Monday, October 02, 2017

#Wikipedia - A user story for WikipediaXL: an end to the Cebuano issue

The user story for #Wikimedia is something like: As a Wikimedia community we share the sum of all knowledge so that all people have this available to them. 

As an achievable objective it sucks. The sum of all knowledge is not available to us either. To reflect this, the following is more realistic: As a Wikimedia community we share the sum of all knowledge available to us so that all people have this available to them.

When all people are to be served with the sum of all knowledge that is available to us, it is obvious that what we do serve depends very much on the language people are seeking knowledge in. What we offer is whatever a Wikipedia holds and this is often not nearly enough.

To counter the lack of information, bots add articles on subjects like "all the lakes in Finland". This information is not really helpful for people living in the Philipines but it does add to the sum of available information in Cebuano.

The process is as follows: an external database is selected. A script is created to build text and an infobox for each item in the database. This text is saved as an article in the Wikipedia. From the article information is harvested and it is included in Wikidata. One issue is that when the data is not "good enough", subsequent changes in Wikidata are not reflected in the Wikipedia article.

Turning the process around makes a key difference. An external database is selected. Selected data is merged into Wikidata. This data is used to generate only new article texts that are cached in all languages that have an applicable script. As the quality of the data in Wikidata improves, the cached articles improve.

With Wikipedia extended in this way, WikipediaXL, we become more adept at sharing the sum of our available knowledge. With caching enabled in this way, any language may benefit from all the data in Wikidata. It is considered important to consider the quality of new data. Data may come from a reputable source or from a source we collaborate with on the maintenance of the data. What is to be preferred is for another blogpost.
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