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This shall be a working place to coordinate efforts to create a Commons that is more multilingual and more useful for international users.

Page descriptions[edit]

Multilinguality is realized with a set of uniform templates which signalize page descriptions in various languages.

  • using ISO 639 language codes, text given as parameter to the template: {{en|TEXT}}

(see Commons:Language templates for a collection of some of the templates.)


When the description is given as parameter to the template, this has the advantage, that the text is surrounded by div-tags specifying a CSS class "description" and a class specifying the language with its ISO 639 code. Users can make statements in their personal CSS file to specify which languages shall be visible and which not. So, if you speak Yoruba, Sicilian and a little bit English, but have no idea of other languages you could write this in your CSS (particularly useful when there is a great number of specified languages):

.description { display: none; }
.scn,.yo,.en { display: block; }

The template name should be the ISO 639 code. It is the shortest and easiest way of referencing a language (and most people will know the codes well from their local Wikipedia etc. domains).

For this advantage and for the sake of consistency all templates should be converted to the single variant with lowercase ISO 639 code and the text given as parameter.

All the templates are existing now. All ISO 639 templates exist and use the parameter. Migrating the remaining templates can be done with a bot. All other variants with full names or uppercase characters should be deleted in the long view.


"All other variants with full names or uppercase characters should be deleted in the long view." Why? They should simply be made redirects. dbenbenn | talk 00:03, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Sorry for the dumb answer ;-), but: why not? There is no need to keep them. It would only confuse if there are those templates. Newbies won't know, what is the difference between {{de|...}} and {{German|...}}. Logic says, there must be a difference when there are different names. Possibly you know how annoying it is, when every day a newbie comes to Village pump (or a equivalent page) every time asking the same questions. You will have everyday conversation "What's the difference...?" "There is no difference..." (a bit exaggerated) --::Slomox:: >< 00:30, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, we urgently need only 1 system. -- Simplicius 01:19, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

When will the Template:en be migrated? Can I change it, so it uses the parameter? -- iGEL (talk) 09:37, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

When anybody who operates a bot is willing to start changing the instances of the template. I made a request on Commons:Village pump on this. You can try to change the template just now, but I think it will be reverted, because it will make 20,000 pages look odd. Change of template and conversion of instances should be made the same time. --::Slomox:: >< 15:04, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. I hope we'll find somebody fast, because I'm already using it with a parameter. -- iGEL (talk) 23:50, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
I've changed the template:En and template:Fr, because there where less than 50 pages using it. All other refer to template:English/template:Français. Also I included an big, red, <noinclude>ed warning in the templates template:English, template:Français and template:Deutsch. -- iGEL (talk) 15:42, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
  • The page describing how to declare a picture should be revised. Template:Information, Commons:Templates and Commons:Licensing (and nothing in German) seem to be old.
  • Concerning the description in a language the templates and rules should be listed completely (including a hint whether the text must be included).
  • Slomox, replacing a template by bot will not give odd results if a dummy is put inside (for instance a small information and a link). But in the moment the whole Commons runs odd. -- Simplicius 18:27, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Why templates like English or German/Deutsch are more used then en/de? Sure we need one single solution, but which? Some "descriptions" are quite long and things like {{en|blah blah blah, lbah bhal blah. blah blah bluh.}} are not really easy to use. Newbies read "{{en|translation}}" and their conclusion is often "{{en|translation}} is a ..." instead of "{{en|translation is a ...}}". If they search in pages like Commons:Templates for galleries they will not find en or de, but German and English. So nothing is really documented. It's no solution to change templates and destroy thousands of article layouts so that "someone may fix it faster". Please search solutions and write them down first. --Saperaud 02:29, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Ah, so you are supposed to put the whole description in the the template tag, not just the translation of the article title. That makes more sense now, but seem inefficient. That explains how it is ok that it adds a newline or new paragraph at the end. --Pmsyyz 02:56, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Description pages[edit]

The description pages should be formalized with templates so that no natural language parts are present (except descriptions). Non English speaking people should not be bothered with only-English headings etc. (the same applies for other languages). Therefore all language dependent content common to many pages should be included in templates, so they can be localized to other languages in a central place.

An article could look like this in the source code:

{{caption:description}} #creates a heading for image description

{{caption:imagedata}} #creates a heading for data regarding the image
{{made by|CREATOR}}

{{caption:license}} #creates a heading for the license
{{permission given by|PERMISSIONGIVER}}


(see Image:De Apparatspott.jpg for an example).


