I can see why it may have been built his way to begin with; to try to be more inclusive, but it clearly isn’t working. By stats alone, English out-paces the next category by 50:1, and others are far less.
I see a lot of people don’t even bother, like this person:
And I don’t blame them, since it’s clear that 99% of the activity is in English. Traditional Chinese has 13 posts in the last 2 1/2 years, and Simplified Chinese isn’t that much better.
Are the categories even serving a purpose? Would there be more value in utilizing front-page real estate by coming up with more meaningful categories? (And just allow people to post in whatever language they want anywhere in the site).
I’m not sure what the best solution is, maybe by product (Workstation, Silverblue, CoreOS). Or maybe by subsystem (Graphics, Networking, Booting). But anything would seem to be better than how it is currently.
You nailed it. There is more “Site Feedback” posts per month than posts in the second most active language (Spanish).
In my personal opinion, we could close them, or at least not open new ones as recently suggested.
In another Discourse forum, I have seen the (automatic) translation tool being turned on. Of course, translations are not 100% (especially when it comes to technical terms) but often they are good enough to solve a problem; similar to the example pasted in the initial post where apparently Google Translate was used.
Yes, I do see that the languages aren’t used as much as other. However, that’s not quite the point. the point is that Fedora is a global community, and so if a community member does want to support users that do not speak English, the forum needs to be setup to be able to do so.
We haven’t set up strict rules as to when a language category can be considered inactive, but that’s not hard to do.
If other language categories annoy you, please just mute them. (We don’t need to change the site for that.)
What I’m not for is to go back to the discussion about setting up more categories based on products and spins and subsystem what not. There’s no one single axis that clearly defines queries especially before folks on the forum have discussed them to see what the issue really is, so leaving it loose is just the best thing to do.
Just thinking out loud… would it be better to make a “Beyond English” category and put the existing non-English categories under that? On the one hand, that kind of reinforces the inequality. On the other, the difference is real in practice (by the overwhelming numbers) and at least that bigger category would have more activity in aggregate.
Currently, the front page is a list of mostly inactive categories and this could help with that appearance at least.
Yes, I came across that I think in the previous discussion about expanding language options. I see there are at least a couple issues with this though:
It changes the focus from who this forum wants to cater to (multiple languages), and who this forum can cater to (who is willing to moderate). If the goal of the forum is to try to be inclusive to everyone, you can’t have that without sufficient people who want to moderate. In the current situation, the forum is trying to be open to everyone, but at the same time it is not. For instance it gives the impression that Fedora supports Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and Arabic speakers more than German, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, etc.
You might be able to start with 2 moderators, but will they stick around? It’s clear that most of these other languages are not very active. So unless these mods are incentivized to stick around by also participating in the English forum, they’re going to go away. Are the mods for the current language options actively visiting this site anymore? Or even more poignantly, would anyone even notice if a category’s moderators didn’t exist? In which case, why the need for the mods? It’s not much work to put the ~20 non-english posts per month through Google Translate to ensure they’re not spam/inappropriate.
Right here! Which ones of these do you speak? Would you like to moderate the category?
Or is your expectation that someone like me that speaks neither of these somehow moderates categories for them? Are we now saying “unless we represent everyone, we can’t represent anyone?” I don’t think we’ve ever taken this path in Fedora. We help whoever we can with our resources, and we’re always very aware that we can almost never support everyone.
That’s not quite right, though. Saying “yes” to A, B, C, does not imply saying “no” to D, E, F. It’s logically wrong—the question hasn’t been asked for D, E, F yet.
Our code of conduct and our community values in general make it quite clear that we do not exclude people by default—so maybe we should all go read the CoC again to remind ourselves to assume that we all do things with the best of intentions.
This is not quite how it is. The mods here often have more roles in the community which allows them to connect more people with the forum—a lot of us are also involved with our regional Fedora communites/circles for example.
Next, you’re only looking at the current state. Let’s say we don’t have mods for languages. What happens if a language category does get active? Do we then go looking for mods? What if we can’t find any? So, that’s not how we plan. We plan by assuming that the category will be active, and we need to have resources for that situation. If it doesn’t scale, that’s fine, but we’re prepared. It’s a bit like saying “do I need to save money for rent this month, or maybe I’ll just wait to see if the landlord remembers to ask for it and then see where to find the money?”
So we need mods. That’s not an issue in my book.
I also don’t think we need incentives to monitor the forum. If I look at the categories and there’s nothing for me to answer/moderate, that’s fine too. It doesn’t mean that I won’t come back the next day or a few days later to check again. So mods for categories that aren’t as active do the same—maybe at a lesser frequency, and yes nothing stops them from participating in any other language that they can.
