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Bringing new users to The European Tribune

by Frank Schnittger Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 09:00:10 AM EST

My Letter to the Editor  - giving some free publicity to The European Tribune has been published in the Irish Independent - the largest circulation daily in Ireland - even if they did mis-type the exact web address - meaning a non-net-savvy user will get an "Address not found" error message which might end their search.  Is there any way Eurotrib URLs can be simplified?

A new user would have a hard time finding my diary if it isn't on the Recommended list unless they knew how to find their way around blogs - and many have told me they find The European Tribune very off-putting and confusing.

We need to create better "points of entry" into The European Tribune for users who do not understand web addresses, HTML, the structure of community blogs, and the way navigation around these sites works - particularly for unregistered users.  

That is what the front page should really be for in the first place - featuring content of interest to new or casual users who may have stumbled here by way of a Google search or external link.  Or are we not serious about opening up The European Tribune to a wider community?

For the record - my Letter to the Editor read as follows:


Russian actions belie democracy - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

'Yes' voters must listen to 'No' side

I am excoriated by A Leavy from Sutton (Letters, August 29), for wanting to "underline the perceived elitist and undemocratic nature of the European project", whereas in fact I was criticising Minister Dick Roche for running the risk of doing so.

Far from opposing Lisbon, as she alleges, I argued strongly for the Treaty as any perusal of my website, http://wwweurotrib.com/user/Frank%20Schnittger/diary, will confirm.

However, if the 'Yes' side doesn't learn from the mistakes of the Referendum campaign and the manner in which the Treaty was presented, there is no prospect of any positive outcome to this debacle.

'Yes' voters would be well advised to listen and read more carefully what 'No' voters and others are saying, before adopting a hectoring tone and misrepresenting what they are saying.

The rest of my letter (Letters, August 27) set out what needed to be done if the concerns of 'No' voters and abstainers were to be taken on board and if there was to be any prospect of a successful outcome to our current stand-off with the other EU governments.

The EU is a political union and power-sharing arrangement, run in partnership with 26 other democratically elected governments, and for Libertas, Coir, and Sinn Fein to seek to undermine their democratic legitimacy by claiming to better represent their peoples' views on the future of Europe is hardly the best way to maintain friendships and influence people.

The Letter was written in response to the following LTE:

Lisbon not 'elitist or undemocratic' - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

Frank SchnittGer's demands (Letters, August 27) in relation to the Lisbon Treaty epitomise the self-contradictory attitude of much of the opposition to Lisbon.

On the one hand he says he wants to underline "the perceived elitist and undemocratic nature of the European project".

On the other hand he wants "increased powers for the directly elected European Parliament".

Does he not realise that by increasing the power of "the directly elected European Parliament" he is taking power away from the equally directly elected Irish Dail and is weakening the influence of the parliaments of other small countries?

Frank Schnittger should realise that when 27 democratically elected governments spend seven years negotiating a treaty it is neither "elitist nor undemocratic".

A LEAVY

SUTTON, DUBLIN 13


You can read my original LTE and a discussion of same at   From NO to maybe on Lisbon

Display:
Tinyurling works if the task is merely to simplify long addresses. I don't know how to design a frontpage that is less confusing, though.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 10:44:20 AM EST
How do you Tinyurl a Eurotrib web address?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 10:58:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://tinyurl.com/

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 11:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many thanks.  I have created the TinyURL http://tinyurl.com/FrankSchnittger which is shorter and easier to type but rather defeats the purpose of giving some publicity to Eurotrib.com as in http://www.eurotrib.com/user/Frank%20Schnittger/diary.

Still, on balance, I think I will replace http://www.eurotrib.com/user/Frank%20Schnittger/diary in my e-mail signature with http://tinyurl.com/FrankSchnittger for the time being.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 12:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please test tinyurl above to make sure it doesn't just work with my browser settings, cookies, add-ons etc.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 12:25:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Took me straight to your user page, so no problems.

(Running Firefox with the ET-extensions on XP.)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 02:57:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 03:06:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Works for me (vanilla Opera 9.5) I've never had any problems with tinyurl on any browser, and I've used it with both Firefox, Opera and the old version of Internet exploder, so it should check out - but it's true that it doesn't do any good for www.eurotrib.com

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 05:05:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 05:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some Internet-savy users will not click on a tinyurl address, because since the original is masked, you have no idea where it's going to take you. Only use them if an address (url) is so long that it may be broken by a new line character. Nothing more elaborate.
by balbuz on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 04:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.  I'm not worried about the internet savvy users because they can find their way to and around Eurotrib without a problem.  My concern is about a lot of beginner WWW users who have just about gotten as far as e-mail and an internet search and who can't fix a faulty URL (as in this case a . was missing) or find their way around Eurotrib as an unregistered user.  I think those who are used to the Eurotrib format underestimate how intimidating it is for non-savvy web users - in format, never mind the content.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 04:48:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... a web address that includes your user name, to avoid having spaces in your user name. That percent20 gets people all the time.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 07:08:27 PM EST
Like the British tabloids use to increase circulation...
by Magnifico on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 11:29:19 PM EST
You mean we need more doomporn?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 30th, 2008 at 11:51:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe is Doomed
by Magnifico on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 12:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant.  How did Bush manage to turn the world around so that the asteroid hits France rather than the USA?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:34:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's far from certain that the thing in the picture would hit France. Taking the rotation of the Earth into account, I'd guess that it'd hit the Atlantic... Of course, if you're being hit by a chunck of rock the size of a small continent, it doesn't really much matter where it lands...

