MetaFilter localization? May 7, 2013 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Has there been any discussion of setting up a localization effort for MetaFilter, at least for UI and other site elements? If not, what do you think of the idea? (My search-fu didn't turn up anything previous in the FAQ or MetaTalk.)
posted by Celsius1414 to Feature Requests at 4:10 PM (56 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I don't recall any specific discussions about it offhand. I think my first question would be, to what purpose? We're by demographic happenstance but also by necessity a site that serves a userbase that has English as a common (if in many cases not sole) language, so would we be talking here about localization just across major variants of English, like "favourites" vs "favorites"?

Basically, what's the sort of scope and purpose of localization you're talking about, and what would be the cases where it's something that would make compelling sense to support server-side versus support ad hoc through client-side scripts?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:19 PM on May 7, 2013


Personally, I kinda LIKE how this community brings so many varied voices together, and would rather NOT have it broken down into smaller, physical-location-cohesive groups.
posted by easily confused at 4:33 PM on May 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


How about we do localization but have the localizations be things like "Star Trek Nerd", "Theatre Nerd", "Font Nerd", "Foodie Nerd", "Sports Nerd"... but also maybe "Canadian", because I'd get a kick out of seeing a link to the "Aboot" page.
posted by XMLicious at 4:55 PM on May 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


It already has a few localized features like IRL and Nearby users in our profiles. Also, AskMe can really be leveraged locally unlike other parts of the site. It seems to get frequently used to ask about finding or doing things in specific places.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:14 PM on May 7, 2013


If you are talking about the site "chrome" being offered in different languages (stuff like the posted by lines, the top and bottom nav menus, etc) porting them to support that would be a pretty big endeavor, and since we want just english for comments/posts, I'm not sure there's enough of a gain to make all the work worth doing.

Or did you have something else in mind?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:17 PM on May 7, 2013


Why have you misspelled 'localisation'?
posted by Abiezer at 5:18 PM on May 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


I want a metafilter for the midwest.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:26 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have many questions about this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:42 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


"How about we do localization but have the localizations be things like "Star Trek Nerd", "Theatre Nerd", "Font Nerd", "Foodie Nerd", "Sports Nerd"... but also maybe "Canadian", because I'd get a kick out of seeing a link to the "Aboot" page."

Make it so.
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on May 7, 2013


Suggested Regional Categories:
Draperton Abbey
DavidFosterWallacestershire
Beanstopia
ComicConistan
Jobs Island
GeorgeLucastory
Catsteros
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:50 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like that we're a motley crew separated by a common language and united by a desire to see the "u" restored to its rightful place. No more localisation required methinks.
posted by arcticseal at 5:56 PM on May 7, 2013


and Whoville.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:57 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do you want this? How does it benefit you and/or the rest of the membership?
posted by Lynsey at 6:31 PM on May 7, 2013


Removal of the superfluous "u" is a feature, not a bug.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:41 PM on May 7, 2013


I'd imagine that an automatic translation of this site, even more than many others, into another language would be hilariously wrong.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:43 PM on May 7, 2013


No doubt it would be muy embarazado.
posted by klangklangston at 7:03 PM on May 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why do you want this?
I don't think the what is clear, let alone the why? It's an interesting concept and I'd like to hear more.
posted by dg at 7:05 PM on May 7, 2013


It's a local site, for local people.
posted by Abiezer at 7:09 PM on May 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Are you looking for horny singles in your area?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:48 PM on May 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


1-900-METAFIL
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:48 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whichever part gets Oxford comma localisation is the one I want.
posted by rtha at 8:46 PM on May 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


This would be great; I've found the discussion on Metafilter quite easy to follow, but have had some difficulty understanding language found on the dashboard, particularly "music", "jobs", and "welcome back".
posted by threeants at 9:09 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


rtha called it. I need the serial comma back.

Potomac Avenue is also correct, but that's a different post. ;)

I am not aware of the demographic breakdown of MF, but from my experience it does skew anglospheric -- which is great. I was more curious about chrome localization or localisation.

