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One of the major problems for every worldwide community platform is the language barrier. Not everyone feels fit to debate complex matters in english and using a translations software to work your way through an extensive topic is a tiring thing, not to talk about the quality of the outcome which has significantly increased over the past years (at least for the most widespread languages) but still does not match what I would call close to perfect.

There are so many users in countries all over the world contributing to the database as well as to the national forums backing off from participation in these basical discussions because of this language barrier. I am sure many of them would be ready and able to deliver valuable input and it is a pity all this knowledge and expertise remains an unused treasure.

My vision of a such a community platform would be some kind of integrated translator showing the content of each and every post in the language any user has chosen as default so that everyone interested in participation could do so in the own language without any restriction. Yep, this is some kind of science fiction only - but this would finally be a real big step forward in multilingual communication.

Just a thought … :sunglasses:

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Well, great inspiration. The WeeklyOSM newsletter uses Google Translate. I am not happy with Google, but it’s useful for such situations.

So this forum should have:

  • a setting for each user, what language(s) are acceptable
  • the feature to decode the used language of a post
  • a button at each post “translate to my language”

I doubt, Discourse will / could have all that.

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@Map_HeRo @karlos There is an option of an integrated translation plugin, see the following topic

This plugin may not solve everything but it surely addresses quite a bit of the desires you each have. Check it out and if you believe this would be a worthy addition to our community forums here please reply or :heart: the post so it gets more attention.

Furthermore, translation with DeepL is possible with an existing fork of the translation plugin; DeepL is really fantastic for translation, my friend a professional translator uses it all the time. Maybe it’s not perfect but is objectively much better than all the others.

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An integrated translation plugin would be a good step forward at least, so thanks for the hint and starting the topic! :+1:

And yes, DeepL is for sure one of the best translators but using it to manually translate one post of a topic after the other one is an awkward job … an integrated solution would do much better.

Yes, see the current proposal about languages and locations, which includes a point about enabling multilingual collaboration

My experenice with it depends very much on language. If you want to go from X to Y where X and Y aren’t common languages and aren’t German, you end up in some cases with something that sounds like its gone through German to get from X to Y. In my case one language was English and the other ones included Arabic, Persian and Chinese. It may well be excellent for other X and Y.

it’s great for German :smile:

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Yeah it’s not perfect. But is it good enough for folks to communicate between languages on this forum? We’ll only know if we try

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In the current proposal, that something we want to try, but we want to avoid increasing the scope of work in this first phase because there are other major work involved in transitioning Help OSM and the old forums.

If we end up approving the proposal, we’ll also check with the Operation team in terms of resources and time to see when we can accommodate this testing.

From what I can tell from @TomH’s (OWG) messages in the other topic re: Translation Plugin:

The admins approval is what’s holding back this proposal; to install a plugin on Discourse is trivial at best. @TomH’s concern about budgeting is valid but not necessary to solve at this stage as there are ways to try translation services for free to see if t works for our community.

I don’t advocate any major decisions on the future of this community platform to be made with haste, but in the case of the translation plugin I consider it a precursor for the community to be best informed what forum category structure we desire, which makes it a priority along with transitioning the old forums.

I see lots of gibberish “<!–” for example. I need to classify before I post? could someone please explain in simple terms how this place is supposed to work and not just “it’s new and exciting.”

Thanks John

Hi @Johnwhelan

There are currently no plans to replace mailing lists at this point, the current goals and scope are described on this introductory topic where I’ve just moved your message to.

Are there specific questions you have about this post?

Sharing with you all the summary of some conversations and decisions from last Friday’s meeting:

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  1. Dedicated moderators per category and sub-category. Etiquette guidelines template should be provided, and content could be adapted by category moderators to fits their own community needs.

  2. What is your roadmap/timeline? When is the first community migration to community.openstreetmap.org ideally planned?

the whole point of moving to community.openstreetmap.org is to use a modern platform to make it easier for the WHOLE community to discuss, vote, and make decisions.

By not migrating the mailing list, you are essentially keeping the community divided between the “experts”/decision-makers and the rest of the community.

I have wanted to participate more in tagging discussions, but the ancient mailing list technology is a complete turn-off and I will never subscribe.

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I believe the “whole point” is to move away from software that is no longer supported/developed/maintained, not to force everyone to use a form of communication they may or may not want against their will.

I have not seen anyone talk about forcing OSM-US to give up their slack instance or stop OSM-UK from choosing their quarterly projects over on loomio. Discussions will continue to exist in multiple places just by nature of the size of the project.

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Completely understand your position. Just want to say there is a big difference between an extra country-specific Slack channel and a global mailing list where important decisions may be discussed/taken.

Sorry for not clarifying, but no current plans “right now” as far as I know. Communities and groups are welcomed if they want to move from mailing list to here.

I don’t know what people will request in the future, just what’s the current efforts are right now (helping Help OSM and forums.osm.org move over).

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I think fot the main communication there should be only one platform. Of course, this then also affects US Slack and others. Why? Otherwise, as an external third party, I will be forced to use proprietary software that clearly does not comply with the corresponding data protection standards.

Well, how could we possibly enforce that? People are free to discuss OpenStreetMap wherever we like - we can’t prowl round physical and virtual places and put a physical or virtual bag over someone’s head if they start talking about OSM in an “unauthorised location”. That said, it’s a shame when a group chooses a platform that isn’t open to everyone (such as one of the US corporate giants that may be on the wrong side of a firewall in other parts of the world).

The OSMF has a Commitment to Open Communication Channels, which means that when the board or a working group say anything publicly it can’t only be said on e.g. Slack/Loomio/etc. - it needs to be said where everyone can see it. It might also be said on Slack (if I was saying something that primarily was aimed at the US community it’d be daft to ignore the place that most of them congregate).

However, no-one is forcing any OSM user to use a non-free channel. Although it’s probably the most popular channel, plenty of US-based mappers don’t use Slack. In the UK the Loomio group that OSMUK use seems to be relatively inactive compared with e.g. the mailing list. That doesn’t mean that Loomio isn’t good for what the OSMUK people want to use it for; just that there are all sorts of mappers in all sorts of places and one size does not fit all.

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