota bene: not every user exploits Formula:Babel to enclose Nota bene: not every user exploits Formula:Babel to enclose language boxes, but some users stick directly babeltemplates on their pages, so we have to orphan and delete redirect, then deal with the whatlinkshere of the remaining templates.

Here's a list of future candidates for deletion

  • Formula:BUser
  • Formula:Babel
  • Formula:Babel field
  • Formula:Babel field 0
  • Formula:Babel field 1
  • Formula:Babel field 2
  • Formula:Babel field 3
  • Formula:Babel field 4
  • Formula:Babel field N

It could be shorter than I thought. - εΔω 17:08, 20 Martii 2011 (UTC)

Third: tidying up the floor[recensere]

well, it's done: I orphaned and deleted old traces of templates and categories belonging to the old system. I turned Template:Babel into a warning, leading to use our new system. Let's see what will happen next. - εΔω 19:27, 24 Martii 2011 (UTC)

More on cats[recensere]

Thinking on cats more, I think we should categorize la-0 somewhere, though I think it should get it's own cat that doesn't subcategorize into "Usores la", we really probably do want to keep track of how many users we have who don't consider themselves able to use Latin at any level (like me). I don't think we care about other languages at the -0 level here though, it is useful to know if a person cannot use English at all, but I can't imagine a reason to search for them or want to count them. On the other hand, if it's simplest to have all -0 levels categorize to "Usores foo-0" then we can just make them categorize differently, e.g. all feed into the equivalent of "Users who don't speak a particular language at all but wished to mention it" ;-) Then we could track la-0 and ignore the rest, but only if that's the easiest way to do it. Thoughts?--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 20:43, 20 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I found this issue elsewhere. My opinion is that even if la-0 deserves e special status (while all other foo-0 templates and levels are useless) we don't really need this category. i see three scenarios
  1. Nothing (as currently). Clean and easy...
  2. Category for la-0 and nothing for any other language: tinkering with parserfunctions should make this possible without too many efforts.
  3. Category for every foo-0 levels: simple to achieve, but then? since we are going to create categories while they are presented by new users, we'll eventually get to scenario 2, considering mainly la-0 level and discouraging other categories.
After all this my question remains: This categorization can be done, but I can't imagine a reason to search for la-0 users or want to count them. - εΔω 22:31, 20 Martii 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately under the new system there is no easy way to find la-0's and I can imagine an interest if not a need to identify them; particularly since I am one ;-). Number 2 is ideal I think because I agree there is no need to track all the other -0s, but number 3 is preferable to 1 (nothing), in my mind, and it may address the next issue: that with the language codes linked in the user boxes, the -0s will be redlinked for languages which aren't otherwise in use and if someone creates the cat it will get deleted because it will be empty (there is one on your page, I created the cat, it will get deleted if it remains empty). I think if you simply set the -0s to categorize the same way the others do it will be fine. Originally this wouldn't work right because they would have been in "Usores foo", but now that you've implemented the sub-cats they will be in "Usores foo-0" which I can put somewhere else and cats are cheap. :-) --Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 21:46, 21 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As you wrote: categories (I'm afraid some cats can be very very expensive both to buy and to feed) are cheap. I never thought that empty categories are always evil (and in fact on it.source I exaggerated creating categories ofr every level). Common sense can be used to decide what's less "painful" between a red link ora an empty category. Let me try and think if I can find some way to work around the issue. - 08:55, 22 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I like to abbreviate "categories" as "cats", partly for the humor that comes from "feeding cats". Anyway, I have found empty categories on here being deleted by John Vandenberg. If we use option 3 above, we avoid both problems since the categories won't be empty - even if we only care about one of them - I really think it's the best solution as there's really no good reason to avoid creating the cats just because we don't care what's in them. However, the link to the language ("Usores foo") on the box will remain red I realize, since the "Usores foo-0" won't feed into it. So, the redlink on the box is really a separate issue I guess. I think the best way to deal with that is simply to disable it. Though I suppose a conditional (#ifeq, etc) could be used to only link the category on the box if it exists.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 10:17, 22 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok: I'm activating categories for -0 levels. I just hope that no user will seriously bother us with boxes different from "la-0": who cares to know that in this project I can't contribute in Polish, Zazaki, Hawaiian or Fiji Hindi? let's put it this way: any time a user draws up boxes with a level zero which isn't la-0 I'm going to erase those boxes from that userpage. Call it inconsistency (if Template:Usoris linguae/loci has many many zero level descriptions why shouldn't they be used?) or abuse of power, but it looks reasonable to me. - εΔω 21:39, 22 Martii 2011 (UTC)
I slept over this discussion, and came to the conclusion that option 2 was (as you wrote) the ideal: I tinkered a little and here it is done. multiple "zero" categories make much more sense on meta, where everyone speaks every language, but here Latin is the main language: if a user puts a "la-0" box in his babeltower his/her page will be categorized under Categoria:Usores la-0 (click to see); any other "zero level" won't create any category. This doesn't change the fact that adding a
fr-0 Cette personne ne sait pas communiquer en français.