The question arose as I'm studying/reclaiming Spanish at the moment and am finding it useful to switch the OS and apps to Spanish as I'm able. Reddit (for example, but I'm not comparing the two sites) has a language setting in preferences.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:17 PM on May 7, 2013


Abiezer: "It's a local site, for local people."

You're my wife now.
posted by boo_radley at 9:20 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd love if this never, ever happened. Every single iteration of new Gawker sites breaks whatever possible workaround I have to get out of getting shunted to Gizmodo.jp, Lifehacker.jp, or Kotaku.jp. In their current edition, even clicking on the tiny little U.S. flag opens a new window which promptly switches over to the .jp site.

Obviously, pb would find a way to make it work, but... why? For the extra 'u' in British English? Isn't there a greasemonkey script available for that?
posted by Ghidorah at 9:35 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be clear, I'm not talking about mini MetaFilters sprouting up across the globe - I'm talking about the UI and other elements being available in other languages (via a preference for each user). It would be the same MetaFilter.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:38 PM on May 7, 2013


So all the posts and comments would remain in English, but things like "posted by" would be in the user's choice of languages?

Is this just a "wouldn't that be cool" thing, or is there a practical benefit that you have in mind?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:55 PM on May 7, 2013


It would consume staff resources so they would have less time to delete my posts.
posted by ryanrs at 11:38 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the extra 'u' in British English?

Hopefully all future stories about British celebrities of the 1960's and 1970's will spell paedophile correctly.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:55 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


No doubt it would be muy embarazado.

When I was in Guatemala, we told one of the guys that I was travelling with for a while that "Yo soy embarazado" means "I'm full.", which was hilarious the next time we had dinner and he leaned back, patted his belly and told the waitress that he was pregnant.
posted by empath at 1:14 AM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the day I see Metafilter/Chicago or what ever..then I guess I look for the old bookmark WTF.
posted by timsteil at 2:17 AM on May 8, 2013


Fuck. No.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:50 AM on May 8, 2013


Removal of the sperflos "" is a featre, not a bg.

Man, I'll never understand American English.
posted by ambrosen at 4:18 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


lon-gisland.metafilter.com
posted by schmod at 5:43 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


So all the posts and comments would remain in English, but things like "posted by" would be in the user's choice of languages?

That's right. Potentially things like the FAQ as well, if each language translation "team" felt like doing it, and MF Staff wanted to make that doable.

Is this just a "wouldn't that be cool" thing, or is there a practical benefit that you have in mind?

The practical benefit (apart from my "learning the language" one) would be non-anglophone users could have the site's controls in their language of choice. But both of those may be an unfeasibly tiny subset.

No worries - I was more curious to see if it had been done or discussed previously than anything.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:15 AM on May 8, 2013


I worked at a foundry with a lot of Latino immigrants. There was a white guy who was complaining racist babble about them. I told him that they were nice people. He just needed to break the ice. I suggested "Chinga tu madre" as a good introduction. One of the Guatemalan guys hit him with a wrench.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


From my experience, localization is a never-ending drag on a site, especially if it uses voluntary translations. The translations will be in random languages and new features will stay untranslated for ages. Plus every single code change you make going forward is going to be more complicated.
posted by smackfu at 10:29 AM on May 8, 2013


If you create a Spanish version of the interface, you'll get Spanish-only members who want to create Spanish posts with Spanish comments, and if that becomes common, you'll need to hire enough Spanish-speaking mods to cover it. (And so on for each language supported.) I don't think that's what management wants.
posted by pracowity at 11:38 AM on May 8, 2013


a la mierde con este!
posted by adamvasco at 11:45 AM on May 8, 2013


Let's crowdsource this. I'll write some JavaScript that interpolates a 'u' between every other letter of every word (other than u, I suppose) and then removes them at random until it makes a word that appears somewhere in Harry Potter. Who wants to tackle the Fanny Issue?
posted by dirtdirt at 11:53 AM on May 8, 2013


Celsius1414: "I'm talking about the UI and other elements being available in other languages (via a preference for each user). It would be the same MetaFilter."

