Adofex at MozCamp 2011: Team-team-team

A week ago I was presenting Adofex to the crowd of happy localizers. The room was packed tight and the air was sparkling with excitement. Kinda 🙂

The presentation was centered on features of Adofex, telling people about the new features and UI that will make their lives easier both as translators and as addon maintainers. Wladimir Palant, the author of Adblock Plus, was eager to try and also to hack the new system. That is really inspiring!

Also, the community raised a very valid point about team ownership. As one of important features of the new system over the old one, I wanted to see unified translation teams. One-language-one-team. Yes, per-project teams are also totally possible, just are not the default.

With that setup, all members of language team would

  • get some place to be listed (look as a team)
  • help each other on totally any addon (work as a team)
  • have to be approved only by global language maintainers, who are expected to be much responsive and responsible then per-project team-mainteners – who are often unreachable or have quite a view on translation standards. (able to act like a team).

Yeah.

With all that said, I have a confession to make. I am actually looking at this from the boss side of the table. I am a maintainer of Ukrainian localization, have been localizing Firefox itself and few key addons for ages, and I get frustrated when I am not able to fix typos/mistranslations/missing strings in addons owned by other people. And filing “join team” requests, then waiting for them never to get a response was not an encouraging thing.

So, I created my own system, with blackjack and whistles, the one that fits the workstyle of a WikiGnome perfectly: once you are in a team, you are free to improve whatever you want.

Thing is, not everybody is a Gnome. Most people are Maintainers, and some are even Trolls. Maintainers are the ones who care about their favorite addon, they are added to the list of localizers in credits section and they do not want any outsiders to mess around. Trolls are the who guys care more about language purity and ‘proper’ term usage than doing hard work of translating kilobytes of text. One Troll autoreplacing “center” with, say, “centre” with no ability to roll that change back can easily alienate many Maintainers.

And, actually, in an environment (Launchpad) where I do not have the master switch in my hand, and where any of my pet translations can be (and are) edited by some guys whom I have never asked to – I do not like it myself.

To give people sense of satisfaction and well-earned fame – they should be able control the results of their work. Outsourced projects still is a useful feature to have, because Adblock Plus and Adblock Hiding Helper should really have the same teams working on them. But whether to outsource every new project to global team – that is a question. At least until someone implements translation history (#705) for Transifex – which would at least explain who changed what.

A feedback here would be greatly appreciated.

PS: for those who haven’s seen that great show, the source of team joke is IT Crowd.

UPDATE year later: It went live and welcomes translators!

P.P.S. Seems that the picture in the top of the post was brought bad mojo into it. I really hope it ended.

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