In my book, the issue is merely getting more regional communities involved. That’s quite a common, persistent problem with most FOSS communities because it requires us to work on the ground at the grass root level, and that’s not easy to do for a community of volunteers (even without a pandemic).
The appearance doesn’t really bother me. Do people really look at them and feel negatively?
I’d also prefer this and make the one primary category language independent . Note that we’ll still need mods that speak languages other than English, and we’d still have to note somewhere that community members speaking languages X, Y, Z can help.
I am a relatively new user to this forum, and yes, my first impression of this site was questionable. The home page that highlights multiple stagnant “main” categories is not a good look. I think it’s also a good thing to realize that the people coming to this site are users looking for help, and not contributors/Fedora members. They probably don’t even know about the CoC, let alone care to read it. All they know is what is what they see in front of them. Like it or not, perception is reality, and that was my honest perception as a new user - that there is emphasis/importance placed on specifically those languages above others.
Seems like I might have struck a nerve with opening this thread, but I just wanted to put my reaction to this site here because I thought a “new user” perspective might be useful. Do with that as you will.
I think at the moment we have one data point, and that cannot currently be used to speak for “all users”. We can always do a user poll here to see if having categories for languages that they don’t speak and so use bothers them.
This sort of links into lots of other things. For example: do you use all the software that your laptop/workstation/Fedora installation comes with, that your fridge comes with, that your television comes with? Does it bother you that there’s all this stuff that you don’t use, or do you just ignore it? Do you go about uninstalling/removing each one? (Most people don’t, they just ignore what they don’t use).
What this has highlighted to me, personally, is that we probably need to do a little more to make our users aware of the community’s values. We’re not in the business of providing software—that’s not Fedora. That’s just our path to promoting our community values. (It’s why we’ve now started to use Fedora to refer to the community, and Fedora Linux to refer to all our artefacts).
Here’s another thing, for example: just by using Fedora, you already are a community member. We don’t have “users” and “developers”. We’re all community members that do different roles depending on their interests.
So maybe we also need to talk a lot more about the community model of development that we follow, which is very different from the corporate model that most people are used to.
A few reasons for me:
we may be able to use translate to answer queries, but that does not then lend itself to helping new community members integrate better with the community. Native speakers act as links to regional Fedora communities, so I’d prefer those. Us using translators also does not quite show users how global a community Fedora is.
another one is accountability: will everyone be encouraged/required to use translation tools to answer questions in languages they don’t speak? how do we guarantee that someone will respond? Having mods explicitly allows us to at least tag two people who we know for sure can help, or at least respond. It’s their responsibility to look after queries in the language they moderate.
the tool of choice for translation can be an issue (to me): not everyone wants to use Google services, for example, and it certainly isn’t FOSS.
So, I think as my responses will indicate—even when we’re answering queries here, we’re doing it with the final goal of spreading our community values. So I try to think of things with that in view.
Perhaps I was misunderstood - none of this “bothers” me. The goal of this post was not to try to remove something that I find bothersome, but rather to start a conversation on whether we could make the site better.
I was hoping the conversation would revolve around brainstorming whether there is a better use of top-level categories and homepage real estate to serve the community better.
For instance, we could come up with categories that sort the incoming questions into better buckets. Or not, and consolidate them to simplify. We could move languages into the “Tags” instead, so there would still be a method of searching/sorting them individually.
In the end, I agree that I am a voice of one. And if the majority think that the current system is the best that it can be, then I don’t have a problem with that either.
I understand why it would preferable to have members of the local community as mods.
On the other hand, making speakers of certain languages feel excluded or unsupported to enable that preference seems to be going too far.
Of course everyone won’t use translation tools. But we don’t need everyone to do so. We just need a subset of the population to do so.
Conversely, what happens when the two people who do speak that language don’t have the answer to the technical question being asked? We all have things we know about and things we don’t.
To be honest, we can’t guarantee a question will get answered no matter what language it is posted in.
I don’t use google translate either. But there are lots of translation services. That being said, we don’t need everyone to do so. If someone isn’t comfortable, there is no requirement for it to happen.
The idea initially was to group by desktop environment which was the broadest and yet most specific category system—especially one that end users will quickly be able to relate to. However, further discussion led to us changing this in favour of more vaguely defined categories. With “software”, there’s no way to really define what tool gets its own category and what doesn’t. Additionally, it requires more work from the staff (admins—since only they can create categories) who will have to constantly monitor posts, create categories (and sync all languages?)
You can read more on how the current categories came about here: