A small Commons research project

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A small Commons research project

Erik Moeller-4
We're currently working on a grant proposal that is related to the
usability for uploading and embedding media files to Wikimedia
Commons. (This is an area that we will likely not be able to address
in detail as part of the Stanton project, so we're trying to parcel it
into a separate project.) As part of this proposal, I would like to
make a compelling case that pictures and other media uploaded to
Commons benefit from strongly from the increased visibility,
especially through Wikipedia articles. I'd also like to demonstrate
that images get used in multiple languages and multiple projects.

The simplest research approach that any volunteer could take is to
take a sample (say 50 featured media and 50 random ones) and to
catalog in a spreadsheet usage across Wikimedia projects, using the
CheckUsage tool. But I'm sure there are other approaches - both
quantitative and qualitative - that might work as well, e.g. based on
Wikipedia article traffic statistics.

I'd love to see some volunteer input into this question, which
essentially boils down: Why is Wikimedia Commons awesome, and why is
it worth investing in to make it even better? I've started a page on
Meta here if you want to contribute ideas on-wiki:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Case_for_Commons

But feel free to e-mail me off-list as well. :-)

Thanks for any and all help,
Erik
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: A small Commons research project

alain_desilets
> We're currently working on a grant proposal that is related to the
> usability for uploading and embedding media files to Wikimedia Commons.

I think this is a good idea. Embedding images and other files into a wiki page is something that most wiki engines don't support in a highly usable way. I observed something like 100 kids working with wikis for 10 hours each, on a task that involved a lot of image uploading. Uploading images was one of the most frequent snags that I observed.

A typical snag looked like this.

* User finds an image he likes on the web, using his browser.
* User saves that image to his file system, using the default location selected by the browser.
* User goes to the wiki page, and clicks on the upload image button.
* The browser starts a file selection dialog, but it starts from a different part of the file system than the part where the user saved the image.
* User doesn't have a clue where he saved the image previously  and can't find the image anymore.

Based on what I have seen, most folks naturally want to do one of the following:

* Find an image on the web using their browser, then copy that image from the browser, and paste it into the wiki page.
* Find an image on their file system, then drag it and drop it into the wiki page.

I know these are hard to do with an HTML text box, but the closer you get to that, the better. For example, could it be that with a bit of JavaScript, the HTML text box is able to know the path of the file that was dragged onto it from the file system? If so, maybe it could then upload that file to the wiki, and insert wiki markup to embed it at the current cursor location?

This is not far from what is done in TikiWiki. There, when editing a page, there is a button you can use to browse for an image on the file system. When you select the image file and click on upload, this both uploads the image to the wiki, and inserts wiki markup to embed that image in the wiki page, at the current cursor location.

But again, I know that these sorts of things are hard to do.

----
Alain Désilets, MASc
Agent de recherches/Research Officer
Institut de technologie de l'information du CNRC /
NRC Institute for Information Technology

[hidden email]
Tél/Tel (613) 990-2813
Facsimile/télécopieur: (613) 952-7151

Conseil national de recherches Canada, M50, 1200 chemin Montréal,
Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0R6
National Research Council Canada, M50, 1200 Montreal Rd., Ottawa, ON
K1A 0R6

Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada
 



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Re: A small Commons research project

Platonides
Desilets, Alain wrote:

>> We're currently working on a grant proposal that is related to the
>> usability for uploading and embedding media files to Wikimedia Commons.
>
> I think this is a good idea. Embedding images and other files into a wiki page is something that most wiki engines don't support in a highly usable way. I observed something like 100 kids working with wikis for 10 hours each, on a task that involved a lot of image uploading. Uploading images was one of the most frequent snags that I observed.
>
> A typical snag looked like this.
>
> * User finds an image he likes on the web, using his browser.
> * User saves that image to his file system, using the default location selected by the browser.
> * User goes to the wiki page, and clicks on the upload image button.
> * The browser starts a file selection dialog, but it starts from a different part of the file system than the part where the user saved the image.
> * User doesn't have a clue where he saved the image previously  and can't find the image anymore.

MediaWiki supports a upload from URL feature, thus skipping the need to
local save. But it's disabled on WMF projects.


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Re: A small Commons research project

alain_desilets
> MediaWiki supports a upload from URL feature, thus skipping the need
to
> local save. But it's disabled on WMF projects.

