Supporting different languages within Feneas

Hey everyone!

I’m @jaranta and I run mastodontti.fi and pixelfed.fi. I have been around the matrix channel a few times discussing possible collaborations. Originally, I thought that it would make sense to have a different association running those services, and that association could collaborate with Feneas. Some people argued that a separate association was not needed and I think talking with @jaywink finally convinced me.

The option we discussed would be to have working groups for different languages within Feneas. That would probably require some technical support (discussed below), but I think it’s mostly a management issue. I believe there has been some interest in language-specific activity before, with at least @valvin wanting to write a blog in French.

English is the de facto working language of Feneas because it’s the most common shared language. However, there are strong language-specific subcultures within the Fediverse and I believe that supporting those is important. Without open alternatives in their own languages, most people will simply keep using the popular closed ones.

I think, ideally, the working groups would consist of at least two speakers of a language, but to begin with, having one active person is probably enough. I think having at least two people is beneficial mostly so that there is a chance to discuss whatever initiatives the working group suggests with someone having at least some cultural literacy in the language in question.

Since the Feneas board is probably not able to speak all the languages within Feneas, it might be hard for them to keep track what the different working groups are up to. It would help if the working groups would be somehow active in the Feneas board, but that is probably not necessary if the groups keep the board otherwise informed about what is going on.

Since I’m suggesting this, we can consider the Finnish working group a test case and see how things could work.

To get some of the language-specific things to work, we need a technical solution for separating things according to language. For example, the current blog doesn’t support multiple languages, so informing different language communities using it is not ideal.

One possible solution would be to assign different languages different subdomains on feneas.org. That way different languages could even have different things under those subdomains. It’s entirely possible that people working in different languages have different assumptions on what the best way to work or communicate is and having different subdomains would allow that, letting people to use whatever tools they find most comfortable.

I think the minimum support needed for different languages would be a blog that allows separating posts according to language – something that the current Ghost-based blog apparently can’t do. We also discussed with @jaywink that if the current blog is replaced with something else, perhaps it’s time to adopt one that supports federation – this is Feneas, after all. As far as I can tell, Write Freely is the most mature native application, but Wordpress also has plugins that support federation – and it has good support for internationalization, unlike Write Freely. I don’t have strong opinions on this, but I do think that support for language-specific blogs would be a necessary step for supporting different language groups within Feneas.

Finally, I started my post mentioning the two services I run. I mentioned these services because one way Feneas could support different languages on the fediverse would be to run services for those specific languages. That takes money and effort, so figuring out a sustainable way to do so would be a part of the challenge. As a first step, I suggest that I hand over the two services to Feneas, but continue supporting them. What Feneas could provide is additional admins – this would solve what is currently my main problem with those services, which is that I’m the sole admin. If I would suddenly get hit by a bus, those services would most likely be gone with me.

I’d be happy to hear what you think about this initiative. For example, would my suggestion fit with what @valvin had in mind?

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I would be interested in joining the Finnish working group.

I have a bit of aversion towards WordPress as it’s so big and often the target of abuse (and I only have bad experience with instructions on how only specific editors can be used to edit the site and preview button cannot be clicked or the site will explode etc.).

I am not very familiar with Write Freely, but what kind of problems does it have with localization? Are they something that could be reported or just missing translations? Their translation site (via their README) lists 23 100% translated languages and three 90 % translated languages.

Hello @jaranta,

To be honest my first thought was not very elaborate. I wanted to promote Fediverse and Feneas had a blog. But I don’t think I’ve the level in english to write blog post. In french it could be easier for me. Since I talked about this I’ve started writing a blog post in english on Friendica but haven’t yet finished :slight_smile:

I like the idea of language group and while reading I think the approach of independant blog could be a good idea. By this I mean it could lead more localized news about Fediverse which don’t need to be translated in other languages. Native language news can impact different people and brings to decentralized network. But there are common news which could be on all blogs like it was done on wedistribute by @deadsuperhero until July which could translated.

Drawbacks is it multiplies the source and requires many people to have different language group and maintain blogs. Today Feneas’s blog is waiting for blog posts so I’m wondering if it would be easier with several blogs?

I would happy to follow your idea and tries to create a French language group if the idea is supported by Feneas’s board :slight_smile:

I made a new room on the Feneas Matrix server for the FInnish working group. I still find Matrix a bit difficult to figure out, but if I got it right, the address should be #feneas-fi:feneas.org and you should find it in the room list.

I’m not a big fan of Wordress either, but I don’t have strong preferences if there is some choice that is easy to adopt at this point.

I don’t mean translations when I say localisation, but rather support for multiple simultaneous blogs in different languages. Whatever we use should support having sites in the languages we are using, so at least English, French and Finnish at the moment – and adding more should also be easy.

Maybe this proposal could be complementary to this thread. It is from @deadsuperhero
Issue on gitlab

To sum-up the idea is to transfer WeDistribute to Feneas.

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I was looking back to Writefreely. It is really design for multi-blog handling and create a community. You can have a landing page on which you see all blogs. It is really writing oriented so there is no ease to upload picture at least in free version.

One real drawback is that federation status is really low. Today it only allowes to publish post using a specific identity but there is no interaction possible. There is no comment system. I can’t determine how it is important.

Hosting writefreely looks to be easy. Writefreely fingerprint is low. It could work using SQLlite or MySQL.

There are also managed hosting offer but it looks to be a bit expensive. Here for community hosting 10$/m. Or here but it is more expensive for a team 9$/m / user (outch). (note: paid version offers more service like cross-posting, image hosting…)

A CMS that could handle multiple blogs would seem necessary for building different language communities, and Writefreely would also federate which seems like a plus for Feneas. Would Feneas be able to run it’s own instance? Mainly I’m asking whether there are resources (time, labour) available for running it. I’m not sure how the admin labour is currently handled.

