20 secondes [fr]

[en] More bad editor stuff.

20 Secondes

Je ne vous en dis pas plus, mais personnellement, je pense que 20 secondes ce n’est pas assez pour faire les en-têtes.

Comme le dit Raph, faut aussi s’occuper de la concurrence.

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Chasse à la faute [en]

[fr] Typo stuff.

Pourquoi faire simple… [fr]

[en] Just an administrative letter which takes a way too convoluted route to explain something which is actually pretty simple. I suppose they needed to make the letter long enough for it to be worth using a whole sheet of paper.

…quand on peut faire compliqué.

Tout d’abord, tentez de comprendre l’explication donnée dans la lettre ci-dessous (oui je sais, ça date un peu):

Lettre M-CUMULUS

*Cliquez dessus si vous voulez la voir en plus grand.*

Maintenant, voici la traduction, en une phrase: “Vous n’accumulez des points CUMULUS que sur les montants que vous avez *vraiment* payés.” Bon, j’en rajoute une deuxième: “Vous n’accumulez pas de points CUMULUS sur les achats que vous avez payés avec des points CUMULUS.”

Bon, je m’la coince. Bonne nuit!

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Où sont les correcteurs? [fr]

[en] Typo. And an article on why it's stupid to try and solve the "dog bite" problems by outlawing certain breeds and making dogs wear muzzles in parks.

Réponse: y sont partis! C’est le correcteur orthographique de MS Word qui fait le boulot, maintenant.

Lausanne-Cités 13-14.09.2006

A part ça, à lire dans le même canard, un [article tout à fait pertinent sur la problématique des ‘chiens dangereux’](http://www.lausannecites.ch/live/2/home/infos/au_sommaire/eclairage/eclairage.php?latest_access_time=53718&CNSACTION=VIEW_ARTICLE&selected_article_id=1468&selected_section=50 “Voici l’article en ligne.”).

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Flickr, ça se prononce comment? [fr]

[en] French-speakers have trouble pronouncing "Flickr". They tend to sound as if they had something stuck in their throat. This is my attempt to educate them. 🙂

La réponse à cette question cruciale pour tous les francophones dans [le podcast de ce soir](http://climbtothestars.org/files/2006-09-10-stephanie-booth-ctts.mp3 “Cliquez pour écouter. 1.3Mb. 3 minutes.”), en un peu moins de 3 minutes (enfin, les 30 premières secondes suffisent si vous êtes vraiment pressés).

To flick(e)r

Un indice: [Flickr](http://flickr.com/ “Pour vos photos… ah, vous savez déjà?”), c’est un jeu de mots sur “flicker”.

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Sur l'arrière-train! [fr]

[en] Just got a commercial letter from IKEA using the informal "tu" instead of "vous", and am frankly quite shocked. I use "tu" very easily and tend to prefer it to "vous", but we're so use to associating "vous" to official mail that this looks very much out of place.

J’ouvre à l’instant le courrier d'[IKEA](http://www.ikea.com/ms/fr_CH/) accompagnant ma nouvelle carte Family. Quel choc!

On me tutoie durant toute la lettre.

Que ce soit clair: j’ai le tutoiement (trop) facile. En règle générale, je suis bien plus à l’aise dans les milieux où l’on se tutoie. Par exemple, sur internet, ça me fait vraiment bizarre quand on ne me tutoie pas.

Mais la lettre d’IKEA me choque carrément. On a tellement l’habitude que le vousoiement (oui, vous avez bien lu, c’est un régionalisme auquel je tiens) soit de rigueur dans la correspondance commerciale que là, ça fait franchement surréaliste.

Et vous savez quelle a été ma première réaction (spot sur les stéréotypes et autres idées reçues à la noix)? “Rah, ces germanophones! ça passe peut-être en Suisse Allemande, ce genre de truc, mais ça se voit bien que c’est pas un francophone du coin qui a validé cette lettre!” Si ça se trouve, je suis totalement à côté de la plaque…

Vous avez aussi récemment reçu votre nouvelle carte Family, avec tutoiement en prime? Qu’en avez-vous pensé, chers lecteurs?

