https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=61115

       Web browser: ---
            Bug ID: 61115
           Summary: Drop URL parameter setlang
           Product: MediaWiki extensions
           Version: master
          Hardware: All
                OS: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: Unprioritized
         Component: UniversalLanguageSelector
          Assignee: wikibugs-l@lists.wikimedia.org
          Reporter: foma...@googlemail.com
                CC: alolita.sha...@gmail.com,
                    amir.ahar...@mail.huji.ac.il, da...@sheetmusic.org.uk,
                    kartik.mis...@gmail.com, niklas.laxst...@gmail.com,
                    pgi...@wikimedia.org, run...@gmail.com,
                    santhosh.thottin...@gmail.com,
                    sucheta.ghos...@gmail.com
        Depends on: 44649
    Classification: Unclassified
   Mobile Platform: ---

At the moment it is possible to change the user interface language with the URL
parameter setlang in a GET request. GET should be a safe method which should
not change the state of the server.[1]

Bug 49299 gets WONTFIXed by comment 1: "Given that the user will get a popup to
switch back easily, and that changing the language (afaict) is just an
annoyance for the user, I'm not convinced."[2]
A possibility to switch back does not make this behavior to a safe method.

I suggest to drop the URL parameter setlang completely and suggest two
alternatives:

1. Change the user interface language via API and open the page without
parameter in the desired language. Described in bug 44649 and implemented in
https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/110360 for mw.uls.changeLanguage().
The language can still changed with a single click and the new page has no     
troublesome URL parameter.

2. On situations where no API call is possible use uselang instead of setlang
and implement a popup to easily keep this language instead of the popup to
switch back easily. The user has explicitly to confirm the change of the user
setting by a single click. This is important because the link can come from a
foreign page.

For a transition time the parameter setlang can have the same behavior as the
parameter uselang.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext_Transfer_Protocol#Safe_methods
[2] https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=49299#c1

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