Submissions:2021/Global templates, and their special challenges for English, French, and Spanish languages/Notes

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These notes for the session Global templates, and their special challenges for English, French, and Spanish languages were copied from the Etherpad, with minor post-editing, and added responses to questions that weren't included in the original Etherpad.

Wikiconference North America 2021 SESSION notes

Welcome, WCNA 2021 note-takers! Thank you so much for being an important part of the conference. Preferred number of note-takers: 2 (min) or 3 (max).

Title: Global Templates (speaker Amir Aharoni, Friday 12:30 eastern time session, on red stage) Wikilink:,_and_their_special_challenges_for_English,_French,_and_Spanish_languages


Global templates modeled on global images from WikiCommons.

We are currently copy pasting code strings into multiple languages. This does not scale up efficiently.

Global template impact on translation: humans will work on what humans do well - text; computers will work on code translation.

Editing templates on mobile phones is hard.

Language independence is a cultural problem; large language versus small language interest is a cultural problem.

Translatable modules - Lua modules - easier to translate, first to be deployed on wikidata and license templates on wikicommons.

Cite Q tried to develop easy to translation templates, "global ready", easy to override templates, where local values override wikidata template fields.


Q: nosebagbear question: other than a method of how to handle the large/small wiki cooperation in transition...what does this effort most need (from WMF/from Community?)

A. wikicommons solution, with WMF developer time required, community policy action required.

Q: Samuel Breslow: My anticipation is that the transition effort would come mostly from editors who contribute primarily in smaller languages but who also speak bigger languages.

A. Yes, quite likely. smaller languages community more interested in community action in global. I already heard from such editors in Basque and Catalan Wikipeidas, for example. However, collaboration with editors from the large wiki will still be required.

Q: Peaceray: I sometimes try to use templates in other languages. Unfortunately, templates can differ between languages, having different parameters. It is also a challenge for me to use the parameter names in the native language.

A: yes, it is challenge number 1. and also between projects such as wikisource and wikipedia. reference templates will go first as most used.

Comment from Peaceray: one problem that I encountered was that {{Cite Q}} puts the author's first name first, which is not standard for most English citation practices. Otherwise, it is great!

Question from Cheney: Could someone add the Cite Q references to the etherpad

Q: Minh: Will global templates eventually be available to non-WMF wikis, like Commons images?

A: Yes, it can be a good idea and it's mentioned in the detailed proposal page. However, serving Wikimedia wikis is the first priority.

Comment from Jon: Here's a rather clumsy workaround I made several years ago to help translate citation templates from English to Spanish. This is not anywhere near a solution to the problem, but it might help for limited applications in the short term.

Q: Eudardo Góngora (Edgouno): Another advantage of global templates is to optimize code more easily for mobile devices, different browsers, etc. One optimization will apply to all wikis.

A: Yes. A big example is Navboxes.

Comment: Block templates are also relevant.

A: Yes, at least some of them are good for all wikis. Also related: templates that appear on user pages of bot accounts are probably the most common templates in all wikis.

Q: Being able to use block templates in global blocks would be useful when dealing proxy/webhost blocks.

A: Indeed, especially for the small Wiki Monitoring Team, although there are a lot of other things to say about global blocks, but that's a different topic :)

Q: Xeno (WMF): Would there be inclusion criteria? Could it be used to communicate phrases in many languages?

A: These are two good questions. Inclusion criteria: Yes, whatever the community will develop. Comparable to Wikidata and Commons: Whatever is useful to multiple wikis should probably be in the inclusion criteria. There are controversies about certain parts of the inclusion criteria of Wikidata and Commons, but in general, they are sensible and useful, and something like this could be developed for the Global templates repo, too.
Phrases in many languages: Yes, although not necessarily for long prose. The English Wikipedia, for example, has a policy against having article text in templates ("Templates should not normally be used to store article text. Such content belongs in the article pages themselves."). But for shorter things that are on the border between content and user interface, it's quite appropriate. Abstract Wikipedia is much more appropriate for longer prose (at least that's the intention, to the best of my understanding).

Q: Peaceray: Global templates can help non-speakers add appropriate content to smaller language Wikipedias:

A: Yes, although it should be done carefully and in consultation with speakers. Sometimes such things can be harmful, even if the intention is good.

Peaceray: Clarification: many infoboxes can use Wikidata. In those cases non-speakers could add Infoboxes to other Wikipedias, & the template would pull the appropriate labels from Wikidata.

Comment from Hopin: "Some templates have flags, like dmy=yes or mdy=yes. Perhaps we can use flags like this for global citation templates."

A: Yes, this sounds like a direction to a solution. Even within the English Wikipedia there's variety of designs and implementations, and people live with that. Variety across languages is to be expected, and a single style will not be forced. (Unless editors actually *want* it.)