in one's userpages in this project is to be radically discouraged. - εΔω 17:31, 23 Martii 2011 (UTC)

I agree, though I suppose I could see en-0, for practical reasons.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 11:32, 25 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Garbage in garbage out[recensere]

Now we can deal with more refined topics.

  • Organizing categories: Let's get to the final decisions and let's create what we need.
  • Defining what languages should be included in this system


The current consensus goes towards this:

  • We create categories only when they are called by new babelboxes, in this way we don't create empty categories
  • I created a specialheader template for subcategories, using preexistent data. And now?

what we should include[recensere]

Let's face this issue: we must decide quickly what languages should be represented in Formula:Usoris linguae/loci.

  • That page is huge and going to grow. that is already a problem.
  • A mindless acceptance of every possible language, dialect, patois, conlang etc. is going to lead the system to the unsortable mess which plagues en.wikipedia babel system.

On the other hand

  • this is a multilingual environment since no user who isn't a scholar is going to write in Latin, and communication is a crucial part of this project...

My proposal: since most of la.source users come from wikipedias I think that

  1. all languages with an approved WMF project' should be represented. That would already be enough.
  2. If anyone would like to add some more codes and messages, I'd be very very strict, admitting only ISO 639 codes, thus preventing novice users from inventing language codes for their village dialect, and maybe randomly matching their code with an existing official code: on it.wiki we faced very early that issue with users (conf)using lad for Ladin language when such code was already assigned to Judeo-Spanish.

This criteria allow us to include many non ISO languages which have a Wikipedia, and keep away SIL Ethnologue codes which may be many more but often conflict with ISO codes and are less known outside USA. Obviously I'd reject without hesitation any "fancy" or "invented" code (Brazilian-pt, simple-english), whereas on meta I noticed a broader acceptance of such exceptions. The underlying idea is that a Babel system must be practical and useful before being cute or folkloristic. Objections? - εΔω 20:56, 24 Martii 2011 (UTC)


