Wikivoyage talk:Manual of style

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Some stuff that's been moved:

Garbled English[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I know I am a second language speaker and my English is probably not all that good either, but there are some pages here on WV (naturally mostly when it concerns regions where English proficiency is low) that have been written in an English so garbled, it is hard to make out what was meant. See this diff for one example of what I mean. Given that en-WV attracts even more second language speakers than en-WP does (by virtue of many language versions that are quite alive on Wikipedia being dead in the water or not even existent on WV), we might wish to do something about this. But I don't really have a good idea of what precisely could be done. An expedition? A new maintenance category? A "language rating" analog to the "Latin-rating" of the Latin Wikipedia? Or is this just a non-issue that will solve itself over time as copy editors read and correct the articles in question? Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:21, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

Whatever we do, we wouldn't want to embarrass anyone who has an unwarranted sensitivity about their English proficiency (the possession or lack of which is not a moral question!) I did look at those edits and passed by attempting to copy edit them right now, as it will be a big job. But in this case, it's a single article. It's much more difficult in the case of users who edit dozens of articles at much lower levels of English — that's a problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it, as everyone has the right to edit this site in good faith. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:28, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree. And we should of course not exclude people with limited English proficiency, nor make them feel bad. Ultimately, we depend on people with limited English in many regions of the world. But on the other hand we have to take our readers into account who will have to read and understand those texts. And while I don't have firm data, some readers may assume the quality of the information to be bad if the quality of the English is. That's one of the reasons I copyedit from to time (mostly my own mistakes, tbh) - I do think your-you're or their-there-they're are among the things some readers will use to judge the quality of our coverage. Much like some Germans judge forum contributions primarily by the number of typos. And not entirely without reason. If a native speaker has not had enough time to sort out the most obvious spelling mistakes, how could (s)he have had enough time to do some research? Of course in this particular case, it might also have been a machine translation, which would make communicating with the editor in question even more difficult... Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:36, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Fully agreed on all points, but as people say a lot in the US, nowadays, "it is what it is" (though that's a kind of annoying expression, sorry). Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:13, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
There is a Wikivoyage:Manual_of_style template that would point to these kinds of articles without being specific about the quality of English. Andrewssi2 (talk) 19:41, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
From my own personal wiki I sometimes search Wikivoyage for common misspellings, repetitions and grammar issues - This could probably be incorporated on Wikivoyage for editors to use as well - See: Wikipedia:List of common misspellings - perhaps fine tune lists to common issues found in Wikivoyage - might prove useful - Matroc (talk) 21:52, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
While this is a good and important thing to do, I doubt it will help much for articles with next to incomprehensible English. Though I doubt that there is any type of "machine" that could detect that. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:02, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Kind of off-topic, but it would be good to have a bot that scans for material copied directly from Wikipedia. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:08, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure if User:EranBot/Copyright is filtering out text from Wikipeda or not, but it catches a number of copyvios already. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:12, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm a native English speaker with experience both teaching the language and editing things written by non-natives. Within reason, I'm happy to copy edit things here, and suggestions for what to look at can be made on my talk page.
However, except perhaps in areas like China or the Philippines where my main interests lie, I am not going to put in the effort required to fix a really garbled article. A much better use of my time, also easier and more enjoyable for me, is polishing the already very good English in articles from fluent-but-not-perfect non-natives, of whom we have many. Pashley (talk) 07:22, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
I am quite concerned that we have well intentioned editors whose native language was not english, and am impressed that Ikan Kekek doesnt actually single out our common editing area in the above discussion, it is as he says in part, not wanting to embarass or harass editors with limited english skills, the problem is the sheer volume of time going into areas where the english leaves one somewhat puzzled at original intentions. I am thinking there is no real machine level help on this, but simply time and patience, which at times might not be easily available. JarrahTree (talk) 11:08, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps an expedition is the way to go? It has a number of advantages:

  • Choose the right name and it reduces the risk of offense being given. After all, if the article is selected as worth improving, this is kudos for the contributors
  • It is not personal, and can be listed for attention by people with local knowledge which can help in deciphering the intended meaning.
  • It gets many eyes, so a realistic result is more likely.
  • Probably others I haven't thought of yet. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:32, 1 February 2016 (UTC)