Monday, January 16, 2012

Overcoming the #Babel effect

One wonderful #Wikimedia tradition is to welcome newbies and as I am creating a lot of profiles, I am welcomed in many languages. Probably I am getting a lot of advise on what it is I am getting into, what I can do and how welcome I am to make a difference for that community.

On all my user pages I am adding Babel extension information. Not only do I indicate what languages I do speak, I also indicate that I do not speak the language that is local for that project.

Now that the Wikimedia Foundation is testing what messages send to users makes a difference, it seems obvious that a message in a language I do speak has a greater impact than a message in a language I do not know at all.

Asking for #Babel information is in a way exactly the same as asking people for their gender; it is to make sure that we address people in an appropriate way. There are plenty messages we want to share with our logged on users. Finding the best ones, translating them and using when appropriate will make me feel more appreciated, welcome and makes me more effective as well.
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