Template talk:LanguageSelector

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Should flags be used at all?[edit]

The template introduces flag-like symbols to designate languages. It is a prettification, but it does not really help users; languages are not directly related to state borders. Better to remove. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 17:33, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

I wish somebody in here would read before they write. (FYI, Malcolm did the same thing to me minutes ago.) If you check the flags, you'll see that all of them are language flags, not nation or state flags. Besides, if you had read the documentation, you'd have seen that the parameter flags can be used to control the use of the flags. Paradoctor (talk) 18:03, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I wish you would have noticed that I spoke of "flag-like symbols" (what's Malcolm got to do with this?). And of course I had seen that the flags could be switched off, but the default is with flags. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 19:05, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Then you shouldn't have mentioned state borders. I did not "introduce" "flag-like symbols to designate languages", I used what already existed, specifically to avoid nationalist connotations. Viz: The Chinese and Spanish flags are the most inclusive and abstract designs I could find.
The flags serve as icons. If you know better symbols for any given language, you know how to edit.
AGF means presuming that people have good reasons for what they do, even if it appears to you they don't. Sometimes they do.
(Malcolm)
As for "default": Of course it is the default behavior. Pages are going to be translated into more, not less languages as time goes by. The template is intended to reduce work. Paradoctor (talk) 19:38, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Afterthought: Flags are instances of symbols, and have no special connection to states other than their frequent use. Which state are we talking about in the case of Esperanto? There are numerous organizations, groups, communities and themes that have their own flags. Paradigmatical cases are the white flag of surrender, the Jolly Roger, the LGBT flag, the UN, and so on. Paradoctor (talk) 19:49, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
The "English language" flag is composed of the US and the UK flag. The "German language" flag is composed of the flags of Germany, Switzerland and Austria. These clearly refer to states with specific state borders. English is spoken in dozens of countries not represented in that flag. And so is German. On the other side not all Germans speak German. Not all Austrians speak German. And not all Swiss speak German. The same is true for English and the US/UK. There are some rare exceptions where languages have neutral flags, but the only way to refer to any language in a neutral way is by their names. --Slomox (talk) 02:38, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
If only a tiny minority of English-speakers is actually English, should we really call it "English"? Isn't that a slap in the face of millions of Indians forced to use English as a trade language? So much for only using "names". Neutrality is impossible, you always have to strike a balance between usability and bias.
Except in this case. Nobody is under any obligation to use this template. Anybody can choose to live without flags. Overrides and variants are on my "roadmap", so users will have the ability to configure single languages to their liking.
Icons improve navigation. As I said before, I have no problem using better icons. Just point me at them. Paradoctor (talk) 03:19, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
If only a tiny minority of English-speakers is actually English, should we really call it "English"? It doesn't matter whether people are citizens of England or not. English language is called English and there's nothing we can do about it. But when we use flags of nation states to indicate languages we make assumptions on the identity of the language's speakers. Assumptions that are invalid for many people.
Neutrality is impossible, you always have to strike a balance between usability and bias. But I contest that this template is balanced.
Nobody is under any obligation to use this template. This is not about the authors of our content but about the readers of our content. --Slomox (talk) 11:30, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
"English language is called English": Not in Chad, Chile, China ...
"contest that this template is balanced": No, you're saying that concerns about nationalistic bias completely outweigh any considerations of usability, and implicitly assume that flags are going to be used by all users of the template.
authors vs. readers.: Agreed. Data showing that your point of view has consensus?
The solution is terribly simple: An option for users and readers to have the icons of their choice displayed. Since integration into the skin has already been requested, I'm putting that on the roadmap. Is the issue settled with that? Paradoctor (talk) 16:41, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Is the issue settled with that? Certainly not. It is, when there are no more flags used anywhere to designate languages.
"English language is called English": Not in Chad, Chile, China ... What's the argument of this? Speakers of English in Chad, Chile, China call English English too. We always call languages by their native names.
No, you're saying that concerns about nationalistic bias completely outweigh any considerations of usability, and implicitly assume that flags are going to be used by all users of the template. If that would be my opinion I had used the words usability is bullshit, remove this nationalistic bias! But I didn't say so. I doubt that usability is improved by these flags. It's standard procedure on Commons to use language names to designate language. Most people won't even know the flag of their native language. And most languages are not supported by the template and cannot even be supported cause no flag exists.
Data showing that your point of view has consensus? A sequence of 50 clicks on Random file produced 48 files containing language links designated by name, 2 files with no language links at all, and 0 files with language links designated by flags. So there seems to be a consensus among the Commons users to designate languages by name, bot by flag. --Slomox (talk) 19:52, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Btw, could you add support for ksh to the template? --Slomox (talk) 20:00, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
"when there are no more flags used anywhere": That would mean denying even those icons who want them. Ok, this is going nowhere fast. I made a a wrapper, what you do with it is your own business. Anything beyond, take it up with the users.
