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Re: Annoucement: New translation status page is installed

I realized I haven't answered this. As there was a comment about my
supposed attitude towards new contributors, I probably should.

ons 2004-06-23 klockan 02.55 skrev Bernd Groh:
> >I'm also confused by the "Translator" field. For the anaconda sv.po,
> >it's filled in with a name I've never heard of before. Even worse, this
> >person's e-mail address is a Danish one, and the domain part is a very
> >dirty word in Swedish...
> That would be the person who currently has anaconda assigned.


> >Since 2000, I've been working from scratch on doing translations for Red
> >Hat and now Fedora, with the goal of keeping them high quality and 100%
> >for every release. We're currently two persons doing this work, and
> >we've managed to do exactly this for a *lot* of releases by this time.
> >We've recieved quite a lot of positive feedback about the quality, too.
> >
> >Thus it's not really exciting to see that any random bozo can suddenly
> >take over control over a Swedish translation and fill in dirty words.
> >I'm not amused.
> Do you want me to not give someone access because s/he's got a danish 
> email address and the domain name is a dirty word? Regardless of how 
> fluent this person may be in swedish, and how much this person would 
> like to participate? Do you know for a fact that this persons 
> translations are bad? If so, let me know, and I disable this persons access.

Let me make some things clear:

* I have nothing against Danish people, in fact, I live close to
Denmark, I often visit Denmark, I regularily travel to GUADEC:s with the
Danish contingent, and stay where they are staying, and enjoy beers and
their company. Some of my best friends are Danish.
That being said, when someone with a Danish mail address starts
translating into Swedish, I raise an eyebrow. There can of course be
many plausible explanations, but it's definately not what you'd expect
at first.

* Of course anyone is free to use a dirty word in their mail address.
But when that dirty word is a Swedish one, the mail address is a Danish
one, and the person is supposed to translate into Swedish, one can start
to wonder if this guy is for real, and not just some bad joke someone
felt like making when discovering a form field open for writing on a web

* This is the first time I ever hear about this person. Swedish is not a
big language, and free software translations for it is of course done by
an even smaller community. I've been translating free software into
Swedish for six years now, and am quite familiar with the few people
that are working to do the same in other projects.
Searching Google, I can find no references to a person with this name
and mail address. Searching only for the name leaves me with quite a few
hits, since the first name and last name are both common ones. But no
match whatsoever has a connection to Linux or OSS/free software or

Given all of this, I find it hard to believe that this person is for
real, and I find it quite insulting that you believe that this person
would do a better job translating anaconda than me. Perhaps that's not
what you really and honestly do believe, but then again your comment
together with the fact that this person has taken the anaconda
translation, and thus in fact is allowed to lock me out, would sure let
one believe this.

> I understand what you're saying, but I cannot at all agree with it in a 
> general sense. If you wish, I can make you the maintainer of every 
> swedish file, then you will even be notified if anyone commits a swedish 
> file. And while in a few languages it may be reasonable to not just give 
> anyone cvs access, in a lot it isn't, since there is noone who could 
> judge who should have access and who shouldn't. I personally prefer to 
> trust anyone to do the right thing by default, and if they don't, well, 
> let me know.

As you've probably guessed, I, like most other maintainers, don't trust
people to do the right by default. I want a mandatory intermediate step
(review) to catch potential problems *before* they get committed. This
is nothing really new, ask any software maintainer... It seems absurd
that we are even arguing about this.

Let me give an example of how I've learned the hard way not to trust
people doing the right thing, even though it may not really be
intentional at all. I don't believe people are automatically evil. I
just believe people can make mistakes.

Lots of free software use translation projects to organize translations.
Some software maintainers think they can handle this organization
perfectly well themselves though. Such an example is XMMS. I translated
XMMS, but XMMS used to release not particularily often. I spend much
time translating other projects aswell, and I don't always constantly
monitor all the projects unless I know there's a release coming, and
when of course it's then time to update.

I had made the Swedish XMMS translation complete, sent it out for review
by other translators several times, and incorporated the changes and
suggestions. The result was a polished translation which I got several
positive remarks for (which in case of a small language like Swedish is
a lot).

Suddenly one day there was a new version of XMMS that had been released.
I wasn't aware that this release was coming. The XMMS developers had
forgotten to inform translators. Worse, the Swedish translation had a
lot of strange and sometimes amateurish translations in it. To make
things worse, some people publically made fun of this, and as they knew
I had been responsible for the Swedish XMMS translation in the past,
pestered me about it.

It turned out that some complete unknown guy had noticed that the
Swedish translation of the development version wasn't complete at some
time mid-cycle, completed it himself, and sent it to the software
maintainers, who in the spirit of "ok, this looks more complete"
committed it without asking any questions or informing anyone else, like
perhaps me. Worse, it would take a whole year or so until they planned
to do a new release, and this translation would be there for this whole
time to make everyone either disgust it, or make fun of it. Certainly
rather few people would enjoy it.

This guy who completed the translation obviously wasn't at fault. He had
good intentions, although his written language skills happened to be
bad, and he just did whatever one would expect him to do and sent his
work upstream.
What was done wrong was at the software maintainer level -- since they
didn't use a translation project structure with responsible teams and
translators, but wanted to coordinate this themselves, they should have
done exactly that. But they didn't, and just committed it.

What scares me the most is that this is bound to happen again and again,
not just with XMMS, but this time with the whole of Fedora, because the
current structure by default allows anyone to commit whatever they want
without even talking to anyone else first, before it's too late. A
recipe for disaster.


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