Any Questions?

When we added Questy Capture to our wikis the amount of spam dropped dramatically, but to be efficient we need many questions, used randomly.  We do have a few, but it would help to have a few more.  Today a single spammer hit both UserBase and TechBase.  Of course a determined human spammer is hard to defeat, but bots find this method quite difficult to beat.

A simple definition of a good question –

  • the answer must be simple enough for any interested person to know AND not language or culture dependent OR
  • the question must refer to something actually on the registration page display (which can include sidebar or footer)

Send your suggestions (including answers, multiple if appropriate)  to kde-www AT kde DOT org

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Speaking in Tongues – Part III

Still not found your niche? Here are some more possibilities.

You have translated everything available and maintenance doesn’t take much time –

Consider helping to translate the applications part of the KDE SC, or their documentation. Check on http://l10n.kde.org/teams-list.php to see if there is a translation team for your language already. Go to the team page and you will find out how to reach them. If there are any problems getting in contact with them, or if there is no team, you can always mail the central translation mailing list at kde-i18n-doc@kde.org.

You think that sounds daunting – there must be something more you can do? –

How about proof-reading translations to your own language? Sometimes a
complex sentence, on translation, doesn’t sound quite natural, or maybe it just
isn’t quite clear. Could you discuss it with the translator, helping to get a
clearer version? This is useful on the wikis, in the documentation and the messages and labels displayed in the applications.

If you are involved in translation at any level you probably know of other
tasks that users could help with. Why not add comments about those tasks? We
may have a reader that perfectly matches your need.


Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Speaking in Tongues – Part II

In Part I I said I would tell you how you can make a difference to the way your language is represented in UserBase, without it becoming an unsustainable time-sink.  Part II looks in more detail to help you find the right slot for your contribution.

The only thing we ask is that you use natural language.  Please do not simply paste in Google Translate output.  For all that it’s very helpful when you have to read a language you don’t understand, it cannot give output that will sound natural to your readers.  Similarly, if you see an English idiom that simply doesn’t make sense when translated literally, choose some expression that represents the same idea.

So – how can you contribute?

You have very little time but might manage a few minutes tomorrow –

There is the perfect task for you.  Take a look at http://userbase.kde.org/Translation_Help_Needed and follow the link to your language.  To help get consistency we need translations for category names. Check your language list and fill in any gaps.  This doesn’t take long, but is immensely important.  However small or large the time you can spare, please take this step first.

You don’t have much time, but sometimes find yourself waiting for a download or a compile to complete –

When those times occur, take a look at http://userbase.kde.org/Special:LanguageStats/your_language_code to find pages that need some love.  It’s easy to see whether a page needs full translation or whether there has been a small change to a page that needs updating.  Click on such a pagename, and you’ll see the messages that need your attention.

Sometimes it is an untranslatable name, such as “Plasma”, in which case you simply write in the name and it will be accepted as the translation.

You have a little more time, but it’s not unlimited, and you worry that it could become so.

Adopt a project – a page or set of pages on a subject that interests you, and help keep those pages up to date.  The sidebar link “Start Translating” will show you the status of different projects

Language Statistics in UserBase

Finding the pages that need love

You love your language and want to see it well represented.  You also like working with teams.

We can tell you how to find others that have registered to work with your language.  Why not join with them in a team, share ideas with them, and make your language stats rock 🙂

The language cloud

Visualising languages represented

You are already translating and your language does not already have a language team

Consider taking up the role of team leader for your language. It doesn’t require special skills, just the resolve to keep a eye on things regularly and the desire to make your language team successful.

Once again, the link to see the status of your language –


Happy translating – see you there!

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Speaking in Tongues – Part I

Thanks to the translation system installed on our wikis, we are making considerable progress in ensuring that information and help is available in many languages.  We now have 223 users registered to translate, in 48 languages! In a few cases we have active translators that are willing to be Team Leaders for their language, being named as contact for new translators and also for questions about translating to that language.  They do a magnificent job, often having a dedicated page on which specific advice to their team can be given.

As you can see, new translation occurs almost every day.

Translators in June 2012

No. of Translators active during June 2012

Sadly, half of the 47 languages have very little actually translated.  To see how your language is faring, take a look at http://userbase.kde.org/Special:SupportedLanguages

Of course you’d like to help, and of course you have very little time, so how can you help?  There are many ways, according to how your available time occurs.  Whether you can spare 5 minutes now, or 30 minutes regularly, you can make a difference!  Part II tells you how.

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So no-one needs new developers?

UserBase Logo

Why do we have a Development category on UserBase, when we said quite clearly, many times, that UserBase is for users, not for developers?  The answer is quite simple – developers were once users, and some, a few, users will become developers.  We don’t aim to have any how-to-develop information on UserBase, but it seems to me that it is only sensible to have brief information about the tools that are available and where to find information and support for them.  Unfortunately, I don’t use those tools, and I’m finding it very hard to get up-to-date information about the status of some of the tools.

