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全域模板/擬議規格

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This page is a translated version of the page Global templates/Proposed specification and the translation is 32% complete.
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Татары, узбеки и ненцы
И весь украинский народ,
И даже приволжские немцы
К себе переводчиков ждут.
И может быть в эту минуту
Меня на турецкий язык
Японец какой переводит
И в самую душу проник.

— Осип Мандельштам

這是對全域模板和模組的功能需求的提案。

你也可以閱讀本提案的一頁版本

这不是任何人在任何定义的时间点正在执行或计划要执行的项目,至少现在还没有。这只是一个想法,尽管非常详细。

最终目标是通过适当的架构、产品、项目管理和社群参与等方面,来实现一个跨团队和跨项目的承诺。

本文档没有尝试在存储、缓存、传送和PHP代码设计等方面详细介绍技术实现。它只是尝试从用户的角度定义此功能的工作方式要求:

  1. 创建和维护模板和模块的人。
  2. 创建和编辑包含模板和模块的页面的人员。这包括所有编辑者和各种页面:
    • 各种级别的经验:从对模板完全陌生的人到进行过数千次编辑的人
    • 各种编辑工具:维基语法编辑、可视化编辑器、内容翻译器及其它(包括机器人操作者)
    • 所有维基:维基百科、维基词典、维基导游、维基数据、孵化场以及任何未来的新计划
    • 所有语言:英语、法语、俄语、西班牙语、亚美尼亚语、波斯语、祖鲁语、马尼普里语等。
    • 所有页面:维基百科条目、条目讨论页面、用户讨论页面、社群讨论页面、维基计划页面、分类、模板文档页面等。 {{🌎🌍🌏}}

Elevator pitch

维基媒体网站的大部分功能是通过模板和Lua模块实现的。 目前,它们无法在不同的维基和语言之间共享。因此,它们很难与创建和编辑条目(可视化编辑器、维基数据和内容翻译器)的现代方法相集成,并且很难适应移动设备。 这会浪费贡献者的精力,并给新的编辑人员和较小的项目带来困难。在维基站点之间共享是可能實現的,就像是維基共享資源的圖片,這将使软件开发更快、更可靠,并使编辑者可以将更多精力放在编写文本上。 {{🌎🌍🌏}}

问题

一般注释:除非另有说明,否则所有对“模板”的引用也适用于ScribuntoLua模块、

Templates implement features of Wikimedia sites. Some of these features are highly prominent, especially the infoboxes, the references, “citation needed”, and many others. All the readers see them, and all the editors run into them in almost every edit action. In addition, they implement many of the sites’ internal community management features: requests for deletion, requests for unblocking, expressing support in discussions, sorting articles for WikiProjects, etc.

模板提供了一种有效的机制,可以在许多页面中快速设计、部署和使用重复的文本和标记。但是,模板对于所有类型的编辑者也存在一些严重的可用性问题。

所有维基中所有编辑者的困难

维基语法编辑者

维基语法的编辑者通常很难理解模板。具有使用特定模板经验的人可能会识别出该模板,并能够编辑包含该模板的页面。但是,不熟悉此模板的编辑者在遇到该模板时将不得不查找其文档,即使他们通常具有编辑和其他模板的经验。经验不足的编辑者将对带有弯花括号、竖线字符、等号等的神秘文本感到困惑。

使用以模板形式实现的功能,需要知道模板的名称并用大括号({{}})键入或从另一个页面复制它。对于新用户而言,这并不明显,老用户也必须分别学习每个新模板。

某些维基上有一些小工具,这些小工具添加了一些按钮,这些按钮可将该项目中常见的模板插入到编辑工具栏中。尽管许多模板在项目和语言之间具有相似的功能,但每个维基中的这些都不同。

可视化编辑器用户

VisualEditor users have some advantages with using templates, however there are many issues with them there as well. In particular, there is a similar discoverability issue: In Visual Editor, all the templates’ functionality is hidden behind the “插入 → 模板” menu item, and the user has to know the template name before using it.

Visual Editor’s “插入” menu has items for Math formulas, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Musical scores, and some other functions that are implemented as extensions, but it doesn’t have items such as “Infobox”, “Citation needed”, “Unit conversion”, “Quotation”, etc. 所有模板都是同一种通用项目。

有一个值得注意的例外:一些维基具有“引用”按钮,该按钮会插入带有参考模板的脚注。 但是,这是证明规则的例外。 即使是基本功能,也需要手动配置,此配置在每个维基中都是单独的,因此许多维基根本没有此按钮。 Another comparable exception, which was added in late 2019, is special support for “Citation needed” templates, but this also needs some custom configuration on each and every wiki to actually work.

编写多个项目的编辑者的困难

Keep what ya got by giving it all away.
Keep what ya got by giving it all away.
Keep what ya got,
Hold it, don’t stop,
Keep what ya got by giving it all away.

— Ian Brown

Many templates exist in one project, but not in others, and often a template is available, but in a different form. Because of this it’s difficult or impossible to reuse skills that were acquired in one project: the functionality that the template provides is sometimes unavailable and sometimes it works differently. This applies not just to wikis in different languages, but also to different wikis in the same language, for example English Wikipedia and English Wikisource.

For people editing in different languages, templates make translation harder. When translating a page, templates are much harder to handle than the article text (“prose”), whether the translation is done manually or with Content Translation. Users often have to skip the template or to correct it after the article was published. This also causes abandoning translations in progress, because template translation looks intimidating.

内容翻译中最常报告的问题与模板有关。

Content Translation has a template adaptation feature, which automates some parts of this process, but it works only if a corresponding template exists in both languages, and if all the parameters were meticulously mapped by the template maintainers. This must be done for each template in each language separately and manually, and continuously maintained when the source template changes. This happens even though the templates’ function across the languages is the same most of the time.

Ideally, the templates and their parameters should be transferred to the translated page almost completely automatically, so that the translators could focus on writing the prose, as writing the prose is the area where human work is most needed.

A template can be exported from one wiki to another, but once this is done, the template becomes a forked copy. It either stays in the state in which it was exported, or continues to be developed separately, causing incompatibility. Sometimes people keep maintaining the different copies, but this is not robust and cannot scale for the hundreds of wikis that we have.