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 06:13:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... it looks like its already heading to the middle of the Atlantic, so including rotation of the earth, obviously heading to Washington DC.

All George W did was order a camera angle from the satellite that made it look like it was heading to France. Camera angles, that he understands. Trajectories and which direction the earth orbits, not so much.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 08:44:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're applying logic to the Europe is Doomed™ argument.

Stylistically though, if I used a picture up of east Asia and a asteroid about to hit, then many casual observers would wonder why Europe is Doomed™ when there's a picture of China there?

by Magnifico on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 12:10:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A picture of East Asia or North America would've jibed with the Europe. Is. DoomedTM meme, but then it would've been too much of an inside joke.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 10:22:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should be used in each Europe is Doomed™ diary.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 08:41:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Superb. :)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 09:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greatest. ET. Pic. EVER!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 10:18:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how do we get users to comment to whom English is a second language. I find that this hurdle is quite big for many of my friend, even if they use English for work.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:56:51 PM EST
There seems to be a semsitivity to using imperfect English in France/Germany that simply isn't a problem for English speakers.  We're not afraid to try our limited or mangled French/German and let the unfortunate recipient try to make sense of it.

So one solution is to make an explicit statement in the new user guide that perfect or even good English is not required.  We will try and make sense of what people are saying and respond empathetically.

The other solution is the Tribext- machine translation engine - its a good first cut approximation and usually fully understandable if not quite as nuanced as it could be.

A third solution is simply to encourage comments in other languages.  The problem here is that they may be very few e.g. German speakers on line at any point in time to carry on a conversation.

Even Timesonline's Charles' Bremner encourages comments in French - and that is an issue we have to address in the context of the development of the ET community in any case.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moze powinne zaczac komentowac po polsku. Jestem pewny ze wszyscy mnie zrozumieja. Wyscie wszyscy uczyli sie polskiego w szkole - to przeciez bardzo pozyteczny jezyk. No, moze to nie jest az tak dobry pomysl. Zastanowie sie.
by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, as Google puts it
Maybe powinne start komentowac in English. I am sure with
All zrozumieja me. Wyscie all teach the Polish August
at school - it is very pozyteczny language. No, it can
and so is not a good idea. Zastanowie August.
Aren't computers wonderful?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:19:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Umph, you were faster.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:21:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
August? (sie, or rather się, I'm too lazy to use diacriticals, is the reflexive pronoun, August is 'Sierpień')
by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:23:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What ever it might mean, it does look good. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moze powinne zaczac komentowac po polsku. Jestem pewny ze wszyscy mnie zrozumieja. Wyscie wszyscy uczyli sie polskiego w szkole - to przeciez bardzo pozyteczny jezyk. No, moze to nie jest az tak dobry pomysl. Zastanowie sie. Maybe powinne start komentowac in English. I am sure that all zrozumieja me. Wyscie teach all of August in the Polish school - it is very pozyteczny language. No, it can not be a good idea and so. Zastanowie August.

Hmmm, either the translator is not very good in Polish, the original text is full of orthographical mistakes, or without a human reading it, those translations really aren't very useful.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actual translation:

Maybe I should start commenting in Polish. I'm sure everyone will understand me. You all studied Polish in school - after all, it's a very useful language. Hmmh, maybe it's not such a good idea. I'll think about it.

by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:27:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like the way that Polish got translated as English. I think it uses some sort of statistical analysis, so that a reference to Polish in Polish corresponds to a reference to English in English.

The classical example of this, now fixed, was the translation of Sarkozy (French) into Blair (English).

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What? Why? It's a perfectly accurate translation :-P

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 11:10:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm, either the translator is not very good in Polish, the original text is full of orthographical mistakes

I would say that the lack of diacritical marks was an issue except it seems to do fine with some words. Take the first sentence: everything except the last two words has marks. 'Zaczac' even has two and it got it right. And translating 'No' as no is pretty strange, as is 'uczyli sie' as 'teach all of August'.

Or in other words the translation program sucks.

by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 07:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does quite okay for French, English and Spanish, if I remember correctly. Italian too, maybe? German is okay for the most part, but it deals poorly with compound nouns.

I did the test a while back, translating some random bits from newspapers. One can for the most part understand what is written, and easily improve it to standard English. The program seems to get worse for other languages. With Swedish, for example, one may as well not bother...

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 04:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but my friends are already aware of it, and it just does not seem enough.

You know if you look reately at the sitemeter map, there should be actually quite a few people from the German speaking area, but very few of them are commenting. And I don't think answers have to be posted instantaneoudly. Some people comment in older diaries and keep that discussion alive.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:24:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - the development f a truly multi-lingual ET is on the agenda for Paris...

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 07:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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