The Development page has several gaps:

  • KBugbuster
  • KFileReplace
  • Kommander
  • KImageMapEditor
  • KLinkStatus
  • KXSLDbg

How can you help?  In a number of ways.  If you use one or more of these you could

  • Write a page about it – ideally in Mediawiki markup, but plain text together with screenshots would be a great help.  We have a new scratchpad area,
  • Use the app’s Talk page to give me links to decent material, both for the use of the app
  • and for any related Techbase pages
  • We have a new scratchpad area called Draft where you can start any outline for such information.

A few minutes of your time could help new developers get started, and who knows?  You may find yourself welcoming one of those into your project.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , , ,

Open-editing experiment failure

UserBase LogoLess than three weeks ago, at the WebWorld2011 sprint, we decided that we should open editing to all, no longer requiring registration.  During that time there has been an increase of spam, but we had a few genuine edits from people who were not logged in, and on that basis we decided that we would simply deal with the spam and keep editing open.  Yuri Chornoivan has taken the brunt of it, because much of it arrives during the night in my time-zone.  Last night, though, the situation took a turn for the worse.

Previous to that, we were getting registrations that posted pages with external links.  They were a nuisance, but easily spotted, and in numbers we could handle.  The last 24 hours has brought a threefold increase, and of a very different kind.  These are all from unregistered users, and consist of content of existing pages being deleted and inanities inserted.  This moves into an entirely different league, and is intolerable.  I have therefore requested that the sysadmins close editing again.

To those of you who used unregistered editing to add useful information, I thank you, and hope you will continue to add your wisdom.  Registering is still a fairly open process.  You do not have to wait for a confirmation email, or even to give an email address, though we do recommend that you do, as there are advantages such as allowing us to re-set your password if needed.  (Your email address is not visible to other users, at any point.)

I’m sad that we have to take this step, but if any of you read Mediawiki mailing lists you will be aware that many wikis are suffering similarly.  I would like to think that we could open editing again at some future time.

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Make it Easy for Yourself

You start to write about your application –

OK, you will need a front page and a couple of sub-pages – that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?  Many people have done just this on UserBase.  Some write directly onto new pages, some are happier to draft their work first, so use sub-pages of their User-space pages, and that works fine.  With our without the help of the UserBase Admins, the content can then be pasted into the correct tree structure and the draft removed – and everyone’s happy.  But what if you want to write a whole manual?

As the Amarok team have discovered, it’s a whole new ball-game.  You start with a Contents page, listing all the pages you think you’ll need, and you start to build.  Before you finish I’ll guarantee that you’ve thought of something that would have been better on a page of its own.  As it happens, that’s not a big problem – you can edit the contents page and create a new page that way.  But wait – what seemed good organisation to start with is less convincing now, and maybe it would be better to move things around, re-organise a little.  Hmm – not so bad!  There’s a little icon for Move – ah yes, it moves the page to the structure you want and even leaves a re-direct behind, in case someone uses the old link.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  Unfortunately this is where it starts to come unstuck.  Once you’ve finished, the Translators move in – and where should their links point?  If they translate from the original they probably will use the original link, which is now a re-direct.  That’s not good.  We have to clean up re-directs, in that case, and that’s when we find that moved pages have been moved yet again, causing double-redirects – an even bigger job for cleaning up.  You see, we can’t just delete them – there could be a number of pages that link to the old page, so we have to track all links, and in the case of the double-redirect we have to do that for both levels of old pages.  It can be quite difficult to follow, but it’s a necessary part.  Happily we have almost finished the double-redirects – heaven preserve us from triple-redirects!

“So you said I could make it easy for myself?”

We think so.  It’s experimental, yes, but it should help anyone starting new documentation.  Most of what you see on UserBase is in the “Main” namespace, but today we have opened up a new namespace called “Draft”.  You can start your documentation there without worrying about the issues I’ve just talked about.  Move things around as much as you like – just remember that in the end any page links will need sorting!

The idea is that when the pages are ready we can simply move the whole structure into the Main namespace if any redirects have been dealt with, but if it has proved more complex and things have been moved around a lot we can use Copy/Paste to create the Main pages from the Draft ones, fixing links as we go and losing all the redirects on the way.

One last thing – you have to be the main writer for your documentation, and you are used to an entirely different kind of mark-up, finding that attempting Mediawiki mark-up gets you utterly confused.  We can handle that too – and again the Draft namespace is the best place to do it.  Put your plain text there.  Add any markup that will be obvious to us, for instance <bullets>,  and we will help you get it looking the way you want.

Using Draft  should remove a good deal of anxiety and hassle, but we need you to try it out.  Take a look at Draft and let us know what you need to make it even better for you to draft your documentaion.  See you there!


Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: ,

WebWord2011 – Day – which day?

There is a strange sort of time-warp.  We can’t remember which day it is, yet the week is disappearing fast.  Most of the time I’ve been working with a group on UserBase issues.  Matthias (Pipesmoker) Meßmer has been on-call to fix many theming or display issues that we identified, while Niklas (Nikerabbit) Laxström, our wonderful Translate extension author, has added new features for our delight.

In the past, we used “Special:myLanguage” markup to help “other-language-speakers” to get the correct language page, but when you were working on a page, adding a link with that markup did not show the essential red-link that warns you that the page is not yet created.  Now it does show a red-link, which makes life so much easier for all contributors.

