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User namespace aliases

Currently testing the code with stupid male and female user namespaces, these will not stay. If everything goes fine, it will go into trunk. Please test and comment! You can also start assembling list of gender aliases for languages which need them.

Works for me. Please define in [be-tarask] беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎ (беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎): Удзельнік and Гутаркі_ўдзельніка (User and User talk) for male and unspecified variants; Удзельніца and Гутаркі ўдзельніцы for female variant (note: it's already added into $namespaceAliases).
I think same should be done for [ru] русский (русский): Участник and Обсуждение_участника for male and unspecified; Участница and Обсуждение участницы for female (also in $namespaceAliases already).
EugeneZelenko 15:33, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
It's Right. The code would remove the some charges of sexism in Russian translation. --ajvol 09:19, 3 February 2009 (UTC)


Please ask and comment how you use gender or plan to use it, does it work as expected, does it do everything it should do, how does gender affect your language (even if it doesn't) and any other issues here. – Nike 15:35, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

In case it wasn't clear: you are allowed to use gender magic word now. Just please list the messages above so we can check for possible problems in the message parsing. – Nike 12:23, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Technical implementation

{{GENDER:}} without user parameter does not work in page content. It always uses the default gender (usually unknown). This is by design. – Nike 20:57, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Other alternative is to allow it, and add gender to cachekey (dropping cache efficieny to 1/3) – Nike 20:59, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Changing the gender and then reloading the page reflects the change immediatly, even if not logged in. This is good on one hand, but indicates that it kills the parser cache. Is that so? It should be a config option, IMHO. The parser cache is important, and people's gender doesn't change that often. -- Duesentrieb 21:53, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

We can mark user gender in the URL like "action": gender=m or gender=f or gender=u. It is good idea for cache efficiency. Sp5uhe 21:56, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I suggest that we allow {{GENDER:$n|… inside page content as well. Especially in Help: pages and community pages addressing users to do something, it would be useful. Redirecting is also not cheap, but when caching is an issue, I suggest to, indeed, add this gender stuff to the URLs. --Purodha Blissenbach 00:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

As to the abovementined caveat for the second version, I suggest to generally allow the use of {{PLURAL/GRAMMAR/GENDER, html entities, and <span> </span> in practically every message that is rendered as visible html. --Purodha Blissenbach 01:21, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Extending and localizing Gender

Looking at localized versions of PLURAL, one may think of likewise localizing GENDER, since languages have deviating uses of grammatical genders. When we have localized forms of GENDER allowing more forms than just the English "male", "female", and "unknown", we need more than just adding more options locally. What we also need, is a matrix mapping of each languages' individual genders to a gender of all other languages, since when switching languages, genders of users often prevail and need to be expressed in another language. At first sight, that sounds more complicated than it really is, since mapping to gender-unaware languages is always easy, and there is always the "unknown" case which can be used, and very many languages have identically structured genders; thus we do not end up with a 285×285 matrix at the moment, but rather with something considerably smaller, like 10 by 10 or less, maybe.

I am not taking T-V-distinctions into account here. Even though they may be both theoretically and practically integrated into a revamped GENDER, they are structurally independent of grammatical genders. Distinct forms most usually may apply to any of the grammatical genders likewise, thus the final count of forms is the count of grammatical genders times the count of T-V-distinctions. Until it is clear how to deal with them, there is no need to go into details on them here, and most generally, thoughts presented here apply to any kind of distinction, be it distinct grammatical genders, or T-V-distinctions, or those two combined.

How to get to the mapping? We need to classify languages according to their uses of grammatical gender(s), and put identical uses together into individual classes. Example: Since most have a male/female/[neuter] scheme, and neuter hardly ever applies to users/usernames, the only thing to check would be whether or not the grammatical female of one language is as well the grammatical female of each other language, and the grammatical male of one language translates as well to the grammatical male of each other in a class. Likely, there will be many having their grammatical genders matching natural genders, and those all fit in one class. Etc.

Now, there are deviations, (please add to the list!)

  • grammatical gender and natural gender are unrelated,
  • children are grammatical neuters,
  • two sorts of female grammatical gender,
  • likely, there will be more.

What can we do so as to map those correctly? Of course that depends. In any case, we must ask additional information from users, because unless we have it, we cannot use it. So e.g. when grammatical and natural gender are not identical, (and unless there is an algorithm finding the grammatical gender of a user name, which we somethines have,) we must ask people for either gender. This poses the problem that, users may not know what their names grammatical genders could be in foreign languages. Likewise, we could ask "are you a child?", or maybe "the year you were born". In one case of two female genders, the distinction is in part contextual and semantic, actually a cross between a grammatical gender and a T-V-distinction, our only choice is to ask users how they want to be talked about, and getting this right may to some be more personally touching than all other gender-stuff and TV-distinctions. Of course, mapping from other languages to these two grammatical genders is only possible, when we ask the same question everywhere. We likely are expecting most answers to be in the "don't know" class where this language is not understood, do we not?