Template parameters can have the same functionality, but different names in different wikis. They can be adapted using TemplateData aliases, but this is a suboptimal hack: it is not what TemplateData was originally made for, and it has to be done manually for each language pair.

Templates mix together algorithmic logic, human-readable text strings, and formatting. Because of this there is no robust way to translate the templates’ user interface strings, as it is done with MediaWiki core and extensions.

Difficulties for editors in smaller wikis

A new wiki project is created by installing core MediaWiki and enabling a default set of extensions. In practice this doesn’t create a level playing field because a lot of the key features of larger wikis is implemented in templates: infoboxes, citations, maintenance hatnotes (such as {{Unreferenced}}), etc.

软件开发人员遇到的困难

For developers of MediaWiki core, extensions, bots, and other tools that analyze, generate, or modify wiki page content it is difficult to develop features that depend on the presence of certain templates in a wiki. Developers of extensions such as GrowthExperiments, PageTriage, ContentTranslation, some components of Wikibase, and many others, have to either test them in production, which is a bad idea, or to import the templates to their local wikis or an online test wiki.

Researchers who get data about wiki content based on templates have to write their analysis code for each wiki separately, and sometimes they end up doing for only one wiki. A notable example is using English Wikipedia’s WikiProject templates to analyze page topics and assess article quality.

{{🌎🌍🌏}}

假设

扩展与模板:异同

One of the main assumptions of this project proposal is that templates and modules are very similar to MediaWiki core and extensions: They are software, and they implement features that the editors community needs. In particular, since templates are usually developed by the editors themselves, it’s obvious that the community really needs them. The big differences between lie in how they are developed, localized, and deployed.

Templates and modules should become similar to extensions in some key properties that they currently lack, and preserve some good properties that extensions lack. (For ease of understanding by English readers, in the table, examples of templates are given from the English Wikipedia. They could also come from any other wiki and any other language.)

属性 核心和扩展 模板 使用模板对此应该怎么做?
实施特殊的内容 是。

图像、数学、象形文字、乐谱、基本参考

是。

Chess diagram

└ Special kind of content is easy to insert into pages Yes (using the toolbar). No (unless you learned how to do it). 应该更换。
└ Special kind of content is easy to adapt to mobile devices 通常是。 有时。 应该更换。
└ Special kind of content is easy to translate as part of an article 通常是。 否。 应该更换。
Implement page formatting features 是。

gallery, poem

是。

Image array, Columns, Quote, Navbox, Infobox

Implement community workflow processes 是。

滥用过滤器,用户查核,移动

是。

Admincheck, Proposed deletion

Should be easy to reuse, but not forced.
Easy to deploy initial version 否。 是。 应该保存。
Easy to deploy changes 否。 是。 应该保存。
易于本地化 是。 否。 应该更换。
Useful on multiple wikis 经常。 经常。
Used only on a limited number of wikis 有时。

Josa, TocTree

有时。

New Zealand English, Units attention

Easy to install and use on multiple wikis 是。 否。 应该更换。
Easy to use on a new, recently created wiki 是。 否。 应该更换。

Templates and modules development skills

Another important set of assumptions on which this proposal is based is the following:

  • The skills for developing templates and modules are non-trivial. Both templates and modules have a lot of obscure features.
  • Even though many of the sites’ most notable features are implemented as templates and modules, these skills are often unnoticed, underappreciated, and taken for granted.
  • There are dozens of people who have these skills, and they edit many wikis. They usually focus on their home wiki and relatively rarely communicate with contributors from other wikis or other languages. Even though the underlying technology is the same everywhere, there is no true global community of template developers that would be comparable to the global community of MediaWiki core and extensions developers. There are cases of cross-wiki collaboration on certain templates, but they are inconsistent.
  • There are also many wikis in which there are no editors who have these skills. They either copy templates and modules from other wikis without fully understanding how they work and without the ability to localize and maintain them effectively, or they don’t use templates at all.

This situation is far from optimal. The template and module developers’ skills need more appreciation. They develop truly needed features, and they are embedded in their editors communities. In wikis in many languages, the template developers come up with innovative features for structured content, data presentation, and modularization. These innovations could be useful in many wikis, but currently there is no convenient mechanism to achieve this.

And of course, any solution for these problems must not come up with completely new technologies that will discard the many years of hands-on experience that the template maintainers have acquired. Hence, there must be as few changes as possible in the syntax for developing templates and modules. The things that need to change are the way in which they are deployed and propagated across wikis, and the way in which the human-readable strings in them are localized (translated).

{{🌎🌍🌏}}

提议的解决方案:摘要

MediaWiki已经具有许多跨维基全域的功能:

必须能够将模板和模块存储在全域存储库中,并像扩展一样强大地本地化它们。

全域模板和模块将使所有维基的模板维护者能够更轻松地协作来开发模板的代码,从而为他们提供支持。

全域模板和模块将使翻译人员和本地化人员能够专注于仅翻译用户界面字符串(“消息”),而无需在代码中寻找字符串,并允许他们使用相同的技能和工具来翻译模板和MediaWiki扩展。

全域模板和模块将使所有维基中的内容编辑者能够编写和翻译使用这些模板的内容,而不必深入研究每个维基中的差异并重新学习不同的规则和技能。

开发模板和模块的语法以及一般的模板维护和部署周期不会改变,因此模板维护者多年来积累的所有技能将保持相关性。

所有维基都将能够使用全域模板,但不必强制这样做。社群将保持其覆盖任何全域功能、设计、工作流和数据的能力。

本地化模板将与本地化MediaWiki扩展一样方便。 {{🌎🌍🌏}}

提议的解决方案:详细要求

模板必须具有语义且适用全域

语义是指尤其是可视化编辑器和内容翻译器的其他软件组件,必须具有一种通用的方式来理解模板的存在并提供某些功能,以便可以将模板作为模板插入页面中。信息框、参考来源、维护标记等,而不仅仅是通用模板。当前,使模板语义最接近的是模板数据,但它仅描述模板的参数。例如,它不能帮助可视化编辑器将“插入信息框”按钮添加到工具栏。

全域是指模板的代码必须保存在一个地方,并且可以在所有维基中使用。

使模板具有语义

Templates have never been robustly semantic, in the sense of being easy to handle by software that processes pages.

