Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Interproject and Interlanguage links in Wikimedia

On the Wikimedia projects many people including myself run "bots" to link articles to articles in other languages. The object is that information on the same subject can be found in another language. The amount of edits generated are massive; compare for instance the number of edits of my bot with the number of edits of me on the English Wiktionary where I am not very active but where I am an "admin". Maintaining interlanguage links on Wiktionary is simple

This situation is more complicated on the Wikipedias. Because of disambiguation articles are necessarily not named in an obvious way. With currently 212 languages it is impossible to maintain the links timely and reliably.

There is also the problem that some people consider linking from Wikipedia to Wiktionary "spamming" and are so extreme as to ban people for this. The situation is a mess.

With the advent of more centralisation for users and the integration of Wikidata in Mediawiki, my solution would be technical. Each Wikipedia can link one article once to projects and languages. Other projects can link in the same way. The behaviour of these projects is not necessarily the same. WiktionaryZ could because of its thesaurus structures provide a universal browsing capability through the articles and the terminology of many languages. Commons could provide galleries of pictures that are associated with a word as its "category".

I would have this mechanism also be integrated with our search engine; when for instance the word Chihuahua does not exist at all in a Wikipedia, it might exist in the Wiktionary and thereby provide the disambiguation that you can find similar to the one in the English Wikipedia. When the Russian Wikipedia has an article on the dog it can be suggested to read that one in stead due to the relation in the thesaurus.

The benefits in short:
  • Better and more timely information.
  • Less edits by bots.
  • Improved user experience
  • Better integration of the smaller Wikipedias.
Thanks,
GerardM
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