The last thought suggests that, in such hard-to-explain cases, we could spare foreign users the need to answer questions, and use some sort of default-to-unknown mapping anyways. Even more so for the time being, since these things will have to be reassessed once we introduce T-V-distinctions. --Purodha Blissenbach 09:41, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm not yet aware of languages where grammatical gender would differ from natural gender in singular third person. --Nike 16:51, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
If languages have third person, singular, etc., in their grammars at all ;-)
In the Central Franconian group and other Western languages of the West Middle German Group, there are some having grammatical gender different from natural gender througout, and others to some extent.
Also the Standard German language has, I believe somewhat historically related , the distinction between "die Frau", female (woman; wife; lady; ma'am; Mrs.), and "das Mädchen", neuter (girl, female teenager, etc.), and "das Fräulein", neuter (the young unmarried woman; unmarried adult female; high-classed unmarried daughter; female sales-person, clerk, teacher, etc.) for example. References to them in the 3rd person go, of course, with the grammatical gender, when these wörds are used alone or as qualifiers. E.g. when talking about a social event: "Das Fräulein Müller und die Frau Schmitz sind beide eingetroffen. Es ging nach links, und sie nach rechts" (Miss Müller and Missis Schmitz both have arrived. Miss Müller turned left, and Missis Schmitz turned right.) In the first German sentence, you could leave the articles out. That would, however, not alter the second sentence. You cannot translate the second sentence to English properly without having to somehow circumvent the ambiguity arising from the fact that, in English, grammatical gender cannot be used to distinguish who turned where. Note also that, the first sentence tells us that Miss Müller has to be considerably older, or of higher social rank, than Miss Schmitz, probably both. If not so, the speaker was grossly impolite, and misbehaving, and should be ashamed of himself. Note also that, the second sentence indirectly suggests that on the left, there was likely the place for the more important people to gather, or meet, while at the left, there was the place of the more ordinary people - likely, but not necessarily.
These specifics are a bit outside the scope of a language interface of a computer program, you may say? Not at all. If you want to get the tone right that some messages about other users use, you should be able to get these things right in the same way that every social event host at his or her microphone would. There is not much of a difference between a social event in real life, and a wiki community meeting online, after all, when it comes to publicly speaking about participants. --Purodha Blissenbach 10:24, 7 March 2009 (UTC)


I was a bit hasty with regards to my evaluation for this feature for Nynorsk. Though, I must say that I've never needed it in the translations I've done so far; so, are there any examples of existing messages where GENDER could be used? Or could we get messages like 'See {{GENDER:x|his|her|the user's}} user page' in the future? I've not really undestood the purpose of this feature, yet. --Harald Khan Ճ 20:59, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, such differentiations should be possible, imho. --Purodha Blissenbach 00:44, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Next messages seem good candidates to use GENDER in Slavic languages: Blockipsuccesstext ("$1 has been blocked.

See the block list to review blocks."), Blocklogentry ("blocked $1 with an expiration time of $2 $3"), Ipb already blocked (""$1" is already blocked."), Ipb-needreblock ("$1 is already blocked. Do you want to change the settings?"), Alreadyrolled ("Cannot rollback the last edit of $1 by $2 (talk | contribs). Someone else has edited or rolled back the page already.

The last edit to the page was by $3 (talk | contribs)."), Confirmrecreate ("User $1 (talk) deleted this page after you started editing with reason:


Please confirm that you really want to recreate this page."). --EugeneZelenko 04:13, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

The message Blocklogentry ("blocked $1 with an expiration time of $2 $3") is an interesting example: "blocked $1 with an expiry time of $2 $3". In Alemannic not only the blocked user $1 should have a gender-specific article (dr $1 if male or d $1 if female) but also the preliminary name of the sysop should have a gender-specific article. But the username of the sysop is not mentioned in the message.Als-Holder 17:48, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Same with all Ripuarian. (I've avoided that up to now using wordings like: "the user $n" where the (required) article is grammatical-genderwise bound to "user", and else using 'lazy forms' (like "don't" replacing "do not") that happen to be spelt alike for all four genders.)

