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New interwiki project improves biographies, and other news

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By WereSpielChequers, Wackywace and Tilman Bayer

New collaboration checks biographies across 71 Wikipedias for consistency

One of the sad facts about biographies of living people is that eventually one has to update the biography because the subject has died. Sometimes we are not as quick at that as we'd like to be, but as many notable people have bios on multiple language versions of Wikipedia, there is an opportunity to share information between different Wikipedia projects. Hence the creation of meta:Death_anomalies_table in June 2010. This table and set of lists enables any project that has a category equivalent to Category:Living people to feed in data, and request a report out.

The report is at Wikipedia:Database reports/Living people on EN wiki who are dead on other wikis. User:Merlissimo has a bot that updates it daily, and is willing to produce reports for other projects.

While data is now being fed in from over 70 different languages, reports are only being generated for the German and English Wikipedias. However, initial results on are encouraging: well over a hundred anomalies have been resolved, with probably more out-of-date biographies fixed than incorrect wikilinks corrected. As the number of contributing Wikipedias and interwiki links increases, we anticipate that the number of anomalies this finds will increase.


Frank Schulenburg, Head of Public Outreach of the WMF, at Wikimania Gdansk, 2010
Sue Gardner, the WMF's executive director
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  • I find it odd that a person with no experience whatsoever with editing any Wikimedia project was chosen to do a study on Wikimedia. It seems like a poor choice to me.--Rockfang (talk) 04:19, 27 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]
    On the contrary, I think it was important that someone unburdened by our preconceptions did the study. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 04:44, 27 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]
    I don't think they need to be experts on all things Wikimedia, but I don't think it is too much to ask that they have some sort of first hand knowledge regarding editing at least one of the various projects. That would be like someone being asked to give a report on how books are copyedited and they don't know how to read.--Rockfang (talk) 05:19, 27 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]
    Much as I agree with Rockfang's surprise about choosing someone with no experience to do this study, I'd say the analogy "give a report on how books are copyedited and they don't know how to read" is a little too far. Rather, I'd compare it to having someone review a given technical book who has no expertise in the field: all that the review will accomplish is determine whether the book is accessible to the general reader, not whether it is an accurate let alone good book. And far too often, an inaccurate but popular account will have a greater influence on the educated public than an accurate but difficult to read one. -- llywrch (talk) 18:09, 27 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]
    Your analogy is indeed better.--Rockfang (talk) 01:20, 28 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]


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