I also think that a blog is necessary, but not enough for supporting different language communities. I already created a Finnish-language channel on Matrix, since that is probably the best current way to handle discussions. Maybe we can have channels for other languages too?

Would having different subdomains for different languages work so that working groups for different languages could figure out what would the best way to handle things for them? I’m thinking that people might have different preferences on tools and different needs depending on what “supporting federated networking” happens to mean in their language area. Saying that everyone needs to organise similarly is probably going to harm efforts in the long run.

Huge thanks for @jaranta for taking the time to start thinking about this :tada: I think it’s important for the long term health of Feneas as a community to grow the amount of people involved and there language groups are probably the way to go. Just to recap some concrete actions to be done, by the admin team or others:

  • Create mailing list for the workgroup. What would be the format? For example in terms of the Finnish group: lang-fi@feneas.org, finnish@feneas.org, something else? AP admins
  • Create a forum subcategory under the root Feneas category. AP admins
  • Create a Matrix room. DONE by @jaranta, the room is #feneas-fi:feneas.org
  • Create a wiki page or forum post with information on 1) how language working groups work in Feneas and 2) how to apply for a language group and 3) what are the current language groups and 4) how to join a language group. I’m tempted to say the forum is best and pinning the topic in the Feneas category, what do others think? It could get lost more easier but then I’m not sure if anyone ever visits the wiki either. AP anyone / jaranta maybe?

Regarding the multi-language blogging, I’d love to hear thoughts of @deadsuperhero as he wants to move WeDistribute under the Feneas umbrella. I think it would make sense to only have one place to blog so as first question I wonder if WeDistribute can easily be tuned to have language specific content in some sane way? If not, we could set up subdomains under WeDistribute with specific instances running for language groups which would be completely separate.

Whatever the blogging solution I don’t think its feasible to translate all content, unless someone wants to of course. I’d be perfectly happy with the main English and the language blogs to have separate content - as long as they of course fit the Feneas related topics.

Anything I missed?

I’ve just added #feneas-fr:feneas.org :slight_smile:

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Create a wiki page or forum post with information on 1) how language working groups work in Feneas and 2) how to apply for a language group and 3) what are the current language groups and 4) how to join a language group. I’m tempted to say the forum is best and pinning the topic in the Feneas category, what do others think? It could get lost more easier but then I’m not sure if anyone ever visits the wiki either. AP anyone / jaranta maybe?

Would the website be another option? “Can I participate in my native tongue” might be one of those things potential members might be interested in knowing.

Maybe a list and contact info of active groups on the website and a guide on how to set up new ones on the forums?

Good idea re website :+1: I think we need to rearrange it a bit though, after the blog gets moved out.

Hello!
I find Feneas should support multiple languages.
After reading this thread and talking a bit to @valvin (on #feneas-fr:feneas.org) I have thought of some things to say.

  1. Blog software
    For me the blog software must be connected to the fediverse so something like Ghost will not work, also it should have federated comments and WriteFreely will not suit that so there is only Plume left. But Plume is too young so I don’t think it would be a good idea.
    I know this doesn’t help, I just said what I think and what I think is that there is nothing rn that suit what I think is our needs.
    All I see left is Wordpress and WeDistribute but I’m not a fan of Wordpress so (Yes, it doesn’t help too, I only expose my point of view)

  2. Blog URL
    Nobody talked about it except the original post. So I’ll make some suggestions about it
    For the URL I’ve some ideas (orderer from the one that I prefer to the one that I like least) :

You see that nowhere in what I propose there is a “global” URL because I think that if it’s a blog with all languages, that will not work because people would be afraid with languages that they don’t know

  1. Mailing list
    I think mailing list is something that can be important. It would be a way to send important messages to everyone in the working group, like that you are almost sure that everyone has seen the message
    For the format, I would prefer the lang-fr@feneas.org
    I also think that a global mailing list could be useful (working-groups@feneas.org or lang-all@feneas.org or something else better)
    I’ll explain why
    For example, blog post on feneas.org are most of the time important posts, so people making the english post would send the post a week before it’s posted to the global mailing list and people on working groupe would work on the translation
    Also, with a global mailing list, a #working-groups:feneas.org matrix channel is also something that would be good to exist (I think)

  2. Translation or new content
    I should be both. If someone in a working group find that an article should be translated, he can translate it. But if he wants to create a new article, he can too

  3. Local events ?
    Working groups is maybe the best way to organize local events. Of course not at the beginning, but wouldn’t it be great to have some events around the world ? Let me know what you think of this

  4. Congrats
    You have read all my message, congrats! Hope that I helped you and that we could continue a discussion! I also hope that my english wasn’t too bad for you :stuck_out_tongue:

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Totally agree! Ghost is great as a home page thingy, but not so great as a blogging engine for a federated networks association :wink: We should migrate the blog out, and take care of language versions as well. I’m afraid WordPress is a strong contender, since @deadsuperhero offered to transfer WeDistribute to Feneas, which feels like a good idea in general to many. It separates the “blogging brand” out of Feneas into something which is recognized as a publication. I think more authors will be interested in contributing this way.

As you said, there isn’t an obvious solution anyway, all the solutions have their faults.

TBH, all your suggestions are pretty good. Probably depends a lot on the software which one is available to use. Subdomains probably will work best?

Would be great to host a Mobilizon instance once a beta comes out :slight_smile:

Thanks for your thoughts!