Wiki Governance: Whether or Not "(en-US)" Should be Added to the Title of English Articles

Wiki Governance: Whether or Not "(en-US)" Should be Added to the Title of English Articles

This article is a study of the debate about whether or not "(en-US)" should be added to the title of English articles on TechNet Wiki. The discussion based on this article will result in a Code of Conduct guideline so that we can maintain consistency.

CONCLUSION: We're removing "(en-US)" from the English Wiki article titles. It causes too many difficulties. See the reasons below.

The consensus is that regardless of the decision made, we should definitely allow and encourage the usage of the tag "en-US" on English articles. This way we can filter on articles that are in English, including filtering on multiple tags (such as "en-US" and "Windows Server 2008 R2").

Reasons to Make a Decision

  1. Currently this is creating inconsistency in the English titles. We should make a decision and roll it out.
  2. Currently people are disagreeing on this subject. Some people have made edits that others have changed. We need to make a decision so that we don't get frustrated or waste time.
  3. Eventually we'll make a decision, and if the decision is to remove "(en-US)" from the title (which it will be eventually, since our goal is to divide the languages into separate versions of the Wiki), then it will only be harder to remove more instances of English titles with the "(en-US)" language codes. If the decision is to keep the title code, then we could implement the change and struggle with it less.

Reasons Why the Language Title Codes Exist

  1. When you create an article using a non-Latin/Roman-alphabet-based language (Japanese, Persian/Farsi, etc.), then the article name with any Latin letters becomes taken for the name of the article in the URL. What this means is that if someone creates an article called "Windows Server" and includes non-Latin letters in the title in addition to "Windows Server", then the title "Windows Server" is now taken (you can't create a new article titled "Windows Server"). So by adding the language code to your title, you prevent the issue of non-English articles "stealing" titles from English articles.
  2. Similarly, if you wrote an English article titled "Windows Server" and I wanted to translate it into Spanish, then I cannot use the title "Windows Server". So I'd have to add something to explain that it's the Spanish version anyway (so the language code provides a consistent solution).  
  3. Because this is intended as the English version of TechNet Wiki (by implication and expectation), people are surprised to see so many non-English articles in the tag results, search results, and lists of new articles. The language codes help make it clearer when an article isn't English and clarifies what language it is.    
  4. When migrating non-English articles into a language-specific version of TechNet Wiki, the title code will make it very clear as to which articles to move (clearer than the tags will since there's added transparency due to the visibility of the language code in the title).

Reasons to Add "(en-US)" to the Article Titles for English Articles

  1. For non-English readers to know what language the article is in when they spot it in search results and when browsing.
  2. To be consistent with all the other language-specific articles. Why should the other languages use the title codes, but English doesn't?

What This Decision Would Require

  1. For consistency's sake, we should add it to every English article (over 9,000 total).
  2. We need to get people to start adding it to the titles of all new English Wiki articles.

Reasons to Not Add "(en-US)" to the Article Title

  1. Although we currently host many languages in TechNet Wiki, the current plan is to build language-specific instances of TechNet Wiki (when migrating the articles to their own language-specific versions of TechNet Wiki, we will likely remove all the language codes from the titles). We would create language-specific versions in order to build stronger communities around each language and to make search and browsing a better experience, Since that is the case, this Wiki site is the English version of the Wiki, and thus, it doesn't make as much sense to mark all the English titles. The following non-English languages have been added (and don't require language codes in the title): Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese Simplified.
  2. We'll need to remove the language codes anyway. If we move the non-English articles out in their own versions of the Wiki, then there's no reason to have the "(en-US)" language code in the title. 
  3. Some articles already have long titles, and many people don't want to make the article titles longer. (This argument exists for all language codes.)
  4. Including the language code in the title is distracting from the subject matter of the title. (This argument exists for all language codes.)
  5. It's unexpected in the English version of the Wiki. People don't expect to land on an English article in the English Wiki and have to use an English language code. We don't make the Portuguese Wiki, Chinese Wiki, and Russian Wiki use language codes.
  6. It would be more difficult to implement the decision of adding "(en-US)" to every article. It would take longer to add it to all the articles (9,000 plus), it would take longer to enforce it (many of the new articles won't include it), and many people would push back (as they already have) by disagreeing and by removing it from their own articles.  

NOTE: Currently, some people are removing it anyway, once it is added to their articles. This is simply because they don't like it.

What This Decision Would Require

  1. We need to stop adding "(en-US)" to English titles. 
  2. We need to remove "(en-US)" from existing English titles.

NOTE: This can be done over time (there's no rush).

Forum Discussion

This idea is also being discussed in the wiki forum: 
Leave a Comment
  • Please add 3 and 5 and type the answer here:
  • Post
Wiki - Revision Comment List(Revision Comment)
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
  • Bruno Lewin - MSFT edited Revision 15. Comment: added link to forum discussion

  • Bruno Lewin - MSFT edited Revision 14. Comment: added link to forum discussion

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 13. Comment: Typo

Page 1 of 1 (3 items)
Wikis - Comment List
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
Posting comments is temporarily disabled until 10:00am PST on Saturday, December 14th. Thank you for your patience.
  • Good article, linking it to a forum post could be a good idea :-)   I would simply add a "listbox" when we add an new article, with all the recognized language that the whole wiki support in that list (and by default it would be en-US). The language code tag and title could be created upon that selection, thus a debate like this one could be easy to fix (a sql "select" and if en-US it change the title display)

  • I add for the previous comment that providing that "listbox" would be a guideline for what language we can use too. Like I could use the fr-CA tag and not the fr-FR's one, but that would just make more confusion, as both tag are just french in the end. To came back to the subject, that will be another method to be sure that the tag is wrote the correct way anytime in the title too (not fr-fr, FR-fr, FR-FR, etc..)  (Ok, now I stop to try to plug my feature request for the wiki !)

    For the title use, I tend to think it's easier to read without the en-US tag, but when you translate an article, I usually add the en-US in the link description in that article even if the article does not have that title. The reader will know what to expect easily. (Like a title "DHCP options" could be valid in french and in english, but when the reader look a french article, and the tag is not there on the link, it can be confusing)

  • Yagmoth, I also add "(en-US)" whenever linking from another language to an English Wiki article. I think it builds better expectations.

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 13. Comment: Typo

  • Bruno Lewin - MSFT edited Revision 14. Comment: added link to forum discussion

  • Bruno Lewin - MSFT edited Revision 15. Comment: added link to forum discussion

Page 1 of 1 (6 items)