There are only a few examples of templates that were made semantic:

  • 各种引用模板,可从可视化编辑器工具栏的“引用”按钮使用。 他们需要编写大量单独的代码来在每个想要使用它们的维基上配置Citoid。
  • “来源请求”于2019年末能在可视化编辑器上使用。它还需要在每个Wiki上进行配置。例如:英语希伯来语斯洛文尼亚语。在撰写本文时,即使法语,西班牙语和大多数其他语言都具有此类模板,也尚未为此配置。(任务T211243
  • Flow扩展中用于提及用户的模板也需要本地配置。
  • 一些转储处理和研究工具可以解析英语维基百科的维基计划页面评级模板,该模板通常添加到讨论页面中。
  • The GrowthExperiments extension suggests editors to perform certain tasks in articles based on the templates that are transcluded in them. The template names have to be configured manually by writing JSON files separately in each wiki. For example: Czech, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic.
  • The PageTriage extension is configured to work with English Wikipedia’s hatnote templates (also known as “tags”).

In the case of PageTriage, the extension essentially hard-codes a single wiki’s templates, making it unusable in other wikis without a significant rewrite. Even if the on-wiki configuration step is small, as it is with the Flow example, it still needs to be done. This doesn’t scale well for the 900 wikis that Wikimedia has, and the thousands that it will have in the future.

These things should be global by default, so that they will be immediately usable in at least a basic default configuration on all wikis at once by extensions, bots, dump analyzers, etc.

储存和运输

全域模板和模块可以存储在中央维基(元维基、维基共享资源或一个全新的维基)中,甚至可以是Gerrit或其他存储库。

最好的解决方案可能是创建一个新的维基,将其存储起来,而不会与图像、一般社群讨论等混淆。

使用Gerrit作为模板和模块代码的存储空间在技术上是可行的,但是它将失去模板维护者可访问性的重要元素:对于大多数模板维护者而言,在维基页面中编辑模板要比使用Git提交和等待代码审阅轻松得多。因此,Gerrit可能不应该成为存储模板和模块代码的一种方式,至少不是主要的一种。

全域模板和模块必须存储在可以由大多数维基编辑者编辑的公共存储库中。有关阻止和特殊权限的规则最初应与其他维基中的规则相似:默认情况下应打开所有内容,并且必须保护非常常见、敏感或经常被破坏的模板。稍后,编辑社群可以制定有关保护级别的更详细规则。

How the templates are delivered to the target wikis is a question of internal engineering and architecture, as long as the other requirements are addressed. These questions were discussed in the past by some platform developers, for example around the Shadow namespaces project. This document tries to address related questions of how it works for the user who edits a page that uses a template, or who maintains the template itself—how to write it in a localizable way; how is it translated; how is it locally customized; etc. These questions weren’t addressed sufficiently in the previous architectural discussions on the topic.

模板必须保持易于修改

模板当前工作方式的一个重要特征是,它们像维基页面一样被编辑,并且在发布后无需查看或部署即可立即生效。这有点危险,因为不正确的编辑可能会破坏许多页面,但事实是,它大部分都能正常工作。

This ease must be preserved. Community members who maintain templates will most likely reject moving to a new system that will require them to learn completely new skills and drag every change through an exhausting review and deployment phase. This probably means that storing the templates in Gerrit is not going to work, unless, perhaps, the process for review and deployment will be much easier than it is for extensions.

必须可以使某些模板非全域

并非所有模板都应强制为全域模板。

实际上,某些模板应该是本地的,因为它们实现了特定语言所独有的功能。从本质上讲,此类模板不需要翻译,应该有一种方法可以向人工编辑和翻译工具(例如“内容翻译”)提示它们不需要进行改编,并且可以跳过或替换。这是使模板更具语义的工作的一部分。

必须有可能覆盖全域模板的某些功能或外观

ਸਹੀ ਰਸਤਾ ਵਖਰੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਲਈ ਵਖਰਾ ਹੈ।
ਆਪਾਂ ਏਕਤਾ ਵਿਚ ਰਹਿਏ,
ਜੈ ਜੈ।

— ਤਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ

任何社群都不应该认为某个功能强大的外部参与者对其施加了功能,例如英语维基百科社群、维基数据社群、WMF或其他任何人。为了共同利益,应开发并协作使用全域模板。大多数情况下,它应该对每个人都有效。

Sometimes some communities will have strong opinions about wanting to have particular functionality or design that will be different in their language or project, or to show an infobox with information that is different from what is shown in other projects, or not to show it at all. The capability to override things locally must be allowed from the start. (Or rather, it must not be taken away.)

全域模板必须在每个维基中立即可用

Just like a global user page is immediately available in every wiki in which there is no local user page, every template or module that is created on the global infrastructure must be immediately usable in every wiki.

This must not require any extra steps, such as copying wiki pages, creating wrapper templates with a local name, administrator intervention, waiting for hours for caches to refresh, etc.

After the central version is updated, the updated version will be immediately shown everywhere. To prevent vandalism, the editors community will develop policies on permissions and protection levels.

If the user interface strings (also known as “messages”) were not translated, the template will nevertheless be usable and the strings will be shown in the fallback language. See the sections on localization for more details.

面向用户的字符串的本地化

It must be possible to translate all user-facing strings

The user interface strings (messages) of core MediaWiki, extensions, and some external tools such as Pageviews are translated conveniently and robustly on translatewiki.net. This localization process is familiar to at least some editors in all languages.

It’s currently not possible to do the same with templates. Multilingual sites such as Commons and mediawiki.org have the “TNT” system for translating some templates, but it’s very complicated and cannot be reused for Wikipedia, Wikisource, etc.

Ideally, it should be possible to translate templates just like core and extensions, using a wiki with the Translate extension.

The translated string must become usable immediately after the translation is submitted using the Translate interface.

It can be possible to edit the user interface strings in raw wiki pages, but ideally they should be edited primarily through a dedicated translation interface.

Translators should be able to focus on translating nothing but text. Seeing any code around it makes it difficult for people who are not experienced with programming and JSON files to contribute easily. In addition, editing translations into languages that are written from right to left in raw text files is extremely inconvenient. The Translate extension already addresses all of these issues.

The template documentation pages must be translatable as well. It’s mostly enough to do it using the page translation feature of the Translate extension, but it may require some adaptations.

The language in which the strings are shown to the user

Templates are primarily used when they are integrated into content, so by default the translated messages must be shown in the wiki’s content language.

Some templates, however, are used as UI elements. Therefore, perhaps it makes sense to also allow showing the translated strings in the user language, when it’s different from the wiki content language. This may be particularly relevant for multilingual sites such as Commons, Wikidata, Meta, and mediawiki.org.

MediaWiki’s usual fallback language chains must be used when a translation is not available. For example, if a message is not translated into Quechua or Guarani, it will be shown in Spanish, if it’s not translated into Bashkir or Chuvash, it will be shown in Russian, and so on. The ultimate fallback language is English, so if this message is not translated into Spanish or Russian, it will be shown in English.

Message keys

Messages should be represented as keys, similarly to how it is done in MediaWiki core, extensions, and tools.

Writing translatable strings will probably be the largest change in the template development process that template maintainers will have to get used to. Hard-coded strings will have to be separated and moved to messages organized by key. It must be made as easy as possible not only for the translators, but also for the template maintainers. Otherwise, they won’t actually do it, and the feature will be effectively rejected.

To easily make keys globally unique, it’s probably OK to automatically include the global template name in the message key.

Transitioning tools

A tool should be developed that will help the transitioning of a template or a module to central storage. It can do the following steps:

  1. Export a template from a local wiki and import it into the global wiki.
  2. Export all the templates that are used by this template (cascading).
  3. Identify the human-readable strings, convert them to a list with keys, and replace them with keys in the template’s source code.
  4. Import the template’s documentation page and TemplateData.
  5. Import the necessary CSS pages.

In most cases, this automatic process probably cannot create a fully usable and robust template or module, but it can help begin the transitioning process.

Organizing messages

The Translate extension organizes messages by groups, also known as “projects”, which can be further organized by aggregate groups. For example, Article Placeholder, Score, and Poem are all groups that represent the corresponding MediaWiki extensions, and they are all included in the “Extensions used by Wikimedia - Advanced” aggregate group, along with many other extensions.

Projects that represent MediaWiki extensions are configured in YAML files in the translatewiki repository and shown in the Translate user interface in a project selector, also known as “message group selector”.

Since there are many more templates than extensions, some modifications may be needed in the way the Translate extension handles message groups to accommodate templates translation.

Each template should be a message group. Closely related templates should be grouped in an aggregate message group. They can be similar to the categories in which they are stored, and in fact, the categories may even be reused. Editing files in a Git repository to organize these message groups is probably not desirable, because it’s too complex and slow.

It would be nice to show group and template names as localized in the selector, but it’s also OK if they are shown in English. If it’s good enough for extension localizers, it’s good enough for template localizers, too.

Templates must be shown as message groups on the Translate extension’s Language statistics special page (Special:LanguageStats). This will help localizers find what templates need translation. This should be generally similar to all message groups, but there are some special considerations for templates:

  • There will be thousands of templates, so it will be nice if the table’s design corresponds to this somehow.
  • The table should show on how many pages is each template transcluded and make it possible to order the rows by this number, to help localizers prioritize what is more important to translate.

Finding how to translate a template

Every template description page needs to have a direct link to translating it to the user’s language.

Some templates use Wikidata labels as part of their UI instead of hard-coding strings. This is done at the moment in Wikidata Infobox on Commons, Infotaula persona (Infobox person) in the Catalan Wikipedia, and in several other templates. These labels and values can be localized in Wikidata itself. Such usage cannot cover all the needs of template localization, but it is legitimate and useful for particular purposes. As long as this is properly described in the template documentation, this can continue to be used, and probably doesn’t need special infrastructure adaptations. (Perhaps the translation of the relevant labels and values can be somehow integrated into the Translate interface for localizing the template, but this is optional.)

Message parameters and magic words

In core MediaWiki and extensions, many messages have parameters, sometimes also known as “placeholders”. They are named $1, $2, etc., and they are filled in run time. Parameters are particularly important for making messages robustly translatable because different languages have different word order.

Something like this is needed in templates, too, although it is possible that the form does not have to be $1, $2, but template-like parameters with triple curly braces ({{{}}}). This is to be decided according to considerations of parsing and localization convenience.

The magic words PLURAL, GENDER, and GRAMMAR must be supported in template messages as in MediaWiki messages.

信息文档

In core MediaWiki and extensions, every translatable message is documented for the convenience of developers and translators. The documentation may include information about where the message appears, what the $1, $2, etc. parameters are, whether the word is a verb or an adjective, etc. This documentation is stored as pseudo-language with the code qqq.

Such documentation will be useful for template translation, too. How it is stored is a question of technical architecture. Perhaps it can be combined with TemplateData, perhaps it can be stored as a qqq language, and perhaps it can be something else.

源语言

Templates will be imported to the global storage not only from English-language projects, but from wikis in many languages. More than ever, the localization tools must support translation from any language and not only from English.

Fuzzying

In core MediaWiki and extensions and in translatable pages, if the source message in English changes, the message is automatically marked as outdated or “fuzzy”. The existing translations continue to work, but are shown to translators as needing an update. (The translation manager can also mark a message as not needing fuzzying.)

A similar mechanism will be needed for template localization. However, since it would be nice not to force English as the source language, there should be more ways to mark messages as fuzzy.

Localization considerations for modules

Lua modules can load and parse translatable MediaWiki strings, but there is no defined way for storing these strings for Lua modules that are maintained as wiki pages. It is possible to package Lua modules as parts of extensions, and then they are able to load messages from the extensions’ i18/*.json files, but this is done in very few extensions at the moment. Rewriting templates in Lua may be a more robust solution from the engineering point of view, but Lua will not necessarily be embraced by all existing template maintainers, and their cooperation will be crucial to the project’s success, so this cannot be done to all templates.