I suspect that will not be easy enough for many folks. For example, I
suspect many people will do something like this:

* Go to google and search for a picture of a tree
**
http://images.google.com/images?hl=fr&q=tree&btnG=Recherche+d%27images&g
bv=2

* Click on a tree that looks interesting, which would lead them
somewhere like here:
**
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.freefoto.com/images/15
/19/15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumberland_web.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www
.freefoto.com/preview/15-19-1%3Fffid%3D15-19-1&usg=__OFzLWf5V_u5Jq7HX_6o
TYEBMQYA=&h=400&w=600&sz=129&hl=fr&start=2&sig2=Sgr35XjTpKJsBElvgz8QOQ&t
bnid=rL2dCnuYhy7MAM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&ei=FCNmSb-0EaX6NNS0jZYE&prev=/imag
es%3Fq%3Dtree%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Dfr

* Copy and paste that google URL into the wiki image upload box

* Of course, we tech-oriented folks know that the above URL is not the
URL of the actual image (it's the URL of a page that CONTAINS the
image). To get the URL of the actual image, you of course, have to first
click on the google link that says: "Display full size image", which
gets you to:
**
http://www.freefoto.com/images/15/19/15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumber
land_web.jpg

* But given that the previous google URL is largely dominated by the
image of interest, I suspect (based on my observations) that most
"normal" folks would use that as the URL for the image.

Now, if the user could drag the image from the google URL onto the wiki
page, and the wiki was able to figure out from that the URL of the image
and upload it, now that would be REALLY COOL!

Alain

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Re: A small Commons research project

Brianna Laugher
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
2009/1/8 Erik Moeller <[hidden email]>:
 As part of this proposal, I would like to
> make a compelling case that pictures and other media uploaded to
> Commons benefit from strongly from the increased visibility,
> especially through Wikipedia articles. I'd also like to demonstrate
> that images get used in multiple languages and multiple projects.

This is similar to a discussion I started in July, called
"Institutional stats reports"
<http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/commons-l/2008-July/003924.html>.

Domas' wikistats doesn't include image view logs.
To be useful, such logs would aggregate stats of all different size thumbnails.
I opened a bug report to request this data in late July.
<https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=14890>

WMF has the data directly, why not provide it? Instead of suggesting
volunteers go the long way around which is ultimately less accurate.

Beyond view stats I can think of a few other arguments which I will
write up on the wiki page.

cheers
Brianna

--
They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:
http://modernthings.org/

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Re: A small Commons research project

phoebe ayers
In reply to this post by alain_desilets
On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 8:08 AM, Desilets, Alain
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>> MediaWiki supports a upload from URL feature, thus skipping the need
> to
>> local save. But it's disabled on WMF projects.
>
> I suspect that will not be easy enough for many folks. For example, I
> suspect many people will do something like this:
>
> * Go to google and search for a picture of a tree
> **
> http://images.google.com/images?hl=fr&q=tree&btnG=Recherche+d%27images&g
> bv=2
>
> * Click on a tree that looks interesting, which would lead them
> somewhere like here:
> **
> http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.freefoto.com/images/15
> /19/15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumberland_web.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www
> .freefoto.com/preview/15-19-1%3Fffid%3D15-19-1&usg=__OFzLWf5V_u5Jq7HX_6o
> TYEBMQYA=&h=400&w=600&sz=129&hl=fr&start=2&sig2=Sgr35XjTpKJsBElvgz8QOQ&t
> bnid=rL2dCnuYhy7MAM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&ei=FCNmSb-0EaX6NNS0jZYE&prev=/imag
> es%3Fq%3Dtree%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Dfr
>
> * Copy and paste that google URL into the wiki image upload box
>
> * Of course, we tech-oriented folks know that the above URL is not the
> URL of the actual image (it's the URL of a page that CONTAINS the
> image). To get the URL of the actual image, you of course, have to first
> click on the google link that says: "Display full size image", which
> gets you to:
> **
> http://www.freefoto.com/images/15/19/15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumber
> land_web.jpg
>
> * But given that the previous google URL is largely dominated by the
> image of interest, I suspect (based on my observations) that most
> "normal" folks would use that as the URL for the image.
>
> Now, if the user could drag the image from the google URL onto the wiki
> page, and the wiki was able to figure out from that the URL of the image
> and upload it, now that would be REALLY COOL!
>
> Alain

... cool, but probably not that great a feature for WMF projects,
because copyright violations are widespread as it is. There's a fine
line between making images easily uploadable and, well, discouraging
people from uploading stuff.