messages with {{GENDER}} in Polish - working list. Sp5uhe 12:06, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Looks like there is a set of messages which need a new parameter for the acting user. – Nike 15:14, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes and no. We Ripuarians can cope with "list style" log entries which can do without articles in front of names, or ungrammatified dates, and/or times.
Of course people do accommodate and find ways to hide problems, but the software should not dictate how your language can be used. – Nike 09:14, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Well done. As far as I understand, this list is relevant for other Slavic languages, especially Russian. --ajvol 09:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I think this list may be useful for gender in another languages, but not for all messages because of individual collocation specific for laguages. Sp5uhe 22:25, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Meta message group

I think it would be most efficient/effective if we were to create a runtime meta message group for this, similar to MediaWiki:Betawiki-messages. That way the more knowledgeable users can keep the group up to date, and it can be reached from within the default Special:Translate UI without any hassle. Niklas: possible? Siebrand 21:27, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

You are assuming that the group is homogeneous across languages. It is still open wether it is, or whether there are multiple types of groups inside it, or whether it is just too random to be useful. In any case we need examples for messages where it is used. – Nike 21:37, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Since long already I am longing for a classification of messages according to the type of data being supplied for $n variables, such as User names, dates, times, etc. - Messages using user names are one class having to use {{GENDER:$n|… . Messages addressing users are another class, having to use {{GENDER:|… . Btw., there are several words, expressions and phrases in several languages, that can be used to identify the latter, e.g. en:"please", en:"klick", ksh:"donn", ksh:"bes esu joot", etc. --Purodha Blissenbach 01:15, 29 January 2009 (UTC)


What about most obvious usage of gender setting for translating User and User talk namespaces? At least this should be done for personal pages and in default signature. Less priority could be given to translate them in various special pages (watchlist, recent changes, etc). --EugeneZelenko 04:17, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

For example see a first request: --- Best regards, Melancholie 04:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, this bug request talks about aliases, not actual usage. MessagesBe_tarask.php and MessagesRu.php already have aliases, but they are not affecting personal pages titles and signatures. --EugeneZelenko 14:52, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think translating namespaces based on the user they are related to is not such a good idea. If you want to get to the user page of a user, you usually just go to User:Name. If you don't know the gender of the user, you would have to test whether the page is at User_(m):Name or User_(f):name. Regards, --ChrisiPK 17:31, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
They would just be aliases, redirecting to the correct one, naturally. – Nike 17:35, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


The magic word SITENAME needs to have an attached gender. In French, for instance, MediaWiki supplies interface messages for Wikipédia (feminine) and for Wiktionnaire (masculine), so messages invoking SITENAME such as MediaWiki:Siteuser need, for now, to be written in one gender (typically feminine) and overriden for those sites that have the opposite gender. Whether this should be a new magic word (e.g. SITEGENDER) or some other technical solution remains to be seen.Urhixidur (talk) 18:06, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

{{GENDER:$2|l’utilisateur|l’utilisatrice|l’utilisateur}} $1 de la {{SITENAME}}
{{GENDER:$2|l’utilisateur|l’utilisatrice|l’utilisateur}} $1 du {{SITENAME}}

Use more GENDER?

I was wondering if we should use the GENDER tag in messages such as MediaWiki:Right-collectionsaveasuserpage, where it is present the word "user", which in Portuguese could be "Usuário" or "Usuária" depending of the current user. Would this be problematic with the "User" namespace? Helder @pt.wikibooks 21:55, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

User Gender on what? – Nike 08:45, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I mean something like "Salvar livros como página de {{GENDER:|usuário|usuária}}" in the translation of that message. Helder @pt.wikibooks 15:27, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
It is likely that it wont work correctly there. – Nike 15:18, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
This is not specific to Portuguese. Lots of language have feminine forms for designating people like users.
And it is effectively possible to do what you want, at least partly: you just need to define an additional synonym for the feminine form in the namespace name, just to allow correctly displayed links
Of course this will still not fix the title show at top of the page when cisiting the user page, but in fact it could potentially do that: there is now a user preference allowing people to specify their effective gender. This info can be retrieved from the user database to specify the gender "code" that the page renderer will use to render the title of the user page. Then we could have the possibility to indicate that the namespace name can take the GENDER into account, and no more synonym would be needed, a single resource would fix the user page title (of course, the links must continue to be recognized)
Example in French as well: Utilisat{{GENDER:eur|rice|eur}} (the third alternative is used when the gender is neutral or unknown/ some contexts like when selecting the namespace for searches, it will not be needed for links to specific users or for the title of their page, unless they want to remain neutral on this subject by not specifying it in their preference).
Note that there may be some languages that have more than 2 or 3 grammatical genders: masculine in Czech can be animate or inanimate; Bot users could be inanimate masculine or neutral; there could be other grammatical genders specific to some languages for designating children or aged/venerable peoplen or even animals (those very unlikely to be actual users of wikis, with their own preference!); the number of genders would vary in the user preference according to the local language of the wiki, as well as the number of alternatives to use in {{GENDER:}}. Verdy p 16:47, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Note that this was about that particular message, where no links are supposed to be used. I wrote the gender feature, and it is unlikely to see any improvements in near future unless someone else does them. – Nike 17:34, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I would volunteer for such improvements later this year, but there should be some discussion before.
  • Should we, for instance, mingle different ways of addressing people, e.g. by age, youth, with specific forms of respect, with GENDER?
  • How to map genders between languages, when the less common ones are being used, especially with languages other than the wiki language?
  • I would like to alter the processing away from passing user names to message handler routines that then have to determine the gender from the name to rather have the gender processed earlier, and an index passed to the message handler. This should make GENDER processing quicker, more cacheable, and friendlier towards JavaScripts. --Purodha Blissenbach 20:57, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