Some very internal, technical modules that are commonly used, rarely changed, and don’t require internationalization can probably be painlessly moved into the Scribunto extension itself. Some examples are No globals and Arguments.

Localizing the template name

The template may have a different name in every language, but it must be directly connected to the central storage.

Global templates and modules are supposed to be immediately usable in all wikis without any extra steps, so it must be possible to transclude a global template in a local wiki page using its global name. The cross-wiki editors community shall decide what will be the policy for these global names.

Similarly to parameter names, templates may have different names in different languages, and this must be preserved. There must be a structured way to translate template names. Perhaps Wikidata sitelinks can play a role, but not necessarily.

If this is not done, editors will either avoid global templates, or wrap the global template in a local template with a translated name, and this will probably cause the template to lose the connection to the global entity. This is not desirable and misses the whole point of the project.

Template names must only be translated to languages that can be content languages of wikis. Translation to Formal German or British English are probably unnecessary. There may be a way to have aliases or redirects. Language variants, for example for Serbian and Chinese, must be supported according to these languages’ needs.

If a local template exists in a wiki and it has the same name as a localized name of a global template, the local template will be used. This is similar to how local files with identical names override global files on Commons, and how local messages in the MediaWiki space override the localization coming from the code.

Lua module names are often localized, too. Their names can be localized for direct invoking from wiki pages, but since code usually uses English-like identifiers, the internal global names should probably be preferred for use in the code itself, for example in require statements.

本地化参数

本地化参数名称

Parameter names are different in every language. They are usually based on words in each language, so it’s important for editing the transclusion in wiki syntax conveniently.

Ideally, the global template should have generic internal parameter names that have translations to different languages. This is somewhat similar to Wikidata property name labels, but it can be simpler: since English is a lingua franca for software developers and templates are a kind of software, it’s probably OK to have English as the default source language rather than generic numbers as it is in Wikidata.

These generic parameter names will be the common default names. They will work in wikis in all languages. The localized names will work in the wikis that has that language as its content language.

These translations of parameter names must be validated:

  • they must not include invalid characters
  • they must not be repeated within one template in one language
  • Anything else?

The actual process of translating the parameter names may be different from translating user interface strings. These names have technical constraints, and they must remain stable because changing a name of parameter will break existing transclusions, so there should be some safeguards against this.

Automatic parameter translation

If all the localized template and parameter names are stored centrally, it will possible to have a simple service that gets a valid template call with parameters, a source language name, and a target language name, and outputs a localized template call. For example:

输入:

{
	sourcewiki: "enwiki",
	targetwiki: "frwiki",
	template: "{{Infobox writer|name=Ľudovít Štúr|birth_date=1815-10-28}}"
}

输出:

{
	template: "{{Infobox Écrivain|nom=Ľudovít Štúr|date de naissance=1815-10-28}}"
}

In Content Translation this will be the primary way to adapt templates. Unlike the current template adaptation in Content Translation, this will be precise and complete, rather than based on guesses.

In visual editing and in 2017-style wiki syntax editing, simply copying and pasting a template from wiki in another language will do the parameter translation automatically.

For plain wiki syntax editing, there should be a simple way to operate this service, for example a special page or a dialog box where an editor can paste the template and the source language, and get the template with translated parameters.

In both cases only the names of the template and the parameters will be translated. Translating the parameter values is discussed separately.

无名参数

Nameless numbered parameters must continue working, of course.

A decision is needed about how will their names be localized.

Translating parameter values

In addition to making the templates’ functionality and design shared, some thought must be given to making the template parameter values shared, as well as not shared.

Some parameter values are the same in all languages by their nature. Some examples include an IPA pronunciation of a place’s native name (e.g. [dɛn ˈɦaːx] for The Hague), the year of foundation of a city, the chemical formula of a compound, etc. At least some of these should probably be stored in Wikidata and easily loadable in a template.

Some parameter values have to be translated or transliterated, for example people’s names, translations of country mottos, etc.

Global templates must make this possible, but in practice, these things are still often copied across wikis, and this must be taken into account as well.

Some parameter values can be reliably and predictably converted automatically, and the global templates infrastructure must support this. For example, number formats and digit characters are often different in Burmese, in languages of India, and in some other languages, but they can be reliably converted using simple software.

Valid and functional parameter values must be usable in multiple languages and must not be language-specific. For example, using “yes” and “no” as boolean values is too English-centric. This probably doesn’t require changes in the infrastructure, but mostly an agreement in the cross-wiki template development community on good practices for adaptation to all languages.

文字方向

模板必须适应显示它们的维基的文本方向(左到右/右到左)。

It must be convenient to write a template in a direction-neutral way, with as little explicit right and left alignment as possible.

机器人

Many templates in many wikis are regularly edited by bots. This capability must be preserved.

This is not supposed to require any changes in the software infrastructure, but it is mentioned here for completeness because it’s an important use case.

Transitioning the templates from the large wikis to central storage

וּמֵעֵבֶר לְשׁוּרַת הַבְּרוֹשִׁים עָבְרָה הָרַכֶּבֶת
אֲבָל אֲנַחְנוּ רַק שָׁמַעְנוּ אוֹתָהּ, וְלֹא רָאִינוּ.
וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁדִּבָּרְנוּ בֵּינֵינוּ
הִתְחִילוּ בַּמִּלִּים, „אֲבָל אֲנַחְנוּ”.

— יהודה עמיחי

The most popular source language for translation in Content Translation is English, by far. After it come Spanish, Russian, French, German, Catalan, Ukrainian, Italian, Chinese, and Portuguese. Because of this, it makes sense that the common templates in the editions of Wikipedia in these most common languages, especially those in English, are the ones that are the most important to make global for the benefit of all other languages.

Somewhat paradoxically, however, the editors in these largest languages are also the least interested in making them global:

  • The templates already work well for them and most people there don’t directly care about the convenience of translation to other languages.
  • Rewriting the templates so that the strings will be translatable may be time-consuming and may force them to learn some new template maintenance skills.
  • Making the templates suddenly used by many more projects may make it harder to achieve consensus about making future changes in how the templates work.
  • Editors from different major wikis will have to work on reaching consensus about merging some templates with similar functionality that already exist on their sites.

