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Maybe the number of wikis that still needs to take action should have been a variable. — Alexis Jazz (ping me) 08:31, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That would have been a good solution, yes. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 10:15, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So, with a bit more time: In general, I try to avoid variables for something that will actually be seen (as opposed to targets for links), because I'm never sure I know how it'll work in all target languages. Which languages will get a translation this time? Will they all use the Hindu–Arabic numeral system? Will I mess something up for right-to-left scripts? If I do, will they be confident enough to ignore my variable and go ahead with a different solution? With that said, you're probably right it would have worked this time. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 18:40, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another issue field is agglutination. Hungarian is an agglutinative language, and I often have issues translating messages with variables, as the suffix often depends on the content of the variable (like when translating the deployment dates: group0 wikis will get the new version június 23-án, while group1 ones will get it június 24-én). Luckily the number of wikis wasn’t agglutinated this time, but I often see people who don’t speak Hungarian simply changing numbers without touching the suffix, which leads to grammatically incorrect things like *június 24-án.Tacsipacsi (talk) 19:18, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Johan (WMF): For numbers that won't change while the newsletter is written, I can see why you might rather avoid variables. I don't think a lone number messes up RTL languages. Even ABC doesn't afaik, as long as you don't introduce unduly LTR marks. I did think about the possibility of countries/languages that haven't adopted the decimal system, but how many of those are left? (as I discovered: not many) Also, where possible, the translation extension should deal with that. I made a feature request for that: T256099 Translate numeric variables within Translation extension.
@Tacsipacsi: How would you propose solving that? Considering that "having outdated numbers" isn't much of a solution. Can you avoid the agglutination? In Dutch I think this could also happen:
  • de zesde = de 6de = the sixth = the 6th
  • de achtste = de 8ste = the eighth = the 8th
6 uses "de", 8 uses "ste". But we can simply avoid the use of ordinal forms. — Alexis Jazz (ping me) 07:56, 23 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Alexis Jazz: I have no idea for a definite solution. Avoiding agglutination is sometimes possible, but often only with inferior results. For example, the above could be rephrased as június 24. napján, literally on the day of June 24, which looks quite worse. When translating MediaWiki messages, I usually have to use these long forms, but when translating wiki pages, I often avoid them and either assume that the translation variables won’t change (and put the page on my watchlist, just in case they do change), or give up and don’t use the translation variable at all. Neither is a perfect solution, but both are much more pleasant to read than the long version. —Tacsipacsi (talk) 23:18, 23 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]