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Sidebar "special pages" link is confusingly identical to "special page" tab in Chinese
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Test program that finds problem Messages*.php files


  Here we have a interesting accessibility problem that just leaps out at
  you if you

  1.  use a text browser or any non-CSS device -- and,

  2.  are a user of languages with a certain grammar mentioned below.

The problem
  In English the familiar sidebar of any Special Page has


     • Special page


     • Special pages

   But imagine if it said instead


     • Special page


     • Special page

  You might say "Of course, one is in 'Views' and one in 'Toolbox'! I
  don't see the problem." But try it out for a few years and you will see
  it is a usability disaster, no matter how near or far they are to each
  other there in the sidebar.

  For many languages, using the same translation for 'specialpage' and
  'specialpages' is quite logical, as in their grammar plurals are the
  same as singulars -- in most situations, but not here, where extra
  emphasis very much needs to made that 'specialpages' should be "All
  special pages", "Special page groups"... however you might express it,
  as long as it is different from the value of 'specialpage'.

The test program
  Attached is a test program to find Messages*.php files with this
  accessibility problem.

  The output is batched into two groups, ranked by seriousness:

  2.  Bug Cdo... These are the language files that need to be corrected.

  1.  Ace Av ... These are also in danger, as they only have one of the
      strings, and could contribute to an identical pair somewhere else.
      Indeed, even the "Qqq" file defines 'specialpages', but not
      'specialpage'. The two must carry reminders that they must be
      different in _all_ languages.

  To use this program, save this file to languages/messages/spfinder.txt
  and run

   $ perl spfinder.txt Messages*.php


Version: 1.16.x
Severity: normal




Event Timeline

bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Medium.Nov 21 2014, 10:32 PM
bzimport set Reference to bz18403.

Message documentation at is already sufficient.

PS: specialpage message is not the one used there, but nstab-special

Conditions where this would *potentially* cause confusion:

  1. simple skin (not used that much)
  2. non CSS-supporting text browser (very rare)
  3. language where plural forms do not exists as such (less than half of them I guess)
  4. there is poor translation for it (quite rare)

You don't know how ridiculous this looks here in Monobook to Chinese
text browser users.

Duplicating options makes users wonder whether the two occurrences
are the same or different.

Changing status to LATER.

Better yet, see 8. Inconsistent Navigation in and have a genuine
Chinese person reclose this bug after using View>Page Style>No Style
in Firefox and verifying all issues have been resolved.

And I will trade you the space of the two retired messages of bug 17710 for one extra message here.

Whatever. Anyway issues remain. No hurry, but they remain.

Some ideas for the plural form for Chinese,

Closing this bug. It is up to the translators to take advantage of the available message documentation to not to create confusing translations.

The changes was applied via r52293 and was reverted in r52303 for a moment.

Please discuss the changes for the origin language (English) in first.
Making the translation different to the origin would cause more confusing for the functionality.

(In reply to comment #9)

Please discuss the changes for the origin language (English) in

There is nothing wrong in English, unless you want to add redundant "List of" to somewhere. I can't judge the translations in question because I don't understand them.

Dear Chinese committers: the problem is that for
MessagesEn : specialpage!=specialpages, but for
MessagesZh*: specialpage==specialpages, causing the above bug I have described.
Yes, sometimes "==" is OK, but not here!
Therefore specialpage needs to be made different than specialpages for
Zh*. 必分否則如上述很難看。 Please test in Firefox View>Page Style>No Style.

The revert in r52303 seems to be based on misinterpretation of comment #1, and discussion seems wayyyy off track. Checking the actual issue with the labels in zh and patching up...

Created attachment 6257
Illustration of the described problem and solution that was mistakenly reverted


link-confusion.png (1×648 px, 119 KB)

Restored in r52318. Chinese-language toolbar link for "special pages" ('specialpages' message) is now visibly distinct from the text of the "special page" tab link, making the sidebar links much clearer when viewing in text browser or simple skin. No other languages are changed.