This is more of a consideration of practicality and community relations than a consideration of engineering, but it must be taken into account when making technical architectural decisions. Without doing proper preparation in this area, the whole project will fail.

As long as there are important common templates that are not global, Content Translation and other software that handles templates from different wikis in any way, will have to keep supporting them. If the infrastructure for global templates is created, and migration of existing templates proceeds in a good pace, developers may consider stopping developing and some day deprecating the code for non-global template adaptation.

The pace of migrating templates from large wikis to the central repository can be one of the success metrics for the project.

It must be possible to use templates completely in both wiki syntax and in visual editing

It’s obvious, but should be mentioned anyway: Wiki syntax editing is not going away soon, and it must be possible to keep editing template transclusions in pages as it is done now. This must not become more complicated.

However, Visual Editor is increasingly embraced by both experienced and new editors, so every feature of how templates work must work well in both visual and wiki syntax editing.

Other features related to templates

There are some features that deal with templates in core MediaWiki and its extensions. All of them must continue working, and may need updating for the global templates age.

Core MediaWiki

There should be on-wiki tools for showing at least basic analysis of templates’ and modules’ usage on pages: the number of transclusions and invocations grouped by wiki, and lists of pages that use the templates and the modules. The feature that shows which templates does a page transclude while it’s being edited must continue working with global templates.

The “链入页面” page must keep working, and remain useful for global transclusions.

TemplateData

  • It is possible to translate template and parameter descriptions in TemplateData, and the translations are displayed in the user interface language in Visual Editor’s template insertion dialog. This is good and must be preserved. The translation interface could possibly be improved, but the beginning is good. Adding support for TemplateData in the Translate extension can be a solution for this, but there can also be other solutions.
  • The “建议的wiki文本格式” parameter (行内, 块, 自定义) must keep working. It must also be possible to customize them per wiki—some wikis may prefer to see a certain template written in wiki syntax as one line, and some may prefer multiple lines.

Citoid

  • Citoid has to be configured on every wiki separately using JSON files, such as Citoid-template-type-map.json. In the global templates age, it must become possible to share these files, so that the “引用” button would be available in all wikis and work identically everywhere by default. As with templates, there must be a way to override this default in each wiki where the community wants different behavior.

TemplateStyles

  • There must be a possibility to write Template Styles pages in the same central repository as templates. The central style must be loaded by default, and it must be possible to override it locally.

TemplateSandbox

  • Special:TemplateSandbox must keep working.
  • It must be possible to edit a template in the central repository and preview it in a page in the target wiki.

TemplateWizard

  • The current system uses a wiki’s standard search to find templates. The results are presented in a list that might need to be changed to make the global or local status visible.
  • TemplateWizard gets its information for templates from the TemplateData API, so as long as that keeps returning the same structure there shouldn’t be any issues, and i18n is already working.

Wikibase

  • Wikidata can be used to bring in some parameter values from a central repository to the wiki. This is used productively in Wikipedia in several languages, among them French, Hebrew, Basque, Russian, Catalan, Estonian, and some others, as well as in Commons, although the actual implementation may differ. This must continue working, of course. Unifying the way in which it is done across different wikis may become one of this project’s most significant impact areas.
  • It may also make it much easier to implement Wikidata Bridge, the project to allow editing template values from within wikis. The modifications to the templates themselves will have to be done only once in the global templates, and not in each wiki.

VisualEditor

  • VisualEditor obviously needs to be able to insert both global and local templates.
  • VisualEditor shows a link to the template description page in the template editing dialog. This link should point directly to the global template when it is used.

Development and deployment

Quam multa fieri non posse
prius quam sunt facta
iudicantur

— C. Plinius Secundus

Developing the infrastructure for global templates and modules is a large and complex project. It must be divided into manageable parts to get done. Roughly, the multiple parts of this project should be developed in the following sequence:

  1. Translatable modules: Before making the modules shareable across wikis, the internationalization and localization framework for them should be developed. This will be immediately useful to modules on wikis that are already multilingual, most notably Commons and Wikidata. Some of them are currently translated using the “TNT” system, but this could be better.
  2. Global modules: Modules become shareable across wikis. This should happen before making templates shareable, because the modules’ infrastructure is less coupled to core MediaWiki, and they will be easier to migrate.
  3. Translatable templates: This is similar to Translatable modules above, and can reuse much of the same framework, but it will also need the capability to translate the names of the template itself and its parameters and some other features. See the sections on localization in the specification.
  4. Global templates: Complete the project with making the templates global.

The development of more advanced features, such as making templates semantic can and should come later, after they are shareable. If they become semantic before they are shareable, the code that describes them semantically will be forked on different wikis, like the templates themselves, which will make code reuse even harder than it is today.

Access to global templates and modules will be available from all the Wikimedia wikis. This includes editions of Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikivoyage, etc. in all the languages, as well as Commons, Wikidata, Meta, mediawiki.org, Wikitech, etc., as well as test wikis (test.wikipedia.org, etc.) This is similar to how images on Commons are available on all the wikis. Even though the global templates and modules will be available to the wikis, the wikis won’t be obliged to use them.

Making templates easily reusable on non-Wikimedia projects may be desirable, too. Even though it doesn’t directly benefit Wikimedia projects, it may make sense to consider making templates easily reusable not only across Wikimedia projects, but also on other MediaWiki sites. Doing this will probably require some more work, but it may contribute to better modularization, and this may eventually benefit Wikimedia projects, too. This is comparable to the capability of direct embedding of images from Commons on non-Wikimedia websites.

{{🌎🌍🌏}}

Imagine a world

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge and it’s actually a really easy thing to do because templates are global:

Task With the current template system With global templates
Insert an infobox using the Visual Editor
  1. 转到“Insert”。
  2. 转到“Template”。
  3. Find the template name somehow.
  4. 输入模板名称。
  5. 填写字段。

Note that you will have to find the template name for each wiki separately, and in some wikis it will not work at all.

