Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#Wikidata - What to do in a #Datathon II

There is little point to a Datathon when the results have no practical impact. By implication there is little point to Wikidata when it has no practical application. Luckily most of the Indian languages use Magnus's extension to search making any and all advances in Wikidata immediately useful.

The next thing is to decide for a datathon is what it is you want to expose in your language, your script. The result will be biased but the difference is in not sharing this information. That option is even worse.

Having said that, there is one upside to concentrating on a subject domain. Take for instance the "King of Nepal", you will see that it is referred to "List of monarchs of Nepal". All these listed monarchs are now a "king of Nepal". It now takes one person to add a label in Nepalese to make this label visible on all the monarchs of Nepal. It is a subclass of "king" and, it takes one person to add a label in Nepalese for all subclasses of king.

This is the beauty of adding labels in Wikidata. Once it has been added, it is used everywhere. A label for "politician", "lawyer", "date of death" are added once and are in use on hundreds of thousands of items. Adding labels is therefore really satisfactory and effective.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#Wikidata - What to do in a #Datathon

I was asked for pointers for a "datathon". It is adding data to Wikidata for a specific purpose. The most obvious thing is to be clear what it is you want to achieve.

What to add to Wikidata:
  • adding labels to items in a language
  • adding statements for existing items
  • adding items and statements based on a Wiki project
  • adding missing items to create links among items
Realistically, it is always a bit of all of that. The people attending are not all the same either, they differ in interest and they differ in skills. One goal for a "datathon" may be the transfer of skills. When this is the case, start with the basics of Wikidata. How to add labels, how to add statements. how to add items. 

Another goal is to add information for a specific domain. This may be based on information known to a Wiki project but that is optional. When information for a specific domain is to be worked on, Working together and use as many tools as available makes a real difference.

As a blogpost should not be too long, more later..

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#Wikidata is ready for #Wikipedia on its own terms

Yet again a Wikipedian raises the old question about the quality of Wikidata. Yet again the same questions are raised. Yet again the same answers are given. The same questions are raised but with a "different" angle; "our policies have it that"... It is really old wine in new caskets.

Wikidata is immature, it does not include enough data. This is also true for Wikipedia as well; both do not include the sum of all knowledge. Arguably, Wikidata is more inclusive.

Several Wikipedias have a policy requiring sources for facts. What Wikidata does is compare its data with other sources and flag differences. This process is immature but it exists. It is probably as reliable or better than the Wikipedia way of relying on one source at a time.

When someone enters incorrect data at three sources, he will be asked not to do it again or else... Just like in any Wikipedia.

As Wikidata matures, such questions will be increasingly desperate because who will care in the end?

#Wikipedia - Suzette Jordan 1974-2015

Additional attention for important women is always welcome. Mrs Jordan was known as the victim of the Park Street Rape Case. What makes Mrs Jordan so special is that she spoke out. This was a novelty and not really welcomed by the status quo. It was suggested by senior politicians that it was a a misunderstanding between a lady and her client.

Thanks to women like Mrs Jordan, the silence around rape is changing in indignation.

Thank you Mrs Jordan,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#Wikimedia - Guy Kawasaki

With the title "The art of the start" Mr Kawasaki proves himself an author who is known for looking at things with a fresh eye. I have read the book and found it inspiring.

It is therefore that I am ever so happy to hear that Mr Kawasaki is the latest member of the board of the Wikimedia Foundation.

It will be interesting to see what a philosophy of looking fresh at issues and with an eye to create results will do for our movement.

I welcome Mr Kawasaki to our movement and I am ever so happy that in the quote used Wikimedia and not Wikipedia is mentioned. It inspires hope for more inclusive policies.

#Wikidata - #Chiefs and #Nigerians

Mr Willie Obiano is the current Governor of Anambra State. At this time, there is no article for one of the more influential men from Nigeria.

It is easy to add information about him to Wikidata as abundant information about him is available on the Internet. When you read about Mr Obiano, he is referred to as Chief Willie Obiano. It follows that in addition to being a governor he is influential for being a chief.

You may also find that Chiefs in Nigeria are organised and as such Mr Obiano is a "chief of chiefs". How to recognise Mr Obiano as a chief is not clear to me. He was elected a chief and he was elected to be the chief of chiefs..

I would love when people step up the plate and add this information that is important to understand Nigeria.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#Wikidata - Kian dehumanising disambiguation pages

Logic has it that a disambiguation page like the one for Hristo Nikolov is not a human. There are at least two of them. There are more of them but this disambiguation page does not know about the others..

Hristo Nikolov is the first item of a recent list produced by Kian. All of them include Wikipedia disambiguation pages that have been recognised as a human. It takes attention to fix the issues involved. It includes linking Wikidata items to the correct article and, it means removing and adding statements.

Once all items of this list are done, quality has improved. We can turn over a page and go into "maintenance mode". When this report is run weekly or monthly, there will be only a few new cases. They can be fixed quickly and we can be more confident about the Wikidata quality.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#Wikidata - Gaston's war

Gaston's war is a "1997 film" according to the automated description in Reasonator. At the time of  the Wikimedia Foundation Metrics 3.5.2015 there was no description in English. Since then somebody added the description in English Hurray!!... Eh not really.

It is only Hurray, when you only care about English. In contrast the automated description was there already for most other languages. As relevant, when an item is updated with statements it may reflect in automated descriptions in all languages while a fixed description became stale  maybe even wrong.

In the Metrics meeting it was mentioned that images might exist in the article.. Actually, Wikidata often has images where a Wikipedia article has not.

PS there is an API to create the automated description.. Why not use it?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#Commons - Picture of the Year

Every year Commons has its Picture of the Year competition. This year's winner shows a butterfly drinking the eye fluid of a tortoise. There is a word for it.. lachryphagy I had never heard of it.

Congratulation to Commons for another successful year :)

#Wiidata - the National Thesaurus for Author names

In Wikidata we link to external sources. For authors the NTA Identifier is just one of many. It is associated with the Dutch Royal Library. This identifier is currently associated with 128.701 authors from all over the world.

While the NTA Identifier is used a lot, there is no article about it and, there is no item for it either. As such it is not exceptional.

With a link to the Dutch libraries, it is easy to understand why we could and should cooperate. Libraries are even more into "sharing the sum of all knowledge" than we are; Wikipedia is in the final analysis only an encyclopaedia.

We could do the following:

  • share the information we hold with them
  • ask if they will share the information we hold
  • promote the reading of books and publications
  • link to the Dutch libraries for authors and books to see if a book is available.
Our aim is to share in the sum of all knowledge. The aim of libraries is to share in the sum of all knowledge. We use what they provide as sources in our projects. It is easy and obvious to understand why we should seek for cooperation.

#Wikipedia - Joseph Reagle

For whatever obscure reason English Wikipedia decided to delete the article on Joseph Reagle. I do not understand it, Mr Reagle is bound to publish more books and conflating him with his book "Good faith collaborations" is a bit silly. It feels like part of the Wikipedia culture where we do not look after our own; do not consider our efforts as notable.

Mr Reagle is certainly notable enough to remain in Wikidata. Not only as the author of the book but also because of the French article. It will be wonderful when additional data is added to the item,