OpenWetWare talk:Community development/Non-English versions

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Topic: What is the best way / is it a good idea to integrate non-English language versions of OWW?

Some pages related to Synthetic Biology are currently being translated on OpenWetWare - they can be found here: Biología Sintética. We are very excited about the idea of bringing synthetic biology to a larger audience, particularly one that has had little exposure to it, however we need to consider how this meshes best with OpenWetWare. A couple issues:

  1. The current approach of using the same wiki for spanish and english pages means search results/recent changes will come up in both languages, diminishing the user experience for those who only speak one of the languages.
  2. Wikipedia's approach of using seperate wiki's would require independent logins for English and Spanish OWW versions, as well as independent administration of two wikis. (i.e. upgrades, extensions, etc).
  3. OWW is not Wikipedia, I think the Spanish-speaking users on OWW would likely not just want to translate every page directly (as they would for an encyclopedia),but rather they would likely want to develop a community where discussions could take place in Spanish, new pages could be created that don't have a direct corralary in the English OWW, etc.

I fully appreciate that the "Spanish community" currently consists of one person excited about translating the synthetic biology pages, however I think we need to at least think briefly about what sort of support we are hoping to provide in the long term for non-English languages. Because we may be doing a disservice to Mauricio if we encourage him to build a community on OWW, only to ask them to move to a seperate wiki if that community grows so large as to make search results cumbersome. For instance, the smartest thing for him to do might be to start a spanish wiki devoted to synthetic biology and then occaisonally scrape OWW for new content worth moving over, as well as build a Spanish-speaking community to generate new content on their wiki. I think we can play it by ear for a little while for sure, but wanted to at least seed the discussion. Jasonk 18:02, 9 March 2006 (EST)


The main motivation of incorporating Spanish information has been three-fold:

1) to reach out to the approximately 400 million people whose main language is Spanish around the world to educate them on the subject and to help dissipate misconceptions and fears of a new technology that may arise;

2) to engage scientists who are interested or may already be working in this or related fields of research and promote interaction/collaboration with groups in the US; and

3) to harvest the potential wealth of research data that normally would not be accessible to us and that could fuel advancement in the field.

That having been said, I agree with Jason's points of view. The original intent has not been to simply provide a direct translation of the Synthetic Bioloy pages already in existence, but rather to have a wiki site that serves as a platform to engage a curious and trained audience on a discussion of the issues, scientific, social, ethical, political and economical derived from this line of research and its potential applications.

Along the process it was suggested that the idea of a "Spanish version of OWW" would be welcome and it was thought that, initially, translating the already existing material, would facilitate take-off of a distinctly separate wiki for Spanish speakers.

It is evident to me that running and maintaining a wiki community is a significant undertaking. My knowledge and experience about wiki development is very limited (the past 7 days!). My original request when approaching this community was related to whether you would be able to help me with this, first by allowing me to host the Spanish wiki pages on the same system as OWW and in this way facilitate their administration. Perhaps, once the community grows (and I understand it will take a great effort to achieve this) it will, as most mature children, become independent instead of becoming a strain for the OWW community. In any case, I am already very appreciative of the support I have already received for this idea and hope that we will be able to promote it together. --Maurod 21:57, 9 March 2006 (EST)

  • Jasonk 00:27, 10 March 2006 (EST): I think that sounds very reasonable, if it gets to the point where the Spanish community has gotten large enough to warrant a separate wiki then it will be a good problem to have anyway ;) Looking forward to seeing more spanish pages get online, let us know if you run into any issues.


Searching for Biología Sintética

When I try to access the Biologia Sintetica page by searching for it using the OWW search box I don't get any results. When you search for Biología Sintética with the accents, it does bring you straight to the correct page. It seems like it doesn't recognize that Biologia Sintetica and Biología Sintética are supposed to be the same thing. Can this be fixed? --Meaganl 17:30, 16 March 2006 (EST)

  • This is expected: "Biologia Sintetica" and "Biología Sintética" are two different strings of text (accented characters are not the same as non-accented characters). One solution would be to setup a redirect from the former to the latter. --Ilya 17:41, 16 March 2006 (EST)
  • Austin 17:44, 16 March 2006 (EST): yeah exactly what Ilya said. What I was about to say: well I added a redirect. However, I'm not really sure what you think needs to be fixed. Either the accents matter or they don't. If you don't think the pages should contain accents, then the page titles should not use accents to make things easier. But Biologia Sintetica and Biología Sintética aren't the same thing and I don't see why the wiki is supposed to automatically treat them as the same.
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