  1. 转到“Insert”。
  2. 转到“Infobox”。
  3. Select the infobox type you want.
  4. Get most or all of the fields filled automatically from Wikidata, and add anything that is missing or that has to be overridden.

Note that the above will work the same way in every wiki and in every language, unless specifically overridden.

Insert an infobox using the wiki syntax editor
  1. Totally manual: Find the template description page and type the template into the wiki syntax editor according to the instructions.
  2. Mostly manual: Copy from a similar article and change the parameter values.
  3. Use TemplateWizard (hoping that it is configured for your wiki):
    1. Click the puzzle piece button.
    2. Find the template name somehow.
    3. Type the template name.
    4. Fill the parameters one by one using the form.
If you want, you can still do all the same things as with the current template system.

But you will also have these additional optional features:

  1. To select a suggested infobox from a list instead of typing the name manually.
  2. To have the parameter values auto-filled.
  3. To have the same process for every wiki.
Use a nice template that you saw in a wiki in English, French, Russian, or Spanish in the wiki in your language
  1. If you have time and necessary skills:
    1. Copy the code of this template to your wiki. If this is a complex template, you will have to use exporting and importing.
    2. Copy the underlying modules, if necessary.
    3. Copy the TemplateStyles, if necessary.
    4. Copy the documentation and translate it in the wiki syntax editor.
    5. Go through all the wiki syntax you copied, find all the human-readable user interface strings that have to be translated, and translate them.
    6. Go through all the wiki syntax you copied, find all the parameter names and where they are used, and change them to your language.
    7. Check that the template actually works and does what you need. If it does not, you may have to search for CSS or JS pages on which it depends.
  2. If you don’t have time or necessary skills, you have two options:
    1. Make a simpler template with fewer features.
    2. 放弃。
  3. 重复每种语言和维基的过程。
If the template is in the global repository, then:
  1. 转到模板文档页面。
  2. Click the button “Translate”, and translate all the messages using a translatewiki-like interface.

That’s it, the template is fully usable in your language.

(And yes, this also has to be repeated for every language, but the same is true for MediaWiki extensions.)

Use the new features of a nice template that you once exported into your language from a wiki in English, French, Russian, or another language 三种选择:
  1. Repeat the process for exporting the template, hoping not to break anything along the way.
  2. Develop it by yourself.
  3. Give up and stay with the older version.
Just translate the new strings. All the new features are already available in all wikis.
Implement Wikidata Bridge (editing Wikidata’s data directly from infoboxes) This is a project in a very early stage of design. However, it can probably be said already that with the current technology, implementing it will probably require changing every infobox template in every wiki according to instructions that will be published by Wikidata developers. The infoboxes’ template code will only have to be changed once and it will work for all the wikis.
Translate an article from English, French, or Russian into your language using Content Translation
  1. Open the article in Content Translation.
  2. Click the Infobox.
    1. If someone imported the infobox template into your language, fill all the parameters. (They are occasionally pre-filled, but most of the time they are not.)
    2. If no-one imported the infobox into your language, skip it.
  3. Translate the prose of the first paragraph.
  4. Carefully check that all of these templates were correctly adapted:
    1. IPA发音模板
    2. 母语名称模板
    3. 需要引用
    4. 单位换算
    5. Blockquote
    6. 国旗
    7. Various others
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until everything you want is translated.
  6. 发布文章。
  7. Clean up incorrectly published wiki syntax.

In this scenario, steps 4 and 7 may take more time than step 3.

  1. Open the article in Content Translation.
  2. Click the Infobox. The Infobox is adapted and all the parameter values are pre-filled automatically. Correct their values if needed.
  3. Translate the prose of the first paragraph.
  4. All the templates are automatically adapted with correct parameters, but check that they are correct, just in case.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until everything you want is translated.
  6. 发布文章。
  7. (Cleaning up incorrectly published wiki syntax is probably not needed.)

In this scenario, step 3 takes most of the time, steps 4 and 7 are very short, and the total time is shorter.

Copy a useful citation of an academic article from the Danish Wikipedia to the German Wikipedia (or between any other two languages)
  1. Check that a corresponding template exists in the target language. If it does:
    1. Check that the template in the target language has the same parameters with the same names. If it does, you’re lucky! Just copy and paste. You can stop here.
    2. If they do not have the same names, check what are the corresponding parameter names in the target language and copy them one by one.
  2. If the wiki in the target language doesn’t have this citation template, you have the following options:
    1. Create it (as in the scenario called “Use a nice template that you saw in a wiki in English, French, Russian, or Spanish in the wiki in your language”).
    2. Find a similar citation template and use it.
    3. Just copy the text of the citation without formatting and structure.
    4. Give up and publish the article without the reference.

In Visual Editor: Copy and paste without having to wonder whether it will work

In the wiki syntax editor:

  1. 复制。
  2. Paste to template parameter conversion tool. It automatically changes parameter names between languages.
  3. 粘贴结果。

(In the 2017 wiki syntax editor the template conversion tool can probably be integrated into the pasting action.)

Have a table of the latest results of the ongoing Tour de France in the Wikipedia your language

This scenario is based on an actual module, Cycling race. It is not used in the English Wikipedia because of disagreements about the design of the tables, but the community appears to be open about adopting it in the future if necessary changes are made.

  1. Once: Develop a template and a module that build a table of results, and document how to copy it and translate them.
  2. In every language (optional): Translate the user interface strings of the module by editing the Lua code.
  3. In every language (optional): Translate the labels of the necessary Wikidata items.
  4. In every wiki: Copy the module from the central storage to your wiki.
  5. In every wiki, repeatedly: Update the module in your wiki every time the central module is changed.
  6. In every wiki: Create an article about this year’s event and add the template that invokes the module to this article.
  7. Once: Wait for the results to come in, and add them to the relevant Wikidata item. Articles in all the languages get them automatically.
  1. Once: Develop a template and a module that build a table of results. The template becomes available everywhere.
  2. In every language (optional): Click the button “Translate”, and translate all the messages using a translatewiki-like interface (not by editing Lua code or wiki syntax).
  3. In every language (optional): Translate the labels of the necessary Wikidata items.
  4. In every wiki: Create an article about this year’s event and add the template that invokes the module to this article.
    • In the further future even this step may become optional thanks to an extension such as ArticlePlaceholder, which may be able to auto-create start-level articles of this kind.
  5. Once: Wait for the results to come in, and add them to the relevant Wikidata item. Articles in all the languages get them automatically.