I like your {{Babelcat}}, it really makes things neat and controls categorization. I don't like that it's now categorizing la-0 in "Usores la", which should be only for users who actually understand Latin somewhat. Can you work that out of it?--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 11:18, 25 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'll be straight: no.
Please take a trip through some projects and explore their babel system: language supercategories don't group users who use a language, but users who claim different levels of proficiency, be it zero (which for Latin is useful here) or native (which for Latin is absurd but we have it all the same). - εΔω 18:29, 25 Martii 2011 (UTC)
Babel does that, Meta User Languages does not; I thought we'd agreed on this above but I guess not; it's a basic point I've been making since we started. I'm not sure I can see a reason to want to know all the users who claim a level of proficiency in a language even if it's none; I know that all users have a level of proficiency in every language if I include "0", whether or not they state it. En.wp actually says in "Category:User en": "This is a list of Wikipedians who can speak the English language" - setting aside the fact that it is not a list of people who can speak English but a list of people who claim to be able to read and write English - they also do not include User en-0 (on en.wp that category has actually been deleted). En.ws also doesn't have a category "User en-0" but "User de" says "These users speak German", even though it includes de-0. De.ws default sorts their -0 but otherwise puts it in the same parent cat (which has no description). Another thing I noticed is that most others, if they link the language code in the box, link it to the corresponding wikipedia article on that language.
BTW, I'm going to change some of that "speaks" language right now on some of those other wikis.--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 20:54, 25 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're right: you wrote the only issue that matters to me is that eventually la-0, en-0, et al. not be categorized in the respective "usores la", "usores en", etc., and I didn't really notice it. During these days we passed from "no zero category" (as in meta) to "interest to categorize only la-0 users", whereas my obvious conclusion, based on many other projects, la.wp, ca, da, de, es, fr, gl, hu, it etc., was that usores la-0 would be categorized under usores la. I admit I overlooked the importance you put into that point. I'm still convinced that usores la-0 should be put under usores la, but if you want la.source to follow other ways (en and el for example) I'd like to be helped understand this urge: I have no problem in changing my mind, but if I don't understand the reasons it will be harder. I think that every project should allow users to state that they can't understand the peculiar language of such project (in such a way that I don't understand the deletion of "en-0" category in en.wp): it's a way to prevent anyone from bothering users who wouldn't undertand what a native speaker alleges as obvious. When you wrote that you wanted a usores la-0 category I felt it a good point and I followed your advice: now, if you don't want that category under usores la, where should it be precisely undercategorized (every category except Categoria:Categoriae should be categorized)?
P.S. If you're plannin mass crosswiki editing, instead of "speak" the best choice would be "contribute" - εΔω 00:05, 26 Martii 2011 (UTC)
Maybe, though contribute normally wouldn't include "to understand a message". I don't 'contribute' in German, but if you post a message on my talk page telling me to do or not do something in German, I can probably muddle through it and if you tell me to stop, I will. ;-) I will only change it where I'm active and notice it, I'm only active here, fr.ws, en.ws, de.ws, and en.wp.
As for categorization, as I look at this more, I'm not sure. Originally, I thought it was important to not categorize the -0s with the others and I still think that, but we went from having no subcats where I felt it was particularly important to having subcats where it's less so. I still consider the usefulness of the -0 cat to be completely independent of the usefulness of the others. I find it meaningful to say "we have x users who can read and write / contribute / whatever to some degree in Latin and here they are broken down by their self-ascribed skill levels" and separately to say, "these users find ways to contribute or are interested in the project, in spite of - or because of - the fact they don't understand Latin to any significant degree". The latter group I could even see some organization to, though maybe it's just as useful to see the 0's and 1s together, so maybe I'm "all wet". Personally, I would have the -0s categorize differently, and although I absolutely agree that all cats should be categorized, I also don't think the entire categorization structure of the wiki needs to be clear right now. I'm OK with categorizing la-0 under la for the time being. My biggest issue with the current system isn't that it categorizes "Usores la-0" under "Usores la", it's that I can't change it by simply changing the cat, the template is doing the categorization for me in ways that I don't find entirely satisfactory and now is the time to make it easier. Bottom line: I'm not sure anymore.
One thing I really appreciate is that this system does not double categorize everyone's userpage. The babel system ordinarily categorizes, e.g. my page, in both "Usores en" and "Usores en-N", which is just plain dumb. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a tremendous improvement on what we had. It's also likely a huge waste of your abilities. ;-)--Doug.(Disputatio Conlationes) 08:49, 26 Martii 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understand your unease. The Babel system was designed to perform many automatic actions by asking the user just two data (language and level): this has pros and cons, and whoever wants more and more exceptions to the automatism will end up making the system more and more complex. On it.wikisorce we reached a unified header template by melting many different templates into one: the resulting template is perfect, but its code is a monstrous jungle of intersceting parserfunctions and metatemplates: if anything happens to that template we're doomed. In a much lesser scale this is happening to our Babel system, which can be customized as much as you like, but with growing complexity and possible drawbacks.
The exception to the "commons" principle ("both "Usores en" and "Usores en-N" in the same page is just plain dumb") is caused by the desire/need to have in the main language category a list of all users involved in that language. That can be useful, or maybe interesting, but I agree that it's questionable and actually that feature can be very easily disabled. For the time being let's keep the situation as it is now.
Just for my conscience: where does the system create subcategories "where it's less important"? - εΔω 07:23, 27 Martii 2011 (UTC)