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Chasse aux fautes [fr]

[en] Hunting for spelling horrors in my daily life. Not very interesting if you don't speak French.

Allez, j’inaugure une nouvelle série de billets un peu ludiques: la [chasse aux fautes](http://technorati.com/tag/chasseauxfautes) d’orthographe dans les affiches, vitrines, menus, bref, toutes les publications qui estropient allègrement notre belle langue française.

Je sais que mon niveau d’orthographe a joliment chuté depuis la fin du gymnase, mais cela n’empêche pas que j’ai l’oeil qui frise quand il se pose sur certaines horreurs. Fini de souffrir en silence, dénonçons publiquement les coupables, suivant les traces de [Fautes de français](http://fautesdefrancais.wordpress.com/)! Voici celui d’aujourd’hui:

Chasse aux fautes

Cliquez sur la photo, et si vous avez un compte Flickr, vous pourrez annoter la photo pour indiquer vos trouvailles.

Et oui, très certainement, vu que je parle d’orthographe, vous trouverez au moins une coquille dans ce billet. Certains le savent, j’écris généralement mes textes d’une traite et je ne relis même pas avant de publier. Vilaine.

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About the Swiss Blog Awards (SBAW) [en]

[fr] Un compte-rendu des problématiques que je vois liées à cette histoire de Swiss Blog Awards (pour mémoire: pas de nominations romande, tessinoise, ou romanche). Je suis fâchée que les organisateurs rejettent la faute sur les blogueurs romands et n'admettent pas qu'il y a un problème dans la façon dont la communication a été menée autour de cet événement, ainsi que dans la manière dont les nominations ont été faites.

Cependant, je tiens à noter que je n'encourage personne à boycotter l'événement, au contraire. Je crois qu'il est crucial qu'il y ait une présence romande à Bienne vendredi. Faites connaissance avec les gens. Si vous avez envie que les SBAW de l'an prochain soient plus équitables, impliquez-vous, faites des propositions d'autres méthodes aux organisateurs. Je ne soutiens pas non plus la demande faite aux sponsors de retirer leur soutien, et je ne souhaite pas non plus voir qui que ce soit du comité d'organisation se retirer.

Si je n'ai pas accepté de faire part de l'organisation des SBAW, c'est premièrement parce que je n'étais pas libre, et que lorsque la demande m'a été faite, les choses étaient bien en train, et que j'aurais eu un peu le sentiment de jouer le rôle de Romande-alibi. Qu'est-ce qui aurait pu être fait côté organisation pour rendre cet événement plus populaire en Suisse Romande?

*Note: this blog post was dictated, so if you see things that don’t make sense, try reading them out loud and let me know.*

I left [quite a few comments](http://cocomment.com/comments/steph/sbaw/) here and there on the issue of the Swiss blog awards. For those of you checking in now, the fact that aside from one English language blog, only German-speaking language blogs were nominated for this award is creating [quite a stir](http://www.cocomment.com/tag/sbaw) around here. It is a touchy issue, and people on both sides are getting angry and/or taking things personally — me included, to some extent. Over the last couple of days, I have seen my position on this issue misrepresented, and I would like to set the record straight and clarify some of my opinions on what is going on.

### I’ve kept my comments public

First of all, let’s say it loud and clear:

– I am not encouraging people to boycott the event, [on the contrary](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/2006/04/28/occasions-sociales-fondues-et-autres-amenagements/#comment-97);
– I do not support the [request made to sponsors to withdraw their support](http://politique.bleublog.ch/politique-federale/aux-principaux-sponsors-des-swiss-blogs-awards.html);
– I do not want anybody to step down;
– I am doing my best to be constructive, even though this whole affair annoys me tremendously.