ksh: ✓ Done Paradoctor (talk) 23:56, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Better is to default without flags (or whatever symbol) and have the flags there if people want them IMO. As a practical matter, if you want a something that is shorter to display than "English" or "Deutsch" just use the ISO codes: "en", "es", "zh" are all clearer in interpretation than the flags some of which are far from helpful. (I mean is there anything about that Spanish flag that says "Spanish" to you?).--Nilfanion (talk) 16:53, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
"default": since the link given above apparently was to subtle: {{LanguageSelectorNoFlags}}
ISO code display option is a good idea, added to roadmap. Paradoctor (talk) 17:41, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Um not really on default. I mean the default template (without any wrappers) should be to the basic, no-flag version. {{LanguageSelectorFlags}} could then be a wrapper to the flagged variant... As for details of the flags themselves, if the question is between usability and "neutrality" - usability has to win. I don't really like that idea, but a icon that is so cryptic that no-one can understand it is pointless. Using the flag of Spain to represent Spanish, France for French, Russia for Russian gives something clearer in meaning than a combination flag that isn't used anywhere. To me the flag of Spain flag says "Spain", not "Spanish", but in conjunction with fact I can see its a language selection I can figure it out. However, the contrived Spanish symbol doesn't mean anything to me. Bear in mind as well that the use of <gallery> below isn't the best as it displays images much larger than in use. Its what the image looks like in the bar (at 20px or whatever) that matters.--Nilfanion (talk) 18:00, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Oh and a thought. I realise this is almost a fork, but the most important thing is the link. If an image can be identified, great, but that's a bonus feature for prettiness not a core one. So what if you can't ID a pic for a given language? For example, there ought to be ability to select Hindi. I can't readily think of an image for that language that makes any sense, but it still needs to be in the template in some form.--Nilfanion (talk) 18:10, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
default: I consider that a question of namespace management. The desired behavior is available, and a redirect from another name to {{LanguageSelectorNoFlags}} is a matter of seconds. I really don't want to discuss this any further, ok?
icons: Well, the traditional approach was my first idea, but then I saw all those nifty language flags. ;) The particular choice of link decoration for a particular language should ultimately be a user choice, but at least the editors should soon be able to satisfy their whim in any way they can conceive.
<gallery>: Errm, nothing in here is really finished. Most of the time, I'm throwing code in the air, and look at what comes back.
fork: Not a fork. I was already aware that I'll have to handle non-existent icons sooner or later. Does not mean, though, that users shouldn't be able to assign one of their own liking.
Hindi: What's the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe Flag of India.svg? ;) Paradoctor (talk) 03:58, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
OK on rest of stuff. I wouldn't want the difficulty in IDing flags to prevent. The flag that concerns me the most actually is the Chinese one, as the one where people may actually object to the POV issues with taking the PRC flag and the contrived language one isn't "legible" at the small size (all I can see is a splash of colour nevermind work out its meaning). As for Hindi, the flag of India is the one thing that we really can't use as there's way too many languages of India to associate that one language with the national flag And if we do use the Indian flag for Hindi, what about all the other languages?
I would suggest that you get the icon-free version worked as soon as possible, because then this template actually can do its core function. This is so that the template has full functionality while time can be spent looking for additional icons. Incidentally the flags should have appropriate alt text.--Nilfanion (talk) 11:33, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I seem to be missing something. The desired functionality is already available through three different paths, and default on one of them, to wit
  • {{LanguageSelectorNoIcons}} yields
This page in other languages : Arabic | Bulgarian | Czech | Danish | German | Greek | English | Esperanto | Spanish | Estonian | Finnish | French | Hebrew | Hindi | Hungarian | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Colognian | Lithuanian | Latvian | Macedonian | Dutch | Norwegian (bokmål) | Polish | Portuguese | Romanian | Russian | Northern Sami | Tamil | Tagalog | Urdu | Yoruba | French | Chinese | +/−
  • {{LanguageSelector|icons=no}} yields
This page in other languages : Arabic | Bulgarian | Czech | Danish | German | Greek | English | Esperanto | Spanish | Estonian | Finnish | French | Hebrew | Hindi | Hungarian | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Colognian | Lithuanian | Latvian | Macedonian | Dutch | Norwegian (bokmål) | Polish | Portuguese | Romanian | Russian | Northern Sami | Tamil | Tagalog | Urdu | Yoruba | French | Chinese | +/−
  • {{LanguageSelectorIcons|icons=no}} yields
This page in other languages : Arabic | Bulgarian | Czech | Danish | German | Greek | English | Esperanto | Spanish | Estonian | Finnish | French | Hebrew | Hindi | Hungarian | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Colognian | Lithuanian | Latvian | Macedonian | Dutch | Norwegian (bokmål) | Polish | Portuguese | Romanian | Russian | Northern Sami | Tamil | Tagalog | Urdu | Yoruba | French | Chinese | +/−
Want a shorter name for your favorite option? {{Lngsel}}? Say the word, it only takes seconds. Want a different default configuration? Give me a few minutes, and you have it.
Any further discussion about this is pointless, this code is going to change dramatically anyway. Ideally, it will end up in the UI, and have nothing to do with us anymore. This is about policy, not about the template. Show me policy, and I'll comply. I'll try not to comment on this matter anymore, it's a waste of my time and energy. Paradoctor (talk) 18:56, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Since there is considerable confusion, and realizing that {{LangSwitch}} has far wider use than I thought, I'll write up something that should answer a few questions. Should be done in a few hours. Paradoctor (talk) 17:41, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

