Wiktionary:Votes/2020-07/Removing letter entries except Translingual

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Removing letter entries except Translingual[edit]

Voting on:

  • Removing language-specific letter entries from the mainspace. That is, any non-Translingual entry preceded by the L3-header ===Letter=== and/or the header {{head|LANG|letter}} (or derivative). This vote does not affect letter entries in various sign languages.
  • Moving all these entries to appendices, depicting the alphabet of the language and any useful additional information (pronunciation, origin, inflection etc.). The layout of these appendices are left to the respective communities' discretions.
  • Updating the CFI to not include such letter entries in the mainspace.


  • Vote starts: 00:00, 13 October 2021 (UTC)
  • Vote ends: 23:59, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
  • Vote created: Thadh (talk) 07:58, 31 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]



  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support Thadh (talk) 05:15, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Supportsurjection??⟩ 09:52, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support Even if we could technically display these full entries (we can't) and even if browsers wouldn't buckle under the huge page sizes (they would), is there seriously any value in having so many entries at (e.g.) o? Who is actually helped by having "A letter in the English alphabet", "A letter in the Norwegian alphabet", "A letter in the Portuguese alphabet", etc.? Imagine how long these pages would be if we fully documented all written languages that use the Latin alphabet! It could be useful to include a navbox-style series of footers that directs users to the all the letters of these various scripts in alphabetical order because that will be different for some languages (e.g. Ñ and ñ in Spanish or İ and ı in Turkish). —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:53, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Removing the non-translingual letter entries would be of minimal help with the OoM errors; as detailed in AG202's oppose vote below, the non-translingual letter entries make up only a small fraction of the total sizes of the letter pages (and this becomes an even smaller fraction if, as suggested on the talk page in response to my concerns regarding the derived-terms sections for the non-translingual letter entries, these sections are kept on the pages and moved to the translingual letter entries rather than being excised as part of the non-translingual letter entries), and many of the pages running into these errors aren't letter pages at all. My preferred option for dealing with the Lua OoM errors would be to split huge pages into several smaller pages (like we already do - for example - with the Appendix:Unicode pages for blocks with thousands of character assignments). As for the second "problem" you list - "...and even if browsers wouldn't buckle under the huge page sizes (they would)" - that won't be the case for any reasonably-modern browser on any machine from the past decade and a half or so. Chrome and Firefox both do just fine at handling pages far huger than our letter pages will ever get, and all the other browsers see negligible use. Are we trying to cater to the two people in the world who still use Internet Exploder? Whoop whoop pull up Bitching BettyAverted crashes 16:56, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    (Whoops, forgot to ping @Koavf: with that comment.) Whoop whoop pull up Bitching BettyAverted crashes 02:00, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    @Whoop whoop pull up: Thanks for the ping. Re: browsers: I think you have a very Western view on this. Please try loading these pages with a KaiOS flip phone in India or Nigeria. Re: splitting pages: how would we decide when and where to split? Do you have a proposal on what that would look like? E.g. O/1, O/2, etc.? —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:25, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Re: re: splitting pages, I would suggest something like A/Translingual...German, A/Herero...Maltese, A/Monegásque...Turkish, A/Vietnamese...Zulu, or the like (language labels in these links not necessarily ones that actually currently exist on that particular page; this is just a mockup), or maybe A/Languages: A-F, A/Languages: G-M, A/Languages: N-S, A/Languages: T-Z (in the latter case, the translingual and English entries would simply stay at the main letter page, with all the other language-specific entries - regardless of type of speech - being moved to the bogosubpages). Re: re: browser limitations, is there anything to indicate that a significant number of Wiktionary users are actually accessing the site by such low-capability means? And do we really want to hold ourselves back that severely to cater to such a low common denominator? (And and - and speaking here as someone who used a KaiOS flip phone until a few days ago - would it even be possible to do so? MediaWiki no longer supports rendering even on older desktop web browsers - and even an old, obsolete, barely-functional desktop browser [like IE] is still a giant leap ahead in capabilities and functionality compared to a flip-phone browser.) Whoop whoop pull up Bitching BettyAverted crashes 14:06, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Woah, wait a second. I still think that there needs to be a serious revamp of the pages, and catering to those with underserved Internet services and not-as-powerful systems would be beneficial for the website as a whole. I just didn't think that removing letters was the way to go about it (short-term half-solution for a much longer-term problem). AG202 (talk) 14:30, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    @Koavf Thanks for the explanation about browsers! And honestly, (since Nigeria was mentioned and I am Nigerian, I feel obligated to respond) this is a problem that's already evident and is not solved at all by moving letters. As mentioned in my comment under "Oppose", the letter pages have Lua errors, not because of the letter entries, but because of other entries. mi has a Lua Memory Error with no letters after all, and then letter entries tend to be shorter regardless, so the pages buckle under other content. So overall, if we're really trying to cater to those in areas with underdeveloped Internet, the website as a whole will need a serious revamp. AG202 (talk) 08:42, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    @AG202: Your point about some non-letter pages being too long is well-taken. —Justin (koavf)TCM 08:51, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm open to the footers idea, could you maybe give more detail about that if at all possible? AG202 (talk) 05:01, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Just a simple navbox that is something like "English alphabet" and has A/a, B/b... all in one or two rows, followed by "Afar alphabet", "Afrikaans alphabet", etc. Still a lot of templates but far fewer and taking up much less space. —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:29, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Symbol support vote.svg Support: Category:Latin script languages = 3,637. —Suzukaze-c (talk) 05:05, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Symbol support vote.svg Support --Numberguy6 (talk) 01:12, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Symbol support vote.svg Support in principle, but with the provisos that (a) I see no reason not to include pronunciation, derived terms etc. in the main Translingual entry, grouped by language section in a bulleted list (see User:This,_that_and_the_other/translingual#1._Layout_of_Translingual_entries), and (b) an exception should be made for letters that only occur in one language (e.g. the letters of the Armenian alphabet, or ß). This, that and the other (talk) 08:50, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    @This, that and the other: I don't understand why Armenian letters and the Eszett are more worthy of a non-Translingual entry than other letters. Also, if you want to add all pronunciations in all languages to the Translingual section, its pronunciation section will become enormous. Thadh (talk) 09:34, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    I am suggesting that single-language letters could receive an entry under their language L2 header instead of Translingual, because the letters are not "translingual" in any sense of the word. This is how, for instance, Խ is currently formatted. It lacks a Translingual section and has the letter entry under Armenian.
    And yes, the pronunciation section will become large, but a collapsible box (like we do for translations) can be used, as it already is at Homo sapiens. I don't see a good reason why that information needs to be pushed into an appendix. However, I'm not terribly fussed about this aspect of the proposal. This, that and the other (talk) 11:11, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    I mean, I guess it doesn't really matter whether language-specific letters are translingual or language-based, but I would think an English text could say something like "The Armenian letter Խ is used to...", which would render the letter Translingual? I'm not sure, I don't know what our customs on this are; I guess this is something to be discussed either after the vote or on the talk page, since it's part of execution. Thadh (talk) 11:19, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    @Thadh@This, that and the other Armenian should be Translingual so long as Old Armenian is a separate language header, IMO. Tibidibi (talk) 03:24, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Yes, I'm not opposed to that. All I'm saying is that we should retain the flexibility to not use Translingual in cases where a letter belongs to only one Wiktionary-recognised language, just as is proposed for sign languages. This, that and the other (talk) 03:26, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Symbol support vote.svg Support. I'd also support a similar solution for famous surnames (Wiktionary:Tea room/2020/March § famous surnames). Imetsia (talk) 18:55, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Symbol support vote.svg Support. —Mahāgaja · talk 13:47, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


