Saturday, February 07, 2015

#Wikidata descriptions are not best of breed

In a Wikimedia mobile application they are going to use Wikidata descriptions. I really wonder why they did this because it is easy to recognise why it is substandard.

Take Mr Robert E. Hanson for instance. According to the description he is an "American politician", the description exists only in English and it does not recognise that he died.

Take Mrs Татьяна Михайловна Лебедева for instance; she died as well and there is not even a description.

At the same time there are descriptions available for both of them in any language based on the availability of statements and labels. For Mr Hansen it is "Amerikaans politicus (1947–2015) ♂" in Dutch and for Mrs Лебедева it is "Mens (1944–2015) ♀". These descriptions could easily have been in Arabic, Chinese, Zulu, Javanese or any of the other languages the WMF supports.

It has been obvious for a long time that descriptions are flawed and will not be useful in most languages supported by the WMF. It has been as well known that automated descriptions are more useful in more languages. The developers may have created a best of breed solution but it is still very much a dog.
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