break[edit]

Note that the use of flags to represent languages have been looong ago discussed and it has been decided against them (and for ISO codes). See Commons talk:Language templates#Voting about language representation. --Mormegil (talk) 17:27, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

That's more to the point. Two problems with that: It is outdated, also note this remark at the time. And: It has nothing to do with current usage, e. g. {{PD-self}}. I read the May 2005 discussions and found that the only sensible argument for using Latin script to represent languages (i. e. ISO codes) was based on no longer existant limitations of the software.
I'm not going to remove icons from the default functionality unless I see broad community consensus for it. This issue concerns too many users to leave it to 37 editors 5 years ago. Even if you were among them. ;)
And now for something much more pleasant: I think the icon debate has probably become moot already. If my idea works, registered users will very soon have the ability to completely customize icon usage and appearance to their liking. Paradoctor (talk) 12:27, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. The remark has been resolved below, according to the common usage (cf. en: / dsb:) – use alpha-2 where available, alpha-3 where not.
  2. I have no idea what you are referring to with PD-self.
  3. I am not sure what you are referring to with the “only sensible argument”, as you say. Which limitations? (We don’t have a Cyrillic version of the logo here – even though I have no idea what relevance does it have.) It also explains that ISO 639 is an international standard.
  4. The fact that a policy decision has been made 5 years ago is not its weakness. Are you going to ignore NPOV on enwp, because it is too old? The policy has been here since the very beginning and everyone has been behaving according to it. It’s not like nobody has ever had an idea to show flags for languages. Or that everyone except 37 users want it. To act against a common usage and then require “broad community consensus” to stop it, is not a great idea, I believe.
  5. And the idea of “better/nicer/more intuitive/more universal” representation using flags becomes almost funny if one takes a look at File:Idioma Español.svg
--Mormegil (talk) 13:05, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, which "remark has been resolved"?
"what you are referring to": There are 164 language representations on {{PD-self}}, including the interwiki links. Not one of them uses a language code. The only place I can recall off-hand that uses ISO codes is {{mld}}. Can you show me any substantial use outside of this?
I'm not saying the decision has to be ignored because it is old, I'm saying it no longer reflects consensus. It is neither applied to any significant extent, nor have I seen any policy page to that effect. As far as I have been able to determine, this is currently not more than an unsuccessful proposal.
"File:Idioma Español.svg": Yes, I didn't follow my own advice there. No problem, that will soon be fixed.
To keep this from drifting: What exactly is it you want me to implement? Paradoctor (talk) 16:22, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. Well, the one you were linking to “2-letter ISO 639 doesn't unambiguously identify a language, we'll have to use 3-letter”. Were you referring to something else there?
  2. Oh, I see. Since the implementation of {{#language:}}, native language name has won the battle over plain ISO codes. It seemed so natural to me I didn’t even think about it, sorry. You are right. My point should have been that flags were rejected and never used.
  3. OK, to keep it simple: as you have correctly pointed out, the overwhelming consensus is to represent languages using their native names. No flags.
“To implement”? Nothing much, really. Just not to show flags by default, I think.
--Mormegil (talk) 19:02, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Vision[edit]

Okay, perhaps we should start from another point. What's actually your vision of this template? In the ideal scenario how would you like this template to be used? --Slomox (talk) 11:20, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