  1. Symbol oppose vote.svg Strong oppose for now. While I appreciate the work that Thadh has done with answering the questions that I’ve had, there are still so many issues that need to be address before I can comfortably vote for such a sweeping measure across all languages. To the question of whether or not letters are dictionary content: why not just look at common dictionaries. For the languages that I’m most familiar with:
    So to me, it definitely seems like they are dictionary content to major dictionaries, so why would we cause ourselves to have less information on entry pages? (Let alone the fact that they are lemmatized) There’s so much information that goes along with letters as well, as they are words in their own rights, such as pronunciations, etymologies, historical information, mutation, inflection, derived terms, gender (which should be included for gendered languages already if applicable), form information, references, usage notes, obsolete, dated, or more specific letters found outside an alphabet, and more that we would have to put on editors to make a (clean) appendix for, meanwhile it works in the way that it is right now. Also, with languages like American Sign Language where their letters are under the Letter header and there’s important production information, how would that fit cleanly into an Appendix page? (Vote updated to exclude Sign Languages) With more ancient or extinct or even newer languages/scripts as well, it is very helpful to have the letter as its own entry/page. I'm sure there's much much more that I've missed while doing my own research as well that hasn't even been touched. Therefore, while I wish that there were more discussion, I just can’t bring myself to vote to force editors to move all their work and create new pages & systems unnecessarily, let alone all the broken templates and links. And before anyone mentions Lua Memory Errors, this is not the solution for that, if you look at many of the entries like o or e, most of the entries are in fact not letters, but other POSs, and then, mi, for example, that has no letters has the same issue. Thus, deleting letters & moving them to translingual is not a solution, but a wide-sweeping move that wouldn’t fix that issue at hand to begin with, a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Also, I feel like the solution of having Translingual have a link to "languages that have x letter" -> appendix of language letter is very clunky and not super clear for readers (the Appendix is a bit out of reach to begin with as well). And while this isn't as relevant, I've found it really helpful to see how letters like c change between languages and develop without having to click through tons of appendices, which is part of what Wiktionary is for. Thus, overall, I don’t feel comfortable voting for this proposal in the way that it’s formatted right now, without at least a significant discussion from other language communities, at least if we're really striving for "All words in all languages". AG202 (talk) 00:02, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Urszag (talk) 03:19, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose per AG202, and also because the language-specific letter entries are the source of a great many language-specific derived terms, which would be left hanging (with nowhere to list them as being derived from) were the language-specific letter entries to be deleted. Whoop whoop pull up Bitching BettyAverted crashes 03:13, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Svartava2 (talk) 13:12, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


  1. Symbol abstain vote.svg Abstain while I think about this. I agree with not having three thousand L2 sections for all of the languages that use a; preserving the letter names and their pronunciations, etc (e.g., notice how much content ß has) in appendices seems like a better approach. I agree with "This, that" that if a letter is truly only used in one language, it should just have that language's L2 and not "Translingual", but this is rarer than suggested: for example, Armenian letters are also used by Old Armenian, and ß is also used in other German languages like Bavarian and Zipser. - -sche (discuss) 21:09, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Also non-German languages of Germany. It was formerly used in Sorbian, for example. —Mahāgaja · talk 13:50, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]