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Hi! Tech News is useful and interesting, thank you! But please, write in English! In the latest issue you wrote "easier see how the article has changed over time"; that'd be marked as "wrong" in the first year of elementary school. Presumably you meant to say "more easily see how the article has changed over time"? Thanks, Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 18:06, 30 November 2020 (UTC)

Sorry for the late reply. Unlike English Wikipedia, Tech News is not necessarily aimed at an audience which speaks English reasonably well, and sometimes the language in the newsletter suffers some abuse due to our attempt to make it easier to understand for en-2 or even en-1 speakers who might not get a translation into their native language. We try to balance a) ease of translation, b) ease of reading for non-native speakers and c) not confusing the native or very fluent speakers, while explaining technical concepts in a few sentences, and sometimes we fail at one or more of these, which grieves us.
(And sometimes, of course, there'll be the odd, involuntary mistake due to the fact that majority of the Tech News writers are not native speakers of English, and had no English classes in elementary school.) /Johan (WMF) (talk) 00:59, 16 January 2021 (UTC)

Subscribe to the Chinese version of the news, but received the English version

At first, I received some news in Chinese, but the two I received recently are both in English, and my English is so bad that I can’t understand it at all. Even these are translated by Google. May I ask why this is so? Are there opportunities for improvement? --思淇敏君 (talk) 17:11, 15 January 2021 (UTC)

They must be translated before they are sent. Which for some latest issues did not happen. If they are translated later, they are accessible here on Meta. --Matěj Suchánek (talk) 20:02, 15 January 2021 (UTC)
思淇敏君: For example: I sent out the latest Tech News on 11 January, but it was not translated into Chinese until 12 January. This means that when you got it there was no Chinese translation to send out. It came later. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 16 January 2021 (UTC)
@思淇敏君: Hi. Each week the edition is translated by volunteers, and different people have time to help with this task each week. So, depending on the week, we have translations in anywhere from 12 to 20+ languages. If you are able to help with this yourself, or if you know someone who might be able and interested in helping, then more help with translating is always appreciated. Thanks, Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 20:34, 15 January 2021 (UTC)
Note: Subscribing to the (low-quantity) mail:translators-l mailing list is the best way for anyone to be reminded that a new edition is ready for translation. We send out weekly reminders on Thursday & Friday (UTC). Thanks again! Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 20:37, 15 January 2021 (UTC)

Thank you for your answer, I understand the situation. Thank you also for the translation team's intentions.--思淇敏君 (talk) 14:25, 19 January 2021 (UTC)

en-GB abused

I object to a purportedly "en-GB" translation of the newsletter being produced, with the caveat:

Fine print: Tech news in British English (en-gb) does not necessarily use British spelling. It is only British in spirit, unoversimplified [SIC] when compared to the regular English version, allowing more complex terms (e.g. "issues" instead of "problems") and constructions.

How do we get this stopped? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:43, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

