Thursday, April 16, 2015

#Wikidata & #Amnesty - Raif Badawi

Mr Badawi is a blogger who is in jail in Saudi Arabia. Like so many people he got the attention of Amnesty International because he spoke out. Read the article on Wikipedia or read the information about Mr Badawi on the Amnesty website.

It is easy and obvious how to get attention for Mr Badawi on Wikidata. It is all about making statements. You will find that he was awarded many times. Those awards did not exist on Wikidata, consequently other people who were awarded the prize were not recognised either.

By adding newly these created awards to Mr Badawi, you raise his profile. By including statements on the organisations who conferred these awards you add weight. By adding the other people or organisations that were celebrated with an award, all of them get added gravitas.

It is not hard to give Mr Badawi additional visibility, Transliterate his name in the languages of India and you can find him, the awards, the other awardees searching in the Wikipedias.

The Wikimedia Foundation is all about education, about a neutral point of view. By making these statements about people like Mr Badawi it is more obvious that he will not be easily forgotten while he lingers in his cell.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#Wikimedia - Erik Möller

Erik Möller or Erik Moeller for those who have a problem writing a foreign name is a longtime friend. I worked with him often particularly in those days when wearing a ponytail was en vogue among geeks.

The one thing I savour in this blog post is that I am not writing because of Erik passing away; it is only that his days at the Wikimedia Foundation are numbered. It has a bitter sweet ring to it because I know how much the WMF means to him.

We worked together on Wikiprotein and OmegaWiki. Sadly at the time the Wikimedia Foundation did not want to adopt OmegaWiki because it was too expensive at the time. In the mean time OmegaWiki still has an edge in several areas over Wikidata but in the one area that matters it does not. There is even a publication with our name on it and Jimmy's..

Erik I expect that you will have fun.

Monday, April 13, 2015

#Wikipedia - not a stamp collection

Anne Bannister

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anne Bannister (11 May 1936 – 26 March 2015) was a British child psychotherapist, a pioneer in using stories, toys and puppets to work with victims of child abuse.[1]

The article about Mrs Bannister is not more than this. As a stub it does not inform us that she was important in the British Psychodrama Association, it does not mention that she published about her speciality; helping children who were sexually abused. You can find papers of her in Google Books. These will inform you that she worked for the NSPCC and the university of Huddersfield.

Mrs Bannister is now well represented at Wikidata. Even though many of the egregious cases of child abuse get all the attention, it is important to offset this with attention for everything that is good even when it is at the end of a relevant life.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#Wikidata - David Laventhol; a great #journalist who supported journalism

David Laventhol was an important journalist. His career was stellar and his positive on American journalism was huge. Mr Laventhol died recently and his legacy is even more relevant than the work he did professionally.

Many journalists including Mr Laventhol realised that journalists are persecuted in many countries for doing their work. Mr Laventhol was involved in organisations like the committee to protect journalists and the International Press Institute.

When someone like Mr Laventhol dies, it is a great moment to remember the work he was involved in. It is a moment to add statements for the journalists who are celebrated for their efforts to bring news to us.

In this way we celebrate our human rights. It starts with adding the statements, more statements may follow, labels can be added in all our languages and as a result we may learn that a free press comes at a cost.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#Wikidata - #Amnesty International; a case in point

When people are persecuted for supporting one of the rights that are considered universal, it is import for them to know that organisations like Amnesty International will support them. When Amnesty supports people, it calls on volunteers to protest their innocence. Their innocence because universal human rights are not to be denied.

Arguably, people become notable when Amnesty recognises them for expressing their human rights and being persecuted for it.

We Wikimedians are fortunate because we do express ourselves freely. We pride ourselves on our "neutral point of view" and we are quite happy to block the powers that be when they impose their point of view. Then again, it is the English Wikipedia where the whole world is looking closely

My opinion is that by bringing information with a neutral point of view, we inform whoever is interested to be informed. Given that as a rule we inform about everything, we should inform about the people, the organisations that defend our universal human rights. We should inform about the struggle, the awards, the set backs.

I am sure that all the organisations involved want to ensure that all the organisations, all the people involved are covered. In Wikidata all we need to do is cover every language and by implication every country, every organisation. This Amnesty International award is German, at this time it does not have a label in most languages including English. It is just a case in point.

Friday, April 10, 2015

#Wikipedia Zero - I am all for it II

Wikipedia Zero is a tool. Its purpose is to enable more people reading Wikipedia. The problem it solves is that many people have a limit how much data they can use on the subscription they have for their mobile phone. It does it by having the ISP's provide Wikipedia for free.

There are other tools like Kiwix, it provides Wikipedia off line. Typically it is used in more formal settings like schools.

They are different tools they are both splendid and they both deserve praise and support.

Some say Wikipedia Zero is used largely by those who are already relatively wealthy and educated. The argument used is: "They use Wikipedia in English". This is a wonderful argument; it exposes the bias of Wikipedia for English and at most it is a perverse result.

Having people use Wikipedia in English does not mean that they do not benefit from Wikipedia Zero. If you want to know if Wikipedia Zero fulfils its goal of enabling people to read Wikipedia, check out the increased use of Wikipedia for those countries. The tool does what it is designed to do; enable access.

When the argument that more people should be able to access Wikipedia in their mother tongue, it means that the current bias for English is to be offset by investing in content in these other languages. <grin> These high horse arguments against Wikipedia Zero can be countered by un-orthodox approaches like paid editing and automated content </grin> Let the heated arguments commence !

Thursday, April 09, 2015

#Wikipedia Zero - I am all for it

A wonderful piece about Wikipedia Zero was written by Mike Godwin. It is well worth it, it is relevant and it provides great arguments why Wikipedia Zero is so important.

Please read.


#Wikidata items without a statement

Most problematic in Wikidata are the items without a statement. They may be connected to articles in many projects but the main issue is that it is hard to add statements with confidence when you do not know what they are about.,

I blogged about datathons and one result is a new tool by Magnus that can be of an enormous help; It shows items without statements for a language and they are sorted by the number of sitelinks they hold. There is a link to the Reasonator and it is really useful because it shows some text when you hover over a sitelink.

It is yet another tool that is worthy of attention in Mangus's tour of the Wikidata ecosystem. The example you see above is for Dutch, this one is for Nepali.