You could try polling our translators which kinds of addressing they would want to use (like, if we could combine de and de-formal). Then we can decide what to implement. In which case there is need to map gender to different language? Do you want to introduce a GENDEROF magic word? – Nike 05:37, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Assuming we were using "polite forms" with GENDER, we may have languages having:
  1. young+male, young+female, unknown, neuter, old/respected+male, old/respected+female
  2. male, standard/casual-female, unknown, specialcase-female, neuter
  3. common gender, neuter, unknown
Wiki users have assigned themselves genders present in the wiki language (or should they have done it in their own preferred language?) Anyways, now someone else is accessig the wiki using a different language. Since that language does not offer the same set of GENDER choices, there needs to be a mapping between GENDER choices of the wiki to each of the different languages that users could be using. In the above instances that could be handled like this:
Mappings of language 1.
language GENDER
1. young+male young+female unknown neuter old/respected+male old/respected+female
2. male standard/casual-female unknown neuter male specialcase-female
3. common gender common gender unknown neuter common gender common gender

Mappings of language 2.
language GENDER
2. male standard/casual-female unknown neuter specialcase-female
1. young+male young+female unknown neuter old/respected+female
3. common gender common gender unknown neuter common gender

Mappings of language 3.
language GENDER
3. common gender neuter unknown
1. unknown neuter unknown
2. unknown neuter unknown
As you can see, mappings are a partially filled three-dimensional matrix. Mappings are neither transitive nor bijective. They can be applied transitively without becoming wrong, but they may loose information in such cases and become unnecessarily imprecise.
I did not think of it, but {{#GENDEROF: }} could turn out to be a good idea. --Purodha Blissenbach 13:45, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Could we perhaps think it as two different things:
  1. Gender (male, female, ?neuter, unknown)
  2. Politeness (two or more alternatives from higher to lower depending on the language)

Then the fallbacks could be quite easy. How to combine those two to form the correct form, that is more challenging. – Nike 16:46, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

In my first theoretical assessment I was thinking that, too. One of my own languages show that languages are not that easy, sometimes. We have two grammatical ways to talk to, and about, females in Western Hessian, Palatinian, Moselle Franconian, and Ripuarian languages, likely in eastern Limburgian varieties, too. While those differ somewhat between dialects, they have in common that female persons follow the grammatical neuter declension most of the times, and on special occasions follow the grammatical female declension. (You can as well see them as a 4th grammatical gender with some overlap with the other declensions. That is simply another formal way of describing it - useful for programming, but uncommon among linguists, who btw. did not do much research on these forms, afaics). Depending on dialect, the rules when the lesser used, or special, forms apply, whether they are mandatory, or equally applicable like the others, and their precise grammatical implementation, differ. I shall investigate the subject matter, but since hundreds of dialects are involved, I expect that to take years. Anyways, the lesser used form is - to some extend and in several dialects - undoubtedly a kind of a "polite form" that, when there is a choice, often cannot be used e.g. on girls, or very young adults, and should be used on respected older women, or (sometimes) must be used on well known foreigners, such as movie stars or politicians, etc., but do not apply in the own village or family. Details are highly complex sometimes, Now, users have to assign themselves to either of the two classes of using either of the forms in such cases where their use is not mandatory. This is somewhat different from real life situations, where speakers choose how to address another person, or how to talk about them. Since there is a mix of grammatically mandatory and (varying per dialect) speaker and situation dependent selectable elements, I currently believe that, this is a hybrid of strict gender and some "politeness". --Purodha Blissenbach 20:15, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
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