Collaborative editing is the essence of HanDeDict. It is not a frozen, fixed data file outside of time: the evolution of entries, recorded in their version history, is just as relevant as their current form. The concept is similar to Wikipedia’s, where you can examine every entry’s edits, but for HanDeDict, the change history of entries and the discussion around them is even more central. There are various consequences:
- HanDeDict’s very data file includes the full version history of every entry, not just their most recent form.
- In terms of copyright, your contributions are not headwords or translations, but your changes themselves. These include new revisions of entries, but also comments in an entry’s discussion thread.
- The dictionary’s full change history, the interface to add new entries, and the page where you can review a single entry’s history and comment or edit the entry, are a central part of HanDeDict @ Zydeo.
Anyone can contribute to HanDeDict, but free registration with a verified email address is required. This is intended as a basic filter to protect the dictionary from vandalism and from malicious digital attacks. You can read the terms and conditions for registration here.
The interactive features of this website are intended to enable a discussion and review process whose aim is to pool the community’s knowledge, improve the dictionary’s quality, and extend its scope.
To drive quality, every entry has a status that is either New, Approved or Flagged. The entries that were “verified” in the inherited HanDeDict file initially appear as Approved here. The majority of the original entries, which were not verified, initially appear as New.
The status of entries is displayed discreetly in the search results. When you hover over a result, a green check mark appears if the entry is Approved, and a red flag appears if the entry is Flagged. The absence of these means that the entry’s status is New. This way, status can be revealed with little effort if you want to know, but it’s not forced on the dictionary’s users. The original HanDeDict website prominently displayed “Unverified entry” next to most search results, which created a sense of uncertainty and had a negative impact on user experience.
When you add an entry to HanDeDict, it shows up as New. Members of the community that have a sufficient contribution score can approve entries, but you cannot approve your own contributions. This is a simple review process to drive quality: confirmed entries will have been seen by at least two pairs of eyes.
Any registered user can flag an entry to indicate a problem. The entry remains Flagged until a user changes its status, with or without actually editing it.
You can browse all changes in a chronological order on the History page. This timeline gives you insight into everything that’s happening on the website, and allows you to add your own knowledge to discussions. Easy visibility into all changes is also meant to be empowering: it is completely OK to make a mistake, because no data is ever lost or overwritten irrevocably.
If you see that someone flagged an entry, you can consider their reasons, and either change the entry, or if the problem is not real, change the entry’s status back to New or Approved.
If you see someone added a new entry, you can review it and approve it if you believe it’s correct, or flag it if it’s problematic.
Finally, if you’re not sure that an entry is either correct or problematic, but have an insight to contribute, you can simply add a comment, without changing the entry or its status.
The website requires you to accompany every change with a comment. This is not enforced drastically: you are free to enter a single dot if you have nothing meaningful to say. As a matter of etiquette, however, you are encouraged to always add an explanation, so another person looking at the change history later can understand your reasons and contribute their own knowledge.
In particular, when you add a new entry, you are encouraged to indicate sources: where you attested the word, and what information supports your translation. This can be a hyperlink, or just a plain and simple, informal explanation.
HanDeDict @ Zydeo keeps track of every user’s contributions and calculates a contribution score, which is shown in the list of users.
- Adding a new entry is worth 4 points
- Editing an entry adds 2 points
- Every other change (flagging, approving or commenting an entry) adds 1 point
Currently, you need to have a contribution score of at least 50 before you can approve entries. The purpose is to implement a simple meritocracy where active and dedicated contributors act as guardians of the dictionary’s quality. This rule is very tentative and will possibly change as the community matures.
Conventions and guidelines
Please read Format and guidelines before you contribute (either by adding a new entry or by improving an existing entry). The first two sections of that page are about the format and might be boring, but do make sure you read the last section, Conventions and guidelines.