In addition to that, I would like to stress that I have not held any private conversations about all this since the stir began, aside from forwarding [Bruno](http://giussani.typepad.com/)’s suggestion that the Bloggy Friday be held in Biel to [Anne Dominique](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/), who is [taking over Bloggy Friday](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/2006/04/28/occasions-sociales-fondues-et-autres-amenagements/) for this month as [I cannot be there](http://cafecafe.ch/concerts/cheserex/), and a chat this morning with one of the organisers. Everything I had to say was said in public. In particular, since I was asked that precise question, I am not the one who [reminded Bruno about the unfortunate LIFT episode](http://giussani.typepad.com/loip/2006/04/swiss_blog_awar_1.html).

The closest I got to expressing an opinion on what was going on in private was in the response I sent to Bruno last night, still on the topic of encouraging French-speaking Swiss bloggers to be present in Biel on Friday. For the sake of transparency, I’m reproducing my response here. It also pretty much sums up where I stand.

> Yes, as I commented on AD’s post (no hyphen for her, btw), I also think it would be good for Romands to be there.

> As I expressed in my last comments on the subjects, I do feel that [[some organisers] are mainly blaming the bloggers for not having been nominated. I guess I’m taking it a bit personally because I was approached about
SBAW and (a) didn’t have the time for it and (b) didn’t really feel totally comfortable about the event (can’t pinpoint why, which is why I haven’t said this in public yet).

Now that this is out of the way, here are a few things I’d like to say about these awards and the whole mess.

### Some background information about me

As I — along with other French-speaking bloggers here in Switzerland — am being blamed for not having publicised the awards enough and not having encouraged my readers to go on and nominate me, here is a little information about my personality that I think is relevant to the issue.

I talk about things that I’m excited about. (Or that anger me…) This is especially true when it comes to promotion. It is not my habit to promote an event or a service just because a friend asked me to. So blaming me because I didn’t put a button on my site for the Swiss blog awards is beside the point: it’s blaming my personality.

Then, I don’t like awards. For me, they are inevitably flawed to some extent. Some less than others, but still. In 2003, [I won an award for “Best Swiss blog”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/02/11/ce-soir-a-geneve-nuit-du-journal-intime/) in the French-speaking blogosphere. Why? Because I was pretty much the only Swiss blogger to hang out in the community gravitating around some of the organisers.

### Blog awards

When an award puts out a title like “Best Swiss blog”, it creates a certain number of expectations. For example, that more than one Swiss blog will be entering the contest. That the contestants will be more or less representative of Swiss blogs in general. That the award will be given with a certain degree of fairness. That the “best blog” is in a way “better” than the others in the same category, which translates into “better quality” for most people, unless clearly specified otherwise.

I find that this is not often the case. First of all, the pool of contestants is always in some way related to the people who organised the awards. Blogging functions like word-of-mouth, but with greater reach. Inevitably, the first people to know about it will be the organisers’ networks, and then in the networks of these people, etc. Then, what is being rewarded is not always quality. I agree with what [Pascal Rossini says](http://giussani.typepad.com/loip/2006/04/swiss_blog_awar.html#comment-16620460): quality and “bestness” is somewhere in the eye of the beholder. In the case of the Swiss Blog Awards, what is very explicitly being rewarded is [the ability to campaign and get as many people as possible to nominate you](http://swissblogawards.ch/2006/04/25/and-the-nominees-are-best-swiss-blog/#comment-794).

### I was approached to be part of SBAW

Here are some details about the last comment of mine in the e-mail reproduced above. I had known about the Swiss blog awards for some time, if my memory serves me right because Matt had talked to me about it. I was officially approached in February. Even though there were perfectly good reasons for which no French-speaking blogger was yet involved, the fact that it became a crucial problem so late, when the date for the awards was set, and most of the organisation was already done, did make it appear bit like an afterthought. I know it was not an afterthought, but still, the fact that organisation had got so far underway did make me feel like my presence in the organisation was desired only to promote the event over here and make it appear like it was not just a ” Swiss German thing”.