@Pigsonthewing: Past discussion was at Talk:Tech/News/Archives/2020#Problems with message delivery. I tried to discourage those translations (simple and en-gb) then, for a variety of reasons (including the double-prominence of English that it creates at the start of the <languages/> listing-box), and (as I said at the time) I made a related post at mw:Talk:Localisation#en-gb and en-ca translations asking for better documentation about when/when-not to use these variants. I believe User:Alexis Jazz is the primary or only person to create those translations, so I encourage you to discuss it with them, but perhaps looking at it from a bigger-picture view of how we do/should use "en-gb" in general, rather than specifically just about Tech News. Hope that helps. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 21:58, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
@Quiddity (WMF): The problem is that Tech News oversimplifies language (making it a strain to read for anyone who is used to regular English) and omits technical details by purposely not including any "why". The simplified English also results in simplified translations which are, again, a strain to read for native speakers. The solution here, in my opinion, is to actually write normal English on the default Tech News (which will then also be the default source language for translations) and create a "simple English" translation which would be more akin to the current English Tech News. The "simple English" version could also be delivered to non-English wikis that don't have a native translation. But I suggested this before, so I sound like a broken record now. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 22:23, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
I understand the frustration with slightly-to-heavily simplified English. However, we have to keep in mind the various demographics who read this newsletter, including both non-technical native English speakers, as well as the many many communities who don't have a translated version at all in their language but where individuals may understand some English. We also need to keep the entire process of newsletter creation as feasible as possible.
It's not perfect, but it's the best balance we can find given the various technical and social and time challenges around making it any better. HTH. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 22:40, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
@Quiddity (WMF): For "non-technical native English speakers" the "This happened. It led to this. This also happened." style is not helpful. For "the many many communities who don't have a translated version at all in their language", as I said, distribute a Simple English version to them. We also need to keep the entire process of newsletter creation as feasible as possible. So what's the problem then? Create Tech News as usual, copy English to Simple English and ping me to adjust the regular English version as I've basically been doing for a while now with the en-gb hack. It's a minor effort so I'm sure more volunteers can be found for this as well in case I'm not available. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 23:53, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
As far as I know, it is not technically possible to "distribute a Simple English version to [everywhere except enwiki])". Plus there may be people who want Version X at Location Y. Plus translators with imperfect English skills may prefer working from the simple version. It all gets very complicated if we start down that rabbithole of 2 English versions. :-/ Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:41, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Plus translators with imperfect English skills may prefer working from the simple version. The Simple English version could be set as the source. It's not ideal, but if phab:T268274 is ever resolved it won't matter.
As far as I know, it is not technically possible to "distribute a Simple English version to [everywhere except enwiki])". Plus there may be people who want Version X at Location Y. There are! Say Wikidata is your home wiki and you have Tech News delivered to your user page. You may want it in German, but you can't have that. {{target}} (as used on Global message delivery/Targets/Tech ambassadors) should include a parameter for language code which, if set, should then be used during delivery. The biggest hurdle is that various people think in terms of problems when it comes to this instead of solutions. By the way, talking about rabbit holes: the alternative is a bloody fork of Tech News. Now that's something nobody wants. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 01:29, 4 February 2021 (UTC)
Let me add the five Ws to that. The who is generally included in Tech News or simply not relevant. The what, when and where are generally included, only the why is typically omitted, forcing readers to follow links to understand what is actually going on and how it may affect them now and in the future. I'm not saying "turn Tech News into an essay", I'm saying that including a brief why ("for maintenance", "due to a bug in MediaWiki", "caused by a hardware problem") would satisfy most readers and complete the five Ws. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 22:31, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
@Pigsonthewing: And you didn't think of actually just talking to me? If you had read Talk:Tech/News/2021/05/en-gb (where I pinged you) you'd have seen that I have lost interest in providing an improved Tech News. Also, I dislike your aggressive tone. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 22:11, 3 February 2021 (UTC)

Feedback: "Obsolete page"

Today's Tech News links to an "obsolete page" on mediawiki for more information on upcoming changes in Protecting and unprotecting pages. Ciell (talk) 18:20, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

Ah, that should have linked to mw:OOUI. Thanks for pointing it out. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 18:58, 8 February 2021 (UTC)
You're welcome! Ciell (talk) 18:59, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

Translation tool

We urgently need to have access to a translation tool to translate articles between languages. Is it simply that I cannot find it? --Dpcossio (talk) 07:18, 14 February 2021 (UTC)

Who is we? Where and why do you need it? Do you mean the ContentTranslation tool? --Matěj Suchánek (talk) 10:53, 14 February 2021 (UTC)
Dpcossio: You can go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures on your home wiki to turn on mw:Content translation, if you haven't already. You'll find it towards the bottom. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 10:27, 15 February 2021 (UTC)


MassMessage doesn't seem to be delivering messages right now (Phab:T275432). I'm aiming to deliver this week's issue tomorrow instead. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 20:53, 22 February 2021 (UTC)


@Quiddity (WMF) and Whatamidoing (WMF): You added items to Tech/News/2021/09 on Friday at 18:02 and 23:05. Please see Tech/News/For contributors#The deadlines: To be included when the first notice is sent out to translators, please add it to the draft, tag it with user-notice in Phabricator or contact the Tech News writers (usually Johan) by Thursday 15:00 UTC.[note 1] Later items will be included if seen before the notice to the translators has been sent out, but it can't be guaranteed.