I like the ideas, but I want to make it easy for people to contribute to commons. Maybe we could modify the upload form to fit around this structure, with dropdowns and little edit boxes (perhaps with a freeform otion too)? Justinc 23:08, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, you are right. I too don't like it, to make it that abstract and complicated. A differentiated upload form could be a simpler method. But the source code after first upload anyway would look that abstract. I'm open for better ideas. --::Slomox:: >< 00:35, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
A huge amount of templates but only a small effect. --Saperaud 02:02, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Oh, for someone who does not speak English, the effect isn't that small. Or if a non-English-speaker is too fantastic: Think about the 3196 pages that use the German term "Beschreibung" (most times exclusively). Out of the 6.5 billion people on earth 6.375 billion won't understand it. I see the problem to educate the people to use the templates and therefore I am open for better ideas, but your comment isn't very constructive ;-) I think we can agree, that it makes sense to localize all contents where possible. Whether the above idea is a useful idea is debatable, but please give improvements when you think it is not the right way. -- 16:14, 24 October 2005 (UTC) (this was me) --::Slomox:: >< 16:23, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Images depicting text[edit]

Some images (for example diagrams or maps) are showing text on it, that is in a specific language (for example Image:Administrative Divisions in Germany (Deutsch).png). They also should be on Commons because the different Wikimedia projects in the same language can use it. But they are of rather low use to projects in other languages. Should this images stand equally among other images or should they be separated in some way?


The example image should be in SVG. If it were, translating it would be very easy. I don't think we should discriminate against images that have text in them. dbenbenn | talk 20:04, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

I added this question because the German Wikipedia is doing a vote whether to disable the local upload function to load all files to Commons (Wikipedia:Meinungsbilder/Bilder hochladen nur noch in Commons). A major concern was that images with German texts would be of little use on Commons. --::Slomox:: >< 22:46, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
Images with German text are useful to any Wikimedia project in German (Wiktionary:de:Hauptseite, Wikisource:de:Hauptseite), and they can always be translated. Even if a file is only usable by the German Wikipedia, we still want it here if it's free. dbenbenn | talk 00:31, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
Seems like most people don't really belief in it. What can we do against arguments like "specific german/french/english images for de/fr/en WP but not Commons"? --Saperaud 02:07, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Please take a look at User:Taw/Practical multilingual messages and Commons:Village_pump#Practical_multilingual_messages. Taw 10:19, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Examples of new templates in use[edit]

See whether I got this one right: Robin Patterson 11:16, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

That was correct. I changed also the other templates now. --::Slomox:: >< 18:38, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

lang="LC" instead class="LC"[edit]

If you put lang="LC" class="description" instead class="description LC" you can put at your css

.description { display: none; }
.description:lang(en) { display: block; }


.description { display: none; }
.en { display: block; }

Is better to use only lang:LC, only class:LC or both? I don't known Sanbec 00:16, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

In general, it's better if you use the lang attribute because then the text has got a logical mark which does say (e.g.) "this text is french" whereas the class attribute is only for the CSS-Class, according to the W3C standard. But (there's always a but ;-) ) the CSS-code .description:lang(en) won't make the excepted thing for the Internet Explorer. So I think we should definetly use both lang and class attributes. --Sven 19:23, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
The CSS-code .description:lang(en) is used to match the xml:lang="..." pseudo-attribute of XML, however it is defined only in XHTML, not HTML (the CSS will be recognized only if the rendered document fully conforms to XML, and many Wikimedia pages don't conform to it because of frequent conformance bugs in the Wiki source that contains non-conforming attributes, or unmatched HTML element tags, or other kind of validation errors. When XML and XHTML validation fail, IE reverts to the compatibility rendering using HTML only and ignores all XML attributes like xml:lang that is not defined in the HTML DTDs.
For HTML, you still need to use the true attribute lang="..." defined for almost all HTML elements as part of the core attributes in the HTML DTD schemas; to match its value in CSS, you can use the CSS-code [lang=en] that matches a regular attribute (and this works in IE).
I think that for this reason, any xml:lang="..." pseudo-attribute of XML/XHTML should also completed by defining also the legacy lang="..." attribute.
This is not needed in Firefox/Mozilla, only because the fallback they use in case of validation error also uses a HTML rendering, but with an extension of its standard DTD so that "xml:lang" is considered as a new attribute, whose value is interpreted as also assigning the default value for the regular "lang" attribute of HTML; their CSS engine however will consider "xml:lang" even in this case, if it is defined, otherwise it will also use the value of the legacy "lang" attribute for HTML rendering (but NOT for strict XHTML, as required for conformance) when determine the style to apply in CSS.
MediaWiki really attempts to do its best to conform to XHTML (it uses the more tolerant schema of XHTML 1.0 transitional, but not XHTML 1.0 strict as it would break javascripts and some legacy elements still needed for compatibility with HTML4-only browsers) if Wiki pages don't contain validation errors that are sometimes difficult to solve. But it happens that this tolerance in the Wiki source is not always producing valid XHTML. Notably, MediaWiki does not always generate correct XHTML attribute names or values if the Wiki source is really badly designed. Verdy p 00:24, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

See also[edit]