I should have raised the issue and clarified with the organisers at the time, and for that I plead guilty. However, I was in any case not available on the date of the awards, and my personal life was a mess (it often is), so I declined and left it at that.

### A Swiss blogosphere?

One of the goals behind the Swiss blog awards is to increase visibility of blogs and blogging in Switzerland, and also improve communication and networking inside the Swiss blogosphere. Improving communication inside the Swiss blogosphere is also one of the goals of the [blogerbosse list](http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bloggerbosse/). I approve of the goal, but I wouldn’t personally have chosen an award for that. A LIFT-like conference, but more Swiss-oriented than international-oriented, would have suited me better to adresse those issues.

I have my doubts about the viability of such a thing as the “Swiss blogosphere”. The borders on the Internet are linguistic. I learnt German at school, but are not comfortable enough with it to read German-language blogs. I stick to my mother tongues (plural, as I’m a strange bilingual animal), English and French. I have a foot in the French-speaking blogosphere, and the other one in the English-speaking blogosphere, but I really don’t have many clues as to what’s going on in all these German-speaking blogs. The Swiss-German blogosphere is almost as much a mystery to me as a Spanish-speaking blogosphere.

It would be interesting to have statistics describing which language blogs people read. I suspect that most people only read blogs in their mother tongue. A fair amount of people probably read blogs in English in addition to that. And then, I suspect we find a small number of brave or a bilingual people who go around reading blogs in other languages.

### Language barriers are even stronger online than offline

Language is an issue in Switzerland. French speakers are a linguistic minority here, and often have the feeling that the German-speaking part of the country ignores them. Funnily, we often forget that are part of this country speaks Italian, and yet another Romansch. I personally often wonder if French-speaking Switzerland isn’t culturally closer to neighbouring France then to more distant, German-speaking parts of the country, which are nevertheless part of the same political entity.

I know where this can make me sound as if I’m promoting the Röstigraben. I don’t want to encourage or promoted. But I think it’s there. Trying to pretend it isn’t there will not make the problem go away. Offline, Switzerland makes sense. We are held together by institutions and politics. We travel from one part of the country to another. We do our best to communicate with fellow citizens who have a different mother tongue, often using English in the process.

But online? What is there to “hold Switzerland together” in cyberspace? These are real questions. The “Swiss blogosphere” must exist because everybody wants it to. The media want to know things about “blogging in Switzerland”. Swiss bloggers want to feel they’re still Swiss when they’re in cyberspace. But how real is it? I think the “Swiss blogosphere” is a pretty artificial concept. That doesn’t mean I think it’s bad. On the contrary. But it means that we must not underestimate the difficulties we will face when we try to make something out of it.

### Publicizing via blogs still requires you to be active

The Swiss blog awards were supposed to be a bottom-up, grassroots event. I don’t think you can create that. Grassroots movements are unpredictable. If you want something to go in one direction, even if you are using the power of blogs to spread the word, you need to be active. In my opinion, letting the word spread on its own and then blaming people for not having picked it up when they complain is unfair.

In the case of the Swiss blog awards, hoping the word would spread through the French and Italian speaking parts of Switzerland with an all Swiss-German team communicating in English was wishful thinking. I know there was no evil the intent on the part of the organisers. I know they tried to get French-speaking people on board. But in my opinion, given the context I described above, having motivated and enthusiastic people from various parts of the country on the committee should have been a requirement before starting to design the awards.

If that is not how things happened, (and again, I’m aware there are valid reasons why it did not happen this way), then a massive communication effort was needed to get the word out another linguistic regions. It’s too easy to just say that [popular bloggers this side of the Sarine ignored the SBAW, while Swiss German A-listers promoted the event](http://swissblogawards.ch/2006/04/25/and-the-nominees-are-best-swiss-blog/#comment-853), and that therefore French or Italian speaking bloggers can just blame themselves for not being represented. Making sure the word spreads in the whole of Switzerland is the burden of the organisers of the **Swiss** blog awards.

