Topic on Gentoo Wiki:Feedback

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Summary by Dcljr

The use of redirects on this wiki and the possibility of incorporating them into the translation process was discussed, but no agreement was reached.

Dcljr (Talkcontribs)

When articles are translated into other languages, they are named as subpages of the original title using ISO language codes. For example, Sudo is translated as Sudo/es (Spanish), Sudo/fr (French), etc.

Some titles are redirects to articles (or sections within articles), for example emerge redirects to Portage, euse redirects to Gentoolkit#euse, and so forth. These redirects are useful because they simplify both article writing and wiki maintenance. (When writing an article, it is natural to refer to, and link to, "euse" when it comes up, not "Genkernel#euse". Plus, if we ever decide to have actual articles [not redirects] titled "emerge" or "euse", no links would have to be changed on the wiki to accomplish this: the redirects would simply be converted into articles.)

My question here has to do with the proper handling of redirects as articles get translated.

To be specific, let's consider the fact that Gentoolkit has been translated (more or less) into German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, and Russian.

Since euse redirects to Gentoolkit#euse, it seems logical to me that euse/de should (be created to) redirect to Gentoolkit/de#euse, and so forth. That way, an English–German translator encountering the link [[euse]] in an English article can "assume" that a link to [[euse/de|euse]] is called for (of course, they would need to check that it actually works). Presumably, this is already what happens in the case of non-redirects. (For example, [[gentoolkit]] would get "translated" into [[gentoolkit/de|gentoolkit]].)

(BTW, if euse ever becomes an article, then euse/de, etc., would simply be deleted to make way for proper translations.)

Not being a translator myself, I can't say whether this approach would create any unique problems for translators. On the face of it, it seems like it shouldn't make any difference whether the link target is an article or a redirect to an article. Am I wrong?

Note that alternative approaches to what I'm suggesting include (1) not using redirects in the first place (i.e., preferring links like [[gentoolkit#euse|euse]] over [[euse]] in all articles), or (2) keeping redirects in our English articles but changing them into links like [[gentoolkit/de#euse|euse]] in translations.

I would reject the first alternative almost out of principle, since I see redirects as a fundamental wiki feature that we should take full advantage of. The second alternative seems unnecessarily confusing and inconvenient.

So… opinions? Am I missing something important about how translation works?

For a little background about why I'm posting this — including the views of one translator who sees things differently — see User talk:Cronolio#Bypassing a redirect. Note that euse/ru has been (grudgingly) created in line with what I'm proposing. I still don't see why this is a bad idea, which is why I'm asking for other people's opinions.

SwifT (Talkcontribs)

I've seen (and made) quite a few edits to remove redirects. In other words, change links from pointing to a redirect page to the actual article. I understand your suggestion to keep the redirect pages "active" even in articles, but as you found out, it has other consequences.

Polluting the wiki with "wrong" pages seems wrong to me.

Perhaps we can adjust those redirect pages to become small pages (containing little more than a simple paragraph of explanation) with a link to the article that contains more information? This has the benefit that this page can act as a transclusion source.

Dcljr (Talkcontribs)

What are these "other consequences"? The only downside I see is some users don't like them. What's the actual argument against them?

BTW, contrary to redirects being "wrong" pages, they are actually the complete opposite: they lead users to the "right" target for the link text or search term.

SwifT (Talkcontribs)

The translation issue is this other consequence that I was referring to.

The redirect pages themselves are of course useful, because they indeed lead users to the right target. But if we fix the links towards these pages in the wiki, then users don't come across those redirect pages anymore through browsing the wiki - of course, they can still come across then through direct visits or cached links outside the wiki.

What do you think of the idea of creating a small article for the page instead, and point the users to the right page? Like a soft redirect but with the focus towards the right page on the same wiki rather than towards an external site?

Such smaller article can perfectly be translated (and thus linked to). Main articles that suffice with linking to this smaller article can do so, while others can directly link to the actual target?

Dcljr (Talkcontribs)

The translation issue is this other consequence — OK, and I've suggested a workaround for that issue. Of course, if no translators want to use my suggestion then it won't be done. (I am not a translator, nor should I be.)

The "short articles" you speak of sound a lot like redirects but with the added inconvenience of having to read text and follow another link to get where you want to go. IMO, this is going backwards: putting more of a burden on readers for no good reason.

The only benefit I can think of for creating that kind of short "intervening" article would be to allow for multiple targets. But then we're talking about a disambiguation page rather than a redirect. Now, the convention with disambiguation pages (at English Wikimedia projects, anyway) is indeed to replace incoming links to them with more specific links to appropriate final target pages, but that's because of the inherent ambiguity in those pages' titles. The pages I'm talking about are not ambiguous, they are specific titles we happen not to have articles at (or they're variants on existing page titles, or things that are discussed in sections within other pages).

I haven't researched how redirects are handled on other MediaWiki wikis using the Translate extension. That would be nice to know…

Unless someone else has something to say about this, I'll just leave it at this:

  1. Redirects are useful in some contexts, so we should not discourage their existence per se.
  2. Redirects could be incorporated into the translation process (in the way I suggested) if translators wanted to do this.
  3. If translators do not want to do this, then obviously it won't be done.
  4. I won't create any "translated redirects" myself, but I will continue to create redirects to our English articles when I think they are needed.