Markus Giger & Marián Sloboda (2008) say «The way interviews were (and still are) conducted impressed me the most. While an interviewer would speak Belarusian, most interviewees responded in Russian, no matter which social strata they represented. This ‘bilingual’ interviewing sounds awkward to an outsider, but locals are apparently used to it»; if so, it seems most would be perfect be-ru bilinguals.
Other sources found an 80 % intelligibility of Ukrainian for Belarusian (but not with a formal intelligibility study, apparently).
Can we make "uk, then ru" fallback? I'm notifying some more translators.
My rant about Ukrainian was sarcastic, sorry. You should request a comment from the communities (be and be-tarask) regarding the change. Ukrainian is not an option here, only Russian.
My educated guess is: 1) the overwhelming majority of readers, and quite a portion of contributors would find that comfortable, and be silent, and never say 'thank you'; 2) certain vocal minority, while also arguably being more comfortable, would pointedly demonstrate their discontent, possibly even fill your inbox with hate-mail. You choose :).
Looks like you're right. ;-) I also see that 91 % of traffic from Belarus goes to the Russian Wikipedia; only 1 % ends up visiting the Belarusian Wikipedia. https://stats.wikimedia.org/wikimedia/squids/SquidReportPageViewsPerCountryBreakdownHuge.htm On the other hand, only 20 % of the traffic to the Belarusian Wikipedia comes from Belarus! https://stats.wikimedia.org/wikimedia/squids/SquidReportPageViewsPerLanguageBreakdown.htm#Belarusian
So it seems extremely likely that users of the Belarusian interface are equally comfortable with Russian.
Well, just bear in mind what I've told you about the 2nd group. BTW, re first posts here, be isn't "between" anything, it's just a language in its own right; just that its literary extension has never caught on.
Can you clarify why? Translating:Group statistics shows that MediaWiki messages for main extensions are 24 % translated in be, compared to 70 % in Russian. For the functions, special pages etc. where no be translation is available, do you think it's easier/better for Belarusian speakers to use an English language interface rather than a Russian language interface?
I don't need such an option and I want to choose myself which language to use via language preferences.
You are asking Belarusian translators opinion but cannot care less about Ukrainians' wish on their fallback? Doesn't it look, erm, not right?
I think that many editors who contribute in Belarusian are programmers. They usually have intermediate knowledge of English. On the other hand if a person doesn't know English, he can easily switch to Russian interface.
Good point: while editors might be programmers, thousands of Wikipedia users (visitors) are probably not. Moreover, Belarusian speakers who don't know English may currently be forced to switch to Russian, while they would prefer to use the Belarusian interface where possible.
So, if you're right, we should add the fallback to make more people use the Belarusian interface, and not worry about the editors who can always change their preferences (unlike unregistered users).