### Why am I writing all this?

The main reason I’m writing this is that I’m annoyed. (I know this might not be the best reason to write on a topic, but here we are…) I’m annoyed that we the bloggers (the “candidates”) are being blamed that there are no French-speaking blogs among the nominees. I’m annoyed that I’m being suspected of trying to create trouble, of saying things behind people’s backs, of deliberately trying to make the awards fail, of encouraging people to boycott, and of wanting people to step down. None of this is true.

I’m annoyed that an event that was supposed to bring Swiss bloggers together is dividing them. If the organisers were willing to admit that the nomination design was flawed, and that the communication was badly handled, or that maybe including language-specific awards would have been a better idea, I think it could go a long way towards placating angry French-speaking bloggers. But no, if we are unhappy about not being present in the nominations, it’s our own fault. This kind of attitude is not helping keep the peace.

I’m also annoyed at myself, because from the beginning I had a vague feeling that this event was “too Swiss German”, and I had trouble seeing how it would be accepted and endorsed in this part of the country, but the feeling was too vague, I had other worries, and I didn’t say anything. Would it have changed anything if I had?

### What now?

I don’t have a miracle solution. I think bloggers who do not feel represented in the nominations should by no means boycott the award. Their displeasure has been heard, and there is an occasion in Biel to “meet the others”. Be there. Go to Biel on Friday. It’s much more important to be there now than it was before this whole mess broke out.

As for the organisers… I don’t really know what to suggest. I would have suggestions for things that could have been done earlier on, but I’m not sure they’re very useful to give now. What can still be done now, though, is what I suggested above. Accept your part of responsibility in how things turned out instead of blaming the bloggers for it. Start asking for suggestions *now* for how bloggers from linguistic minorities would organise the nominations so that everybody has an equal chance of being represented. Start prospecting *now* for French and Italian speaking bloggers who would like to be part of organising better Swiss blog awards for next year.

This will show angry bloggers that you already had to do things differently from the start next time, and that they have been heard. There is nothing worse for somebody who is angry than to hear: “let’s just sweep this under the carpet for the moment, and get on with the party, it’s your fault anyway.”

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Requirements for a Multilingual WordPress Plugin [en]

[fr] Quelques réflexions concernant un plugin multilingue pour WordPress.

My blog has been bilingual for a long time now. I’ve [hacked bilingualism into it](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/11/multilingual-weblog/) and then [plugged it in](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/01/23/basic-bilingual-plugin/). Other [plugins for multilingual bloggers](http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugins/Translation_and_Languages) have been written, and some unfortunately [got stuck somewhere in the development limbo](http://doocy.net/archives/2005/01/20/the-multilingual-acknowledgement/).

Defining specs is a hairy problem. They need to work for the person visiting the site (polyglot or monoglot). They need to work for the person (or people! translation often involves more than one person) writing the posts. They need to work for all the robots, search engines, and fancy browsers who deal with the site.

Here is what I would like a multiple language plugin to do (think “feature requirements”, suggestion, draft):

