Multilingual wiki (was Re: Deleting outdated/unused pages)

Minh Ha Duong haduong at
Fri Sep 12 16:54:45 CEST 2008

Hi Joh,

  I think we are on the same page, so let me try to summarize shortly.

1.  One wiki for each language is 'too big hammer for this nail'.
(DNS, DBs, instances etc...). So the wiki farm option is out.

2. Mediawiki 1.12 does not have the multilingual features we need. They are 
not in the last 1.13 release and we don't know when they are scheduled to 

3. The second best option is to have a namespace for each language.

3.1 This amounts to switching from suffixes to prefixes,
so instead of having like
we will have

3.2 This is easy to remember from users point of view, 

3.3 HTTP rewrite rules are also easy

3.4 It provides single-language search AND the option for users to set 
multiple languages search in their preferences. Note that by default, the 
search box looks in the Main (English) namespace even if the user is in a 
Russian page, for example.

3.5 Search pages and category pages are not cluttered.

4. There are three ways to create these namespaces: 
A. by editing the configuration files
B. using Extension:Namespace_manager
C. using Extension:Simple_Namespaces

5. option B. is currently not in the Mediawiki, but scheduled to ship with a 
future version

6. option C. adds a Special:Namespaces page to view and manipulate the 
namespaces table.

7. Option C. is justified if we need to 'change the namespace config' more
often. Otherwise A. is simpler.

8. You are waiting from us:
8.1 List of desired namespaces
8.2 Is this list going to evolve ?
8.3 Final decision

9. My replies would be:
9.1 We want ns:4 "Openmoko" changed to "Openmoko Wiki"
ns:5 "Openmoko_talk" changed to "Openmoko_Wiki_talk"
then one "XX" and "XX_talk" for each XX in
ar bg cs de it ee es ... (see the Language template).
9.2 The list is probably not going to evolve, especially if we include the 
next 20 most likely to be needed languages.
9.3 Not yet.

10. Why not yet ?
10.1 Can someone show us a successful implementations of this "one namespace 
per language scheme" in another wikis please ?
10.2 Are we having the bot ready and tested to do a mass rename within a few 
days ?
10.3 We need to change the  {{Languages}} template.
10.4 Can we ask users to setup their language namespaces to be searched as 
part of the registration process ?


Well, it was not so short after all.

Minh HA DUONG, Chargé de Recherche, CNRS
CIRED, Centre International de Recherches sur l'Environnement et le 

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