But improving the interface for working with images once you've got
them, for embedding them in existing pages, etc. would be great. And
it would be nice to not make the upload/licensing wizard just that,
and not a crazy templated hack.

I can't think of good ways to "prove" that commons is useful, however,
beyond the standard arguments about making free materials accessible
to a global community, reducing duplication and improving quality
among all editions of our projects, providing a resource for (more
than just the encyclopedia) to tap, etc.

-- phoebe

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Re: A small Commons research project

alain_desilets
> ... cool, but probably not that great a feature for WMF projects,
> because copyright violations are widespread as it is. There's a fine
> line between making images easily uploadable and, well, discouraging
> people from uploading stuff.

Yes, I understand that concern for WMF projects.

Still... making it harder to upload images does not guarantee that
people who manage to do it will be aware of copyright issues. A better
solution would be for example, for any upload dialog (whether it be the
current clunky upload dialog or a better, drag-and-drop improved one)
displays a very prominent message about making sure that the image has
no copyright attached to it (and that, btw, just because you got it on
the web doesn't mean that it doesn't have a copyright).

> But improving the interface for working with images once you've got
> them, for embedding them in existing pages, etc. would be great. And
it
> would be nice to not make the upload/licensing wizard just that, and
> not a crazy templated hack.

Right.

Alain

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Re: A small Commons research project

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers
Hoi,
The other day I blogged about a Wikimedian in Iran who is sitting on 5Gb of images and it is too much of a pain for him to upload it. Commons is disfunctional for several reasons and the complicated and clunky user interface is one.

When people use Google to search for a دِرَخت they do not find the same quantity and quality of images. When they search for વૃક્ષ they find only 18 images most not about a tree. Gujarati is spoken by some 50 million people. The notion that Google is functional for most languages is a myth.

When we want to have people use Commons, be it for uploads or for later usage, we need to make sure that Commons actually works for our editors who do not speak English. As it is, people look for pictures by going through interwikilinks and using the material that they find in this way. Consequently we have an overabundance of images used everywhere that originate in the "first" world. This does contribute to a systemic bias and it is not conducive to our much desired "neutral point of view".

If Google is to become usable, it needs to support languages like Persian, Gujarati, Amharic to make the images we have available to all of our community. It has been demonstrated that we can show the category trees and the categories in many languages. If we are to go for funding, this means that we can actually deliver the goods.

Given that Commons has only 3.7 million files is hardly a sign of its success, compare it to Flickr and you see what the "competition" is doing.
Thanks,
      GerardM

PS It is still a great achievement, but it is could and should be so much more.

2009/1/9 phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 8:08 AM, Desilets, Alain
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> MediaWiki supports a upload from URL feature, thus skipping the need
> to
>> local save. But it's disabled on WMF projects.
>
> I suspect that will not be easy enough for many folks. For example, I
> suspect many people will do something like this:
>
> * Go to google and search for a picture of a tree
> **
> http://images.google.com/images?hl=fr&q=tree&btnG=Recherche+d%27images&g
> bv=2
>
> * Click on a tree that looks interesting, which would lead them
> somewhere like here:
> **
> http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.freefoto.com/images/15
> /19/15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumberland_web.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www
> .freefoto.com/preview/15-19-1%3Fffid%3D15-19-1&usg=__OFzLWf5V_u5Jq7HX_6o
> TYEBMQYA=&h=400&w=600&sz=129&hl=fr&start=2&sig2=Sgr35XjTpKJsBElvgz8QOQ&t
> bnid=rL2dCnuYhy7MAM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&ei=FCNmSb-0EaX6NNS0jZYE&prev=/imag
> es%3Fq%3Dtree%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Dfr
>
> * Copy and paste that google URL into the wiki image upload box
>
> * Of course, we tech-oriented folks know that the above URL is not the
> URL of the actual image (it's the URL of a page that CONTAINS the
> image). To get the URL of the actual image, you of course, have to first
> click on the google link that says: "Display full size image", which
> gets you to:
> **
> http://www.freefoto.com/images/15/19/15_19_1---Tree--Sunrise--Northumber
> land_web.jpg
>
> * But given that the previous google URL is largely dominated by the
> image of interest, I suspect (based on my observations) that most
> "normal" folks would use that as the URL for the image.
>
> Now, if the user could drag the image from the google URL onto the wiki
> page, and the wiki was able to figure out from that the URL of the image
> and upload it, now that would be REALLY COOL!
>
> Alain

... cool, but probably not that great a feature for WMF projects,
because copyright violations are widespread as it is. There's a fine
line between making images easily uploadable and, well, discouraging
people from uploading stuff.

