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Betawiki being hosted by Wikimedia

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This article is about translatewiki.net (prior to 2009, known as "Betawiki"). For Beta versions of the MediaWiki software, see mw:Roadmap and mw:Version#Beta. For Wikimedia's cluster of beta wikis, see mw:Beta cluster. Previous proposal: Translations wiki. For the current website named "BetaWiki", see https://betawiki.net/

The following discussion is closed.

This page is for discussion about the possibility of Wikimedia hosting Betawiki, currently hosted independently by Nikerabbit. Betawiki was a test wiki, but has been transformed into being the best place to make global translations to the system messages. It is an important process of keeping MediaWiki and other Wikimedia projects up to date. Nike has made a lot of changes to the MediaWiki to make translations and export of the system messages easier then anywhere else. The idea of moving Betawiki to Wikimedia was brought up on #mediawiki-i18n and Nike seemed keen on the subject and said that the main reason that it hadn't been done yet was because of lack of response from Wikimedia's side.

If you are interested, sign your username at Proposals for new projects





The aim of the interface translations wiki is to allow any user of MediaWiki to edit the interface messages of any language via the MediaWiki namespace on a central wiki. Previously this could only be done by administrators on a particular wiki or by people who understood how to edit the files in CVS.



Unlike editing messages files in a program code repository (and via code review), the wiki makes it easy to collaborate, and to discuss translations before they go live. You also get the chance to see your changes immediately on the translations wiki. It prevents the need for pages such as Requests for MessagesXX.php update (deleted).

Unlike editing the MediaWiki namespace, changes made here can be applied to any wiki rather than only the wiki on which you are an administrator. Previously, changes made on one wiki were never applied to other projects, meaning users of, for example, Wikibooks, had to separately edit the namespace and manually copy over changes that had already been made at Wikipedia.

This wiki is open to all MediaWiki users, not only Wikimedians, meaning edits can have value outside of Wikimedia projects.



The MediaWiki namespace is protected by default on all installations of MediaWiki. On the interface translations wiki, the namespace will be unprotected. This means users do not need to go through any bureaucracy before being able to contribute. Everyone will be able to edit.



The lack of protection of the namespace does have security implications since the HTML restrictions are different to the other namespaces. Some of the interface messages allow arbitrary HTML, there is a possibility that malicious users could insert scripts which could, for example, steal your cookies for this domain, crash your browser, and cause pop-up windows.

A way of disabling JavaScript, which will prevent most of the problems, will be looked into before opening this wiki.

Users will be warned when they create an account that they should not use the same password they use of any other site, making the risks of cookies being stolen fairly insignificant. They will also be warned of potential problems, so they can take their own precautions against these. For example, they may want to ensure no other windows are open in their browser in case their browser is crashed, or they may want to disable JavaScript. However, these issues are no greater than any other website created by someone you do not trust.



It is proposed that the wiki shall be located on a subdomain of mediawiki.org so that any cookie-stealing attacks cannot affect Wikimedia project domains such as wikipedia.org and wikimedia.org. Nevertheless, a subdomain should be used so that mediawiki.org remains available for other uses, should all security issues be resolved.

All languages will be on one wiki, with users selecting the language they want to translate in their preferences.

Possible names for the subdomain include:



Betawiki to join Incubator


If Betawiki were to be moved to Wikimedia, there would only be two choices, creating a separate project (beta.wikimedia.org?) or joining it with an exciting project. test.wikipedia.org was my first thought, but that was before I learned about Incubator. The only problem is the confusion Incubator could get. It was started to see if a new project has any grounds of getting created (mainly new languages), and it would be great if they could try to translate the interface on the same wiki, but Betawiki is also for already existing languages. I'm translating system messages into Icelandic not because I'm starting a new Wiki, but because I want Wikipedia's interface to be fully translated. --Steinninn 00:41, 31 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]

As I told siebrand and Nike, I think this is a great idea. But you may get better response on Foundation-l. Cbrown1023 talk 01:12, 31 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The reason for merging it with Incubator is that the project that represent a new language will get the instant gratification of getting their user interface translated without there being a need for developers to do anything. Also when the language commission is to come to the conclusion if an incubator project has the required maturity, they can just change the language and see for themselves. GerardM 06:33, 31 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Do you mean user interface translation as in namespaces? Most system messages a sysop can change now. ~Kylu (u|t) 19:31, 31 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Kylu: Normally when a sysop is changing the system messages they are only changing them locally. Meaning it has no effect on other wikis. Thus translations should not be done locally. Nike has changed the software on Betawiki a bit so that when changes are made to the interface (system messages) they can easily be exported and put into the MediaWiki software to be used on any wiki that choses to. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this correctly. It might be best to go to Betawiki and see for yourself. --Steinninn 20:56, 31 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, check out Betawiki if you haven't. Cbrown1023 talk
  • Steinninn, Translating the interface involves understanding some of the mechnics. Often I find it better to test the translations locally before committing it globally. (For example, from time to time we still find inaccuracies in the zh: and yue: interfaces.) It would be great if the incubator could serve this purpose. Hillgentleman 05:12, 2 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I use betawiki, Nike is doing a good job there. I support anything he thinks is suitable. Hopefully, moving it to Wikimedia servers will solve the current problem with page loading and saving speed. I support giving him shell access to this wiki if that's possible. I also think the localization wiki would benefit from Siebrands Use case descriptions (why are they gone?). ~~helix84 22:24, 7 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]



And what about MediaWiki.org? It seems more proper place to work on Mediawiki interface on Mediawiki wiki. --Li-sung 10:44, 13 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