Another “big deal” for us was that there were times when it was decided that a page had been poorly named, or wrongly inserted into the page structure.  Because some of our translators are so diligent, we acquired translations of the page almost immediately, and before the problem was realised.   Once a page had translations added it was not possible to move it.  Now, thanks to yet another of Niklas’ efforts, a page together with all its translations can be moved to a new location.

You may remember that Claus Christensen is our Danish translator for UserBase.  He and I have worked mainly on improving accessibility.  Over the lifetime of UserBase we have added a great deal of help for users and contributors, yet people have found it difficult to find the exact function they needed.  We decided that extra sidebar links were necessary.  Again, Matthias and Niklas had to help the more arcane needs, but finding your way around should be very much easier.

Previously we have thought that it is not necessary to translate help pages, on the grounds that in order to translate you have to have a good grasp of English.  Recently, though, Zhao Han pointed out to me that for people who use other-script languages it can be helpful to see translations of help pages, so we worked on that too.

Lots of small changes have happened too, mostly the sort that you don’t notice when they are right, but you would have seen when they were not so good.

Finally, Hans (Mogger) Chen decided that UserBase needed its own strong logo.  He designed a possible logo, then took it to Eugene (it-s) Trounev, who assessed the practicalities and started on “the real design”.  So – watch out for that before the end of the week.

Oddly enough, even through all the long days of activity, we still have managed to have fun.  Eugene’s prowess in the kitchen is now known, and I’m sure he’ll be in much demand in the future too.  I’ve never tried handling food on a swinging barbecue before – and probably won’t again!  You need more hands than an octopus to hold everything steady.  We’ve had wonderful warm, sunny weather, so whenever the head needed clearing we’ve sat outside and discussed things, but we’ve been careful, because the first day some of us were sunburned before we realised what was happening.

I’m so impressed with the amount of work we’ve managed in the time, and will be pushing for a repeat sprint to bring the next set of improvements.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: ,

Translation Teams for UserBase

I promised to nag you about UserBase, and here we are, already in April, and I haven’t said a word. Yet.

New content on UserBase is still slow to arrive, but we’ll talk about that another day. Today I’m looking at the position on translations.

If you haven’t looked lately, you will be surprised to hear that our landing page, Welcome_to_KDE_UserBase, is already translated into 30 languages. Sadly, I can’t say the same about any other page. Still, it’s not all gloom – there is some nice news too. Following the suggestion of a member of our localisation team, we have begun the creation of Translation Teams. This is in the very early stages, but the idea is that Team Leaders will keep an eye on any work done in their language, and provide any guidelines that are language-specific, so that a standard can be maintained. So far we have nine volunteers (some, army-style volunteered, I’ll admit 🙂 ) and although their teams are very small at the moment, we hope to make more people active in this field. 131 people have registered to do some translation, so there is plenty of room for growth in output.

We now have 392 pages within the translation system. Let’s see how some of the languages are faring. These statistics reflect the number of pages that are wholly or partly translated to the language.

Top of the league are Ukrainian and Danish, with all 392 pages translated. Yurchor and Claus_chr have been working hard for us since we first launched the system, and deserve a medal each. After that, there are:

    Italian 297
    Spanish 255
    Chinese (China) 183
    Taiwanese 155
    German 144
    French 117
    Russian 108
    Catalan 92
    Brazilian Portuguese 86
    Dutch 64
    Romanian 59
    Turkish 40
    Japanese 32
    Indonesian 31
    Polish 28
    Rusyn 21
    Portuguese 20
    Swedish 18
    Galician 17
    Czech 15
    Finnish 14
    Simplified Chinese 8
    Korean 3
    Bosnian 3
    Esperanto 2
    Hungarian 1
    Slovak 1

Surprised at some of these numbers? I was.  Pleasingly, I’m seeing good growth in Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Taiwanese (one man doing both language variants) and Catalan, but some of the other languages are surprisingly slow.

As always, if you have questions about helping, join us on IRC, #kde-www, or simply leave a message for me on my UserBase Talk page.

Written by annew in: KDE | Tags: , ,

Another year almost gone – so what’s happening to Translations?

A couple of days ago I signed up our 99th translator, and thought about how nice it would be if we could pass 100 before the year end. Amazingly, two more signed up today – so we have passed our milestone! This made me think about the information we have about translators for different languages, and how useful it will be in the future if we can list translators working in specific languages, so I set out to create a sortable wikitable with the information from the sign-up page (which will be archived at the year end in preparation for the next wave ). Testing time.

There seemed to be quite a lot of German translators signed up, so that seems a good place to start. http://userbase.kde.org/Translator_Account/2010 is my table, so click on the Sort icon for Language Code. 16 registered translators for German – that can’t be bad, can it? The translation stats must be pretty impressive. Let’s look at them – http://userbase.kde.org/index.php?title=Special:LanguageStats&code=de

Nice and green for a start – that’s encouraging – but wait! Scroll down a bit! What are those enormous lumps of red? With all the KDE people from Germany is this really the best we can do? Come on, Meine Freunde! Your readership needs you!

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

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