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Technology report

What can Wikidata do for Wikipedia?

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By Adam Cuerden and Kirill Lokshin

In this week's "Technology report", we look at how the growth of Wikidata can benefit Wikipedia. Gerard Meijssen is a highly active contributor and frequent blogger about Wikidata. We asked him to share his thoughts on how the new project benefits Wikipedia:

As you are reading the Signpost, you are probably a Wikipedia editor and thus probably subscribe to the idea that information should be shared widely. The good news is that Wikidata is great for this type of sharing. Information is being added to Wikidata from multiple sources, including other Wikipedias—and yes, that does include information that is not currently available on the English Wikipedia. When an infobox gets information from Wikidata, it can be updated with enhanced information about the subject from a variety of sources. Different types of information can be added, such as geographic data or information about people's alma mater or date of birth. What happens when information is updated from Wikidata? Yes, your watchlist will be triggered; and yes, the change will appear in recent changes.

Articles in many Wikipedias now consist of templates populated with data served from Wikidata. In a way, such articles are the ultimate stubs; as more information becomes available in Wikidata, that information automatically becomes a part of each of these articles. The information served to these stub articles is often a stub in itself. I found, for example, that the Wikidata item for Dan Quayle does not indicate that he was ever Vice President of the United States. This is probably true for almost all Vice Presidents of the United States, but it only takes a few edits to add this information and it instantly becomes available to all projects that make use of Wikidata.

In brief

The VisualEditor talk from Wikimania
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== Link to Wikidata ==

I'm surprised there didn't appear to be a link to the project before the one I just added.--Rockfang (talk) 09:41, 20 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

This was a bit late in getting finished this week, so the editing was rushed. My fault. Adam Cuerden (talk) 14:36, 20 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Visual Editor

I have a new-found respect for VE after watching that video. That's a lot of stuff they have to deal with! — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 10:02, 20 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

WikiData and vandalism

I have long wondered how vandalism is fought at wikidata. Christian75 (talk) 14:48, 20 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Same way it's fought here. We still have some issues with things slipping through the cracks for a few weeks/months, but we do a pretty good job reverting, warning, and blocking vandals. We have 69 rollbackers and 91 sysops (plus global sysops), and, just like on Wikipedia, the more high-profile a page is, the less likely someone is to get away with it. Feel free to try RCP there yourself, if you're interested!

Once you start talking about the effects of vandalism on Wikidata-client integration, the big game-changer is the Watchlist feature: This means that if you're monitoring an article for vandalism, you don't have to worry about someone being able to sneak by you by doing it on Wikidata. Of course, Wikipedia isn't the only site that can use Wikidata, but vandalism is just something other products will have to factor in to their designs. For instance, an effective Wikidata AI would probably have to have some sort of "report error" option. — PinkAmpers&(Je vous invite à me parler) 20:05, 20 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The problem with the watchlist feature, which I have turned on on Wikivoyage, is that all changes to a linked data item show up, even if they're irrelevant to the local article. Powers T 15:28, 21 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Wikidata proposal

I have been talking with an economics student - @Mcnabber091: - who has put a lot of effort into planning how to integrate huge amounts of economic data into Wikipedia articles through Wikidata or otherwise. He drafted a proposal at the new Idea Lab on meta - meta:Grants:IdeaLab/Global_Economic_Map. I would love to see World Bank databases well integrated into Wikipedia, especially since that organization has recently made a commitment to make all their publications Creative Commons licensed and since access to economic data is, I feel, fundamental to better citizenship. If anyone would like to review or comment on a proposal for a Wikidata project then your comments would be welcome at IdeaLab for this. Also, people should check out Idea Lab proposals in general and make their own proposals. meta:Grants:IdeaLab Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:34, 20 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

An article opposing the transformation of knowledge into data

See User:Riggr Mortis. Thought provoking. --Surturz (talk) 22:28, 20 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I figure he's worrying too much. I still add prose, more often repair prose, and don't worry much about infobox templates except a few that are relevant to my concerns. But the other things I do are tighten our loose locations of buildings and go out and photograph them. This kind of activity is generating a big sloppy geographical and pictorial database willy-nilly, only slightly regularized by putting some info into boxes and other templates. There ought to be some way to make it neat and properly connected to related articles so when I update the building's own article the linked landmark lists and other articles also get corrected. I have no idea how to do this, nor am aware of whether Wikidata is looking into it yet, but that's one thing I hope can eventually come. So, I'm going with hope. Instead of worrying a lot about how such a big construction project will inevitably spread some sort of havoc somewhere, I'm hoping the disruptions will be small and brief, and the benefits large and enduring. Jim.henderson (talk) 13:24, 21 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. And I don't see a problem with Google making money out of Wikipedia, we are commercial-friendly. In fact, I wish Google would do more Wikipedia integration, the recent Google Map Wikipedia layer issue is quite annoying. (No, I am not a Google fanboy, but I find Google+Wikipedia a useful combo - that's all). Anyway, retiring is a lame and useless protest. The avalanche has already started, it's too late for pebbles to vote - but those which keep on rolling can at least try to steer it. Those who fall off can only rant uselessly. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:39, 23 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]
It provokes disappointed thoughts, certainly. There are Wikipedians who don't understand the implications of "Wikipedia is free"? There are Wikipedians who think that it's more important to visit a web site than to benefit from the knowledge contained in it (sounds too much like the values of the commercial sector)? People write such fallacious arguments with a straight face? Even the title of this talk page section seems to promote the false dichotomy that Wikidata's contents have to be either data or knowledge. Also, what Piotr said. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:45, 23 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]
If anyone wants to write about the benefits of free data, I'd welcome the contribution to the Tech report. Adam Cuerden (talk) 14:38, 23 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]
As someone who has invested lots of time and some money into Wikidata, I'm glad companies like Google are taking advantage of it. The whole point is that the data is free. Free as in anyone can use it, for whatever purpose they want to. If you don't understand that, you probably shouldn't be here either. Legoktm (talk) 21:52, 23 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Should we find a better venue? As for commercial exploitation of free data, perhaps a bit of vice versa can be done. Bing Maps has a dozen or more apps, covering such topics as roadside sculptures, parking spaces, and traffic cams for travelers. These serve some of the purposes that would be served by a privately made layer for Google Maps. So, make a Wikimedia app for all Wikipedia articles about anything having a location, one for all the monument list articles that show coords, and one for tagged Commons photos? Or one for all the above as the user selects? It won't work nicely on my Android phone as Google Maps does, thus can't be a live photo target guide in the field, but it would be pleasant and useful on the home screen. Jim.henderson (talk) 00:33, 25 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I don't think competing with free-to-use (but privately owned) apps is going to be viable, since they can always use our data but not the other way around. If Encyclopedia Brittanica's content has been available online for free in 2001 I doubt WP would have succeeded. --Surturz (talk) 01:35, 25 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]
But, the problem is, they're not using our geographical data. I see faint hope in the misfortunes of Blackberry and Nokia whose map operations might be interested in showing Commons and Wikipedia locations. Brighter hope lies in the possibility of the current Wikimedia apps gaining a stablemate, if writing a Bing app is easier than a whole new stand alone mapping program. Jim.henderson (talk) 10:14, 25 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]


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