Practically all the languages get the whole table for free, without doing anything. All the work is done by the people who create the templates and the modules, once for everybody, and by the people who follow the events and update the results. A cross-wiki platform for developing and localizing the module and the template may facilitate the development of a design that is acceptable in all languages.

Start writing in a new wiki after the domain is created After the content is imported from Incubator, there are no templates for infoboxes, references, userboxes, discussion management, marking pages for merging or deletion, etc.

Start copying these templates one by one, or create your own.

Nice people from other wikis may help you, but they probably do not know your language, so you will have to manually translate all the strings (as in the scenario called “Use a nice template that you saw in a wiki in English, French, Russian, or Spanish in the wiki in your language”).

You can also just give up and only write text, but then you will get fewer features: no infoboxes, no formatted citations, no deletion and merging workflows, etc.

All those templates are already available. Just translate the strings in a translatewiki-like interface.
Use a navigation box while reading an article on a mobile phone 不可能。

Navigation boxes are so difficult to adapt to mobile screens, and so different from each other across wikis, that the software just hides them. (And yes, there is demand for it.)

可能。

Since the templates’ infrastructure is shared across languages, the different language communities can work with each other and with the developers of the mobile reading and editing interface and make them responsive.

Have a beautifully designed and mobile-friendly main page with regularly updating news, featured articles and images, etc. Option 1: Find volunteers who know your language, as well as HTML and wiki syntax (especially tables and templates) very well and who have time to edit the main page every day. This is done separately and using different methods in every wiki. This happens in the top 70 wikis or so: English, Russian, French, Spanish, etc.

Option 2: If you can’t find anyone who knows your language and can also maintain the HTML code of the main page every day, copy the code from the main page from English or French and ask volunteers from other wikis, who don’t know your language, but know wiki syntax, to replace the picture of the day occasionally. Since they don’t know the language, they cannot maintain the text regularly, and you cannot do it because you are afraid of breaking the HTML code, so you get stuck with the same featured article on the main page for months or years. This happens in some of the smaller languages.

Option 3: Give up and have a static main page, which most likely doesn’t work well on mobile devices, even though the main page is usually the top viewed page in a wiki. This happens in a lot of wikis, even if there’s other editing activity.

Option 1: If you have people with the needed skills and time to maintain a manually-crafted custom main page in your language, and you want to keep things that way, you can do it.

Option 2: If you don’t have the people who can do this manual work or if your community is fine with having a main page that looks similar to the one in other languages, put a simple centrally-maintained template on your main page. Replace only the text of the changing items in an easy form, without having to deal with wiki syntax, tables, or HTML. The process is the same for most wikis, so the same templates and bots can be used by everyone who is interested.

Analyze how articles are sorted by WikiProjects for a research about Wikipedia
  1. Write code that parses English Wikipedia’s WikiProject sorting templates on talk pages and run it.
  2. Discover that you cannot run the same code on other languages. At this point, you have two options:
    1. 重写每个维基的代码。
    2. Give up, and research only the English Wikipedia.
  1. Write code that parses WikiProject sorting templates on talk pages and run it in all languages.

(Note: The “With global templates” column assumes that the infrastructure is deployed in all Wikimedia wikis, and that the most often used templates are moved to the central infrastructure.)

{{🌎🌍🌏}}

Status

А мы всё молчим,
Мы всё считаем и ждём;
Мы всё поём о себе,
О чём же нам петь ещё?

— Борис Гребенщиков

This section is about the general status of the project. For details about the latest developments, as well as a brief history of past efforts, see the page Global templates/Status.

As noted above, as of October 2019, this page is only an idea, and not a commitment to implement a project.

Similar ideas were suggested in the past. The oldest known suggestion to make templates reusable across wikis was raised in December 2004 in Bugzilla: Interwiki templates (任务T3126). Several other similar ideas were raised later, for example Phabricator 任务T6547. In February 2017 a similar proposal called Global-Wiki was closed as "consensus". Some of its components were implemented, such as global preferences, but not the templates.

The wish "Central global repository for templates, gadgets and Lua modules" was voted #3 at the Community Wishlist Survey 2015 and "Global gadgets" was voted #1 in Community Wishlist Survey 2016. Despite the community support, neither was implemented, because they weren’t appropriate for the Community Tech team, and they weren’t transferred to another team either.

The Platform Evolution project (2018) indicated some intentions to have support for global templates in the future. The page Platform Evolution/Recommendations discusses ideas for updating content modularity, and says:

... “boxes” are an ideal focus area for creating modularity. They represent self contained features and also an opportunity to enable equitable sharing of user features across projects and languages be establishing a cross-project service to share templates. This project will also force us to consider how to handle content layout and structure separately from composable pieces content.

The closely related page Platform Evolution/Goals lists this as one of the goals:

Increase equity and power of contribution tools. We want to support the contribution of more content types of content, including media, in more interactive ways and across all projects. This means making some existing tools - like templates - available for consistent reuse across all projects and languages. It also means improving translation tools to remove silos of content. Finally, we also want to make it easy for contributors to create new cross-project, localizable content tools.

Abstract Wikipedia, which was approved by the WMF in July 2020 as a new project to be developed in the near future, includes “a cross-wiki repository to share templates and modules between the WMF projects” inside its Wikilambda component as one of its major goals. (Both “Abstract Wikipedia” and “Wikilambda” are temporary names, and may change.)

For other examples of relationship between this Global templates proposal and various strategic plans in the wider Wikimedia community, see the page Global templates/Relationship to strategy.

The Translatable modules initiative was launched in September 2020. It addresses a part of this proposal.

There is no technical plan for implementing full-featured cross-wiki sharing of modules and templates. This page is an attempt to propose such a plan and listen to feedback from editors.

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