IRC office hours/Office hours 2013-11-13

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Time: 15:00-16:00 UTC
Channel: #wikimedia-office
Timestamps are in UTC.

[15:00:27] <arrbee> === Wikimedia Language Engineering Office Hour - Start ===
[15:00:38] <arrbee> Welcome Everyone!
[15:00:52] <arrbee> This is the office hour of the Wikimedia Language Engineering Team
[15:01:04] <arrbee> My name is Runa and I am the Outreach and QA coordinator for our team
[15:01:55] <arrbee> Other members from the team present today are: aharoni kart_ Nikerabbit santhosh sucheta
[15:02:00] <kart_> Hello all.
[15:02:28] <Nikerabbit> hi
[15:02:39] <arrbee> Our last office hour was held on September 25, 2013
[15:02:50] <arrbee> The logs are at:
[15:03:16] <arrbee> Today we will briefly talk about updates from our recent work
[15:03:29] <arrbee> After that we are open for questions
[15:03:58] <arrbee> If you'd like to send in your questions before the Q&A, please send them to me as a private message.
[15:04:26] <sucheta> Hey all!
[15:04:26] <arrbee> Please note, as the topic of the channel suggests the chat today will be logged and publicly posted.
[15:04:55] <arrbee> Hey sucheta :)
[15:05:42] <arrbee> The Wikimedia Language Engineering team works on enabling language tools to make MediaWiki and Wikimedia projects support all the languages of the world
[15:06:10] <arrbee> At present there are ~300 languages within the Wikimedia projects, including 287 Wikipedias
[15:06:58] <arrbee> Currently our primary focus is to enhance the performance of the Universal Language Selector(ULS).
[15:07:43] <arrbee> The Universal Language Selector is an extension maintained by our team that provides a unified interface for setting user-side language configuration.
[15:08:26] <arrbee> Part of this enhancement was the creation of the Autonym font.
[15:08:43] <arrbee> Some of you may have already read about it in our blog post:
[15:08:50] <arrbee>
[15:09:13] <arrbee> We shall talk a bit more about the ULS enhancements in a little while
[15:09:35] <arrbee> Before that a quick update from
[15:09:55] <arrbee> We had mentioned in our last office hour that we had redone the main page on
[15:10:21] <arrbee> In addition to the main page, we now have the feature for new users known as 'translation stash'
[15:10:47] <arrbee> New users can use this special page to translate a few strings after they sign-up, to get a preview of the editor features
[15:11:38] <arrbee> These can also be used by the translation teams to evaluate translations done by recently signed-up users
[15:11:55] <arrbee> === ULS enhancements ===
[15:12:20] <arrbee> As I mentioned before we have developed an autonym font
[15:12:49] <arrbee> Small in size this font is capable of displaying all native language names
[15:13:15] <arrbee> Thanks to feedback received, we have already been able to improve the quality of that font
[15:13:43] <arrbee> For most benefit, we need more help to fix templates to use the "autonym" class when autonyms are displayed
[15:14:24] <arrbee> We have greatly reduced the size of the code, styles, translations and images that we will deliver for ULS on every page load
[15:14:52] <arrbee> Now most of the assets are only loaded later after interaction with ULS
[15:15:36] <arrbee> You can read more about this work in the announcement sent yesterday to the wikitech list
[15:15:41] <arrbee>
[15:16:06] <arrbee> We also have an ongoing project to improve integration tests for ULS
[15:16:18] <arrbee> It has helped us to catch many regressions before they go into production
[15:16:39] <arrbee> Unfortunately not all features of ULS are easy or possible to test this way
[15:16:51] <arrbee>
[15:17:51] <arrbee> Amir, Nikerabbit : Would you like to add something more about the QA work
[15:18:18] <arrbee> sorry .. forgot the question mark '?'
[15:18:29] <arrbee> (how could I?)
[15:18:41] <aharoni> Nikerabbit and I have been working a lot with Zeljko from the QA team in the last few weeks,
[15:18:57] <aharoni> and he helped us a lot with stabilizing the tests and making them work.
[15:19:15] <aharoni> we actually found new bugs thanks to that, which is the whole purpose of it :)
[15:19:32] <arrbee> yay! for Zeljko
[15:19:58] <aharoni> the goal, which we should reach soon, is to run everything automatically with every commit, just like unit tests, so there would be no regressions.
[15:20:27] <arrbee> Thanks aharoni.
[15:20:43] <arrbee> === Edit area fonts ===
[15:21:08] <arrbee> Moving on
[15:21:13] <arrbee> We also worked on fixing a bug that was affecting the fonts in the edit area
[15:21:21] <arrbee> Many people from English Wikipedia and Wiktionary complained about it
[15:21:34] <arrbee> This is the bug:
[15:21:48] <arrbee> We fixed it and this is not supposed to happen in most cases :)
[15:22:12] <arrbee> It may still happen if the language of the wiki is not Latin or Cyrillic, but that happens there even without webfonts
[15:22:28] <arrbee> It's a browser limitation that applies the fonts in such a way
[15:22:45] <arrbee> We wrote automatic browser tests to prevent this from happening in the future
[15:23:01] <arrbee> aharoni: santhosh : Do you have anything more to add about this?
[15:23:41] <aharoni> nothing much... it sounds simple, but it was tricky because of the functionality that we want to get with webfonts.
[15:24:08] <aharoni> and the browsers are, apparently, a bit too helpful and do unexpected things.
[15:24:12] <arrbee> nod. Very tricky.
[15:24:13] <aharoni> but that should be fixed now.
[15:24:24] <arrbee> Thanks aharoni
[15:24:43] <arrbee> Thats the end of the updates
[15:24:54] <arrbee> We are now open for Questions
[15:25:03] <arrbee> === Questions ===
[15:25:08] * arrbee looks around
[15:28:39] <arrbee> Well, I had one. Perhaps I can ask here. :)
[15:29:17] <arrbee> Are there any fun projects for 13-17 year olds that we can think of to get them interested in Language Engineering
[15:29:22] <arrbee>  ?
[15:29:24] <sankarshan> Could you explain a bit more about "translation stash"?
[15:29:44] <arrbee> Nikerabbit: ^^
[15:31:08] <sankarshan> I can read it up, if you could provide a link.
[15:31:11] <Nikerabbit> it is a restrictedenvironment where new users have a very limited access to make few translations until we promote them to full translators
[15:31:21] <Nikerabbit> mostly to weed out spam
[15:31:46] <sankarshan> Ah! Ok. So, a sort of sandbox to test their ability to translate as well as ensure that random spam does not creep in.
[15:31:49] <sankarshan> Sounds nice.
[15:31:54] <arrbee> sankarshan: you may have heard about it earlier when it was called 'translation sandbox' (I think)
[15:31:57] <aharoni> or, to phrase it in a positive way, to make signing up easier for new users :)
[15:32:34] <Nikerabbit> ..compared to what we have currently, definitely a lot easier
[15:32:39] <aharoni> currently users have to fill some forms and request a permission,
[15:32:53] <aharoni> and everybody gets it, but the forms are getting quite dated.
[15:33:10] <aharoni> so the idea is to modernize the process and get the people to translate as quickly as possible.
[15:33:16] <Nikerabbit> it's part of sign up track of translation ux: (little bit outdated)
[15:33:21] <sankarshan> Demonstrating competence is better than filling up a form. That's for sure
[15:33:27] <aharoni> exactly.
[15:33:58] <aharoni> if the translations look good - which will probably happen in most cases - they are approved and saved, and the user gets a permanent permission.
[15:34:11] <aharoni> if they are bad, then an administrator can reject the user.
[15:34:25] <aharoni> programming the frontend of the accept/reject interface was a lot of fun.
[15:34:28] <sankarshan> Good stuff. Thank you for indulging and explaining.
[15:34:38] <aharoni> it's not deployed yet, but we hope to finish it soon.
[15:34:45] <aharoni> thanks, sankarshan .
[15:34:47] <arrbee> sankarshan: Thank you :)
[15:35:39] <aharoni> now to arrbee's question about Google Code-in...
[15:36:10] <aharoni> I can imagine some young people who like learning maths and can code some Python or Perl,
[15:36:29] <aharoni> learning some more statistics about our translations would be interesting to me.
[15:36:32] <arrbee> The fun part about GCI is that it doesn't necessary need to be coding tasks
[15:36:50] <aharoni> for example, to check which languages tend to have the longest translations.
[15:37:10] <aharoni> such information should help developers to plan the user interface in a way that would be more translation-ready.
[15:37:11] <arrbee> andre__ is putting together quite a list for these tasks
[15:37:35] <andre__> should cover all info :)
[15:37:42] <andre__> and more tasks are always welcome.
[15:38:05] <arrbee> Thanks andre__ . I was looking for the page :)
[15:39:09] <arrbee> aharoni: Perhaps we can add this idea to the page. It will be interesting to see what people can think around it.
[15:39:24] <aharoni> ok
[15:41:14] <arrbee> Hi zeljkof .. we had a round of 'yay!' for you earlier when you were probably not around
[15:42:02] <zeljkof> arrbee: really? what was it about?
[15:43:02] <arrbee> [20:48] <aharoni> Nikerabbit and I have been working a lot with Zeljko from the QA team in the last few weeks,
[15:43:02] <arrbee> [20:48] <aharoni> and he helped us a lot with stabilizing the tests and making them work.
[15:43:05] <aharoni> zeljkof: your awesome help with the tests in the recent weeks
[15:43:05] <arrbee> zeljkof: ^^
[15:43:31] <zeljkof> aharoni, arrbee: I am glad I could help, there is more to come :)
[15:44:28] <prageck> "For most benefit, we need more help to fix templates to use the "autonym" class when autonyms are displayed". Is there any bug report/github issue related to this that I can follow to know more about this issue?
[15:45:28] <arrbee> santhosh: ^^
[15:46:46] <aharoni> prageck: not a github / bugzilla issue,
[15:46:48] <santhosh> prageck: might help
[15:47:01] <aharoni> because it's an issue with the content of the wikis themselves.
[15:47:58] <aharoni> aude: we're doing Language engineering Office hours...
[15:48:13] <aude>  :)
[15:48:22] <aharoni> we hope that somebody from Wikidata will take a look at the ULS changes.
[15:48:23] <prageck> aharoni, santhosh thanks, I'll have a look at it.
[15:48:33] <aharoni> that's probably the most important extension to fix.
[15:48:44] <aharoni> (or at least to test)
[15:48:58] * aude doing
[15:49:02] <aharoni> thanks, aude
[15:49:24] <aude> i might need henning to look if i am unsure about something
[15:49:38] <arrbee> Timecheck: We have 10 more minutes
[15:49:50] <aharoni> aude: certainly, and please ping us, too.
[15:51:52] <arrbee> There is also an announcement. The team will be traveling quite a bit for the next one week.
[15:52:22] <arrbee> So you may see some delayed responses from us during the travel times.
[15:52:55] <arrbee> The team will be in India for a language summit and work days.
[15:54:07] <prageck> Also, what all ULS enhancements are we targeting for the near future? Any specific wiki page/etherpad will help.
[15:55:10] <aharoni> prageck: We don't plan any new features currently. We are fixing bugs and improving performance.
[15:55:30] <aharoni> We are always open to requests for new input methods and new fonts. These are relatively easy.
[15:56:13] <aharoni> In some farther future we may start adapting ULS to more language selection scenarios, but there are no solid plans about that yet.
[15:56:55] <arrbee> prageck: Thanks for your question Praveen. We are wrapping up here shortly. So you are welcome to continue the conversation on #mediawiki-i18n :)
[15:57:08] <prageck> yes sure :)
[15:57:16] <arrbee> We have 5 more minutes. Any other comments?
[15:58:18] <arrbee> Well.. if nothing changes, we shall be back with our next office hour 11th December 2013.
[15:58:37] <arrbee> Our office hours are held every 2nd Wednesday of the month
[15:58:50] <YairRand> here's a random question unrelated to the previous stuff: is vertical writing support a "language engineering" issue?
[15:59:30] <aharoni> YairRand: Thanks a lot for this question :)
[15:59:45] <aharoni> It will be, when browser support becomes relevant.
[16:00:06] <aharoni> Currently Firefox doesn't support it at all, and IE and Chrome has patchy support.
[16:00:20] <aharoni> I tried it with Mongolian in IE and Chrome, and it's far from perfect.
[16:00:31] <YairRand> not all that patchy. and safari and opera also support it.
[16:01:22] <aharoni> That said, when the browsers' support is more solid, we on our side can start thinking about design changes (such as: where to put the scrollbar?).
[16:01:39] <aharoni> And of course, we will need help from people who know the relevant languages - Mongolian, Japanese etc.
[16:01:40] <YairRand> eh? on the bottom.
[16:01:54] <YairRand> where else?
[16:02:26] <YairRand> so, until ff adds support, vertical writing support waits?
[16:02:39] <arrbee> aharoni: YairRand : I hate to interrupt when it started to get interesting. We have to move from this channel to #mediawiki-i18n now. Lets carry on over there. :)
[16:03:35] <arrbee> We are out of time and the office hour is now closed.
[16:03:51] <arrbee> Thanks everyone for coming. I will be posting the logs shortly.
[16:04:02] <arrbee> === Wikimedia Language Engineering Office Hour - End ===