"ideal scenario": A user is influenced by the template not to become the next Hitler.
"vision of this template": Stated first thing on this page.
What's the purpose of your question? Your feature requests have both been fulfilled, so where's the problem? Paradoctor (talk) 15:45, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
When I look at the list of pages using this template, I see many pages that use {{LangSwitch}} in the description and LanguageSelector to provide a list of links to the page uselang-translated in the languages available in the description. Like:
{{LanguageSelector|en|de}}
{{Information
|description={{LangSwitch
|en=foobar
|de=bla bla
}}
...
}}
The current common way of achieving it is
{{Information
|description=
{{en|foobar}}
{{de|bla bla}}
...
}}
There must be a reason you want to establish a new mechanism to achieve the same. --Slomox (talk) 16:32, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
"new": What have I got to do with creation and usage of {{LangSwitch}}? Also, a template with 2.4 Mlinks to it is hardly "new". Even more puzzling, didn't you create {{LangSwitch}} in the first place?
Addendum: Rechecking the numbers, I realized that the ISO method has less links to it than the {{LangSwitch}} method. Holy cow, are you really sure you know what you're talking about? Paradoctor (talk) 01:51, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
"establish": WTF? What makes you think I want to "establish" anything? I'm offering a template I made for myself, and announced its existence. Am I going to regret that now? Paradoctor (talk) 01:46, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Paradoctor, please calm down a bit: I for one think this has potential to be a very useful template indeed. Note that the comparison between ISO and autotranslate by counting uses from that special page is not really a fair one. The ISO templates for the most part are from direct transclusions on file pages, while autotranslate is something that is buried within the frequently used templates and most editors are unaware of. One represents millions of edits, the other represents merely hundreds. {{en}} is widely used in its own right, whilst {{autotranslate}} is used in widely used templates.
In response to Slomox, there is a major difference between the two models: Use of LanguageSelector and LangSwitch means that only one language is displayed at a time (and if its not the one desired lang selector allows you to change it), whereas the "old style" method means all the languages are displayed at once. Which is easier for the reader (especially an anonymous user who cannot set prefs)?--Nilfanion (talk) 02:22, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Nilfanion. Between realizing that the Latuff business has probably been a fool's errand, and receiving unexpected flak on a brand-new project which was actually fun, I guess my Wikistress meter went up some. Oh well.
I may be missing something here, but as far as I could determine, {{autotranslate}} does not depend on {{LangSwitch}}.
WRT the difference between the ISO method and {{LangSwitch}}, you pretty much explained what put me on the road here. I first noticed this problem with File:Broadway tower edit.jpg, which is pretty instructive, I daresay. That's going to get worse, clearly. Paradoctor (talk) 03:31, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
There is also Template:Multilingual description that does something similar. /Ö 17:10, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, that link is useful. Has given me a couple of ideas. ;) Paradoctor (talk) 01:46, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Missing languages[edit]

What I was saying is please get the important function (the language switch capability) sorted. Its more important to have a link for (eg Portuguese) than to worry about what image to go with it, that is the code needs to be there to support Portuguese. If some languages don't have obvious symbols, don't worry about that just add the link and see if you can find a symbol later on. I agree that this is something for the UI ultimately but even if that happens this template would still be useful for testing. --Nilfanion (talk) 23:32, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I made an edit to Category:World Year of Physics 2005. The template needs an update so the page will be rendered correctly again. --Slomox (talk) 19:49, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Patched for now. Ugly as hell, but it works. I'll change the language switch to a method simplifying maintenance before adding more languages. Otherwise I'd be doing the same work twice. Paradoctor (talk) 02:22, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Update: All Mediawiki languages are now supported. Paradoctor (talk) 21:14, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Default language set[edit]

When no languages are specified, a default set is displayed. Since there are thousands of languages, we need to select a feasible set, less than a dozen seems sensible. We want to maximize coverage vs. number of links.

Points to consider are:

  • Global language usage
  • Internet language usage
  • Commons:
    • What are the language demographics of our readers (as opposed to our contributors)?
    • What are the statistics of currently available translations?

My idea is: official UN languages + most common Internet languages. To wit:

  • UN: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
  • www: German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese

A list of all languages with a Wikipedia can be found at Template:LanguageSelector/WikipediaLanguages. Paradoctor (talk) 01:45, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Configuring languages you want to see[edit]

{{LangSwitch}} only shows one language at a time. If you are multilingual but still want to filter what is shown, you can use the method describe at ☭:MULTI#Improvement. One drawback is that additional linebreaks are introduced. Another is that this method only works for registered users. Paradoctor (talk) 00:55, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Alt text of icons[edit]

Currently, the alt text of the language icons is the language's autonym. Suggestions for improvements? Paradoctor (talk) 23:44, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

New default behavior[edit]

I finally figured out a sensible approach to customizing the appearance of the links. I have changed the default behavior to displaying the language's autonym only. Registered users may enable default icons via custom CSS (example), unregistered user will get a Greasemonkey script. I'll make the corresponding changes and updates over the next few days. I hope this settles the icon issue. Paradoctor (talk) 17:41, 2 February 2010 (UTC)