Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Approved bug 46247

Brion has approved bug 46247. This bug is about gender. You will be asked to indicate your gender on the preferences. You may prefer to leave it as "not indicated".

There are people who object to collecting irrelevant information and to them I want to say that it is very relevant for many of our Wikipedias. In many languages, particularly the Slavic languages, a male is addressed differently from a female. It is considered impolite to address either in the wrong way. It is for this reason that a request was made to support gender where this matters in the messaging of our MediaWiki software.

The software written by Nikerabbit creates the mechanism whereby a message can be different based on the knowledge of the sex of our public. This does not mean at all that our messages have been changed. We do not even know what languages will make use of our new gender support.

What we have in front of us is that people will proof read the MediaWiki messages and decide that a specific message needs to be made gender aware. They will change the message. For the other languages we will need a bot to FUZZY that message so that people can make the changes for their language as well.

Betawiki now has more then 1000 volunteers working on localisation. Particularly for the languages that want gender support it will be hard work; the first messages will come fast. The ratings for these languages will suffer and slowly but surely the gender support will improve.

The Betawiki developers put a lot of effort in assessing new and changed messages. They now have the added burden of indicating what messages need gender support. What we hope for is that one of our Slavic volunteers steps up to the plate and slowly but surely becomes a Betawiki developer.
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