I sort of feel like this is a solution looking for a problem, and one which would make a lot more work for the mods with little benefit.

But since I'm a native English speaker I might not be the best judge. There are Mefites to whom English is a second or third language. Has Metafilter's English-only UI caused them difficulty?
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on May 8, 2013


I like how right from the start this thread split into two parallel discussions based on two different readings of the original poster's intent (even though I think it's pretty clear that Cortex's original take is the correct one, since they mentioned UI elements).
posted by jjwiseman at 2:41 PM on May 8, 2013


It's a local site, for local people.

You lied to me, Edward! There is a Swansea Reddit!
posted by arcticseal at 2:52 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please don't fucking do this!

There is absolutely nothing more loathsome about the internet than sites that decide to magically show you something different [yes, this includes just the language] based on your location.

Nothing.

Not popup donkey porn.

Not self-installing rootkit java applets with autoplaying donkey porn.

Nothing.
posted by xqwzts at 3:11 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is absolutely nothing more loathsome about the internet than sites that decide to magically show you something different [yes, this includes just the language] based on your location.

I just got that new thing in the facebook where you can search for "stuff near you" and since Facebook actually doesn't know where I am except where my ISP is, all the restaurants were over 40 miles away. Oh well.

Yes, we are not planning to do this. There is a great comment over on Quora (I know...) talking about the things that go into the localization stuff they do and it's really jawdropping how much work some of that stuff is to do right.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:26 PM on May 8, 2013


For the extra 'u' in British English?

I'm not even sure where that 'u' is supposed to go. British Engluish? Buritish English? British Englishu?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:55 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


DevilsAdvocate: "I'm not even sure where that 'u' is supposed to go. British Engluish? Buritish English? British Englishu?"

It's Brutish English obviously
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:26 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not popup donkey porn.

AssLovers.metafilter.com?
posted by zarq at 6:42 PM on May 8, 2013


schmod: "lon-gisland.metafilter.com"

That took me an embarrassing amount of time to parse correctly.
posted by deborah at 8:00 PM on May 8, 2013


If a user (that is, someone who has actually paid the $5 SAIT) is really struggling or uncomfortable with having the preferences or controls in English, it's hard to imagine that they'd have much use for MetaFilter, considering that we don't even do much textspeak, and that in its scope MetaFilter covers more US/UK/English-speaking world based stuff anyway.
posted by undue influence at 12:34 AM on May 9, 2013


There is a great comment over on Quora (I know...) talking about the things that go into the localization stuff they do and it's really jawdropping how much work some of that stuff is to do right.
Quite a lot of the issues described there could easily be applied to MetaFilter (apart from the 370 languages). Particularly the need to involve users in changes to the interface and the glacial pace of acceptance ...
posted by dg at 5:26 AM on May 9, 2013


Does anyone remember that article that was specifically about the raw code side of localization and things like how plurals are weird in all kinds of languages? I thought it started off being about gettext but I can't seem to track it down.
posted by 23 at 4:52 AM on May 10, 2013


It was a lot like this, but I think it was more conversational.
posted by 23 at 4:55 AM on May 10, 2013


Probably this one? (why would someone host an article on CPAN???)
posted by smackfu at 8:45 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's the one! Thank you.

It is said that there is a village somewhere that is described only in the manpage for a utility used internally by a forgotten version manager, and that those who find it will learn the deep secrets of the magic of documentation. It could also be in the mplayer manpage somewhere, but none who go looking there ever return.
posted by 23 at 10:14 PM on May 10, 2013


I'm not a native speaker of English, and I don't see any good reason to do this. The posts and comments would still be in English after all. If you can't read those, why care about the interface?

So as a furriner, I vote to leave it be, and instead do something about MetaFilter's bloody blatant US-centrism already, goddammit.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:02 AM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


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