1. Recognize the browser language preference of the visitor and serve “page furniture” and navigation in the appropriate language. This can be overridden by a cookie-set preference when clicking on a “language link”.
– “WordPress” furniture can be provided by the normal localization files
– how do we deal with other furniture content in the theme (navigation, taglines, etc.)? should the plugin provide with guidelines for theme localization? do such guidelines already exist? extra information appreciated on this point
– “language links” shouldn’t be flags, but language names in their respective languages; can this list be generated automatically based on present localization files? otherwise, can it be set in an admin panel?
– upon “language change” (clicking on a language link), could the localization (action) be done in an [AHAH](http://microformats.org/wiki/rest/ahah)- or [AJAX](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AJAX)-like way?
– inevitable hairy problem: tag and category localization
2. Manage “lazy multilingualism” in the spirit of the [Basic Bilingual plugin](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/01/23/basic-bilingual-plugin/) and “true multilingualism” elegantly and on a per-post basis.
– allow for “other language abstracts”
– allow for actual other language version of the post
– given the “general user language” defined above, show posts in that language if a version for that language exists, with mention of other language versions or abstracts
– if that language doesn’t exist, show post in “main blog language” or “main post language” (worst case scenario: the wordpress install default) and show alongside other language abstracts/versions
– abstract in one language (would be “excerpt” in the “main” language) and existence of the post in that language are not mutually exclusive, both can coexist
– does it make more sense to have one WordPress post per language version, or a single post with alternate language content in post_meta? For lazy multilingualism, it makes more sense to have a single WP post with meta content, but fore “translation multilingualism”, it would make more sense to have separate posts with language relationships between them clearly defined in post_meta
3. Use good markup. See [what Kevin wrote sometime back](http://epeus.blogspot.com/2005_01_01_epeus_archive.html#110513233021128637). Make it nice for both polyglot and monoglot visitors. [Inspiration?](http://blogamundo.net/dev/2005/10/31/a-nice-language-switching-widget/)
– use <div lang="xx"> and also rel attributes
4. Provide a usable admin panel.
– when I’m writing the other version of a post, I need access to the initial version for translation or abstracting
– ideally, different language version should be editable on the same admin panel, even if they are (in the WordPress database) different posts
– languages in use in the blog should be defined in an options screen, and the plugin should use that information to adapt the writing and editing admin panels
– idea: radio button to choose post language; N other language excerpt/abstract fields with radio buttons next to them too; abstract radio buttons change dynamically when main post language is set; in addition to other language abstract fields, another field which can contain a post id/url (would have to see what the best solution is) to indicate “this is an equivalent post in another language” (equivalent can be anything from strict translation to similar content and ideas); this means that when WP displays the blog, it must make sure it’s not displaying a post in language B which has an equivalent in language A (language A being the visitor’s preferred language as defined above)
5. Manage URLs logically (whatever that means).
– if one post in two languages means two posts in WP, they will each have their own slug; it could be nice, though, to be able to switch from one to an other by just adding the two-letter language code on the end of any URL; a bit of mod_rewrite magic should do it
6. Integrate into the WordPress architecture in a way that will not break with each upgrade (use post-meta table to define language relationships between different posts, instead of modifying the posts table too much, for example.)
– one post translated into two other languages = 3 posts in the WP posts table
– excerpts and post relationships stored in post_meta
– language stored in post_meta

I have an idea for plugin development. Once the specs are drafted out correctly, how about a bunch of us pool a few $ each to make a donation to (or “pay”) the person who would develop it? Who would be willing to contribute to the pool? Who would be willing to develop such a plugin (and not abandon the project half-way) in these conditions?

These specs need to be refined. We should start from the markup/reader end and get that sorted out first. Then, think about the admin panel/writer end. Then worry about code architecture. How does that sound?

We’ve started a discussion over on [the microformats.org wiki](http://microformats.org/wiki/multilingual-brainstorming). Please join us!

Update: this post is going to suffer from ongoing editing as I refine and add ideas.

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Plugin Updates for WordPress 2.0 [en]

[fr] Les plugins "Bunny's Technorati Tags" et "Basic Bilingual" fonctionnent à  présent avec WordPress 2.0.

It took me a couple of hours, but both [Basic Bilingual](http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/BasicBilingual) and [Bunny’s Technorati Tags](http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/BunnysTechnoratiTags) are now WordPress 2.0-compatible.

A few minor tweaks have been made, most significant of which is that these two plugins can now be used for Pages in addition to normal posts.

They should work, though I haven’t troubleshooted them extensively — please ring the bell if you bump into any problems.

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