But improving the interface for working with images once you've got
them, for embedding them in existing pages, etc. would be great. And
it would be nice to not make the upload/licensing wizard just that,
and not a crazy templated hack.

I can't think of good ways to "prove" that commons is useful, however,
beyond the standard arguments about making free materials accessible
to a global community, reducing duplication and improving quality
among all editions of our projects, providing a resource for (more
than just the encyclopedia) to tap, etc.

-- phoebe

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Re: A small Commons research project

Piotr Konieczny-2
Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi,
> The other day I blogged about a Wikimedian in Iran who is sitting on 5Gb
> of images and it is too much of a pain for him to upload it. Commons is
> disfunctional for several reasons and the complicated and clunky user
> interface is one.

I am not sure if we can improve the interface significantly to deal with
that. I have 2000-3000 photos in my growing backlog, and what's really
is time consuming is not the interface per se (I use commonist anyway)
but the need to properly name, categorize and describe the images. Yes,
a better interface could help somewhat, but in the end, properly
describing an image will always be time consuming.


--
Piotr Konieczny

"The problem about Wikipedia is, that it just works in reality, not in
theory."

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Re: A small Commons research project

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
Well you just proved that you write in English ...
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/1/9 Piotr Konieczny <[hidden email]>
Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi,
> The other day I blogged about a Wikimedian in Iran who is sitting on 5Gb
> of images and it is too much of a pain for him to upload it. Commons is
> disfunctional for several reasons and the complicated and clunky user
> interface is one.

I am not sure if we can improve the interface significantly to deal with
that. I have 2000-3000 photos in my growing backlog, and what's really
is time consuming is not the interface per se (I use commonist anyway)
but the need to properly name, categorize and describe the images. Yes,
a better interface could help somewhat, but in the end, properly
describing an image will always be time consuming.


--
Piotr Konieczny

"The problem about Wikipedia is, that it just works in reality, not in
theory."

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Re: A small Commons research project

Matthew Flaschen
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi,
> The other day I blogged about a Wikimedian in Iran who is sitting on 5Gb
> of images

I am curious as to the nature of that 5 GB

> and it is too much of a pain for him to upload it.

Can you clarify?  Uploading ~1000 images is bound to be /tedious/, but
it's not /difficult/ with something like Commonist
(http://www.djini.de/software/commonist/)

> If Google is to become usable, it needs to support languages like
> Persian, Gujarati, Amharic to make the images we have available to all
> of our community.

I think you're in the wrong place to suggest changes to Google.

> Given that Commons has only 3.7 million files is hardly a sign of its
> success, compare it to Flickr and you see what the "competition" is doing.

This comparison makes no sense.  The vast majority of the images on
Flickr are illegal, non-free, non-educational, or all three.  Commons
does not want those images.  There are a small subset that are
appropriate for Commons, and editors (including me) work on bringing
them over.

Matt Flaschen

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Re: A small Commons research project

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
Is Commonist localised ? Is it usable in a Persian context ?

When you look for images on Google in other languages, you will not be well served. This is something where Commons can make a difference. I have shown that we can do this.. It takes a lot of commitment and more money then I have to make this happen. Even when you PROVE that we can do this, it does not mean that it has any priority.

I know that we can have many more material on Commons. One BIG reason why Commons underperforms is because it is in effect not a multilingual project.
Thanks,
      GerardM

2009/1/14 Matthew Flaschen <[hidden email]>
Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi,
> The other day I blogged about a Wikimedian in Iran who is sitting on 5Gb
> of images

I am curious as to the nature of that 5 GB

> and it is too much of a pain for him to upload it.

Can you clarify?  Uploading ~1000 images is bound to be /tedious/, but
it's not /difficult/ with something like Commonist
(http://www.djini.de/software/commonist/)

> If Google is to become usable, it needs to support languages like
> Persian, Gujarati, Amharic to make the images we have available to all
> of our community.

I think you're in the wrong place to suggest changes to Google.

> Given that Commons has only 3.7 million files is hardly a sign of its
> success, compare it to Flickr and you see what the "competition" is doing.

This comparison makes no sense.  The vast majority of the images on
Flickr are illegal, non-free, non-educational, or all three.  Commons
does not want those images.  There are a small subset that are
appropriate for Commons, and editors (including me) work on bringing
them over.