For "late additions" this is Friday 15:00 UTC. Quiddity's item about VideoCutTool should have been pushed to next issue and Whatamidoing's item probably as well. That item is also vague and if it had been pushed to the next issue I might have improved its wording. (Some editors may not get automatically logged in to all their accounts across Wikimedia projects in the latest versions of Firefox and Safari)

I had my translation done early on Friday, I probably checked later that day to make sure there were no late additions. There is no system in place to notify me of these late additions, so these additions were now simply distributed untranslated. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 20:30, 1 March 2021 (UTC)

Coordinating things across timezones is difficult. I live on the western coast of Canada, and so when it is my occasional turn to look after the edition (on one or more of the writing days), then the usual tasks occur later on (not at 8am my time!). This is partly why it says (as you quoted) Later items will be included if seen before the notice to the translators has been sent out. We send weekly notifications to the mail:translators-l mailing list when each edition is finalized, and we remove the {{tech news draft}} template at the same time, so you could check for either of those in the future. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 20:43, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
@Quiddity (WMF): The mailing list notifies of everything that could be translated. Many pages are either not relevant to Dutch users, do not interest me or are very complicated to translate. Also, I prefer to keep my wiki business on-wiki. I'll try to look out for the {{tech news draft}} template. But if Thursday/Friday 15:00 UTC is not achievable, maybe move the deadline to Saterday or something. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 21:09, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
As the person who wrote this piece of documentation, 15:00 UTC (or 14:00 UTC, depending on DST or not) was never intended as the deadline for when the issue is frozen. As it explicitly states: "Later items will be included if seen before the notice to the translators has been sent out, but it can't be guaranteed". The reason behind the 15:00 UTC deadline is that it might take quite some time to write in item, if a Phab ticket has been marked with user-notice with no explanation, or if something is confusing in the item that was added. The writer – usually I – has to hunt down the person who added it to get an explanation, if it's an area we're unfamiliar with (no one, as far as I know, keeps all the details about Wikimedia technical development in their head, unfortunately). If we can't get hold of them, we might have to trawl through various Phabricator tickets that were written with the people working on it, being already familiar with the context, in mind, or try to find the right documentation on This can take quite a while, so we need to have a deadline for telling people when they can reliable add content and feel assured it will make it into the issue being delivered next week.
I've updated the documentation to make it more clear that the removal of the draft template is the one reliable sign of when the issue has been frozen. For a variety of reasons, the time zones among them, there's no exact hour at which Tech News can be frozen every week. The easiest way is to keep track of the draft template. But we could confer and give you and the other translators a time at which point it will always have been frozen, barring technical problems or emergencies: "usually earlier, but no later than this". /Johan (WMF) (talk) 03:22, 2 March 2021 (UTC)
Having talked among us, I don't think we've ever – barring emergencies or technical problems – frozen the issue later than 03:00 UTC on the Saturday. Usually far earlier, and you can always keep track of whether it's been frozen or not by the draft template, but if you don't want to check in and see, this might be useful too. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 00:12, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
The actual deadline is when the issue has been frozen. When it's frozen, the draft template is removed and the weekly notice about finalization gets sent to translators-l. I checked the mailing list first, found that the notice had not been sent, and added the item. The draft template was still on the page. Therefore, the issue was not frozen, and it was still fair to add that privacy-related item. Holding it for another week over an arbitrary time on the clock would have benefitted nobody and increased privacy risks for affected editors during the intervening week and workload for the Oversight volunteers.
This is how Tech/News has worked for years. If there was an actual problem here, it's only that the documentation made the schedule sound firmer than it really is. Also, if you especially want the documentation to be complete, then it would be good to add that emergencies happen, so even the "final" deadline isn't absolute. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:52, 2 March 2021 (UTC)
Though it should be said that I actually move the vast majority of all items added after the newsletter has been frozen to next week, because the translators need to feel that they can translate the newsletter and relax knowing they're done. Emergencies and changed information (i.e. when an item isn't true anymore, and needs to be edited, because of developments over the weekend) are the typical exceptions. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 17:24, 8 March 2021 (UTC)
But this is only true after the draft template has been removed. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 17:24, 8 March 2021 (UTC)

Web feed stopped working

The web feed is no longer getting populated again since December 2020. --Titore (talk) 12:14, 2 March 2021 (UTC)

Titore: Thanks for letting us know! Looking into it. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 13:54, 2 March 2021 (UTC)
There's a Phab ticket here phab:T276301. /Johan (WMF) (talk) 11:18, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for taking care of this once again. It looks like the issue is solved now. Titore (talk) 07:32, 8 March 2021 (UTC)
Great! /Johan (WMF) (talk) 17:25, 8 March 2021 (UTC)