Friday, December 19, 2014

#Wikimedia Foundation - does not get one € of mine

The WMF Fundraiser will be a success. I hope it will be and when you feel like it, please do donate. You can donate by creditcard, by money transfer, by paypal, Please do.

However, I will not make a donation except for the donation of my time. Paying money is comparatively superbly organised in Europe. As a person you can transfer money without cost within Europe. All it takes is knowledge of the IBAN number to transfer to and the name of the entity you transfer money to. Easy peasy.

When you have a website with customers in the Netherlands, you can use a system called iDEAL it has the virtue of being cheap. Wikimedia Foundation does not support cheap.

Paypal and credit cards cost money, they deduce money from the amount given.

In Great Britain an organisation collects money for the WMF for a fee. At the same time there is a UK chapter who could easily organise it for the WMF and in the process hone their skills in fundraising, a skill the WMF wants it to develop anyway.

I refuse to pay these additional costs.

While I hope the WMF collects all the money it wants in the USA, It effectively hands over ownership to the USA and its way of working. There is little consideration for the rest of the world because if there was, they would actively welcome more monetary contributions and partner with its chapters in raising the funds needed for our movement and not only for the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

#Google - Would you use your #trickery for us?

After the shock and awe of yesterday's announcement, There has been time to think. Google showed a real interest in Wikidata. It created a new tool to help improve the quality of its data. But the real expertise of Google is in determining the probability of facts. It is part and parcel of its ranking algorithms.

It would be as awesome when Google would indicate those statements it deems to have a less than even chance of being true. The combination of such a list and the new tool would make the efforts of the people seeking sources all the more relevant. When statements are debunked, it has a potential quality effect to all the associated Wikimedia projects. Given that it is probable that most statements are fine, it makes for more concentrated effort and consequently its effects will be noticed.

While we are on this line of thought, given the data of Freebase, Google could indicate based on its algorithms how probable its sets of data are. Everything that is highly likely should be a candidate for import in Wikidata. The other reason for importing data into Wikidata anyway is that it is an invitation to all the Freebasers to join our ranks, increase our expertise and together be awesome.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#Google - What it does with #Freebase is beyond awesome

In an e-mail Denny Vrandečić announces an astounding bit of news. It effectively says that Wikidata can have all its data if it wants it.

It then goes on saying that it is not expected for Wikidata to accept all this data and follows with an announcement for a tool that is to source data. This news is best read as it was announced..
Thank you Google!
Freebase was launched to be a “Wikipedia for structured data”, because in 2007 there was no such project. But now we do have Wikidata, and Wikidata and its community is developing very fast. Today, the goals of Freebase might be better served by supporting Wikidata [1]. 
Freebase has seen a huge amount of effort go into it since it went public in 2007. It makes a lot of sense to make the results of this work available to Wikidata. But knowing Wikidata and its community a bit, it is obvious that we can not and should not simply upload Freebase data to Wikidata: Wikidata would prefer the data to be referenced to external, primary sources. 
In order to do so, Google will soon start to work on an Open Source tool which will run on Wikimedia labs and which will allow Wikidata contributors to find references for a statement and then upload the statement and the reference to Wikidata. We will release several sets of Freebase data ready for consumption by this tool under a CC0 license. This tool should also work for statements already in Wikidata without sufficient references, or for other datasets, like DBpedia and other machine extraction efforts, etc. To make sure we get it right, we invite you to participate in the design and development of this tool here: sources tool 
I hope you are as excited as I am about this project, and I hope that you will join me in making this a reality. I am looking forward to your contributions!  

Denny Vrandečić via 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#Wikidata - WDQ with load balancing

The #Wikipedia app on the #mobile is to give you everything that is near you. The question is, should it be based on Wikipedia or on Wikidata data. In order for software to find geo references, "magic words" need to be employed in Wikipedia. These same magic words can be used to harvest the information for Wikidata.

So what are the benefits of using Wikidata over Wikipedia with magic words .. Most importantly, there is only one Wikidata and there are 280+ Wikipedias. Everyone seeking information about subjects nearby is as entitled to great information as anyone else.

Wikidata does not have official query functionality. But it does have WDQ. Magnus and Yuvi are finishing the implementation of load balancing for WDQ. So the question is not can we serve geo coordinates from Wikidata but can we afford to let this opportunity slip us by.

PS There has been no evaluation of WDQ yet by WMF engineers.. Why not?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

#Wikipedia - The Time Jumpers

Recently one of the Time Jumpers, Dawn Sears, died. She was married to one of the other band members; Kenny Sears he is the one playing the fiddle to the right.

According to her Wikipedia article, she is indeed married to a Kenny Sears. This is however a redirect to someone else. The husband is known on the Time Jumpers article as Kenny Sears (fiddler), it is a red link.

It is easy enough to add an item for Mr Sears in Wikidata and link him to both the Time Jumpers and to his wife. It would be good when the Wikipedia red link could be linked to Wikidata. When red links are linked to Wikidata, it is possible to relate them to existing items. In this way information is available that can be used as information for a possible article. To bring this article to an editor it just needs to be presented on the red link. That is easy enough.

Friday, December 12, 2014

#Wikidata - Hans Wallat, conductor

According to the English Wikipedia Mr Wallat was awarded the Musikpreis der Stadt Duisburg. It is a "red link". The German Wikipedia has an article about this award. It lists all the winners of this award.

Using the Linked Items tool, it is trivially easy to add statements for the winners of this award. For all but three; they are red links on the German Wikipedia, it is easy enough to add the items for them.

Arguably they are notable because they complete the list of all the winners for this award. Adding dates is icing on the cake..

On the English Wikipedia it is nice to link to the Reasonator for the award. It links to a Reasonator page for the awardees. It is how we can share in the sum of all available knowledge.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

#Wikipedia - #redirects are a one trick pony

Wikipedia and Wikipedians have grown up with the "benefits" of redirects. It is why an article is also known by a different name. In Wikidata they can be labels.

Another use is to link a name to somewhere in an article where they are mentioned. When this finds its way in Wikidata it is assumed that proper information is available on the subject in that Wikipedia article.

Wrong. When you read a Wikipedia article, it is full of all kinds of references from the subject. All of these references are also available in Reasonator in the concept cloud. Many of the references are available in statements and they in turn are available on the referred to qualifiers as well.

What something like Reasonator could do is provide proper information for all the subjects that do not have an article and refer to articles when they exist. It currently links to other Reasonator pages but it is not hard at all to configure this to link to Wikipedia articles in the "current" language. This would be a redirect on steroids.