If the main function is to allow easy exportation, and importation, of the language environment, then : Yes, that would be my take too.
Actually, I would expect the messages of any MediaWiki to be easily-exportable, so I'd expect a function for that to be standard. But the documentation and localisation of MediaWiki are after all a part of that project, so you'd expect the normative translations to be there as well.
Of course, making things easier on all MediaWiki's would allow a new language on Incubator (or a new wiki budding anywhere else, for that matter) to first translate their stuff locally, and then when they are really satisfied with it, to submit it to the official location. Mysha
MediaWiki.org is not the right environment for localisation. It does not have the instant gratification that people that work on a new language have in the Incubator. GerardM 20:03, 13 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for the comment, Gerard. Do you think this is covered in my last paragraph above? Mysha
Doing translations locally is not a good idea either; only for the messages that include specific information for a project should be translated locally. All other messages should be translated once and translated well. In this way all the projects in a language benefit. GerardM 21:31, 15 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with GerardM in two reasons:
  1. MediaWiki.org is for documentation, not setting files. LanguageXX.php may be included into the package, but not provided on wiki.
  2. It doesn't benefit more than the current situation. Now we have those people who are working on a new language work on two wikis, and that is our headache. Their main workplace is Incubator, so considering for their convenience, Incubator would be the best place.--Aphaia 09:25, 14 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with GerardM and Aphaia. Beyond the instant benefit argument:

  • Translators on Betawiki tend to be lonely warriors, while even those not involved in translation will be able to see translated interface messages on incubator, and thus are more likely to get involved, even if they only comment, or make suggestions.
  • A translator is usually performing better when 'immersed' in the target language :-) which makes the groving content in the new language a more supporting testing environment on incubatore, if compared to betawiki. --Purodha Blissenbach 23:37, 14 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I'd suggest translate.mediawiki.org subdomain for betawiki to move to. I think that merging with Incubator isn't the best idea because of mixing of content and interface.
Danny B. 18:08, 25 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I know, and I think this is a good idea, but the original idea was to make it easier for those who are working on a new language. If they can translate on Incubator, they have immediately their interface translated. SPQRobin 18:46, 25 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]
There is risk, they will translate instead of general purpose mediawiki inteface only their interface with references to Wikipedia, Commons etc. With styles, scripts that Wikipedias usualy have (like charinsert in Mediawiki:Edittools or MediaWiki:Copyrightwarning) but is not in standard installation. --Li-sung 07:36, 26 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]
There would be a risk on every wiki. And the example you mentioned isn't a good one; MediaWiki:Edittools hasn't to be translated, this is just optional what a wiki can use. We are talking about a wiki for translating. SPQRobin 14:14, 26 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]



Let's just assume we want to have the extension Translate activated on Incubator. Which requirements should we meet and which criteria must be met before this can actually happen? Please feel free to add and mark with {{done}} when met. Cheers! Siebrand 13:00, 4 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Criteria from extension Translate perspective

  • Extension Translate should be installed, enabling users having the role 'translator' to edit the MediaWiki namespace and prepare translations for MediaWiki and MediaWiki extensions, as well as other external applications.
  • A way to activate support for new material to be translated (supported extensions, other external applications)
  • Identify which content from Betawiki should be moved to Incubator
  • Identify which new names the Betawiki content should get on Incubator
  • ...

Requirements from Wikimedia perspective

  • Wikimedia sysadmins must trust the code enough to run it on their servers
  • ...

Requirements from Incubator perspective

  • An interface language translation and test policy needs to be set up.
    • Currently the process with quite informal and interatively. Developers commit once there's volume or if a translator requests a commit. We assume good faith. A proper assessment on the trustworthyness of those requesting a translator status is IMO key. Anything to make it hard to get stuff committed, will scare people off and keep them working through bugzilla. Siebrand 21:52, 16 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • A kind of separate interface language project type need to be set up, since translations, both new and ongoing ones, are not always, and not necessarily, part of a specific new wiki project.
  • Likewise, existing content of betawiki needs to be integrated following a systemic path, and migrated, once the way has been determined.
    • Migration of content from Betawiki will be quite easy. There are a few pages with 'HOWTO' stuff and most the of languages that are being worked on actively have no content that needs to be transferred. Languages with over x open differences compared to SVN version need to be sorted out before things are being moved. Any content transfers from Betawiki to Incubator should be manual transfers and I estimate it to be less than 25 pages, all concerned with process. Siebrand 21:48, 16 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]



How about making step-by-step plan for the whole process? It also helps to identify the problems me might face if/when translation is moved to incubator. I've written some notes and questions from my perspective, and the requirements above have more. I hope this will ensure smooth transitions when/if it's done. – Nikerabbit 08:20, 18 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]


  • Identify possible problems
  • Identify actions that need to be done
  • Gather required information
  • Decide the little details


  • Translate extension is in svn
  • Get developer to accept/review the extension
  • Get someone to activate the extension
  • > Does wmf have all the extension files available for Translate?
  • Setup some group for translator rights
  • > Setup new namespaces or use one of the existing ones?
  • > Some features not possible with at svn version (adding languages without adding them to Names.php)
  • CleanChanges changes list (not needed, just extra cuteness)
  • Filtering recent changes by language?
  • Make policies?


  • Move pages
  • Mostly from Translating: namespace, should be easy to move whatever method preferred
  • Translations from Mediawiki: namespace, a lot of pages; not necessary to move (translation histories are lost in this case); contains lot of outdated pages and some pages that should be filtered out, if moved
  • Move "users"
  • Impossible to move user accounts, some of the users probably have an account on incubator already
  • Update links and help pages (BetaWiki, en.wiki, meta, others?)





It's ran by a developer and they should be respected for their work. He also can help mediawiki users and is of purpose to the foundation.--Arceus fan 20:50, 7 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

See also