Matt Flaschen

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Re: A small Commons research project

Han-Teng Liao (OII)
In reply to this post by Piotr Konieczny-2
'properly describing an image will always be time consuming.'

I totally agree.  Still, can we have some games for Wikipedians to play
so that we can 'tag' photos with different terms in different languages
and enjoy some relaxing moment?

I stumble on the idea from the clip:  from 10:20 on      
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8246463980976635143

hanteng

Piotr Konieczny wrote:

> Gerard Meijssen wrote:
>  
>> Hoi,
>> The other day I blogged about a Wikimedian in Iran who is sitting on 5Gb
>> of images and it is too much of a pain for him to upload it. Commons is
>> disfunctional for several reasons and the complicated and clunky user
>> interface is one.
>>    
>
> I am not sure if we can improve the interface significantly to deal with
> that. I have 2000-3000 photos in my growing backlog, and what's really
> is time consuming is not the interface per se (I use commonist anyway)
> but the need to properly name, categorize and describe the images. Yes,
> a better interface could help somewhat, but in the end, properly
> describing an image will always be time consuming.
>
>
>  


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Re: A small Commons research project

Daniel Kinzler
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
Gerard Meijssen schrieb:
> Hoi,
> Is Commonist localised ? Is it usable in a Persian context ?

Commonist is GPL. It's Java-based, and Java as pretty good unicode support. As
to localization, I'm not sure, but I think it uses the standard java mechanisnm,
that is "resource bundels" in the form of "property files". The syntax is pretty
simple, it would be nice for betawiki to support it.

I havn't checked what languages it supports so far. At least german and english
I expect.

-- daniel

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Re: A small Commons research project

Daniel Kinzler
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
Gerard Meijssen schrieb:
> Hoi,
> Is Commonist localised ? Is it usable in a Persian context ?

Ok, I just checked: it does indeed use the standard property file format, and
currently supports en, de, fr and sk. I don't know how well it will handle a RTL
language -- Java/Swing does have support built in, but you have to take care to
consider it when building the UI.

But ask the author about it, he's quite competent, and a nice guy.

-- daniel

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Re: A small Commons research project

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Daniel Kinzler
Hoi,
As long as there is no Internationalisation and Localisation for the essential Commons tools like Commonist, Commons is not usable for people from other languages. When these tools are to be part of Betawiki, get into contact with the people at Betawiki and make this a priority.

Be clear that you will have people NOT use English as a consequence.
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/1/14 Daniel Kinzler <[hidden email]>
Gerard Meijssen schrieb:
> Hoi,
> Is Commonist localised ? Is it usable in a Persian context ?

Commonist is GPL. It's Java-based, and Java as pretty good unicode support. As
to localization, I'm not sure, but I think it uses the standard java mechanisnm,
that is "resource bundels" in the form of "property files". The syntax is pretty
simple, it would be nice for betawiki to support it.

I havn't checked what languages it supports so far. At least german and english
I expect.

-- daniel

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Re: A small Commons research project

Matthew Flaschen
Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi,
> As long as there is no Internationalisation and Localisation for the
> essential Commons tools like Commonist, Commons is not usable for people
> from other languages.

It seems clear you're not paying attention, and you haven't looked at
the Commonist source code. As Daniel said, Commonist is localized, and
besides the two languages he named, it also supports French and Slovak.

Matt Flaschen

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Re: A small Commons research project

Daniel Kinzler
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
I'm happy to tell you: COmmonist is now on Betawiki, translation is in progress.

See http://translatewiki.net/wiki/Translating:Commonist

-- daniel

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Re: A small Commons research project

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Matthew Flaschen
Hoi,
I do not look at source code. I was talking about Commonist in a Persian setting. For your information, because of all this talk about Commonist, the 50 messages of Commonist can now be localised in Betawiki. In seven hours 380 messages were localised, among others there is now a full localisation in Tagalog. I am sure that Persian will also be supported in the very near future.

This is what is needed to help people contribute to Commons.
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/1/14 Matthew Flaschen <[hidden email]>
Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> Hoi,
> As long as there is no Internationalisation and Localisation for the
> essential Commons tools like Commonist, Commons is not usable for people
> from other languages.

It seems clear you're not paying attention, and you haven't looked at
the Commonist source code. As Daniel said, Commonist is localized, and
besides the two languages he named, it also supports French and Slovak.

Matt Flaschen

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